Ticket Booth

 

Gavin and Aislynn had a joint birthday party a couple nights ago with a few friends. To keep things simple, we did it at Chuck E. Cheese, which isn't too far from home. Amazingly, Gavin managed to snag the 1000 ticket certificate in there.

...and yes, I hate this place as much as all sane parents, but sometimes you need to keep the crazy outside of your house.

This gif was made in Photoshop from 13 RAW frames taken with my Sony NEX 7.

 

Thirty Nine

 

As in the previous two years, I’ve compiled a list of things that I’ve learned this year, my 39th. Some are things I've just realized about myself, others are things I aspire to be.

  1. For the most part, adding cream and sugar is only necessary with mediocre or bad coffee.

  2. I am an absolute creature of habit. Food, clothes, curmudgeonly stubborn habits.

  3. When you stop riding your bike to work everyday, it’s a lot harder to not gain weight.

  4. I used to only be a social runner, but that somehow changed. Now there is something centering about getting out there at 6:30 am a couple times a week.

  5. Photography is about light. The difference between an interesting photo and a throwaway is almost always about the light.

  6. It is harder to pick one of each thing to own than you would think. Multiples are sort of built into our western world.

  7. I almost never use things I keep as a backup.

  8. Batteries. Those are an exception. Stock up.

  9. I’ve had an iPad for almost 4 years, but this year it just felt like a thing so I got rid of it.

  10. A scarf is really useful and often negates the need for a coat. I never owned one before and then when it snowed this year I found one at a 2nd hand shop on my way back from lunch. Blue, Merino wool, fantastic.

  11. I have a lot of books that are about 3/4 finished on Amazon’s servers. I forget about them.

  12. I don’t mow my lawn anymore. I was always late getting to it and my wife found some great guys that knock it out in 10 minutes consistently instead of my 45 sporadically.

  13. I always bring too much stuff.

  14. Eating a good breakfast always makes my day better.

  15. This year, saving money felt rewarding for the first time. Sad that it took this long.

  16. I have no use for Radio.

  17. Watching the way my kids view and respond to commercials is disturbing.

  18. I used to think I had the Predestination/Freewill thing figured out. Now I’m not so sure.

  19. Marketing becomes more obvious and annoying to me the older I get.

  20. My 30+ year old Film camera will still work as well 30 years from now, but my newest digital camera probably won’t even power on 15 years from now. Think about that.

  21. Things that use software have a shorter life span.

  22. It’s easy to see selfishness in others, but hard to see it in myself.

  23. Lens caps are pretty useless except for storage and shipping. They make me miss shots and always get lost. Put a high quality glass filter on the front of your lens and call it good.

  24. Lens Hoods keep rain, waterfall spray and perhaps most important, fingers off the glass on the front of your lens.

  25. I don’t like the business model of streaming music services. I’d rather pay a few musicians I really like to own a copy of their art.

  26. I’m happy that computers are less about CPU speed and cameras are less about megapixels. Those wars were stupid.

  27. Though it sounds snooty, I won’t buy another computing device without a retina class display.

  28. I prefer a wool sweater over synthetic fleece. Breathability is priceless.

  29. Though it has been many years since I met my wife, her smile hasn’t changed and still says “home” more than anything else to me.

  30. Always dark chocolate.

  31. Many of my traits are amplified in my children.

  32. Life is too short to put up with horror movies or artsy films.

  33. I’ve always understood endurance intellectually, but the more of life that I experience, the more I feel it in my heart.

  34. Politics seem more and more pointless over time.

  35. There is an alive-ness that I feel when I’m creating something.

  36. In terms of weather, I’m happiest at the juxtaposition of cold air and bright sun.

  37. Few people are willing to endure early, cold and awkward to get a photo. I’m one of them.

  38. I hope that with age, my words will come more carefully and thoughtfully.

  39. Most wisdom comes from personal struggle and mistakes. I’m trying to pick some of it up by watching and listening to the stories of others too.

 

Gear (aka- I Just Bought a New Camera)

 

Gear.

