The Posies at KEXP 5-27-2016

I was lucky enough to photograph one of my all-time favorite bands today, The Posies, at KEXP’s Gathering Space. What a great show it was!


Playing with the Ricoh Theta S

This is pretty cool.  You can move around this photo by grabbing it with your mouse.

 

Take a look around by moving the image with your mouse or finger. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Fuji 100‑400mm f/4.5‑5.6 Samples

Yesterday, I picked up the brand new Fuji 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens along with the Fuji 1.4 teleconverter.  I have to say, I’m quite impressed with this lens.  Weighing only 3 pounds, compared to my Nikon 200-400 f/4 at almost 8 pounds, and costing one third of the price ($1899 vs. $6799), this lens is extremely sharp, lightweight and well built.

I took it out to the bridge deck above the Mt. Baker tunnel to shoot downtown Bellevue from across Lake Washington.  This is about 3 miles away.  Unfortunately, there was definitely a haze in the air as you could barely see Mt. Rainier so keep that in mind.

This first shot is taken hand held at 400mm at 1/150sec f/5.6, ISO 200.   The image is quite sharp for hand held at a fairly long shutter speed.  Fuji states that the image stabilization gives you 4-5 stops and I believe it.

DSCF2397Here’s one taken hand held at 1/1800 sec at f/8, ISO 800 with the 1.4x Teleconverter.  There is very little loss of sharpness using the teleconverter which was released along with this lens.

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This one is quite remarkable.  I was hand holding this shot of a sailboat about midway into the lake.  Taken at 1/400 sec at f/20, ISO 800 and the 1.4x teleconverter..  Again, not bad!

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I’m very impressed, I have to say.  The shots at ISO 200 are tack sharp!  These were taken with the Fuji X-Pro2.   Stay tuned for more on this lens.

 

Gear Review: Think Tank Urban Appoach 15

tank (1 of 1)In my opinion, nobody makes better, more thought-out, camera bags than Think Tank.  They just seem to think of everything when it comes to the needs of a photographer.  They seem to be one of the few bag makers that are gearing up for the mirrorless market.

I’m going to come right out and say that the Urban Approach 15 backpack is an outstanding bag for your mirrorless system.  This bag is specifically designed for mirrorless gear and includes an outside, zippered pocket for a 15″ laptop or tablet.  Visually, this is one of the nicest looking backpacks I’ve seen.  It’s has a matte black finish and is accented with bits of leather.

The bag includes backpack straps and a foot pocket on the side that holds a travel tripod firmly and securely.  The front flap has an outside zippered pocket that’s perfect for a lens cloth, keys, memory cards are anything else you may need quickly.  It’s not huge, but holds enough.  Inside the flap are two more zippered pockets with plenty of room for batteries and other accessories.

The interior itself is completely configurable.  As you can see in the photo, I’ve got it filled with my Fuji X-Pro 2 with a lens attached plus five additional lenses including the 100-400 zoom!   There’s still room for a flash and another lens if needed.  All this in a bag that’s only 18 inches long and 11 inches wide.  All this gear and the bag weighs less than 23 pounds.  The zippers are sturdy and come together so that you can lock them with a TSA lock, if needed.  You can even put a 16 oz water bottle in the side pocket.

The Urban Aproach 15 is a backpack, which means you have to remove it from your shoulders to access the gear.  I don’t mind since my camera is usually out anyway.  The back of the bag, like all Think Tank bags, is beautifully padded for comfort with a larger lumbar support.  It’s vented so it doesn’t get too hot.  The shoulder straps are nicely padded as well.  This is one comfortable bag especially with the lighter weight of the mirrorless systems.   There are loops on the front of each shoulder strap for attaching a modular pack, water bottle or anything else you need.  I like to use the Black Rapid backpack strap when hiking.  It attaches nicely to these loops.   And, get this… there’s even a pull-out handle on the back so you can slip the bag over your luggage roller handle or rolling camera bag when you travel.  Really, they did think of everything!  Oh, and it even has a rain cover that protects the entire pack from moisture.

