FujiFilm PIctures

Friday’s Fuji Fun Times

Fridays away from work are fine days for shooting some photos using my Fuji X Series Camera. I found some new Acros film simulation settings so have started visiting some places around here and taking more black and whites. There is a certain texture and completeness to the black and whites which I really enjoy.

There is subtle nature I believe to these settings and the contrast and edge jump right out. Much better than my earlier settings.

I’m still a basic and novice photographer but I sure enjoy my chosen camera. I think the Fuji X100F is a great learner’s camera. It’s small, the form factor easy to tote around on vacation and travels and such, and there are lens for it one can buy if so inclined.

There’s a coupe of favorite haunts of mine that I like revisiting because they are close. The first photograph is in Historic Niles and the second at a BART station in the east bay. Both offer interesting perspectives and I can wander around easily with the camera.

The architecture of being done or being built in the second area is cool.

Since its close, I can always head over there to test things out. I don’t worry about mess ups since its a 10 minute drive from where I live.

Next weekend after Thanksgiving, I’ll head into San Francisco for a day of street photography downtown, in China Town, and Union Square. May spend the night or just come back.

Sunday was meant for Black and White

Today was black and white photography day in Palo Alto. I drove over after some morning chores and decided to shoot nothing but that on University Avenue in downtown. I visited a wonderful district with a lot of simply beautiful homes and then the edge of the downtown and residential district.

I really like the learning part of things with black and white and the custom Acros film simulation on my Fuji X series camera. It creates really nice depths of available colors and I setup the values a bit to get things more snappy.

Seems like I only really get Sundays out these days with the camera so I try to visit a place with a variety of settings to practice on. I may have to go back into San Francisco one of these days and perhaps spend the weekend and get a whole weekend of street shooting in across all the places that SF has for photography. A trip on one of the bay cruises would be nice too.

Finally, I like to take rather simple shots to capture regular things that I find on my strolls. It’s fine to find the great things but sometimes the shape and shadows and hues of black and white are striking to say the least.

I also share some of the work over on Instagram but my main photo sharing is on Google Plus using Google Photos these days. I have a collection there which I really enjoy posting to. If you don’t use Google Plus because you think its a ghost town or there are not many people there, you may be right. I have over 3000 followers though on my photo collection.

I also share on Facebook on occasion. I don’t particularly care any longer for Facebook because it seems the newsfeed is overtaken with pro and anti political things and the fun and funky things I used to enjoy seeing have gone away. That’s too bad.

LinkedIn is another one of those strange phenomena. I don’t understand it any longer so I don’t post technology news there. It used to be a serious professional networking site. I could read reviews on Apache, or open source, or databases or see jobs and serious discussion on jobs. These days, it seems it suffers with selfie posts, puzzles of word and math, and a variety of personal posts that either encourage or refute other people’s political and social thinking. It’s sad and one day I’ll just go away from there. The usefulness is getting lower there and I could see a time when I simply close my account. I wish I could lock the account for awhile and leave it that way much like what Facebook does.

On the subject of photo sharing, since I’m still learning how to do the photography thing, there’s a value in finding other’s posts on Instagram and seeing what they do with the FujiFilm X100F. It’s such a versatile camera and fun to use and learn. If you think photography is all about a smart phone, I think you may be missing some of the learning and flexibility and fun.

Golden Time

There’s a special time in photography they tell me. Its when the light hits just right and the day is turning to night. Its when moments have ended and other moments have yet to begin.

My daughter force knows this time only too well because she puts up with the aspiring yet novice photographer I am and always will be.

Last night I ran to a place and almost missed it. It was close.

DSCF3331

There’s a thing of inescapable beauty when the day starts its change and there is that golden light that bathes our world in its glow. Go find a place on these summer days. Take the moment and the moment yet to come.

Its golden time.

Sunday Photo Dreams

Sunday morning is meant for fun I think. So today I will head out with my trusty FujiFilm X100F and do some shooting around the local area. I’ve traveled farther last few weekends either to Redwood City or San Carlos. Today I’m going to focus on some local delights. Its always tempting to find another place I have to drive to farther away which has that “something” but today is a photo shoot around the cities I now call home.

Today its a different plan after chores. I’ll hop in the car, package up my iPad and camera and take random turns left and right. I have some goals of places to reach but I really want to get some local photography done.

