Fujinomics – X T-2 and Polarizing Filter

B&W

Those JBRish readers who have been following my photography exploits, know that I recently purchased a Fuji X T-2. Until a couple of weeks ago, I did little more than take some test shots and “getting to know” the camera photographs.

That changed on September 5th when my wife and I left our Sonoran Desert home and headed for the coast of Oregon with plans to visit Crater Lake before heading home. I learned a great deal about photography in general, my new Fuji X T-2 and my Nikon D3300. Needless to say, there was a whole lot of learning going on.

With the understanding that I was heading for the ocean and lake, I wanted to purchase a polarizing filter for the X T-2. I think anyone getting involved with photography has ambitious plans/dreams and I am no different. My intent is to grow my Fuji system to include some of the telephoto lenses. Research indicated that the lens(es) in which I had some interest (FUJINON XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – for example) take a 77mm filter size.

My X T-2 has the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS zoom kit lens with a 58mm filter thread. Naturally I want to minimize my expenditures and maximize the use of equipment I own or will soon own, so I immediately thought of purchasing a 58 to 77mm step up ring to use the filter on a number of lenses.

One of my concerns was the problem of vignetting around the edges. I called Fuji and asked if I used a polarizing filter with a 58-77mm step up ring on the 18-55mm kit lens would I experience vignetting. The Fuji techs didn’t think so. I then called the online photographic equipment retailer and asked their sales assistant and I received the same answer. Not being satisfied, I also called the filter manufacturer’s US office and they too indicated that they thought vignetting would be unlikely.

With those assurances, I purchased these items:

B&W 77mm Circular Polarizer MRC Filter and the B&W 58-77mm Step-Up Ring

You might be wondering why I selected this particular filter… These filters received very good reviews from those who have purchased them. These are not inexpensive filters. They are manufactured in Germany which has a reputation for quality photography products and engineering. Lastly, this particular filter was recommended by a professional photographer I follow online. Purchasing any equipment is never a “sure thing,” but with all of the above, I figured the deck was stacked in my favor.

Naturally, as soon as I received these accessories, I took them outside and shot a few frames with them and I did not see any vignetting on the sample images taken at a variety of focal lengths being sure to capture some with the lens fully extended and fully retracted. Based on these trail shots, I was fairly confident that the prospective filter and step up ring would meet my requirements.

I am recently back from the trip and I have only previewed the shots taken with the polarizing filter and step up ring and, at first glance, I don’t see any vignetting. This was a learning experience for me as I was able to spend significant time with the X T-2 and polarizing filter combo.

HERE ARE SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • I wasn’t prepared for the surface area on a 77mm filter. It is HUGE.
  • I wasn’t prepared for the amount of dust and other “things” that were attracted to the filter.
  • I was prepared with my Giotto Q-ball (Rocket Blaster) and I was glad I had it. I used it every time I took the camera out of the bag. BTW, this was one of the best purchases I ever made regarding my photography gear; reasonably priced and used every time I use my cameras!

Giotto Q-ball blaster

  • I was prepared with a good number of lint free, microfiber cloths made specifically for cleaning camera lenses.
  • I was pleased with the beautiful rendering of the colors with the camera/filter combination.
  • I was surprised at how much light can be “lost” by using the polarizing filter at one of its stronger settings. When I use the word surprised, I don’t actually mean surprised because all the literature pointed to the reduction in f-stops, but I didn’t appreciate how much of a difference it would actually make in situations where there is not strong daylight.

** NOTES ** – I did not purchase a lens hood to fit on the lens with the polarizing filter because of my concern about the vignetting. I am going to try to find a lens hood and appropriate lens cap to help keep dust off of the filter.

I previously explained how I like to have a tethered lens cap and let me just say that had my lens cap not been tethered, I would have dropped it numerous times and perhaps lost it. This is my issue since I have a particular shooting style re: hiking as I shoot! You can read about my tethering of the Fuji lens cap in this article:

Fuji X T-2: Making the Lens Cap Stay Put on the Kit Lens

I will write more about my photographic exploits with my X T-2 and other gear. Check back for more articles and if you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below.

