Sigma fp + Sigma 45mm f2.8 go to the museum.

Fashion exhibit at the Bob Bullock/Texas History Museum.

It's all in the wrist.

Swim season is quickly approaching. Time to work on starts and turns with more diligence. Photo season is fast approaching, time to work on quicker technique.

Jennifer. Triathlete.

I'm sure you were dying to know this but the USMS (United States Masters Swimming) Short Course National Swim Meet is coming up in April in San Antonio, Texas. All members can sign up for as many as three events without having to meet qualifying times. You can sign up for up to five events if you have the qualifying times. The exception to the above is the 1650 yard race. You must have qualifying times to enter. It's done that way so that particular event doesn't go on forever. 

In shorter races so much depends on getting off the starting block as quickly as possible while avoiding the dreaded, "false start." We all need to constantly work on our starts. The 50 and 100 yard sprints are won and lost at the walls so we all need to be working on our flip turns, our streamlines off the walls, and our underwater dolphin kicks. Finally, you need to finish strong all the way to the wall. Finishing strong is critical.

If your turns suck you might want to find a good coach and work on them NOW. Trying to perfect a turn in a new pool on the day of the meet is a fool's errand. 

For more info on the event: 

Can't wait to see you all there! 

Photographers: Time to tune up for Spring photography. While the Corona virus is causing panic and havoc for many big events it shouldn't affect those noble souls walking through the streets of interesting cities and town with a camera in hand and intention in their brains. In fact, it's probably the best time to travel (by car) to major cities you've always wanted to photograph in because the hotel rates are already dropping faster than the Dow Jones average, and Open Table (online restaurant reservations) will probably go on vacation for the foreseeable future since there are ample open tables at even the finest restaurants. 

Here in Austin we hold an annual festival called SXSW. So far, in the last two weeks, nearly every major U.S. sponsor and exhibitor for the show (Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Intel, Amazon, etc.) has cancelled and will not be attending. Neither will their employees. With a local petition of 38,000 calling for the event to be cancelled Austin has all the earmarks of being a relative ghost town for two weeks. I wonder if wristbands will start being discounted and hotel room rates heavily reduced in price. 

I don't think the people who own the festival can take a full year's cancellation and stay in business so I hope it survives in some form this year. I'm on hold for three days of shooting for a corporate client beginning next Friday but I have a suspicion that I'll be getting a phone call just outside that 48 hour cancellation period telling me the gig has been cancelled. I'm fine with that since it means more time at the pool, at the half empty restaurants, and on the phone with suddenly un-busy clients.

Mindless Photo Workshops.  I saw a mindless ad for a laughable workshop on Instagram yesterday. The copy basically said: You are on assignment for a client. You are very excited about your assignment until you get to your location and find that the light there is ugly. What do you do? You can take Bob Smith's workshop that will teach you how to find beautiful natural light. 

WTF? If you are at the point in your career where you are accepting assignments, taking a client's money to produce photography for profit, and working on various locations then why in all that's holy don't you know how to use lights? Yes, available light can be great but after years of doing this and earning a good living at it I'll tell you straight up that not every location will have ANY beautiful, naturally occurring light. And then there's mixed light. And then there is darkness. And then there is good light with bad backgrounds, and even worse locations. And just because the light is best over there by the dumpsters doesn't mean the CEO of Super Corporation wants to stand next to a smelly dumpster to take advantage of that crucial spot of available light. 

If you are accepting a range of assignments from paying clients you need to put on your big boy pants and learn how to light with lighting instruments. Flashes, LEDs, movie lights, and so much more. Anything else is malpractice. Of course the ad was from a camera store and flashed on Instagram...

Doesn't anyone want to learn how to do the business correctly? Geesh. 

Michael Johnston doesn't understand Leica. MJ recently wrote something that was so (intentionally?) opaque about Leica, and the idea that most photographers don't like rangefinders, that it led me to believe his newest diet fad is causing him some light-headedness. 

I think the underlying issue is much the same as today's reader's response to the Sigma 45mm lens blog post (all lenses with the same focal length and aperture are commodities and interchangeable) which, reading into the comment was basically the question: "Why should I pay four times as much for the same thing?"  Short answer: Because all lenses of the same focal length do not supply the same results...

MJ is wearing his finances on his sleeve and it's spilling over into his writing about cameras. If we can only be interested in cameras that fit into a very narrow price band then this hobby, profession and industry is going to get even more boring and homogenous than ever before. 

Yes. I get it. Leica's are expensive. Very expensive. Not everyone can afford one. But that doesn't mean Leica shouldn't continue to try to be the best, to be different, to make a product that people who can afford it will love using and appreciate owning. It's like saying everyone should drive cars that cost between $24,000 and $36,000 and that anything outside the top of that range is meaningless, unattainable and wasteful; nothing but a ego purchase. (Don't get me started about MJ's outlier belief that people only buy SUVs because everyone else is driving an SUV...)

As I said, MJ was opaque and I couldn't tell where the honest opinion ended and the sarcasm began. 

Rangefinders are an acquired taste. In a small range of focal lengths rangefinders deliver a bunch of real benefits. They are not good for use with long telephoto lenses and the viewfinders aren't optimal for shorter lenses, but in that typically critical 35-90mm range they totally rock and are incredibly useful. 

Nope. A Leica M is not the camera you want to buy if you want to take tightly composed photos at your kid's soccer game. No, the M is not a great camera with which to do macro work. And, no, it's not good if you are one of those psychopaths who believe they need to shoot everything at 30 frames per second, all the time. But you can't pull stumps with a Miata, can't pull a horse trailer with your Vespa, shouldn't consider going off road with your Ferrari, etc. 

What Mike misses is that true photography, as the gods intended us to practice it, was invented to be done with a German designed 50mm lens on an M body with a nice, big finder magnification and a bright rangefinder. Everything else is just functional heresy. Oh, and having to take the bottom plate off the camera to load film was implemented by design; to give photographers a moment to cool off between shots....

Buy yourself a great, digital Leica M, become disgusted with your inability to learn how to use the rangefinder, sell it while in existential despair so I can buy it from you for a song. 

But not really. I'm waiting for the SL2 to become widely available. It's got all the hallmarks of a cult camera for the moment. That's the one I'm interested in.

That's all the opinionated vitriol I have for you right now. Stay tuned for a booster dose.