Tag Archives: Urban Landscape

Colorado Adventure: Fort Collins

Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado

It’s about time I wrap up the Colorado posts and move on to something new.  I think this pretty much takes care of the highlights from our visit to Colorado, so unless I come across some other gems or find something that is appropriate for another topic this will just about do it.

Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado

I’m always a bit disappointed in myself when I realize that for all the time I spend walking around a town, I’m always paying attention to the “Tom” shots but I forget about the “tourist” shots!  I did a better job in Grand Lake and Estes Park, but I don’t have a single “street scene” from Fort Collins, and it was my favorite town that we visited!

Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado

I did end up with a pretty nice collection, and I know someone will say that I did a good job of capturing what I saw.  But I also saw a lot more, but I can’t prove it because I didn’t take any pictures!

Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado

So anyway, tourist photos or not, please enjoy this tour of Fort Collins.

Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado
Random photos from around Fort Collins, Colorado

Starting the Transition

Huntersville Business Park
Huntersville Business Park

Well, I shipped off 20 pounds of used camera gear this past weekend, and plan to use the proceeds to form the cornerstone of the next collection of gear.  After nearly 14 years of lugging around the Canon stuff I’ve decided it’s time to bite the bullet and try something smaller.  The decision is not entirely straightforward or simple, as I tend to be a very loyal consumer, and there is still a lot to love about the full frame cameras.  And while I’m hedging my bets by hanging on to a solid collection of full frame gear, I’m pretty sure I can predict what is going to happen.

Lynx Blue Line light rail at the Charlotte Convention Center
Lynx Blue Line light rail at the Charlotte Convention Center
Selfie Time
Selfie Time
Parking Garage
Parking Garage
Legal Graffiti at the former Goodyear Service Center
Legal Graffiti at the former Goodyear Service Center
Walkway between the Mint Museum of Art and the Duke Energy Center
Walkway between the Mint Museum of Art and the Duke Energy Center

Many readers of this blog know that I have been exploring this move for some time.  Over the last several months I rented a Fuji X-T1 and an Olympus OM-D E-M1.  Both are wonderful cameras and have their pluses and minuses, and I know people who are faithful to both brands.

Bechtler Museum of Art
Bechtler Museum of Art
Bechtler Museum of Art
Bechtler Museum of Art
Bechtler Museum of Art
Bechtler Museum of Art
Bechtler Museum of Art
Bechtler Museum of Art
Bicycles for Rent
Bicycles for Rent
Bicycles for Rent
Bicycles for Rent
Bicycles for Rent
Bicycles for Rent

I was pretty sure that my choice was going to be the Fuji, so over the 4th of July weekend I rented it again, this time trying both the 18-55 and the 18-135 lenses.  I haven’t yet placed the order – the sale prices expired before I was ready – but once I’m ready to go I’m planning to buy the X-T1 with the 18-135.  My rationale is that it will be an excellent travel lens for those times when I only want to take one camera and lens, and it will give me just about all of the coverage I could want.  Eventually I’ll probably buy at least one or two of the “pro” lenses, and I really want to try some of the excellent Fuji prime lenses, so I’ll keep my options open.

Walkway between the Mint Museum of Art and the Duke Energy Center
Walkway between the Mint Museum of Art and the Duke Energy Center
Photo Time!
Photo Time!
Mint Museum of Art and the Duke Energy Center
Mint Museum of Art and the Duke Energy Center
Romare Bearden Park
Romare Bearden Park
Romare Bearden Park
Romare Bearden Park
Romare Bearden Park
Romare Bearden Park

So while I continue to work on Colorado images, I wanted to process the Fuji files in order to evaluate them, and figured I might as well post a few.  I know it’s possible to do with any camera, but I really like the fact that I can easily create a develop preset in Lightroom to quickly process a bunch of files.  For the most part the results are very good with little fiddling.  These have had a little bit of extra work done to them, but for the most part they are as shot with a Lightroom preset applied.

The Eye
The Eye
Charlotte Transportation Center
Charlotte Transportation Center
Charlotte Transportation Center
Charlotte Transportation Center
Huntersville Business Park
Huntersville Business Park
Huntersville Business Park
Huntersville Business Park
Huntersville Business Park
Huntersville Business Park
Huntersville Business Park
Huntersville Business Park

Catching Up

Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina

It’s hard to believe that it was two months ago, but in early April, Kathy & I took our latest excursion to eastern North Carolina along with our friends Bill & Cathy from Ohio.  We visited our usual haunts of Belhaven and Washington, but also visited Edenton and Bailey. Here are a few photos from that trip, just for fun.

Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Grain Mill in Bailey, North Carolina
Grain Mill in Bailey, North Carolina
Random photos from Belhaven, North Carolina
Random photos from Belhaven, North Carolina
Random photos from Belhaven, North Carolina
Random photos from Belhaven, North Carolina
Built in 1886, the restored Roanoke River Lighthouse now stands proudly in the harbor at Edenton, NC.  The lighthouse first served as a guide for ships navigating the waters of the Albemarle Sound into the Roanoke River, and then, after being decommissioned in 1941, was moved by barge across the sound to private land, where it ultimately deteriorated as a neglected residence. Its history, as one would expect, is filled with fateful events and colorful characters. After being acquired by the Edenton Historical Commission and then given to the state of North Carolina, a band of dedicated volunteers, public officials and preservationists brought it to its final home. With state funds, the structural restoration work was completed as volunteer donations and furnishings were gathered.
Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, NC.
Built in 1886, the restored Roanoke River Lighthouse now stands proudly in the harbor at Edenton, NC.  The lighthouse first served as a guide for ships navigating the waters of the Albemarle Sound into the Roanoke River, and then, after being decommissioned in 1941, was moved by barge across the sound to private land, where it ultimately deteriorated as a neglected residence. Its history, as one would expect, is filled with fateful events and colorful characters. After being acquired by the Edenton Historical Commission and then given to the state of North Carolina, a band of dedicated volunteers, public officials and preservationists brought it to its final home. With state funds, the structural restoration work was completed as volunteer donations and furnishings were gathered.
Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, NC.
Random photos from Edenton, North Carolina
Random photos from Edenton, North Carolina
Random photos from Edenton, North Carolina
Random photos from Edenton, North Carolina
Random photos from Edenton, North Carolina
Random photos from Edenton, North Carolina
Random photos from Edenton, North Carolina
Random photos from Edenton, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina
Random photos from Washington, North Carolina

If It Ain’t Broke, Etc.

Test images from Fuji X-T1 rental

I’ve got a few words left on the subject of the Fuji, and on renting equipment in general. Then I think I’d like to just get back to our regularly scheduled programming. There have been a number of excellent comments on both of my posts regarding the X-T1, and those have led to a bit of extended reflection on my part.

Test images from Fuji X-T1 rental Test images from Fuji X-T1 rental

I’ve always been a firm believer that everyone needs to find their own way of doing things. I’ve always felt that – for things that matter to me – it is always best to do a little research to see what is available, determine my preferences based on that research, then make a decision based on the results. Making informed decisions is important to me, whether it relates to the food I eat, the car I drive or the camera that I use. I don’t buy a lot of stuff, but when there is something I want it is important to me to figure out what best suits my needs and buy it. In general I only want to buy something once, and I tend to not be influenced by advertising, sale prices or reviews. If something suits my needs and I can afford it, I’ll buy it. If I can’t afford it then it hasn’t met all of my needs, one of the most important of which is that something be affordable.

Test images from Fuji X-T1 rental

One of the downsides of this kind of loyalty is that I tend to get tunnel vision when it comes to knowing what the options are. I’m not a “fanboy” about anything, but once I make a decision about something I stick with it until something obviously better comes along. But for better or worse I’m not always on the lookout for the “something better,” to the point where something better might actually be available but I don’t know about it.

Test images from Fuji X-T1 rental

When it comes to camera equipment, I have tended to pick a system and stick with it. I have purchased a couple of point & shoot cameras and I have gotten good results from them. But the dilemma I always have, especially when I travel, is that opportunities often arise where I wish I had my “serious” gear with me. As a result I have developed the philosophy that questions why I should ever take photographs with anything but my best equipment. I think that is a valid question, to the point where I carry my G12 as a backup but primarily use my 5D. Even if I only take one lens, I want to have my “good” camera with me. For a lot of folks, their phone is a good enough backup, but that’s not an approach that works for me.