I'll start this with a preface- Gear doesn't make the good photos- your vision is responsible for that. By now, you have heard this plenty of times so there's your reminder and lets just leave it at that.

Another thing that I have found to be true - There is great enjoyment that comes from using great cameras, lenses, film and software.

I also believe in balance. I don't believe in hanging on to gear I don't use so any piece that I add better be efficient and hold its own.

There are so many different types of camera kits out there and I've come to a personal preference - at least for this time during my photographic journey. The way I see it, here are the types:

  • Phone camera
  • Compact Point and Shoot
  • Enthusiast Compact
  • Interchangeable Lens Mirrorless
  • Full Frame Mirrorless
  • DSLR with Pentaprism
  • Leica Rangefinder
  • Medium Format

  • Film versions of all of these

Here's what I'm using: I shoot very casually with my iPhone. My dedicated cameras over the last few months have been a Interchangeable lens Mirrorless model and a vintage film SLR. They are roughly the same size, and size is a major factor in why I've chosen them.

As of today the Sony NEX 7 and the Sony Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 is my main kit. It’s a great 35mm equivalent set up. It allows me to know that there is literally no better lens I could put on my camera and very few Crop sensors that will give better performance. In fact, 1 year ago, the only way to get better technical images was to move to a Nikon D800- or perhaps a Sony RX-1. I also regularly use the Sony 50mm f/1.8 and the Sony kit zoom lens when my 24 just isn't wide enough.

I also use a 35mm film Olympus OM-1 that -as far as I can tell- was made when I was about 4 years old. My favorite lens is a wide angle 24mm, f/2.8. On this camera the 24 has a wider field of view as it is projecting the image onto a 135mm "full frame" of film. The Sony uses a sensor that is smaller, so the image from the same focal length is smaller.

Today I have two choices that I’ve been contemplating.

Smaller

First of all, I love this focal length. For that reason, I’ve been considering the Fujifilm X100S. It has the same 35mm equivalent focal length and the same size APS-C sensor as my NEX 7. There are so many people that are absolutely in love with the Fujifilm cameras for their handling, and the rendering of the X-Trans Sensor. The X100s' fixed lens design makes it significantly smaller than my Sony combo, which makes a compelling argument for getting one. It will fit right into my daily bag or jacket pocket without the need for a case.

There is the thought that the Fuji might make my current kit sort of redundant and that one of them would get far less use.

Full Frame

I really like the Sony camera line, the feel in hand and the photo making process with my NEX. I know that the Sony A7 full frame will be a natural and familiar upgrade path and will give even greater low-light, shallow depth of field and weather proof(ish) performance. The A7 body is about $400 more than the X100s, but that doesn't include lenses that will cover the full frame sensor.

The A7 would mean a move to a new lens or set of lenses that are large enough to cover the full frame sensor. I can use my current NEX lenses with it, but they would work in crop mode, giving significantly lower resolution than on my NEX 7 and negating some of the benefits of the larger sensor. That means that even after I save up the money to purchase this body, it will work best with my older manual OM lenses until I can afford to purchase an FE prime. I could sell some or all of my current E mount lenses ( 50mm f/1.8, kit 18-55, Zeiss 24, f/1.8) to buy one of the FE Zeiss lenses or a manual focus Voigtlander Prime.

Both

Both of these cameras serve different purposes. Because I feel so strongly about Sony as a company and an innovator, I think that I’ll likely move to the A7 (or more likely its successor) kit eventually. To me, the image quality and the raw malleability and information contained in the files is astounding. It is the way of the future. Although the pocketable Fuji kit is a little redundant paired with my NEX 7, it is a good compliment to the full-frame A7. So, it really comes down to strategy.

For now, I've decided to wait on the Sony Full frame upgrade and add the Fujifilm X100S. In fact I ordered it last Saturday and it arrived 2 days ago.

 

First Roll- Fujifilm X100s

 

So, maybe it's a virtual roll, but I clicked my first handful of shutter releases on a new camera.