Not many people can say that they still get winter storms on the 30th of April. It’s because many more (sane) people don’t live in Saskatchewan. This winter just . . . won’t . . . die! But before the snow came, we had these amazing clouds and lots of rain. I grabbed my X100s, my sister in law, a black umbrella, my SB-900 and brand new Pocket Wizard Plus X triggers and headed out for some dramatic environmental portraits! When we found a cool spot with lots of great cloud structure, I got setup. It was then I realized that I forgot the PC cable for the Plus X. DOH!!! :roll: I have a lot to learn about radio triggers! So, rather than go back and risk missing the sky, I put the SB-900 into SU-4 mode and triggered it optically from the Fuji’s built in flash. It worked in a pinch, even though I wanted to try the Pocket Wizards out. Heheheh… I heightened the structure of the clouds in post, but I love the drama of the B&W.
So grandma & grandpa bought the coolest birthday present ever. It wasn’t the new socks or garden tools, it was the “LED, light up, noise making, bubble-blowing gun of amazing times!” We killed off our ambient light via switching and this was the product! It was super cool to see the bubbles go lit up by the sparkling LED madness. I thought, “hey, this is a fine time to test how the FujiFilm X100s focuses in no light.” And, I tell you it was a challenge! A challenge for any camera, especially when your auto focus assist beam is off. But just the same, the fuji focused and nailed the shots – not every time mind you, I was focusing in AF-S (not continuous) and the kids weren’t sitting still. I was blown away that the X100s even could capture focus at all let alone produce some keepers. It’s just another testament to the absolute gem that Fuji has made in this camera.
Today is earth day. Nice green trees, fresh water streams, bumble bees going hither and thither. Not here! We’re still caught in the death grip of winter at the end of April for crying out loud! It’s insane. Riddle me this. Why don’t climate action groups ever hold their meetings in Oxbow?! Nope, it’s always Florida or Hawaii or someplace nice! Come here and get your global warming, it’s buried under 3 feet of snow! :twisted: (more…)
Yesterday was the LWMLC “Spring” Renewal at our church. I say “spring” because it’s still cesspool of winter on the prairies and we had another snow storm whilst this thing was going on. The weather is diabolical. But anyways, it was a lovely renewal. The LWMLC stands for Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Canada. It’s a society that Lutheran women have been active in for quite some time and they have renewals or get togethers that include a bible study, some singing, lunch and a speaker on a topic. We were blessed to have Shelley Baldwin come and talk to the ladies about a local project she is doing called 25 Little Dresses. Shelley has had difficulties with her health and the dress project began as a way to reach out to others despite having her own cross to bear. She started out to see if she could make 25 little dresses for needy children in the developing world. And since the first one was made, over 3000 have been made with many more ladies joining in! It’s an incredible project that is helping little girls all over the globe have clothes to wear. And, the dresses are almost always delivered by hand to people who need them so they don’t get intercepted by pirates and sold on the black market. The dresses get to the girls who need them. This project fit in nicely with the overall them of the Renewal ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25:40. Everyone in attendance had a great time and each got a hands on experience making dresses be it sewing, cutting, or ironing. It’s amazing to see what can be done and how the world can be changed for the good with these simple acts of love and kindness.
Most of the time we tend to think of photography studios as huge places of sprawling, ginormous, north facing window light. It’s luxurious and lovely. For full time working pros, it might even be a necessity. But for enthusiast types like me, I can’t justify the expense. I wanted to try and see if I could achieve studio results in a really, really small space. These photos were taken in my 9×10 office. A cheap black sheet for background, some inexpensive lighting setups and you’re good to go. The best thing is that this small little studio space is portable. I can take it with me so there’s literally no place I can’t achieve similar results. Here’s a location setup of the small studio. Move some furniture and you’re golden!
I was super fortunate to be able to take my new Fuji X100s for an extended tour of duty as a travel & event photographer. It was precisely for these two applications that I bought this camera, but after using it, it is quickly becoming my “go to” camera. I’ve never owned or shot any traditional film rangefinder cameras and I’m coming to the X100s from a D800 and other Nikon DLSRs. So it was a new experience and a nifty learning curve but this camera fits like a glove. All the reviews of the internet celebrity bloggers like Arias, Hobby, and others have lauded this camera and all I can say is that everything is true. It is THAT good. Even if your friends accuse you of down grading from a DSLR, just smile and nod.
