Sunday, March 30, 2014

#19 from Out on Buford Highway

Way back in September, the third post I put up from this project was shot early in the morning at La Chiquita Cafe. A couple of weeks ago, I finally went back and shot inside. The owner, Jose Lopez was nice enough to let me shoot a portrait.
Jose Lopez, Fuji X-E1, 18-55mm lens, ISO 800, 1/140 @ f/3.2

Fuji X-E1, 18-55mm lens, ISO 800, 1/220 @ f/2.8

Sunday, March 16, 2014

#18 from Out on Buford Highway

Contigo Peru at 3567 Chamblee Dunwoody Road is a little off Buford Highway, but it was good enough that I thought I should include it here. It's a Peruvian seafood restaurant. The day I was there it was virtually empty when my friend and I arrived around 1:30 in the afternoon. We both had the pescado sudado, a fish stew common in northern Peru. It came as a decent sized piece of white fish swimming in a broth of tomato, onions, peppers, garlic, and a melange of herbs and spices. It was truly delicious! It came with a side of rice that I slowly added to the stew to soak up the broth. The price is reasonable at around $15.

By the way, make sure you look at all the pictures, because my favorite is the last one.

Pentax K-3, 16-50mm, ISO 200, 1/1000 @ f/8

Pentax K-3, 16-50mm, ISO 800, 1/125 @ f/5.6
Lis Ramires, Pentax K-3, 16-50mm, ISO 1600, 1/60 @ f/4.5
Hector Esquivel, Fuji X-E1, 18-55mm, ISO 1600, 1/100 @ f/4
Maria Ordonet, Fuji X-E1, 18-55mm, ISO 1600, 1/180 @ f/3.2
Maria Ordonet, Fuji X-E1, 18-55mm, ISO 1600, 1/100 @ f/3.2

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My New Toy

The other night, Andrea and I got home around 10:00PM after a long day and I discovered a box addressed to me that had been delivered earlier. Inside was a device called the Theta made by Ricoh. After poking around the limited instructions and looking at this little thing, I realized it was a small camera that had fish eye lenses on both sides and, when viewed with their software, made a 360 degree, spherical photograph. That's right, not a horizontally stitched, 360 panorama, but vertically, too. SPHERICAL! You can scroll up, down, sideways- every which way!

I've been playing with it for the last couple of days and I can't wait to spend more time experimenting. I plan to take it with me to Baltimore for the SPE National Conference and I can already imagine using it on the plane. at the hotel, on the street. I'll be posting them to my Tumblr. If you want to follow it, the title is Theta 360. Please check it out. In the meantime, here's a few of my early attempts:
At the High - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Baggage - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
At BWI - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Sunday, February 23, 2014

New Line of Manfrotto Bags- Part 2

The new line of Manfrotto Professional bags I wrote about a while back includes five Shoulder Bags in sizes from the 10 to the 50. Like the Professional Backpacks, the Shoulder bags are well designed, well built and have a number of interesting, even unique, features.

The biggest difference between these bags and the older "Domke" style shoulder bags I used in the distant past is that the shell is made from the same semi-rigid material I described in my review of the backpacks. It gives structure to the bags and offers a high degree of protection. Many of the details are what we've come to expect on any high quality bag. A well padded shoulder strap and lots of pockets are there.
It has a couple of features that are unusual, if not unique. One is the way the internal sections are structured. They have a sort of hinge built in that allows a multitude of usable options, like having a camera at the ready with the lens pointing downward and stacking lenses with a padded section between them for protection.
The top lid has a weather sealed zippered slit, which let you get in and out quickly and easily if you find yourself changing lenses often. It's a nice touch and works faster than opening the lid to get things out.
The bags all have slots for laptops and/or tablets depending on the size of the bag. I tested the 10, 30 and 50. I particularly like the 10 since I'm using the Fuji X-E1 more and more. The 30 is a nice size, too, for when I'm using my Nikon or Pentax. The 50 is a behemoth! I can't imagine actually using it and trying to work off my shoulder. It's so big, that when it's loaded it's very heavy. I think it's probably more of a gear bag that has a shoulder strap to facilitate taking it short distances- not all day!

