Start at the Blanton Museum for the Ellesworth Kelly then head down Second to the Convention Center and back on Sixth. Camera in hand. Intelligent Auto engaged.

The main gallery at the Blanton Museum. 

With all the hoopla the Blanton is putting on about Ellsworth Kelly you would have thought he was a famous photographer, but no, just a painter and stained glass window designer... But I figured I'd go and check out the new show anyway. (kidding. just kidding). Right on the UT campus is a new permanent installation of a Kelly "chapel" with remarkably cool, stained glass windows. About one hundred yards away, tucked into the main gallery on the first floor of the museum proper is an robust show of Kelly's two dimensional work and a smaller collection of his 3-D "Totems." The work is good and the installation is fun. If you like to take photographs
you are welcome to do so throughout the museum as long as you don't bring along a tripod or use flash. Basic rules of courtesy apply.

Below is a collection of shots of the new, permanent installation from the inside and out. You know you've arrived as an artist when they build a building you designed for the sole purpose of presenting the stained glass windows you've created. 

Another lure for me is the second floor gallery full of modern art. Well worth seeing. 

iPhone documentation of fine art.

I took one of the GH5's this morning when I went to the museum. I wanted to see how sharp and detailed the files could be. I cheated, though, I used the Olympus 12-100mm f4.0 Pro which makes everything look sharper and better. I did this because I followed a link to the blog back to the original source and found myself reading a long series of forum posts in which one group of trolls was attacking the micro-four-thirds forum dwellers by saying that no professional anywhere in the U.S. uses a m4:3 camera for any commercial use. The master troll dredged up my name and declared that all my stuff is without detail and sharpness so I wouldn't count as an example of a pro who uses the smaller sensor systems. I thought this was quite presumptious of the troll since I only post here at a maximum of 2200 pixel on a long side and the cameras in question are capable of at least two and a half times more resolution. Anyway, it was a good excuse to take the optimum pair of camera and lens and just see for myself if I am delusional or if the troll is just a troll. My take, after seeing the native sized raw files is: the troll is just a troll. 

I will say I had fun just messing around with two perfectly engineered pieces of equipment. So much fun that I left the museum and headed downtown in search of the elusive SXSW. I swear I think they've more or less cancelled it this year. Except for little pools of people over at Rainey St. and around the half empty Convention Center the barricaded and cordoned downtown areas are like a ghost town. I'm feeling sorry for the downtown restaurants as the regulars who usually crowd in have been burned by bigger crowds on previous years and avoid the area now during Spring Break and SXSW. Most that I walked by at lunch time were less than half full. 

Exterior of the permanent installation for the Ellsworth Kelly window treatment. 
And a woman in a red dress. 

the long shot.

If you live in Austin it's good to remember that the Blanton Museum is
free to the public every Thursday. I'm appalled though that they put 
"senior" on my ticket. Hurumph. I still feel like a reactive adolescent.

And then off to the city.

This is the very, very popular Second St. in downtown Austin, Texas. 
It's normally crowded at lunch time. Look at the throngs out there today!!!

Photographer from the Austin Chronicle. He's got the industrial glass.

Part of the SXSW program is to put up posters on any available surface...

Square Pink Glasses. A look I haven't seen since the age of elephant leg 
trousers and Dingo boots. It hasn't aged well. 

Has anyone out there bought a FujiFilm EX-3 yet?
I'd love to see a real person review of the EX-3 outfitted with the 18-55mm f2.8-4.0.
Step right up and let us know.

Here's an "off topic" "news" item (I must be channeling Michael Johnston...): Back in the fourth quarter of 2017 I had to renew my driver's license and every ten years you have to go to the DMV in person to have a new photo made and to submit to an vision test. I had been lackadaisical about wearing glasses and hadn't updated the prescription in my bifocals in at least 10 years. I scraped by the test but that "line five" was a bit iffy. I think the clerk gave me a little bit of "benefit of the doubt on that last "C" and "E"....

Sensing the frigid claw of decline hovering over me like a spectre (misspelling intentional: James Bond Fan here) I made an appointment to get my eyes checked. Afterwards I took the new prescription over to Costco (the senior mens outlet mall) to have it filled. This entailed picking out a new set of frames. I quickly picked out a pair I kind of liked and, in a rush, committed to them. I've had them for months now and they work fine but I think the glasses look to severe. They are good to wear around assistants and clients since they make me look serious, thoughtful and just a bit mean but my dad doesn't really recognize me when I wear them. If I change into an older set of frames I also had re-lensed my dad has no problem instantly connecting.

With all this in mind I'd been intending to look for some new frames and to have another pair of glasses made along with some bifocal, polarized, anti-reflection, sunglasses in the same style. One of my friends showed up at dinner a few nights ago with a new pair of glasses. I loved the frames but was wary; my friend tends to be sybaritic and when it comes to his own sense of personal style he spares no expense. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that his frames also came from Costco and so the next morning I headed over and ordered the two new pairs I wanted. The sunglasses came in today and I have to say that I look marvelous. A bit like a spy. A bit like a movie star. 

Studio Dog thinks sunglasses are an affectation. I tried to get her to wear some Doggy Armani Sunglasses but she wasn't having it. She barked at me today when I came in the front door, a reminder to take off my sunglasses when entering the house. She is very formal in her thinking about men's hats as well.

