Beach Bokeh Boo! The Fuji 50mm f/1.0 compared to the 56mm f/1.2

  • Post category:Photo Gear

(Note: This is part four of an ongoing review. Part one (exterior and controls) appears here, part two (f/1 vs. f/4 comparisons) appears here, and part three (bokeh) appears here. Beach Bokeh Boo! The Fuji 50mm f/1.0 compared to the 56mm f/1.2 There is far more to a lens than bokeh—the character of the out-of-focus areas—but with an f/1 lens set wide open the out-of-focus areas of the image are a major factor in the nature of the image. Blur, in this case, is a key compositional tool. With Fuji's new high-speed lens we have blur galore but Fuji already had a lens nearly as fast and almost the same…

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Cahokia: Digging in the Dirt, Part One
Big Mound during destruction. Daguerreotype by Thomas M. Easterly, ca. 1869. Missouri History Museum Photographs and Prints Collections. Easterly Daguerreotype Collection. N17078.

Cahokia: Digging in the Dirt, Part One

  • Post category:Travel

There are eleven UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites located in the United States, five of which are American Indian sites. Mesa Verde is by far the most famous with its cliff-dwellings, Taos Pueblo and Chaco not far behind, though Chaco is a bit a of a drive, three hours from Albuquerque, the last on rough dirt roads. I'd never heard of Cahokia. We passed through Taos one Christmas, the streets thick with ice, my Volvo 850R sliding all about, defying my Ohio-born driving skills, the town mostly shut down. We found one place open, serving Mexican, and it was busy with locals, the food hot and good. At the ceremony…

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Revisiting 100 Days with Only A Few Days to Go

  • Post category:Art / Politics

Earlier in 2016, months before the election, I was buying typewriters. Lots of typewriters. I had an idea, only partially formed, of using typewriters in a project and estimated then that I needed five or six different models to make the idea work. This estimate morphed and changed as the idea morphed and changed and my workshop was filled with typewriters in the end. I had a chocolate brown Olympia SM3, a red IBM Selectric II, a pale blue Olivetti 32, a shiny black Royal, a brilliant yellow Adler. I purchased thirty-six typewriters, clustering them all around my workshop and I borrowed six more, these built in the 1800s. At…

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Every Mention of Ansel Adams in the New York Times in the 1940s

  • Post category:Art

(Note: This article is part of a series.) January 21, 1940Notes of Camera World In a roundup, the book Graphic and Graflex Photography is highlighted with a list of chapters: "...Ansel Adams gives advice on print-making... June 9, 1940Diverse Attractions At the Golden Gate Fair. Old Masters, North and South American Contemporaries Are Well Represented. A roundup of art exhibits at the Golden Gate Fair. A photography show that Ansel helped curate is mentioned at the beginning of the fourth subsection. "Several Galleries are given over to a Pageant of Photography, directed by Ansel Adams and T.J. Maloney." December 31, 1940Photography Gains Recognition As Art. Modern Museum Sets Up Department…

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Beaucoup Bokeh: Beauteous Background Blur With the Fuji 50mm f/1.0

  • Post category:Photo Gear

(Note: This is part three of an ongoing review. Part one (exterior and controls) appears here and part two (f/1 vs. f/4 comparisons) appears here, and part four (comparison with 56mm) appears here.) Bokeh is a word for the background (or foreground, I suppose) blur characteristics of an image. It differs from lens to lens (sometimes by a lot) and sometimes it differs a lot with the same lens. The word and the idea behind the word refers to all of the background blur characteristics but it is often thought of as only referring to blurred-out specular highlights, like the scintillations of the sun on waves, or referring to light…

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Transitional Delights, Four Years later

  • Post category:Art / Politics

(As we approach the election I thought it might be interesting to share a project I undertook during the transition after the 2016 presidential election. A slideshow of the images from Transitional Delights (2016-2017) follows the text, which is excerpted from a longer essay.) The needle danced and bounced on the screen. Drawn as a car's speedometer the graphic was displaying the up-to-the-second probability of the 2016 presidential election outcome, hours away from confirmation. There was no need for that confirmation, of course, Clinton was ahead, way ahead, and the election meter's needle pressed far to the right, jittering in the mid-80 percents. Some surveys placed her chances well into…

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First Light With the Fuji 50mm f/1.0

  • Post category:Photo Gear

(Note: This is part two of an ongoing review. Part one (exterior and controls) appears here, part three (bokeh) appears here and part four (comparison with 56mm) appears here.) "First light" is a phrase from the astronomy community, usually referring to the first road-test image taken with a newly-built telescope, but it is also used more casually by the non-professional astronomer to refer to the first night stargazing from the driveway with any new telescope. Those are exciting nights, looking at the night sky with no particular agenda, no special goals. Just looking and enjoying, feeling a little of that first-time magic again. It can be the same with camera…

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Every Mention of Ansel Adams in the New York Times in the 1930s

  • Post category:Art

(Note: This article is part of a series.) August 17, 1930Santa Fe Has Its Own Architecture. Inspired by Indians and Spanish, It Is Now of Frankly Modern Type. By Mildred Adams."Santa Fe has developed a style of architecture all its own, so distinctive that people are beginning to speak of 'the Santa Fe type,' just as they speak of a Cape Cod cottage or a French cháteau." Uses three of Ansel's photos from Taos, cropped. November 13, 1933Indian Craft Opens New Art GalleryIn a long list, the article mentions Ansel's exhibit at the Delphic Gallery in "Exhibitions This Week" subsection. This is the first paragraph of that list: "Among the…

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New Magic? First Look With the Fast Fuji 50mm f/1.0

  • Post category:Photo Gear

(Note: This is part one of an ongoing review. Part two (f/1 vs. f/4 comparisons appears here, part three (bokeh samples) appears here, and part four (comparison with 56mm) appears here.) The new Fuji 50mm f/1.0 lens is here—what is it like? With any super-fast lens your expectations are that it will be huge, with a triple-digit filter diameter. And the lens is big, just not that big. One of the hopes and dreams of the Fuji-X system, since they went with a slightly smaller sensor than other manufacturers, was that the lenses for the system would be Leica-M small. Pop a handful in your pocket and go walk around.…

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There It Is, the Fuji 50mm f/1.0

  • Post category:Photo Gear

If you were designing a lens what would you do? Ahead of you is a line of trees, planted in a straight row. They form the top of a “T”, you stand at the bottom of the stem, facing them with your camera and your lens. You focus on the center tree. Now what? Do you want all of the trees in perfect focus? Of course, you might think, they are all the same distance away as the center tree so they should all be in focus. But the other trees are not the same distance away. They are further away and get further yet with each tree as you…

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