Acoustic Swamp Rock at Fado

My good friends in The Swamp Bats performed an excellent acoustic set at Fado Irish Pub in Austin last Friday. There is just something extra special about a performance with primarily acoustic instruments. The standup bass, cajon drum, acoustic guitar, and mouth harp all combine for a more simple yet deep and sophisticated sound. The intimate atmosphere at Fado contributes to a wonderful experience with the band and their music.

I usually photograph concerts with a 50mm equivalent lens on my Fujifilm camera. This time I decided to try something a little different. I knew I'd be able to move around the band up close and freely so I took my 24mm equivalent lens for a more wide angle view than I typically use. Here are some of my favorite shots of the night.

Bus Abstraction

Lately I take the bus or train into downtown Austin whenever the schedule will work for the timeframe of my visit. While the bus doesn't really get me there any faster than traveling by car, it does let me relax and do other things besides getting irritated with long traffic lights, congested traffic, and idiot drivers fiddling with their damned phones while driving. I was coming home from a concert in downtown one night and I started snapping a few photos during the long bus ride back to north Austin.. There weren't many obvious items of interest on the dark and bumpy ride. Purposely shooting with my lens out of focus opened up a different world. I found the images I was capturing to be somewhat calming. If nothing else they helped occupy my time and smooth out the ride a little, at least mentally.

Flat Track Racing in Gruene

Gruene Harley Davidson threw a heck of a 10th Anniversary bash this weekend. The usual Harley party components were well represented - bikes, babes, and booze. All good things to be sure but I made the trip down with a looming threat of torrential rain to check out the flat track races. This type of motorcycle racing really seems to be catching on around here and this is the third event I've been to this year that has featured a flat track race. The heavy earth moving equipment was putting the finishing touches on the impromptu track when I arrived. Soon we were watching bikes whip around the small course, kicking up clouds of dust. 

There were some pro / semi-pro riders competing in a Hooligan race and then there were a bunch of guys racing in a "run what ya brung" series. The latter was pretty entertaining. Anybody willing to pay a small entry fee was able to get their fool self out there on the track with pretty much any sort of bike. Hope some of them had trailers to haul their bikes home after taking a spill in the dirt! Looked like fun, although I'm not quite ready to take my Sporty out on the dirt. I had a blast watching the races and getting some shots. A chain link fence around the track made photography a little tough. I got a few shots I liked regardless, with my trusty Fujifilm X-T1 no less. 

In addition to the flat track races, Unknown Industries was out there doing some freestyle riding demos on how to destroy motorcycle rear tires. There was lots of smoke and some impressive wheelies! Amazing stunt riding by these guys. I'm still coughing up burnt rubber.

I didn't get to stay for the final races as I was keeping an eye on the weather radar and I decided it was best to make the ride back to Austin before any more of the increasing spotty thunderstorms crossed my path home. My rain suit came in handy as I rode through a brief but fairly strong storm around Kyle. The storms quickly dissipated not long after I arrived home. I wished I'd stayed longer. You never know what is going to happen with Texas weather though. It could have just as easily been a total monsoon. A nice rainbow appeared outside my garage as I put the bike away. Maybe we'll have some dry days this week.

Lazy Sunday Morning

Sunday mornings can be a little slow around the poodle ranch. Chloe enjoyed napping in a chair and basking a bit in the warm sunlight coming through the guest bedroom window. It hit the low 80's on the last day of January in the Austin area. Makes me wonder if winter is passing us by this season. This is Texas though. We could end up with an ice storm yet this year, you never know. For now, Chloe isn't complaining.

Huit Noir

I did some headshots of my good friend Eight for her acting portfolio. After we got done with the standard 8x10 headshot we played around for a bit with some film noir inspired portraits. In about 15 minutes we had several different looks with simple lighting changes and some wardrobe accessories. These were all done with two hot shoe flashes - one Rogue gridded hair light and one key light that was either gridded or shaped with Rogue accessories. The black side of a 5 in 1 reflector served as a backdrop in Eight's small apartment. As usual, my talented model/actress/director friend pulled off some very emotive poses and expressions. Here are 8 shots of Eight in noir style.

Images were taken with a Fujifilm X-T1 and XF 50-140mm lens.



