A Brief Hiatus

First off a thank you to the people that sent me an email asking what’s up regarding the lack of posts. Kinda reminded me of Escape From New York.

Snake Pliskin? I thought you were dead.

I’m alive and kickin’. The screenshot at the top represents images I almost exactly a year ago, there was that story. Accidentally, I shot the same person in a similar way with a 50mm lens for the actual speedlight workshop demo shot. Not the plan but just how it worked out. Always good to reflect on things with some perspective. The break in posts was due in large part by my first time participating in NaNoWriMo. I’ll summarize for those not familiar with that exercise; Write a novel in a month. I won. Wrapping up well before the midnight November 30th deadline at around 70,000 words. Not great words but good enough. I really didn’t have the energy to meet the grueling schedule and post photo related rants during November. Maybe I did have the energy but I somehow thought mixing the two writing endeavors would jinks me.

You might ask something like “What about December RB, what about that?”. Short answer. I took a break, 70K took a bit out of me. I needed time to think, just think with no agenda to write something about my thoughts. About a week ago I got the hankering to post some photo related things. So here it is, the first post in almost two months and maybe the last post of the year. How about a random mish-mash of unrelated topics? Sound good?

Category: Nikon D750

I was right. I think I was right at least — has to count for something. The street price of the Nikon D750 has settled in at a little less than two grand for now. Everyone knew that so what. The best thing about it is what that did to the prices of brand new D610’s, crazy cheap for the same basic camera. The best thing about that? Of course the idiotically low bargain prices of used D600 cameras. If you’ve got all the cash in the world go ahead, buy any camera you want. Not so much cash and the paranoid type — grab a D610. More of a shooter and not so paranoid about phantom non-issues and have no cash? The D600 is calling your name. Especially if you’ve been hankering for some full-frame goodness for a long time.

There was one thing I was factually wrong about but conceptually correct — at least for real world photography and not armchair quarterbacking kind of photography; The D750 autofocus sensor. I assumed it would be the same as the D4/D4s/D800/D810/etc. Nope, it’s got less frame coverage. Here’s a handy dandy graphic I stole from another site instead of making one myself for illustration.

Above we’re looking at the Nikon pro 51 point AF pattern in gray overlaid with the D750 focus pattern in black. Now take a look at this…

What you see ladies and gentlemen is the D7000/D600/D610/Df sensor pattern on top of the D750. My point? the difference between the coverage of the “pro” and not-so-pro pattern of a D4 vs a D600 is not too meaningful in real world use. Why? Because they are both too center weighted the difference is a nit unlikely to influence any real picture taking situation. For example — in the shots at the top shot really close with my Nikon 105 DC.

Here’s the really funny part — I assumed the D750 would get Nikon’s best part. It didn’t, instead it got a new part that has almost identical coverage (especially in the vertical height — important) but a new fancy 51 point number to slather about for marketing. My advice, get on with taking pictures and stop measurebating. Why’s this funny, really funny? Because of all the guff the D600/D610/Df has taken for the AF sensor part Nikon put used. Hey change the marketing numbers — as in use the numbers 51 and slap on a seven instead of a six implying that it’s a next-gen D700 and everyone’s reviews and opinions change. More evidence? How about lack of dedicated AE lock vs AF lock — D600 gets flack, D750 same controls — nope, not a peep. Same goes for the rest of the “non-pro” controls. Funny stuff.

The D750 is more along the lines of a D620 or D650 if using logic vs marketing as a guide to numbering. Or more specifically using typical historic BMW kind of numbering it would be like slapping different wheels on a 325 and calling it a 725Ci. Don’t take that wrong, they are all great cameras. I’m not at all criticizing or complaining about any feature or nit on the D750. I’m poking fun at the reviewers that are making night/day comparisons between three of the same cameras. Me — I’ll take the cheap one unless of course I spend all day using live-view with the camera mounted on a tripod that’s really, really low. In that case the flippy screen would be nice.

Category: Projects and Finishing Them

I’ve mentioned that I have a couple of long term projects in progress. No deadlines, no pressure, for my purposes letting them evolve is good for me. I make progress as I can and opportunity presents itself. On the other hand I’ve had a hankering to produce something that’s finished — done, done, done for a few months. Instead of taking one of those longer-term projects and just declaring it done I did something else. Staring in March of 2014 I tripped into a kind of whacky mini-gig shooting things I’ve not shot before. While doing it for the shear reason of “why not” and “nothing better to do anyway”.

