Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene Bike Ride in Times Square

Last night I took a ride in NYC from Grand Central to Times Square to the River pier at Christopher. The city is amazingly quiet. Even in the middle of the night you do not see so few people. That's due to the first ever subway system closure.

Fantasy World STAYED OPEN!

Empty Subway in Times Square - Never Happened Before!

Tickets Booth Stairs closed

Traveling with FinePix F10 in a housing and X100 in Tenba water resistant bag

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene in NYC

There is a ton of storm talk now all over the east cost.  The storm looks like a huge one and we will see what the blast brings on Sunday.  I'm going to ride it out and see what interesting photo opps present themselves, while not being too cavalier of course.
Flashlights are sold out all over town as well as batteries.  Lucky for me since 9-11 I've had my Go Bag ready and a few days without power will not be fun - but I can get through it without any major hassles except the melting of my ice cream.
Here are some early shots and the weather pattern in the area as it evolves.  Updates over the next 24hrs or so.
Friends buying supplies!

Getting ready to apply the wood

The Bentley's are safe!

Bird Houses tied down on the Highline!

Grocery Checkout


Shelves emptying out.

Sunset Friday night before the storm.

Batteries almost sold out!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekly Email - 8-26-11 Fish-eye Perspective

As talks swirl about the impending hurricane hitting the northeast I thought I would share some calm water shots from the week in a few different perspectives.
One of the fun lenses out there is the 15mm fish-eye.  This lens gives a 180 degree angle of view which can be used for many different imaging effects.  In the images below you can see a couple ways in which just a slight tilt of the camera yields very different results.

Hope you have a safe weekend with Irene coming to visit!  Sounds like a good photo opportunity for many along the coast - with a safe approach of course.

Now You See Him, Now You Don't !

This week while shooting out in Sag Harbor I captured a few good body surfing moments.  Here is one where Tim is almost making it through the wave and then it catches it up to him.  These are shot within 1 second of each other of course.

The other series is showing how you can be rewarded if you wait a little for a scene to change and how that happened here at Sunset Beach.  Yes they actually did make the lights slightly brighter as the sun set.

The last two images really say something about the direction you face when you shoot.  They are shot at the same time and all I did was pivot 180 degrees to shoot the front and rear view at the shoreline.  I think it is always important to look behind you when you shoot.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fujifilm X100 - What Does it Mean to You ? First Look Sony SLT A77

X100 ISO 800 1/10th @ F2.0
 I've been thinking about how much conversation the X100 drives in my travels.  It has led me to ask the question: "How does it make you feel?"
I think many of us love to make great images - but we also have an inner desire to look the part and feel that the camera completes us in some situations.  Some of us may use it as a badge of honor or something we WANT to be seen with.  There is ego in our camera gear.  The X100 and the future X cameras will continue to exude a certain feeling when you pick them up.  There is a power and confidence you get from your gear and it should reward you for that.  It's not talked up much, so I thought I would float the idea out there and see if there are any comments on my thinking that the X100 and other cameras you own are more than just tools we use.  They are emotionally connected to us and we are expressing ourselves with that choice.  

Today I saw a new level of the electronic viewfinder.  
The new Sony SLT A77 has an amazing internal screen.  The 2.4M OLED viewfinder jumps out at you as a game changer for the technology.  Gone are the weak colors and minor flicker you can sense in some EVF's.  Of course the 24MP sensor and the 12fps are also impressive features.  The other neat item is that really tricked out LCD - see pix below.  It flips up high enough to be seen from the front.  Great for video work on a tripod.  The hard part in the USA is getting the pro market to look to Sony as a high end solution.  This camera does raise the game.  Sony certainly has the technology, deep pockets, and marketing power to grow their share aggressively.  No doubt prosumers and beginners are taking note.  The new announcements from Sony say "Hear Me Roar,  I have arrived"!  It will be an exciting few weeks waiting to see what Canon, Nikon and Panasonic serve up as a response.  September 1 is the big announcement of the next X.  It's a beauty!

X100 Built in fill flash

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fujifilm X100 Random Thoughts #2

X100 Pano Sweep
More X100's and accessories are on their way out the door to USA dealers.  The X100 talk on the forums and street are positive and as more work is done to gather feedback on possible firmware tweaks the camera continues to grow in popularity.  This is right on the heels of many reports about another camera model in the X series.  Details are around - so I'm going to skip this for now.