Snapshots and Slap Shots - Shooting Hockey with the Fujifilm X-T1

A couple more Texas Stars games have passed since my initial writeup on using the Fujifilm X-T1 as a sports camera for covering pro hockey. I concluded my thoughts on the first experience by saying that the verdict was still out on the X-T1 as a sole camera for a fast paced sport like hockey. The little X-T1 didn't perform terribly by any means that first game and since my Fujifilm rep was kind enough to let me keep a copy of the 50-140mm lens over the holidays, I decided to use it at a couple more games last week.  In total, I have 3 full pro hockey games under my belt using only the X-T1. Here is what I've learned.

I went into this experiment cautiously. The first game I carried my Nikon D750 and 70-200mm lens around with me all game, just in case the X-T1 wasn't getting me the shots I needed. At the second game, I still took the D750 to the arena but I left it in a locker as an emergency backup. By the third game, my confidence in the X-T1 was high enough that I left the D750 at home. It was obvious that I was able to come away with as many keepers as I would have gotten with the D750. After the first game, I checked in with the graphic designer at the Stars since she is my customer and got a thumbs up on image quality. It is important to note that she did notice the same tendency of the X-T1 to smooth skin in unnatural ways at ISO 3200 - not enough to be a problem though. It is still something I wish Fujifilm would address. 

At the second and third games I continued to experiment with the X-T1's settings. In my last article I mentioned that wide tracking continuous autofocus didn't very well for this sport. I gave it one more try for sanity's sake and my opinion hasn't changed. I needed to restrict the focus points to the phase detection areas of the sensor by using the 3x3 zone focus grid. I also tried switching from release priority to focus priority autofocus. While I've always favored release priority on DSLRs that I've used, I was happier with focus priority on the X-T1. Other than that, the only other change I made in my settings from those I listed last time was switching to Provia film simulation from Pro Neg Hi for a bit more color pop.

Here are all the relevant camera settings that I settled on:

  • Continuous autofocus (C on focus selection switch)
  • High speed burst rate (CH on top dial)
  • Zone autofocus area in middle (3x3 grid)
  • Image quality: Fine (Provia film simulation)
  • DR100
  • Autofocus with focus priority
  • Face detection: off
  • Pre Autofocus: off
  • Power Management: High Performance On
  • No image review

My exposure for all shots posted here was 1/1000, f/2.8, ISO 3200.

I can prattle on and on about the X-T1 shooting experience but the proof is in the pictures. There are several key shooting scenarios in hockey game photography and I'll provide some examples of each.

Oncoming Player Movement

Players at the pro level have amazing speed. I've found that oncoming players present the biggest challenge to camera autofocus systems. Even my D750 struggles with this as players get in close. What I found with the X-T1 is that I had to get the autofocus system tracking a player as far out as feasible. The X-T1 is slightly slower to get an initial lock than my D750 but it does a pretty job at staying with the subject once I get it locked on. The X-T1 did quite well at staying on players and not getting distracted by the contrasty ads on the boards. I was able to get some pretty close shots of moving players close in, provided that I got locked on before they were right up on me. 

Lateral Player Movement

Lateral or side to side movement is a little easier for cameras I've used. The main glitches in this area tend to be when an autofocus system grabs onto the boards when players are close to them or locking onto a different player than I intended. The X-T1 did well on all counts. As long as I got a lock and followed through by panning with the players I didn't have any issues. 

Tight Groups of Players

One area where my D750 can struggle is when players are packed together tightly, as is often the case around the goal. A wide focus point array can lead to the camera hunting too long as it decides what to focus on. I found that the X-T1 did quite well at staying with my intended subject when using the 3x3 zone array. 

Action Sequences

A lot happens in a split second of hockey and the high frame rate helps catch the action and give me more shots to pick from after the game. The X-T1 beats my D750 in this area. I came away from more interesting puck-in-flight shots in the last games than I usually get.


Last time I wrote about the X-T1 at the hockey arena I was undecided. While I got some good shots, I wasn't ready to say it was definitely up to the task. Have my feelings changed? Well, I have to say that after 3 games with the X-T1 and just as many keepers as I normally got with my D750, I guess I can safely say that the X-T1 can absolutely work as a sports camera albeit with certain limitations and with good technique on the part of the photographer.

Stuff I really like about the X-T1:

  • Light weight. My wrists, arms and back are much happier with this rig.
  • Auto focus is solid once locked on. 
  • Fast frame rate.
  • Front switch makes it quick to switch between continuous and single autofocus modes.
  • Great image quality in smaller JPEG files than a lot of DSLRs.*
  • Auto white balance works better with flickering sports lighting than my D750.

