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we spent the day in this lovely town . the weather was so gorgeous in early October

this is View street ( aptly named ) the first street which is in full bloom in our town . it is late this year , normally this is in bloom in mid Feb .

 

texture by jewellofdistressed..

This past weekend was the last of our 2009 workshop series for the Aperture Academy. www.apertureacademy.com As is customary for me, I drove down on Friday to get some shooting in pre-workshop. Conditions were looking quite nice as I was sitting in traffic near the Bay Bridge. I hate daylight savings thing…it’s not a nice thing to do to photographers. We miss so many good sunsets sitting in our cars....adding traffic makes the mightmare much worse. I lucked out, nabbed a break in traffic and was off to Pacifica to meet Amber, Little M, Jim Patterson, and Kendra for a shoot somewhere on the beaches in the area.

 

The real reason we picked that location was that it was close to fish and chips….and we could be eating within in a few moments of finishing our shoot. The bay area makes no sense to me in regards to weather. On the bay bridge 15 minutes drive from where I was going to be shooting, the weather looked very promising. IN Pacifica, the fog had set in to stay. When Jim arrived he said the same thing. The weather was perfect in Santa Cruz. Bizarre. I don’t even look at weather reports for The Bay any more.

 

We tried without success to photograph a beach near the fish and chips place…and the only thing that happened worth mentioning was little m was struck by a wave…which apparently was not a first for her that day….nor would it be the last.

 

The beach, sans good sunset, wasn’t offering up much of anything for photographically inspiring….so we packed up, and headed to a pier nearby where the fog would provide a bit more mood. It was at this point I noticed the waves were quite large. Jim got hit by one of the larger waves and had to hold his gear up in the air in order to prevent it from getting too wet. The rest of us stuck to higher ground, in order to prevent being soaked too badly.

 

The pier (pictured here) was much better for photographing in the fog. People were out on the end of it…and the waves were just slamming into the structure. It looked like it might be fun to be all the way out there watching giant waves….but its not good for photo gear, so I wasn’t going to risk it. Plus it was getting dark, and everyone was ready to eat.

 

We dined at a little place called ‘Camelot’ I think it was ironic that they named the place after a huge structure like a castle, when in fact, this place was the size of most people’s living room. Really, once our group sat down, the place was crowded to near capacity. There was a group of gentlemen reenacting the singing bar scene from Top Gun sans woman. They were just drunk dudes singing ‘You’ve lost that loving feeling’ to one another over some pints of Guinness and fish planks. It wasn’t pretty. It was, however, quite funny.

 

The food was great. Even though they didn’t have cocktail sauce…or many lemons….they still made some very good food. Over dinner the conversation turned from photography to a place called ‘Nick’s’ which was apparently near by, and a source of good entertainment. Unfortunately Jim and Kendra had to leave because they had plans early the next day, but the rest of our group was off to ‘Nick’s’ to see what this place was all about. I guess Amber knew already, she’d been there, but M and I had no idea.

 

Let me just say. Nick’s was awesome. Not awesome good. Just awesome in terms of pure unintentional comedic value. First off, the place was straight out of the 70s…pleather couches and chairs…black painted wood everywhere. The light was dingy, at best. There was a huge bar right in the middle that divided the room, and separated it from what appeared to be 3 or more different sections of the restaurant of the same name. That was bizarre, there were people eating in 4 different areas of the restaurant. The farther into the depths of the building you ventured the older the patrons. The people out behind the restrooms were downright elderly…and may, for all I know, have been eating there for years.

 

The arrangement and décor of Nick’s was great, but the true magic was going down on stage. The Rolling Stones were in town, and playing at Nick’s!!!

 

Well, maybe it wasn’t the Rolling Stones exactly….but a group of look-a-likes.

 

Well, maybe not all of them looked like members of The Stones, Maybe just the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards characters. The drummer more like a reject from The Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Bass player looked like the love child from Adam West and Roy Orbison.

 

Well, Maybe Keith Richards looked more like a goofy Jerry Seinfeld dressed like Keith Richards…but The Mick Jagger guy looked like Mick Jagger.

 

Well, maybe he didn’t look so much like Mick Jagger…but he kind of sang like him, and really danced a lot like him…and he dressed sort of like him too!

 

This band provided me an hour or more of good entertainment. They were stellar. Eventually the place filled…because apparently everyone else was mislead by the way the band looked from the outside through the steamy bar windows….and once inside thought, ‘well maybe they’re not so much Rolling Stones-esque…but they’re certainly better than nothing.’

 

The crowd there was AWESOME as well. 85% of them looked like they’d walked out of a bar scene from an old episode of Miami Vice. They all looked alike…the only difference was some of the people had moustaches, and some of them were guys. HA! I kid…they all had mullets though…if they had enough hair to grow one. The best part was they all tried dancing….except one gentlemen who looked like he was either in pain…or very confused as to why the Rolling Stones were in Pacifica.

 

We spent about an hour or so at Nick’s before deciding to head out to the beach nearby and try some long exposure night photography. That was interesting. M got hit by another wave….which was a theme that carried on her entire stay I believe. She wasn’t happy…she’d gone through 17 pairs of socks and 2 pairs of shoes, in two days.

 

We tried to get a few shots anyway…but it was just too hard to get a good spot…the waves were getting bigger, and it was too difficult to stay in one spot long enough to take a shot when waves sent you running away every 2 minutes or so.

 

We called it a night. I walked back to my car to get a good night’s sleep. I just stayed in the parking lot by the beach, and the bar. The problem that caused was about 2am when Jagger and the boys finished their last set….all the cars and drunks were milling about the parking lot keeping me awake. AFTER that though….they turned off the lights in the parking lot, and I slept quite well….waking to a nice sunrise which I was able to shoot 10 feet from my car.

 

Tomorrow at this time I will be in my car on my way to the southwest to shoot with a bunch of people, and see a bunch of things including, Lake Tahoe, Death Valley, Zion, Page, Az…and a few other places. My friend Rob will meet me in Utah, and together with a little help from Mike Jones we’ll tackle the Narrows of the Virgin River this Friday. It should be a good time.

 

Glen Canyon Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Colorado River in northern Arizona, United States, near the town of Page. The 710-foot (220 m) high dam was built by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) from 1956 to 1966 and forms Lake Powell, one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the U.S. with a capacity of 27 million acre feet (33 km3). The dam is named for Glen Canyon, a series of deep sandstone gorges now flooded by the reservoir; Lake Powell is named for John Wesley Powell, who in 1869 led the first expedition to traverse the Colorado's Grand Canyon by boat.

 

Die Glen-Canyon-Staumauer (Glen Canyon Dam) ist eine Bogengewichtsmauer, die den Colorado River in Arizona anstaut. Ausgehend vom Stauinhalt ist der entstandene Stausee, der Lake Powell, nach dem Lake Mead der zweitgrößte Stausee der USA. Die Staumauer wurde vom Bureau of Reclamation geplant und von 1956 bis 1964 erbaut; die Kosten betrugen 187 Millionen US-Dollar. Mit 216 Meter Konstruktionshöhe (über dem gewachsenen Fels) ist sie die fünfthöchste Talsperre der USA. Die Höhe über dem ehemaligen Flussbett beträgt 178 m. Die Mauerkrone ist 475 m lang bei einer Breite von 7,6 m. Die Mauer ist am tiefsten Konstruktionspunkt 91 m breit, die größte Breite wird am rechten Widerlager mit 106 m erreicht.

This is the first in a series of photos taken within a newly formed "Breakfast Club". My sister, Irishtermom and I had the great pleasure of meeting up with one of favorite contacts, micky mb this past Sunday for breakfast at Dos Amigos and a photo shoot. We met in Winnsboro, Texas where our first stop was this old abandoned house. From there we explored the historic downtown and traveled the backroads of this small East Texas town. It was a great outing. Please stay tuned as we will be posting more photos this week from our "Breakfast Club". We're looking forward to having many more such outings.

 

please take a minute to view Irishtermom and micky mb's shots

www.flickr.com/photos/it_mom/2244156349/?addedcomment=1#c...

www.flickr.com/photos/39358890@N00/2244151729/?addedcomme...

 

texture provided by ninianlif

www.flickr.com/photos/beapierce/

 

"If these old walls

If these old walls could speak

Of things that they remembered well

Stories and faces dearly held

A couple in love

Livin' week to week

Rooms full of laughter

If these walls could speak

 

If these old halls

If hallowed halls could talk

These would have a tale to tell

Of sun goin' down and dinner bell

And children playing at hide and seek

From floor to rafter

If these halls could speak

 

If these old fashioned window panes were eyes

I guess they would have seen it all

Each little tear and sigh and footfall

And every dream that we came to seek

Or followed after

If these walls could speak"

lyrics taken from the song "If These Walls Could Speak" written by Jimmy Webb

texture by lenabem-anna..

 

we spent the day in this lovely town . the weather was so gorgeous in early October

 

this pier is used for crab fishing

Saint-Pierre-en-Port is a farming village in the Pays de Caux, situated some 31 miles (50 km) northeast of Le Havre, at the junction of the D33 and D79 roads. The commune has a pebble beach and some very high limestone cliffs overlooking the English Channel.

 

part of a series of villages and towns we discovered as we drove along the coast.

Chalk is a soft, white, porous, sedimentary carbonate rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. The Chalk Group is a European stratigraphic unit deposited during the late Cretaceous Period. It forms the famous White Cliffs of Dover in Kent, England, as well as their counterparts of the Cap Blanc Nez on the other side of the Dover Strait.

texture by www.flickr.com/photos/lenabem-anna/5729568195/in/set-7215...

 

we spent the day in this lovely town . the weather was so gorgeous in early October

Here is another image, which is part of my current series of uploading images where the birds are smaller but still in focus. Not to worry, these images all have passed the strict criteria of Shutterstock ;-)

 

So, the above image was actually taken from inside my living room and is a through-the-window shot. The only way to get this angle is from indoors as when I am outside, sitting on my terrace lounge table directly under the nest box, I am way too close plus cannot get this PoV. Also, my camera mostly only focuses on all of the dust particles as well as streaks on those two panorama windows which is why I hardly ever upload any such image.

 

My resident dynamo Eurasian blue tit Rosie has now taken over my terrace as well as the entire surrounding area, going to great lengths to chase all the other tit birds away and she has even gone after my darling robins, successfully driven the adorable bullfinch couple off the terrace premises along with torpedoing the lone woodpecker of the area. Just like last spring.

 

Beware of the Rosie, the miniature Pinscher of the songbirds ;-) You so don't want to mess with the tiny General of the Enchanted Terrace! I am rather surprised that she has not yet gone after my person, lol. Don't get me wrong, I adore my little Rosie and am in total awe of her!

 

In honor of her tactical maneuvers and the fact that this tiny bird can really pack a punch, I am giving her the appropriate last name. She is now known as Rosie Bonaparte in this part of the world. Her motto is, the bigger the better. Only the best will do. Please see the above nest box for further proof. She is the perfect embodiment of the Napoleon complex.

 

Rosie has no problem posing for me, but mostly she is too busy taking care of business. So, her super fluffy and very sweet hubby takes care of all the official photo ops for the couple. In fact, he is my very best male bird model overall.

 

Unlike his wife, he is still simply known as Mr. Rosie. He is rather like the prince consort of a queen, always there for his wife and supporting her in any endeavor. But ultimately, more arm candy than equal partner in terms of the official decision-making.

 

Though, I have to say Mr. Rosie really seems to be pulling his weight this year and is evolving in his role. He even likes to join Rosie in the nest box, but she very quickly kicks him out as everything pertaining to the interior of the nest box is her domain.

 

Yesterday evening he actually dive-bombed the pretty boy Great Tit aka Stud, the lover boy of Ziggy's unfaithful ex-wife Happy. I was duly impressed as I have never seen him go after another male bird. Rosie is always the one going after the male tit birds and Mr. Rosie will tackle the females.

 

It looks like Rosie is now more or less finished with decorating her super fluffy abode in the massive squirrel and cat-proof Schwegler nesting box for the Great Tits. First, she carted in truckloads of moss the beginning of March. Then, it was all kinds of grasses followed by stringy materials and now fluffy feathers are providing the finishing touch. Heck, I want to move into her nest as it must be way more comfortable than all the mattresses the princess with the pea had!

 

The above nest box even has a retreat built-in on top for bats, but there are none in the area (they are on the Red List here). I have the complete set for roaming cats in the garden plus the special ball for the wrens in green along with various cat defensive belts which I added to my brick columns though they are meant for being wrapped around the tree trunks.

 

The boxes are made from special wood concrete so that they "breathe" and stay cool when it gets warm and vice versa plus have plenty of space so that no one gets trampled to death inside and so big that the nest ends below the entry hole so that the predators cannot get to the babies. On top of this, the surface is roughed up so that the birds have a good grip everywhere on and inside the box. Lastly, they are super easy to clean as the front panels come off and one can even switch these panels between the one with three holes for the Blue Tits and smaller birds with the above one.

 

They are the best nest boxes on the market and Schwegler makes special nest boxes for every kind of bird - even for the raptors: www.schweglershop.de/shop/index.php?cPath=21&osCsid=f...

 

This past week, Rosie has been "begging" her hubby for food everywhere and I even saw them do the deed behind some leaves of the wayfaring tree overhanging my terrace. I am afraid that I kept missing getting the money shot of Mr. Rosie feeding his wife. Plus, I totally forgot to simply film this so tender courting ritual. Mr. Rosie was getting into it so much that he also started fluttering with his wings. They are just too darn cute! I believe that she may have already laid the first egg, a good two weeks earlier than last spring even though we had such a long and really cold winter whilst last year it was so mild.

