Archive for December 2014

52 Project (Week 51) - Zach

While at my mom's house for the holidays I was lucky enough to see my younger brother Zach.  I was able to grab a portrait of him while we were chatting.

One of the best features about the X100T and the other X100 cameras is the ability to take images without making any noise.  I took many photos and finally my little sister caught on.  She said, "I thought you were just focusing or something."  Well it was something, it was taking very candid memories since everyone pays not attention to me and my "toy" camera.

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52 Project (Week 50) - Holiday Gatherings

It is that time of year when we all get together with friends old and new to reflect on the year, laugh, and cry in some cases.  Happy Holidays!

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52 Project (Week 49) - Santa

I am not sure exactly what Santa said, but the reaction was immediate and I am happy to have been able to capture it.  Both kids snapped their heads from my direction to his as quickly as possible.  Merry Christmas everyone.  Only 3 weeks remaining in this years project.

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52 Project (Week 48) - The Bus Stop

I travel pass this bus stop all the time and never give it a second thought.  I happened to park behind it one day and realized that it would make a good subject for a black and white image.  Armed with my X100T that is almost always with me, I snapped several images, with and without traffic.  This is my favorite by far.

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52 Project (Week 47) - Pittsburgh's Dirty Dozen

Several years ago, probably about five, my dad successfully completed the Dirty Dozen.  By successfully I mean he made it to the end and completed every hill except for Canton Ave.  The following year I joined the fun and completed 9 out of the 13 hills, and at that point I knew I would much rather photograph the event than suffer as a participant.

Since then I have taken Jonah and my camera to witness and document the suffering of the men and women that attempt to conquer some of Pittsburgh's steepest paved / cobbled hills, and in the case of Canton Ave., the steepest in North America and debatably the world.  Normally I take very little to document the action since I want to be mobile, getting in and out of the car, and staying out of the way of falling cyclist.  The typical kit is my Canon 5D MkII and my 70-200 f/2.8, and this kit is made for events like this with quick moving objects.  I also bring a monopod, batteries, and CF Cards.  Along for the ride this year was also my Fujifilm X-E2 and I had the 14mm and 35mm with me.  I brought the extra body just to get a few wide angle shots of the action or the scene before the action.

The day was fabulous, Jonah had a great time taking his own photos and watching the riders, and I was able to get enough images from the hills we visited to have a nice batch for resale.  This year we visited hill #4 (High), hill #5 (Logan), hill #7 (Suffolk), and hill #9 (Canton).  The link to my images is located below.

The event is insane and has spawned some imitations in Philadelphia, PA and Wheeling, WV that I know of.  People come from all over to ride or should I say attempt the route, which is approximately 50 miles in length.  Some of the images I have sold are being shipped as far away as Idaho, Boston, Baltimore, Cleveland, Columbus, and of course locally here in Pittsburgh.

To stay true to my 52 Week Project the image below was taken with a Fujifilm camera.  This is Canton Ave., which is located in the Dormont neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  The grade of this particular hill is 37% and has to be cobbled because the asphalt would slide off during application.  Every year there is carnage on this hill.  If your momentum stalls or stops the rider either collapses to the side or in some rare cases fall over backwards.  It is difficult to walk down the hill, forget riding up it!

If you live in or around Pittsburgh this is a must see event and is one of the things that make our city great!  So plan on spending the Saturday after Thanksgiving on your bicycle or watching the Dirty Dozen, not shopping.

Dirty Dozen Official Website:

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52 Project (Week 46) - Five!

I did a similar post when Jonah turned eight...I think.  Anyway, when I took this shot it was Harper's 5th birthday.  Time does absolutely fly when kids are keeping you busy, and while I recently posted a photo of Harper I thought it necessary for a couple reasons.  First, it is obviously her birthday and warrants a post.  Secondly, I did just receive my X100T and need to test her out, specifically the Classic Chrome film simulation that you see below.  I think this particular film simulation will be my go to for now and probably a while.

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52 Project (Week 45) - Goodbye

I began my X-Series journey in April of 2013.  I had done months of research trying to find a camera to meet my evolving needs.  I had recently completed a 365 Project and wanted to continue making images, without having to lug my Canon 5D MkII around everywhere.  I was settling in on my style and genre of photography that made me happy, which are primarily the street and documentary genre. At the top of the short list of possible options was the Fujifilm X100s.  I was also considering options from Sony and Olympus.

To be honest it was a mental struggle.  I loved the styling, the size, and overall capabilities of the X100s.  My primary concern was the fixed lens and being committed to a 35mm focal length.  Don't get me wrong, I love prime lenses and have several, but on my DSLR I have the luxury to change them around whenever I wish.  Day after day I would play different scenarios over and over in my head and how the X100s would fall short because of the fixed focal length.  I read every review, every blog, every piece of internet content I could find, and after close to a month of internal struggle I made the purchase and my very own X100s arrived on my doorstep sometime in late April.

Since that day in April my X100s goes almost every where with me, constantly by my side, in my pocket, or in my bag.  It has been the perfect companion, slowing me down and forcing me to think about composition and lighting, making me a better photographer.  We traveled to places like Canada, New York, and Kiawah Island.  Countless bicycle rides and hiking trips.

Never once did the fixed focal length become an issue, and truth be told it liberated me to some extent.  It allowed me ot just leave the house with nothing but a camera, a spare battery, and some memory cards.  Before that I would spends hours contemplating what lenses to take on a trip.  This new setup allowed me to focus on the shot not the gear.  It allowed me to be super stealth working in "silent mode" or on occassion strike up a conversation with a stranger about the cool film camera I was using.  The camera and I blended in to the has been awesome.

When I read about the announcement about the new version of the X100s, which would be the X100t, I knew I would be getting one.  I pre-ordered and it finally arrived.  The main issues I had with the X100s have been resolved on the X100t, through software and some hardware enhancements.  Things like more customizable menus, higher shutter speeds, better rear buttons, wireless functions, and consistency amoung the X-Series line.

So now I say goodbye to my X100s and a big HELLO to the X100t.  I am sure my X100s will find itself a nice new home, and it should be listed on eBay in the next several days.

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