photo walk with the new X-Pro2

So, last Saturday, on a whim, I went to the camera store. Not just any camera store, but easily the best one I’ve been to here in the bay area: Looking Glass Photo, over just off San Pablo. The Fuji reps were there, hanging out with a pile of cameras and lenses for people to play with. They even had the GFX, the new medium format (some part of me dies, calling something less than 6x4.5 medium format, but I digress). So, I got to play with the X-Pro, which was another frontrunner for my next camera, and decided that waiting 6 months and paying triple the price really wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So I bought it.

I’m still getting used to the camera, and this isn’t really a review, jut my initial impressions. The important stuff: AF is a bazillion times faster than the old model, but still not quite as fast as my nikon D750. Whatever, it doesn’t need to be; it’s sufficient. There’s very little shutter lag; I don’t have any kind of test rig but haven’t had any problems. The files are great, probably two stops better than the old xpro; the highlights drop off a little faster than my nikon, at least subjectively.

The viewfinder is just wide enough to show the edges of the 14mm framelines, although with my glasses on I can’t see the edges. Luckily, the live view is a little narrower and there’s enough eye-relief that it works. Lag is down to almost imperceptible levels; the old camera would make me motion sick if I used it in live view in a car, but this one is fine. Also, the picture-in-frame focus aid is really quite good.

The bad: the wifi doesn’t support downloading of raw files; you have to convert them in camera and then it’ll read them. I seem to keep knocking off settings by accidentally pressing buttons, although the basics seem to stay in place. I’m also not used to it at all, so it’s very possible this is my fault.

Sunday, instead of my usual sit-around-the-house-and-watch-cartoons, I went out for a photo walk, and the weather cooperated and gave me lots of nice clouds and clear air. It was rainy in Oakland, so I headed for the mission, where the sun was shining and it was also raining– SF, where the microclimates have microclimates. I decided to fight my natural urge to walk downhill and headed up 21st street, towards Twin Peaks (the park, not the bar). About a mile and a half uphill from there, I called a lyft to get me the rest of the way up; I didn’t want to get there and be completely blown out.

I did a first pass edit in the camera, but I ended up going back to the raw files for this post; the final images aren’t that different, but I feel better about them.


Posted by Matt on 2017-03-07 16:11:23 +0000

a walk with two johns

yesterday (yes, a post about something that happened less than two months ago), I met up with Hornbeck and jrecursive to shoot some photos and hang out, talk shop. I shot a combination of from the hip and looking through he viewfinder, but most of these were shot at eye level.

Something I’ve heard said a bunch, including on this walk, that isn’t true: color photography lacks emotion. Fuck that. My esteemed colleagues were more or less in agreement, and I was in a too-agreeable mood to summon the proper righteous indignation, but: fuck that. If your photography lacks emotion, you’re not close enough. Get close. Have some Goddamn Feelings about what you’re doing. That will inevitably come through in the work. If you don’t care about what you’re doing, or about the subject at hand, then stop. You need to be entangled with what you’re shooting, you need to be emotionally involved, have some skin in the game. Some things are easy to care about: the sick, the grieving, and the au courant. (A lot of my pictures are really just me shouting “THIS REALLY HAPPENED!!!”). But for, say, the socioeconomic changes in a city, that’s harder to get into, to find the meat of, to see clearly.

I suppose, too, that color is just more laborious. Interpretive work in black and white is so pat these days that you can mostly do it with camera settings. Decide on a look, shoot JPEGs, and be done. Interpretive color depends a great deal on serendipity and correctness after the fact. It’s legitimately more work, and I find myself, when I want to be lazy, just converting to black and white (we are now solidly in territory where I am only speaking for myself, and it is decidedly not lazy for other photographers to make their own choice; some people work very hard at black and white, including my shooting companions).

So, what is true of color: you have to put in the work. There’s no hiding behind artifice.

Anyway, it was really good to get out with a couple of like minded people, shoot some photos, and shoot the shit for a while. Anybody in town wants to do a similar photo walk, hit me up on the usual channels. And thanks to John and John for the company.

I didn’t know this, but appearently the strip clubs in north beach are mad sketchy.It makes me happy that at least some part of SF isn’t yet gentrified.

Posted by Matt on 2017-03-03 02:10:08 +0000

de young

mobile posting again. i might fill this in with descriptions later –matt

LATER: so, coming back the next day to fill in some details… my friend Christa is in town, just to see the sights and hang out with people (if you follow me on the social, you know this). I got sick friday night with some quick-acting flu-like sickness, but was feeling better by saturday evening, and wanted to get some time before the end of her trip.

The art inside the de Young is kind of boring. There are a few galleries worth seeking out, containing both interesting contemporary work and historical works from the 20th century, but the collections from before 1900 focus on things that just don’t do it for me. I should say that my visit was brief and I didn’t have time for the pre-colombian wing. Even with that, the whole collection suffered from this sort of colonial gaze (which I’m sure is a thing, now that I type it out loud). the work I liked the most was the least gaze-y.

No, the best thing about the de Young was the space itself. The sculpture garden is world-class, and the view from the top of the tower is also very impressive. And from the outside, it’s worth seeing in person as well. There’s a reason I take pictures of it almost every time I bike by it.

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Posted by Matt on 2017-02-20 02:38:21 +0000

protest at SFO

Usually I don’t do this, but posting from my phone. Peaceful so far, and we arrived to find they were letting those currently held go. Lots of chanting, lots of good signs. Cops, as always. anyway, I figured I should share these ASAP and worry about a long post later. Stay safe out there.

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Posted by Matt on 2017-01-30 01:53:27 +0000