Stuff that's annoying about the X-T1:

  • On a DSLR, I configure back button focus and focus continues while the back button is pressed and the shutter button is held down. The X-T1 doesn't do that. If I use a configured back button to focus, it stops focusing when the shutter is pressed. That makes no sense. I had to use shutter half press only for focusing.
  • Only middle points (phase detection spots) are good for fast paced autofocus. This means I sometimes need to shoot loose and crop to get the composition I want. 
  • ISO sensitivity seems to be almost a stop less than my D750. 
  • Can't turn off noise reduction completely (even at -2 there is still odd smoothing of flesh tones at ISO 3200.)
  • Only one SD card slot. Give me two in the next body, please!!!!
  • Takes too long (with the 50-140mm lens) to transition from close to distant focus points. My DSLR is way snappier.
  • Lack of dial based custom settings. It takes too many steps to go from a sports oriented setup to a more static subject setup. It's just a turn of a single dial on my D750.
  • The EVF can flicker or black out during burst shots. I actually haven't found it to be a deal breaker since I've been training myself to keep both eyes open for safety's sake anyway.

There are a lot of negatives about using mirrorless camera like this for sports to be sure. However, I didn't hit anything insurmountable in my tests and at the end of the game I'm getting the shots I need from a camera system that I really like. Am I ready to switch completely to the X-T1 platform? I'm seriously thinking about it. I don't use my D750 for anything except sports anymore and it sure would be nice to have a single platform. I'd buy the 50-140mm and a second X-T1 body so I could have everything from wide to telephoto shots with the same body. That would be most excellent. I've proven to myself that sports photography can be done with the X-T1 and a complete switch is under consideration. I'll let you guys know if I make the leap. Am I crazy? Feel free to weigh in through the comments section.

*Yes, I shoot JPEG only for sports and events the majority of the time. I don't have time to deal with processing raw files when I've got hundreds of images to sift through and deadlines to meet. Fujifilm JPEGs are notoriously good. If the lighting is absurd due to low light or extreme dynamic range, I'll shoot JPEG+raw. 

Death Valley High at the Dirty Dog

My buddy Mark asked me I could stop by his studio and give him a hand with a photo session for the band Death Valley High. This San Francisco based group is on tour and they got Mark to do some studio shots for album art work before their Austin show. I was happy to help and these guys were a lot of fun to work with. They invited me out to their show last night night at Dirty Dog so I headed down their with my camera for some live music shooting. The guys put on an awesome show I enjoyed capturing some stills of their performance. Here are a few favorites of mine.

Full image gallery from the show is here.

Fujifilm X-T1, XF 35mm f/1.4, Classic Chrome

Is the Fujifilm X-T1 a Viable Sports Camera?

I love my Fujifilm X-T1. So much so that I'd love to be able to use it exclusively for all of my personal and professional photography. While I've found the X-T1 perfectly capable for most purposes, the one area where it has been lacking is sports. For that purpose I use a Nikon D750 equipped with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. When Fujifilm released an equivalent lens, the 50-140mm f/2.8, I was anxious to see if there was a chance that my X-T1 could perform on par with my Nikon rig and possibly replace it. As I wrote in my original testing with the 50-140mm back in February this year, that possibility proved to be a no-go for the main sport I shoot - pro ice hockey. The X-T1's autofocus system, while no slouch by any means, simply wasn't anywhere in the ballpark with the D750. 

A few weeks ago I ran into the Fujifilm reps at a camera expo in Austin and we got to talking about my prior tests. They asked if I would be interested in trying again with the latest firmware. I was skeptical but agreed to give it another go. I had resigned to the fact that there is an ideal tool for every task and the X-T1 just wasn't the best choice for fast paced sports. Horses for courses as they say. The Fujifilm folks flashed my X-T1 to the latest firmware (4.10) and I received a demo 50-140mm lens (firmware 1.10) a couple weeks later. 