One thing I’ve learned after moving away from using a SmartPhone for photography is that there is a lot more flexibility but a lot more studying for a person like me who enjoys the wandering. I can shoot in Classic Chrome or Acros or other film simulation modes and capture the tapestry of color or black and white with custom settings to pinch out the shadows and contrast. I may go back to Black and White today for awhile.

I enjoy all that with a regular camera and its been a great choice to settle on Fuji X series to learn more. I doubt I will ever be anything more than a novice photographer or hobbyist because my interests don’t go there. I’m not interested in post processing in Adobe LightRoom or shooting RAW or doing any kind of image editing. I want to let the camera do the work and then enjoy the photo’s with the few people on Instagram and Google Photos and on my collection on Google Plus.

When I’m done with the morning chores, I’ll head out. I may end up back at Starbucks to gaze at the images in my card reader on my iPad. Or I may take my MacBook Pro with me instead.

Someone asked me if I love the apple platforms now since I’ve been a little green robot guy for years. Here’s the answer. Its not love. Its use and integration. I don’t particularly care for the walled garden that IOS prefers but the tools and integrations are nicer. I can have the same app on my phone, the iPad and the MacBook Pro. To me, that extends the use of things by a factor of XX.

When I finally leave, I’ll settle for a single device I believe. I am liking the functionality of the iPad Pro 10.5 in the 256gb form factor with a keyboard. I think that this would take the place of the need for a laptop for traveling. I may pick one up soon to just have it because pricing goes in all different directions and there’s nothing wrong with having the final device I would use. The other thing here is there will be no phone so I will use a SIP client like Skype or Google Voice from the iPad. Phones are not necessary whatsoever and just mean having to pack another set of cables.

One thing I will never leave is Google Photos. The ease of use and ability to load unlimited photos remains the thing that keeps me there. Also sharing albums with friends is so easy. A click and a URL and I’m there.

Now its just a wait for the washer and dryer to decide to be my best friends. Have you all ever noticed that minutes and seconds are different with these things? Minutes to a washer are longer and minutes to a dryer are shorter. I think that this is a cosmic rule when it comes to using these kinds of devices.

Go out and make it a good day for yourself today. For me, its camera Sunday!

Some Black and White Shots…

I had wanted to post these earlier but work has really taken over and I have not been able to get out as much and go adventuring with my FujiFilm X100F. I decided to go explore areas last weekend with the Acros film simulation which is an excellent black and white film mode on the camera. I wandered around Mountain View downtown for some hours last Sunday after working for a few hours. I like Mountain View and all its areas.

I also shot some with the classic chrome which is a fun and funky simulation on the Fuji. Here’s a few of those.

I like this next one a lot. Its like a mysterious gate with some kind of light source beyond it daring me to enter :-).

Anyways, maybe tomorrow after I work yet again, my Fuji and I will go wander around Los Altos or somewhere. I like finding city blocks with alleys and signs and people.

The Implications of being a Photo Bum

It dawned on me at breakfast today that I want to wander around here and there with my FujiFilm X100F and take photographs and not work any longer. I almost just went in and quit today but I don’t feel its time yet. There are some things yet to be done working. Its a damn good feeling to know I don’t really have to work and there is another life waiting out there for me that will see me become a photo bum. Shooting photos in Acros+Red simulation on the camera. A friend now passed on told me black and white was boring. I think he was wrong. Black and white is neither boring or exciting. Its a view on the world. I took a few frames today using Acros+Red with some setting changes I found here. Its always difficult to use another’s settings because you never really see your photographs take on the same luster. Here are a few of mine with the same settings.

I still want to take some more building photographs since I think the settings really make buildings look kinda cool. Here is one of the buildings where I work.

All of this makes me want to stop work and become a bum with a camera. Perhaps a hobo on Aperture Priority mode or something :-).

Tomorrow is another day and I’ll find some buildings to test out the settings on next. Perhaps a few BART and CALtrain stations here and there since they seem to have interesting architectural components.

More from the bum tomorrow 🙂

Walking the walk with the Fuji

I’ve gone out the last few days with my camera and besides some interesting looks from other people out walking, cycling, running; its been good. I had hoped for some basic inspiration and creativity from the over 1.5 hours sometimes of walking. I zone out and listen to Google Play Music on my Galaxy S8+ so don’t hear the smatterings of discussion and I also exit the scene stage left since I am also a walker. The city and rural streets are a gold mine of things to find. Small sites to apply to the camera and then harvest from the walks.