 

General Rosie has mellowed out quite a bit lately and her soft side has been coming out. I now have an agreement with her that whenever she has a few feathers in her beak, I get up from my terrace table which is right under the above nest box and either go stand by my terrace door, which is only about 1.5 meters away from the nest box, or simply sit down in front of that door on a swivel stool from my living room. I also have to pretend to not see her enter the nest box, best done by turning my head in the opposite direction though I always make sure I can still see her with my peripheral vision, lol.

 

The Blue Tit is the only European bird with the yellow and blue color combo. It is also super small in size, averaging out at about 11.5 cm. But, I find that the Blue Tit definitely makes up for its petite physical size with a larger-than-life personality. They are such characters and great fun to watch as well as be around as there never is a dull moment ;-)

 

As soon as Ziggy the Great Tit and the former guardian of my terrace was out of the picture the beginning of February, Rosie made her big move and took over my terrace from him. While Ziggy was the big boss around here, neither Rosie nor her laid-back hubby got to hang around my terrace that much as Ziggy was always busy chasing them away so that all was in perfect order for when his darling wife Happy was at the feeders.

 

On a sidebar, I am very happy to report that I finally saw dear Ziggy again a few weeks ago after an absence of more than 4 weeks. He came to my terrace, but did not take any goodies. In fact, he was never that interested in any of the goodies here. It was all about securing the premises for his most unfaithful and ever so fickle ex-wife Happy. I did see a female GT with him from a distance, so maybe he did manage to find a lovely wife in time for this nesting season.

 

In general, there is no love lost between the Great Tit birds and the tiny Blue Tit ones. Though, back in 2015 there was one pretty big BT and one smaller GT who were always together everywhere and I gather they were either star-crossed lovers or more likely, siblings who had grown up together as sometimes the Great Tits will take over a nest of the Blue Tits along with their eggs and then simply raise all of the offspring as their own after chasing the actual BT parents off the premises.

 

But on my terrace, Rosie the BT decided to stage the ultimate coup by stealing the nest box right out from under my then resident GT Sunny and his wife Daisy's lovely beaks in April of 2016. Though, Daisy had only started building the nest and no eggs were yet present. But, Sunny had also spent every single night in that nest box since the beginning of October 2015. So basically the opposite of what usually is the case!

 

And now, it is basically the same spiel again except that it all happened two months earlier because Happy flew off with the pretty boy GT aka Stud and Ziggy left town with a broken heart. I sure hope he finds his one true love now, who will treasure him every day and stay true to him. I think Rosie will need at least one month to decorate this nest box as it is twice the size of the last one and with that one, she already needed two weeks!

 

Mr. Rosie is very much like Mr. Maxine the Crested Tit as they are both pretty round, calm and laid-back. Think California surfer dude mentality minus the sixpack. They prefer just hanging out, watching the game and having a few beers. Their wives are the Energizer Bunnies and real driving force. They are the men behind their women, so to speak!

 

So, obviously the hubbies have to have the backs of their wives when it gets down to it, though they would prefer not be bothered... Just peace and love ;-) In fact, Mr. Rosie gets along famously with all the other various tit bird males whilst his dynamo wife Rosie is busy chasing away those exact same males, including my darling Coal Tit bird Tanni. I have discovered that the various male tit birds are all quite a bit bigger and rounder than the female ones, at least around my terrace.

 

Rosie herself is part of the colorful entourage of the crested tit Maxine in the upcoming picture book series, "Flaushi the Buddha Jay." The series is based on my very special and completely wild Eurasian jay Flaushi and all of his friends on and around my enchanted terrace.

 

All the other songbirds assume Rosie is not so smart as she always seems to be staring off into space. But, she is actually meditating and quite the enlightened little being.

 

The real-life Rosie will spend up to 10 minutes in one spot, contemplating the world. It is the cutest thing to watch. Rosie also loves posing for me and my camera when I am outside on my enchanted terrace.

This is the 5th post in my SouthWest Arizona series- in photojournalistic style- I have uploaded (12) new photos. We arrived in Sedona a little before sunset after we visited Montezuma's Castle (maybe next post ;-)

We were just in AWE of this beauty... NO PHOTO can do this place justice- you just HAVE TO VISIT!!!. What is eery is that in town- EVERYTHING is pristine and NEW... I am not kidding- I did not find one run down building... everything is so beautiful and neat, showing real pride of ownership. The town is designed so perfectly- reminded me of a Desert version of "Pleasantville"

'Wildwater Erodes The Rocks' - [Special Series: 'Colors Of Our World'.. ]

On a closer way along the rocks, below the canyon, in the 'Partnachklamm', near the smal town 'Garmisch-Partenkirchen'.. the water is rapidly and very loud, from top drips water all over me, I'm wet. Cold wind is blowing through the gorge and at the same moment I´m standing on this wonderful place here, ordered emerges as the sun, he is painting wonderful colors, the rocks and the water are beginning to shining. Wow! This is my change.., I take the camera off my wet jacket and do this picture. ;-) Brrr.. it´s cold, my hair are wet too, but I´m happy and I think: 'Beautiful nature, but I like the sun outside too and so I´m going happy back into the warm sunlight. ;-)

 

I wish you all conscious perception and a wonderful year - Enjoy every moment!

 

I'm happy about all comments without big icon and thoughts from you! - Thank you! ;-)

Flickr-friends can view this shot in high-resolution. | View more pictures | Please visit my last shots on black too. Thanks for all your nicely comments, and for visit my stream! ;-)

 

© Copyright by Klaus Allmannsberger - All rights reserved! - All images are exclusive property and may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, transmitted, manipulated or used in any way without expressed, written permission of the photographer.

 

A beautiful twilight in the enchanting mountain village of Hallstatt, the pearl of Austria...

 

Out of the many cities and towns we visited last year, there were a select few that Naomi and I really connected with and Hallstatt was definitely one of them. In fact, just the act of processing this photo flooded me with a series of memories from our time in Austria last fall. I figured that's because I either have a strong emotional connection to Hallstatt or I managed to take way too much NyQuil. Either way, this entire area is just spectacular and the whole time we were there, we couldn’t help but feel totally relaxed and content to just slow things down and enjoy the incredible scenery. I can definitely se myself returning for a second visit in the future.

 

If you're interested in my work, feel free to drop me a line on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or my website www.elialocardi.com.

We Gonna Chase Them Crazy Baldheads Right Out Of Town**{Bob Marley}

 

Please hit "L" for a -far- better view

A few more shots from my town's Memorial Day Parade. Thank You to all who have served to protect the freedom that we cherish.

"Most of our life is a series of images. They pass us by like towns on the highway. But sometimes a moment stuns us as it happens. And we know that this instant is more than a fleeting image. We know that this moment, every part of it, will live on forever.'"

April 13th 69/365

As part of the Ring of Kerry, we drove past the town of Ballinskelligs in Ireland. Another beautiful small town, we noticed that there was a small beach with very clear looking water. The water had a turquoise color to it and it was not cold so we took off our shoes and wandered a little bit into the water to get our feet wet. I always knew Ireland to be great for the rolling green hills but I did not expect such great looking coasts and beaches :D

 

My Vancouver Canucks won a 7 game series last night against Chicago! It was a nail biter but they came through in overtime... I stayed up from 3:30am London time and did not sleep since then... I was a zombie all day as a result though... With that said, I am exhausted and will crash now. Last day of work tomorrow before another long weekend. Time to pack up again!

After photographing the near-ghost town at Richmond, Oregon, we passed through a series of storms in the high country along route 207. We had the road to ourselves for photos of the spectacular clouds.

this is View street ( aptly named ) the first street which is in full bloom in our town . it is late this year , normally this is in bloom in mid Feb .

 

one from the archives . from early March

~- Ed Montanus~

 

1968 Ford Mustang GT parked for the Classic Car Show at Old Town in Kissimmee, Florida.

 

Rigs & I enjoyed looking at all of the oldies there.

I had a 1968 red Mustang for 10 years and LOVED it! :D

 

FORD MUSTANG

Wikipedia-

Assembly: USA

Class: Pony car

 

The Ford Mustang is an automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. It was initially based on the Ford Falcon, a compact car. Production began in Dearborn, Michigan on March 9, 1964 and the car was introduced to the public on April 17, 1964 at the New York World's Fair. It is Ford's oldest nameplate currently in production, although the F-Series has undergone major nameplate changes over the years (most recently to F-150).

 

It was Ford's most successful launch since the Model A.

 

Executive stylist John Najjar, who was a fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane, suggested the name.

 

The Mustang created the "pony car" class of American automobile — sports car-like sedans with long hoods and short rear decks.

 

FORD MUSTANG - First generation (1964–1973)

 

Conceived by Ford product manager Donald N. Frey and championed by Ford Division general manager Lee Iacocca, the Mustang prototype was a two-seat, front-mounted engine roadster. This would later be remodeled as a four-seat car penned by David Ash and John Oros in Ford's Lincoln–Mercury Division design studios, which produced the winning design in an intramural design contest instigated by Iacocca. To cut down the development cost and achieve a suggested retail price of US $2,368.00, the Mustang was based heavily on familiar yet simple components. Much of the chassis, suspension, and drivetrain components were derived from the Ford Falcon and Ford Fairlane (North American). Favorable publicity articles appeared in 2,600 newspapers the next morning, the day the car was "officially" revealed. A Mustang also appeared in the James Bond film Goldfinger in September 1964, the first time the car was used in a movie.

 

Original sales forecasts projected less than 100,000 units for the first year, but in its first eighteen months, more than one million Mustangs were built.

  

Before I move on to my next 'official' [LOL] series, I want to share some pictures I took around Valencia with my newest lens.

 

This is at our Town Center with a Nikon AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 16-85 mm lens. ISO 400 f/9.0 1/40 at 19.0 mm.

 

Valencia, while not too exciting, is a planned community so there is a consistent South West theme in the color schemes and architecture. Everything is decorated in natural desert shades, even though it is more properly chaparral:

 

"Chaparral is a shrubland or heathland plant community found primarily in the U.S. state of California and in the northern portion of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico. It is shaped by a Mediterranean climate (mild, wet winters and hot dry summers) and wildfire, featuring summer-drought tolerant plants with hard sclerophyllous evergreen leaves, as contrasted with the associated soft-leaved, drought deciduous, scrub community of Coastal sage scrub, found below the chaparral biome. Chaparral covers 5% of the state of California, and associated Mediterranean shrubland an additional 3.5%.[1] The name comes from the Spanish word chaparro, applied to scrub oaks." Wikipedia

 

Happy Bench Monday!

Who are we, who is each one of us, if not a combination of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined? Each life is an encyclopedia, a library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly shuffled and reordered in every way conceivable.

--

Italo Calvino

 

-=-

 

I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited.

--

Jorge Luis Borges

 

-=-

 

the geek behind the curtain: all shots and layers in this photo art assemblage were taken candidly and developed by myself with a hand-held, point-and-shoot camera and the free (open source) graphics manipulation program called GIMP.

 

a candid shot from a free music festival held downtown in our little town. the family and i love walking through these scenes. this was an audience member. i took about 10 shots of him at various times.

 

-=-

 

our daily challenge: on my walk

Saint-Pierre-en-Port is a farming village in the Pays de Caux, situated some 31 miles (50 km) northeast of Le Havre, at the junction of the D33 and D79 roads. The commune has a pebble beach and some very high limestone cliffs overlooking the English Channel.

 

part of a series of villages and towns we discovered as we drove along the coast.

Chalk is a soft, white, porous, sedimentary carbonate rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. The Chalk Group is a European stratigraphic unit deposited during the late Cretaceous Period. It forms the famous White Cliffs of Dover in Kent, England, as well as their counterparts of the Cap Blanc Nez on the other side of the Dover Strait.

Another of the series of photographs I took on our last night in Sedona. I had done some inquiries in town as to the best location for sunset reflection shots of Cathedral Rock, and was told that this was the place. This is probably the most popular and photographed scene from Sedona, and I felt that it was a kind of pilgrimage to go there, and stand with the other tripod carrying photographers. At this time of year there wasn't that much water in Oak Creek, and it was somewhat difficult to find enough for a decent reflection. I've posted two HDR images from this location, but this is from one single image.

 

To see more of my Arizona images, please see my Arizona set. www.flickr.com/photos/9422878@N08/sets/72157625213660730/

Click to view in Lightbox.

.

 

We started our drive around 5pm in sunshine. After an hour or two we ran into a rainstorm. Loved how the sun then came out and glinted off the wet, steaming road surface.

 

PS I am reposting my road trip iPhone images from day 2 as a series (anyone can see them) including an image of the town of Jasper (where we bought our breakfast) and an evening shot of our destination, Vancouver .

 

It was a long but beautiful drive (1200+Km over two days) from the Prairies to the Coast. We have often done this drive in one day.

 

Have a great new week and thanks for the company and the visits.

   

end of the road series 13 - south of Hidden Valley, Reno, Nevada - January 5, 2013

 

This road, to the right of the white walkway markers, runs adjacent to an elementary school near my home. The road dead-ends to one of the few remaining working ranches within the Reno metropolitan area. As you can see, the ranch is a quite beautiful, if somewhat barren, place in the world. The stripped orange & white fence indicates the end of this road. The series' title also makes reference to the space beyond the fence, because it is the end of the road for for that open ranch area. A major 4 or 6-lane roadway has been planned & approved for the space between the fence and the mountains in the background. I grew up in Reno, when there were dozens of ranches of this magnitude. It's difficult to watch these scenic ranches go, but the owners cannot handle taxes in some cases, their children don't want to continue ranching in some cases, and other pressures or opportunities cause ranchers to sell in other cases. The Reno area is in the top ten of cities most negatively affected by the economic calamity of these past 5 years, so the jobs associated with road construction will certainly help the entire community. Rapid population growth is predicted to resume to near record levels in the near future so the road will probably help ease any potential travel bottlenecks down the road, so to speak...although with a newly renovated 6-lane thoroughfare less than a mile behind me as I took this photo, it is hard to imagine the new road to be of any major beneficial consequence for years. SO there isn't an agenda behind the images...because like so much in our world, the situation is complicated...there is no absolute right or wrong...these images are a reflection of man's alteration of earth, the cost of progress in terms of continual reduction of open space and natural beauty...and a point of reflection for one photographer regarding his memories of what his home town once was.

this is View street ( aptly named ) the first street which is in full bloom in our town . it is late this year , normally this is in bloom in mid Feb .

