Sitting in another hotel room racing backward in time through a folder of images.

When I've finished shooting for the day, the client has dropped me off at my airport hotel, I've stumbled into yet another Hilton restaurant and looked for something remotely healthy to eat, I retreat to my room to re-pack for a trip to New Bern, NC in the early morning and then a flight through Charlotte, NC. to Tampa, FLA. I've been practicing the packing since Sunday; actually for years and years and it really doesn't take long once you've established a daily pattern...

I've uploaded the Jpeg files I shot, in tandem with the raw files, today. They're in a gallery on Smugmug.com ready for my client to review. I've charged batteries, checked the front elements of lenses to see which might need to be cleaned and generally gotten all of my housekeeping out of the way. That's when I feel a bit empty and a bit like I'm in a holding pattern. And when that feeling hits I like to just look back over random but favorite images I've shot in the past. 

Some seem as though I shot them only yesterday and when I check the data I find a favorite image might be two or ten or even twenty years old. I've been uploading images to use on Blogger since 2009 and there is quite a huge collection at my Google pictures folder. I don't use everything I upload because sometimes, when I see an image in conjunction with a blogpost's content, it just doesn't seem to match up at all. 

But I like to look at them and remember what I was shooting with, and thinking, and eating and walking in at the time of the shot. Random bits of memory. Picture framed on the screen of my laptop.

I was riding back to the hotel today when I realized how few moments each of us has. It's enough to make me abandon work altogether and just spend my days roaming around with a camera. But, who am I kidding? Even the perfect pursuit would get old when pushed to excess. Instead, I'll just rummage through the online collection and see if any of the older work pushes me to do better current work. Maybe it's all a building process and one of us will be lucky enough to finish before we finish....

A Preliminary Review of the Leica/Panasonic 12-60 mm Lens.

An early morning shot outside of Asheville, NC.

I recently bought a brand new Leica Panasonic 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 zoom lens as a back up for the Olympus 12-100mm Pro zoom lens I purchased last year. There are a number of reasons to have two different versions of your most used lenses, not the least of which is the security of having a back up in case a lens is damaged in transit or accidentally dropped. Also, from time to time, even the best lenses can have a defect that renders them unusable and in need of repair. 

I bought the Panasonic/Leica as a second lens because I'm been using the Olympus lens non-stop and rely on it for most of my video and photography projects (both personal and professional). Since the Panasonic/Leica covers most of the range it was a good choice. An added bonus is that it works with the dual image stabilization feature on the G9 cameras. With the two camera bodies and two lenses I feel prepared to handle just about anything a typical job tosses my way...

I had read a few reviews on the web that suggested the P/L lens was less sharp than the Oly, and just as many reviews that praised the P/L for its sharpness, so I decided to find out for myself. I would never use a camera body or lens which I have not tested myself on a job so I did a general test last weekend. I found the new lens to be sharp and have good imaging characteristics. It also feels a bit better balanced on a G9 than my Oly 12/100.  But the real proof is in day-to-day use.

I have now used it for the last two days and find it to be a very good lens. Interchangeable, for the most part, within the focal length range, with the Olympus lens. It does a great job rendering flesh tones and, like the Olympus, can be too sharp for portraits of people unless their skin is perfect and the light is gentle. Using with correct profiles settings gets you a lens with good fine detail and nice micro-contrast. 

I'll keep using it and shooting with it and report what I find. 

Floods and Endless Rain in Central Texas.

I'm sitting in a hotel in Knoxville having breakfast and watching the television over the fireplace in the dining room. The news right now is all about the horrible flooding all over central Texas. It's mostly to the west of Austin (and, not to worry, our house and studio are at a high elevation - 400+ feet above the surrounding lake levels) but the flooding seems at least as severe in the towns out along the Hwy 290 and Hwy 281 corridors. An important bridge collapsed in one town and flood gates are being opened all along the Colorado River, including the one at the Tom Miller Dam which holds back the water that flows through downtown Austin. There is no doubt that, as the flood waters rise, parts of Austin's Downtown will experience some flooding, especially around the intersection of Lamar and 12th streets. Shoal Creek always comes up fast and vexes that area.

I feel a bit powerless being out of town. I know that Ben and Belinda are always on top of things at home but I still worry. At least Studio Dog is there to guide them.....

Work here is easy and fun. The G9 cameras are performing well and I'm developing an appreciation for the Leica/Panasonic 12-60mm lens. It's very nice and quite sharp. Occasionally I need to go longer so I reach for the Olympus 12-100mm instead but I'm loving life lived mostly without my tripod because the 12-60mm is so rock solid when used in the dual-I.S. mode with the G9.

I did get some use out of the 8-18mm but it was a scene which could have been handled with the wide end of either standard zoom. More and more I'm thinking Iceland will be a two cameras, two lens affair with the G9s and the two mid-range zooms. At least I'll have redundant back ups for each component...

I wish I had known more about the scope of this week's fast changing assignment. I would have packed less gear by about 25%. But I guess we always say that. It's easy when at home to want to pack for every contingency --- then the reality of having to carry what you've packed sinks in an spoils the fun. Ah well, at least I'm working out of cars for the most part.

Moving quickly and having fun but a little part of my brain is on constant worry about that pesky, cold, wet weather in Austin. What an insanely wet and unpredictable month it's been.

Curious to hear from Austin based readers: How is everything going vis-a-vis the rain?