The Texas Stars had a home game last night so I brought the X-T1 and the 50-140mm along. My plan was to just shoot warm-ups with the X-T1 and use the D750 for the game as usual. My first shots in warm-ups weren't encouraging. I tried the wide tracking autofocus option and it just wasn't staying locked on. I tend to use the D750's 3D tracking mode quite a bit and I was hoping the wide tracking mode on the X-T1 would be similar. Nope - at least not with pro hockey players. These guys move way too fast and since the X-T1 has to switch to contrast detection at the wide points, it just isn't able to keep up. After some playing around with the autofocus settings I settled on the zone focus option. I opted to use only a 3x3 center focus area figuring that should use the phase detection points only. This worked the best, although I found that I had to get onto the subject and follow longer than I'm accustomed to for the AF system to lock on. Here are the settings I ended up using:

  • Continuous autofocus (C on focus selection switch)
  • High speed burst rate (CH on top dial)
  • Zone autofocus area in middle (3x3 grid)
  • Image quality: Fine (Pro Neg film simulation)
  • DR100
  • Autofocus with release priority
  • Face detection: off
  • Pre Autofocus: off
  • Power Management: High Performance On
  • No image review

Here are a few shots from warm up (click for larger views):

The X-T1 wasn't as responsive as my D750 and the number of keepers wasn't as high as I would have liked. However, I was getting enough acceptable shots that I decided to start the game coverage with the X-T1. After all, I really couldn't get an accurate feel for how it handled a game without shooting actual play. The only thing that really bothered about using the X-T1 for game play initially is that I feared image quality might be an issue since I shoot for the Stars' graphics department. My images need to be sharp and clean. Now, I have no problem with the X-T1's image quality for most things but when people are in my shots I like to be no higher than ISO 1600. In order to get the shutter speed I needed (1/1000), I had to crank the ISO up to 3200 even shooting at f/2.8. That's the point where Fujifilm's algorithms tend to muck up flesh tones a bit. It's really annoying. I push my D750 to ISO 3200 to get to f/4 for more depth of field. The higher ISO on that full frame sensor is no problem. Since I was shooting a game and not portraits, I forged ahead with ISO 3200.

It took me a while to settle in with the X-T1 once the game started. There were some misses of shots I'd really like to have nailed - one save in particular that got away - Argh!!! I resisted the temptation to bag the X-T1 and kept at it. My efforts were rewarded and the keeper rate climbed slowly. Basically, I had to get on the player as soon as possible and allow the X-T1 the little bit of extra time it seems to need to lock on. I started by using back button focus like I do on my D750. It doesn't seem to work the same way on the X-T1. It either stops the continuous focus when the shutter button is hit while the back button focus is pressed or it slows way down. I'm not certain which - I'll have to play with that some more. Bottom line, using the shutter half-press to focus while tracking worked best for me. 

Here are a few shots from the first period:

I learned a few things after the first period. The X-T1 did pretty well tracking approaching players at a distance. As they got closer, within 20 feet or less, the AF system had a real hard time staying locked on. To be fair, my D750 struggles with that too. The fast, erratic movement of the players is a real challenge especially up close. One thing the X-T1 seemed to do better than the D750 is that on shots all the way across the ice (goal to goal) the X-T1 did a great job at locking onto players instead of getting fooled by the contrasty ads on the boards. On the other hand, players skating in the path of the subject I was tracking would throw the AF system off easily. The X-T1 did do a good job at staying locked onto to a subject, like the goalie, when there was activity immediately on either side. Initial focus lock on when changing distance by a large amount was sluggish. I didn't get that snap I get from the DSLR rig. I really liked the 10 frame a second rate of the X-T1. A lot happens in a second of hockey play and my D750 only shoots 6 per second.

Second period:

For the second period, I moved to the media box between the team benches. This is an unobscured area (no protective glass!) that puts the photographer in the middle of the action. Shooting from the corners as I did in the first period (through a cut out hole in the glass) involves a lot of oncoming shots of players. Shooting from the bench is more lateral moving shots and into the goal. This demands that the camera be able to track focus from side to side and be able to maintain focus where I want when shooting into layers of players around the goal. The X-T1 didn't too terrible at lateral tracking but it could have been better. Again, I used only the phase detection area so I was pretty much locking on with the center focus area and panning with the player. My D750 is stronger here with more phase detection points across the frame. The X-T1 did better on shooting into the goal, possibly even better than my D750 does when aimed into a dense crowd in the goal crease. It tends to have trouble settling down on a focus point while the X-T1 was locking on to the right places.

