Friday, January 10, 2020

Fuji's 55-200mm saves the day.

Recently, I stumbled upon an opportunity to photograph some commerical jets on the tarmac at sunrise and sunset.  I only had the Fuji's 55-200mm zoom with me. When I'm packing my camera outfit and don't really think I'll need a really long lens, I usually toss this lens into my kit bag -- just in case. Being able to stretch out my focal length to an equivalent of 300mm has often saved the day for me.

I took all the photos below with the Fuji X-H1 with the thought of doing some graphic manipulation work later in Photoshop.  Everything was done hand-held with some ISO's pushed up to 1600 to achieve higher shutter speeds for stopping the action.


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Dawning of a new year

My new favorite Fuji lens is the 16-80mm f/4. I take it everywhere. It covers a really practical focal range that has me leaving everything else at home. Plus it's 5-stop image stabilization works miracles with short shutter speeds. 

This photo was taken at dawn at 1/8th second exposure to blur the waves. 

To increase the flare and enhance the colors, I intentionally over-exposed this shot taken directly into the rising sun. 

Friday, December 13, 2019

Art Deco of South Beach

Miami's South Beach area is known for its historic display of Art Deco buildings. It is one square mile comprising over 800 significant buildings that led to the area being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Most of the buildings were build in the late 1930's. I have always loved this area and have photographed it many times from the air in helicopters and from the ground. The images shown here were taken on a recent early morning visit to the Ocean Avenue -- strong early morning light being best because it hits the buildings square on, all helped by a deep blue western sky.

This entire series was photographed with a Fuji X-H1 and 16-80mm f/4 lens, my new favorite lens to have for travel photography.

In the late 1990's whimsical lifeguard stations were added to the Miami beaches and were a perfect complement to the colorful look of the South Beach Art Deco area. 

Parked in front of one of the South Beach hotels, this 1955 Oldsmobile  fits in with the Art Deco style of the area. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Autumn Leaves project 2019

Every year, in autumn I return to a project of photographing the fallen leaves of late autumn, leaves past their prime, leaves that had already lost their brilliant color and vibrancy and were in a final state of decay. The project was inspired by a passage from Autumnal Tints, by Henry David Thoreau, and is quoted at the end of this post. I have repeated this project every year since in homage to Thoreau and his keen observation.

I had spent my career photographing the beauty of autumn in its prime, the brilliant colors of leaves still on the trees and filling the countryside with a colorful palette of warm autumn tints. Thoreau taught me to drill down deeper, not to stop at the surface gloss. He found significant meaning for life infused in the even the tiniest and seemingly insignificant elements of nature that abounded around him.

This year's session was photographed with a Nikon Z7 and 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens. All the photos were taken on a sidewalk of time-worm slate slabs during a heavy rain that left everything wet, and sometimes submerged, with the water reflecting the blue color of the sky in contrast to the bright, warm colors of the autumn leaves. Below are a small outtake from over my final selection of 54 images that make up this year's portfolio. 


Here is the passage from Autumnal Tints, written by Henry David Thoreau in 1862. He was expounding on the difference between looking and seeing when he also wrote: "Objects are concealed from our view, not so much because they are out of the course of our visual ray as because we do not bring our minds and eyes to bear on them....

"It is pleasant to walk over the beds of these fresh, crisp, and rustling leaves. How beautifully they go to their graves! how gently lay themselves down and turn to mould!--painted of a thousand hues, and fit to make the beds of us living. So they troop to their last resting place, light and frisky. They put on no weeds, but merrily they go scampering over the earth, selecting the spot, choosing a lot, ordering no iron fence, whispering all through the woods about it,--some choosing the spot where the bodies of men are mouldering beneath, and meeting them half-way. How many flutterings before they rest quietly in their graves! They that soared so loftily, how contentedly they return to dust again, and are laid low, resigned to lie and decay at the foot of the tree, and afford nourishment to new generations of their kind, as well as to flutter on high! They teach us how to die. One wonders if the time will ever come when men, with their boasted faith in immortality, will lie down as gracefully and as ripe,--with such an Indian-summer serenity will shed their bodies, as they do their hair and nails."

Thoreau took the time to look closely at the most ordinary objects in his path. His examination always found meaning beyond the thing itself. Photography should be like that. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

A Zen photography experience

Just after sunrise yesterday, I was in a nature preserve photographing the bright, early-morning cloud reflection on the surface of a peaceful lake when a fish jumped and left behind a set of expanding concentric rings. I had the Fuji X-H1 and the new Fuji 16-80mm f/4 zoom already poised for photography and immediately swung it to capture two quick images of the ring in rapid succession. Later I stitched the two photos together to make this long panorama of the scene. For me the image has a zen-like, meditative quality to it and reminds me of why I turn to the elements of Nature as the prime subject for my photography.

I had been using the cloud reflections in the water as a backdrop for photos I had been taking of birds feeding along the shore in the early morning. I stalked this Great Blue Heron to capture its profile using the same camera/lens combo I as I did for the photo above. And below it are a couple of other variations from the same scene.