Read more photography posts HERE:


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



Photography Quote — 20170904

Today’s Photography Quote


“If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you’re not out there, you’ll only hear about it.”
– Jay Meisel
– Original Photograph ©Jeffrey B. Ross –

 

NOTE – As residents of the Sonoran Desert who like hiking, encountering snakes is nothing new for us. This photograph was taken in Cave Creek, AZ along one of the trails at the Jewel of the Creek preserve. shortly after this sighting, we came across another rattlesnake and turned back because we had young children with u.s

Jay Meisel’s quote reminds us that if you are interested in photography, you have to be out there taking pictures to find interesting subjects and events.

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Photo Meta Data

File Name: IMG_1960.CR2
Capture time: 3:13 PM
Capture date: March 30, 2015
Exposure: 1/500 @ f5.6
Focal Length: 83.27mm
ISO: 200
Canon Powershot SX50 HS

*Edited: Lightroom with text added in Preview (Apple Software)

 
See previous STATUS QUOtes Photography Quotes HERE


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All content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017


otographs

Fuji X T-2: Improving LR Post Processing Process

My Fuji X T-2 experience is moving right along and I am learning new things almost on a daily basis. I haven’t had an extended shoot yet, but I will have one soon. In the meantime, I have been experimenting and becoming accustomed to all the controls and settings available to me. I can sense now that it will be difficult, with just a bit of knowledge, to take a bad picture. Naturally there will be newbie mistakes, but no more than to be expected when learning any new system.

Before I get to show you some of my first pictures, I want to discuss an issue I knew I would encounter…

I have the camera set to
capture both JPEGs and RAW files. With two card slots, this is really pretty easy. I am not sure I will do this all of the time, but I thought it would be good to try this as I started on my journey to learn the X T-2.

I discovered that the JPEGs are rendering very well, but when I examined the RAW files, they didn’t show the detail that I can see in the JPEGs. I know the camera is working accurately because the JPEGs are right on.


NOTE –
I live in the desert so the photos are of an area near my home. This was a test run just to try out a new polarizing filter so understand that the images may be over saturated, etc. as I am learning to adjust the polarizing effect as well as how to use the camera.

This is the JPEG straight out of camera (SOOC).


JPEG straight out of camera (sooc)

Here is the RAW image, also with the polarizing filter, straight out of camera (SOOC):


RAW straight out of camera (sooc)

I don’t know if you can see a big difference between the two. On my 27″ monitor in LR, there was a noticeable difference.

Here are the two shots after I applied my “regular” (Nikon, Canon) LR settings. JPEG first then RAW.



JPEG



RAW

They were relatively close, but on my larger screen when the images are in LR, I could tell the JPEG had more detail.

Here is a 1:1 enlargement of a section of each picture just to give you the idea. JPEG first then the RAW image (both after similar LR enhancements).

NOTE – All enlargements are screenshots taken on my legacy iMac which produces PNG files.



JPEG



RAW

If you look closely at the clouds, the spines of the large cactus (saguaro) on the left of the frame as well as the tree branches, I think you will note there is more detail in the JPEG. I wish I was better at presenting this.

Here is a similar comparison with a 3:1 enlargement. JPEG first then the RAW image (both after similar LR enhancements).



JPEG



RAW

I knew the detail from Fuji files was an issue with LR. If I hadn’t read about this prior to my purchase, I might have been panicking at this time, but I was prepared.

I wanted a Fuji because in my mind, they put the photographer first. They have demonstrated their dedication to providing the best user experience by offering, free effective firmware updates. These not only correct glitches that might arise, but historically, they have extended the usefulness of the Fuji cameras. Yes, Fuji was the system I wanted even if I had to modify my workflow.

I began to search the Internet for potential solutions to help me generate more detail that I knew were in the RAW files. There seem to be a number of good alternatives. One that I found to work for me, at least at this point, was offered by Jim Harmer of Improve Photography via a video/podcast.

Based on Jim’s suggestions, I adopted the settings below as my starting point in addressing my Fuji files.

These adjustments are made in LR’s Detail Panel as I import the files. I created a preset to do this on import [all of these are, of course, (+/-) according to personal taste ]:

  • Amt – 40
  • Radius – 1.5
  • Detail 80 – 84
  • Masking (if needed ) 45-48
  • I also found that using Provia Standard (Camera Calibration Panel OR Pro Neg. Hi) gives me a look I like for my photos; your mileage may vary.

