Can't quite put my finger on it but for some reason today I thought I might be happier to walk around and make black and white photos with my little Fuji camera instead of my usual color snaps. I ended up walking down to the Barton Creek Pool spillway to see how many people would be playing in the water a week after the deep freeze. As I expected, it was full of people and dogs.
Daido Moriyama is a Japanese photographer whose work I really like. I used my Tri-X custom recipe and even added some contrast to it today. Not that the bright sun wasn't supplying enough contrast. It's fun to step outside the box from time to time even if the box is your own construct.
This short post was typed using the traditional touch type method. It was faster to type than saying each word out loud. I used my stock, iMac Pro keyboard and a stock Apple iMac Pro mouse. They worked fine.
The cold weather vanished yesterday and the skies all cleared. It was a gorgeous day in Austin as the snow melted away and people came out in droves to thaw out and actually see what other people looked like. I'm no different. I grabbed my little black X100 and headed out for a long, long walk in the sunshine.
My family got lucky. We had no real trauma other than the anxiety of anticipation. Our water was out only once, overnight, and our power outage lasted only 12 hours on the third day of the big freeze. Damn, it was cold! I pulled to covers off the flower beds and pulled the wrapping off the smaller trees. I think everything will come back okay.
The Fuji X100V is quickly winning my appreciation. The camera is small and light and rather than tossing the strap over one shoulder and carrying the camera that way I find I'm just letting it dangle in the middle of my chest, ready for immediate use.
At first I thought I would feel limited by the camera's 35mm equivalent lens but like floaties at a pool, the ability to "zoom" to 50 or 70mm was all it took to make this camera comfortable for me. In bright sunlight it's great to have the four stop neutral density filter in place so I can use f4.0 and f5.6 so every shot isn't at f11 or f16. The smaller apertures render so much in focus that the images start looking like cellphone photos. The wider apertures look best to me.
Yesterday I went against the Fuji religion and actually shot Raw+Jpeg and ended up working here with only the raw files. There is so much detail in the Raw files that post processing was a breeze.
I had been out the day before with the Leica SL2 and I have to admit that I work much more quickly with the Fuji. There is something about the bright line view in the finder that frees me up from overthinking each shot and taking too much time. I also find that I'm much quicker to find compositions I like by seeing what's just outside the frame and being able to move a bit, and quickly, to include or exclude what I'm seeing in and around the frame. It's a nice way of working. I assume the camera works in much the same way in "sports finder" mode.
One thing I find interesting, and which few reviewers or photographers mention, is that the battery in the Fuji seems to run forever. I was out for hours yesterday and never bothered to turn the camera off. Sure, it went to sleep on its own but still, after a couple hundred frames, and a lot of looking, the camera was only down by one bar on the battery indicator by the time I quit shooting and headed to Trader Joes to see if they finally got in more milk. (They had not). It must be a combination of the efficiency of the leaf shutter and the efficiency of the focusing drive that accounts for the good battery life. Whatever it is, I am happy with it.
I did try a bit of video with the ND filter which was part of last week's firmware update. It works well. I think the X100V may be a very good choice for a gimbal mounted video camera. The focusing in C-AF is at least as good as the Panasonic cameras and they were able to deliver sharp video for me last Summer during my big video project for Zach Theatre. I can't wait to put one on a gimbal, balance its light load and get to work. Should be fun.
On a different note, I toyed with the idea of retiring from the profession this year but the last week and the proceeding months were enough of a break. I get bored far too easily. I think I'll ramp up some marketing and remain in the mix for at least the next year or two. The one lesson I think I've learned is that I can afford to pick and choose and only take the jobs I think are fun and interesting. We'll see how it goes. I might feel differently in a couple weeks, after my second vaccine dose. You may find me on some quaint beach instead. Ah, the unknown.
Thanks for the check-ins, the nice e-mails and the good comments over the last week. All were very, very much appreciated. Here's my "we survived" walk photos: