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11 months, 3 weeks ago 7



Yes, a Five Guys Burgers and Fries Burger has topped the list!  Sherelene and I were coming back from Knoxville and stopped by the Emory Road Five guys off the Powell Exit on I-75.  Now before I start don’t get me wrong, I’ve rated Five Guys Burgers very high in the past, but they are not all in the mid 4+ pickles.  The making a burger is more about the people that craft it, and the Emory Road Store has Allen, a master burger maker! He and Cody (the Assistant Manager) took great care of us, and the General Manager of that store, Jody,  and I had a great conversation, I’m pretty sure he thought I was nuts whenI told him I was a cheeseburger expert, but now he can read the review!


I’ve had a lot of great burgers, but have, before today, refused to give any a full 5 Pickles on my scale, but this one deserved it, absolutely a great burger!  So to Allen, You’re the man, Cody, great service and Jody, you were a good sport treating this crazy bearded guy like he really knew what he was talking about!  Check out the rating!  It’s for real!




the pilgrim

11 months, 3 weeks ago 13



I’m packing and getting ready to fly to Spokane where Jack Graham will pick me up so we can drive down to Colfax and run the Palouse Workshop!  Each location requires it’s own set of gear or at least as few specialty items for the kind of work you plan to do!  When traveling by air you have to find a way to get all the gear there and take the cameras and lenses on the plane with you.  I fly Southwest for several reasons but one of the most important is they always fly 737s.  I know this airplane well and know my loaded Think Tank Airport Security Version 2.0 will fit in the overhead bins!  I also pay the fee to get on the plane early in the A’s so I know I can get an isle seat with an open bin, about midway back through the plane.  Why midway back?  The most comfortable ride in turbulence in over the wings.


Back to the gear.  Every nature, landscape trip requires the big three; a wide angle zoom (mine is the Fuji 10-24 f 4  -  15-36 equiv.), a mid range zoom (the 16-55 f 2.8  -  24-85 equiv.) and a telephoto zoom (the 50-140 f 2.8   –  70-200 equiv.).  I also packed my 18-135, which goes everywhere with me, my throw back to the Nikon 28-300 kind of super zoom!!  The special lens for this trip is the Nikon 300mm f 4.5 IF-ED manual focus lens with an adapter to Fuji X mount (equiv, 450mm)  The shot below was made with the compression affect of this lens, and with focus peaking, it is easy to get tack sharp focus points.



The other lens I always carry is the Fuji 60mm Macro with three auto extension tubes from Fuji; the 11mm and two 16mm. That combination of lens give me courage from 15mm to 450mm and the ability to shoot close-ups to life size and little beyond.


I carry a Watson charger ( B&H and Amazon carries it) that charges two batteries at once with a very good LCD readout of the progress. It also features replaceable plates for many different batteries.  A portable hard drive (2 TB) for back ups.  In the top pockets of the bag I have the extra lens caps, body caps, cleaning supplies, allen wrenches, etc, etc.


I’m also taking a Fuji X-T10 and the new 16mm f 1.4 and 90mm f 2 to shoot in the Palouse as well!  I will post images all this coming week, have a great weekend!




the pilgrim

11 months, 3 weeks ago 14




On April 22nd, I was very happily at the Fujifilm National Sales Meeting to speak to the Fuji U.S.A. team.  While with the troops I had the pleasure to see a number of new products.  I got to hold and shoot a few images with the new Fuji X-T10.  I was not allowed to share much at that time and yesterday I received a new production camera serial number 56L00003, the third new camera!!  I was able to get it because I’m speaking at the unveiling in Nashville at Dury’s Camera on June 20th. Fuji wanted me to shoot some images with the camera of that event, and I requested one for me, as part of the deal!


This is not a technical review but a first impressions blog entry, but I have to say, this is going to be a very successful camera! I’ve seen many less expensive models introduced by many camera companies and in every case they have been downsized physically and sadly have lost lots of their most important features from the older brother in the line.  Of course the X-T10 is somewhat less of a camera than the X-T1 at a price reduction of 40%,  you would expect that, however, the X-T10 is missing none of the most important features of the older brother.  It does features the same sensor, same processor, and makes identical images to the top model!!  It lacks the water resistance, and has a slightly less aggressive viewfinder.  However in the two days I’ve been shooting and switching back and forth between it and the X-T1,  I don’t find it to be of great significance. The size and weight is very refreshing, I can see it as a wonderful travel camera where weight and bulk really matters.  It features the new auto focus system that t he X-T1 will get when Firmware 4.0 is available in a couple of weeks. Trust me this is going make the X-T1 a significantly better camera,.  Don’t you just  love “Kaizen”!  Below are some comparison shots of the operating controls and size perspective;






The feature most anticipated in this camera and Firmware 4.0 is the Focus Tracking feature and after a little test I can attest to how terrific it works.  I first tested the cameras with the 50-140 f 2.8 lens, which I was sure it would work great, and it did.  I was less hopeful for a lens I use a great deal the 18-135.  Good news, that lens worked just as well and nailed every shot from a truck coming toward me at 60 mph!  Is the system now sports worthy and a threat to Canon and Nikon?  We will see, but there is no question that Fuji is continuing to make the X-T1 and the new X-T10 capable of a lot more than what we once thought they were made for!  This is a significant step forward.





