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I bought a Nikon Df

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My Df showed up today in the mail. I was totally stoked! I ordered it last Thursday. It shipped Friday and was here today after a long weekend! Thanks to the great folks at The Camera Store in Calgary, Alberta. I’ve bought all my cameras there for the past two years and I love the store. The staff rock the set. Buy all your gear there. ;) So I had my old 50mm f/1.8 AF-D lens still kicking around. But I don’t use it much anymore since I bought my 50mm 1.4G. But it’s still a great little lens. Soft wide open with lots of nice chromatic aberration. But whatevs. It was my first prime and I love it for nostalgia reasons. It’s a perfect match for the Df. I bought the camera straight up without the kit (on account of my 1.4). And at first it appeared that I couldn’t use the aperture ring to change aperture. But thankfully you can change that. If you use setting f7 in the menus you can in fact use the Aperture ring on the AF-D lenses for that sweet manual touch and feel. Read the rest of this page »

I am Buying a Nikon Df

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I am going to buy a Nikon Df. No, I’m not a hipster but yes, I am insane. :cool:

They’re never been a more polarizing camera ever. Everyone either hates it or loves it, much like lutefisk (I’ve never had it so I assume it’s either loved or hated). That’s how people treat the Df. And that’s OK. Whatever floats your boat. I was able to check it out and use it a bit the other day. I read the reviews and watched all the YouTube vids but this camera doesn’t really connect with you until you pick it up. I was instantly in love with it. Much like my FujiFilm X100s (hipster alert!). :D First of all, it is small and light. It strikes me as an ideal prime lens camera. Beefy zooms (or even my less beefy favourite f/4G zooms) will be better suited for my D800 or a D610. But all my primes that I love will fit this camera like a glove. And the shutter is quiet. And quiet mode is actually . . . quiet! Not X100s quiet but ninja’s shadow quiet. And I do love the tactile buttons. Am I gonna use it like a non-film digital SLR? Yep. And I don’t care about the “pure photography” thing. I like that it doesn’t have video in exchange for killer battery life. There’s a lot that I like about it despite it being a completely paradoxical camera.

Enter the 5 Fold Paradox:

♥ It’s a D4 chip. A low light beast. It begs to shoot primes in the dark. But it has the inferior D610 autofocus system that will no doubt struggle to acquire focus in the dark. :|

♥ It can accommodate every Nikkor ever, but the focusing screen isn’t designed for manually focusing lenses. :|

♥ It’s $3000.00 but not a “Pro” Body. :|

♥ It only has one card slot instead of two, depriving it of a very useful in-camera photo backup workflow. :|

♥ Its top shutter speed is 1/4000 bummer for fast primes in full sun :|

But…

I just don’t care. I think the Df offers the ultimate of flexibility, portability and image quality. It will be an ideal compliment to my D800. I’m thinking low light wedding dance madness where the clean files will be great. I’m thinking that events where 36MP is complete overkill 16MP will be just fine. I’m thinking that it will be a sweet companion for the X100s – 23mm/35mm on it and 85mm on the Df. Very nice, light event kit. :cool:

So as soon as I hock some more camera equipment I no longer use, I will have enough dough to shell out for the overpriced Df. Despite all of it’s paradox, I’m still going to buy it. It’s a decision not made with the head but rather the heart! It’s that experience and bond with a camera that I love, like my wee but mighty X100s. Call me crazy. I’m ok with that. :D Just don’t call me a hipster. Cuz I’m really not.

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Ken Hamm at the Happy Nun

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We went to my all time favourite restaurant and all-round place of awesomeness, The Happy Nun on the weekend. As always, the food was AMAZING. And the talent is likewise fantastic. To kick off the deep winter blues festival was Forget, SK resident and Juno award winner Ken Hamm. He’s a tremendous guitar player and I really enjoyed the sound of his vintage tin guitar. It took me back to my Edmonton days of  Blues on Whyte. It’s really a tremendous genre of music full of soul and reality.

