One of my new year resolutions was to work on my daily writing skills. Day 6 and I am on a roll. I am not only writing, but working on my Focus and also absolutely loving the Leica Q. It has dramatically changed my ability to capture small moments throughout the day. Something that I always struggled with before. Being a bit of an imaging snob, I was never comfortable with what my Fuji X100T produced, and without good light, I disliked the iPhone images. Now, finally, in a small package I have a brilliant imaging machine. The Leica Q is definitely the real deal.
Happy New Year to you all. May 2016 bring you much joy and happiness. For me, today represents a renewed commitment to chase my dreams and live my life to the fullest. Stay tuned, it is gonna be a great ride!!
I am and always have been a huge fan of Watches. From the time I got my first Casio or my first Tag Heuer to when I purchased my last Panerai and everything in between, there is just something soulful about the Watch. Like Anthony Bourdain and his Raw Craft series, I simply love what goes into the watch. I appreciate the simple to the complex, the inexpensive, to the astronomical. Watches just speak to my soul.
Over the last year I have been on the quest for a sports watch. Something that was quasi smart, could track my rides or my runs and all at the same time provide me with something that I could wear in multiple environments and even dress up with simple band changes to meet my moods.
Enter the Garmin Fenix 3 with the crystal display. It is definitely on the big side, which I like, and has a bit of character to it through band changes, but also provides me with exactly the functionality I was looking for in this type of watch.
With normal use I get 3-4 days of battery life out of it, something that is perfectly fine for me. It tracks my runs and my rides, allowing me to skip the super expensive Bike GPS and go with something that follows me all the time. If need be, it pairs nicely with a Heart Rate monitor or other Bluetooth 'Ant' accessories.
There are tons of great reviews out there for this watch, so I will save that for others. I simply wanted to throw my .02 cents in to the ring and let you adventurous types that this is a really solid offering from Garmin. Definitely a keeper in my books.
Next up to look at is the Casio G Shock Mudmaster, a beast of a watch and the Hanhart Primus Pilot (If I can find one).
After two weeks with the Q I can say without a doubt it is the real deal; all the reviews were correct; it is the best single lens compact camera I have ever shot. Amazing build quality, stunning IQ and lightning fast AF all in a small compact body. For the most part, I have put down my M240 and have only been shooting with either the Q or the Monochrom. With the release and now readily available set of reviews on the SL, I am beginning to re-think my overall kit strategy. More on that at another time.
I had previously mentioned that one of the only negative things I had to say about the Q was the way it was held in the hand. Leica's little thumb indent helps, but the body still has just a bit too much heft to make that a stable platform for holding the camera. There are a couple of options for remedying this including buying Leica's own grip; buying one of the JB Camera Design grips; and adding the new Thumbs Up adapter.
I currently have these Thumbs Up adapters on my M240 and my Monochrom, so going that route was a natural first step. The adapter arrived yesterday in the standard beautiful packaging. The adapter itself is meticulously machined and fits the Q like a glove, giving the hand a rock solid hold on the camera. While I will still add a JB grip, this is a great first step and enhancing the feel and ergonomics of the mighty Q.
A selection of images captured while walking the streets of Philadelphia.
My search for high quality, full frame, fixed lens 'grab' camera has now ended. While the Sony RX1 came close, it was a Sony, with all the issues that come with that... After reviewing everything there was on the Q and spending a weekend with my good friend Brady and his trusty little beast, I made the plunge.
Selling off my Nikon gear I am now officially 'All In' with Leica. The advent of the Q and now the SL gives me the opportunity to have a single system ranging from a small compact (Q), to traditional rangefinders (MM & M240), film(tbd), and state of the art interchangeable mirrorless bodies (SL), all capable of using the magnificent line of Leica Glass.
What follows is a visual tour of my first weekend shooting the camera. I had the chance to shoot this in every possible way including from the hip on a bike to night time street shots all the way to more contemplative image making. I can say without a doubt that this is the real deal and is no way a product of the Red Dot hype.
I captured this shortly after the latest blizzard hit. The wind is still howling; the drifts of snow reach the kitchen window; our spirits are bent; the whiskey is all gone. I thought this image captured the darkness that winter has brought to my spirit. Time to exodus and heal in time for the warm spring sun and the smell of flowers blooming.
About 18 months ago I decided to give really small cameras a try. I bought a Fuji X100s and rented the Fuji XE-1 along with two lenses. I used that kit to photograph the Lost Coast, a story that has been one of my most popular ever and will be featured in a magazine this spring.
While I enjoyed the size and weight of this kit, and felt the images were good, they still did not give me what I was personally looking for when my goal is to tell a story via the web and have the ability to print large. At that time, I felt that the Fuji kit was nice, but just not up to the task, so I divested myself of the little X100s and moved on.
Fast forward to 2015, and one could argue that Fuji is on a roll, with big names jumping on their bandwagon and a host of my good friends signing up as well. Since that Lost Coast trip I have seen one of my X100s images printed wall size by the wizards at Dugall which again reminded me that today's cameras have plenty of oomph to do just about anything we want of them.