Third period:

The third period I was back in a corner and I worked on getting those oncoming shots nailed. I had a little better luck and managed to get a few good keepers of players in close, maybe 10 feet or closer. The key seems to be getting locked on as far out as possible and bursting away as they approac. This is difficult because the EVF looks rather erratic during bursts and keeping my composition was quite tough. This is an area where looking through a DSLR's prism and mirror through the lens is advantageous. Because I was only using the center phase detection zone, my primary subject had to be in there somewhere. That's tough for hockey where an attacking player will often come in with a defenseman right along side. This means I had to frame loosely and crop. With my D750 I can use 3D focus tracking to grab a player and the AF system will keep on him no matter how he moves or how I reframe. For shooting into the goal I found that it was often best to switch to single focus, lock on to the goalie, then recompose to get the action in front of the net in the frame.

So, after shooting a full game (Still can't believe I did that!), what's the verdict? Is the X-T1 a sports camera? Well...no...but it did do better than I expected with the most recent firmwares. In fairness, my D750 really isn't a true sports body either. I use it because it's the best camera in my budget. I'd use a D4s if I could afford it. I don't make my primary living as a sports photographer so I go with "good enough." The question is probably better asked, is the X-T1 a "good enough" camera for sports? Well, maybe. Based on my experience shooting a pro hockey game, arguably one of the most challenging sports to photograph, I'd say the X-T1 would do just fine for a good number of sports events. No it's not a sports camera, as in specifically designed for that purpose. It doesn't cost $6000+ either. For its price point, if you like its feature set and image quality otherwise, it might just be the right camera for you.

The strengths and weakness I found in the X-T1 in my experience are as follows.

Pros:

  • 10 frames/second bursting (more than a lot of mid-range DSLRs.)
  • EVF - fast refresh and you see your exposure/white balance in real time.
  • EVF - I can chimp a shot without having to look down at the LCD.
  • Front switch makes it easy to switch from continuous to single autofocus.
  • Good auto white balance. I shot the entire game on AWB. Arena light is a moving target and the X-T1 gets it in the ball park. I'd never use on AWB on my D750 in this environment.
  • Much lighter than a comparable DSLR rig with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.
  • Supports higher speed cards than a lot of DSLRs currently on the market.

Cons:

  • 1 stop less sensitive than my D750 rig (had to be at ISO 3200 at f/2.8, while my D750 could be at 1600 at f/2.8).
  • Wide AF tracking isn't fast enough for pro hockey players. Need to use center phase detection points.
  • More AF misses than D750, i.e. lower keeper rate. This may improve as I adapt to the quirks of the X-T1 AF system.
  • Slower to acquire initial AF lock, especially if changing by a great distance.

Things Fujifilm could improve in future bodies for sports shooters:

  • Add more phase detection points for better wide tracking.
  • Add a focus range limiter switch to lenses for faster focusing in known ranges (Canon has this on their 70-200mm f/2.8).
  • Add a configuration parameter to autofocus menu for adjusting lock sensitivity, i.e. how long to maintain focus lock before switching to a new subject or point. Canon and Nikon have this.
  • Add dial based custom user settings. I miss C dial settings like on the DSLRs I've owned.
  • Add a second card slot. While I've never lost any shots due to bad cards, I have had them start to flake out before and I disposed of them before it became an unrecoverable problem. As fragile as SD cards are, I'd like to have that peace of mind knowing I've got a backup.

Is the X-T1 the right camera for sports for you? Only you can answer that. Rent or borrow one and find out for yourself. Will it become my sole camera platform as I have hoped? I don't know. I'm encouraged by my experience in this one game but on the whole I still give the nod to the D750. It's got a better AF system and because it is full frame it handles the necessary higher ISOs better. That said, I can't rule out the X-T1 as a "good enough" camera for my needs. The benefits of standardizing on a single platform would be huge. Being able to sell my D750 rig would let me get a second X-T1 body so I'd have identical bodies to work with on the job. That idea is intriguing enough that I just give the X-T1 another go at the next home game in a couple days. I'm not sold yet. That said, I have a glimmer of hope that the X-T1 might just be good enough for my needs. More to come.

If you want to see more all the shots from the game you can find them here.

Oh What Fun It Is To Ride

Pedicabs are a popular way to travel the downtown streets of Austin in the evening. They make interesting subjects for panned photos and it's hard to resist snapping a few attempts while I'm waiting to cross a street. Panning shots are hit or miss - you nail it or you don't. This was a lucky catch recently that I really like. December in Austin. Not really that cold but we put on jackets anyway and pretend that there is a winter nip in the air and maybe we'll see that white Christmas. Probably not. This passenger did appear to be enjoying her ride on a cool night through the Warehouse District and I found her smile to be contagious.

