Kathy & I spent last weekend in Asheville, NC celebrating our 40th anniversary. While the weekend was mostly about celebration, we did manage to do more than just eat and drink – I took a few (hundred) photos. About 770, actually! 🙂
I did something a little bit different (for me) this time, taking only my X-T4 and 3 prime lenses – the 14mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4 and the 35mm f1.4. Before heading out the door I would decide which lens to take, then “see” at that focal length during our outing. I love doing that, as it is a good exercise in visualizing a scene then adjusting with my feet as needed. I mostly stuck with the 23 and 35 except for our visit to Biltmore House, where I used the 14 and which I will detail in a future post or two.
I’m still trying to get through the rest of my photos from our Northwest road trip, so before I spend too much more time with these Asheville photos I’m going to try and get the Northwest photos done first. So expect a little bouncing around the country as I get through the rest of my Northwest photos. 🙂
“We must take all resources under consideration; all resources, because they relate fatefully to our life on earth, reflect certain grandeurs , and deserve not only our attention, but our reverence. Hence, while it is as essential as ever to protect the National Parks and Wilderness Areas, it is also essential that we protect the forests, the crops, the minerals, and the oceans, and it is essential that we preserve the purity of the air we breathe and the water we drink.” – Ansel Adams
He said, “Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Dahl
I came across this quote several years ago in a shop in Bryson City, NC. It might even be the same shop where I found the frog, I don’t remember.
I was reading a recent post on Monte’s Blog in the context of a commercial print job I’m currently working on. Monte was discussing how much he wanted a new Fuji lens (me too!) but indicated that his current cameras – 4 and 6 years old – still suited him fine, and he reminded us that all cameras still require a photographer to work.
I was recently contacted by a local restaurant owner about providing prints for their bar and dining rooms for an upcoming remodel. I’m flattered that they asked me, and even more excited that it is one of our favorite restaurants. And that they want 17 photos! One of the things that interested me in the context of Monte’s post and the discussion about needing a “pro” camera for doing quality work is the breakdown of the cameras that were used for the photos we chose for this project:
Canon 5D – 1
Canon 5D Mark III – 3
Canon Powershot G12 – 4
Fuji X-10 – 2
Fuji X-E2 – 1
Fuji X-T1 – 1
Medium Format Film Scan – 1
I wasn’t too surprised about the number of 5D shots, and I wasn’t at all surprised at the number of shots from the Fuji X-E2 and X-T1, my current cameras. But I was quite surprised at 6 of the photos coming from two point & shoot cameras! Maybe there is something to be said for ditching all of the interchangeable lens cameras and just buying a single, good, point & shoot camera!
I’ll share the photos later. Or even better, photos of the photos once they are hung! 😉
Here in the Piedmont of NC spring has been springing for several weeks, and we are almost into early summer. The dogwood have been out for a week and the hardwoods are unfurling their new leaves.
Several weeks ago Kathy & I visited South Mountains State Park for a little hiking and sightseeing. The park is west of Charlotte, about halfway to the “real” mountains, and a slightly higher elevation, so spring was a couple of weeks behind us here.
One thing I love about spring is looking through the woods and seeing just the hint of green. I think that “Spring Green” is a shade of color unique to new growth leaves, and to me it speaks as much about the seasons as the fall colors do about fall. Coupled with redbud and the occasional other early bloomers, they make for a hopeful sight after the gray of winter.
These photos won’t do much to show off my nature photography skills, but they do a reasonable job of showing the spring that we saw as we explored the park.
One of my favorite things is to sit by a mountain stream, especially in the fall, and watch the leaves falling from the trees overhead then being swept downstream by the current. Some leaves travel straight down the middle of the steam, tossed gently by the movement of the water. Many more leaves get caught up in the pools and eddies on the side of the streams, staying there until the current changes then moves them along to the next obstacle. Occasionally the leaves are swept over rocks and sometimes even swamped by a cascade. The courses of these leaves are a metaphor for our own lives and represent how little control we have over whether we stick to the center of the stream or get caught up along the sides. Mostly, I think they reflect how pointless it is to stress and obsess over things that we can’t do anything about and remind us to go with the flow. One of the many reasons I love to spend time in nature.