Below are three of the frames that show how tack sharp each and every frame was, like these.





The new Fuji X-T10 is also available in a Chrome color scheme, which is not only somewhat handsome, but the same price at the black model.





While it was not really necessary I went out and made a few images with the 35 f 1.4 , (one of my favorite lenses), Those are below, I think you will agree the X-T10 accounted for itself very well indeed!






O.K. some general impressions:  Do I miss the ISO dial?  Not really.  How about the water residence?  Truthfully, if it is pouring rain I go inside, or break out out and umbrella. I’ve found the non-water resistant cameras to do pretty well in light rain.  Is it too small?  No, but I think an “L” bracket from Really Right Stuff with a right side enlarged grip like the X-E2 unit would  make it nearly perfect!  Anything I simply love?  You bet; the shutter release is threaded so I can go back to my manual releases, which I love!!  The shutter release is also soft and very predictable.  The pop-up flash is completely hidden and works very, very well, you can hardly tell a flash was used, which is how it should be!  The control dial on the upper left top of the camera offers two BKT  positions which is very handy so if you want to have two different brackets set-up,  like film simulation and exposure compensation you can dial in the one you want, very handy indeed! Another convenient feature of this control know is two advanced filter choices, set-up in advance you can dial in quickly any special filter you use often, very nice!  Double exposure and panorama (which works fantastic, by-the-way), can also be dialed in, very simple, and very appreciated!





The Bottom Line:  Fuji has brought us a very affordable way to get into the Fuji X System and use all those glorious lenses. If you want a lighter camera for travel, a back-up for your X-T1, or are just entering the X System for the first time, I think you will find this camera a delight!  One thing is for sure, if they want this one back they will have to come and get it!!!!




the pilgrim


Just-for-the-record:  I shot lots of photos of eating establishments, I did not eat at any of them today, but have in the past, just for the record!

11 months, 3 weeks ago 15




July 1st will mark my two year anniversary of retirement from Nikon.  A lot has taken place in the last two years.  For forty three years, plus, I was a died-in-the-wool,  out-and-out Nikon lover. Surprisingly I still am, I think Nikon has a long and great history of producing thoroughly pro cameras and lenses. To make cameras that can take constant abuse they must be robust, and robust means substantial, and substantial means heavy!  Over the years they have been lightened some, but not a lot.  Over those same years I’ve gotten less able to manage carrying them.  It’s not Nikon’s fault and I guess it’s not really my fault either, we all age, and with that comes the necessity of change.


For me change meant a lighter, smaller, camera system.  I was really concerned because in all honesty my attitude a little over two years ago was that only Nikon, Canon and Leica made the quality of gear that I demanded.  Nikon was too heavy, Canon was to, and Leica was just not my style, and way out of my financial range, plus just not as technologically as advanced as the competition.


Enter the Fuji X-System.  Now it seems almost unbelievable to me that Fuji developed a system that was “exactly” what I had hoped Nikon would make.  I wrote a white paper before I retired suggesting what I believed Nikon should make.  Here is a short version of that white paper’s specifications.



The White Paper on a Suggestion for a future camera system  

* submitted to Nikon in (2012)



1.  Compact Mirror Less camera body. Full frame or APS-C sensor.


2.  Capable of low noise at very high ISO.  Very usable to ISO 3200.


3.  100% viewfinder with high enough resolution to approximately match the view of our  DSLRs.


4. Solid construction with lower weight but substantial build of metal in key body frame sections.


5.  A return to the original knobs for controls of the Nikon F. Shutter Speed Knob, Aperture Ring, Exposure Compensation Dial, ISO dial.


6.  A complete set of very high quality, solidly constructed (mostly metal), superior lenses.


7.  This lens line must have all the major focal length covered in very high quality zooms and single focal length lenses,  Just like our DSLR line, we need a full set of f 1.4 lenses in at least 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and 105mm.


8.  Our system needs to be priced somewhere around 30% below our current pro system pricing.



Well two years later Nikon  has not attempted to fulfill this suggestion.  Neither has Canon. Interestingly Fuji did, and it is one of the fastest growing camera system in the serious photo world today.  Countless highly respected photographers have tried it, adopted it, and swear by it.


Two years, two great and interesting years!


Just the facts.




the pilgrim


By-the-way:  I just received a Fuji X-T10 yesterday, I am starting a test which I will publish soon. My first impression is this is one incredible camera.  Pretty much a miniature version of the XT-1!




So what does all this mean?  I can only tell you what it means to me.  This throw back experience has been the best time of my life.  The chance to go back and relive my youth as a super enthusiastic young photographer.  Free to go back to how I worked at the beginning, when I learned all the techniques I’ve used for 45 years .  Now, with an original design camera, I’m shooting the best work of my life and enjoying it like it was the days of my youth.  This is the most fun I’ve had in over four decades!


Ah, the joys of a trip back in time…….



Join me for the fun………………………..