It Started With a Dollar…

IMG_8363Do you remember Tom and the dollar bill? Well, I’ve finally spent that dollar. A Fujifilm X-E1 with the 18-55mm lens is on its way to me.

My only regrets are that (1) I couldn’t do it sooner, and (2) that I couldn’t buy it locally. I had fully intended to support the last local camera store in the Baltimore area, Service Photo, but they didn’t have any more of the X-E1s in stock.

X-E1_BLKI decided to go for the latter-day Leica look, and ordered the black model.

In the next few days, I’ll be listing my Sony / Minolta gear for sale — assuming I don’t decide to hold on to it for use as a digital film-making platform for a couple of upcoming projects. There are some fairly impressive example videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Wrapped with the right accessories, it could make a very nice core for a digital cinematography rig, at least while I’m building my Fujifilm system.

I’m also thinking about selling my Alien Bees monolights and replacing them with some nice-but-inexpensive continuous lights that can be used for both still and video work.

Five Weeks Gone

Forgive me readers, for I have sin… er… neglected my blog. But frankly, there’s not been much to talk about. I’ve been busy, doing a lot over on the model railroad site (http://www.on30guy.com), and beyond that, work has been sucking the life out of me.

Hipstamatic, Yoona Lens, Blanko ? Film, No Flash

Hipstamatic, Yoona Lens, Blanko ? Film, No Flash

But look. I made a photograph. Yesterday. For the first time in weeks.

I posted it on a couple of forums, and it actually got responses. People  liked it, and talked about things like use of positive and negative space and such. Frankly, I didn’t think about any of those things when I pointed my iPhone up at the ceilings of the Mall in Columbia. I saw an interesting juxtaposition of textures, of hard and soft light and lines, and I saw some interesting angles.

I hardly ever think about using positive and negative space in my photography, though looking over some of my work, it’s clear that I “use it” in my compositions. I honestly don’t really understand it all that well — at least not as well as things like the rule of thirds and the rule of odds and use of contrast and color — so it will be something that I will consciously work on.

HURRY! OnOne Perfect Effects 8 FREE TODAY ONLY

OnOne Perfect Effects 8. Photo Copyright © Geren W. Mortensen, Jr.

OnOne Perfect Effects 8. Photo Copyright © Geren W. Mortensen, Jr.

Yes, you read that right. For today only, you can get the full version of OnOne’s Perfect Effects 8 absolutely free by following this link:


Perfect Effects 8 can work as a stand-alone application, or as a plug-in to Lightroom, Aperture or Photoshop (CC or Elements). For a lot of folks, the combination of Lightroom and Perfect Effects could be all you ever need. Depending on how you want to work, Perfect Effects could be all you need.

Again, this is the full version of Perfect Effects 8 Premium Edition – no trial or limitations. That’s a savings of $99.95! You can read about what Perfect Effects 8 can do for you here. Better yet, just go to the offer link and download the software and play.

Note: I have no affiliation with OnOne Software. I stumbled across this offer while skimming my Google+ feed this morning.

It’s Official – Finally, a Digital Camera for us Old Pharts!

Much has happened since I posted TOM, THE FUJIFILM X-E1, AND A DOLLAR BILL back in September. Fujifilm updated the X-E1 to the X-E2, and they introduced the X-M1 and the X-A1. And, at around 11:30PM EDT last night, Fujifilm announced what looks to be a delightful digital camera for those of us who have long lamented the disappearance of traditional camera controls: shutter speed dials, aperture rings, etc. It’s called the Fujifilm X-T1.


Fujifilm X-T1. Photo courtesy Fujifilm USA.

This is the second camera to hit the market with this level of control (the first being Nikon’s full-frame Df), and the first mirrorless APS-C camera do so. The X-T1 features the traditional aesthetic of an SLR married to all the tech that only Fujifilm brings to the table with their advanced X-Trans II sensor and EXR-II image processor.


The image above clearly shows the traditional control layout. Finally, everything is where it should be on a digital “SLR” styled camera — the shutter speed dial adjacent the viewfinder hump, aperture ring around the lens, shutter button under the forefinger, along with easily accessed ISO and exposure compensation dials. Still, the camera is compact, possibly about the same size as the old Olympus SLRs.

As exciting as the X-Pro I and the XE-2 are, this camera looks to be as close to photographic nirvana as an old phart like me could get. I’ll be anxious to see the price!

