Recent Posts
3 weeks, 6 days ago 10

 

 

When I started working with Jim (Begley) I really started to get into using filters to alter straight shots.  My trip to Dave Jones Truck Rescue in Sprague, Washington, i got some great candidates for applying filers!  Jim does absolutely beautiful HDR images that take a lot of precise work with layers and layer masks, not me, I’m a one click kinda guy!  All of these images are simple NIK or Topaz filters!

 

 

 

Topaz Simplify applied to above image.

 

More images altered with Topaz Simplify painting effects.

 

 

 

 

Topaz Adjust Spicify applied below;

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow I will be in Kingsport shooting some more wonderful Americana at Memory Lane, and hopefully finding a new location for great Americana photography!

 

Have a wonderful weekend,

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

3 weeks, 6 days ago 6

 

When I saw this old Ford in a field in Sprague, Washington I got really excited.   While I was composing the image and shooting it I knew that in post something wonderful was going  to happen.  When I finished the processing and looked at the image I was really pleased, but it brought to mind something far, far more important, how God brings our greatest dreams and hopes into reality!  My hope for the image was something graphic and striking, my hope for my life was for peace, and joy, love, and faith.

 

When I got home and sat on the couch with Sherelene and just enjoyed being with her, I was reminded once again where my greatest treasures reside, in Him.  It is God that gave me my family, my children, my dear friends, and loved ones, this life, most of all this relationship with Him.  For any newcomers, that’s what Photography & Faith is all about!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

4 weeks ago 20

Three things converged.  July 1st will be my one year anniversary of retiring from Nikon.  I just completed a two week trip to the Pacific Northwest, and got some of my best images of my career, and My Fuji X-System is nearing completion with the advent of “focus peaking”!

 

Let’s take them one at a time.  I’ve not shot more than one half of one percent of my images with anything but the Fuji system in the last calendar year!  That says to me that I’m settled where I’m going to be, equipment wise!  In one year of shooting all the kinds of things I shoot; nature, close-up, travel, Americana, landscape, people, and some limited action, I’ve found the Fuji X-System, and in particular the X-T1 to be perfect for my kind, and style, of shooting. I’m all in, 100%.  My shoulders don’t hurt, my back doesn’t hurt, I’m having more fun, and loving the resulting images, so that’s it,  I’m a Fuji guy, period.

 

I have identified what is my “current” everyday in-the-field system below;  The Think Tank belt system, that holds the 10-24, 18-55, 60mm Micro and the 55-200, all Fuji XF lenses.  90% of my every day work can be accomplished with this small. portable system.  All the lenses are spectacularly sharp, and because of the incredible High ISO / low noise performance of the Fuji X-cameras, fast enough for general use. In addition I keep the 18-55 on my X-T1 with the Really Right Stuff “L” bracket.  * You may notice that I have some different lens hoods on two lenses.  I found a 39mm deep telephoto hood that fits perfectly on the 60mm Micro and saves room while allowing a polarizer to be adjusted with the hood screwed into the filter.  I also use a metal, screw in Nikon HN-23 lens hood from the Nikon 85mm f 1.8 AF lens on the 55-200, once again allowing a polarizer in place. to turn.  I have Singh Ray LB Warming Polarizers on, or for, all lenses!!!  The 60mm Micro takes a 39mm which Singh Ray does not make, on that lens I use a B&W Nano coat polarizer.

 

 

In a second bag, the Think Tank Airport Essentials backpack; I carry the following back up bodies and my speed lenses.  An additional X-T1 with the battery pack and Really Right Stuff “L” bracket, a Fuji X-E2, with Really Right Stuff “L” bracket and grip. 56mm f 1.2, 23mm f 1.4, 35mm f 1.4, and 14mm f 2.8 lenses.  I love the 14mm and think it may be a hair sharper than the 10-24, but love the range of the zoom too, I am keeping both, but when a 14mm fits, I love that lens!!!  Since Fuji has yet to make a Fisheye, which I rarely use anyway, I picked up a Rokinon 8mm f 2.8, which is surprisingly sharp for a $300. lens!  I carry various close-up filter including the Nikon 3T, 4T, 5T, and 6T and the Raynox DCR-150 close-up diopter.  Lots of spare batteries, and chargers, and lens and sensor cleaning supplies.  All camera bodies have Wapiti Spike Straps, Hand made Elk  leather)   (http://www.wapitistraps.com/)

 

 