    NOTE – To anyone who has worked with LR, it is understandable that the above settings are not going to work with every file right out of the gate. Each file will need to be tweaked as necessary moving the sliders until the best rendering is achieved. I use the above as a starting point for my Fuji files and then I move to my other regular settings under the Basic Panel. I go back and forth between panels to achieve the desired result. This is really nothing different than I do with my other files and now that I have the preset for importing the Fuji files, it isn’t difficult.

    Here is the Improve Photography video that helped me:


    Thank you Jim!

    Finally, below are both the JPEG and the RAW file after all of the processing in LR. I have to issue a disclaimer — I have been using LR for only a year or eighteen months and I am the first to admit that my skills are not that of an expert. I am just trying to pass along what I am learning in an effort to help others who can benefit from the information.





    I am satisfied that I have increased the detail rendered in my RAW files to match or surpass the Fuji-generated JPEGs, but I am not done yet!

    NOTE: If you want to delve a bit deeper into the extraction of fine detail from Fuji RAW files, I suggest you read SHARPENING X-TRANS FILES IN ADOBE LIGHTROOM. Pete Bridgwood has done a great service for the Fuji community by constructing a detailed procedure which I intend to use to help me modify the parameters set forth above. He offers a way to build several presets for landscape photography along with much background material and other ideas! It will be well worth your time if you are interested.

    Read more photography posts HERE

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    All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

    ©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



    Fuji X T-2: Making the Lens Cap

    Stay Put on the Kit Lens

    Some say TO-MATE-TO and some say TOM-AT-TOE so I guess it is whatever one is accustomed to that really counts; at least to them. I do a lot of hiking photography. You know the type – mountains, lakes, waterfalls, paths, bridges, streams, animals, etc. Because I am on the move a lot and the trails can be very dusty, I keep my lens cap on the lens when I am not actually taking photographs.

    There have been several times when I have had to backtrack on the trail to find my lens cap and one time, another hiker was kind enough to retrieve it for me when I didn’t realize right away that I had lost it. He had picked it up along the way and handed it to me!

    Do you like a tethered lens cap or do you prefer to have it totally removable?

    Since I want to take it off and replace it when done, I like to have it tethered because most lens caps/covers don’t stay on the lens that well. With all the technology and innovation taking place, one would figure this problem would have been solved by now.

    My new Fuji X T-2 does not have a tethered lens cap AND the lens cap does not easily stay put on my 18-55mm kit lens. Add the lens hood (more about that later) and it is even harder to get that cap to hunker down. I decided to do what I did with my Nikon D3300 and create my own tether.


    Fuji X T-2 lens cap

    Fuji X T-2 lens cap

    This is my procedure for attaching my lens cap so that it does not get lost:


    Supplies needed to tether the lens cap
    Supplies needed to tether the lens cap

    • Get some relatively thick black thread.
    • Take a piece of strong tape. I use tape that is designed to be put on metal chimney flues so you can understand that it has a rather strong adhesive and it can stand the heat! This is sometimes referred to as aluminum tape.


    Thick black thread attached to lens cap
    Thick black thread attached to lens cap with aluminum tape (silver)

    • I tape one end of the thread to the lens cap with the aluminum tape and then cover that silver tape with black electrical tape.


    Black electrician's tape is used to cover the silver foil tape
    Black electrician’s tape is used to cover the silver foil tape

    • I then tie the other end of the black thread to the strap loop.


    Thread is tied to strap loop

    NOTE – If you think you will want to remove the lens cap completely to attach a different sized filter, change lenses, etc., make a double strand (loop) with the thread and “loop it” through the strap. This way, the lens cap can easily be removed by backing it out of the loop when necessary.


    Thread is tied to strap loop
    Thread is tied to strap loop (red oval)

    Now when the cap is unleashed, it can hang by the side of the camera. I often hold it in my hand to keep it from swinging or being a distraction.

    X T-2 with tethered lens cap

    Lets talk about the lens hood. The lens hood is a pretty typical “tulip” type lens hood. It appears to be made of plastic. One would think that a professional level camera, even if ordered with the kit lens, would have a more robust lens hood. I would have paid a few dollars more for a better lens hood; just sayin’!

    My Nikon D3300 lens hood does not stay on the lens with much active use so I tethered that to the camera too. Here is what that looks like…


    Nikon D3300 with tethered lens hood

    So far the Fuji lens hood has remained relatively loyal to the lens and has not wiggled off errantly so I will leave it as is unless it becomes necessary to tether that as well.

    I am very happy with the X T-2 so don’t get me wrong. I am just modifying it to suit my particular photography style. You might or might not like to work that way. This just keeps me from lens cap hunting and enables me to keep my lenses as clean as possible through a day of hiking.

    I will talk about my first photographic experiments with the new Fuji X T-2, but since, in my previous post, I said I would share a picture, here is the first picture I took with the new X T-2; Explanation and discussion to follow in another post.


    First photo with my new Fuji X T-2

    UPDATE – Don’t be disappointed with your Fuji RAW files when imported into Lightroom. Read about the way to post process those images to bring out the color and detail Fuji X T-2: Improving LR Post Processing Process

    Read more photography posts HERE


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    All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

    ©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



    Photography: Fuji X-T2 Valuable Resource

    for Learning Your Way Around


    The Fuji X-T2

    For those who are following along, I have attended to unboxing my Fuji X-T2 and putting the strap and the lens on it. You can read about that experience HERE. One of the darnedest things about purchasing a new camera, is that you really shouldn’t try to just pop in the battery and start taking photographs even if you really do know what you are doing.

    Most manuals advise to fully charge the battery first so that is what I did. Now a fully discharged Fuji X-T2 with the new batteries (NP-W126s – highly recommended for the X T-2) takes about 2.5 hours. Yep, I plugged in the charger with the battery installed and waited to get going.

    So let me take this time to make a recommendation that I found to be a lifesaver for someone like me. What do I mean when I say: “Someone like me?” I am coming to the X T-2 from a background where I generally used primarily point-and-shoot cameras with the exception of my Nikon D3300. Don’t get me wrong, I truly like the Nikon, but it is really a beginner’s camera; nothing wrong with that. I am at the point now where I am looking to get more involved in manipulating the camera in multiple ways and spreading my creative wings.

    The Fuji X T-2 is, comparatively speaking, like going from a budget car to a Lexus (IMHO). The menus alone can be very overwhelming and the owner’s manual doesn’t give enough detail about what each option does or does not enable.

    What I decided to do was to purchase the eBook:The Complete Guide to Fujifilm’s X-T2 Amazon had the paper bound book for $50 USD and the eBook for approximately $15. USD. After having dropped a bundle on the camera, I decided to go with the eBook.


    The Complete Guide to Fujifilm's X-T2 - by Tony Phillips
    Cover photo courtesy of Tony Phillips via the linked website

    My Recommendation – Purchase eBook. It is well worth having. EBooks also make it easy to bookmark sections, highlight others and find the notations later!


    NOTE
    – My bad!! I previously listed the incorrect price for the printed book from the Tony Phillips website as I misread it. So I am modifying my original post to recommend the eBook as noted above. Thanks to one of the astute readers who pointed this out; sorry!

    [Edited – 8/29/17 – 8:30 AM ]

    Let me tell you what a “good guy” Tony is. With proof of purchase of the eBook, he will send you a spreadsheet with his list of settings for the X T-2. As you review the spreadsheet and the book Tony explains his rationale for his choice of settings. This is like learning at the Master’s knee.

    The settings are explained and cross-referenced to the appropriate section of the book. This alone is worth a lot as it takes users through the menus and saves bundles of time just getting the camera set up.

    If you get the eBook, Tony explains that it is difficult to get good graphic representations in an eBook (Kindle) as the photos and graphics tend to be on the small side. To remedy this, and with no extra cost to the customer, Tony will send a PDF copy of the book which is much more legible when it comes to viewing the diagrams, photos, etc. It is the best of both worlds.

    If that wasn’t good enough, Tony Phillips also offers his eBook Mastering Flash with Fujifilm X Cameras without additional cost. This was an unexpected and much appreciated bonus.