Test images from Fuji X-T1 rental Test images from Fuji X-T1 rental

The situation that I have encountered recently, especially when we fly, is that I would prefer to not have to carry the weight of a bag that contains all the stuff I want for a vacation. I have a large rolling camera bag, but the airlines always insist on checking anything that has wheels, so I compromise by taking less stuff and using a shoulder bag or backpack that can stay with me. So the choice I have is between (a) occasionally having to carry a heavier backpack than I would prefer but having the equipment that gives me the quality that I want, or (b) buying equipment that weighs less but doesn’t quite give me the image quality I want. The great thing is that that divide is getting smaller and smaller all the time. Many folks have already made the switch, but I knew that I was going to have to see for myself.

Test images from Fuji X-T1 rental

One of the great things about being able to rent camera equipment is that it can help us to build first-hand awareness of what else is available. There is a pretty ready market for used equipment these days, so I suppose if we wanted to spend the money we could just buy a camera and/or lens, use it for a while then sell it and buy something else. But that seems a lot like trading cars too often – it costs you a lot more than it is worth. I think renting is just an economical way to try something out – both for fun and for knowledge.

Test images from Fuji X-T1 rental

I don’t consider this rental to be a “once and done” event, and it was never my intention to make a decision based on one rental. I’m certainly not closing the door on the Fuji or any other camera. There are many interesting cameras on the market, and new ones are coming out all the time. There are a number of very nice lenses for the Canon that might be worth looking at. I’ve never used a Zeiss lens, but have always felt that one (or more!) of those might give me the look that I used to get with my Mamiya lenses. It’s probably worth a try. I need to be careful to not let the equipment become a distraction, and I need to be extra sure that the cost of renting camera equipment doesn’t eat into my travel budget, but other than the cost I think it is pretty harmless. And it is a lot of fun!

Test images from Fuji X-T1 rental

So to conclude, I appreciate all the feedback and comments. It’s great to know that there are as many opinions as there are photographers, and I especially like it when we can trade thoughts and ideas about cameras and photography.

Test images from Fuji X-T1 rental

Conclusions and Decisions

Downtown Charlotte, NC from light rail overpass on Trade Street
Downtown Charlotte, NC from light rail overpass on Trade Street

I mentioned in my last post that I had rented a Fuji X-T1 for this past weekend. The last post set the stage for this one. I’ll cut to the chase and save the suspense, and say that I haven’t decided to make any changes, but I was very impressed with the camera. You can stop reading here and look at the pictures, or you can read on. 🙂

Parking garage, downtown Charlotte, NC
Parking garage, downtown Charlotte, NC

My intentions for trying out another kind of camera were simple. I had heard many good things about the compact cameras but had not had a chance to really experience one for myself. I don’t like to have multiple choices when it comes to equipment, preferring instead to have and use whatever camera I feel best suits my needs, and to use that camera for everything I shoot. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have to constantly choose between different cameras, especially where there was a clear first choice. Why, I reasoned, would I ever want to shoot with anything less than my best equipment? It just didn’t make sense.

Painted brick wall, Charlotte NC
Painted brick wall, Charlotte NC

I have been very happy with the results from my current equipment, to the point where I never really think about the gear, I just use it and it works. But I knew that if I ever did decide to change formats or brands that I couldn’t do so without trying out different options. As hard as it is to believe, the 5D Mark III is three years old, and while it isn’t close to being obsolete, that seems to be about the point in the product cycle where there is probably something new on the horizon. All of my lenses are first generation Canon lenses, and while they are certainly not obsolete, I can’t ignore the fact that three of my five main lenses have been replaced by newer technology. At some point it is likely that I am going to need to look at that, and possibly make some changes. It seemed as good a time as any to try out something new.

Lynx Blue Line light rail and Charlotte NC skyline
Lynx Blue Line light rail and Charlotte NC skyline

I decided to rent a Fuji X-T1 because I had narrowed my choices down to a Fuji or an Olympus. I have heard great things about both, but have read some really good things about the Fuji, and especially their evolving lineup of excellent lenses. I still cling to the opinion that a larger sensor is better, and reasoned that all else being equal the APS-C sensor in the Fuji would make it an attractive choice. So I plunked down my money and took my bet.

