… And Other Retroactive Catching Up Ons

August 16th, 2020

So, since it took a bloody season for me to get the website up, here is the latest, retroactively caught up from the past few months, so as to be good to move forward.

(PS: The length of this Latest entry will be substantial… but, only because of it being a catching up of the past nearly half year… future Latest updates will be A LOT shorter and sweeter!)

To start getting caught up to the present, need to begin back in the Spring of this year, when it was that I finally once again acquired a camera to shoot with, after unbelievably, an entirely too long two years of being camera-less, after having sold my Nikon D700 system.

Having been a proud film photographer, that all changed in the Autumn of 2010, as I fully done went dig’tal, with acquiring the Nikon D700.  And honestly, the D700 was the absolute best, perfect camera and fit for me… everything about the camera I loved, and came quickly to be a natural extension to me for shooting.

Then why pray tell get rid of such an accustomed to, and well loved camera?  Solely for size and weight… I wanted something lighter and smaller… after years of countless hiking out in whatever terrain, or even throughout a city wandering, by the end of the day, well, well before that, was feelin’ it in lugging it’s size, and accompanying components, around.

So, knew that meant two things – going mirrorless, and even to a smaller sensor form factor… both I was not too keen upon, having been a full frame, Single Lens Reflex shooter nearly my entire thirty plus years of photography.

Hesitant with mirrorless, because, when shooting, I normally check out a scene through the viewfinder to see if there is even a shot there, as well as the natural composing and whatnot… and not being able to do so without having to power on the bloody camera, eating and killing battery life in the process, I was not liking that… I am going smaller to get lighter, and if have to carry a hundred million batteries along to make up for simply not having an optical viewfinder…

And my issue with going to a smaller sensor size, was really pretty much only for losing depth of field, and my love of bokeh… as well as potential loss of image quality on a smaller sensor.

When I first started tinkerin’ with the idea of going smaller a few years back, I was leaning towards going to MicroFour-Thirds with the Olympus OM-D-E – whatever the hell it’s crazy, confusing lettered name is, as I once had as a carry-all-around camera, the Olympus Stylus Epic point-and-shoot, and I just really loved that little film camera, and the images I ended up getting with it.  But, if went with the Olympus OM-D Whatever, it would be a electronic viewfinder.

That is when I began to pay more attention to Fuji’s X-Pro line.  (I know Fuji is technically Fujifilm nowadays… but, will be hard pressed to hear me call them that ever… and if not referred to as just simply Fuji from me, might be Fujica)  My first “real camera” (even though I had a 110 Haminex camera first, that technically was a “real camera” too), was a Fujica AX-3, all manual film camera, sans a center weighted metering system… and that was the camera I learned photography on and with, in my teenage years, up till it went kaput on me right before the turn of this century.

Very early this year, when time drew near that I was gonna make a decision as to which camera to go with, I narrowed it down to three finalists – the Fuji X-Pro3, the Olympus OM-D – whatever the hell it is, and Nikon’s Z camera…  And honestly, the Olympus was ruled out almost immediately, as for being the smallest form factor camera, it’s M4/3 camera body self was still the very same comparable size and weight as my D700, or Nikon’s Z, or Fuji X-Pro… plus, same in price to those larger cameras… so, was quickly ruled out.  Which ended up being a good thing, as Olympus has struck their photography division!

After all was said and done, and having been really leaning towards it for a good year or so more at that point, I chose the Fuji X-Pro3… keeping the optical viewfinder capability, smaller size and weight, and it being a maker I had already a positive, connection with, and was really liking my coming full circle in once again acquiring a Fuji camera, after a Fuji camera being what started out my photography love and passion with decades earlier.

I have to admit though, love was not immediately had with the X-Pro… in fact, had it up for sale to get rid of, because of my downright loathing it (the images in the lead-in header above, were actually from the product shots I took of it when I posted it to get rid of and sell)!  I am a simple shooter, I shoot the exact same since those very early days when I last used, and learned, on that Fuji in my teens – I shoot all manual, expose off a grey card, and yeah, that’s pretty much it… but, you think that’d be easy to do with the X-Pro?! N-fuckin’-o!