During the course of shooting I was intrigued and surprised. I learned a few things I already knew but from was surprised because I came upon those things from a completely different direction. Sort of like when you take a road not taken before and you are shocked that it leads to a destination you’re familiar with but would have never guessed that road would take you there. Yes, very abstract and general — more on the specifics later.

Short version. I decided a short way into the temporary gig to do an offshoot project with the notion of being done-done in 2014. I’m almost there. Shooting is done, edits done, image treatment done. Last thing — produce the products and prints that will be the output. Truthfully I might not get those out and done before 2015 hits but I’ll be close. Want a limited preview? Actually a really crappy preview compared to the prints? Look below for a download link but I’m only keeping it live for a few days. Consider it a beta-test as I’ve already done an alpha-test with a diverse group of people both male and female. This beta-test is without incorporating any of their feedback. I’m putting it out there hoping to generate some additional comments and suggestions before ripping off my final prints.

Before you go download it you need some context as to what the download is, where it’s going, and most importantly knowing that it’s a small single session of work-product that I use myself to decide on final prints/image selection.

  • It’s NSFW for sure. That’s fair warning.
  • The download is a huge PDF. It’s optimized to print 13” x 19’ pages at full print quality. That’s how I use these proof-books, I print them full scale. The grain and treatment is not optimized for 100DPI screen viewing it’s optimized for retina or better yet high resolution print on paper viewing.
  • The purpose of these proof-books is for me to select which images from each session will make it to final large prints. I have 17 of these proof-books each of a different session I shot for this project. I’ll print five or ten prints from each of them. Still a lot of prints, a hell of a lot of them.
  • The arrangement of images in terms of layout is not for general consumption it’s my own semi-strange system of looking at them to decide which ones are the ones I really want to print large. They are arranged generally so that the larger images are the ones I’m leaning towards with the smaller ones alternates that I like too.
  • View them in a PDF viewer as “2-up” spreads. That’s how I look at them on paper. Important.

One more thing on the 2014 project done thing. The output — as in the final delivery products. Here’s what I have mind.

  • Somewhere around 50 large prints with some venue where I will show them. I have a couple in mind. That comes after I print them.
  • A book, both e-book and print on demand with 100 or so images. This represents and extended version of the display prints.
  • Small scale prints. A box of 10 or 12 from each session/proof-book. Right now I’m looking at 13x19 paper with 9x13 images printed on them. I like prints so much I’ll price these to cover costs so they’ll be high quality but low cost.
  • Finally, the proof books. Just eBook versions. Not exactly like the preview download which is what I use but very close. Optimized for screen viewing as well as producing nice prints if one chooses. The big thing would be a change in layout vs the layout I use. This is the consistent feedback I received so far.

Here’s a sample spread so you know what you’re wasting bandwidth on…

With no further delay here’s the download. Would love to get some additional feedback before I let the rest of it rip on the treatment or anything else that crosses your mind. Feel free to leave comments here or email me.

What’s Up For 2015

Hopefully the Apple photo ecosystem will be moving towards where I think it might be moving. Photo.app for the Mac platform, tons of third-party non-destructive add-in’s, images everywhere all the time etc. Maybe even RAW processing on iOS. Wouldn’t it be great to use an iPad as your travel/field device and be good with that? It’s coming, just don’t know when. If there’s any doubt take a look at where Apple’s gone with the A6, A7, and now A8 chips. Take a look at the new photo API’s. Will 2015 be the year of not giving a hoot about the nitty-gritty of photo storage, processing, etc? I hope so.

Even if 2015 is not that year I’ll be tracking with it and attempting to be out there with just a small camera, a few primes, and an iPad. I’ll be sharing how it goes with all the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hell I may even chuck a few plug-in’s/apps into the mix. Oh yeah, forgot, another reason I’ve not posted much. I’ve been playing with all the new photo API’s in OS X and iOS building shitty apps just for test purposes. Neat stuff.

Have a great holiday season

RB

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