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Speaking of soul and reality, my noble Fuji X100s was in hand for the event. I love how the fuji can capture the colour so well. Ken was being lit by 2 overhead lights, one CTO as the main on his left side and the other CTB for a fill on his right. I love that look. The vastly different colour temperatures work together to really give the atmosphere a great mood. I shot the rest of the event at a very warm Kelvin temperature. I was really digging that CTO look. That said, I probably should have dialled it to blue to emphasize the Blues. heheehhe… next time. :cool:

House Concert

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The only thing better than a house party is a house concert! :cool: Just imagine, your own private concert in your living room with 60 of your friends. Imagine no more! It happens in Oxbow. And that’s a good thing. :D

We had a blast listening to three amazing musicians Karrnnel Sawitsky, Jake Charron and Daniel Koulack at the Stewart’s home. It was one of my favourite concerts I’ve ever attended because 1) the music was fantastic and 2) the house venue made it very cozy and well, homey! heheheeh. Also, a good friend of mine, Orvina Black, who is well into her 90s got up and jammed with the band. The Westphalia Walz was the song she picked and the band picked up on it right away. It was like they played that song together forever. Truly mesmerizing!

I brought my Fuji X100s along for the event. I love that camera. I’ve said it a bazillion times already, but it’s true. The leaf shutter is as silent as a ninja’s shadow. The high ISO performance rocks the set. All the photos in this entry were shot at a minimum of 3200 and f/2. The X Trans II sensor handles it soooooo good. If it had a tele-lens attachment, it would be completely ideal. But I enjoy using it so much as is. It’s very unobtrusive and respectful of others, especially for an intimate setting like this concert.

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For Winter HDR Fun

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It was only -38 with the  windchill today so I thought I’d go and do some HDR photography… I’m insane. But it’s true, the worst weather often gives the best opportunities for making photos. We had killer sun dogs again today as the weather was diabolical. I actually didn’t really set out to do HDR. I wanted a slow shutter speed shot of drifting snow. But I realized I forgot my variable ND filter in my other camera bag. Doh. So HDR it was!   Read the rest of this page »

Vivian Maier

Some recent life events have caused me to give pause and think about photography. I’ve come to realize that our entire culture today of social media is completely based on sharing. For Photographers, it’s about sharing photos. We judge success by Facebook likes or Twitter retweets. We virtually don’t know a world now without this. We are constantly seeking feedback from others. And if we don’t get it or someone else receives more than we do, we take it as a personal knock against us. We’ve created a culture of “social-media-peeping-toms.” Now what if someone were to short circuit that culture of feedback? What would happen if a Photographer took hundreds of thousands of photos but never showed them to a single person?

Enter: Vivian Maier.

This documentary is due out in March of this year.

This woman blows my mind. Not only because her street photography photos rock the set. But because of her completely opposite attitude when it comes to sharing photos. She just didn’t. Ever. It wasn’t until after her death that we get an open window into the life and work of a truly amazing photographer.

Think about this the next time you Instagram, Facebook, Tweet, Vine, etc ad nauseam. What if nobody else ever saw your work? Could you possibly live without being a social media princess – without your groupies and fans? Could you live without the likes? Could you function without the retweets and  shares?  Can you distill away all the jibber jabber and just be happy with your negatives in a box (or RAW files on a hard drive)?

Fuji vs. Nikon Color

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I read a photography blog post the other day where the author responded to the general claim that Fuji’s colour reproduction is magical. He claimed that the consensus of celebrity pro-togs who love Fuji have their heads up their posteriors. It’s all hear say and media hype. Now, I love Nikon and I also love Fuji (specifically the X100s). I’ve had great success with both. But is the colour really that much better on the magical Fuji? Well I had the opportunity to really test that out today at my daughters birthday party. One of the fun activities was making bead necklaces. So we had lots of different coloured beads available. I brought my cameras and here’s the skinny. :cool:

Caveat: Any of these “scientific” colour tests are inherently skewed because it’s impossible to get everything the same across camera platforms. Lenses are different, sensors are different, blah blah blah. You get the idea. :)

I normalized the cameras as much as I could across the settings and exposures. I decided that I would use an on camera flash to bounce the same exact light across each exposure. The frame is lit entirely by flash with no ambient bleed. The settings were: JPEG files straight out of camera with no editing whatsoever (other than the down sample of the full res files to 1024px). Fuji was on factory Provia and Nikon was on factory Standard settings.  1/250 f4 35mm ISO 200 WB Sunny/Fine. SB-600 Speedlight on Camera zoomed to 35mm shot in Manual mode at 1/32 power for both. FujiFilm X100s (23mm = ~35mm on FX) vs Nikon D800 with 16-35mm f/4 AF-S VR. Take a look at the results and see for yourself.