Anyway, new glasses are fun and change the way one presents oneself to the world. Now I have multiple presentation options. When I am "freelancer living in car photographer" I tend to wear the promotional sunglasses I got free from a local radio station when they were doing a live-cast at the local camera store. I'll save the good ones for my more professional personalities. Selfies coming soon. 

Finally....It's official. The Panasonic GH5 is the best all around camera in the world for all kinds of work. At least that's what I read written on the bathroom wall at the Visual Science Lab. Right next to  some stall graffiti that read "Mirrorless Rules." ( and here I am only kidding. Yesterday I almost bought a Canon 5DSR and a 24-105mm f4.0 L. Let's talk about what's up with there being no love for the only 50 megapixel DSLR on the market. I have some theories about why everyone has this one wrong!). chime in at will if I forget.


  1. Do polarized glasses work with the GH5 and other device screens, or the EVF? Or, do you just perch them on your forehead when you need to see?

  2. Canon 5DSR looked good but I think people might've finally realized they don't really print that big and/or they may want better video.

    Canon 5DSR II could release at the same # of pixels with a little bit better dynamic range, responsiveness, and with DPAF uncropped 4K and be a juggernaught.

  3. It's got quite nasty over on said forum in the last couple of weeks. Bizarrely a number of guys on there seem to have seen the Sony announcement of the new a7somethingorother and decided it's the end of days and that everybody on the forum needs to buy that camera or they won't be saved.
    It's really odd. Think I'll skip out of checking in there and take some photos until the dust settles.

    In other news, I've been trying out my new sigma 60mm, picked up on your recommendation. Very sharp. Much better than I was expecting, even with the positive reviews. I was surprised by the clonking sound of elements moving when the power is off. Been a while (film days) since I had a lens which did that. Aaaaanyway, looking forward to using it to take a narrower view of life than normal.

  4. What is it with those M4/3 trolls? Where is the threat? Or do they just have an inadequate home life? Thanks for the blog Kirk, you put a lot into it.

  5. Acid Test can your new sunglasses double as an ND Filter???

  6. On the first pic, in front of the children, is that the pixel array from a Fuji sensor?

  7. As far as I know, Gordon Laing is a real person even if he does do photography reviews online! Anyway, I like his reviews as they seem to be independent of brand bias and he doesn't hesitate to point out the negatives. Here is a link to his X-E3 review, a camera I was contemplating until I read it:


  8. To Mike Rosiak:

    In terms of polarized sunglasses, most of the mid/high end Panasonic cameras use an OLED viewfinder, which does not have problems with polarized glasses. I know my G85 uses an OLED viewfinder. I think I had checked the GH5 and it also uses an OLED viewfinder, but I may be mis-remembering.

    Some of the Panasonic cameras use field sequential viewfinders that a lot of people complain about. I don't have any experience with these viewfinders. I think it is the range-finder styled bodies that have the smaller viewfinder.

    Olympus is split. The E-m1 mark I/II, E-m5 mark I/II, and E-m10 mark I cameras use a TFT LCD viewfinder instead of an OLED viewfinder. These viewfinders problems when you use Polarized sunglasses. Unfortunately, the problems occur when you shoot in landscape orientation. Whether just part of the display is not visible, but you can get by to frame the shot or the whole EVF is black, seems to depend on the camera. If you shoot in portrait orientation, everything is fine.

    The E-m10 mark II/III and the Pen-F cameras use an OLED viewfinder.

    I believe all of the cameras use a TFT LCD for the rear display. Unlike the EVF, this is orientated so that shooting in landscape orientation is fine, but shooting in portrait orientation shows polarization effects.

    Because the viewfinder and LCD are actually displays, it will not affect your ability to see the scene through the viewfinder if you use polarizer filters. In DSLRs, which have an optical viewfinder, when you rotate the polarizer filter, you can orient the filter so that your polarized sunglasses will not transmit light.

  9. Kirk, I guess you'd say I'm a Fuji fanboy, although I also make use of a G85 with some good inexpensive M43 lenses. I have an X-E3 and the 18-55 f2.8-4.0, among other XF lenses. As far as the image quality of the combination is concerned, you have access to a large number of sites that have already covered the 24MP sensor and processor the X-E3 uses, because the same combination is used in the X-T2, X100f, and the X-Pro2. My experience with this sensor and lens has been great. My 18-55 was purchased used, part of a kit purchase that was broken up by the original buyer, so mine was essentially new. It provides great image quality at all focal lengths when I print images out up to 13-19 inches.

    The key difference with the X-E3 is handling with the 18-55, and from where I sit it just takes getting used to. I always use both hands with this or any other lens. The X-E3 is one of the smallest Fuji cameras, and the non-articulating back screen isn't my favorite choice, but the EVF works well, although it's smaller than higher-end cameras. If I really need an articulating screen, I'll use my X-T2, or if video, G85. The X-E3 can be set up to use a combination of control dials, buttons, Q-Menu, and My Menu customization to handle just about every combination and permutation of image adjustment I could ever need, and the haptics are quite good for me despite the relatively small size of the camera.

    I hope this information helps, and have a great weekend coming up. Rich from Tacoma


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