....

texture by jewellofdistressed..

I decided to wind down my lens experiments series with a few shots I took with my new wide angle earlier this month. We are still in the midst of an unprecedented heat wave with temps hovering just below 100F/40C. Here's what that looks like here.

 

I am going to be moving to another experimental set before starting my next big series. Over the weekend Geoff and I went to the Korean Festival in Koreatown and took pictures. I am processing them in Lightroom 5, which I am learning very slooowwwwly. It is making some rather ordinary photographs look amazing and I will begin sharing those shortly.

 

Happy Wide Angle Wednesday!

 

Oh, and this won't mean much to those of you who have been Explored or who have a huge following (Yes, I am referring to you, the real, experienced photographers who I admire so much) but I FINALLY had 1,000 views on a recent picture. Yay! Maybe I am actually making progress! :-D

Another road trip south. We are head to visit the kids the weekend before thanksgiving. We are running late so we hop on the I35 and make the dash to Monroe and Pella. I have done this stretch of road many times, but there always seams to be something new or something old in a new light or angle. This leg of the trip features some rich colors reflected from a young morning sun. Enjoy the trip south on I 35 and a return trip north on Iowa 14 in this series.

This is Manarola, Italy. We arrived just after sunset at this town in the Cinque Terre region of the riviera. After a steep descent from the parking lot, then a gradual uphill walk along a terrace, you reach this nice viewpoint of Manarola. It has been in existence since the 1300's, with fishing and wine-making still being the main industries. If you have a full day or two, you can take the train that stops at a series of villages perched along rugged cliffs between Genoa and Pisa. If you arrive by train, you only have a short walk to this overlook. When you arrive by car as we did, you have to park it outside of town because no cars are allowed. Then you get around the old fashioned way and must plan on burning-off calories from pizza, olive oil, and gelatos !

-RS

 

"Manarola, built on a high rock 70 metres above sea level, is one of the most charming and romantic of the Cinque Terre villages. The tiny harbor features a boat ramp, picturesque multicoloured houses facing the sea, a tiny piazza with seafood restaurants.

 

Along the main road the boats are pulled onto dry land every time the sea is rough. Although there is no real beach here, it has some of the best deep-water swimming around.

 

The village is all ups and downs, with steep narrow alleys leading to the sea. If you want to venture up to the top of Manarola, make sure you check out the church. Today it serves as a religious and community meeting place, but in more ancient times, the bell tower was used as a post to watch for potential pirate raids. Another peculiarity of Manarola is a pyramid in white cement whose peak can be seen rising between the taller houses and is used as a navigational reference point for all those at sea."

(cinqueterre.eu)

Shot about 45 minutes after Town Sopris, the other shot of this series, and from a camera position a bit to the east, a few miles closer, and from a camera position about 800 feet higher. Mount Sopris is the lovely twin-peaked mountain that dramatically rises over Colorado's Roaring Fork Valley and the town of Carbondale, where I live.

 

Aspens, of course, provide most of the color in this shot. But the russet mound (center foreground) and the yellow mound to its right are both gambel oaks. And gambles (we mostly call them scrub oaks) form huge thickets on many slopes here in the valley. Bears love their acorns, deer love the cover they provide. In years with wet late summers and autumns, like this year, some of the oaks turn a bright am-I-in-Vermont scarlet.

 

I've got a few shots of scarlet oaks that I'll get around to posting. If you're interested, there's a sizable 2013 autumn color gallery on my website: www.georgehendrix.com.

town of Hunrath

Obduction store.steampowered.com/app/306760/

 

reviews say : deeply immersive, timeless, beautifully innovative,

 

disclaimer: the puzzles aren't easy!! Sci-fi genre, in the spirit of the Myst and Riven series.

 

texture by Lenabem

 

Another wrong turn led us to this tiny town full of hidden treasures. The sun was getting close to the horizon and I was playing around with angles of this place. Standing on a hill I noticed my shadow interrupting my frame. I quickly changed my state of mind and used the shadow figure to my advantage. I'm gonna be doing a shadow figure series based off of this photo....more to come

  

Palouse, Washington

Buxton & Buxton Country Park walk series. Day 5 in Buxton with following stretch of legs in a short walk in the Buxton Country Park visiting a popular Solomon's Temple, an attractive folly that can be climbed up, offering lovely view on the town and surroundings. Quite a lot of rain clouds were going around Grin Hill and the Solomon's Temple, not many drops landed on our heads at that time though. Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, England

 

At last, some Winter imagery. It took a long time for my part of the world to get a significant snowfall, one at least useful for creating images. So before it goes away and we're all on to Spring, I thought I'd better get some up. A slight detour from the abstraction.

 

A very cold Winter evening looking off my big city balcony. The light seemed just right. A few seconds later it was too dark and that eery, haunting Winter twilight was gone.

 

At first, panoramic distortion, or, "pano-sabotage" seems perhaps to be DE-structive or implying some kind of trauma to reality. Anything that shakes up our everyday view of the world, if not fully understood, becomes largely associated with the disruption of what keeps us "safe". Like abstraction, "pano-sabotage", offers up a different view of what we call reality. A different view, perhaps a multiplicity of views ... simultaneously. With the coming of the Quantum Age, multi-simultanaeity of possibilities will become how we create and navigate that world.

 

The title harkens back to two pre-Winter images I posted back in the late Fall, "November Town" ( #'s 1 & 2 ).

 

:copyright: Richard S Warner ( Visionheart ) - 2016. All Rights Reserved. This image is not for use in any form without explicit, express, written permission.

...or how Honky Tonk and Sister Bill got their nicknames. If it happened in the Hill Country, it probably happened at Mamacitas.

 

This is an essay about the Texas Hill Country, but it's going to take me a long way around to get to the Hill Country. I'll add a paragraph here and there as the spirit moves me. Nicknames are easy to come by in the Texas Hill Country. Any naming incident that sparks a full two minutes of laughter is apt to create a life long nick name.

 

I got mine early on when Sherry began her career as a Methodist minister. Churches she was assigned to by the Bishop had never or seldom had female pastors and for the most part the pastor was called Brother Smith, Brother John, Brother Ralph or Brother Bubba, maybe even Brother Slim or Brother whatever. At Sherry's first church one of the men was speaking to Sherry in front of a crowd and referred to her as Brother Sherry. The crowd erupted in laughter and that sparked me to ad lib, "Well I guess that makes me Sister Bill." It stuck, and from then on everywhere we've gone I've become Sister Bill. Strangly enough, the Brother Sherry didn't stick and she's always been Pastor Sherry. It's funny how that works. This system makes a good litmus test as to who you can trust too. Those who use it in derision are easy to pick up on and you can depend on it, they will become your enemies. It's always good to know who your enmies are. Next time I'm in the mood to post, I'll tell you who Honky Tonk is and how she got her nickname.

 

Joy got her name from British author,Ruth Hamilton. Joy is the pianist at the First United Methodist Church in Johnson City, Texas where Sherry and I spent nine exciting years before we moved to Kerrville five years ago. Joy is my age (80+-) and grew up in a series of Methodist churches. Her father was a Methodist preacher. When she was junior high age she was so good on piano, she started playing the church organ where her father preached. Joy became famous with her junior high school peers by playing the country-western/pop hit "Pistol Packing Mama" to a slow hymn cadence in church during certain parts of the service. Her father never was able to hear the plaintive admonition, "Laaaaaaay thaaaaaat pistooooool dooooown, baaaaabe, laaaaaay thaaaaaat pistoooooool doooooown; Pistooooooool Paaaaaaacking Maaaaaaama puuuuuut thaaaaaaat guuuuuuun awaaaaaaaaay." Of one thing you can be sure, every junior high kid in the Methodist church heard the message and nobody ever figured out why the kids would often become so giggly and out of control, especially when they heard the tune telling them, "Oh, she kicked out my windshield, she hit me over the head. She cussed and cried and said I'd lied and wished that I was dead. Lay that pistol down, babe, lay that pistol down, Pistol Packing Mama, put that gun away!"

 

Naturally Joy grew into a natural musician and could improvise without even having to consciously think about it. During the nine years we were rewarded with her weekly concerts, I noticed that she would often spontaneously begin the add character to the hymns. Some came out with the feel of honky tonk country western and some even took on a boogie beat. She did this naturally, but seemed not to be able to do it on demand. Perhaps demand made her self conscious. For that reason when Ruth Hamilton begged me to tape "Honky Tonk" (that's the name Ruth began to call her because she could never remember the name Joy Feuge) and send her the tape, I made a noble effort. I was never able to get a tape, but Ruth's name "Honky Tonk" stuck and that's what we call Joy to this day. Next, I'll tell you something about a Texas Hill Country institution, Mamacita's Mexican Restaurant, serving Mexican food, but owned and operated by an American Muslim Iranian. That gets him in trouble with the area's fundamentalist cowboy Christians from time to time, to which he pays no attention and simply continues to oeprate a superb small chain of Mexican restaurants. He operates one in San Antonio, one in San Marcos, one in Fredericksburg and one in Kerrville. It just goes to show, you can't hold a good man down.

 

I've been eating at Mamacita's restaurants for years now and when I began writing this piece couldn't even remember the owner and founder's name. Sherry found this link on the internet and it is so interesting and complete I'm going to post it word for word:

 

*********************

 

Mamacita’s Mexican Restaurant: Oh Mama!

Profile

By Kathryn Jones

Thursday, 24 January 2008

 

There are four Mamacita’s Mexican Restaurants in Texas, the largest of which seats 400 people.

Premier Business Partners:

DeCoty Coffee Co.

   

Known to most as simply “Hagi,” Hossein Hagigholam left Iran for the United States in 1976 with a dream to make it big in the land of opportunity.

 

His initial plan was to study civil engineering. But, as fate should have it, he now owns and operates four Mamacita’s Mexican Restaurants in Kerrville, Texas, with four other locations in Fredericksburg, New Braunfels, San Marcos and San Antonio, Texas. The smallest location seats 250 people and the largest seats 400 people.

 

In an interview with Food and Drink, Hagi reveals how he transitioned from a lonely dishwasher who could barely speak English to a successful entrepreneur with plans to turn his Tex-Mex restaurant into a nationally recognized franchise.

 

The ride has not been an easy one, he adds, but with a little faith and hard work, dreams really can come true.

 

Food and Drink: What brought you to the United States?

Hossein Hagigholam: From the time I was a boy, I wanted to come to America. Before the revolution in Iran, lots of Iranians came to the United States to become engineers and doctors, and then they went back home.

 

Without any knowledge of English, my first place to go was Houston. There was a school for English as a second language called ESL Houston.

 

If there were 40 students, 35 of them were Iranians, so the teachers learned how to speak our language instead of us learning English.

 

I knew in order to make it in the United States I had to learn the language, so I researched which college in Texas had less Iranians. Shreiner College had only one Iranian student, so that’s how I ended up in Kerrville. While I studied, I found a job in the restaurants.

 

If you are a foreigner and don’t know any English, the only job you have is washing dishes. I later became a bus boy and then a waiter.

 

As a waiter, that’s when you really make it big. I was so happy about how much money I was making as a waiter that I took three jobs: the breakfast shift in one restaurant, the lunch shift in another and the dinner shift in the third.

 

I remember one time a customer asked me if we took Visa, and I thought they were asking me if I had a visa. I thought I was in trouble somehow, so I ran home as fast as I could.

 

My manager called me the next day and asked, “What happened?” I said, “Someone wanted me to show him my visa.” He said, “No, you idiot! They were asking you if we accept Visa – the credit card.”

 

FAD: I can see how you would feel anxious about that. In 1979, American hostages were taken at the embassy in Tehran and President Jimmy Carter called for all Iranian students in the U.S. whose visas had expired to leave the country by the spring of 1980. You must have been devastated.

HH: The world just shattered on me, because now I had to go back. I had learned English, started earning money and I was dating Ruth.

 

The only way I could stay in the country was if she married me, and she wouldn’t marry me. She said, “Look, I’m 20 and you’re 21. We’re young and you come from another country and my parents won’t let me.”

 

I finally talked Ruth into marrying me. You talk about begging! Her parents gave their permission because of the difficult situation, but it was on the condition that we live apart for six months.

 

I tell people I really got married for the green card, but we’re still married after 25 years and we adopted two wonderful children. I think that says a lot.

 

FAD: Is it true you named the restaurant after Ruth?

HH: She is Spanish and I used to call her “Mamacita” when I was a waiter. I decided to name the restaurant Mamacita’s because it means grandmother, good-looking lady – all the goodies.

 

FAD: In 1985, you and a business partner opened the first Mamacita’s in Kerrville. Was it challenging to get it off the ground?

HH: Not really. We opened the second restaurant in Fredericksburg in 1988, followed by one in San Marcos in 1996, and then the biggest location, which is in San Antonio, in 2003.

