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Monday, October 3, 2016

••◊ Washington Ironman 2016 Photo Diary

Two weeks ago I bought a new Fujifilm X-E2S camera for travel and took it to central Oregon for a vacation.  I have to say that this is a fun little camera.  It's doing everything I wanted it to. The DSLR was just getting to be too much of a burden to carry around for general photography.  The Fujifilm lenses are also proving to be a winner.  They wouldn't even flare when I was trying to make them flare!

The two photos below were taken at 37,000 feet on my way up to Seattle.  The first is standard processing with a bit of contrast added in post to compensate for atmospheric haze.  The second photo is the same view, but with the "toy camera" effect turned on.  It's not my favorite effect, but I had to determine that somehow.  It looks more like an "old camera".  I suppose the whole green-yellow tone has it's place, but I'm just not a big fan.

Here are some views as we approached SeaTac; travelling north to south.  The first shows Gas Works Park on Lake Union.  Chase Jarvis...if you're reading this...I see you!  His office is just up the hill from the Park on Wallingford.

The second photo is the iconic Space Needle.  I was lucky and grabbed it just in time before the clouds covered it up on either side.

The last photo is downtown Seattle, of course.  Then I had to quickly put away the camera for landing.  Sharpness was limited by the airplane window.

My aunt picked me up and we headed over the Maggie's Bluff.  Stay away from those black beans.  Whatever they put in them is possessed by demons...as I found out the next day.  On our drive up the road to the restaurant I saw some street art that I wanted to capture.  The HOPE LOVE sign was my favorite find.  I might frame it up for my house.  The second "cereal" picture was just strange enough to be intriguing.  All the photos were incredibly sharp and I found that the Fujifilm film simulation LUTs were really great for adding a quick "pop" to the photos.

The real reason I was flying to Seattle was the Washington Ironman muscle show.  I generally have to work during the bodybuilding part of the show, but I get some free time when the bikini girls and man-kini boys get on stage. 

One thing I really like about this camera is the ability to create panoramas in camera.  I used this extensively during my Oregon trip to capture landscapes.  It's much, much easier than doing Photoshop stitching, as I used to do with the Canon DSLR.  The only limitation is that the photo is jpeg only.  There's no TIFF option.  So be sure to get your white balance and exposure correct.  I often locked those two settings down before framing up the shot.  Unlike a DSLR, this mirrorless camera lets you see exposure before you snap a picture.  That really helps get it right the first time.

As sort of a joke, I started playing with the "miniature" effect while snapping pictures of the muscle-bound bodybuilders.  You can see the effect in the third and second to last photo in the series below.  One thing I learned is that the white balance doesn't seem to work correctly under tungsten lights while using this effect.  That's why the guys are so orange.  The effect also increases contrast and saturation for some reason, which made the photo even more surreal.  Let's just call this "artistic".

I've been practicing food photography for an upcoming web series I might shoot. This is part of my recover meal after the show.  Again, the film simulation LUTs made the bowl pop without much effort.

Here's a miniature effect photo taken at SeaTac on my way home.  I think the effect worked better here.  You really have to have a landscape or a scene with items nearest to you at the bottom of the frame and furthest items at the top.  Then it works.  Notice the increased saturation and contrast, but the white balance seems reasonable because this was shot outdoors.

Here are two photos of the Los Angeles area taken in miniature.  Again, I think these really worked.  I believe the second photos is somewhere around Laguna Beach.

Overall, it's a fun little camera.  I think I made the right purchase.  The special effects filters will probably wear thin quickly, but the panorama feature is always useful.  The film simulation LUTs can be quite good when used appropriately.  For the most part I just use "Negative Standard" since it gives the most neutral look.  But I did use Classic Kodachrome and Provia when processing certain pictures from the raw files. 

More to come as soon as I find and purchase a film negative scanner.

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