Electric meter, Charlotte NC
Electric meter, Charlotte NC

I went through LensRentals for the rental, and the whole process could not have been smoother. I reserved the camera and lens online and provided my payment and shipping information. The package arrived at my work address on Thursday as scheduled. I had the camera for the weekend, then packaged it up and dropped it off at the FedEx store on Monday. Done.

Guess what? Another brick wall, Charlotte NC
Guess what? Another brick wall, Charlotte NC

The following is not a review, and I am still evaluating as I go. But several folks have expressed an interest in my thoughts, so here I go.

First Impressions
  • While small, this feels like a well-built camera and lens. Heavier than I expected for the size and heavier than it looks, but very light compared to my Canon.
  • The top dials are laid out in a way that really makes sense, and I liked being able to adjust shutter speed, ISO and aperture with a dial instead of a menu.
  • I had a little previous experience with Fuji’s menu layout from using my X-10. The menus are very similar, and for the most part I was able to figure everything out without looking at the manual.
Roof of transit center, Charlotte NC
Roof of transit center, Charlotte NC
In Use
  • Because the camera is so small relative to my hands, I felt like I could never really get a comfortable grip on the camera, and I kept hitting buttons I didn’t mean to hit.
  • The biggest issue I had was that the battery died after about 200 frames. In hindsight I think it might have been because I had IS set for continuous (had not thought to change it) and even though I had the EVF set up for eye detection, I hadn’t thought about the fact that hanging around my neck that it wouldn’t know the difference between my chest and my eye and be on constantly.
  • The second biggest issue I had was trying to use a polarizer with the EVF. I’d be interested to hear some feedback, but I had a really hard time judging the effect of the polarizer because the camera kept adjusting the exposure – as reflected in the EVF – in real time.
  • My rental came with a standard neck strap, which was too short for me and not nearly flexible enough. It would not stay on my shoulder securely and kept getting in the way. I would definitely buy an Upstrap or a wrist strap.
Shadow on a brick wall, Marion, NC
Shadow on a brick wall, Marion, NC
Files
  • The first photos I looked at were from walking around my neighborhood at dusk, and were taken before I learned how to set up the camera. The files from the shoot on Saturday, and more from Sunday and Monday, were quite impressive.
  • The in-camera JPEGs are very nice. So nice that I could almost shoot JPEGS all the time with this camera, if it wasn’t for the next point.
  • Lightroom does an excellent job with the RAW files, and even offers the ability to mimic some of Fuji’s in-camera film profiles. This gives the ability to get the results of the in-camera processing with the flexibility of RAW files when needed. I like this very much. I could easily create a Develop preset in Lightroom and would take care of 95% of the adjustments I would make.
  • The RAW files are SHARP and show very little noise. Using the Adobe profiles for the Fuji RAW files, I needed to do very little additional adjustment. I used virtually no noise reduction on the files, even at higher ISO, and they take sharpening very well.
  • The camera seems to have an exceptionally accurate metering system, and it nailed the exposure just about every time. The only adjustments I made were for completely personal preference.
  • I did not make any prints yet, but am convinced that the files will make a 16×24 print with no problems.
Brick wall, Marion, NC
Brick wall, Marion, NC
Conclusions
  • If I were to own one, I would need to buy one of the accessory grips.
  • This would definitely be a worthy “first choice” camera when I decide that it’s time to replace what I currently use.
  • The Lensrentals experience was a good one, and I would not hesitate to rent from them again, either to try a lens I intend to buy or to just try out something I’ve heard about
  • I didn’t expect to be so “wow-ed” by a camera that it would convince me to banish my Canon gear to the closet, and I wasn’t. But it was very nice, and if I was starting from scratch I wouldn’t hesitate to consider the Fuji, although I would probably try out some of the competition.
  • I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, but the files from this camera have a certain “look” that I really, really like. It isn’t sharpness or color or contrast, but something. I’m still working on it and will explore it some more and report back.
Another brick wall, Marion, NC
Another brick wall, Marion, NC
Decision
  • I’m sticking with the Canon for now (as of today at least!), but it wouldn’t take much to convince me to buy an X-T1.  If I were to buy another camera, there is a very good chance that this might be it.
Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, Charlotte NC
Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, Charlotte NC

More to come, as I continue to process more photos and think more about my experience!

Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, Charlotte NC
Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, Charlotte NC

Trying Something New

Transit Center, Charlotte NC
Transit Center, Charlotte NC
Back in the Day

Ever since I sold off my Mamiya 7 film rangefinder and its three excellent lenses, I have hoped to one day return to the simplicity of being able to carry all my gear in a small fanny pack. I used to be able to carry the equipment (and film!) I needed for entire weekend in one small bag. I love my Canon gear, and have always been happy with the results. The Canon bodies and numerous lenses I have owned over the last 10 years have served me well, but it has been interesting to note the gradual expansion in the amount and weight of my equipment over that time.

Roof trusses at Charlotte Transit maintenance building and offices, Charlotte NC
Roof trusses at Charlotte Transit maintenance building and offices, Charlotte NC

At first I was able to carry all of my digital gear in a reasonably-sized backpack. Soon, however, it became necessary for me to carry my equipment in a Think Tank rolling bag. For a while I was generally successful with the idea of making room in the rolling bag for something new by retiring something old. But a couple of years ago I finally reached the point where my bag wouldn’t hold what I had, and I started having to leave things at home. Perhaps coincidentally, at just about the same time I got to the point where I was getting tired of carrying that much stuff.

1BAC Building, Charlotte NC
1BAC Building, Charlotte NC

While having a wide variety of lenses at my disposal gives me the ability to pretty much shoot anything I want to shoot, the need to constantly make a decision about what to take or leave home distracts me from the creative inspiration to actually make photographs. I’ve been saying for a long time that the problem with carrying multiple lenses is that it increases the chances that I will have the wrong one on my camera. I found that carrying one or maybe two lenses is all I want to do, and I have gotten used to leaving the other stuff at home.

One of my regular Charlotte subjects - NASCAR Hall of Fame
One of my regular Charlotte subjects – NASCAR Hall of Fame
Recent History

I have had a number of “Point & Shoot” cameras over the years and have been quite impressed by their image quality. In fact it was a Canon G5 that convinced me back in 2004 that digital was the “way of the future.” I have been watching the evolution of compact cameras ever since with great interest, and was very excited when the interchangeable lens compact cameras came on the scene. Starting with the early Olympus “Pen” cameras in the so-called Micro 4/3 arena and evolving to a large lineup of small cameras with varying sizes of sensors, there are now many choices. My early experience in this area was when I bought Kathy an Olympus E-PL2 camera and a couple of lenses. That camera is a great size, and the lenses are amazingly small and light. I tried using that camera myself, but was never really happy with the image quality. That really tarnished my opinion of the camera and I never really gave the format any serious consideration. In hindsight, that opinion was probably a result of lower-quality lenses.

One of my regular Charlotte subjects - NASCAR Hall of Fame
One of my regular Charlotte subjects – NASCAR Hall of Fame
Fast Forward

Probably because of my earlier experience with the older Olympus camera, I have remained skeptical of the advances in quality of the compact cameras and the various photographers that have been singing their praises. The conventional wisdom, perhaps somewhat influenced by the marketing budgets of Canon and Nikon, has held that small sensor cameras just can’t produce the image quality of a full-size, full-frame, high resolution SLR. For anyone wanting to make prints larger than 13×19, it seemed that the SLR was the way to go, the larger the sensor the better. That was and still is pretty tasty Kool Aid.

Random electric meters, Charlotte NC
Random electric meters, Charlotte NC

Recently, I have been hearing and reading more and more stories, from people whose opinions I respect, who have had great things to say about the newer cameras on the market. Most of these cameras are from Fuji, Olympus and Sony, although there are others. Surprisingly, the entries from Canon and Nikon have been pretty weak and generally haven’t seemed to push the right buttons for people, and the general consensus is that those companies are not taking the market for these cameras seriously.

Random brick wall, Charlotte NC
Random brick wall, Charlotte NC
And Now

A few months ago I decided that the only way to find out how good these new cameras have become was to try one or more of them out myself. For me the choice seemed to be between Fuji and Olympus. So a couple of weeks ago, looking at a long holiday weekend off from work, I decided to try out a Fuji X-T1 for a few days to see just what all the excitement was about. I haven’t made any decisions but have reached several conclusions. The outcome of my little experiment will be the subject of my next post. For now, here are a few of the photos I have been working on from my time with this interesting little camera.

