Can it be?


It has been a good 8 months since I last picked up my 8×10 Zone VI film camera, so I sold it and the lenses I had for the camera.

I am sizing down and reducing the weight I carry around on my trips.  The largest film I will continue to work with is 4×5.

At the same time, I have fully invested in the #Fujifilm X format , with 3 bodies including the new#XX-T1 and several lenses.  I am very impressed with the files and CaptureOne’s handling of the color space.  The latest addition to the X series will be a game changer for the big guys like Nikon.  I can see no reason why I need to lug around 60 pounds instead of 12 pounds of camera gear, lenses, filters, meters, and lights.

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Metz 58 AF 1 or 2 review


For  a couple of decades I have been a Metz flash fan.  The consistency of the light produced by the mecablitz is unparalleled.

Unfortunately I never took the plunge from the monstrous flashgun (mecablitz 76 MZ5 digital being the last one) to the more manageable hot shoe mount.

This past weekend I finally got myself a new in the box 58 AF-1 that was already phased out 2-years ago.

I never expected the smaller hot shoe mount to perform the same way as the big gun, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the beautiful and very consistent light.

The secret of both units is their dual reflectors. The large reflector that you can swivel to bounce the light, and a much smaller reflector in the base of the unit.  The latter is the key to incredible portraits or event shots.

I always use a bounce card or more recently the large Rogue FlashBender to soften the light directed on my subject.  The issue that always required some time in post-processing was the weird “raccoon-like”shadows under the eyes caused by the light coming from above.

Metz has had that second reflector on their flash for a couple of decades at least, and when set at its lowest power, provides wonderful and even illumination on the face of my subject(s).

For the past few years I have had a 3/4 CTO filter taped over the secondary reflector to make that direct light a bit warmer than the 5600K of the flash unit.

Doing the same on the small unit works just as good, and makes the faces appear a bit warmer.

The Metz 58 is priced well below the Nikon SB910 (and I presume the Canon equivalent). The only difference between the 1 and 2 is the mounting foot; it is plastic on #1 and metal on #2. Internally the guts are the same.  What is surprising is that the 58 AF-1 is still being sold at close to its original retail price some years after it was replaced by the new 58 AF-2 .

I am now retiring my 76 for the 58.

I always felt like apologizing for the huge camera that really wasn’t.  My Leica M9 and D800E were often a small attachment to this flashgun! Metz manufactures a simple SLA adapter base to allow true TTL operation with just about any camera.

The Metz 58AF-1 and 2 both work through the camera’s TTL and high speed sync systems, and can be switched from full power to 1/64th power (+3 to -3) in 1/3rd stops. I am looking for a few more and will then have completely switched from Nikon light to Metz.

If you are considering a new flash for your camera, I would highly recommend you try out the Metz series of lights. You cannot go wrong.

Reflections


When photographing landscapes or cityscapes our brain tends to quickly eliminate any repeating patterns after a quick glance of  patterns.

A hedge, a hay field, a row Aspens, windows in a skyscraper.  As long as this pattern is of the same color and goes in the same direction, the brain stores the information and allows you to focus on the main subject – usually something that contrasts the “pattern”.

One way to keep the viewer’s attention on the image is by throwing off the brain by having a repeating pattern that does not make sense. My favorite way of doing this is to photograph reflections of the pattern or to pan the camera in the direction of the energy in the image.

Here, Aspens and a clear blue sky are being reflected off a lake.  It was a windy day, so I added a 4-stop ND filter to allow for longer exposure that would neutralize the waves into a “flat” surface.

Although these are “normal” patterns, the eye stops for a moment because the “upside-down” trees. This is not a normal occurrence so the brain needs to process the photo.  You have now captured your audience!

Reflections on North Lake, CA

Reflections of Aspens

 

In this image, I used a small aperture to allow for a 1/30 exposure.  The waves were coming from left to right, and I began by panning in the same direction. While turning at the hip at the moment I had a steady motion, I clicked the shutter.

Try something different!  Sometimes the results will surprise you!

Alliance Airport and Sushi


In case you are heading to the Alliance Airport this weekend, go and try Queens Chinese and Sushi in Haslet just a few miles from the Alliance runway.
The new owner has been a sushi chef since high school and is incredibly artisitc and prepares some incredibly fresh and well portioned sushi and sashimi.

Spicy Tuna Hand Roll

Perfectly spiced tuna in a hand roll.

Duke and his Father

Duke and his Father

Smoked Eel and Salmon Sashimi