Here is a sampling of my photos from the 2017 Folkmoot Festival Parade of Nations in Waynesville, NC. My success rate was compromised a bit by a less than ideal location (about 20 yards from the main performance area) and less-than-ideal lighting conditions, but I managed to get a few photos that tell the story. After seeing the parade for the first time, I’m now determined to go back and capture the festivities from before the parade to after. I think it might make a good project and would be good practice at telling a story.
An annual event in Waynesville, NC is the Folkmoot Festival that takes place at the end of July. We typically get to Waynesville during the month of July, but for all our trips there we had never made it to the Folkmoot Festival or anything that had to do with it. This year, while planning our July visit I happened to notice that some of the performers would be participating in the annual Street Dance in downtown on Friday night, and that the Parade of Nations on Saturday would be right down Main Street That was too easy to pass up, so we went.
At Friday’s Street Dance, the Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia (Siberia) were featured. They put on a great show with several groups of performers. These photos are from that performance. I also got some photos from the parade the following day, but those will need to wait for another post!
In my Computer Update post I noted that the one remaining item (and unexpected expense) from my recent computer conversion was the decision to replace my aging printer. This past weekend I received and set up my new printer – a Canon Pixma Pro 100. It has a lot going for it – most notably the price. With a $200 rebate the net cost to me was under $200, and it came with $50 worth of free paper. And I sold my old iMac to Gazelle for $150, so the out of pocket cost is practically $0! Of course I immediately reinvested some of that savings in a second set of ink, but at $125 for the new printer instead of $900 for ink for my old printer, it was an expense that is far more easily digested.
Some would say that it was foolish to get rid of a functioning printer just because I didn’t want to spend the money on consumables. In some respects those comments would be correct, and that was something I seriously considered in weighing my decision. The cost of said consumables was substantial, especially for a printer that got only occasional use. Every time I turned that thing on, it had to go through a long startup and cleaning cycle, and it felt like I was replacing an ink cartridge (at $75 each!) every time. Certainly the cost of ink is less per drop (or milliliter or however one chooses to measure ink cost) for a larger printer than a small printer. And the cost of roll paper is less than the cost of sheets. Regardless of those factors, it was hard to ignore the low initial and operating costs of the smaller printer. That, combined with a smaller footprint in my office, the promise of improved technology and a newer generation ink set made it a no-brainer.
The negatives are few, but include the fact that this printer uses die inks instead of pigment inks. Die inks are traditionally thought of as being less archival than pigment inks – they might only last 100 years…gasp! But pigment inks are generally thought of as being more prone to clogging than die inks, and for a printer that doesn’t see daily use, that was somewhat important to me. Importantly, color accuracy is similar between the two ink types as long as they are set up properly, and I think I’ve just about got that nailed.
The ability to use the Soft Proof function in Lightroom has been a welcome addition and has been leading to more accurate results without wasting a lot of paper. Since I wasn’t able to print from my computer when it was impersonating a Mac I never had a chance to use Soft Proofing. But now that I can use it from Windows, that improvement alone was worth the cost and effort of the change.
The fact of the matter is that my needs have changed since I bought the large printer. I rarely need to print anything larger than 13×19, and more often than not I would need to print larger than the old printer could print and would have to send the file to an outside print lab anyway. I have a couple of excellent choices for outside printing, so as long as I know I have an accurate file I have no problem sending the file to someone else to print. The smaller printer gives me a “good enough” proof for those purposes. For my own use, I have a lot less wall space now than I used to have, so I don’t do as much printing for my own use. Most of what I print for myself is for décor purposes, and printed on wood, canvas or metal. So I’m sending that work out anyway.
Probably the biggest challenge was figuring out how to get rid of the old printer. No one wanted it, for the same reasons I didn’t want it. I could take it to the county recycling center, but it weighed 120 pounds and wasn’t something that Kathy & I were going to move ourselves. I could have asked the kids to help me but decided against it. As it turns out I called one of the “Junk Hauling” companies, and two guys and a truck came on Saturday morning and hauled it away for under $100. It probably made our neighbors curious but was well worth the cost. Done and gone!
So there you have it. I think the transition can be called a success, and I am still way ahead of that $3,000 bill that I would have had with a new Mac. And I didn’t have to buy all those dongles!
Kathy & I had occasion to pass through Lake Lure, NC this past weekend. I was interested to see that the lake levels and the supply of resident boats have returned. Some may recall an earlier post in January where the lake levels were lower for the winter. It looks like things are ready for spring at Lake Lure!