Until this trip out west I still had a major concern about the Fuji X-System; no long glass beyond the  300mm end of the 55-200 zoom.  (The APS-C size sensor in the Fuji X-cameras has a 1.5 factor making all lenses the same angle of views of a lens 1.5 times longer, thus the 200mm is acting and imaging like a 300mm!)  The X-T1 and firmware upgrades for previous models make Focus Peaking a reality and changed everything!  I own, some illustrated below, a collection of Nikon lenses from the 1970s and 1980′s that are extremely sharp, but manual focus. Focus Peaking allows very precise manual focusing of these lenses and my in-the-field results have been spectacular, check the images below!  I now have a Guru Gear Kiboko 22L+ bag loaded with my manual stuff!    They are top to bottom:

 a Nikkor 400mm f 3.5 (600mm f 3.5 Equiv. and with the Nikon TC-14B teleconverter it is equivalent to a 840mm f 4.5 lens)

A Nikkor 300mm f 4.5 IF-ED ( 450mm f 4.5 equivalent, and with the TC-14B  630mm f 6)

A Nikkor 200mm Micro Nikkor f 4  (Equivalent 300mm Micro f 4 or with the TC-14B 450mm f 5.6 Micro!!!! that goes 1:1)

 

A Nikkor 200mm f 4 lens (highly corrected telephoto of Legendary Status, as are all these other manual focus lenses, a 300 mm f 4 equivalent, and with the TC-14B a  420 f 5.6)

The drop in polarizer from Kirk Enterprises, (long discontinued!), was a gift from Jack Graham, what a guy!!!  Means even more, coming from him!

 

 

O.K. this would all be great if this wonderful, and fast long glass works!?    Is it sharp on the Fuji X-System cameras?  I’ll let you be the judge, keep in mind these are all images with the 300mm f 4.5, the 400mm f 3.5 and 200mm Micro are even sharper.  If you do not need auto focus, and I don’t, I think these images will sell my point!  Feel free, in fact PLEASE, single click any image to see it larger!  A big plus, all these older manual focus glass is much less expensive than the newer auto focus ones, A current 600 f4 is around $12,000.  for around $2,000. you can get a 400mm f 3.5 which on the Fuji is a600mm f 3.5 and much, much, smaller and lighter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally to complete the system I carry a Fuji X100s which Zak Arias called the greatest camera ever made, I think he may be very close to being right!

 

 

 

Filters?  You bet!  I use a Mind Shift Filter Hive illustrated below for all the various extra-duty filters.

 

 

1. Singh Ray I-Ray (Infra Red) 77mm & Singh Ray LB Polarizer thin 77mm

2 thru 6.  Step up rings for each Fuji filter (52mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm. 72mm) size to 77mm

7. Singh Ray Tony Sweet Soft Ray filter 77mm &  Singh Ray color intensifier 77mm

8. Singh Ray  1 stop soft graduated ND

9. Singh Ray  3 stop hard graduated ND

10. Singh Ray  Singh Ray 2 stop hard graduated ND

11. Singh Ray  15 stop Mo-Slow ND

12. Singh Ray 72mm thin LB Polarizer

13. Singh Ray 3 stop soft graduated ND

14. Singh Ray 2 stop soft graduated ND

15.  Amber color correction

16.  Canon 500D diopter 77mm

17.  Nikon 77mm large polarizer

18. Singh Ray Mo-Slow 5 stop ND – (10) 10 stop,  and 15 stop

 

Summing it up!

I now have a system that covers from 12mm to 840mm and a field system that covers the vast majority of my needs.  One last thing, I decided on this trip that even though the cameras are lighter, with this much focal length range I “invested” in a Really Right Stuff TVC 33 Series 3 tripod and a new BH-55 LR head, mine will go in for refurbishmenet and will become my back up.  Jack Graham and Jim Haverstock both use this tripod and I’ve admired their’s way too long, so one of my new tag phrases!  The clock is ticking, enjoy it now!!!

 

Of course new things will be released and I will consider them, but  even if Fuji stopped today, I have all the photographic horsepower I need to shoot what I want to shoot,and after all, isn’t that the name of the game!  Of course when new stuff comes, I will review it here!

 

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

Johnny here is the image of the 300, courtesy of Ken Rockwell:

 

 

 

4 weeks, 1 day ago 4

 

What a great two weeks with Jack out in the Pacific Northwest!  So my reward to him for taking me on such a great tour of his backyard is to take him to mine, next spring we will be doing the Grandfather Mountain/Blueridge Parkway!  Now I’ve been to both the Columbia Gorge and the Palouse a number of times, but doing it with Jack was a whole new experience.  I take pride in my 25 or so visits to most of the major national parks, but Jack has a whole new set of places I’ve enjoyed exploring with him.  I’ve been so blessed to have such great people to share workshop experiences with.  Jim Begley is a wonderful partner for the His Light Events and we are working on the 2015 schedule.  I plan to cut back a little next year, but will do several with Jack, and several with Jim.  I also plan a few by myself, maybe very small numbers, just something I’ve been wanting to do!

 

I really found myself back in the groove as a shooter, teacher, and person on this trip.  I remembered why I love to teach and it makes me hungry for more!

 

 

More information about Jack Graham Photography Events, and His Light Events very soon!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim