Back in Action

It’s been a while. Too long. A variety of things contributed to my extended absence. The biggest was an unexpected move from one end of the city to the other. This consumed significantly more time than I expected, and I’m still not quite finished yet. In order to secure the new house, we accepted a very long close at the end of June 2017. That said, the crazy parts of finding a house, buying it, staging our current house, selling it, then finding a place to rent for six months have all been taken care of, so I should be able to get back to some sense of normalcy. Plus, both the rental property and the new house will have a dedicated studio space (as opposed to the corner of the basement I currently work in) and that should hasten my ability to test gear and produce content substantially. I am very excited about this.

The other issue is backorders. I still don’t have my copy of the X-T2 and XF23mm F2. I had the opportunity to try the X-T2 a few months back, and used it a fair bit, but not enough for me to feel comfortable doing one of my typical handling reviews. That, and a comparison of Fuji’s 23mm offerings will come as soon as possible.

Finally, the move put a severe damper on my ability to get through the photos from my trip, and get that photographic workflow I mentioned sorted, I’m only now getting through both of those things. I’ve been eager to share images from my trip, and will do so soon.

Man, it’s good to be writing again.

About the Image 1

X-T1 + XF10-24mm F4 at 10mm
10-stop ND filter
30 sec. at f/8, ISO 200
Really Right Stuff TQC-14 tripod, BH-30 Compact Ballhead, and L-Plate

This is image was captured a little over two years ago right near where I will soon be living. Torontonians will likely recognize it immediately.

The 10-stop neutral density filter resulted a huge amount of vignetting that I think adds to the image, as well as a warmish colour cast that B+W ND filters are known (notorious?) for. I’ve since switched to Breakthrough Photography for all my neutral density needs. I knocked the blacks down to emphasize the falloff and mood, bumped the Clarity and Vibrance a little in the sky, and removed some of the larger distracting pebbles in Photoshop.

I chose JPEG as my starting point on this image, having captured both JPEG and RAF. I still can’t get acceptably sharp images out of Lightroom when processing X-Trans II and earlier RAFs. When I shot this, I was still testing out the in-camera Sharpness settings, and had them set to high then, resulting in some sharpening halos around the fine detail. Fortunately, downsampling the image for the site all but reduces the halos significantly, as seen on the retina display. Moral of that story, I wouldn’t advise shooting beyond the default sharpness settings on JPEGs you have any intention of doing post work on.

Aesthetically, I like how the swirling in the clouds, the lines of the boats and the dock, and the elliptical inlet work together, and the wide angle works with the pebbly sand to draw the eye to the Lifeguard Station.

  1. One sensible piece of constructive criticism I once received about this site was that I don’t include enough actual photos captured by the equipment I review on a technical level. It’s a fair criticism. My intention was always to include more example photos in the reviews of lenses, but I have fallen short on getting those review posted.

    This image is the start of my attempt to add more example images that will hopefully be mostly relevant to the written content, with a quick blurb on how it was created. Please don’t hesitate if this is something you’d like to see more or less of.