This has quickly become one of my favorite bags and my go-to bag when carrying a lot of mirrorless gear.  I absolutely love it and you will, too.

Check it out here!


 

 

Trying out the Fujifilm X-Pro2

I’ve been trying out my new Fujifilm X-Pro2 today on my way out to The Palouse with my friend David Julian so we can scout out locations for our upcoming sold out workshop.  I am already in love with this camera, but more on that later.  Here are a couple of my very first images with it.  The colors are so rich and tasty right out of the camera.  Switch over to Acros mode, and you get luscious monochrome rendering that’s quite lovely.

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Shearwater @ KEXP 3-25-2016

Shearwater (22 of 23)I got to shoot one of my favorite bands today, Shearwater. Shearwater is an American indie rock band from Austin, Texas, led by multi-instrumentalist and lead singer Jonathan Meiburg a singer-songwriter and ornithologist. The band’s music is notable for its imagery based in nature, cerebral yet intimate melodic songs, as well as Meiburg’s vocals.


Michael Shrieve @ KEXP 3-9-2016

Michael Shrieve-8Had the great pleasure to photograph legendary drummer Michael Shrieve at KEXP yesterday. If you get a chance, check out the archived interview on KEXP.ORG. Michael told some great stories as well as demonstrated some of the rich history of funk drumming. Really interesting.

Michael Shrieve is an American drummer, percussionist, and later, an electronic music composer. He is best known as the drummer in Santana, playing on their first eight albums from 1969 through 1974. His performance at the 1969 Woodstock festival, when he was 20 years old, made him one of the youngest musicians to perform at the festival. Shrieve’s drum solo during an extended version of “Soul Sacrifice” in the Woodstock film has been described as “electrifying”.


Brian Blade Fellowship

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to photograph the Brian Blade Fellowship at KEXP during an incredible session of jazz.


2 Hours in Kibera, Africa’s Largest Urban Slum

20160211_Africa__ASL9530Before I departed Nairobi, I spend 2 hours in Kibera, Africa’s largest urban slum. While I was there, it was raining pretty hard. The streets, for lack of another name, flowed with mud and garbage. The smell is something I’ll never forget. It’s hard to believe that more than 2 million people live in these conditions. I hope my images will bring just a bit more exposure to the human tragedy that exists in Kibera. For me, it drives home just how blessed I am to be born in America and no matter how difficult life gets, it is nothing compared to what these people face day in and day out.
 
As described by Wikipedia, “Most of Kibera slum residents live in extreme poverty, earning less than $1.00 per day. Unemployment rates are high. Persons living with HIV in the slum are many, as are AIDS cases.[10] Cases of assault and rape are common. There are few schools, and most people cannot afford an education for their children. Clean water is scarce and therefore diseases caused by related poor hygiene are prevalent. A great majority of people living in the slum lack access to medical care.”

But, in spite of all that, in the short time I was there, I witnessed the human spirit.  Children at the SEED school welcoming my wife and me to break bread.  Many people having the entrepreneurial spirit to survive.  I was reminded, in many ways, of Havana.  Another place where people have close to nothing but manage to survive with great spirit and energy.  I was deeply moved and saddened at the same time.  Please share my images with as many people as you can.  Perhaps, in some small way, they will give a bit more exposure to Kibera and, in turn, bring some much needed help and humanity to its people.


Hope in the Midst of Despair

Seed School (1 of 29)During my time in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, I visited the SEED school at it’s center.  Here, children ages 5-8 are given an education and some hope of escaping the life that awaits them outside.  Padlocked for safety and built of tin, the school teaches the children english, math, reading and religion.  It is most likely the best, and possibly only, meal these children get each day.  Mary and I were given an incredible welcome with the kids singing and dancing in our honor.  It was moving to see so much hope in the middle of such despair.