 

And then, in 2005, we tore our original restaurant down and built a new restaurant. If there were a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for most expensive restaurant ever built per capita, it would be this restaurant, because we spent $10 million in a city with a population of only 25,000 people.

 

It is very tough to make money when you open a $10 million restaurant, but because of our confidence and if you treat people the way you want to be treated, anything can work. In fact, Kerrville is a German town. People say, “How could an Iranian come to the United States and build a Mexican restaurant in a German community and make it?” My answer to that is, “Only in America, of course.”

 

FAD: Can you share some tips in how to run a successful restaurant?

HH: If a restaurant has five elements, the owner will hit the jackpot in this business. If he has four out of five, he will make a living out of it. And if he has less than that, it is better not to mess with the restaurant business.

 

These elements are quality, service, location, atmosphere and reasonable prices.

 

Of course quality and service are always important, but I wanted to give an atmosphere that not every causal restaurant can do. In our Kerrville location, we have a third of the actual size of the Alamo inside of our restaurant.

 

A mechanical Davy Crockett sits on top of the roof that plays the music like the movie “Alamo.” Also, in our San Antonio location, we created a village that makes you feel like you are outside even though you are inside. It has fiber-optic stars and village shops and bakeries in it.

 

FAD: Having worked in restaurants when you were in college, would you say that makes you a more empathetic boss?

HH: Many casual restaurants have just one general manager that takes care of the quality of the food and the service.

 

When I used to work in the bottom line myself, I found that it was difficult to put all of this work on the shoulder of one person and expect him to control costs and increase sales.

 

So, this is why each of our locations has two general managers – one for back of house and one for front of house. We also took away any administrative work for them. Each of our locations has at least six managers.

 

This is what makes us different. I believe in spending money to make money when it comes to [hiring good employees.] We have a good 4 percent budgeted to training at all times.

 

We talk to them about the golden rule [of the restaurant business.] If you treat someone the way you want to be treated, it will increase the sales.

 

FAD: What is Mamacita’s perspective on providing customers with exceptional service?

HH: All of our customers can testify that no customer can walk out unless a manager has visited their table. We believe if a customer is unhappy, they will tell us when they leave.

 

Usually, if they are unhappy, they don’t say anything and just don’t come back.

 

But by having a manager shake hands and talk to them, they will feel comfortable enough to tell us what we did wrong.

 

We appreciate the compliments, but what we really want to hear is if there are any complaints.

 

I tell my management that when people go out to eat, they are in a good mood.

 

You never see a husband tell his wife, “Let’s go out to eat,” and the wife gets upset about it. Everybody is happy when they go out to eat, and if they choose your restaurant, you should feel honored. So, do whatever it takes to please them. They like attention.

 

You know, lots of Middle Eastern people that have businesses complain because they say we lost business because of the 9/11 terrorist action.

 

I disagree on that because my business has been doing well and I think it is because of how we treat people.

 

I make a lot of speeches about America, the land of opportunity. What I always emphasize at the end is this: Whoever doesn’t make it in this country, it is their own fault. I am one of those guys that really appreciate the country for what it has done for me.

 

FAD: What’s next for Mamacita’s?

HH: We would like to open locations in Austin, Houston and Dallas in the near future. We’ll do it one at a time. I don’t open a restaurant until I have its general managers ready. I have no plan after that yet.

 

You never know. Maybe a successful, nationally recognized chain will discover us and we could make a deal to take this nationwide.

 

********************

 

When Hagi shut down the Kerrville Mamacita's Restaurant to build that ten million dollar culinary mansion, some of the Shiite Christians in Kerrville became very upset because the architect had put a small, simple dome on the structure and it reminded them of a Muslim Mosque for some reason. They demanded the dome be removed, despite the fact the State Capitol in Austin has a dome, some churches have domes and the dome, while a Moorish design, is commonplace in Spain and Mexico AND this is a MEXICAN food restaurant, OK? My friend Frank Clark says Hagi told him, "I don't have the kind of money to buy this quality of advertising." As expected, the dome remained, the new reataurant opened and the furror subsided.

 

Second to the mechanical Davy Crockett who from time to time activates and play the fiddle on the ramparts of the similated Alamo in Mamacita's in Kerrville are the murals painted by Haigi's brother whose name I have never heard and can't find on the internet. Hagi's brother is a truly outstanding artist and at some time in the future I'm going to photograph some of the interior and post it here. Mexican restaurants around the Southwest are famous for their absolutely crude murals, but Mamacita's redeems them all. Hagi's brother is a wonderful muralist.

 

For almost fifteen years now, Mamacita's has been a part of Hill Country living for Sherry and me and the good people of the First Methodist Church in Johnson City Texas. We meet there to celebrate birthdays and for a long time after Sherry and I moved to Kerrville we met regularily at Mamacita's in Fredericksburg. Same driving distance from Kerrville and from Johnson City.

 

I recommend Mamacita's to anyone as being the best eating experience you'll ever have. Their New York strip is flawless and substitute the baked potatoe for guacamole salad and you'll have a low carb meal to die for. The Mamacita's salad is perfect weight control meal IF you'll skip the taco shell. If you're not on a diet the Mexican food is delicious, the tortillas are always hot and honey with butter is always available on request.

 

As Kathryn Jones described in her profile, I can't remember ever eating at Mamacita's without someone from management stopping by the table and asking if everything is alright, which reminds me of the only negative experience I've ever had at a Mamacita's restaurant.

 

Several years ago Sherry and I met seven or eight of the Johnson City folks at the Fredericksburg Mamacita's for one of our monthly reunions. As always I was low-carb dieting and ordered a Mamacita's Salad to get some healthy carbs as opposed to sugar laden carbs. Unlike any other Mamacita's salad I'd ever eaten this one was very short on vegetables. I mentioned it to the person next to me and when the waiter came around asking if everything was ok, that person told him my complaint. It has always been my policy NOT to complain at a restaurant, but I've worked too many police cases concerned with what a cook can do to a customer in way of retaliation. Spit in the food is the least of the possibilities. Whatever the revenge, there's always someone in the kitchen who wants to get even with the cook and so the retaliation gets reported. So, there I sit, not wanting to complain but really disappointed in the amount of vegetables I was served. My friend from Johnson City has spilled the beans and I'm forced to admit I thought the salad was skimpy. The waiter went to the kitchen and returned witha such a large plate of vegetables AND chicken which I hadn't complained about that it was obvious the cook was angered and this amount of food was his way of retaliating and an attempt to make me look foolish for daring to complain. I did eat some more vegetables and the shared the rest of the extra food with everyone at the table. Johnson City folks are not short on appetite, so nothing went to waste. I can see the cook's point of view. He or she probably sees tons of salad thrown out by customers who eat the grilled chicken, pick around on the vegetables and then send the remainder back to the kitchen to be disposed of. I was still disappointed in the arrogance of the cook and the attempt to make me look ridiculous. Maybe the cook was having trouble their spouse, who knows? In fifteen years that's the only negative experience I've had at a Mamacita's.

 

The Texas Hill Country is full of anomaly, so it's no wonder that an Iranian man can become a millionaire with Mexican restaurants in German communities. Fredericksburg is even more German than Kerrville. San Marcos and San Antonio have strong German influences too. Go figure. Now I want to tell you about a mystery writer who writes murder mysteries in and around Blanco County, yep, Blanco county where I was a reserve deputy for several years after I retired from SWT Police Dept. as an investigator.

 

At all those birthday parties at Mamacitas there was the "viewing of the presents and cards" ritual which I've described in the narrative of another ritual. Sherry always shops for certain people on our list and I shop for others, we've never discussed it, it just seemed to fall into place. One of the people I always bought the present for was "Honky Tonk" who is the pianist at the First Methodist Church in Johnson City and a very close friend as well. I always bought her music CDs and usually gospel music. She found out I collected author-signed books and so that's what she always gave me for my birthday.

 

My eyes were really bad for a long time and so I collected a bunch of those books without seriosly reading them. One set of books were by a young mystery writer named Ben Rehder. Joy (Honky-Tonk) went to several book signings and so I built up a collection Ben's novels. All of his novels take place in Blanco County of which Johnson City is not only the County Seat, but is the home town of former president, Lyndon B. Johnson.

 

When I retired in 1998 I was seventy-one years old and had never written anything more than a police report, but upon retiring I began to write essays and short stories and had so much fun I completely lost my identity as a police sketch artist and watercolorist. I've read a lot of the local Blanco county writing generated by the Blanco County Historical Society and others and I'm here to testify this stuff will put you to sleep quicker than prescription drugs. So you have the picture; there I was with faulty glasses, a collection of novels obviously done by a local guy...nothing here I can't wait a while for...right?

 

So, several years later and a new pair of glasses, this time prescribed by an optometrist and NOT a opthomologist...HURRAY, I can read again. So, I picked up a Ben Rehder novel and VIOLA' this guy is really good. This is really just like Blanco County. He's talking about the Sherrif's Office and I rode for several years as a reserve deputy with one of the full time deputies and we had experiences very similar to the ones Ben tells about in his novels.

 

I did feel like Ben's tales were a little tame though. Like in "Murder, She Wrote" it seemed like Blanco County might begin to compete with Cabot Cove for the title, Murder Capital of the World. I was tempted to write Ben and tell him to let go a little bit and make the cases really as bizarre as the ones we actually worked. There was the guy who carried female garments in his car and when he came up on a dead deer along the road, he'd dress the remains in the female attire and have his carnal way with them. A combination the density of cell phones and Baptists got the guy arrested pretty quickly and his case was investigated and taken to the district attorney.

 

Another case I wanted to tell Ben about was the one involving some young men who had small explosives used on coyote bait. They began a campaign to blow up all the rural mail boxes in the north part of the county. In this case the volume of the explosion plus the denisty of ranchers, pickup trucks and deer rifles brought about arrests before too many mail boxes had to be replaced or before someone was killed or injured getting their mail or before the county has to investigate the strange deaths of two young men blown up in a pickuptruck sitting in front of a rural mailbox. It would have probably been written up as a double suicide.

 

I had three of Ben's autographed books and read all three nonstop and was amazed at the quality of his writing and the universal appeal these books would have. When he spoke of eating at Ronny's Barbeque, it was like being home. I have eaten at Ronny's many times and it's just like Ben tells it.

 

When I finished each novel I passed them on to my best bud, Frank Clark, who wanted to read them because although he doesn't come from a law-enforcement background, he comes from a Central Texas deer hunting background. His wife called me and complained; she said she wasn't getting her sleep. He wakes her up all through the night laughing his ass off, so I decided I gotta get online and order everything this guy has written.

 

Online at Ben's website I was amazed to find out that Ben is writing these in a vein of HUMOR. It even cites the genre as being humorous mystery novels. What humor? These are serious law enforcement novels of Blanco County, just the way she is! Damn! Did I ever feel like a hick. I ordered everything he's written and Holy Moly which isn't even off the press yet.

 

As of today Holy Moly is the only one I haven't read. "Gun Shy" is my favorite, but there's not one in the set that isn't a fantastic read. In my case, I can't put them down and it's a good thing I'm retired, otherwise I'd have used up all my sick leave for the next two decades. Frank is still reading and Michele is beginning to look a little "red in the eye" but otherwise we'll just have to wait for "Holy Moly" to come out and hope Ben is presently working on a new novel. The main man is a game warden who helps with the Sherrif's Department's criminal cases. That's the truth or at least very close to reality, we had a game warden in Hays County who was skilled and certified in Forensic Hypnosis and worked with police sketch artists on all kinds of cases.

 

This ends my little essay on the 'Life in the Texas Hill Country" and I apologize for it being a lot longer than I intended it to be. In closing, I'll simply say, "If you're not already living in the Hill Country, start now making your plans to move here; the life you save may be your own."

 

I'm a terrible proof reader and it may be weeks before I get around to the first tip toe back through....be patient, I'm old...ok?

 

www.benrehder.com/

 

This is Ben Rehder's website and you'll be relieved to know Ben doesn't have to rely on the likes of me for his publicity. Kinky Friendman of Texas Monthly fame recommends Ben highly.

 

Copyright Susan Ogden

 

Apologies in advance...this story is kinda longish....

 

Today Luke and i did a little more exploring. We headed north to run errands and got a taste of the “well to do” section of the island. Ridiculously HUGE homes on very large lots...more room than anyone with less than 6 kids could possibly use!! Within 20 miles we arrived in Corolla, after passing thru the town of Duck (Duck Donuts are AWESOME, btw!). We went to Corolla with a purpose in mind....well, at least i did! I wanted to take Luke to see the wild horses that roam the beaches there, and to see Currituck Light. Alas, we only accomplished the latter, after finding out that you can no longer roam the wild beaches on your own anymore to locate and see the horses. You are required to purchase a “Tour”, which is 2 hours long and $48.00 a person. There was little chance of Luke sitting for 2 hours in a 4 wheeler looking for horses that he could not touch!

 

Currituck Light, on the other hand, was beautiful! We met a man, as i was taking photographs of it, who said to me, “No photographs until you climb it!”. i looked at him like he had 3 heads and then went back to shooting! He then said “Seriously, the best shot is when you go in and look straight up. Worth the price of admission!” I sighed and told him he had indeed intrigued me with that statement, and i would get my exercise for the day, carrying a 26 lb human and my camera....even tho i am afraid of heights, thanks to him!

 

Luke was a trooper. He climbed all 214 steps HIMSELF...just holding my hand at my insistence, because i was terrified he would fall thru the holes where the risers should be, but aren’t! PLUS the steps were metal with holes in them and i HAD to look down at him to make sure he was ok and therefore i could see down to below....NOT COOL! When we got to the top, i decided to carry him, much to his protest (which only lasted until he saw how high in the air we were and then he clung to me like a sand spur! which are MISERABLE spiky, spiny plants that feel like you are being stabbed with a zillion needles and get stuck to you like glue). i took a VERY quick series of shots to try and do a stitch for a pano, which him hanging on me and trying desperately to get back inside the door! Apparently he has some fear of heights like his Mmm-ma!! I am ok if i look OUT....just not straight down. Going back down the spiral stairs, i decided to carry him and inch my way down by holding the handrail and looking at the wall, and not thru the steps!