Here’s some proofs of the scenes.

I think people want to find the next great thing to take with them. Some larger than life frame that lights up the people as well as the room. The truth is that the big scenes are made up of many smaller ones that I think we find our ways through with no real notice. There is a geometry and a beauty and science to even the regular when I am out moving during a walk.

There’s no explaining it but its there. A small thing that looms up larger when you can find the normal things which form a strange, fun, or unusual progression.

If you are looking for inspiration; try starting with some perspiration. Taking my camera for a walk lets me test my methods, make the inevitable errors because I’m new, and then head back out the next day to try again.

 

 

 

Novice Photography with a FujiFilmX100F

I decided some months ago I needed to find a thing I could go learn that would get me out and doing new things besides the one plus hour walks I do. I could have done a variety of things like going new places with my smartphone. Could have hit the road with no real way of recording the passage.

I decided to embark on learning a new technology which is part art, part science, and mostly creativity. I bought a FujiFilm X100F on ebay and decided to take it when I go to Vancouver and Victoria BC later this year.

Image result for fujifilm x100f

On the way I learned a few things.

  1. the FujiFilm X100F is a good learner’s camera but probably not the best. Its way customizeable so you have to pick things you can “learn”. You cannot learn it all so I decided to pick a set of things first that would apply to most of my photography.
  2. the method to do photography is active and what you do can be outside your back door or down the street to a place you took for granted.
  3. there is no real commitment to posting the photographs or finding some way of promoting them. I don’t earn money from it nor do I do it for any other reason than enjoyment and learning.

If you are looking for something to start on, I can suggest that FujiFilm X100F but its an expensive thing if you decide its not your thing. Perhaps you don’t mind and I did not. I wanted something that would stretch me a bit and also provide the vivid colors and flexibility a small camera would allow when I finally hit the road early next year. I don’t need massive lens and fixtures. See if your use cases measure up to mine and be the judge.

  1. walking tourism traveling light. I want to hit the roads in cities without carrying a bulk of stuff. I can take the Fuji and have a spare battery and memory card in my pocket.
  2. I take photographs of cities and historical sites and some landscapes. I want something that’s fast and easy to set and only adjust one variable. More on that in a moment.
  3. I want something that can fit within a portable workflow with a chromebook and a card reader. Chromebooks I think are the best travel devices. Lose or break one, no big time loss. I can replace a chromebook in moments in Japan or Singapore. I like the Android app support but don’t need it.
  4. Finally, the photographs are for me. They are for me to remember and share with a small circle of people I choose. Perhaps I instagram them or place them on facebook or GooglePlus. My choice though.

So lets get down to Mike’s settings. Its simple really. I only use Aperture Priority mode and I use either Velvia or Classic Chrome simulation. Velvia when doing nature or landscape and Classic Chrome when doing street shots. Doing nature shots, I want a wide depth so I use something like F11 or F16 and it works well. Doing street shots I use something like F5.6 to F8 and that works well. Sometimes I mess with opening things up and getting closer shots but I am not a macro photographer or desire bokeh.

Now, with all these basic settings you still have to decide what is the correct aperture. Simple just get out and take photographs and you will learn the basics. Reading lots of material will give you a baseline but what you find may not mirror what someone happened to find. I did use a few resources in building my “comprehensive” settings. Here’s a few for you to read:

  1. Ian McDonald describes his settings for street photography. I stole those for the most part. I don’t do black and white too often but I would probably start with his and work my way around.
  2. Danny Ngan describes his settings for everything he shoots. What I like about Danny’s settings is that they are simple and you can go implement them without really having to spend hours.

One constant is that people tend to use Aperture Priority for a lot of things and its an easy one to start with. I think people must get off the Program or Auto modes if they want to learn what elements make a good photograph. To get there, experimentation, failure, success, failure, trying again is the recipe. Luckily, the Fuji is very forgiving and I just reformat the memory card and start it all again.