Burnet at Night - A Revisit

I've posted before about walking along Burnet Rd in Austin at Night. It's not particularly interesting during the day, at least to me. It takes on a different look at night when light is sparse. Things that seem mundane in the daylight become intriguing in the subtle brushes of light from manmade sources. I enjoy the calm and quiet of an evening stroll while observing what the interplay of darkness and light choose to reveal.

Windows

Quiet Places

Objects

Veterans Day

The Living History Detachment of the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry stages several WWII Reenactments a year around the Memorial Day and Veterans Day holidays. I make it a point to attend and document these events with my camera. Some might find it odd to stage depictions of war. Those who participate in these events do so not to glorify war. Rather, they go to great lengths to educate on its harsh realities and the cost of the freedoms that we enjoy due to the sacrifices made by our veterans. Many of the living historians who participate have served in the military and consider it an honor to share the story and history of WWII. 

My goal in photography at these events is two-fold. For one, I try to accurately capture the characters and battles in a manner that gives the images plausibility. My shots are composed to isolate the scenes and remove any hints of a modern time period if possible. Secondly, I try to capture the humanity of actors in their characters - their emotional responses, long stares, the war faces. Some of those are backed by real memories of service. It's my way of honoring our veterans. To those who have served, thank you.

More images from the event are here.

The Dance

The band was rocking the stage at the Rockabilly Roundup at Nasty's when a young couple started to dance. They were spinning around in the dimly lit club, silhouetted by the neon signs on the back wall. I couldn't resist snapping a few shots of their moment together.

Rockabilly Night at Nasty's

My wife suggested that we go to Nasty's, a little dive bar on Guadalupe in Austin, TX, to see a couple of Rockabilly bands last night. I love taking photos of bands so I was OK with that idea even though I had kind of settled in for the night with a book by the time she asked about it. We got there just in time to see the first band, Jimmy and the Mustangs, starting their set.

Austin dive bars aren't known for having great stage light. Still, I was surprised to see that there was basically zero light on the musicians. A couple of flood lights were aimed at the wall behind the band, effectively silhouetting them. Not so good for a photographer! Right before the band was introduced, someone plugged in another flood light in front of the stage. I could now see faces and my spirits were lifted. Maybe I'd get some photos after all! My excitement was short lived. The guitarists yelled to have the light cut off. I can kind of understand. The light hanging from the low ceiling was blinding from their perspective. I started to put the camera away.

As the guys started into their first song, a weird dance club sort of light was flicked on by someone. It scattered moving multi-colored polka dots of light over the band. Ugh. Terrible, I thought at first. The band didn't seem to mind and I watched as the small circles of light danced around, occasionally illuminating the guys in interesting ways. OK...so I grabbed my camera back out of the bag and went with that.

It was too dark to autofocus so I switched to manual and I was forced to open my lens to it's widest aperture of f/1.4. My ISO was at 3200 and wanting 6400 (translation for my non-photographer readers - really shitty light!) I stuck with the lower setting. It was going to be dark either way and the silhouetted scene was growing on me. I followed front man Jimmy with manual focus as he moved energetically. As the polka dot lights happened to fall on faces or hands I snapped a frame. Keepers were few but I was getting a few shots I really liked. Anybody that reads my blog with any regularity knows I'll take dark and moody any day (or night.) Lack of sharpness and motion blur is fine as long as emotion is present. 

The Phantom Shakers took the stage next to close out the night with a scorching set. This female fronted group had a lot of energy with a fantastic Rockabilly look and sound. Their singer was even harder to follow with manual focus than Jimmy! I managed to get a few interesting frames.

I had a great time and was pleased to learn that the A-Town Rockabilly Roundup is a monthly event at Nasty's. I'll look forward to the next one! 

Scarcity of Light

There was a time when I would try to coax every last bit of detail out of scene - from the brightest highlights to the darkest shadows. Lacking well lit scenes, I often used to take multiple exposures and mash them together such that you could peer into every nook and cranny if you so desired. It's interesting how things change with one's sense of aesthetics over the years. More often than not these days, when I'm out photographing for myself I'm inclined to seek out a scarcity of light. Those areas of darkness with just enough light to carve out a form. That's when things get interesting lately. It doesn't matter if the rest of the scene falls to blackness - more the better if it does. Maybe I've seen too many washed out black and whites lately. I'm taking things noir. Blacks crushed. Don't be afraid of the dark.