    Mastering Flash with Fujifilm X Cameras- by Tony Phillips
    Cover photo courtesy of Tony Phillips via the linked website

    Here was another issue I was able to resolve by learning about Tony’s website. Fuji has issued two firmware updates for the X T-2 and the book was printed before these updates were created and sent out to the world. At the above website, the addendum (which explains the details regarding these upgrades) can be purchased for a very reasonable $2.45 USD. How can you beat that?

    I bought it all and I was glad to do it. I sat down with my camera for more than an hour and worked my way through the spreadsheet and settings, stopping every once in a while to refer back to the book. I can’t tell you how many times I have opened that book to refer to something about the new camera and I have had it less than a week. I am sure it will have the requisite digital incarnation of dog ears before I am done.

    PLEASE NOTE – I haven’t been asked to write the above advice about the book. I am a former educator, school administrator and university instructor and I know the value of good learning materials. I receive no payment or any other remuneration for this recommendation. I am providing my honest opinion about a product I think will help many people like me, who are trying to “step up their photography game” with the X T-2.

    The information provided represents my experience at the time I made these purchase.

    You don’t have to take my word for it. If you have the Kindle App or a Kindle, Amazon will send you a sample from the book. Look at the TOC and the pages sent and I think you will see the benefits right away.

    BTW – Tony knows about other cameras too. Visit his website to see what else he has to offer.

    Next post about the X T-2, first shots and experience…

    UPDATE – Don’t be disappointed with your Fuji RAW files when imported into Lightroom. Read about the way to post process those images to bring out the color and detail Fuji X T-2: Improving LR Post Processing Process

    Read more photography posts HERE


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    All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

    ©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



    Photography: The Fuji X-T2 has arrived (Strap and Lens)


    The Fuji X-T2

    Hello JBRish readers. I have to say that my postings may be somewhat limited over the next several weeks as my new Fuji X-T2 camera has arrived and I am dedicating myself to learn how to use it.

    NOTE – My apologies to anyone who isn’t like me. I celebrate everyone who has a different learning style, but I am basically a concrete, sequential person. What that means is that I like to learn everything in a logical, step-by-step progression with details and with lots of reviewing. This is my story of how I am trying to improve my photography skills and learning how to use a professional level camera; the Fuji X T-2.

    There are so many unboxing videos for all types of cameras out there. I am going to skip that part and get right down to what I consider to be the “nitty gritty.”

    When you buy a modern digital camera, it really isn’t a camera. The word digital is the giveaway. It is a computer that takes pictures. One look at this piece of gear and you know you have something special in your hands. Something serious that demands your attention.

    It is easy to be overwhelmed and I thought that perhaps it would be difficult for me to get up and running quickly without assistance. Manufacturers don’t provide owner’s manuals that are very thorough. I am not complaining. I understand that the camera industry today is quite competitive and that everything is being done to cut costs. Still, we need to learn how to use the gear the best way we can. The Internet is a good resource, but it is spotty and doesn’t always have the information needed.

    Let me offer some words from one who has, as of now, been down the path before:

    • 1 – When you first get a new camera, unbox it in a clear area where everything can be laid out in front of you. There is usually a page in the owner’s manual that shows what is included in the box so take everything out of the package and review all items to make sure all the pieces are there.
    • 2 – Next, let’s talk about the camera strap! I generally don’t go in for fancy camera straps and I make do with the straps that come with the camera and use carabiners to keep things organized and to stop them from banging into each other. The strap that came with the X T-2 is a bit above par, but not exciting or extraordinary overall. If I decide later on that a different strap is needed, I will consider it at that point.

    Here is a picture from the manual describing the final two steps explaining how to attach the strap to the camera:


    Attach the camera strap
    Picture courtesy of Fuji X T-2 Camera Manual, v.2.10

    I may not be the smartest bulb on the tree (so to speak), but I really needed a bit more direction than the information in the manual to make sure that the strap is firmly and securely attached. Nobody wants their camera falling off of their body to go smashing to the ground.


    As an example:
    That piece of plastic in the middle (shown in the bottom frame), the one with the two square-ish sections with the bar in between appears to have “teeth” on one of the faces/sides when you are actually holding it. This doesn’t show in the picture. Do the “teeth” face inward or outward?

