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Foggy Morning

Fuji X-Pro 1, Fujinon 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-Pro 1, Fujinon 23mm f/1.4

Yesterday it was very very cold after Friday when it was warm, and there was a morning filled with beautiful fog.

Out with my X-Pro 1 and the 23mm f/1.4.

Manually focussed, of course. Oh, and BTW, this image was processed on Lightroom mobile using my iPad. Really, really nice to be away from the desk. If the cost of being able to do this is the CC structure, I’m ok with it.

13 Apr 2014

Adobe and Fuji start to play nice together!

Fuji X-Pro 1, 23mm f/1.4, Lightroom 5.4

Fuji X-Pro 1, 23mm f/1.4, Lightroom 5.4

As you may remember, I shoot the X-Pro 1 for its JPEGs about as often as for the RAW files. Fuji does a great job of processing the JPEGs, and unless I REALLY need to process the RAW file, the JPEGs (color and b&w) are just great-looking to me.

The hidden issue that I may have discussed is that Adobe, for reasons only known within those halls, has refused to play nice with Fuji. At least that is my assumption. This takes the form of the de-convolution code for the X-Trans sensor that lies within Lightoom (or, more precisely,  within Camera RAW, being ‘less than optimal.’

Now, truth be told, I don’t really know whether this is Fuji not being willing to share the secrets of the demosaic math of their special sensor or whether Adobe was just not  willing to put the time in to get their code base changed, but up until the latest release of Lightroom, the images produced by Lightroom of the X-Trans RAW files were, by general consensus, not as good as those produced by Capture One or Irridient Developer or even Aperture. All of which obviously cause an additional step in image processing flow. I use Capture One, in fact, but recently had a major hiccup with that processor. Ironically, this happened just last week with the image I have displayed at the top of this post. Below I’m showing a blow up of NOT this image above BUT this image as processed in Capture One.

 

Processed with Capture One

Processed with Capture One

You’ll notice that harsh green line of chromatic aberration on the sunlit side of the tree. That’s coming from the lens, and Capture One doesn’t deal with it. When I discovered this, late last week, I was dismayed. The X-Trans sensor caused Lightroom issues, and my go-to substitute had issues dealing with CA.

In the forums that I troll, one of the leading bashes against the Fuji line of X-Trans cameras in general is the lack of good RAW processing. The cameras come with Silky Pix developer, which, being kind, sucketh.

So, like me , many of the X-Trans shooters use the JPEGs OR avoid the camera all together. But, honestly, you really do want a robust RAW development platform, and the Fujis lacked one.

Lightroom 5.4 Arrives

Now, whether the sheer volume of X-Trans cameras has now reached a point where Adobe could no longer ignore the X-Trans or once the X-T1 arrived Fuji wanted to play better with Adobe, I don’t know. But with the release of Lightroom 5.4, not only are the files from the X-T1 able to be processed, but the general rendering of X-Trans files seems better. In addition, Fuji has clearly supplied Adobe with the recipes for taking X-Trans RAW files and converting them to the color space and style of their JPEG files, so even if all you have is the RAW X-Trans file, you can convert it to the look of a Fuji JPEG.

A big day for us X-Trans shooters.

And, oh, the CA issue with the image is fixed in the Lightroom conversion.

12 Apr 2014

Light and Shadow, Line and Form

X-Pro 1, 27mm f/2.8 Fujinon Pancake

X-Pro 1, 27mm f/2.8 Fujinon Pancake, Pasadena, March 2014

For street shooting, I like to be as inconspicuous as possible. It’s the wallflower in me coming out. One of my favorite things to do is to wander streets and ‘fish’ for images (as my friend Jonathan Bunney describes me).

While fishing for people is my favorite pasttime, fishing for interesting combinations of line, light, shadow and form is #2 on the list.

So, this image fits the bill in many respects. It was captured with a new pancake lens, the 40-mm equivalent Fujinon. I bought this while I was in Dublin, and it’s VERY small, and perfect for walk-around and remaining inconspicuous. The only weird thing for me is no aperture ring, you set the aperture from a wheel on the back of the camera. But since when I’m fishing I tend to set my f-stop and just try to forget the camera and just look at things and ‘hook’ them, this fits my style perfectly.

10 Apr 2014

New Lens, New Life

X-Pro 1, 23mm f/1.4 lens

X-Pro 1, 23mm f/1.4 lens

Back in Pittsburgh for a bit… Peg bought me a new lens for my X-Pro 1… a 23mm f/1.4 prime. This is just a quick shot as I walked around with our chocolate lab yesterday morning. The 35mm-equivalent focal length is my favorite length, for sure, and I’m very happy to have that length on my X-Pro 1.

I’ve been spending a great deal of time on the Get DPI forums of late. It’s a mix of pros and passionate amateurs, and there are some really great photographers there. It’s kind of a high-end site, meaning that the people who post aren’t afraid of spending a nice pile of money for their camera equipment. Many members will not hesitate to try every new camera on the marketplace.

It’s a great place to learn quite a bit about options. It’s a lousy place from the point of view of getting distracted from the real issue which is the taking of pictures.

So, in the spirit of learning new things, I suggest you give this article a read. It’s a great analysis of this problem of multiple cameras, written by a brilliant photographer.

As for the new life thing… I confess that I’m not completely adjusting to being in multiple places nor am I adjusting to being away from Peg so much. We’ll see how this works out.

