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#Lent2016

 

Lent Beard

Once again, Lent has come to a close. As is my tradition, I give up shaving for Lent. It’s been more of a long standing joke than anything, much to the chagrin of pretty much everyone. But since 2009 I have been growing a beard, then taking it off in stages on Holy Saturday. I try to get as many different beard looks as a I can from the one beard. I’m following this awesome beard quest project that I found ages ago. It’s so great. I’ve pretty much got them all now–at least the ones you can do in a month and a half of bearding.

Lent 2016 hath brought forth the following beards:

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2016 Lent Beard in all its glory

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The Hollywoodian

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The Anchor

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The Goatee

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The Grass Skirt Rastafarian Hipster Goatee

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The Chinpuff Acoustic Rocker

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Clean Cut White Boy Status: Confirmed!

It is also important to note that Phoebe was the photographer and art director on the set today. We decided to go for an open, airy, lifestyle type look with one flash to augment the natural light. She coordinated wardrobe to match the beard looks. She framed all the shots and did a great job. Thanks also to the Nikon Df and the 85mm 1.8G.

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So, in conclusion to the bearded Lenten Journey, surely Christ the Lord has borne our griefs. We esteem Him stricken, smitten and afflicted.

He died for me, I’ll beard for Him!

 

InstaWin!

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So I’ve been using Instagram for quite a while now, especially for following pipe makers and artisans. I’m not really an avid smoker at all. But I really enjoy the occasional pipe bowl. Growing up, there was an old German named Arnold Schick who had a cabin across from ours at the lake. He smoked a pipe regularly and I will never forget how amazing that smell was. Captain Black he smoked. That aroma would waft hither and thither all over the valley where our cabin is. I loved that smell! It instantly brings back those great memories from the lake. Then Lord of the Rings came out. That didn’t help either! Pipes and pipe making are in a totally different ball park to me than cigarettes – which I detest and have no time for. Pipes have an aura of relaxation, taking things slow, enjoying the moments with friends, thinking and contemplation. Tolkien. Lewis. Bacon. Wise gentlemen who did great things and had pipes as their companions. I truly admire the amazing talent required to make pipes, following the naturally found shapes in the grain of the briar. Artisans! They are the last bastion of “not-made-in-China crap for the lowest dollar” goods available.

The pipe community on Instagram is remarkable. Companies and individuals are constantly giving away amazing prizes. Top quality stuff. I really do mean that! I entered one such give away that featured 4 companies. They all contributed awesome stuff and I was fortunate enough to get drawn!   The draw was killer. An incredible hand made leather pipe roll from Kraken Pipe Leather, a tamper, stickers, pipe cleaners and El Niño tobacco from Low Born Supply,  Sweet Tobacco face moisturizer/beard oil and Mechanic’s soap from Forge and Foundry, and a Patriot poker shape pipe from Moonshine Pipes! What an incredible prize pack! I was so stoked when I won and super thrilled today when it arrived! I wanted to say thank you to these amazing artisans by taking some photos of their wares and giving them a plug here on the ol’ blog. Thanks so much guys, you make amazing products. Keep up the fantastic work!😎

Give them a follow on Instagram! @krakenpipeleather, @lowbornsupply, @forgeandfoundry @moonshinepipes Oh, and, go buy their products. They make really great quality stuff!!!

For the camera nerd info, I shot all these photos using a 4 light setup. 3 speed lights and one monobloc. It’s a very strobist inspired look of hard rim light with soft fill. It’s not the typical “big soft big window” light of most product photography. But these products are edgy so I wanted to give the shots some edge and not just have big photocopier light. It was all shot with Nikon D800 using a 50mm and a 105mm macro lens. All triggered with pocket wizard plus x and optical slave mode. Cheers!😎

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Behind the scenes lighting setup

Time is of the essence

20160208-Sunrise-001.jpgThe Saskatchewan sunrises and sunsets are incredible. This goes without saying. But time is of the essence. These moments of great light are fleeting and often within a few minutes they are gone forever! Never to be seen again. I guess the lesson is to make the most of the time we have been given; to enjoy and actually live in the moment we are in. This is the miraculous aspect of Photography. It has the ability to freeze time and memories. It gives us the opportunity to return to those fleeting moments and remember them.

The History of Photography in 5 Minutes

Very cool video worth a watch! Amazing to see how photography has exploded so rapidly, largely thanks to the iPhone.

Zack Arias Twin!

