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John Merlin Williams
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Don't make this too complicated. Hi Mike. I see a lot of "this is what I do" that is too complex for your needs. A sufficient simple solution will get you miles ahead of where you are and be easy to understand and use. 1) Buy one 2TB external hard drive with a USB connection: the "WD 2TB Elements Portable USB 3.0 External Hard Drive", is on sale now at B&H for $61.99. 2) Use the in-built Mac "Time Machine" utility for backups (set it up in "System Preferences") and set for automatic backups. 3) Leave the hard drive on - it will back up hourly and save daily, weekly, and monthly collections. No thinking or planning required. For the "ultimate" in safety, buy two of the above drives and keep both connected. If you don't have enough USB ports on your mac-mini get a simple USB dock: "TRENDnet 4-Port USB 3.0 Mini Hub", $17.99 at B&H will be fine. Really, this is sufficient. Notes: You do not need the speed (= expense) of an SSD for backups. Unless you have a gigabit internet service, an online (in the cloud) solution would take several weeks of continuous connection to make one copy - hours to do an incremental backup. John Merlin Williams
Hi Mike; A gentle reminder from "Weigh In", Friday, 23 February 2018: "I should have explained (again) that the thing I'm looking for that I don't have now is in-body image stabilization (IBIS)... I shoot in low light a lot, and it's a non-negotiable feature for me in the next go-round." We all evolve based on experience, which is a good thing (as is said: "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement"). I think I've read this in your posts on a regular basis - but also glad to see you exploring, experimenting, evolving. It will help keep you young. [Yes, as I said, the Sigma's lack of IBIS is a serious drawback. --Mike]
When in conversation about the merits of money - having too little, just enough, or plenty of it - someone I worked for observed, "Money/riches/wealth gives you options." He also advised (especially appropriate in these times), "Never waste a good crisis."
Mike, Please, consider more Book Reviews! I'm sure you would bring a new, enjoyable, and unconventional narrative, to lens evaluation. But for me, I find your posts on photography books and related arts to be unique in their frequency (especially with the new "Book o' the Week"), the quality of the books selected, and your commentary. I find myself heading to the library or the bookshop/online sources for a good many of the books I find here, including those suggested by TOP readers. If you could just do one new (photo-related) thing in 2022, my vote would be for photography book reviews. I don't know of anyone else who could come close to your style and competency. Best wishes to you for a peaceful and stimulating 2022.
Toggle Commented Jan 1, 2022 on A Dozen Dinners at The Online Photographer
It's worth noting that the ability to preview the image in B&W is a very new phenomena, circa the early 2000s, via the digital screen/viewfinder. So even the greatest B&W photos before the 21st century were visualized on a ground glass, a focusing screen, or through an optical viewfinder/rangefinder - even the "no glass" sport finder frame - all in color. Assertions that using a monochrome-only system is somehow an advantage should be considered in light of that history. I too, can't not see in color and find using a B&W preview distracting. BUT, for me, the ability to apply filters in post-processing creates the ability to produce the relative luminance values I perceived in the natural color scene. My personal project is BTS motorsports, where motorcycles, team liveries and pit furnishings are a riot of contrasting, bold colors. I often find that using a software filter (reminiscent of using a deep red filter with B&W film to render a deep blue sky as we perceived it) can restore some differentiation in luminance between a deep red and black, or a green and blue livery. For me, it's been a huge help in my attempts to use B&W final images to emphasize the personal character of participants, in a genre dominated by color images and action scenes.
Nikon Corp needs to send this message, troubling as it may be to consumers, to retain stockholder investment (recently, the Nikon Imaging division - cameras - has contributed something less than half of Nikon Corp revenue). Investors are keeping Nikon Corp viable for now, since Imaging's customers aren't/won't/can't. I suspect that Mitsubishi is still a major investor and I also suspect their interests are in Nikon Corp's other divisions: industrial laser metrology and chip fabs. It must be especially galling (i.e., insult to injury) for investors to see that the Sendai plant doesn't appear to have capacity even to keep up with what demand there is for its high-end, highest profit-margin cameras. The sad writing may be on the wall, but at least Imaging is trying to convince investors to hang in there, as they figure out a way to make customers enthused once again. Desperate times, etc. Imaging needs to answer the call for "sensible" measures (e.g., easily-achieved cost cutting combined with increased higher-margin capacity), before the desperate call gets made for them.