8 Apr 2014

Across from O’Connell Bridge

Color Efex 4, Fuji X-Pro 1

Color Efex 4, Fuji X-Pro 1

Across the Liffey from O’Connell’s statue after the Parade is done. Yeah, I know it’s kinda ‘digitalized’ but it had a pleasing quality to it when I worked on it. I really liked the way the flag was blowing.

21 Mar 2014

Dublin Tram

In-camera JPEG, Fuji X-Pro 1

In-camera JPEG, Fuji X-Pro 1

My wife is fascinated with my affection for trains and riding on trains. I don’t have a car here, and, so far, I don’t feel like I need one. The ‘elevated train’ that gets me into the city is an 8-minute walk from the apartment; it’s a 20-minute ride to a major exchange point, where I change to a tram, pictured above. The tram drops me off a ten-minute walk to the office.

I know Ireland is small, but the small-ness is sometimes stunning. One of the tram stops is a terminus train station where you can get a train all the way across the country, running to Cork. There are other trains, obviously, but this one is just an example. It takes 2:45 to get to Cork from Dublin. You could catch the 7:00 am train to Cork, get there by 9:45 AM, spend the day, get the 7:00 PM train back, and be in bed by 11. That’s amazing to me.

21 Mar 2014

St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

Color Efex 4

Color Efex 4

I wandered around a bit after the parade on St. Patrick’s day… the whole thing (crowds, liquor, costumes) reminded me a lot of Mardi Gras except in a colder climate. Nothing bad, at not moment did I feel like I shouldn’t have gone, just a bit crazy for a while.

Today I had to make a trip to the dentist. After the exam I was in the office making an appointment and the receptionist asked me where in the states I was from. This question prompted a long conversation about:

  • Growing up near NYC
  • Growing up in Belfast during the era of the IRA bombings
  • NYC vs. Dublin
  • The USA vs. Ireland
  • Moving anywhere because your spouse has a job
  • How LA is a wasteland
  • Watching a baseball game in Pittsburgh
  • The best restaurant in Malahide, Ireland, where I live
  • Youngstown, Ohio
  • and more topics

Some of these topics came from her… well, most of them came from her. I had often heard about Irish people and how friendly and ‘talky’ they are. ‘The gift of gab’ and all that. Well, this receptionist was my first true encounter with that phenomena. She has traveled in the US quite a bit (her honeymoon with the husband she had followed to Dublin — with her not having a job — had been in NYC, and they were about to leave to go there for a week, staying at a hotel in Chelsea), she’d lived in Youngstown (being sent there in the worst times in Belfast to live with relatives in order to be safe, and thence on to see a Pirates game), visited SF, visited LA (liked one, hated the other). Especially interesting was her take on the IRA troubles in Belfast (I don’t know what she meant by this, but her take on it all was ‘all rubbish,’ said  as she rolled her eyes to great effect — sort of ‘much ado about nothing.’)

20 Mar 2014

More rambling

Delta 100, Xtol,

Shanghai, October 2013, Delta 100, Xtol,

Keep your eyes on the road, bud.

17 Mar 2014

Going through the archives

Shanghai, F100, ZF.2 50mm

Shanghai, F100, ZF.2 50mm, Delta 100

When I came over here I didn’t load up a container with stuff because Peg and I aren’t really certain yet what we’ll be doing with the house… rent it, have it house-sat, something. So I moved over here in a minimalist sort of way, large duffle bags on planes and carry-ons. One thing that certainly didn’t make it over was my scanner and darkroom.

Goodness knows if I haven’t had much time to shoot digital, I certainly haven’t had much time to shoot b&w and develop it and scan it! Yikes, that thought astounds me, having enough time to develop film and scan it.

Well, recently I found a place to develop the film, so that part I can do. It’s the film scanning I haven’t figured out yet. There’s a camera club in Dublin, seems like it’s pretty organized, but getting there’s a bit of a hike and they meet on Tuesday nights, which pretty much guarantees I’ll have work conflicts. I’m hoping to go, and maybe they’ll have some scanning facilities. The issue, of course, is the time to get those negs scanned.

So, in the meantime, I’m going through the archives and looking for interesting negs I never posted. Here’s one…

 

16 Mar 2014

A little time on my hands

X-Pro 1, Nikon 28mm f/2.8

X-Pro 1, Nikon 28mm f/2.8

I had a few free moments this weekend and that, along with the weather turning warmer (note the coat and hat on the young woman walking on the beach… it’s warmer than it’s been!) I got out this weekend for some picture-making. Malahide, where I have an apartment, is a seaside village and just a bit down the coast road is a beach. I went for a stroll on Saturday and enjoyed the relaxation.

While for the most part things here are good (I am adjusting to the culture, the people I work with are solid, being without a car has made me walk more which in itself is a good thing — I’ve lost a few pounds and my belt is one notch less) I find the weekends the toughest to manage. I’ve never made friends on the fly — I’m good with people at work, I’m a social guy at heart — but just walking around, I keep to myself. I was never like those people in ‘Friends’ — you know, ‘where everyone knows your name’ — and so when I walk, as this woman was walking on the beach, I’m by myself.

I was an only child, so this is kind of familiar to me. I intentionally didn’t take TV as part of my cable package, I just have high-speed internet, so the combination of being alone a lot during non-working hours and having Peg still in the US has resulted in something surprising. I find I revert to behaviors I long ago left behind, like reading books. But the other weird, unexpected thing is that I don’t have much inclination to work on photos. I had plans to create a Blurb book (or three) while I was here, even create I new one from images I’ve taken while I am here.

But so far, I find on the weekend I just don’t have the energy.

Maybe that will change, but I know I hope to post more often now that things have settled down.

11 Mar 2014