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Nikon

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I put the photos side by side in Lightroom and did screen captures. I didn’t downsize the D800 so they don’t line up. I put them both at 1:1 just to compare the colour. In all the shots, the Nikon file is on the left side.

So, what do you think? I noticed that there was about a 1/3 stop exposure difference between the two files. I made the histograms the same in post and brought the Nikon exposure down -.35 in Lightroom – but that difference is not shown here. These are all SOOC. Even with the slight exposure tweak, the files to my eye are different. The Fuji has an extra little bit of contrast and pop straight out of camera. And whatever it is, this magical Fuji special sauce is what all the Fuji hype is about. :cool: Just look at the difference in the pinks (read SKIN TONES), it’s quite remarkable!

DSLR Workshop

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DSLR class in Redvers, SK

Susan Hill and I ran two DSLR and Photography workshops this past week in the charming little town of Redvers, SK. The classes were held at the Redvers public library and 30 people in all took the course. It was tonnes of fun! :cool: Helping people take their camera off of Auto Mode is always such a treat. As for myself, I bought my first DSLR (Nikon D40) because I hated how slow and laggy my point and shoot was. I took a billion photos in auto mode and loved every minute of it. Nothing really changed until I got a 50mm f/1.8. Best thing ever for turning the ol’ mode dial to A mode. That’s what started my foray into being a full blown photo and exposure nerd. We introduced the participants to all the basics of ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed – knowing full well nobody is going to become a full blown M mode shooter overnight. But to have someone take me by the hand and guide me through everything would have been helpful to me when I was getting interested in photography. But we all had a blast and we will be running more classes in the future. :D

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Susan Hill

 

Fun with Fiber Optics

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The kids got some super rad fiber optic tree things for Christmas. They look cool and have provided hours of entertainment already. So I decided to cash in on the coolness with my macro lens. Just like mini fire works! :D

FYI: Just as an aside, I tweeted to Sasktel about when the Oxbow area will be getting Fiber for internet. . . . 2017. :shock:

First Wedding of 2014

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Hitched in a Blizzard!

Well I had the first Wedding of 2014 on the 3rd of the month. It was a very special wedding because it was Parishioners of mine who asked me to take a few photos after the ceremony.  It was a very small gathering with only the couple and their witnesses present – which is just fine. Everyone thinks a wedding needs to be a big deal with metric tonnes of frills. It doesn’t. It can be a small, humble event, as this wedding was. And in all truth, it became one of my all time favourites! :cool: Hubert and Audrey were so excited to seek the Lord’s blessing on their relationship which is such a cool testament to their faith. At 80 plus most people would simply think living together would suffice. But nothing beats good ol’ fashioned marriage! And a good ol’ fashioned marriage deserves a good ol’ fashioned camera!

I brought along my old film Leica FujiFilm X100s. The photos were going to be all posed portraits in the church sanctuary and I took a couple of candid shots afterwards. But I figured I could get it all done with the Fuji and it worked great. I brought along a very simple Off Camera Flash setup of 2 stands, 2 LP180 flashes and 2 umbrellas, triggered by Pocket Wizard PlusX units. Very simple and very effective, no nonsense kit. I carried the camera, triggers, gels and flashes in a small lowepro bag about the size of a milk carton. Who doesn’t love that?! We did lots of the typical “nice” photos everyone wants, then I had my lovely wife assist me for a shot with more dramatic lighting which turned out to be my favourite of the day. I LOVE the Fuji’s black and white JPGs with the yellow filter! :)

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But I also love the Fuji’s rendition of colour. Just look at that candle smoke. The subtle blue is out of this world! It just nails colour every time, even in weird mixed light environments. Ahh, Fuji, is there anything you can’t do? ;) All the best to the latest Mr. and Mrs. Freitag! May God give you many years!

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