A few people have been wondering about why I haven't shown any pictures since my move. The reason is that I haven't shot much.
It's not your (i.e., TOP's) fault. I have a dog (Butters) who suffers from separation anxiety, and I'm "anxious" myself (formally, in terms of my attachment pathology), so it's not that easy to leave the house. Butters ramps up into hysteria and I feel guilty and troubled and resentful. Leaving the house is an ordeal.
But I went out shooting for two hours yesterday. I was inspired by TOP reader and friend Earl Dunbar, who stopped by the Fortress of Solitude for breakfast. He was in the area shooting with his Chamonix. Yesterday was the first time I'd done much shooting since I visited S. last Spring. (I showed you those.)
These mini JPEGs are the "work prints" so to speak. The real pictures would be the finished inkjet prints on paper. These might look a bit too contrasty, dark, and oversharpened on your display (and yes, it bothers me that you can't see them "right." And that I can't either, since I don't have my planned P600 yet.)
Of course the pictures would have to survive my working method to get to the finished print stage anyway. If I were a photographer right now* I'd be going out every day, and adding a few more workprints to the pile every day; and then working to cull the pile into the pictures that kept their legs. As the pile gradually built up and winnowed out I'd end up with thirty or forty pictures at the end of a year. Then I might have something.
It's always fun to go do a little shooting. Every time I go out I get something. As I say I seldom leave the house.
*Whenever people ask me what kind of photographer I am, I say "I'm a writer."
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Featured Comments from:
Michael: "Mike, I just have to ask about that first photo, 'Silos.' It is lovely and gives me a sense of space I appreciate all the more since I too am stuck in the house a lot of the time for reasons rather like yours (so you have my full sympathy). However. The horizon tilts from left to right, and I'm trying to figure out if that is a feature or a bug. Since coming home once with a lot of shots by the North Sea which turned out to tilt, yes, I've had a nervous tic about this. Any helpful comments?
Mike replies: The slope of the land there is nothing compared to the hills you have to climb to get up there. It's a very hilly area, with farms and especially vineyards on much more "tilted" land than that.
If this is a bugbear for you, I have two suggestions. One would be to force yourself to tilt all your horizons for a year, to make yourself stop worrying about it (and during that time, look at lots of Garry Winogrand); or, alternately, buy yourself an X-T1, because there's a horizon level in the nice generous oversized viewfinder.
Eric Erickson: "Mike, I recently aquired a Fuji XT-1 to add to my ever growing collection of cameras, and was considering both of the primes you used for the images, the 23mm and the 14mm. Based on the pictures you included, I like the way the 14mm works a little better than the 23mm. Any thoughts on which you like better in terms of quality, and as to usefulness of the focal length? My own judgment is that you would use the 23mm lens a lot more than the 14mm lens but the 14mm may well be a better lens? I am glad you are shooting, this is the best time of year in the North for photography in my opinion."
Mike replies: I used the 35mm ƒ/1.4 (~52mm-equivalent) for the last shot here; none of these pictures were taken with the 23mm. All three—the only three Fuji XF lenses I've used, by the way—are excellent lenses, and I doubt you could find anything to complain about with any of them.
I'd caution you from drawing conclusions about any lens from four pictures, however. It's possible to get a sense for some of a lens's characteristics (not all!) from online images, but when I do it I typically study hundreds of images, not just a handful.
As for the usefulness of the focal lengths, I've written elsewhere that I've been very surprised by the 14mm. I've never been an "ultrawide" shooter before, but since getting that lens I've used it more than any other, even the 23mm, which at ~35mm-equivalent is my longtime "home" focal length. I don't know what this is about, but I can tell you it makes the 35mm (52mm-e) seem like a telephoto to me suddenly!