I think the next six months are going to be a very exciting time for the digital camera industry. It seems like almost every company has a major launch in the pipeline.  I see the web rumors about new Canon 1Ds & 1D models and shortly after a 5DIII. Nikon is probably launching a mirrorless compact camera as well as a new DSLR which I would guess is the D800 with impressive specs to beat back Canon in the high ISO and video areas. Then of course a D4 to keep up the speed freak war around 10fps.   I think for the USA, Photo Plus East is the time of many announcements which will mean the show has lift in attendance and excitement.

Olympus just dropped their new MILC and the reviews are where I would expect. Having a shared lens mount is a nice feature and folks should be taking advantage of all the lens possibilities with that system if you are an owner.

Sony has the ever growing NEX series and the larger APS-C sensor seems to me to be the sweet spot.  Their NEX-7 announcement puts down the gauntlet for the market.  An impressive feature set and I'll wait for the reviews from the massively packed sensor.  

I'm glad Fujifilm has the APS-C size sensor to work off of instead of a smaller 4/3" imager.   I would not expect to see full frame for any of the MILC cameras (yet) - price just puts that out of the mainstream budget for most (2011).  Leica can have the 24 x 36 arena and stay around $10,000 (with 35 2.0 lens) vs the APS-C X100 at $1200. (Did you know the Leica M-lens mount is not a proprietary mount and thus anyone can make a mount to use their lenses? (I think at least - correct me if wrong- thanks)  I've seen it on the Minolta CLE - Hexar-RF, Cosina, Rollei 35RF and Zeiss Ikon, and they sure do have a bunch of neat lenses over the past 55+ years, see list way down since 1954).  Now we see the Ricoh GXR mount module released so there is that option for those Leica fans.  
The other question is are we still in a megapixel battle?  I guess so with the Sony announcement.  I prefer a clean, sharp 12MP or so chip that can produce beautiful huge prints for 98% of the applications you'd use the camera for - right?  Do you need to shoot and crop 2/3 down and still have 12MP for every shot? I don't see most street shooters needing 18+ MP's for their work (this could change in the years to come). But hey if you do - that's okay (I wouldn't mind more MP for many situations - but when I shoot my 5DII I almost always use sRAW at 11mp - not 21mp).  But while on that thought - what is full frame anyway? When do we lose the 35mm film legacy and just talk about chips as chips (it's not happening!)?   I know not yet - just thinking out loud.  And how did a system as unpopular as APS get to stick around so much in our vernacular?   I still have some APS film in the freezer if anyone needs some.  It seems the APS-C sensor size is accelerating its dominance for the masses.  I'll be eager to see how the 24MP's on the APS-C performs in the tests.

Panasonic has a new SLR/MILC of some sort planned. Samsung is hot on the trail of everyone, Pentax did launch a funky camera - but I barely noticed, and the beat goes on. Where is the true sales growth now? I think most folks agree it is in this new hybrid DSLR segment - better known as the mirrorless (compact) interchangeable lens cameras (MILC) ( the $300-$500 segment is also very strong - look at the S95 and G12 dominance there). We all want great image quality - and if we aren't shooting in studio or a specific event which requires more horsepower (sports) or amazing file size (medium format) then why not have a compact camera? It seems the blend of an M9 style with today's technologies is where we are at. The X100 hit that sweet spot and now the follow-up camera needs to amp it up.   It is gorgeous - and that does count for something!

Clearly the advantage in my opinion (depending on your shooting style) goes to Fujifilm with the only hybrid optical viewfinder (bias alert here). The optical viewfinder is also extremely efficient on the battery (when the power save modes are on).  And the weight is perfectly suited for casual use anytime.  Sure I would like to see an interchangeable lens model, but for now the super sharp optics are impressive amid a few quirky menus.  Can we all chant F/1.4 - 1.4 - 1.4!
At some point we all have to realize (well i do) that we didn't win the lotto or don't have benefactors to supply us with all these great toys.  It gets addicting to crave all this gear.  What to buy and when is getting harder and harder.  When the X100 has a little brother and it yearns for a big brother, the decisions will be even tougher! 
I think we'll all be eager to find out! Until then my X100 is always at my side and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  
It's odd to look back at what I said about all this a few months ago.... if you'd like to email.

