Weekly Column

Blogging consistently is hard. For those that do it well I tip my cap to you. I have an idea for 2015 that I would like to try… and that’s a weekly column. There is a constant stream of ideas and thoughts I would like to blog about, so would if I jotted them down and shared them once a week? Sometimes it might be one topic, other times multiple mini topics. I’m a huge sports fan and a follower of Bill Simmons on Grantland and ESPN. He’s been doing a weekly column for many years and that’s where the idea came from. Let’s give it a shot!

Speaking of sports, I’m flying in to San Francisco tomorrow to see the Warriors vs. Cavs game on Friday night. I know it’s a long shot but I hope Seattle can pull off a winning bid for the Atlanta Hawks and bring them to the Pacific Northwest. It’s not everyday you have the opportunity to bid on a team currently in 1st place.

Back to photography… CES is this week and there are a few announcements worth discussing. Nikon announced their newest beginner level DSLR, the D5500. My gear book, which came out last month, has the D5300 as the current model, so this changes things a bit. The 24 megapixel sensor is fantastic and the 3.2″ LCD of the D5500 is a huge bonus. If you are in the market for a beginner level DSLR, the D5500 is an excellent option.

We saw a new lens from Fuji for the X system (although we knew it was coming), the 16-55mm f/2.8. The also recently released the 50-140mm f/2.8. I had a chance to hold the 50-140mm lens and it’s bulky. That’s the problem with a fast lens like a f/2.8, you pay for it with weight. The thing I love about these lenses are the build quality and weather-sealing. But considering landscape photographers won’t be able to take advantage of the fast aperture, I have trouble recommending either, especially the 50-140mm f/2.8. The beauty of the mirror-less X system that Fuji has created is the incredible weight savings over a DSLR setup. My goal is to keep that going and that’s why I would stick with the Fuji 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 lens as your telephoto option. Before I make any judgments on the 16-55mm f/2.8 I would like the opportunity to test it out with my Fuji X-T1.

I just downloaded and used an app on my iPhone 6 called StayFocused. It does focal blending for the iPhone. How on earth does a modern-day DSLR not do this in camera? Manufacturers need to get their head on straight and either write useful software for the camera or open source it. It’s ridiculous all the things you can do on your iPhone that you can’t do with a DSLR. There’s just no excuse. Sony had the right idea by allowing apps on their phone… but then didn’t open it up to third parties so the whole idea failed. If you are not going to write the software, let someone else do it and take a percentage of the profits.

I recently picked up two new lenses for my Canon setup. I purchased the Canon 100-400mm Mark II and the Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS. The 100-400mm was a tough decision, but the extra reach when compared with my 70-300mm, along with the fantastic early reviews, convinced me to go in that direction. With some wildlife trips coming up – Yellowstone in winter and the bears of Katmai, the 400mm will come in handy. I had high hopes that when used with the Canon 1.4X extender I would be able to shoot at 560mm, but the quality degrades quickly. It’s nothing like the Canon 200-400mm with built-in 1.4X extender, the best lens I have ever used. The 16-35mm f/4L IS was a direct swap with my 16-35mm f/2.8L II. It’s just a sharper lens and a no brainer.

That’s it for camera related news this week. I would like to finish with a TV recommendation. If I had the time, I would start a dedicated TV blog. Let me provide a little background here. My original career path began as a screenwriter and my degree is in Cinema Studies. I have always loved film and envisioned a career in the industry. I’m fortunate where I ended up, and I couldn’t be happier as a professional photographer, but I still love to watch and study film. Except for the fact that the film industry has virtually collapsed while the TV industry has flourished. The amount of quality writing and acting on TV currently is astounding. Show runners are given more freedom than in film and have as long as they want to tell their story. It’s easier to build characters over 5 seasons than say a 2 hour film. Every network wants to have a stake in the game. Network TV is sorely lacking, but with a constant stream of content on a surplus of cable channels, there is more quality content that is being produced than can be consumed. This is great news! Speaking of channels I wouldn’t expect to have dramatic fictional television, my recommendation this week is for The Vikings on the History Channel. There are two season available for viewing and season 3 arrives next month. It has everything you could want in a show, compelling characters, great story arc, quality writing and is a great representation of the historical genre. If you like Game of Thrones or Rome, I think you will enjoy The Vikings.

That’s it for now. Thanks for sticking it out with my column. I will give it a shot and look to post every Wednesday. Signing off with an image and while it’s still football season, GO HAWKS!

Paint decaying from the Ghost Town of Kolmanskop, Namibia.

“Yellow” – Paint decaying from the Ghost Town of Kolmanskop, Namibia.


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