It just has this shitload of menu options, that again, to just get for me to simply shoot, and be able to go out and simply shoot, I was just getting frustrated and hating the camera more and more each and every time I went to shoot with it!  I just want to simply shoot!  I don’ need fifteen hundred options to do that!

The image to ye right here, was not the very first shot taken with the camera… but, one of the first, like maybe third or fourth… as I took it out the first weekend free after having acquired it.  Went right next door to where I currently live, aside a museum that has an outdoor sculpture garden.

I do love the colors the camera gets… which is funny, back when I shot film, even when I had the Fujica AX-3, I never really cared for Fuji film, but rather always shot Kodak… just didn’t like the over-saturation of Fuji film, especially in the greens and reds.  And the newfangled Fuji cameras have these film simulations that are all the rave with… but, I shoot in RAW, and not JPEG, which is what you end up with, if shoot with the in-camera film simulations.  But, adding those film simulations in post is doable with the RAWs, which I do use.  Noticed lately, that it does somehow shoot in this Classic Negative, even in RAW, that simulation is applied to it… do need to see if I can remove that, which I don’t think I can… still a steep learning curve in figuring it out.

Ribbons Of Color

Within a month of having gotten the camera, and not fully used to it, as well as to haven’t really shot for two years, I threw myself into the fire though, and did a family portraiture shoot… which for the most part, thankfully went well!  There was a series of images, that I took of the lovely mama, and her eldest son, where I totally fucked up and still not accustomed to the fact that I was looking through a rangefinder optical viewfinder, I had the focus unknowingly being taken not on either one of them, but the focus point falling in between them, so that their neighbor’s house in the background was in focus, whilst they were not!  D’oh!

As I said though, fortunately, I was able to get for her some keepers of her and her littl’uns, of to which, I am very happy and glad that I was able to for her.

I was quickly over the qualms I had about the smaller sensor size too.  It has the double the megapixels of the D700 I had, and the images are good, nice and sharp.  I was only able to afford one lens off the bat when I got the camera, the 33mm f/1.4, which is equivalent to a nifty-fifty, and is a very nice lens… focusing has been good and quick.  I didn’t use the newfangled eye-focusing feature that it has, for the above portraiture shoot… don’t know why I hadn’t… probably because like I said, it was really not too long after gotten the camera, and had not fully learned all the ins and outs with it.

Which would all have to go on hiatus, my furthering learning and shooting with it, as I had myself a little bicycling mishap.

First day of riding this year to work, and about a mile from my destination, took a turn too fast, and also hit this patch of mud on the road, that totally sent the wheels losing traction and going out from underneath to me, causing me to kiss the road I was on.

I got up, saw my road rash on my knees, and then noticed my thumb, to which my immediate reaction was saying out loud, “well, now, that ain’t right”… then getting pissed, that I now was going to have to go to the hospital and not continue on to work… so, picked up my bike, and continued to ride, got about a block, and next thing I know, I am coming to, laying in the middle of the road, with people coming towards me to assist me.

After that, I was okay though, and went back to riding towards the hospital, until I realized I didn’t bring my bike lock, as I knew I was just going to have it inside at work… and wasn’t gonna leave my new bike out in front of a hospital, unlocked… so, rode to work, and had a co-worker take me up to the emergency room.

My thumb, was not a compound fracture as I thought, not broken at all, just dislocated… dislocated outside my skin, but just dislocated… but, that, and the ensuing wrap, which made my right, shooting, hand like a club, led me to not be able to shoot for the next month plus.

As well as fracturing a small bone in the middle of my left hand, and my face in three places, around my left eye… leaving me a little hobbled, shooting wise, until sometime this June, and the splint and bandaging came off.  Granted I still could have shot, and had the camera on a tripod, and then awkwardly used my left hand to finagle the buttons to shoot… I instead chose to use the shooting downtime, to work on, and get this bloody site done and up… which two months later, as of today, am finally able to have three-fourths of it so!

Just in time for me to get back out shooting, and do my somewhat annual shooting of fireworks on the Fourth.