 

Having survived that, i took him out to lunch and then headed home to fight with BC/BS about their inability to get a bill to my house since July. Call # 4....and i will admit, i was less nice than i have been for the past 3 calls....out of pure frustration. They can get me booklets...and ID cards...but not one freaking bill has arrived in spite of of 3 previous calls, and verifying my address 3 times. TODAY, they tell me that my account was “BLOCKED” from getting bills sent to me...and i am beginning to wonder if that is a way of canceling people that pay their own insurance...which would be pretty darned stupid since they charge us the equivalent of an arm, 2 legs and my first born each month for worthless coverage such as Prostate care and Maternity for me (which i FINALLY no longer need!), pediatric care for young children i do not have and Obstetrics coverage for the husband who has never had the “pleasure” of being able to bear a child in the first place! I THINK i may finally have gotten it straightened out....maybe.....sorta.......kinda.........hopefully.................so now i am going back to my bliss in my bubble, thank you!

Continuing my Toy-ronto Life series...

 

Happy Miniature Sunday :-)

 

Spring slowly but steadily is showing herself in our miniature Toy-ronto! I'm looking forward to the month of May which is generally a blooming month here, and when spring a bit late it's a double blooming month, I hope :-)

 

More of toy-some Toy-ronto fun is coming - stay tuned / bientot a l'ecran ;-)

Now, I am quite sure the next Samsung NX would be the m43 duo.

 

We went to Kamakura in Kanagawa prefecture of Japan, and it was a weekday, so there were many retired men and tourists from Asia and Western countries.

It seemed like the older people the more seriously into EVF cameras because of their bad eyesight.

 

Many had a Fuji XT2(or XT20), Sony A6500, A7MK2 and rarely A7R2(for average people here it is too expensive).

Some had Olympus or Panasonic but a very few had any sort of m43.

Only a very few had D-SLRs, it is like the older they are the more willing to go mirrorless for the EVF.

 

But most of Western tourists still had a D-SLR mostly Canon 5DX or Nikon D8XX.....a couple of guys had D850 already.

I think the one camera system dying at fastest rate is m43, it is really changing......the m43 used to be the dominant mirrorless player here in Japan, but now only tiny young ladies who buy cameras for fashion item have it, but even those slowly migrating into Fuji land since the launch of the Fuji X100F and some cheap X cameras like XE3 and XT20.

m43 is making the same old mistake of their 43 era-oversizing and overpricing everything and killing all its inherent charms.

  

Why m43 is doomed 17(updated3)

Will m43 system die prematurely before the 2020 Tokyo event? Will Nikon go under before the next 2020 Tokyo event?

I personally doubt the both cases. I think m43 is doomed and so is Nikon........but the main difference here is the m43 team has no future at all with their current mount system unless they incorporate a bigger 43 format sensor proposed by some Olympus engineers a few years back. Nikon, on the other hand, may still have quite good chance in FF mirrorless market if they could just give up the stupid old F mount for the better future.

I feel Panasonic and Olympus always have some difficulty to convince or persuade their system is good enough even if it actually becomes some sort of point of sufficiency for many people........the tiny sensor choice forces any m43 lenses to be at least two times sharper than FF counterparts and still not as sharp as a cheap FF with a cheap lens, the recent DXO review of the Olympus 25mm f1.2 pro clearly shows its limitation as a whole system.

Do not get me wrong it is a fantastic lens as its own, but any lens needs to be work with a decent sensor to get the best out of it....and as all m43 sensors are so low-resolutioned, there is no chance for them to compete with a decent FF or even a APS-C with a decent or even a cheap lens favorably in a lab.

But in many camera forums there are many avid m43 supporters repeating Nikon the biggest loser in this game, and many of m43 and Fuji fans seem to think it is already too late for Nikon to play a decent role in the mirrorless game.

Yeah Nikon has made a few serious mistakes over the last 5 years, especially the temporal D800 success made them really stupid! They got too cocky and did not realize a bit more DR at base ISO over Canon cameras back then was not a big sells generating point for them. The DR issue was only a big issue in typical silly DR obsessed camera forums and only some of us extremely(maybe excessively) anal about crazy detail at pixel level rather than image level actually care about it.

But Nikon took it too seriously and tried to use it as their new lethal bio weapon against Canon and mirrorless guys while completely ignoring the real important new techs such as fast LV AF, decent durable shutter units, etc.

.........but has it worked out well for them in real market?

The biggest problem for Nikon has been they do not know how to ignore the old DR trolls and so-called experts in the YouTube world who do not have any clue about what they're teaching over the net. Nikon must learn how to use those self-proclaimed experts(actually a con artist) such as Lloyd, Gary Fong, and the guy runs Photography Lite, etc, etc.....rather than getting always used by those crazy YouTube con artists.

I think Mr.Hogan and Northrup seem to be rare exceptions here because they are more realistic and understanding the industry more broadly and therefore they see the so-called Mirrorless won't be the long term future that will ultimately save Nikon, or any camera company, the mirrorless is nothing but just an old tech just like the D-SLR......Thom, Tony, Kevin, etc, all know about that and write about it repeatedly(but the trolls and fanboys conveniently ignore the fact, anyway).

 

Maybe, still, so-called mirrorless is kind of important for the short term future in the ILC market.....though, it is not the long term solution....for any one.

I think even Nikon knows it well, that is why they are said to be working on a real innovative camera(not sure ILC or fixed lens one) product that uses Android as its OS and rumored to have a multi-lens and sensor units just like the Light L16. The computational camera is the real future of camera.

 

But, for now, the big sensor mirrorless is the most profitable and important segment of camera market and that is why decent LV performance is the most important aspect of any new camera because it is a clear sign indication of how well a manufacture will do in mirrorless AF. And so we have tested a several copies of Nikon D7500 and I have confirmed its LV AF speed is a tiny bit faster than anything before it from Nikon, but still no where near the level of Canon dual Pixel AF or Fuji X-T2 or Panasonic G85, let alone the Olympus EM1MK2 or the current fastest LV AF champion the Sony A9.

I think this slow LV focus and operation speed issue is the real big reason why Nikon is quickly becoming an irrelevant player to many young people.

After all, all young boys trying out a camera at our shop use it in LV mode and see how fast it focuses, and they all say why this Nikon thing is so slow, dammit, crap!

 

So Nikon seems really doomed and maybe even worse looking than the m43 team, but is m43 team really in a better spot than Nikon is in now?

 

The second serious issue for Nikon is the market perception of their brand has changed so rapidly since the series of terrible beta-stage experimental camera launches since the D600......hey we must realize that the D750,for example, got a several or more times recalls already.....that is why I sold it and replaced it with a trusty D810.

 

Let's be honest even Sigma's CEO Yamaki admits that many young people see bulky DSLR's in particular as a vestige of the past and wouldn't be caught dead with one, the fad having lost its "coolness factor" some 8 or so years back. I , for one, always feel D-SLR odd whenever I try to shoot my D-SLR again. It feels so anachronistic.

 

And more shocking news to Nikon is many many young people in Japan do not even know what Nikon is or what they have been selling here. In fact, a several 25 year old boys came up to me and asked us if Nikon a trusted brand or just a cheap copy brand from the third world?

But then, the so-called mirrorless, especially m43 perceived any better than the D-SLR by the young?

 

I think no, all the Cool Kids take photos with their iPhones. I don't know of any type of stand-alone camera that would qualify as cool. If there was or is such a camera system, it would have to be the One sensor compact such as Sony RX-100M5 or Canon G7X MK2.

If someone doesn't want an DSLR because it's "not cool" they aren't getting a m43 or a Fuji X ,either.

To normal people they are not really small or discrete at all, just as annoying as a big D-SLR, but with a lesser quality sensor.

 

They may get a 1" compact, or simply use their phone. Majority of NORMAL people never care about long zooms or super wide or a set of super fast primes that we fanatics really think important to any good camera system......

Actually, no camera forum denizens realize this but we have to face the fact that all ILC cameras are big-if not monstrous to most of NORMAL non-photographer people, and they are very intimidating to most of NORMAL people(I mean regardless of mount type or sensor size).

 

I never realized it before but while walking around down town Tokyo with one of my younger friends here forced me to understand it the hard way.

 

A friend of mine told me that he thinks all interchangeable lens cameras are huge and just intimidating to most of average people regardless of sensor size or format, it's just simply annoying!

 

He even said it is really pain-in-ass to use any ILC, it does not matter a m43 or a FF, but if he has to use an ILC, he will go all the way up to FF or at least APS-C cause every ILC even m43 or Nikon One are big and annoying to most anyway.

In other words, as long as they require interchangeable lenses and thus require a dedicated camera bag, they are all equally annoying in practice.

 

I guess a big lens scares or annoys people more than a big camera body......I never saw it his way but I got his point and I decided to carry my tiny Canon G7XMK2 when I just walk around the city area with other people. If I am alone shooting something on tripod, then I usually carry my big camera, and I think it does not matter it's a m43, a FF, an APS-C, it is all big to most of NORMAL people anyway, as my younger friends say............

 

Honestly, ILC's for the most part are a pain- in- the- ass to use and annoying and quirky that deprives away our freedom of choice of our tourist activities or at least restrict it. You need to carry a camera bag, usually with at least one or more other lenses, you are switching lenses, and fiddling around with non-phone like ergonomics that only your creepy old grandpa love, plus you must change lenses over and over every single block you walk pass by to get at least acceptable focal range like in the zoom on the RX100M5..

 

As far as we(my co-workers and I)remember, we now only see or have 2 types of dedicated camera users in our city or any tourist venue here in Japan:

 

1 a group of D-SLR(high end ones) users.

To my surprise, a huge group of twenty-something guys and girls, all with tripods, down at the city hall park, taking night shots of the fountain or cityscape at Kobe port using high end dSLRs-mostly Canon 5DMK4, 5DS-R, or Nikon D810.

 

2 a few One inch compact shooters(usually young boys).

They are usually walking alone and probably domestic tourists and some rare cases some European tourists with some Sony A6XXX or older NEX bodies. And they seem to be all boys no girls.

 

Contrary to the common forum belief all women photogs I know use a big D-SLR or at least A7 or Fuji X, no one use m43 or Nikon One, and they say to occupy the good place in a famous tourists venue or in some event such as a summer festival here, they need the biggest camera and tallest tripod they can handle..........or they'd be looked down cause the Photographic world is dominated by older grumpy faced males who look down on being young and female....... Sad, but I think it is the reality.

 

When I shoot paid events with D-SLRs the cops or the security guys never bother me. But when I have a tiny compact camera or m43 type of mirrorless, many cops bother me.

Many Westerners do not understand it how look of our camera changes the way people perceive us in the public in East Asia. It is a huge issue for us in most part of East Asia. If you are a girl not a boy, you really need a big serious looking camera to get the best position you want to get for any event you shoot here. It is that simple, and my sister and her friends experience it all the time whenever she goes out for shooting with her friends or co-workers.

Fortunately, as a almost middle aged man, I have no issue of that sort. However, even I know it is easier to take the best place with a big D-SLR like the D5 than with a m43 in any event here.

In China, Japan, Thailand, Korea, etc, public perception is very important, and the ignorant public usually thinks the bigger ones the more serious cameras, or the people with a big camera or cameras are more important paid serious shooters, thus people respect them and usually treat them nicely.............it is why m43 is not taken seriously in these Asian nations with relatively tiny people such as Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Korea, Singapore,etc. If you want to be taken seriously but hate a D-SLR like me, you need a high-end Sony or a high-end Fuji here in Japan and in most part of Asia.

 

When I was shooting a big piano concert with my A7R2(because it had silent shooting feature unlike my Nikon d810 or Sony A7R), an old guy with Nikon D3300 told me not use a TOY for a serious work...........Oh well, surprising to the least, but even old guys with Rebels or Nikon D3XXX think my Sony A7R or A7R2 a toy here just because it is so small.........laughable but true, average people here are that ignorant and proud of being ignorant.......

 

And yes, some young and trendy mom's who want the next best thing to a point and shoot do select mirrorless, but I've never seen one with a m43 has, a flash, or a tripod. That's based on dozen of events around the world, from Hong Kong to Bangkok to Tokyo to Taipei. And I study what the crowd is doing around me as much as I do the "real" photographers out in the streets, in fact, I am more interested in studying about others' choices than my own photography or anyone else's photographs.

 

Not specifically related to market share, etc.,but if you haven't read it already Thom Hogan has an interesting and I think quite balanced article about the differences, as he perceives them:Nikon FX vs Mirrorless. It is an old article, but still remains relevant today......

 

www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/seven-reasons-why-im-still.html

 

Obviously improvements in technology over time will probably narrow some of those differences and, for example, one might be Canon's patent to reduce autofocus hunting below........but again it will definitely hurt m43, not FF or APS-C.

 

www.digitaltrends.com/photography/canon-af-hunting-patent/

 

Finally, contrary to the common forum belief, the younger the photogs the more into heavy, serious-looking gear, this is glaring especially in Asia.

I think it is a simple psychology case, they just want to be taken seriously.

 

Those do not care about how they're perceived by the other photogs usually use whatever they like for whatever app they are into, and nothing wrong with that.

 

And the other group just wanting to take their own selfies with some famous monuments, just use their Google pixel phones or iPhones, and nothing wrong with that, either.

 

So there is no way m43 will be able to consolidate its market position in stills camera market despite of their recent high quality products such as the amazing GH5, the EM1MK2, and the Pro line lenses from Olympus.

No matter how practical m43 gets,with tons of advanced features , the main stream gearheads look down on it just because it has a tiny sensor.

No matter how versatile it gets , most of young beginners and especially beginner-girls avoid it since they know they need a big serious looking FF or at least APS-C to be taken seriously..

And the rest of dedicated camera users just ignore it since it is not small enough to be pocketable like the Sony RX100X or the Canon G7X2, nor is it powerful enough to compete with any bigger sensor system in the long run.

However, it is just the short term view of the industry, and I bet none of the current camera makers will be able to survive through the next decade, let alone able to make the true future of camera.The future will be the computational camera. The computational technologies actually render the skills, experience, and technologies that high-precision optical/mechanical companies like Nikon/Canon/Olympus/Sony/Pentax have spent 100 years developing almost entirely moot. It will be the world of $2 imaging chips and tiny $2 5-element plastic lenses stamped out by the millions in factories manned by robots. It'll be the domain of software and of Apple, Google et. al. It will not be about making glass, it will be about making algorithms. I can't really see how any of the camera companies, not even Canon, stands a chance in that race.

So what they should actually be worrying about now is a gigantic Western company like Apple buys or tries something like the Light L16 type of camera technology, after all , that will be the real future of camera.

The mirrorless is just a temporal thing that never even become a huge boom but probably will die prematurely even before seeing its heydays.

So maybe Nikon and Canon are much wiser not spending(wasting) for just a temporal short term future product like the mirrorless......No mirrorless at least the current form of that kind are innovative......Even the super overhyped A9 just shows that it is not the future, it is just the same basic old day camera design from 1990 with just a set of superficially innovative gimmicks thorn in, to cheat the naive public. In some ways, in good light conditions, the AF ,etc, works just incredibly well. It is very fast and very reliable. However, once the shooting condition gets worse with very little to no light, it still suddenly becomes useless; it cannot focus well in extreme lowlight, it needs about 6 seconds or longer to wake up from a long sleep, etc, etc,.........it is only incredibly fast in good or decent shooting conditions, and this kind of PJ cameras usually used in bad shooting conditions where you can not control the light. Even if the A9 is faster in all shooting conditions than the D5, the 1DX or the 5DMK4, it is still not any sort of a real innovation at all.

I mean there is nothing innovative or revolutionary about the A9 or the EM1MK2 or the GFX, they are just re-using the really boring camera-fundamentalist view of old technologies that already used in older gen mirrorless or D-SLRs.

I mean they have no new 21st century liquid lens tech, no real connectivity to internet, no API(to allow third party software apps), no true programmable U.I.,etc. Nothing innovative at all.

So all the current style of mirrorless cameras are overrated and excessively(probably deliberately)over-hyped by the so-called reviewers and self-proclaimed experts.

 

However, the D-SLRs are even more doomed and the D850 or the 5DMK5 kind of camera (that we can easily predict coming) will not help the death of the D-SLR companies, especially Nikon.

  

UPDATE:Now the D850 has been out, available for us to test it at many shops in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, etc, here. And I have tested it a several times, it is a great camera indeed as a D-SLR as we all expect, but is it a game-changing camera for Nikon?

No. It may be the opposite, game shuttering camera for Nikon since this shows clearly how Nikon has wasted its very limited resources(for mirrorless) on something really do nothing great for Nikon in the long run.

 

And as I have written it a week or so back here, Nikon has changed its mirrorless plans. It will not be announced until 2019.......and this is really terrible, showing us how little Nikon managers actually understand their company's current situation and what they actually need to change the rules of the game they've been playing against Canon and Sony.

 

It is not the D850 that may save Nikon as it is just a incremental iteration of the D810, or can I say a more refined version of it?

Make no mistake here, the D850 is a fantastic camera and I probably buy it myself in this winter. But as Thom Hogan and others have rightly pointed out, the highend FX D-SLRs Nikon has released were all good, nothing really terrible at all , however, it is not the line they desperately need to change the rules of the game they have been playing against Sony , Fuji and to a lesser degree Canon.

 

I think it is too late for Nikon to enter big sensor mirrorless market since the top dog in the race has changed and now it is Canon that Nikon or any one tries to be in this race has to beat, no longer Fuji or Sony.

 

I think when the main rival was Sony, Nikon had chance, but now it is more and more difficult for Nikon since the one to beat here is no longer Sony or Fuji but Canon.

 

This is the reason why Nikon managers are so desperate and their fanboys going crazy, making a terrible system comparison vid like below to bash all the other brand FF systems but Nikon.

 

nikonrumors.com/2017/09/02/what-is-the-most-expensive-ful...

 

I think this comparison is hilarious.

Very unfair and very stupid, clearly showing how desperate the Nikon fanboy community has become.

 

Plus, as I said it rightly many times, the idea of "SYSTEM" should die, not every body needs to get a set of super teles or super wide, or even the 70-200mm f2.8 kinda zoom.

 

Personally, I think a FF with super wide to around 85mm plus TSE lenses make more sense than usual 24-70 plus 70-200 plus 50/1.4 type of kit that NikonRumors deliberately chose to make Nikon system look nicer than the others.

 

Anyway the point here is Nikon guys cannot see the fact the situation is changing, the rules of the game is changing, and now they are the only ones left out there without the new weapons that the others are all allowed to rightly possess.

  

UPDATE2: Nikon fans are getting really desperate(paranoid) as you can see it at Nikon Rumors and Photorumors sites.

They constantly bashing any Sony, Canon, Fuji, and m43 products, before that they used to bash Samsung too.

They usually say CanonNikon to put Canon and Nikon in the same class or league, but what they do not realize is that Canon has stated many times their rivals or what Canon considers its rivals are Fuji and Sony not Nikon, Canon does not even care about Nikon.

This is the reality that Nikon fans cannot see but everybody else sees clearly.

 

I went to Nagasaki in last week end and this week to cover their atomic bomb events and festival, and I have noticed clear sign of the ILC market trend might really be changing that I did not see many Nikons that I used to see at this kind of events and tourists venues( actually, Nikon was the dominant player at this event for many years, until maybe this year).

 

I saw many mirrorless cameras this time and this was my first time that I saw more mirrorless shooters than D-SLR guys. And the most worrisome trend I saw for the D-SLR community(especially for Nikon community) was that all those still shooting with a heavy ugly Nikon D-SLR seemed to be really old retired men....

 

Another seriously worrisome trend I saw for Nikon community was that all rich Chinese and Arab tourists had a Canon 5D4 or 1DX2, some with the A9...or even GFX50s or Hasselblad X1D( but no one rich was shooting Nikon).

 

I also met a several Sony A7X shooters some were shooting with a A7 original but ,to my surprise, most of them had A7R2 or A7S2.

 

Oh even more shocking change was that many many people had Panasonic GH5 or very expensive (for the sensor size) Olympus EM1MK2 with 40-140f2.8 pro zoom........and a few Chinese tourists I had some conversation with had a Olympus EM1MK2 kit plus Fuji GFX50s kit or Sony A7R2 plus Fuji XT20 or X-Pro2 kit.

But still Canon seemed to be the dominant player here by a huge margin.

And I think Nikon seems to have been the biggest loser here and it getting worse and worse for them since the young really feel the name Nikon as obscure as Konica-Minolta or Pentax.

 

Some local students I met told me that they do not know what Nikon is and to them good popular camera makers are Canon, Sony, Fuji, Olympus and Leica.

 

I was a bit surprised that they knew Leica and I was so happy to know that, however, they did not even know Nikon and its legend even though they were Japanese.

 

Now, Nikon is quickly becoming an old man brand here in Japan, and no young people do not even know the name of it any more.

 

Now I strongly believe Nikon is really dying.

  

UPDATE3: it is now really too late for them unless they now can bring it out with at least 7(24-70/2.8, 16-35/2.8, 70-200/2.8, 24/1.4,35/1.4,85/1.4, and some sort of macro at least) lenses at the very start of it.

 

And considering their current financial state, it is near impossible.

 

Even if they can some how manage to do it , it will not give us any rational reason to choose their system over the A9 series or even over the cheap A7M3, which will be announced in October or November this year(100 percent sure about it).

 

And Nikon just clearly stated they think they can launch it in the end of 2018 or more realistically in early 2019 in their recent interview with Asahi Shimbun news.

 

This means that it will not be announced in this year or early next year, the best case in third Q of the next year.

 

If they wand me to buy into their new mirrorless system, they must have a 12-24mm f4 G kind of lens and a 50mm f1.4 prime as good or better than the FE50mm f1.4Z without oversizing it to the Sigma Art or Zeiss Otus size...

The Art and Otus may be a great lens, but many of us hate them for the awkward ergonomics and size alone.

 

Also for those who own some of their lenses, Nikon should provide (better included in the package) a smart adapter for their F mount E and G type lenses.

 

But then, the mirrorless is already outdated before it gets even fully matured. The future is definitely the computational camera like the Light L16 but more sophisticated one that would be released some one like Google, MS or Apple or any real American tech giant, not from a tiny company like Light or Red or any of these old-fashioned camera companies.

 

But in the best case scenario(according to the above news paper analyst) for Nikon and other traditional camera companies, maybe the more traditional and niche they are the more likely to survive even after the death of consumer grade ILC.

 

If he is right, then Nikon most likely survive and likes of Sony, Fuji, Olympus,etc will die before Nikon......and I feel they (mirrorless guys) spending too disproportionately huge(to their camera market share) amount of R and D money for the so-called mirrorless system. And the smartest one is obviously Canon as all analysts and economists agreed on this one. They are spending the least amount of R&D money and getting the best ROI ratio. So Canon and Sony are about the same size of companies in terms of total revenue, but Canon is about 30 percent more profitable......and Sony is actually barely profitable although its fanboys always think they are huge enough to devour Canon Nikon, but actually they are just as big or small as Canon and much less profitable...

   

UPDATE4: Now, I have all 3 Sony E mount 85mm AF primes and I think they are all good in very different ways.....

But if I were shopping a 85mm prime for my A7, A7R, A7R2(I sold all my 3 A7MK2 now), I would just get the GM for its super high IQ, and the cheap FE85mm f1.8 for its small size for street , casual cats portrait, etc.

 

I think the 85 is the worst Batis(all the other Batis lenses are good albeit none of these are really great), with terrible cats eye bokeh and very bad pincushion distortion that needs to be always corrected in PS.

 

I also notice that the Batis is sharp in the center, but in the edges it is not as sharp as the GM , actually even the cheap FE85mm f1.8 beats it in the edges and corners.

But if money is no object here, then there is no reason to get any other 85mm prime than the GM if you have any kind of Sony A7 series cameras.....the 85mm f1.4GM is that good, I think it is a no brainer.

 

The FE16-35mm f2.8GM, the FE12-24mm f4 G, FE85mm f1.4GM, the FE50mm f1.4Z Planer are all amazing lenses.

To me the biggest surprise(in an extremely positive way) was the FE16-35mm f2.8GM that might replace all 5 lenses I have had in that focal range, e.g., the Batis 18mm f2.8, the FE16-35mmf4Z, the FE28mm f2, the Batis 25mm f2, the Loxia 21mm f2.8.

 

I really liked the Loxia last year, but now I do not see any reason to still need it , especially after I tested a few copies of the excellent FE16-35mm f2.8GM, it is sharper than the Loxia 21, and more consistent due to the AF and versatile zoom range.

 

The 18mm Batis is a great lens and I may miss it sometimes if I sell it, but it is just not much sharper than the GM zoom to have its room in my tiny camera bag........the FE16-35mm GM and the 85mm f1.4GM really rock and I think there is no better wide zoom than the 16-35 gM in any mount system available today.....

It is very expensive but worth the high price Sony is asking for it.

People used to say Sony's main weakness is their poor quality glass and that is the Nikon's strongest area.

 

But it has been changing dramatically at a dramatic fast pace.

Now, Sony seems to have had the best zoom selection in their E mount system and that is hard to beat....

 

In addition to that , in Sony system, the great Zeiss Loxia and Batis primes are given the native lens status and guaranteed to work with any future Sony E mount camera body both by Sony and Zeiss, and it is a big advantage for Zeiss fans and any serious prime shooters.

    

Wild Horse, CO, was established in 1869, when a detachment from the local US Army calvary came across hundreds of wild horses gathered at a watering hole.

The Kansas Pacific extended a railway line through the area and from 1869 through 1906, Wild Horse was just a station. The boom for the town came in 1906 and the town peaked by about 1911. Wild Horse boasted a drug store, two restaurants, three saloons(though one only lasted a week), two cream stations, a barber shop, and more. The Wild Horse Times was the town newspaper, and in 1912, the schoolhouse was built. The local bank, the Alfalfa Valley Bank, called Wild Horse "the best little town in the west." But bad fortune was quick to befall the town. A series of fires soon hit Wild Horse, and in 1917, a big fire erupted from a toppled stove in one of the cream stations, and almost the entire eastern half(which also happened to be the business side) of the town was destroyed. Residents tried to rebuild, but with the Great Depression and "dirty thirties," many residents left to find greener pastures.

Today, not much remains of the town. Blink and you'll miss it driving by on the highway. The original school house still stand, in great condition, and a few buildings and houses are scattered around the land. A few people still call this town home, but it will never return to the glory days it once enjoyed.

 

A sculpture of 15 wild horses has crowned a barren Central Washington hillside for more nearly two decades, but the rusted sheets of steel still are an inspiring sight to travelers along busy I- 90.

The 200-foot line of life-size charging horses, the creation of David Govedare of Chewelah, Wash., captures a mystical spirit from a time when real wild horses roamed the steppes.

Titled "Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies," the scene symbolically re-creates the Great Spirit turning loose a herd of wild horses above the Columbia River's Wanapum Lake.

 

Lake Garda, Italy

 

I've previously uploaded an image from this location last October but came across a series of images on the hard drive I'd taken to form a panorama but never got around to stitching them... well here it is. A three frame stitched image in a 3:1 ratio.

 

Only had about 25 minutes at this spot as had to dash back into town to meet up with Mrs R for our evening meal and it's a surprisingly long walk back from here... the two blurred paddle boarders crossing the lake clearly knew the fastest route!

 

Sapporo (札幌市 Sapporo-shi) is the fourth largest city in Japan by population, and the largest city on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Located in Ishikari Subprefecture, it is the capital of Hokkaido Prefecture, and an ordinance-designated city of Japan.

 

Sapporo is known outside Japan for having hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, the first ever held in Asia, and for the city's annual Yuki Matsuri, internationally referred to as the Sapporo Snow Festival, which draws more than 2 million tourists from around the world. The city is also home to Sapporo Brewery and the white chocolate biscuits called shiroi koibito (白い恋人, "white sweetheart").

 

Before its establishment, the area occupied by Sapporo (known as the Ishikari Plain) was home to a number of indigenous Ainu settlements. In 1866, at the end of the Edo period, construction began on a canal through the area, encouraging a number of early settlers to establish Sapporo village. The settlement's name was taken from the Ainu language sat poro pet (サッ・ポロ・ペッ), and can be translated as "dry, great river".

 

In 1868, the officially recognized year celebrated as the "birth" of Sapporo, the new Meiji government concluded that the existing administrative center of Hokkaido, which at the time was the port of Hakodate, was in an unsuitable location for defense and further development of the island. As a result, it was determined that a new capital on the Ishikari Plain should be established. The plain itself provided an unusually large expanse of flat, well drained land which is relatively uncommon in the otherwise mountainous geography of Hokkaido.

 

During 1870–1871, Kuroda Kiyotaka, vice-chairman of the Hokkaido Development Commission (Kaitaku-shi), approached the American government for assistance in developing the land. As a result, Horace Capron, Secretary of Agriculture under President Ulysses S. Grant, became an oyatoi gaikokujin and was appointed as a special advisor to the commission. Construction began around Odori Park, which still remains as a green ribbon of recreational land bisecting the central area of the city. The city closely followed a grid plan with streets at right-angles to form city blocks.

 

The continuing expansion of the Japanese into Hokkaido continued, mainly due to migration from the main island of Honshu immediately to the south, and the prosperity of Hokkaido and particularly its capital grew to the point that the Development Commission was deemed unnecessary and was abolished in 1882.

 

Edwin Dun (oyatoi gaikokujin) came to Sapporo to establish sheep and cattle ranches in 1876. He also demonstrated pig raising and the making of butter, cheese, ham and sausage. He married a Japanese woman. He once went back to the US in 1883 but returned to Japan as a secretary of government.

 

William S. Clark (oyatoi gaikokujin), who was the president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (now the University of Massachusetts Amherst), came to be the founding vice-president of the Sapporo Agricultural College (now Hokkaido University) for only eight months from 1876 to 1877. He taught academic subjects in science and lectured on the Bible as an "ethics" course, introducing Christian principles to the first entering class of the College.

 

In 1880, the entire area of Sapporo was renamed as "Sapporo-ku" (Sapporo Ward), and a railroad between Sapporo and Temiya, Otaru was laid. That year the Hōheikan, a hotel and reception facility for visiting officials and dignitaries, was erected adjacent to the Odori Park. It was later moved to Nakajima Park where it remains today. Two years later, with the abolition of the Kaitaku-shi, Hokkaidō was divided into three prefectures: Hakodate, Sapporo, and Nemuro. The name of the urban district in Sapporo remained Sapporo-ku, while the rest of the area in Sapporo-ku was changed to Sapporo-gun. The office building of Sapporo-ku was also located in the urban district.

 

Sapporo, Hakodate, and Nemuro Prefectures were abolished in 1886, and Hokkaidō government office building, an American-neo-baroque-style structure with red bricks, constructed in 1888. The last squad of the Tondenhei, the soldiers pioneering Hokkaido, settled in the place where the area of Tonden in Kita-ku, Sapporo is currently located. Sapporo-ku administered surrounding Sapporo-gun until 1899, when the new district system was announced. After that year, Sapporo-ku was away from the control of Sapporo-gun. The "ku" (district) enforced from 1899 was an autonomy which was a little bigger than towns, and smaller than cities. In Hokkaido at that time, Hakodate-ku and Otaru-ku also existed.

 

In 2001 the construction of the Sapporo Dome was completed, and in 2002 the Dome hosted three games during the 2002 FIFA World Cup; Germany vs Saudi Arabia, Argentina vs England and Italy vs Ecuador, all of which were in the first round. The present mayor of Sapporo, Fumio Ueda, was elected as the mayor for the first time in 2003. Sapporo became the home to a Nippon Professional Baseball team, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, in 2004, which won the 2006 Japan Series, and the victory parade was held on Ekimae-Dōri (a street in front of Sapporo Station) in February 2007.

 

The 34th G8 summit took place in Tōyako in 2008, and a number of people including anti-globalisation activists and marched in the heart of the city to protest. Police officers were gathered in Sapporo from all over Japan, and the news reported that four people were arrested in the demonstrations. The Hokkaidō Shinkansen line, which is currently under construction to Hakodate through the Seikan Tunnel, is planned to link to Sapporo.

 

Wikipedia

 

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札幌市(さっぽろし)は、北海道にある政令指定都市で、道庁所在地、および石狩振興局所在地。

 

国内有数の都市で、市域人口は約195万人で東京特別区、横浜市、大阪市、名古屋市に次ぐ国内第5位。都市圏人口は約260万人で首都圏、近畿圏、中京圏、北九州・福岡圏に次ぐ国内第5位である。

 

北海道の首位都市(プライメートシティ)で、市域人口では全道の約35%を、都市圏人口では約半分を占める。同道の政治、経済、産業、教育、文化、芸術ほか多くの分野の中心地。地理的には同道の西部であるが、鉄道網や高速道路網、航空網なども次第に同市を中心に整備が進み、現在では交通や観光の中心地ともなっている。

 

10の行政区がある。

 

日本最北の政令指定都市であり、全国の市(東京特別区含む)の中で5番目の人口を有しており、北海道全体の人口の約3割強(約36%)を占めている。北海道のプライメイトシティで、札幌都市圏を形成している。

 

アイヌの人々が暮らしていた蝦夷地は1869年(明治2年)に北海道と改称され開拓使が置かれて札幌本府の建設がはじまった。1875年(明治8年)に最初の屯田兵が入植。札幌の建設計画は当時の開拓判官島義勇によって構想され、京都を参考にした街づくりは創成橋東側のたもとを基点に東西の基軸を創成川、南北の基軸を渡島通(現在の南1条通)として区画割を進めていった(現在の南北の基軸は大通公園となっている)。その後、周辺町村を編入・合併して市域を拡大していった。

 

1972年(昭和47年)にはアジア初となる冬季オリンピック(札幌オリンピック)を開催。その後も国際スキー連盟の各種国際大会やアジア冬季競技大会、国際大学スポーツ連盟主催の冬季ユニバーシアード大会、FIFAワールドカップ、FIBAバスケットボール・ワールドカップ、世界ラリー選手権など数多くの国際大会が開催されている。札幌市としても各種イベントや展示会、企業の会議や報奨旅行などの誘致・開催(MICE)への積極的な取組みを行っており、国際会議観光都市に認定されている。

 

毎年1300万人前後の観光客が訪れる観光都市となっており、市町村の魅力度ランキング調査でも毎年上位にランクインしている都市である。2013年(平成25年)にはユネスコ(国際連合教育科学文化機関)により創設された創造都市ネットワークの「メディアアーツ都市」分野に世界で2都市目に(アジアでは初めて)認定された。

 

2026年冬季オリンピックに立候補する意向が表明されている。

 

Wikipedia

 

------------------------------------------------

 

Sapporo (en japonés: 札幌市; Sapporo-shi) es una ciudad de Japón, situada en la parte suroeste interior de la isla de Hokkaidō. Es la capital de la prefectura homónima y su población supera los 1,9 millones de habitantes, lo que la convierte en la quinta localidad más grande del país. El área total del territorio es de 1.121 km².

 

Fue fundada en 1869 como capital de la nueva prefectura de Hokkaidō tras la colonización de la isla durante la era Meiji, en sustitución de Hakodate. Al levantarla de cero, las autoridades niponas recurrieron a consejeros occidentales —en su mayoría, estadounidenses— que tuvieron gran influencia sobre la planificación urbana, el establecimiento de industrias, el estilo arquitectónico y los centros educativos. Se encuentra rodeada por cadenas montañosas y, pese a su crecimiento demográfico, ha mantenido numerosas zonas verdes tanto en el núcleo urbano como en las afueras; cuenta con un total de 2.700 parques,1 algunos tan importantes como el Jardín Botánico y el parque nacional Shikotsu-Tōya.

 

Presenta temperaturas más bajas que el resto de ciudades japonesas debido a su clima continental húmedo, con continuas nevadas en los meses de invierno y tiempo suave durante el verano. Por esta razón, es un destino turístico especializado en deportes invernales. Durante el siglo XX han surgido eventos que le han dotado de fama internacional, siendo el más importante de ellos el Festival de la nieve de Sapporo que se celebra cada mes de febrero. Dispone de una red desarrollada de transporte por carretera y ferrocarril, con un aeropuerto propio para vuelos regionales (Okadama) y otro internacional en las cercanías (Nuevo Aeropuerto de Chitose), que es el tercero mayor de Japón en número de pasajeros.

 

Cuenta además con una amplia oferta cultural y educativa. La Universidad de Hokkaidō, fundada por William S. Clark en 1876 como Escuela de Agricultura y reconvertida en 1918 en la actual institución, es una de las siete universidades nacionales de Japón. Tiene un total de 11.600 alumnos de grado y 6.300 de posgrado.

 

Sapporo ha organizado los XI Juegos Olímpicos de Invierno de 1972. Además fue una de las sedes de la Copa Mundial de Fútbol de 2002.

 

Es una de las ciudades más recientes de Japón, pues su nacimiento data de finales del siglo XIX. Está ubicada sobre un territorio originalmente ocupado por los ainu, un pueblo indígena de cazadores.4 Durante el periodo Edo se inició la construcción de un canal de navegación que permitió los primeros asentamientos colonos. La isla de Hokkaidō fue oficialmente anexionada en 1869 y ese año se fundó Sapporo como futura capital de la nueva prefectura, dentro del plan de desarrollo impulsado por el emperador Meiji para frenar la expansión del imperio ruso al este.

 

En aquel momento el municipio más poblado era Hakodate. Sin embargo, se empezó de cero con una nueva villa alejada de la costa por razones de seguridad. Sapporo obtuvo la capitalía de forma oficial en 1871.

 

El vicepresidente de la comisión de desarrollo, Kuroda Kiyotaka, pidió ayuda al gobierno de los Estados Unidos en las obras. El consejero extranjero (oyatoi gaikokujin) que asumió esa labor fue Horace Capron, secretario de agricultura bajo la presidencia de Ulysses S. Grant. Los norteamericanos diseñaron el plan urbanístico basándose en un trazado en damero con calles en ángulo recto, poco comunes en el país, donde el parque Odori funcionaría como avenida central. Muchos de los edificios oficiales también se hicieron según el mismo patrón. La aportación occidental fue crucial: el asesor Edwin Dun impulsó la industria primaria con la creación de lecherías y granjas,8 mientras que el profesor William S. Clark, procedente de la Universidad de Massachusets, fundó en 1876 la Escuela de Agricultura de Sapporo para instruir a los nuevos habitantes.

 

En años posteriores se culminó la construcción de la villa portuaria de Otaru (al norte de la capital), las primeras líneas ferroviarias y los edificios de gobierno. Durante el siglo XX, Sapporo mantuvo su crecimiento demográfico gracias a la absorción de villas en los alrededores. La Escuela Agrícola quedó en 1907 bajo control de la Universidad de Tohoku y en 1918 se autorizó su transformación en la Universidad Imperial de Hokkaidō, la quinta a nivel nacional en recibir tal distinción. En 1922 el gobierno nipón aprobó un nuevo sistema municipal por el que Sapporo ya era oficialmente una ciudad.

 

Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial se inauguró el aeródromo de Okadama como base aérea del Ejército Imperial. Entre el 14 y el 15 de julio de 1945, Sapporo fue bombardeada por los aviones B-29 de la USAAF, aunque el objetivo de los ataques eran puertos estratégicos cercanos a la zona. Las fuerzas aliadas que ocuparon el país asumieron las labores de reconstrucción, y en 1952 cedieron el control al nuevo gobierno japonés. En aquel tiempo se celebró la primera edición del Festival de la nieve de Sapporo (1950) y se autorizó que la base aérea de Chitose, abierta desde 1926 en las afueras, se utilizase como aeropuerto civil.

 

El acontecimiento más importante que ha acogido son los Juegos Olímpicos de Invierno de 1972. Sapporo ya fue elegida en 1937 sede de la edición de 1940, pero tuvo que renunciar a ella por el estallido de la Segunda guerra sino-japonesa. Veinticinco años después, el Comité Olímpico Internacional le otorgó la organización de la XI Olimpiada.11 Esto permitió nuevas reformas como la inauguración del sistema de Metro en 1971.

 

El 1 de abril de 1972, Sapporo se convirtió en una ciudad designada por decreto gubernamental.

 

A finales del siglo XX asumió un rol de destino turístico y de eventos culturales, con la organización del Pacific Music Festival de música clásica, del Sapporo City Jazz y del Festival Yosakoi Sōran de folclore tradicional. Fue subsede de la Copa Mundial de Fútbol de 2002 gracias a la construcción del Domo de Sapporo, inaugurado un año antes. Y en 2008, con motivo de la 34 Cumbre del G8 albergada en el sur de Hokkaidō , acogió las manifestaciones de los movimientos antiglobalización. En 2012 se inició la obra de la línea de tren de alta velocidad Hokkaido Shinkansen, que unirá a la isla con Aomori en 2016.

start of a series from the album "the hated town"

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The fifth in my series of a photoshoot we had, myself and three other photographers #teamphotoclick in a warehouse in Down Town LA - From the dance collaboration series with dancers from @invertigodance a great team working together - see names below of dancers ...

"Just joined instagram.. let me know if anyone on there..my name there is .. carolinegrayphotography" would be great to see you there too!!

Japan is a very dark and oppressed society, a lot of oppression there. I think it may be the real hell.

It was cold and very dark gloomy , a very bad day.

  

Now amazing Capture One pro 10 is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 9.4 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

www.flickr.com/photos/izumiflowers/16739211041/

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One pro 10 for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One, the greatest company in Photography ever.

 

I think both Capture One 10 Pro and DXO 11 produce a bit better color than LR CC or LR6 for Sony, Canon,Olympus, or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon but even for Canon CR2 files, LR6 and CC are not good enough, never produce the amazing amount details that Capture One 10 or DXO 11 does.

 

Seriously C Oen 10 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 10 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I upgraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 11 Pro version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

  

UPDATE : now, Canon has just announced its new sensor development policy. Canon seems to have built a new sensor plant in Mie prefecture of Japan. It seems like Canon is going on new 65nm process rule and all upcoming Canon sensors will be produced at there.

I think the 1DX2 and the 80D sensors are processed at the new plant.

Sony is still leading the CMOS imaging industry, but giants like Samsung are in close pursuit. Also big players like Panasonic are forming joint ventures with the likes of TowerJazz to offer 12-inch wafer fabrication with state-of-the-art quantum efficiency and dark current performance at 65 nano meters, and additional 45nm digital technology, and added available capacity of approximately 800,000 8-inch wafers per year in three manufacturing plants in Japan, according to TowerJazz.

 

The stakes are huge. The CMOS image sensor market will reached the historic $10 billion milestone in 2015, according to Yale, and with new applications popping up in automotive, medical and surveillance, while smartphones begin adopting high-definition front facing cameras, the industry is likely to hit the $16 billion mark by 2020. So nobody is just sleeping and Sony has to consolidate its position ASAP, or probably Sony will lose it again just like its short-lived TV business.

  

UPDATE2:Another serious issue all the camera makers will have to face but I did not really realize before is that all ILC cameras are big to most of NORMAL non-photographer people, and they are very intimidating to most of NORMAL people(I mean regardless of mount type or sensor type).

I never realized it before but while walking around down town Fukuoka with one of my long time friends here forced me to understand it. A friend of mine told me that he thinks all interchangeable lens cameras are huge and intimidating to most of average people regardless of sensor size or format, it's just simply annoying!

I guess a big lens scares or annoys people more than a big body......I never saw it his way but I got his point and I decided to carry my tiny Canon G5X when I just walk around the city area with other people. If I am alone shooting something, then I usually carry my big camera, and I think it does not matter it's a m43, a FF, an APS-C, it is all big to most of NORMAL people, anyway.

Then why not just go all the way up to FF or MFDB, or at least APS-C?

 

So maybe the one really doomed is not Nikon F or Pentax K or Sony A but m43?

Nikon and Pentax have historically had very enthusiastic and even fanatic core shooters and they are usually too old to adapt themselves fast to new EVF based gear even if they understand it is the more logical thing for them as they are aged. So D-SLRs may survive as antique cameras, but m43 or Nikon One?

  

UPDATE3:Many people including myself thought Nikon is dying, if not already dead by now, but in reality Nikon still sells many many more units than Sony and Nikon is now working on new type of sensor design and they may collaborate with Pentax and Olympus to set up a new sensor company. If this plays out well, then Sony will be the loser since they will have no one to sell their so-called Fullframe sensors any more. And as a result their highend camera prices will go up significantly.

And now Sony has just announced they've just decided to spin off their digital-imaging division(Sony DI) and now it is an independent business under Sony corp's supervision, just like their sensor group.....

This means now Sony imaging is not a part of Sony but their subsidiary, and therefore, to Sony device group, the imaging group is just a customer,nothing special, in fact,considering its size of market share in relation to that of Nikon, Sony imaging group is a lower class customer to the device group.

So there is no more reason for Sony device technology to keep the best sensor for in-house use-only. In fact now Sony device tech must compete with the new sensor company Nikon Olympus Ricoh have just established here and some European sensor designers such as CMOSIS, who makes the Leica SL sensor and M sensor.

And do not forget there is always Canon if Sony does not sell anything to Nikon.........Canon will start selling it and there will be Panasonic and Tower Jazz also........so Nikon will not have any problem choosing sensor suppliers any more.

Sony must sell their best sensors to Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax , or Sony will lose them, Sony cannot choose customers any more.

If Sony is smart, it will not compete with Nikon or Olympus in camera market. After all, Nikon is the biggest customer of Sony.....and Sony also buys steppers from Nikon anyway. So Sony is not dominating the sensor market, or controlling Nikon as many armchair experts in many camera fora think..........and the just announced Spun-off of their imaging division makes Sony camera business less trust-worthy........... Sony thinks every business as a short term investment and runs it to make it temporarily profitable and then spins it off.

After that? of course sells it to anyone willing to buy it.........like Sony did with the Vaio PC business, TV business, etc,etc.

That is why no one really trust Sony in the long run, we long term Sony users just use its cameras but always know it is a back-up plan or step-gap solution......

After all no serious camera buyers are as obtuse as many spec-chasers and review sites think they are. No one buys into a big expensive camera system just for an amazing set of features in a body or two...................there are many many more important aspects to a system camera than just a set of great features... I think Sony should try to be an Intel of camera.

 

After all, a good camera system requires a set of great glass and speed lite system and determination to support it.

If the body alone performance is everything then the A99MK2 is selling like hotcakes every where, but in reality no one takes that high risk.....because no one trusts Sony that much.

I think sometimes public perception of a manufacture is very important, and Sony needs serious effort to improve their brand image, just a couple of great bodies do not do all the bad name fix for them.

 

So now I am not very positive about the current form of mirrorless and strongly doubt any of these Sony, Fuji, m43,etc would survive......say more than 5 years....

It is basically the same boring tech used as in the D-SLR, nothing new or revolutionary at all.....and so I think Nikon still has some time left to figure the best way to do mirrorless out for the longer term future since none of the current mirrorless doing it right. In other words, if they ditch the F mount and go all electronic mount like the FE or EF but with a bit wider mount throat design , then they would have the best FF mount system in the market. But they must do it very quick and do it right at the very first try just like when they did it with the D3/D300 launch......back in 2007.

  

UPDATE4: I think Nikon fans are getting really desperate(paranoid) now as you can see it at Nikon Rumors and Photorumors sites.

They constantly bashing any Sony, Canon, Fuji, and m43 products, before that they used to bash Samsung too.

They usually say CanonNikon to put Canon and Nikon in the same class or league, but what they do not realize is that Canon has stated many times their rivals or what Canon considers its rivals are Fuji and Sony not Nikon, Canon does not even care about Nikon.

This is the reality that Nikon fans cannot see but everybody else sees clearly.

 

I went to Nagasaki in last week end and this week to cover their atomic bomb events and festival, and I have noticed clear sign of the ILC market trend might really be changing that I did not see many Nikons that I used to see at this kind of events and tourists venues( actually, Nikon was the dominant player at this event for many years, until maybe this year).

 

I saw many mirrorless cameras this time and this was my first time that I saw more mirrorless shooters than D-SLR guys. And the most worrisome trend I saw for the D-SLR community(especially for Nikon community) was that all those still shooting with a heavy ugly Nikon D-SLR seemed to be really old retired men....

 

Another seriously worrisome trend I saw for Nikon community was that all rich Chinese and Arab tourists had a Canon 5D4 or 1DX2, some with the A9...or even GFX50s or Hasselblad X1D( but no one rich was shooting Nikon).

 

I also met a several Sony A7X shooters some were shooting with a A7 original but ,to my surprise, most of them had A7R2 or A7S2.

 

Oh even more shocking change was that many many people had Panasonic GH5 or very expensive (for the sensor size) Olympus EM1MK2 with 40-140f2.8 pro zoom........and a few Chinese tourists I had some conversation with had a Olympus EM1MK2 kit plus Fuji GFX50s kit or Sony A7R2 plus Fuji XT20 or X-Pro2 kit.

But still Canon seemed to be the dominant player here by a huge margin.

And I think Nikon seems to have been the biggest loser here and it getting worse and worse for them since the young really feel the name Nikon as obscure as Konica-Minolta or Pentax.

 

Some local students I met told me that they do not know what Nikon is and to them good popular camera makers are Canon, Sony, Fuji, Olympus and Leica.

 

I was a bit surprised that they knew Leica and I was so happy to know that, however, they did not even know Nikon and its legend even though they were Japanese.

 

Now, Nikon is quickly becoming an old man brand here in Japan, and no young people do not even know the name of it any more.

 

The D850 won't change anything, it is just another boring D-SLR iteration, nothing more!

  

UPDATE5:Now the D850 has been out, available for us to test it at many shops in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, etc, here. And I have tested it a several times, it is a great camera indeed as a D-SLR as we all expect, but is it a game-changing camera for Nikon?

No. It may be the opposite, game shuttering camera for Nikon since this shows clearly how Nikon has wasted its very limited resources(for mirrorless) on something really do nothing great for Nikon in the long run.

 

And as I have written it a week or so back here, Nikon has changed its mirrorless plans. It will not be announced until 2019.......and this is really terrible, showing us how little Nikon managers actually understand their company's current situation and what they actually need to change the rules of the game they've been playing against Canon and Sony.

 

It is not the D850 that may save Nikon as it is just a incremental iteration of the D810, or can I say a more refined version of it?

Make no mistake here, the D850 is a fantastic camera and I probably buy it myself in this winter. But as Thom Hogan and others have rightly pointed out, the highend FX D-SLRs Nikon has released were all good, nothing really terrible at all , however, it is not the line they desperately need to change the rules of the game they have been playing against Sony , Fuji and to a lesser degree Canon.

 

I think it is too late for Nikon to enter big sensor mirrorless market since the top dog in the race has changed and now it is Canon that Nikon or any one tries to be in this race has to beat, no longer Fuji or Sony.

 

I think when the main rival was Sony, Nikon had chance, but now it is more and more difficult for Nikon since the one to beat here is no longer Sony or Fuji but Canon.

 

This is the reason why Nikon managers are so desperate and their fanboys going crazy, making a terrible system comparison vid like below to bash all the other brand FF systems but Nikon.

 

nikonrumors.com/2017/09/02/what-is-the-most-expensive-ful...

 

I think this comparison is hilarious.

Very unfair and very stupid, clearly showing how desperate the Nikon fanboy community has become.

 

Plus, as I said it rightly many times, the idea of "SYSTEM" should die, not every body needs to get a set of super teles or super wide, or even the 70-200mm f2.8 kinda zoom.

 

Personally, I think a FF with super wide to around 85mm plus TSE lenses make more sense than usual 24-70 plus 70-200 plus 50/1.4 type of kit that NikonRumors deliberately chose to make Nikon system look nicer than the others.

 

Anyway the point here is Nikon guys cannot see the fact the situation is changing, the rules of the game is changing, and now they are the only ones left out there without the new weapons that the others are all allowed to rightly possess.

      

A few shots from my town's Memorial Day Parade. Thank You to all who have served to protect the freedom that we cherish.

Number 2 in a small series of Winter shots coming up. Due to the lack of good conditions and generally poor snowfall these past few years I haven't posted many Winter images for a long time. Now that we finally got some substantial blanketing, I'm making sure to post some pano-sabotaged Winter images.

 

Consider, if you will, these kinds of images as a RE-imagining of the world as opposed to a DE-construction of it. Since this re-imagining is growing every day, we might say that Reality is a work in progress. These pano-sabotaged images of mine, then, might suggest that a bit.

 

Click on Image to Enlarge !

 

:copyright: Richard S Warner ( Visionheart ) - 2016. All Rights Reserved. This image is not for use in any form without explicit, express, written permission.

 

Taken on January 2nd of this year, this was one of a big series of images taken during an epic nature walk with Lisa and I's parents (who were both in town and staying with us for the holidays) before we took them to a very nice dinner and drove them all back to the airport.

 

This was a magical evening; an incredible sunset, nice temperatures (although it does look cold here it was fairly warm), the dogs were having a blast, we saw various wildlife (deer, a beaver, a muskrat, etc), and we had a really good long walk, too!

 

A great night full of fun memories, and a perfect way to cap off our Holidays!

 

p.s. - Note the tiny one third full moon far up above the sunset clouds...

The fourth in my series of a photoshoot we had myself and three other photographers #teamphotoclick in a warehouse in Down Town LA - From the dance collaboration series with dancers from @invertigodance the wonderful dancer is #SadieYarrington ... a great team working together - see names below of make up artists and costume designer..

"Just joined instagram.. let me know if anyone on there.. I am carolinegrayphotography"

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