Out for a late afternoon walk in my local woods. The silence in this particular spot was incredible, in part because I’m in NJ and it’s almost never quiet, anywhere here. Took this with my iPhone. I had my Fuji w/ me in my backpack but was too lazy to take it out. Wish I had. That velvia simulation would have looked awesome here:


IMG 1822

Love my Fuji X-E2s. It is the best camera I have ever owned, hands down. Whether I’m using an old Pentax lens on it or the pricey but awesome Fuji lenses, the thing is a joy to use.

That said, I don’t bring it with me nearly as often as I should. I feel awkward carrying it on a camera strap and it’s just a bit too big to fit in any of my jacket pockets. Probably need to get over that.

My MGB shot with my X-E2s and an old Pentax lens.

Still though, I have coveted the X100 series. I almost bought the X100 instead of the X-E2s but am glad for being able to use interchangeable lenses (something you can’t do with the X100 fixed lens).

My current camera still feels bleeding edge to me but newer Fuji’s have picked up some new film simulations and I’ve been keeping my eyes opened for a new version of the X100. The latest X100 is from 2017 (the X-E2s is from 2016) but it seems like Fuji may be on the verge of announcing a new X100.

I noticed a price drop on the latest X100 on camelcamelcamel the other day and now fujirumors is hinting at February.

Fuji X Weekly has this:

The X100V has been whispered and rumored across the internet for many months. There’s no surprise that it’s coming soon. What we don’t know is how much different it will be from the X100F. It will certainly have the 26-megapixel X-Trans IV sensor and processor, and probably all of the new JPEG tools of the X-Pro3, but beyond that nobody knows. There’s been speculation for some time that Fujifilm redesigned the lens, but I don’t know if that’s true or not

It’s not just the new film sims but the variables at play in customizing the built-in film simulations that give me camera envy here. I am a huge fan of Ritchie Roesch’s recipes and on my older camera I usually have to just approximate some of the settings in the receipts.

Upgrading my MacBook Pro, the Catalina upgrade hung up on “Setting up computer…” but as I had already looked into that issue for a buddy of mine the other day, I know that’a a widespread problem so I just rebooted and it everything came up fine.

Was a bit of a bummer that Scrivener 2 didn’t make the cut for Catalina and as it’s a 32-bit app and I’m not paying to upgrade I went through and exported all of my Scrivener projects as text files before the upgrade. This, part of a larger plan to try to narrow down the number of buckets/apps I use for writing/notes/etc. So exporting ten or so projects was a bit tedious but I discovered that I have written A TON of stuff over the past six years or so. Way more than I thought I had. And that’s not counting journal writing which lives in Day One.

Other than the loss of Scrivener, I’m noting mostly positives since upgrading:

  • apps launch so much more quickly under Catalina.
  • sidecar doesn’t work with the last, best MacBook Pro Apple ever made. Not sure it would have changed my life, but would have been cool.
  • the Photos.app is really, really good at picking out your best photos. It’s uncanny. I wish there were some way to say “find all my lousy photos so I can just batch delete them.” But maybe that’ll come. For now, it’s great just to scroll through the days or months view and see what iPhoto thinks are my best photos.
  • Music app is better though since moving my library to the cloud with iTunes Match, I’m noticing some wonkiness with my album covers getting lost. Need to carve out some downtime to clean up my album covers in iTunes. It’ll make browsing what to listen to much more engaging.
  • iCloud account info under system preferences seems to be much better organized now, especially around Family Sharing type information.
  • everything else seems pretty smooth and snappy.

This past weekend we went out with a couple of other New Jersey families to Cranks Around the Campfire.

I’ve wanted to go to this mountain biking/camping/family-friendly event for a few years now but each year it has coincided with our annual pilgrimage up to New England in the VW to go swimming in various lakes. This year though, we didn’t do our annual summer trip so we were in NJ and were available. So a few months ago we organized with a few other families to attend.

So glad we did. It was a blast. Not quite as fun as wandering around in Vermont or Maine in the Vanagon for a couple of weeks but a great way to sleep outdoors and ride bikes and hang together as a family unit and bid the summer goodbye.