My only complaint about these bags- and it's a small one- is that there aren't any velcro tabs to make entry quicker that the zippers for situations when speed is important. Other than that, these are excellent additions to the marketplace. Well designed, well built, and very usable bags.

New Elinchrom Monoblocs

Elinchrom has just announced a new series of monoblocs, upgrading the top of the line Style RX. The new ELC Pro HD comes in 500ws and 1000ws maximum power. The major changes include much faster recycling (.6 seconds for the 500 and 1.2 seconds for the 1000) and very short flash durations. They're rated at 1/1430 at full power and as fast as 1/5260 at lower powers. That's fast! They have the wireless Skyport system built in. They also have several advanced features for the demanding pro shooter, including a stroboscopic setting that let's photographers do multiple exposure motion studies.

Shipping and prices haven't yet been announced. I'll post about them as soon as I hear. And I'll be giving them a thorough testing and writing about that as soon as I can get my hands on some.

Stay tuned!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Two Interesting Projects

My son sent me a link to a project on the CNN Photos blog today. "The Waiting Game" is a documentary piece about prostitutes in Spain who work along highways. The photographer, Txema Salvans worked primarily on the Mediterranean coast photographing women waiting for johns to stop and pay them for sex. The pictures are simultaneously provocative and banal. There is nothing particularly sexual about what is shown, but there is still an air of anticipation as we see these women, sometimes wearing fairly revealing clothing, attempting to entice passing motorists to make a (presumably) short detour as they travel. The pictures are landscapes with the prostitutes appearing relatively small in the frame. Everything is sun drenched, parched, and a little faded looking, running counter to other images of hookers we may have seen at night in "red light" districts. Their postures make many of the women looked bored and tired, even though we can never really see their faces. It's excellent work.

It made me think about another project about sex in public places called "Cruising" by Chad States. States' work is more explicit and shows men cruising for and sometimes having sex with each other in public parks and highway rest stops. Like Alvans, the pictures are always shot on sunny days and superficially appear to be landscapes. Only when we look closely do we see men, sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs, engaged in having or waiting for sex. Because of the heavy vegetation, the pictures aren't explicit. They suggest the activities rather than describe them. They are, however, more active than Slavans and, as a result, are kind of creepy, at least to me. They, too, are excellent work.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Number 17 from Out on Buford Highway

I met Dener Zacarias when I was photographing in a Peruvian restaurant. He was curious about what I was doing and we talked for a few minutes. He told me about the store he owns and he invited me to come visit.

La Bendicion Market is on the second level of a plaza at 5090 Buford Highway next door to El Taco Veloz. When you walk in you're immediately hit with an explosion of color. Brilliant oranges and greens are everywhere, on the walls, on the merchandise racks. There's tons of stuff that caters to Guatemalans- fresh and packaged foods, phone cards, clothing, even toys for kids. Dener is warm and friendly and very proud of his store and how he's managed to make it grow. Not long ago he added freshly prepared food to the mix. Magy Gomez works in the kitchen and when I was there, Dener fed me a dish that was kind of a Guatemalan beef stew. I don't remember what it was called (sorry Dener), but it was delicious! Rich with meat and potatoes and a savory sauce based in tomatoes and herbs.

Thank you Dener for welcoming me into your fine establishment! And to those of you reading this, take the time to stop in and try the food.
Dener Zacarias, Fuji X-E1, 18-55mm, ISO 1600, 1/180 @ f/4
Fuji X-E1, 18-55mm, ISO 1600, 1/160 @ f/4
Pentax K-3, 16-50mm, ISO 1600, 1/250 @ f/3.2
Magy Gomez, Fuji X-E1, 18-55mm, ISO 1600, 1/320 @ f/4
Dener Zacarias, Pentax K-3, 16-50mm, ISO 1600, 1/200 @ f/3.2
unidentified boy, Pentax K-3, 16-50mm, ISO 1600, 1/160 @ f/3.2