Follow Elvis
Monday
May162011

Elvis' Friend - Roy G. Biv

Roy. G. Biv is one of Elvis' best friends.  You can see Roy G. Biv in the picture below.

Roy G. Biv loves the rainbow.  In fact, his name is made up of the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.  

Whenever Elvis see his friend he likes to take a picture of him.  All of the colors of the rainbow and they're all in the photograph.  A photograph of Elvis' friend, Roy G. Biv.

Made with a Nikon D3s and a Nikon 14-24 lens.  HDR sequence at f/5.6 and ISO 200.

Saturday
May142011

Review: Leica X1 and FujiFilm X100 

The Leica X1 and FujiFilm X100 cameras represent the state-of-the-art in large sensor, small body cameras.  You could spend hours delving into the owner's manuals to pick out all of the various (and minor) differences.  Or you could do what Elvis did and focus on the things these two cameras have in common.  Turns out, and this is good news, that the things the X1 and X100 have in common are some of the most important aspects when selecting a camera.  Image quality, size, weight, ease of use.

Cameras are compromises.  Get this feature or function but give up some size and weight.  Give up this feature or function but gain some ease of use.  The challenge is finding the right balance.  Elvis thinks Leica and Fuji have hit homeruns with the X1 and the X100.  They are both very fine examples of thoughtful design and construction.  They are different to be sure, but in the important things they are very similar.

The experience out shooting with these cameras is simply terrific.  Small, quiet and unobtrusive.  Easy to pull out of a pocket, take a photograph and slip back into the pocket.  They both exude that quality feeling.  It's a pure tactile, audible and optical pleasure to work with either the X1 or the X100.

The X1 is elegant.  The X100 is robust.

The Leica X1 easy and intuitive and does one thing very well - it takes high quality photographs.  The Fuji X100 has many more features but requires more time and attention to get high quality photographs.

The X1 will take you about 10 minutes to set up and understand.  30 minutes of trying different settings and you'll have it mastered.  Stop over-thinking and worrying about the device and just go out and photograph.  Day after day, year after year.  Your reward will be threefold;

  1. It's small enough to have with you all of the time, no more excuses about size and weight. 
  2. It's ready and set whenever you are. 
  3. The image quality will be of the highest standard.

The X100 will take you about an hour to set up and understand - and perhaps 30 days of tinkering with the numerous settings to master.  You'll need to be thoughtful whenever you head out to shoot because there are many settings that you may have changed the last time you were out.  Your reward will be threefold;

  1. It's small enough to take with you everywhere, no more excuses about size and weight. 
  2. The variety of shooting options plus a video mode will have you ready for any situation. 
  3. The image quality will be of the highest standard.

The choice is really very simple: If you want a small, easy and elegant camera that is big on image quality, and that's it, get yourself a Leica X1.  If you want a small, robust camera that is big on image quality and has lots of features, including video, but requires more time and attention, get yourself an X100.  See, it's simple!

Thursday
May122011

Your Own Backyard

Beauty can be found in your own backyard.  

You don't need to travel far and wide to find things that are beautiful.  Sure, the Rocky Mountains are majestic and the Pacific Ocean is amazing.  Those types of vistas are in-your-face and will grab you right away.

But what's the challenge in that?  That's like shooting fish in a barrel.  No challenge.  Anyone can take a beautiful picture in an obviously beautiful place.

Look at this barnyard.  Not dynamic like the mountains, but calming and pastoral.  Take a closer look at the barn and other buildings, and that silo.  All made by hand.  The stone wall laid stone by stone with stones taken from the nearby field.  The wood measured, cut and nailed in place board by board, with wood from trees cut from this very yard.  Count the rings on the silo.  There are seven.  Cement mixed by hand and poured in the mold at ground level.  Let dry, move mold up, repeat.  Six times.  

This backyard is a real work of art.  It's beautiful.  Click on the image to enlarge for the full effect.

Made with a Nikon D3s and a Nikon 14-24 lens.  HDR set at f/5.6 and ISO 200.

Wednesday
May112011

Review: iPad Camera Connection Kit for CF Cards

The CF Card Reader for iPad and iPad 2 from the M.I.C. Store looked to be a great solution for people who work with cameras that use compact flash ("CF") cards.  Read on to discover why it isn't.

The current method of getting photos from camera to iPad if using CF cards is by connecting your camera to the iPad via a USB cable and Apple's Camera Connection Kit with USB port.  Elvis finds that this method works adequately but it can drain some camera battery power, you need to haul around a USB cable (although it has multiple uses and you have one in your bag anyway) and you can't leave your camera at home or back in the hotel room if you're hoping to get some photographic work done at the coffee shop, or at work, or on a plane, etc.

So Elvis had high hopes when he placed his order for the new iPad dongle from the M.I.C. store.  Not only does if have a CF slot, it also has a USB slot, which is useful for attaching other accessories.  The price was $36.50 with shipping (US dollars).

The kit shipped from Hong Kong and Elvis waited three and a half weeks between order and delivery.  And the news gets worse.  The connection kit was able to transfer files from a CF card to the iPad only once in 25 attempts.  Elvis tried with currently available Lexar and SanDisk CF cards.

The usual result was a "Contents Unavailable" error with this ominous footnote: "The connected storage media may be damaged".  Does that mean the iPad thinks the media may have been damaged prior to connection?  Or that it may be damaged as a result of the connection?

Other times the iPad reset itself, which is never a good sign.  To avoid damaging his iPad, the CF cards, or both - Elvis stopped the madness after 25 attempts.

Elvis was able to verify that the CF cards indeed worked fine via the camera-USB-iPad connection and via the CF reader to computer methods.  The cards were fine, the iPad was fine.  It was the connection kit that caused the trouble.

Elvis' hopes for a good solution when using compact flash cards and an iPad were dashed.

Elvis' rating of the CF Card Reader for iPad and iPad 2 from the M.I.C. Store?  Avoid.

Tuesday
May102011

Grumpy

Spring has finally arrived in the upper midwest of the USA and Elvis is out of his grumpy mood.  Wow!  That was a long winter.  Now Elvis can get to doing what Elvis loves doing - making photographs.

Warm temperatures, long days, colorful scenes everywhere...  Elvis is happy.  You should be happy too!

Not like the guy in the picture below.  Elvis saw him at a kiosk on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  Grumpy was selling various patches from the military.  Or rather, he had stuff for sale but Elvis thinks that the guy's foul mood probably depressed sales a bit.  Made for a good portrait though.

Elvis asked to take his portrait.  The guy made no motion of approval or disapproval.  So Elvis took a quick snap and made for the hills.  It's never easy to take pictures of strangers but the effort often results in a good, or at least interesting portrait.

Spring has finally arrived in the upper midwest of the USA and Elvis is out of his grumpy mood.  Wow!  That was a long winter.Now Elvis can get to doing what Elvis loves doing - making photographs.Warm temperatures, long days, colorful scenes everywhere...  Elvis is happy.  You should be happy too!Not like the guy in the picture below.  Elvis saw him at a kiosk on the Mall in Washington, D.C.  Grumpy was selling various patches from the military.  Or rather, he had stuff for sale but Elvis thinks that the guy's foul mood probably depressed sales a bit.  Made for a good portrait though.Elvis asked to take his portrait.  The guy made no motion of approval or disapproval.  So Elvis took a quick snap and made for the hills.  It's never easy to take pictures of strangers but the effort often results in a good, or at least interesting portrait.Made with a Nikon D2x.For more go to www.elviskennedy.com

Made with a Nikon D2x.