Still, I believe it is important to feel a connection to your gear, something that transcends simply taking photographs. At least for me, this is an important element to my photography. So here we are, and I have now picked up a little Fuji X100T to be my 'grab' camera for my next two trips. I have 3 weeks biking through Ireland, an environment full of spring time color and great old textures. This will be a wonderful palette to play with the little Fuji. Of course, it will not be my primary tool -- that task will belong to the Leica M240 and a 35/50 Summilux combination.
Next, 2 days after returning from Ireland, I head to Alaska for 3 weeks of deep winter cycling through the barren AK interior. A region known for white and shadows, dancing night lights and temperatures that will reach -30F at night. An environment that is hostile towards people and electronics. For that trip, I will again rely on the little X100T as a grab camera alongside my trusty Nikon D810.
My last trip to Alaska I used a D800E for two months with much success. I came back with images that to this day blow me away. They have graced the covers of Salsa's catalogs; are all over their website; and are blown up life size in their traveling display. The quality and image size of the D800 along with the large lithium batteries will be key to dealing with the environment of Alaska winter.
This is not too say that a Fuji couldn't, but I am not prepared to make to big a jump as of yet. So I consider these two trips as my attempt at dipping one of my toes back into the land of Fuji to see if the X series can appeal to my photographic needs. Follow along as the X100T and its wireless capabilities should get a tremendous amount of action on my Instagram and Twitter feeds. I will follow up after the trip with some of my thoughts on how this gear selection worked out and where I see myself going in the future.
I can't remember a piece of bikepacking kit that has had this much interest in quite some time. So in the spirit of helping others out, I will not only showcase what kinds of camera gear the Slinger can hold, but also all of its other wonderful utility. First up, Beer, in the form of a Growler. As you can see, there is plenty of room for a full size growler. Oh yea, this is gonna be killer.
Growler Details: 11 inches tall and 12 inches circumference at its widest point.
Scott Felter, the mastermind at Porcelain Rocket, has continued to push the boundaries of ultralight backpacking bags. Scott has been helping me with my travels by bike for the last 4 years and I am extremely grateful not only for his support but for his creativity.
For quite some time I know that not only I, but other bike photographers have been looking for a solution to easily carry and protect our camera gear on our bikes. We have all gone through a host of solutions, some elegant, and some not so much. I am sure that most of us have tried making crap, using backpacks, repurposing other bits of kit, all in an attempt to come up with a solution that safely carries our cameras; keeps them close at hand; and most importantly, keeps them off of our backs.
I am happy to say, that after seeing the prototypes I am now the proud recipient of one of Scott's new 'Slinger' bags. This is a super light bag that in similar fashion to 'Feed Bags', attaches to the handlebars, fork and stem to create a secure location for carrying a small DSLR, mirrorless camera or range finder. I personally shoot primarily with a rangefinder, but there are definitely situations where I will use a DSLR like the Nikon D810 or even a small mirrorless camera like the Fuji X100T.
Scott's new Slinger fits the bill perfectly with more than enough space for a DSLR and small zoom or fixed lens. For a rangefinder or mirrorless camera, there is enough space in there for a camera, lens and second lens. The pictures below who the bag mounted to the Salsa Mukluk. The 3rd picture shows the bag with a D810/50 combination. Plenty of room in there for a longer fixed lens or a moderate zoom.
I head to Ireland for 3 weeks of photography and bikes starting next week and then am off to Alaska for 3 weeks of winter touring and photography. I look forward to putting the Slinger through its paces and will provide a bit of running commentary on Instagram as to how it works.
Scott -- GREAT JOB!!
I was honored to be a part of this amazing effort to shed some light on what great things are happening in the New England Food system. This video highlights the people we met and showcases the passion they have for bettering our lives through Food. Enjoy!!
Last year I acquired a Salsa Spearfish and absolutely loved that bike. To date, it is the nicest Full Suspension bike I had ever ridden. A trip through Arizona however left me wanting just a bit more travel than what the Fish provided. This is not a knock on the Fish, but more of a refinement on my part of what kind of FS bike I need for the trips that I plan to take.
Enter the 2015 Carbon Horsethief. Like the Fish, the Thief features the new Split Pivot design. Unlike last years Fish, this year the Thief is Carbon Fiber. I must say, I am super stoked about this new design. I built up the bike this morning and took it out for some pictures in the foot of snow we got yesterday. While this makes for pretty snaps, it does not allow me to actually get on the bike and ride...
This year I am off to the SW again to put the bike through its paces and then onto several longer and more robust trips in 2016. I am definitely excited about getting out and putting this bike through its paces.
One of my 2015 goals is to begin showing more of my work, both digitally and in print form. Some call it the decisive moment, some call it luck. I was working on a different way of capturing the Portsmouth Farm Market by trying to bring in some motion to my images. I guess a way of trying to impart the hustle and bustle of the weekend crowd. In this case I caught not only motion, but perfect stillness. One of my favorite images of 2014!