    I found the video below which presents a pictorial explanation. Truth must be told, I had to watch the video three times to get it done exactly as they explain!

    The next logical step after attaching the strap might be to attach the lens.

    Here is the picture and description from the manual:


    Attach the lens to the camera

    Picture courtesy of Fuji X T-2 Camera Manual, v.2.10

    The marks” to which they refer really cannot be seen well unless both the camera body cap and the rear cap from the lens are removed. Then, you need to line up the red dots and twist the the lens until you hear the click. It is not easy to discern the precise position using the graphics in the owners manual (IMHO).

    One reason why users want to do this quickly is to prevent dust form getting on the sensor and thus leaving spots on the images. Do this in as dust-free environment as possible.

    This was only the first few steps in getting started. We aren’t quite at the point where we get to take some pictures, at least not yet.

    The story will continue…

    To read more JBRish photography posts, click HERE!


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    All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

    ©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



    Finding and Developing

    Your Artistic Genius and Vision


    “The Earth has a soul. I record the moments when it expresses itself in ways that move me.”
    — Karen Hutton —
    Photograph by Jeffrey B. Ross

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    For those who have followed my photography posts, I have some information you may find of interest and motivational. In any creative endeavor there are several factors involved. I would like to quickly address just two of them.

    Tools of the Trade – If you are a musician, sculptor, quilter, painter, stain glass artisan, etc., you understand that there are tools you will need to be successful. Having the correct tools, however is only a start.

    You could place a piano in front of me, even the best, most expensive piano available, and I would not be able to play it. I might be able to learn to play it eventually, but I couldn’t do it on my own. I don’t know the difference between the white keys and the black keys. I am aware that there are pedals on the base of the instrument, but I don’t have the faintest idea of what they do.

    You could cajole me, bribe me or threaten me, but no matter what, I just couldn’t do it. That is because I haven’t learned the tools of the trade. I haven’t learned how to apply and use the means of the craft.

    The first essential element for any creator, therefore, is to completely understand the tools required and how to use each one of them to their fullest. That is perhaps why Malcom Gladwell in his book Outliers, suggested that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice would be necessary to achieve expertise. There is much argument about the number of hours and how Gladwell derived this theory, but suffice it to say that much practice and study would be needed to become an acknowledged expert in one of the arts. And much of those hours would be practicing to effectively use the tools and potentially even inventing new ways of applying them.

    Vision – This, in my opinion, can be the more difficult part. Many art students begin by copying the drawings and paintings of the masters and after some time, they become proficient, almost perfect copiers. This, however, does not make them an artist.

    To become an artist, one must develop their own unique vision of the world. Once that vision is understood and realized, then it is time to take the tools of the trade and apply them to create their style through their art so the world can appreciate, recognize and enjoy their craft and unique signature.

    If this has piqued your curiosity and you are interested in photography or any creative endeavor, then let me suggest you follow Karen Hutton’s series “The Everyday Genius of Your Artist’s Voice.” I admire Karen and I have been following her blog for a while. I find her posts very motivating and insightful. Some of the concepts will be “fuzzy” at first until you have tried to apply them to your own creative universe. After you begin to apply them and really think hard about them, the clarity should evolve.

    While Karen focuses on the vision and art of photography, the same advice can be applied to most creative undertakings. Once you get to her blog, you will realize how diverse her background is and why she is able to guide people through this process.

    I will make it easy to get started. All you have to do is follow these links to the first set of articles in the series. Once at her site, subscribe and you will receive the rest.


    The Everyday Genius of Your Artist’s Voice: Part 1


    The Everyday Genius of Your Artist’s Voice: Part 2, Preparation


    The Everyday Genius of Your Artist’s Voice: Part 3, Appearance


    The Everyday Genius of Your Artistic Voice: Q&A


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    All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

    ©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017


    Photography: What Was Old Is New Again

    I have to confess that I am a bit of a hoarder. If you asked my wife perhaps she would snicker at the phrase “a bit.” This trend carries over to my digital life, but let me jump in here to profess that it isn’t all bad either.