Of course, you can read all about the new camera here, or check out the press release. There’s also a “special site” dedicated to the X-T1. Finally, you can watch Fujifilm’s official promotional video:


Newest From Fujifilm to Come at Month-End

Image from Fujifilm-x.com

Image from Fujifilm-x.com

Fujifilm is slated to announce this camera (the X-T1) on January 28. This image comes from a slightly hidden page on the official Fujifilm X-Series web site, and from the looks of things, they have really done this right. All of the controls appear to be in exactly the right places, and it should have all the most excellent Fujifilm technology under the skins. This is exciting!

Storm Front - Fujifilm X10, 1/90 sec, f/3.6, ISO400

Storm Front

Storm Front - Fujifilm X10, 1/90 sec, f/3.6, ISO400

Storm Front – Fujifilm X10, 1/90 sec, f/3.6, ISO400, JPEG from camera, Velvia emulation, retouch in Lightroom 5.3

I took the lead picture this afternoon while on my way home from Lewes, Delaware, where I attended an excellent event hosted by the Coastal Camera Club featuring Lewis Kemper. Within another couple of minutes, I was driving through blinding rain.

Lewis presented two excellent talks on making photographs, which included some great basic photography tips, tips on getting the best out of your camera, and also on RAW and HDR processing. I took two full pages of notes, something which I rarely do at events like these.

I was particularly impressed with his approach to HDR processing. His work uses HDR to enhance realism … to make the printed image look like what he saw, not an over-cooked cartoon. He also showed a really interesting technique for RAW processing that can make getting a great looking conversion quick and easy. The gist of the technique is that you do the conversion in B&W mode. Briefly, you open the RAW file in Lightroom, press the V key in the Develop module to toggle into black-and-white, adjust the image for the best result, and then use the V key to toggle back to color. The premise is that a good black and white will make a good color. I can’t wait to try it out of some of my own images.


New eBook from Ian Plant

Ian Plant has just released another beautiful eBook, and the best news is that it’s free! This new release is packed with 80 pages of pictures of bison, foxes, bear, and everything else that makes Yellowstone so fascinating. Ian now has three free eBooks available, along with a great selection of video tutorials and other eBooks at very reasonable prices. Click here to visit Ian Plant Dreamscapes to learn more and to get your copy.

Analysts Still Predict Failure of Olympus, Despite Climbing Sales Figures

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Body. Image Amazon.com

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Body. Image Amazon.com

Market analysts still predict that Olympus will go belly up, as early as this year, despite the fact that their sales figures are up, and they expect to turn a profit for the second year in a row, according to an article on The Phoblographer. To that point, the new Olympus OM-D EM-1 is the hottest selling mirrorless camera on Amazon.com.

Meanwhile Samsung, who continues to be mysteriously absent from these reports, have announced that they’ll be shipping the NX30, replacement for the NX20 model. The Phoblographer has a “first impressions” review up, and it’s certainly an intriguing camera. Samsung have also announced a series of new, high-end, “S” lenses.

If these companies are indeed going to go away, it’s certainly not going to be quietly.

Reuters Reports Only Canon, Nikon and Sony Will Survive in the Camera Market

An article in the New York Times claims that only Canon, Nikon and Sony will be able to survive the current economics of the camera market. I’m not entirely sure I agree.

This and other articles blame improvements in cell-phone cameras for eroding the DLSR market. That’s just not true, as the customer base is simply not the same. I’m sure that great cell phone cameras are hurting point-and-shoot camera sales, and to that end, some manufacturers have dropped many of their lower-end models. That makes good sense.

Further, while companies like Fujifilm, Olympus and Sony continue to create innovative designs and push technology forward, Canon and Nikon continue to market decidedly “me too” models that are barely upgrades from previous models. This, coupled with really disappointing efforts to meet the innovation of other makers in the mirrorless markets, make Canon and Nikon increasingly irrelevant in a changing market.

Another area the report claims that Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic fall short in is the addition of wireless connectivity to their cameras. In truth, all of the manufacturers save one are slow to add WiFi and the ability to easily upload pictures to Facebook and other social media outlets. The manufacturer leading in that area isn’t even mentioned in the article at all: Samsung, with their Galaxy NX, offers this capability across all sectors of the market.

Of course, only time will tell who will remain players in a difficult-but-slowly-improving economy. But I wouldn’t count anyone out at this point.

images and words from geren w mortensen jr

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