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2021 on Big, Bold Bad News at The Online Photographer
Hi Mike, First off, I’m happy for you that the shed project is going so well. An especially good project to pursue in these times. I don’t lack for space for my hobbies, but there is great appeal in a dedicated personal-size space (sanctuary?). Must be why kids find it so satisfying to build forts and playhouses. Our three pre-school grandchildren got a year’s use out of the cardboard box our water heater came in, and save for the door I cut in it for them, it was totally their domain. On to monochrome cameras. I totally get the idea of a dedicated tool tailored to be exceptional at producing a specific result. Maybe that’s all I need say; that I agree with you that an affordable (to be defined?), dedicated, monochrome camera would promote a simplified and satisfying photographic experience. Like an OCOLOY project. For me anyway, options breed choices, and the choice-making too often foils, or at least complicates, the development of what I think of as the “spiritual” side of the image-making craft: being mindful of the moment, the subject, the light, framing and timing. That might be the end of this as a rhetorical discussion. But practically speaking, as a photographer, is there something you are missing from the B&W shooting experience that you can’t get from your Fuji setup and its B&W film simulations? Like you, I spent many years shooting both B&W and color film (I’d be in the middle of your “Film Years/Digital Years” Sarge graphed; 40yrs/15yrs for me), under the dark cloth of a 4x5, as well as medium format and 35mm. Until I bought my first Fujifilm camera in 2014, I had never seen a B&W preview in a viewfinder or on the ground glass. With the Fuji cameras I’ve tried previewing in B&W film simulations (even using the filters I preferred for B&W film) and found it quite distracting. My “craft” photography project has been in B&W for several years, but I still am most comfortable previewing the image the way it has always been - in color. Go figure. Thanks for all the thought-provoking discussions, Mike. Wishing you as much enjoyment from using your shed as from building it. -- john merlin ...
Has everyone missed the most significant element of the X-S10 ??!! If we can believe Fuji's claims (I find their product claims to be generally trustworthy) a traditional camera company has developed the closest thing to the level of phone camera computational photography yet. Watch the Fuji Summit video from 19:05 to 20:10 at Fuji's AUTO mode is a pretty impressive advance toward the level of computational photography we see in today's phone cameras. I have several Fuji X-series bodies and half-a-dozen Fuji lenses, but I also bought an iPhone 11 Pro because of the sophisticated image processing and its combination of 13, 26, and 52mm equivalent optical lenses for everyday photos (because three grandkids). The thought of having a true-system camera with the same, or near-enough, image processing software as an advanced phone camera is pretty exciting stuff. Hats off to Fuji. Pay attention to what matters folks - and it isn't whether it's smaller than the X-T line, for crying out loud!
What Martin said! Please don't go there : -)
Toggle Commented Jun 26, 2020 on Blog Note at The Online Photographer
Mike, Thanks for introducing the concept of “hunting.” It helps me understand an approach to picture making I’ve come around to, and relieved me from a lot of frustration when I clarified my expectations for a camera outing. To use the analogy of hunting, whether for food, treasure, life lists (e.g., birds), personal recognition, etc. it helped me to break down the the act of hunting (over simplified) into: bagging a trophy, practice, and getting lucky. Bagging a trophy. It may be hard to focus on a subject for the hunt (you give up some too) but that’s what a lot of serious hunters do. There are seasons, locations, events, investments to be made to come home with something valuable. I picked a trophy type (well, more than one, over time) and realized I would only get what I wanted when I planned the trips (and expenses), invested in the particular equipment, and practiced what was needed to increase the chances of success. For me, it's been a welcome and happy improvement. Practice. Maybe the biggest, unintended benefit of defining the trophy hunt was understanding the role of repetitive, boring, and largely unrewarding practice. These aren't mistakes, misses, or chaff. The role of shooting the equivalent of paper targets, practicing fly-casting in the backyard, or long walks without seeing a bird (let alone a Cooper’s Hawk) was clearly not to come home with the trophy but to make the needed skills for success more or less automatic. What a relief to have a healthy perspective to replace the frustration! Kirk Tuck, bless his heart, practices a LOT. Getting lucky. The more we practice, the better our chances of getting lucky. How rewarding when it happens! The error I have made in the past was getting lucky and judging all the practice that led to it as wasted effort (again as misses, mistakes or chaff). And sometimes, getting lucky also leads to a whole new category of trophies to hunt. John Merlin Williams
Toggle Commented Apr 12, 2020 on Picturehunting at The Online Photographer
Mike, Best wishes for an even better than expected outcome and a speedy recovery. Links to some of your favorite posts, posts that have received the most comments, and guest posts are always appreciated. Maybe one of your many good friends could curate and upload the contents so you aren't tempted to short-cut your visual convalescence. Dedicate yourself to pleasant daydreams of future successes.
Toggle Commented May 25, 2019 on Bad PR at The Online Photographer
You know Mike, B&H would have no problems with you returning that G-9 for an X-H1 (if it's still under 30 days). There's even a option in the "Reason Why" section of the returns page for "Changed My Mind" Seriously - and don't feel guilty about it!
Toggle Commented Jan 30, 2019 on Upshot at The Online Photographer
That's great insight Mike. My weakness/addiction is RAP (Reading About Photography) - you and Kirk Tuck being frequent drugs of choice.
Toggle Commented Aug 5, 2015 on Diversions at The Online Photographer
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Aug 5, 2015