    In going through some of my old, make that ancient, photographs taken with cameras that were considered nearstate-of-the-art when four or five megapixels was considered good resolution, I came across photos that could be enhanced these many years later with the available technology. Yes, Lightroom (Lr) and Photoshop (Ps) can help breathe new life into old images.

    Just examine this ho-hum photograph, for example, taken with a Canon PowerShot AS590 IS. There really is very little saturation and contrast. It is a nice scenes and the composition is fine, but it is rather flat and dull.



    Bringing the same picture into Lr to add a bit of contrast, bring out the shadows, enhance some of the colors, etc. provided more of the feel I remembered from the experience.



    One element in the photograph above that I find problematic is that big white cloud in the upper-right. It has a tendency to draw the eye away from the focal point of the river extending into the mountains.

    Now understand I am not a Ps expert. As a matter of fact, I have only been using Ps for a couple of months. I gladly bought an online course from one of the photographers I follow and it covered everything from beginning to end. I realized that some of my photographs didn’t render the way I saw the scene and I also wanted to extend my creativity.

    So…into Ps, the picture went and I reduced the size of the cloud to make it look as natural as possible with my current skill set. Is this an award winner? I don’t think so, but it is a way for me to present it at its best. I equate this to putting on the last touches before going out on an important date. Let’s all take opportunities to look our best.




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    Metadata

    File Name: 8673.jpg
    Capture time: 10:19:27 AM
    Capture date: August 16, 2012
    Exposure: 1/500 sec @ f/4.0
    Focal Length: 5.8mm
    ISO: 80
    Canon PowerShot AS590 IS


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    Readers of JBRish probably enjoy my daily quotes and here is one that sums up the idea behind this post:

    “Creativity is making marvelous out of the discarded.” – Unknown

    Have you had this experience, i.e. making something good out of an item targeted be discarded? Why not share in the comment section?


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    All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

    ©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



    My Computer’s Near Death Experience

    – Part 3 –

    If you missed the first two parts of this series, you can read it at these links:

    My Computer’s Near Death Experience – Part 1

    My Computer’s Near Death Experience – Part 2


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    At this point in the saga, my computer’s hard drive has been repaired and I have restored a number of files including all of my music. Now the rest of the story…

    I was more nervous about my photographs. These are very important to me as they go back years and hold so much history as well as much of my work from my photography hobby. A couple of days later, I worked up the courage and began the restore process overnight. Now I am a very conservative person in such matters so before I began to restore the encrypted files from the Crashplan (CP) backup drive, I copied the CP file to the new internal Mac hard drive so I had a backup of the backup; just in case. This isn’t so weird when you realize a good portion of your digital and/or recreational life resides on a small device represented by a series of bits and bytes!

    I was pleased the next morning to learn that all my photographs had been saved and were safely restored. I now had to place them in the correct folders on the hard drive so they would be recognized by my photography software. This was not easy and I had to do some research along with trial-and-error, but I was successful. I was glad to learn that only a few of my most recent edits were missing. All my files and photographs appeared to be there. The edits and revisions can be recreated if needed.

    I realize that I dodged a bullet and this situation could have been much worse.

    ***** Lessons Learned *****


    Positive:

    • I was well aware and appreciated a need for a backup of my computer files because they represented important aspects of my life.
    • I had taken several actions necessary to insure my files would be available if needed. I had two copies, one old, and one slightly old, of my most precious files – music and photographs.
    • I did not ignore my need for a backup when my original backup failed. I used Crashplan to make a backup of my hard drive. It was free, it was time-consuming to configure, but it saved the day.
    • I tested the recoverability of the files after I decided to use CP’s backup storage system to make sure it worked..and it did.
    • I called support and interfaced with them via email to assure they would be attentive to my needs…and they were.

    Negative:

    • I procrastinated too long in re-establishing my Time Machine backup system.
    • As I understand it, this would have provided a plug-and-play solution for my problem and I would most likely not have had any data loss.
    • I should have made a more recent, raw backup of all my data files so I wouldn’t lose any data. This was not critical, but annoying.

