Blending in, with cameras, is nice. Sometimes you go straight in and other times you hold back and wait for it. Old prints. On fiber paper. Top one from Rome. Middle image from Siena. Bottom from either Rome or Siena. Can't remember and my GPS never worked right on my Hasselblad 500 CM...


For the younger viewer the headline included a joke. There was nothing electronic in a Hasselblad 500CM. Least of all GPS. Or Exif. Or AF. Or auto-exposure. You actually had to think about stuff...

And stay anonymous. And have fun. 

Dominique Ansel, Working on a batch of Cronuts in the Stephen F. Austin hotel kitchen. Just because a reader mentioned Cronuts.


Here's the Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cronut

Surprised to see that his Cronut was granted a patent!

I was thinking about playing with the little Ricoh GRiii x until I realized that I already had the professional version of that camera and lens...

The little Ricoh GRiii x is cute and small and getting a lot of play on all the photo-influencer YouTube channels. People seem to finally be coming around to the realization that a 40mm equivalent lens is a wonderful focal length. Leica knew this when they introduced the original Leica CL film camera. It came with a 40mm f2.0 Summicron that was absolutely wonderful and so sharp it could cut your eye right through the rangefinder window. How they wound up with the 28mm lens on the Q2 will always be a mystery to me...

Ricoh had a following of folks who liked the original GRiii with its wider angle (28mm eq,?) lens so they did what I think is the logical step of upgrading it with an even more universally useful lens. The camera itself is small and light and happily devoid of excess buttons, switches and endless menu clutter. With a 40mm lens and a super low profile it started to look to me like a great walk-around, shoot from the hip, street shooter's dream camera. It lacks only two things; the ability to add an EVF and a full frame image sensor with all the advantages that can add to the mix. Still, I've stumbled into buying some things with far fewer things to recommend a purchase. I started reading reviews...

But one thing kept nagging at me. Didn't I already have the "professional" version of this camera courtesy a different camera maker? Seems I do. 

Sitting there on the edge of my desk is petite but bulletproof Sigma fp. I took off the optical finder and the grip, took off some big, hairy lens, mounted the Sigma 45mm f2.8 and marveled once again at just how perfect this camera feels in real use. As a professional point and shoot camera.

I took off the camera strap and attached a (Chris Nichols approved) wrist strap, tossed the lens hood and cap back in the drawer and all of a sudden I had a great street shooting camera in my hands. Almost as dinky as the Ricoh.  But with the added benefit of one of the cleanest (noise free) high ISO performance capabilities of all the 24 megapixel, full frame cameras on the market, coupled with addictive color science, and the final miracle feature: interchangeable lens capability. Even nicer? I already own it. 

Not everyone likes the fp. Maybe it's an acquired taste. Maybe it's the squared off corners. Maybe it's the added friction of using a camera which requires more care to focus or one which sucks through battery juice with reckless abandon. Whatever the "deal-killer" parameter is for other people I've yet to find anything about the camera which is bad enough to outweigh the potential it provides for wonderful photographs that look different (and to my eye better) than nearly all the other cameras on the market in that category. 

I've got mine set (not converted to) today for black and white. I add some contrast and sharpness to the mix in camera. I use the yellow filter setting. I put an extra battery in my pocket. Wrap the wrist strap around my right wrist and step out the door to photograph things so I can see what they look like photographed. It's a pleasure. 

Looking out the kitchen window at the studio/office west wall. 
Nice day for photography. But what day isn't?


OT: Austin's severe food deficiency.

The inclusion of this handy donut themed photograph is not a ringing 
endorsement of Tim Horton's donuts or their coffee. While it would be nice 
to welcome TH to Austin these are not the masterpiece quality 
donut products that Vancouver has in spades......

 My visit in the Fall to Vancouver revealed to me a gaping hole in Austin's gastronomic scene. We have a paucity of high quality donut resources. And, to a lesser extent, sources of good pastries and baked goods. Sure, there are the usual cheap donut shops with inventories of greasy, sugar coated industrial donuts but in the popular downtown, S. Congress and Domain areas one only finds the ever present Starbucks shops with their "back from the depths of a backroom freezer case" icky "baked goods." Each sealed in plastic and just waiting for a trip through the microwave-broiler oven and into a white and green paper sack. 

I've found one or two real, locally grown, well run donut establishments that could go toe-to-toe with shops in Vancouver but the difference between the two cities is that Vancouver delivers a great donut shop,  where donuts are the hero and coffee is the side kick, on every other block in the downtown area. Wonderful shops with a seemingly endless selection of clever and traditional donuts, in some cases surrounded by pastries and, as an afterthought, sandwiches. While in Austin if one wants to get outstanding donuts at the two or three establishments across the whole city you'll likely have to get into your car, drive through lots of traffic, find expensive parking, pay dearly for your donut and then eat it in a small, dark room which was clearly an afterthought. 

A standout in Austin is Salty Donuts on South Congress Ave. It's a clean and well lit place. The donuts are ample, well portioned, fresh and delicious. The coffee is up to snuff even if you prefer espresso based coffees. The dining room is small-ish but welcoming. 

But here's the sad thing. We have maybe one or two donut establishments of this caliber in all of metropolitan Austin while a city like Vancouver is blessed with at least one really good donut place within a short walking distance of anywhere in the downtown area. Ample, professional, delicious locations filled not with just a few "greatest hits" donuts but really sinfully wonderful choices made with top shelf ingredients. 

Sadly, I fear that even with all our growth and the construction of enormously tall towers, Austin will never become a first class city with an enviable lifestyle if we cannot or will not address the lack of both incredible donuts and places in which to enjoy them along with proficiently brewed coffee. An oversight which I hope developers and the city council members will move to fix as one of the highest priorities on the agenda. Sad to be considered a "cool" city without the basics of the good life for its inhabitants. 

Just an observation that hit me right between the eyes on my last walk through our donut deprived downtown. And, just to be clear, Voodoo Donuts and their over-the-top shocker donuts aren't cutting it. They've gone full Halloween with their offerings. A parity of deluxe donuts with all the sugar and fat but none of the subtle and captivating allure of a really well thought out and well produced donut. 

Austin. Too many cars. Too much thought given to making more and more parking spaces. Not enough attention being paid to critical donut theory. Dammit.