Leica lenses

(incomplete list)
With the Leica M:
  • 15mm f/8 Hologon
  • 18mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar
  • 21mm f/1.4 Summilux
  • 21mm f/2.8 Elmarit
  • 21mm f/3.4 Super-Angulon
  • 21mm f3.4 Super Elmar
  • 21mm f/4 Super-Angulon
  • 24mm f/1.4 Summilux
  • 24mm f/2.8 Elmarit
  • 24mm f/3.8 Elmar
  • 28mm f/2 Summicron
  • 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit
  • 35mm f/1.4 Summilux
  • 35mm f/2 Summicron
  • 35mm f/2.5 Summarit
  • 35mm f/2.8 Summaron
  • 35mm f/3.5 Summaron
  • 40mm f/2 Summicron
  • 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux
  • 50mm f/1.0 Noctilux
  • 50mm f/1.2 Noctilux
  • 50mm f/1.4 Summilux
  • 50mm f/1.5 Summarit
  • 50mm f/2 Summicron
  • 50mm f/2.5 Summarit
  • 50mm f/2.8 Elmar
  • 75mm f/1.4 Summilux
  • 75mm f/2 Summicron
  • 75mm f/2.5 Summarit
  • 90mm f/2.0 Summicron
  • 90mm f/2.5 Summarit
  • 90mm f/2.8 Elmarit
  • 90mm f/2.8 Tele-Elmarit
  • 90mm f/4 Elmar
  • 90mm f/4 Macro-Elmar
  • 135mm f/4.5 Hektor
  • 135mm f/4 Tele-Elmar
  • 135mm f/2.8 Elmarit
  • 135mm f/3.4 APO-Telyt
Multiple Focal Length Lenses Leica M
  • 16mm,18mm,21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar
  • 28mm,35mm,50mm f/4 Tri-Elmar

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weekly Email 8-19-11 Economic Reflections

I watched the market turmoil unfold and decided it was time for a walk in the neighborhood.  I've always tried to correlate the things I see in my travels to market stability and the overall economic outlook.  Keeping this in a very subjective macro outlook I see more and more people having a hard time making a go of it.

While passing by the fountain in Washington Square I saw two simple scenes which show a bit of what's happening out there.  A tourist is fixing her make up for a photo while a man is showering in the fountain (it was about 7pm).  Another guy was sleeping while life went on around him and no one really knows if he is getting up anytime soon.
Interesting times we are heading through.  Life and economics go through cycles and I hope you are having a good summer. 

The last image is the pleasing view of the bay.  This is calming and enjoyable.  Click to enlarge.

Have a good weekend.

Guy - ISO 400 - F/2.5 @ 1/150th
Girl - ISO 400 - F/9 @ 1/60th

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tappan Zee Bridge and Big Money Politics

I've always wondered why the Tappan Zee Bridge is where it is and this week one of my favorite podcasts covered this question.  Planet Money is a terrific podcast and when you hear why the bridge was put where it is you may scream or say - oh ok whatever.  
Planet Money Podcast
Thomas Dewey who was the governor at the time, in what seems to be a slightly ego-based maneuver, places the Tappan Zee Bridge at one of the widest parts of the Hudson River in order to maintain control of the TOLLS of the NYS Thruway and not give up the money to the Port Authority.  It turns out that the Port Authority of NY/NJ have jurisdiction of these projects in a 25 mile radius from the Statue of Liberty.  So the Tappan Zee is about half a mile north of their control.  The bridge is about 3.2 miles when it could have been about 1.1 mile like the George Washington just a bit further south (perhaps near Dobbs Ferry).
Thus Dewey retains control and his super highway which is known to most as the NYS Thruway - is actually the Thomas E Dewey Thurway.  Seems things haven't changed much in 55 years with money and politics.

Fujifilm X100 AF Correction Frame

One of the least used custom function choices on the X100 may be the last item on the SET-UP Menu.  On Page 6 of 6 the last selection allows you turn on the extra frame you will see when using the OVF.  This shows the AF parallax adjustment depending on your focus distance.  This is different than the outline box showing the total frame.  This is handy especially when shooting closer subjects.  See what you think - you may like it and enjoy having the OVF information.  The beauty of the X100 is that you have little excuse to carry it everywhere.
All shots here are at ISO 800.

A Quick Look at the 1972 Hasselblad 500C/M

Just a few snaps of the awesome and durable 500C/M.