Which, shooting again with the camera, led me to recall all the things that frustrated me with shooting with it!  I mean, I have still been able to, for the most part, acquire the images that I am looking to get… but, just the fact that it’s a bloody pain in the ass to simply do.

So many customization options, buttons, and which button did I assign what function to?  Somehow, on the D700, it was just sooo much easier and quicker to just simply do… and I know, to do so on the D700, I had to go into the menu to do so… but, still! was quicker and easier to do than on this bloody Fuji!

Also, I am brainless, and just get into shooting mode, looking through the viewfinder, and completely spacing and forgetting that I am not looking at the actual, what it is I will be capturing, but a slightly askew, separate view of it from the optical rangefinder… honestly don’t know how many times that still throws me to this day.

One thing I was looking to do, and thought was actually doing, while shooting the fireworks, was the defocusing during exposure to get similar images I’ve gotten in the past (below ⇓)

Firework Flower
A Fireworks Night

Only to discover afterwards, that even though I was turning the focusing knob on the lens during exposure, it was not at all changing the focusing.  Which, I think I am attributing to the fact that I haven’t really shot in two years, and forgetting the fact that I had to change the focusing switch off of autofocus, to manual… which, if I remember right, was what I too had to do on the D700 also… so, just chalk that up to my being rusty and out of practice with shooting in general, and not so much with the X-Pro itself.

It was during this part of this Summer, that I put up the X-Pro for sale, and had it listed live to sell.

I had a gentleman who saw the ad though, who, I can’t recall now, was even interested in purchasing it, but just saw my ad, and was commenting… but, talking with him, he too was a Fuji shooter, believe he had the X-T3, and he told me to just be patient and to reach out to forums, and think he mentioned a book from someone, to help me figure out how to do things… anyway, to give it a little more time.

Which I did, and what things were irritating me, I specifically Googled to see how to just simply set up and do (I did read the manual book, by the way), and did find how to be able to simply do a thing or two I was wanting… and for the most part, am feeling a lot more comfortable with it, shooting with it… still a thing or two that I would like to figure out and get set up, and once I do, feel will then be perfectly ready to go.  I have pulled it from selling it, and am gonna keep it.

A Laugh Amongst The Trees

Which is good, because I had yet another portraiture shoot to do at the beginning of this month.

Which was also the most bare bones portraiture shoot that I have done (well, that’s not true, when I was camera-less those two years, I did do a shoot with just my phone… but that wasn’t as formal and a real-real shoot as this one was), with my only shooting this shoot, with the camera and the one lens, and that’s it.  No external lighting, flash, change of lenses, anything, just the two.  Though, did early on briefly use a reflector, but that was it… otherwise, only the X-Pro, and the 33mm lens for the entire shoot.

Don’t believe it limited me at all though.  If I would have wanted anything, it would have been like a 100mm (equivalent) lens, for tighter composing, where I didn’t have to also be physically right there all up in her face.  But, the nifty-fifty (equivalent) lens, was more than adequate, and no complaints at all with shooting with just it.  Maybe a time or two, having an external flash and/or lighting for fill light, to lessen shadows… or, a stand to have been able to hold the diffusor to soften the harshness of the light would have been nice to have… but overall, for the most part, because of, we hugged shadow areas to compensate.

So, that gets things all caught up!  Again, don’t worry or think that this will be the norm in the Latest postings of things here, as I was doing so for just under a half year of stuff to just get caught up to today… future Latest update entries will be simply for that latest update, and nothing more.

As of this Latest entry though, all of the website will be done, aside from the Journal section, which I am not too concerned about, and can and will get to whenever I feel like it.  Which, speaking of grandiose length, the Journal entries will be akin to this entry here… so, you have been forewarned.  Again though, future Latest entries will be short and sweet, to just mention whatever latest update.

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To close, will just post two phone pics that I took a couple days ago.  Otherwise, that may be it for a couple weeks maybe, as I will personally be moving to another place (unfortunately, only another apartment here in the same bloody area), so that will be occupying my time… so, may not be doing too much else.

Until then, wish you all the best… stay healthy and well, and happy shooting and living.

A Bayliss Pre-Dawn
Morning Through The Trees

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