Just out walking around with the GX8 and the Meike 25mm t2.2 cinema lens. A lovely day. Just lovely.

Tell me about the hat first and then tell me about those crazy gloves. Okay?


This is my second copy of my favorite hat. I bought the first one from REI Outfitters after one of those droll visits to the dermatologist who described some small growth on my face as an "actinic keratosis" and decided that we should eradicate it with a few stingy blasts of liquid nitrogen. The doctor gave me a stern lecture about people of Scottish and German heritage running out in the sun in Texas and pushed me hard to wear more sunscreen and wear a good hat. "Not a damn ball cap! But a hat with a wide brim all the way around." He was pretty adamant. 

That was about five years ago and I got pretty attached to the hat. It's one of the few I hadn't accidentally left somewhere or sat upon and destroyed. It's not "cool" enough to pass the millennial eye-roll test so you probably will feel a little fashion squeamishness if you are under 60 but if you are a bit over that hump you probably don't give a rat's ass about what people think of your hat as long as it prevents your doctor from slicing off parts of you down the road...

I was out walking on one of the days when the UV was hovering up near 11 on a scale of one-to-ten and I came across someone who needed the sunblock power of the hat right then and there. He liked the hat and complemented me on it so I pulled it off and handed it to him. I'm usually more selfish but I think the heat was playing with my sensibilities. I figured I had more hats at home and, what the hell?

But I misjudged my affection for the hat. I decided that I really liked it and, when out for a long walk aimed at boring readers with obvious camera observations, I really missed it and it's preventative magic. So I walked over to the local REI store to buy another. 

The hat is made by a company called, "Sunday Afternoons"™. (added after, thank you! Gordon): The model of hat is "The Havana."  It comes in a medium and a L/LG size. There is a band under the inner hat band that will allow you to adjust the size a bit. The store at 6th and Lamar only had medium sized hats and they didn't work for me. I wanted the exact hat I had before; large. 

The clerk at REI suggested I order it from their website. He checked and they had it in inventory. I came home and ordered it and the transaction details let me know that I could expect to see the hat in one week. It came to my house the next morning. That's killer service!!!!

The cost of the hat is $34.95. It's extremely comfortable and it's got a super high SPF rating. My dermatologist would be so proud, if I took the time to show him. You should get a hat just like this and then we can be twins. 

You should never get a Tilley Hat until your crest 70 and have given up caring about how you look altogether. They aren't as well ventilated for heat dispersion and they cost too "bloody" much. (See how I stuck "bloody" in there? It's because Tilley Hats are the Billingham Bags of hats and are quite pretentious in that insufferable, "I know it's expense, doesn't disperse heat and looks like I'm on a misguided safari" sort of way. Just don't do it. No matter how technically proficient they seem to you. You have to have some standards in life...  

And, by extension, do yourself a favor and don't be caught dead with a Billingham Bag. Not even the Queen of England model. People will constantly remind you that you could have bought a really useful lens for the same kind of outlay. 

Always remember that Duane Michals used to show up for five figure budget advertising shoots with his camera and lenses stuff into a shopping bag. And he turned out to be a pretty good photographer...

Also, never buy a Jaguar automobile. Ever. 

Now, on to those crazy gloves. I was rummaging around in REI looking for more cool stuff to prevent skin damage and to make my outdoor life more comfy. I found these glove-lettes (gloves minus a few parts) and they profess to both keep the backs of your hands protected from sun damage and also, because of some miracle aspect of the fabric they are made of, to keep your hands cooler. They wick moisture (sweat) and the evaporative cooling actually works. As a final benefit they have grippy little dots on the palm facing surfaces that help one hold onto a camera. The are made by a company called, Outdoor Research. 

To sum up: less sun damage. Less sweat on the camera. Grippy dots to prevent dropping the less sweaty camera. I wore them all day today and will head back to the store for a couple more pairs. And then it will get cold outside (eventually?) and I'll put them into a drawer and forget about them. And next year I'll rediscover them and be a little amazed and concerned. But mostly happy to have them. 

None of this stuff looks fashionable, chic or even un-nerdy. But if that bugs you then don't spend time outside. Just put on that tuxedo and hang out in the air conditioning. I'm sure that sounds fun............


Self portrait with crazy 50mm lens and my new hat. Which is just like my old hat. Which I gave away. And then I realized....I need a good hat.


Have you ever purchased a lens, the price of which was outside your comfort zone, and hesitated to use it because it might get broken? Lost? Stolen? Or prove itself not worth the purchase price?