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Our Scout leader Scouter Tyler at camp was an absolute doppelgänger for famous photographer Zack Arias! Don’t you think?!

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I reached out to Zack on Twitter and this was his reply. lol.

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Scout Camp

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As a kids I was involved with Cub Scouts. So when Oxbow got a scouting program we were keen to get involved. Our kids are in Beavers this year and we just had our first camping trip up to Kenosee Lake. It was a blast! We had such a great time and perfect weather. I threw in the trusty FujiFilm X100s. It totally held up in the winter conditions despite a lack of weather sealing. All in all it was a total blast!

 

 

Gear Sale

I’ve got some sweet Nikon goodies for sale, a mini soft box, as well as a great camera bag. It’s all in Oxbow, SK Canada and shipping can be arranged. Drop me a line if you’re interested.

First up is the Nikon 50mm AF-S 1.4G. It is in excellent shape, all glass and body are perfect. Comes with original box & documentation, lens/mount caps & hood. I’m asking $475.  It’s around $550 + tax new. Manufacturer Info Here.

Next I’ve got a couple of SB-600 flashes. They are a perfect starter flash for someone new to photography & may not want to spend a pile of money. They are in really good shape, a few scuffs and dings. They come with original box, all manuals, stand, protective bag. They do TTL and manual control and work with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS). Asking $200 each but will accept reasonable offers. (As they are discontinued now, they are going for around $250 on eBay. Manufacturer Info Here.

I’ve also got an Aurora LiteBank mini softbox for a speedlite. I’ll throw it in for free if you buy an SB-600. Or it can be yours for the low low price of $15 bones.

And finally, I’ve got my Retrospective 20 bag from ThinkTank available. They make the most awesome photo bags on the planet. Tough and durable, these bags are perfect in every way. This bag is in excellent shape. All zippers are perfect, no snags in the material. Comes with dividers & rain cover. Built to last. $225 (New 270 + tax). Manufacturer Info Here.

Nikon vs Fuji – Skin Tones

Ok, well, here’s my quick experiment. These comparisons are never ever 100% but it does give a good idea. I normalized the settings in camera and then adjusted the Dynamic Range in post. The D800 sensor is more sensitive to light than the Fuji is so I had to bring up the Fuji file and bring down the Nikon. These files are JPEGs that haven’t been adjusted (other than the Dynamic Range tweaks and exported to web size). Fuji was in Pro Neg Std. Nikon was in the default Portrait picture control. These are both the suggested portrait settings from the manufacturers.

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Nikon D800 – Portrait Picture Control

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FujiFilm X100s – Pro Neg Std. film simulation

To my eye, the Fuji file is much, much more pleasing in the skin tones and over all colour. I guess this is completely up to personal preference in the end. But I could easily shoot Fuji JPEG for people photos for the rest of my life and be happy.  To me the Nikon files almost always have a yellow undertone to the skin that must be overcome, which is why I always shoot Nikon in RAW. I don’t know for sure, but I’m wondering if Nikon colour was optimized for Asian skin tones. It would make sense to boost that skin colour’s tonality. But on caucasian skin it comes across almost jaundice to my eye. The Fuji files don’t seem to have that colour push. Maybe the X-Trans sensor is more precise in colour handling. Might just be a white balance tweaking question. Let me know what you think.

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Pro Neg Std.

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Another one of Fuji’s film simulations is the Pro Neg Std. This setting is described as being for portraits with soft gradations and skin tones. The Hi version of my last blog post has a bit more of a contrasty look. This article on Fuji vs. Fuji does a great job of comparing all the simulation modes. But suffice it to say, the skin tone rendering is really, really pleasing in both the Hi and Std. modes. Just look at these kids. They look at least 17% better shot with Fuji. LOL. I do want to do a side by side comparison to my Nikons and see how the JPEGs compare. I never shoot Nikon JPEGs so I really don’t know if there is much difference. I’ll check it out in a future blog post.

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I shot these Black & White images in the Monochrome setting with a yellow filter. It gives little extra to the skin tonality I think.

Pro Neg H

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The kids got haircuts the other day. There always cutest fresh from the salon so I grabbed once again the X100s and wanted to try the Pro Neg H simulation. Fuji has the best skin tones in the business (in my opinion) and this simulation does a really great job of bringing them out. The H vs. S rendition has a bit more punch and contrast. But the skin tones are really great. I did the one black and white conversion in Lightroom afterwards for more of a high key look. Still looks nice.

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But the colours are so great. Fuji really makes your photos pop!

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