Random shadows, Charlotte NC
Random shadows, Charlotte NC

Black Friday

Random photos from Bath, North Carolina
Random photos from Bath, North Carolina

There’s a sign in front of a church that I pass by that is advertising for an upcoming “financial planning” seminar. The sign has a picture of some snake oil salesman-looking guy holding a bundle of cash and says “Normal is Broke, BE WEIRD!” I’m not sure what kind of financial planning seminar would be held in a church but I hope it doesn’t involve praying for more money. 😉

Right after I pass that church I get to the Walmart, which seems to be a much more popular place for people to spend their time and money, because Walmart is always packed and I only see people at the church on Sunday. Maybe the church needs to take marketing advice from Walmart and attract people there by having sales.

I guess it’s the whole “SALE!” thing that is on my mind, mostly. But it ties into the idea of financial planning because the two ideas seem to be diametrically opposed.

Random photos from Bath, North Carolina
Random photos from Bath, North Carolina

Because I don’t watch television, don’t listen to commercial radio, have Ad Blocker on my browser and stopped subscribing to the local “junk mail disguised as yesterday’s news” newspaper I am mostly insulated from all of the “it’s on sale” mentality that gets people all excited about Black Friday. But I hear people at work all the time making plans to go shopping on Friday because “they’re (whoever “they’re” is) is having a sale on (INSERT NAME OF ITEM HERE).

Random photos from Bath, North Carolina
Random photos from Bath, North Carolina

Kathy & I just don’t buy stuff. Other than trips to Lowe’s to buy the few things we have needed for our house, we buy food, wine and gasoline for the car. I will admit to making a few trips to Best Buy while I was rounding out my Sonos system, but that’s it. We went to Target a few weeks ago and bought a few things that we needed, and realized that was the first time we had been there since January. And it’s not because we shop somewhere else – I haven’t been inside a Walmart in probably 5 years!

St Thomas Church in Bath, North Carolina
St Thomas Church in Bath, North Carolina

Just for fun I pulled up Walmart’s (and this is not a slam at Walmart, they just make a convenient example) Black Friday ad and looked through it. In a 39-page ad, there isn’t a single thing I would buy now. It’s not that there isn’t anything I would have, but generally if there is something I need I already have it, and if I need to replace something I have, I usually can’t wait until it’s on sale!

Admittedly, some of the sales are pretty good. If you just happened to be in the market for Beats wireless headphones ($280 – really?) $149 is a pretty good price. I liked the idea of Skullcandy earbuds for $9, but if I needed a set I would already have some that I paid $18 for and wouldn’t be laying up extras “just in case.” About three quarters of the pages are for clothes and junk toys that I wouldn’t buy for anyone’s kid. And best of all, if you don’t have the money for all this stuff, they have special financing available! Take 24 months to pay for this year’s crap! What a deal!

I’ll admit that the excuse that a lot of people use is that they are buying Christmas gifts, and to a certain extent that is probably true.  But I’m not as concerned about who the stuff is for as I am that people feel like they have to buy stuff at all, for them or for someone else.

Anyway, I’m really not judging. Really! Some people enjoy the thrill of the chase, some have money to burn and shop just for fun.  I choose to do otherwise.  So do what you want, buy what you need and remember to share some of your good fortune with others less fortunate than you. What am I doing for Black Friday? I usually go to work on that day since I often figure it’s a lousy day to waste a vacation day on. This year though we’ve decided to do something a little different on Black Friday. We’re going to the beach for the weekend. Have fun!

Random photos from Bath, North Carolina
Random photos from Bath, North Carolina

Good Words

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

One of the many non-photography blogs I follow is Becoming Minimalist by Joshua Becker.  I found these quotes especially appropriate given some of our recent discussions.

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” —Malcolm S. Forbes

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

“Focus is often a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.” —John Carmack

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

Stop trying to impress others with the things that you own and begin inspiring them by the way that you live.

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

“Money is a poor indicator of success.” —Joshua Becker

Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina
Random photos from downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

Urban Landscapes

Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio

This is certainly not a new term in photography or even a new use for an old one.  But it’s a way I’ve described some of the images I’ve made during our various travels.  They aren’t people pictures and they aren’t (necessarily) historical landmarks, but it’s a way to describe the details that make up the greater part of the whole.

These are some of my “urban landscape” photos from our recent visit to Millersburg, OH.

Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio
Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio