Stetson Hats!


20131216-211748.jpg Walking around Seattle I found an amazing store full of awesome hats! It had been years since I'd found a nice hat store and I enjoyed the visit. I even found my old hat made new! Trying on the hats I found myself easily noticing the difference between the affordable hats and the higher quality hats...and I liked the the best ones because of their light feel and quality construction.

The store owner and workers were great hosts as they helped me size my head, explained the colors and materials. They even sold one of my coworkers a hat while I dreamed of my own.

Oh I wanted to bring one home, but not in the budget this month! If I lived in Seattle I'd have one in my budget for sure!

I captured the photos using my Fujifilm X-20, and post processed in Snapseed. The little bugger is a decent travel camera and stayed with me all the time in my coat. It did not leave my side, and caught a few good photos along the way.



Wishing for My Someone

20131213-074627.jpg Last night I ran out with friends to grab a bite to eat and I was longing for my lovely wife to be with me. I knew she might enjoy the sights, sounds and a little treat...

Oh well just under 42 hours or so and I'll be with her and the four little people I love so much! Time does make the heart grow fonder...but that happens to me after 8 hours at work! I hope when I retire from my second career I can merge family and work a little better.


PS X-20 with post in Snapseed. Fun composition. I did open up the shutter on purpose to get the movement of the cars. Snapsee continues to amaze me with fun tools and output.

Keep Working

20131212-074222.jpg The only thing between the almost two dozen of us and home is getting the job done....13-15 hours a day for the last nine days. Leadership works longer and harder than us little worker bees...and treats us I am happy to be here learning more skills needed to be a better leader and supervisor back home.

So until I come up for air again....I hope you like this little bit of Seattle.


Thoughts of a Father

20131211-072737.jpg Walking the streets of Seattle's business district is a study in contrasts. Historic buildings stand next to new steel structures, the working port competes with the white collar district for attention, trendy tech stands side by side with food vendors trying to work out a living, the mentally ill panhandlers walk the streets side by side with Bill Gates.

I saw this very nice store a block from the hotel while grabbing breakfast one morning. The wedding dress made me thing of my wife's wedding dress, it is something I could enjoy seeing my growing daughters shine for a night like princesses in.

I know the reality of my life trajectory will never let me give such gifts to my children. I would never begrudge those who can enjoy such things, heck they end up paying my salary! I just know I will never be "up there" with the big boys.

I just know that each person needs to dream good thoughts, and look for beauty in our lives. For some it will be those incredible dresses making someone a princess for a night. For others it will be the smile of children enjoying their favorite meal, made for them with the love of Mom. For still others it will be the act of selfless giving to those in need of help for their poor spirit or accidental misfortunes.

I have not been away from my clan like this for quite a while. While the work is good, I can see it on the faces of myself and colleagues the longing for the comforts and love waiting at home.

I can only imagine if my longing for being with family and giving them gifts is this great, how much greater is the longing and love of the Father above for each of us to be one in communion with him? Imagine the cloaks of glory and food he has prepared in a house of joy....I guess it is time to really enjoy waters of life he offers.




Market Time

20131210-074722.jpg The only time I've had to shoot is when I got to run out of the building to grab something to eat. Crazy hours the last week...great learning opportunities but CRAZY hours! Good company though, as made some good friends for the future here in Seattle.

Ok so the first shot is as we approached the downtown Farmer's Market. The closing is what I snagged for breakfast one cold morning. It was pretty darn!

I must say Seattle is an interesting city downtown from what I've been able to see. Not take that with a grain of salt because I am not a city person, and this entire environment might as well be the far side of the moon to me!

My biggest beef is that I am not really comfortable shooting. First I am in someplace new and strange to me. Second I only get seconds to snag a shot because we have to get back to the office. So everything is supper rushed, and really is almost like I was running and snagging shots in a complex and hot news scene.

As with all my travel photography I'm processing in Snapseed with a few of my favorite presets. I still enjoy the program and the ability to get something nice well under my two minute processing rule. The photos are first from the X20 and second from the X-E1.



Hat man's delight!

20131204-220019.jpg I you ever met me you know I enjoy a good hat. When I was 16 I became the only guy to ask for a fedora for Christmas, probably in the history of the planet...but I did. That hat served me for ten years, only to be crushed when my household goods came home from Germany.

Well this store has my name written all over it. I so want to go in and get me a good hat...but unlike Seattle I'd definitely need a winter hat and summer hat in Atlanta!

Oh the choices only get harder don't they!