When I decided to invest in the Panasonic S1 system I felt like I just had to have a 50mm lens. It wasn't enough that I had an old (but very good) Zeiss/Contax 50mm f1.7 that I could use along with an inexpensive adapter, no, I wanted a lens that seemed up to the promise of  the system's big 47.5 megapixel sensor in the S1R. So, the choice at the time came down to the Sigma 50mm Art lens for the L system or the Panasonic S-Pro 50mm f1.4 for over twice the price of the Sigma. Truth be told, the performance of the "kit" 24-105mm f4.0 Lumix lens is completely fine for almost anything I could think to shoot but I have an old assumption that the "ultra" cool prime lenses in some systems are just head and shoulders above everything else. I should stick with facts and test results and perhaps I'd save some money....

At any rate, the economy was firing on all 12 cylinders, clients were lining up to pay for my services and I thought, "what the hell? I should buy the "cool" lens." So I splashed out for the 50mm S-Pro. It didn't hurt my rationale to flip the lens over and read, "Certified by Leica" on one side... But the reality is that the lens is massive, the $2300 is a lot of money, and the types of photography that are open to us now don't necessarily demand a ne ultra plus, super-deluxe, fast prime lens. In fact, my most pleasurable photos from walks seem to be coming from much different cameras like the Lumix GX8. And the Canon G16.... and much cheaper lenses.

So the 50mm f1.4 fell into relative disuse which is incredibly sad given its potential (and its cost!). I had swim practice this morning and then a coffee meeting with my gimbal benefactor. I had some billing to do that got all procrastinated for the last two weeks. But by three this afternoon I'd finished everything on my metaphoric plate and I was ready to take a walk through the cooler weather! It was only 103° this afternoon. 

As I looked around the studio I decided to push through my anxiety about tromping around with an expensive and underused lens. I put the 50mm S-Pro on the S1R and headed out the door to do my usual route through downtown. I really enjoyed using the system and that lens --- even though the combined weight might turn out to be a real shoulder killer.

The camera is as close to perfect as I could wish for and it and it's sibling, the S1, have done a great job at curing my camera desires (for the moment). It's been nearly a year since I changed systems and this one is going stronger now that when I first bought it. But I must say that the lens is a fun revelation. It's sharp everywhere and the colors are terrific. I'm going to keep the lens glued onto one of my S1R bodies for a while and give it a thorough exploring. Something about it feels special to me and that's fun. 

I feel a bit silly having coddled the 50mm lens for so long but I'm happy to have broken through my irrational lens fear block at last. Has that behavior ever happened to you? You bought something and then were afraid to use it? I hope I'm not the only one who does this...

Swim notes: The club changed up the schedule for masters swim practices for the Fall. Now they've eliminated the 6 a.m. and reconstructed the 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. practices during the week days. They've also added noon to 1 p.m. practices on Tuesday through Friday. Weekends just move to a 7-8 and 8-9 pattern. I went to the 8 a.m. workout today and being able to sleep two hours longer was paradise. No more 6 a.m.s for a while! 

I swam with my friend, Patty, and we got along.....swimmingly. 

Cultural notes: If you are worried about social distancing and good public health practices then don't go to the ever popular South Congress Ave. neighborhood for walking and general outside-ness. They seem to have attracted every "deplorable" from out of town who has come to the big city to stare at the hippies and generally walk around staring at a culture which must seem like something delivered by a time machine from twenty years in their future. I've never seen so many ghastly out of shape people festooned in the Walmart remnant sale wardrobe from yesteryear walking in groups that cover the side walks from building to street, bellowing like walruses in pain and not a single one of them wearing a face mask even though it's required by the current city ordinances. Now I totally understand what the news media are talking about when they reference the deep and unsettling divide between groups in our country. 

And it's not at all pretty. I headed back to my neighborhood where people take science and a profound sense of collective responsibility seriously. I hadn't seen such a selfish display of the worst of current Americana in person yet and didn't believe so many people could be so indifferent to the people around them. There oughta be laws.......oh, wait, there are so that makes these people not only uncaring but also criminals. Hoping for enforcement in the future. And while we're at it can we also work on some sort of dress code? The size XXXXLLL t-shirts with political messages strewn across the front, laced with profanity, erupting over massive, sagging cargo shorts, or acres of spandex, are a bit of an assault on the eyes and sensibilities. 

But I guess, It is what it is...

Video: We're shooting more video tomorrow and even more on Sunday. We're doing our V-Log testing for our most important number on Friday. We'll have everything figured out by next week when we shoot the big stuff. Thanks for the input on this!


"When they go low we go high resolution."