The final thing is the workflow to get the photographs off the camera. I documented what I do here. I choose a cheaper method using the Samsung Chromebook Plus with the android apps in tow. You can use what works. Perhaps its an iPad or a Surface Pro. Since I am a tool user by default I choose the one that fits inside the ecosystem I am most comfortable with. So for me, its Google Photos, Snapseed and then sharing to social media if I must or want to.

Finals…

Don’t get dismayed or disappointed. Remember why you are taking up a new hobby. You don’t learn a thing by doing it once or twice and photography is a combination of things so don’t take yourself too seriously. Just get out there and travel with the camera. That was a difficult thing for me but you have to do that part. I mean, how can you take photographs without the camera? Using a smartphone is not an option here for me. I don’t want a smartphone when I travel. They are obnoxious and link you to a cell phone signal.

I have taken a few photographs that I like with the camera. I have taken dozens, perhaps hundreds, which I deleted but each one taught me a lesson or helped me find a new way of doing a thing.

By August, I will be that much better with it. I always will be some kind of newbie but I can see the questions I ask when doing various things are becoming things I target for the next outing.

But, that’s enough for now. Its time for me to get going :-). I’ll leave you with a butterfly I found yesterday…

 

Workflows at a cheaper cost point

One can spend umpteen hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars on Apple gear and high end photo editing software or one can take another approach. What are the primary goals in getting photographs from the camera memory to a place where the applications can work on them?

  1. Transfer photo files from the camera to a holding place where they can be shared, edited, copied to new albums. I use a Samsung Chromebook Plus for my day to day compute needs so I insert the card reader with the memory card from the camera and the laptop mounts up the drive and I can open the gallery application and view the photos. At this point, I choose which ones I want to upload to Google Photos.
  2. I open the web version of Google Photos initially and upload the photos I have chosen from the memory card to Google Photos. When this exercise is done, I close the web version and start the Android version of Google Photos since I now can use the Android applications on Chrome OS.
  3. I can leave the photos the way they are or open them from the Android Google Photos in Android Snapseed to do post processing. I am not big on post processing because I’m still learning the ropes with the camera so I more often delete the memory card contents or reformat after saving only a few.
  4. Here is where the productivity mode kicks in with these Android applications. I can see them in windowed mode like this.

Screenshot 2017-06-10 at 4.01.57 PM

This creates a more compelling experience for me since I can see both applications running on the screen, use the keyboard and interact with both applications much easier. I think that this is one of the compelling use cases for the chromebooks which have or will have Android app support. This windowed mode is very useful and beats the full screen thing on iPads or Android tablets completely. I can also open a web browser if need be.

The other major factor with this is cost. I did spend more on the Samsung Chromebook Plus because I wanted the stable android apps and the screen resolution but other chromebooks can do this easily at lesser of a cost point. You can get the same apps on a Apple device but the cost of entry is a bit more and you will not get windowed view quite like this. Perhaps you will have it in newer IOS releases though.

The final thing with this workflow is that the android apps are technology I am used to using and I can build the supporting flow to allow easy backups to Google Photos.

Since my chosen FujiFilm camera uses regular memory cards, I bought a cheap card reader with both a Type C and regular USB connector on each end. Very useful as well and quite cheap.

If you are looking to build a workflow and use case which will let you harvest your photographs or images, the Chromebook with Android app support is a reasonable and cost effective solution. Having Google Play Store support makes a lot of difference but the laptop form factor, apps in windowed mode, and the obvious productivity enhancements like keyboard and larger screen that can be split or use with other tools is very nice.

More Adventures in FujiFilm Land

I spent yesterday and this morning here and there. There mostly being on the road finding new places which there are an abundance of practicing with my camera. Yesterday went to a few places like Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto and today down Castro Street in Mountain View practicing street photography. I acquired an X100F on ebay so now I am re-learning on a newer camera. I am hoping I feel ready when August gets here to capture the vacation to Vancouver and Victoria.

Today I shot using the standard film called Provia and set down Noise Reduction by a -2 and basically just used aperture priority through the day either at 5.6 or 8. Mostly apertures at 5.6.

Yesterday I went out to a few places and used the Velvia simulation mode and aperture priority and got these.

I found this little gem of a place hidden in plain view called Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto so spent time there as well.

Its all practice and learning and the places are close enough that if I wanted to get back it would be an easy jaunt.

I feel I am getting better at least using one of the modes on the camera.