As I was going through my pictures from the weekend though I was a bit disappointed with the photos that I shot. Even though I brought my Fuji with me instead of relying on my iPhone, I still wasn’t very happy with my photos. Some were technically good but I didn’t really capture the context.

Which gets me thinking about the food writing I did and the advice the editor gave me about photos I took to accompany my articles: capture as much information as possible. That is great advice, even for taking pictures of family trips. Maybe even especially when taking pictures of family trips.

I am so grateful for the stint I did writing over at PieHole. For one thing, it made me soooo much better at being comfortable asking people questions. Interviewing a couple of people a week for a year or so can really get you out of your head/shell and more comfortable just approaching anyone and asking them about themselves.

And the thing is that people really like to talk about themselves. Until I did the food writing gig I was always uncomfortable asking people questions because I didn’t want to intrude. So that’s one thing.

But then there was the whole photography end of the food writing gig. I wanted to take technically correct photos of food. But that didn’t serve the journalism. Instead what I learned was taking pictures of people doing things they loved, interacting with tools or places they knew well–that’s a much better way to take a photo.

Unfortunately I have gotten rusty on both of these fronts:

  • I’m not asking strangers enough questions and
  • I’m not approaching my personal photography with the same need-for-context that I did back when I was writing food stories.

Just a note to self to try a bit harder here!

I am trying to reduce the friction of posting photos to my site from my phone. In the process I thought it might be useful to simultaneously upload photos to my Instagram profile at the same time as my site.

Over the past year I’ve cobbled together a bunch of pieces to make this process work and it’s never been super-reliable in part because sometimes shortcuts likes to upload a .heic file instead of a jpeg.

##Heic file error

By default, the iPhone stores images in the .heic format. It seems that once you edit a photo on the iPhone it is then saved back to the library as a .jpeg. But I don’t want to have to edit a photo just to ensure that it will upload through the shortcut correctly.

What I’ve realized is that when you do anything with a photo using the share icon, iOS also converts the photo to a .jpeg.

As such, calling the shortcut through the share icon from the Photos library instead of calling the shortcut and then selecting the photo seems to get this whole thing working pretty consistently.

I can’t take credit for this shortcut working as good as it does. I pulled most of it from a website that, sadly, google can no longer find. I have no idea why. In any case, if you’d like to try it out, here is a link to my version shortcut.

You will need the WordPress iOS app installed on your phone for the shortcut to work.

Fuji X70

I have been loving my Fuji XE2s since I bought it off of Amazon a couple of years ago. It takes some of the best photos of any camera I’ve ever owned and is a joy to use in every way (manual dials for ISO, Shutter Speed, aperture. So nice!).

Except it doesn’t fit in my pocket. Which means I hardly ever take it with me.

But when I scroll through iPhone I can always tell the FujiFilm pics from the iPhone photos. It’s night and day.

No matter how good the iPhone camera software and lenses get, the iPhone will never consistently match what comes out of the Fuji series cameras. Sure, in certain situations the iPhone takes great photos but sometimes it’s just meh. The fuji cameras just give me more consistently better shots.

So last year I picked up a FujiFilm X70, hoping it would give me the best of both worlds: the great look of the out-of-camera jpegs from the FujiFilm XE2s with those awesome film simulations and also fit in my pocket.

Well, the X70 fits in my pocket and it sort of gives the film simulations but there’s just something about the lack of the view finder that makes using the X70 lose some of that fuji magic that you get from their other X series cameras. I brought it around with me but never enjoyed holding it and using it the way I do my XE2s.

So I sold it on ebay a couple of weeks ago and am now going to try to bring my XE2s with me more regularly. I took off the super 35mm 1.4 lens that I usually use and put on the pancake 27 2.8 to bring the form factor down a bit. I love that 35mm lens but it makes the camera even bulkier. The 27 makes it about the same exaxt form factor as the X100. If I can demonstrate to myself that I can reliably bring the XE2s around with this lens then maybe for Christmas I’ll see if Santa can bring me the X100. Stay tuned!