You can look up the tech specs on Fuji’s website. This review is about the user experience and the pure can of whoop @$$ this camera packs into such a sweet little package. Firstly, it is a dream to use. It’s an extremely tactile camera, everything clicks. Nicely. The buttons have a great feel to them and are easy to use. The only gripe I have is that the on/off switch can easily be flicked unawares when putting the camera into a pocket. But that is an extremely minor gripe. The new “Q” button is really, really handy for making changes on the fly. Also the 3 custom user modes are perfect for events as you can switch back and forth to customized presets without having to burn through tonnes of menus. LOVE that feature. During my trip we attended a friend’s wedding and I shot the X100s in Black and White mode mostly because I love the look of the files (and being able to tweak the tonality of shadows and highlights is the bees knees). But, I could switch back to Provia colour in a button flick. It’s a really great experience all round in using the camera. The one fixed 23mm f/2 lens is super sharp and you don’t have to worry about changing lenses. Ever.
I found that the camera truly was ready for nearly anything. Not even once did I wish I had my D800. The low profile of the rangefinder style is really unique. I found that people were less nervous getting their photos taken by it. The camera changes the photographic relationship if that makes sense. It certainly makes you push in closer to get the shot, which was a bit uncomfortable at first for me. I’m naturally “telephoto eyed”. I love my 85mm 1.8 and I take mostly everything with that. So the 35mm equivalent made me get closer and in so doing created a photo and look that I really enjoyed. While at the wedding service, the paid pro was walking around with a loud Canon 5D Mwhatver and the shutter sounded like a Clydesdale horse plodding through the mud “Clug-clock, clug-clock, clug-clock!” Meanwhile my X100s set to silent mode was like a ninja’s shadow! Truly, it’s totally silent and unobtrusive. Thank you leaf shutter!
The image quality is outstanding. I shot the camera at 3200 ISO nearly the whole time I was at the different events on my trip and when I got home to look the files over, they blew me away. The files aren’t D3s clean but there’s no noise. It’s a silky grain that adds to the character and personality of the camera. The color. The color is unbelievable. I can’t get over how amazing and beautiful and rich and vibrant and . . . you get the idea . . . the color is. I love color and the Fuji files pop off the screen with scrumptious tonality. The photo of the roses was shot in a Costco under those heinous “sodium-vapourizer-punch-your-auto-WB-in-the-face” lights. Auto white balance and like all the photos on this review, SOOC JPG.
This window light portrait was shot at ISO 400, f/2.8. I really love the over all look of the files. The skin tones are amazing, the colors pop. What more can I say?! The files are gorgeous straight out of camera, as is my smokin’ hot wife.
I feel about the X100s the same way I felt when I got my first DSLR (Nikon D40) – Romeo & Juliet. I’m in love! But the best part is, we’re not star-crossed in any way. The camera is a finely revised version of an already great model. It brings the thunder in every way. It’s no nonsense. The user experience is great. The autofocus speed is slick. The files are pure awesome. It’s literally anything anyone would want in a compact travel/event camera in nearly any situation. If you are a rangefinder retro-style junkie, buy this camera. If you have an X100, buy this camera. If you want a camera that you can pick up and feel that it is an extension of your photographic creativity and skill, buy this camera. It’s a 5 out of 5 star camera only because I can’t give it 6 out of 5. It’s cooler than the other side of the pillow.
Pria BDay, a set on Flickr.
Tried out the X100s in a real world 1st Birthday Party for my daughter tonight. This camera rocks the set! The majority of the shots here are SOC (aside from watermark) or slightly color corrected. All the BW shots are from the Fuji! It’s pure awesome!
My new toy finally arrived from Pre-Order. The Camera Store in Calgary surprised me by saying my order wasn’t included in their first shipment of cameras, but then someone cancelled and a I got one! That person’s loss is my gain! This camera is INCREDIBLE! You’d think it was coming from a full frame DSLR! The ISO performance is great, the color is exquisite. I’m really not kidding here, this camera brings the thunder. I’ve got just a couple of test shots of it here using some of the film simulator presets. I’m going on a little road trip right away so I will test it further but suffice it to say, I’m having fun learning how to use a rangefinderesque mirrorless camera!