Ok story for the shot is that I had a few minutes and did a recon of the local area around the hotel. This store came up, and if tried to get a good shot with X-E1 in with the few minutes I had left before my shift started. I edited it this evening after shift completed in Nik's Snapseed on the iPad.

So now I am going to crash and sleep well after a hard day's work and a moment of relaxation dreaming about being a pro businessman making photos for a living.


Through the Looking Glass

20131203-200744.jpg Full day of travel and meetings...and this is what I see from my window. If I was not so tired I'd be walking with the tripod snagging a few shots. Instead I'm going to crash!

Besides I've been reading a lot about the Theology of the Body and I have a lot to pray provides so much to learn and apply in my family life that my head is bursting from that as well!


P.S. X-E! from the hotel room with a couple tweeks in Snapseed.

Travelling Lighter

Going on a business trip, so I packed up my camera as I usually do...only to recognize some pretty big changes in my load plan. Now this is a business trip, and if I get to shoot and enjoy myself it will be a small miracle. I just feel unprepared without a good camera on hand...and being a geek I wanted my toy set with me. On my last big trip I toted my Pentax K-5 DSLR along. Great camera, outstanding quality from its 16mp sensor. I took the little bag you see below. Inside was the K-5 with a 16-50 F2.8 and either the 50-135 F2.8 or a trio of primes (usually DA 15 F4, DA35 F2.8 (or the FA43/FA77) and DFA100 F2.8 Macro). I could take either one flash, or store my batteries and charger in the top compartment. This was a great set of toys.


Over the last six months I traded out a lot of Pentax gear to pick up a Fujifilm rangefinder style kit. So this time I put the following in the bag: Fujifilm X-E1, 18-55 F2.8-F4, 55-200 F3.5-4.8, 14mm F2.8, 35mm F1.4 and 60mm F2.4 close focusing lens with a small XF-20 flash, XF-42 Flash, off camera flash cord and the battery charger. This is way more than I need...probably too much. The way I shoot though is opportunity driven, as such the better a set of tools I have on hand the better I can handle any situation.


What did I gain and what did I lose? Well the X-E1 displays much sharper image due to its lack of an AA filter, and in dim situations and almost no noise up to IO3200. Now I also want to point out that I have an early generation 16MP sensor in the K-5, and a later generation 16MP sensor in the X-E1 both probably made by Sony. Sony does continuous improvement on the sensors, and users of current 16MP K-5II and K-5IIS do have a better sensor. On the plus side I also had more room to carry some fill flash without exceeding my previous carry weight in the Fuji package. I used that a lot over Thanksgiving, and it could become useful here.

The style of the X-E1 is definitely a retro design with aperture rings and a shutter speed dial. It is simple and direct. For more complicated functions I can dive into the Q menu and handle the need quickly. It does force me to slow down in some situations to get everything set up the way I want it in terms of focusing point just because of button positioning and how my brain works. The AF is definitely slower compared to a DSLR, but it is very precise. I also can compose just as easily on the large LCD as the small Electronic Viewfinder (EVF). I am still working to use it as fluidly as I did the K-5.

I made the jump because quite frankly Pentax had not grown very far since I had purchased it. Now they made advances in the last year I would like to take home with me....but I was not sold on where the company was going and what their intentions were. Heck the company could not tell anyone what they their strategy was. My prize lenses were the FA43, FA77 and DFA100. They were dreamy...but out of place on crop sensors most of the time. I had hoped to use the crop sized zooms for sports, and the primes for deliberate work on a 35mm size sensor one day. With no Pentax FF on the horizon to waltz into at some point, I really had to make a decision about their usefullness. Fujifilm on the other hand had a coherent strategy of getting great APS-C quality with compact glass that was very portable (and when on sale relatively uber affordable). So for now when focus speed and weather sealing is of most importance, Mr. Pentax comes out to play. Other than is getting aback seat right now. The Pentax primes are gone except for the macro....all to fund the new Fujifilm kit.

I must admit the jury is still out on whether I made a good choice. Both are good systems, and a little off the beaten track. I almost picked up a Micro 4/3 Olympus OM-D5. Iit has incredible glass, better AF, and a good sound design except it was a little too small for my hands. The Fujifilm fits me well...and the system is growing by leps and bounds. So time will tell if I did the right thing...until then I just need to learn my craft until I get blue in the face! The gear today is very, very good...and the limiter is not the gear but rather me!

So if you are looking for something to lighten your load take a look at the growing number of mirriorless options. They are good cameras, and by design could save you quite a few pounds on your next all day excursion.