    Overall Lessons Learned:

    • Some of the missing files and data could be recovered by filtering emails to download certain documents and information. This was an especially important process I followed to recover data going back to 2009 that was important to one of my hobbies. Having email copies and archiving those emails saved the day for this project.
    • I am now studying a more effective and efficient backup system that will have redundancy and flexibility. BTW, I also tried iDrive via a 90% off offer, but their cloud backup would have taken just as long. I believe leaving my computer running for days on end trying to backup to the cloud caused, at least in part, my initial hard drive failure. I am not currently using a cloud service.
    • What I am now doing is making two backups of all my data and using Time Machine over two hard drives. From time-to-time I bring one of my two backups to a friend’s house to cover me in the event of total disaster. That’s the best I can do and I am happy with it.
    • I have learned of a good service for helping resolve my technology issues which thankfully have been few and far between.


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    All content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

    ©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017


    My Computer’s Near Death Experience

    – Part 2 –

    If you missed the first part of this series, you can read it at this link:

    My Computer’s Near Death Experience – Part 1

    I packed my ailing Mac into the car and off to the Apple Store we went. I had called Apple’s corporate support team and tried to get them to help me arrange support. They interfaced with one of the local Apple stores in Scottsdale, AZ to determine that if I could get there within forty minutes, there was a chance they could look at my computer. There was no guarantee as they were booked with appointments, but there weren’t too many walk-ins so I might have some luck.

    A half hour later I was at the Apple Store. Oh, no, my Mac was too old! Apple no longer supported repair for my five-year-old iMac. It was legacy and it wasn’t worthy! The Apple employee offered an alternative authorized repair shop that wasn’t too far away. It was rush hour which is quite an experience in this area of Scottsdale/Phoenix, but I was on a mission.

    I was headed to MACMEDIA, INC., 6928 E 5th Ave #1, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

    Another forty minutes and I was carrying the seat of all my creative endeavors in to the repair shop. The staff was busy with other customers, but made me feel welcome and relaxed. I walked around the store and then settled in to listen to the conversations going on around me. I could tell by the manner in which the staff was interacting with the other customers and by the conversation that I was, indeed, at the proper place for what was ailing my computer.

    Sure enough within a half hour or so, they confirmed my suspicion that the computer could not be immediately recovered and that the fix was not going to be quick. There was a $95 Diagnostic fee which would be applied to any repair if I decided to proceed.; and I did.

    I received a call later that afternoon indicating that indeed it was my hard drive. The options, I was told were that they could replace my 1 TB drive with another for a total of $270 +/- OR…I could get a 2TB hard drive for just thirty dollars more. With the 2TB model would come an upgrade to the very latest system software as well. I had to think hard about that wrinkle, but decided to go ahead with it as they recommended. BTW, not all my legacy apps are running perfectly with the new system, but good enough!

    The machine was ready for pickup the next day. The hard drive had a three year warranty and the labor was covered for thirty days. I thought the 30 days was a bit on the short side, but it is within industry standards.

    Now came the dicey part. I was hesitant to even try this, but I had to get my Firefox (web browser) up and running and then I needed to try to restore the file with all of my passwords. I was hoping that Crashplan’s (CP) local backup had copied it and I was strongly hoping that it could be restored. Remember that I did try to restore a couple of files and had success so I was optimistic.

    I plugged in the CP local backup drive, used the CP software to locate the file I needed and selected RESTORE. A few minutes later, Voila! The file was restored. The keys to the kingdom were back in my pocket and I was on my way.

    I now had access to all my passwords and my main email accounts. Once again, I relied on CP’s staff to help me answer a few questions about restoring my files. Understand, this was not a clone of my computer. I just had my files in organized folders which I then had to copy on to the new hard drive. While I would rather not have had this experience, I used it to eliminate some of the detritus that lives on any computer that is more than a year old. I deleted some very old outdated files.

    The first restoration I made was of my documents folder. After a while I could tell that most of the files were recovered. There were a few I couldn’t locate immediately, but later were found via a system level search for file name and properties. Sadly, there were a few folders and files that didn’t make it to the complete backup and are now gone, but these were not essential and can certainly be recreated or replaced anew.

    The first major test was to restore my music files. That took quite a while. I let my computer run overnight and I was pleased the next day to see that all of my music was there!

    To read Part 1 of this series, follow this link: My Computer’s Near Death Experience – Part 1


    <--- TO BE CONTINUED --->

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    All content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

    ©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017