Taos Pueblo, Part 1: Color

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San Geronimo Cross – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Ansel Adams’ very first book, Taos Pueblo, was published in 1930. It featured photographs that Adams had captured in the spring of 1929 at Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. He would return to Taos several times on his journeys across the American west. It was while flipping through one of Adams’ books that I first learned of Taos, and for the next twenty years I would dream of one day experiencing the place firsthand.

The Taos Pueblo is the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America, dating back to about 1000 AD. There are actually two pueblos, the north house and south house, that look much the same and are of similar age. It’s amazing how little has changed over the centuries, and it is said that the pueblo appears similar to visitors today as it did to Spanish explorers in 1540.

People still inhabit the Taos Pueblo. It’s like a giant apartment complex. Many of the lower-level units are used as restaurants and shops. You can buy handmade art and trinkets. It’s a neat experience. It does cost money to visit ($16 per person), but I didn’t mind as I’m sure it helps those who live there. Sadly, it appears as though poverty is a common issue at the pueblo.

My family and I only got to spend a couple of hours at the Taos Pueblo. We were just passing through on our way to Santa Fe. It would have been great to spend more time capturing this historic site. There are so many photographic opportunities! Interestingly, and perhaps unfortunately (depending on how you look at it), photographs are for personal use only, and one must obtain prior approval and pay a fee for commercial photography. If I wanted to sell a picture that I captured at the pueblo, well, I can’t, unless I jumped through the appropriate hoops ahead of time. This is something to consider if you are planning a visit, and if I were to spend more time than just a couple of hours at the site I definitely would have done this just in case I captured something special.

I used a Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 60mm lens attached to capture these images. They are all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs using my Kodachrome II film simulation recipe. I hope you enjoy viewing them!

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San Geronimo de Taos – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Taos Cowboy – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Pueblo Door – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Red Door – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Flower Pot – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Pueblo Peak – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Pueblo – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Pueblo de Taos – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Fallen Fence – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Part 2 coming soon!

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Photoessay: Along The Highway, Part 6 – Oklahoma in Monochrome

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Stu – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

Colorado  New Mexico  West Texas  East Texas  Oklahoma (Color)  

Pawhuska is a rural town in northeastern Oklahoma that once boomed. The 1920’s were especially roaring, but the 1930’s included an oil bust, the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, scars of which are clearly evident to this day. The Boy Scouts of America began in Pawhuska over 100 years ago. The town is also home to Drummond Ranch, which is one of the largest ranches in the country. Ree Drummond has a popular television cooking show and has authored a number of books. She also has a store and restaurant in town, and that’s why my wife and I were there.

The town is quite small, but photographic opportunities were numerous. In fact, I made more exposures in Pawhuska than any other place we visited on our road trip. There’s a lot of history, character and hospitality packed into the little town in the middle of nowhere. Pawhuska proved to be a great experience! I felt as though I left many potential pictures unphotographed, so perhaps another visit will be in store in the future.

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Double Flag – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Kitchen Window – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Bakery – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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County Courthouse – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Broken Glass Through The Glass – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Industrial Brick – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Industrial Design – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Star – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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The Other Mother – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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The Merc – Pawhuska, OK – X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Mercantile – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 60

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Cafe Flowers – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 60

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Wet Tables – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 60

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Unlikely – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Pawhuska Rain – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 60

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Osage County – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – OK HWY 99

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Thunder Sky – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – OK HWY 99

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Rural Cows – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Horse Gate – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Two Horses In The Grass – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Rural Mail – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

Weekly Photo Project, Week 7

Keeping up with a photo-a-day project is not easy, as there are days when making even one exposure requires me to stop all the bustle, set everything down for a moment, and somehow squeeze in time for photography. That can be hard! Life sometimes pulls in many different directions all at once. So far I have not missed a single day (knock on wood), but to help increase the probability of success I have purchased a new tool: the Fujifilm XF10. Because it is pocket-sized I can have a camera with me more often, which means I’m more likely to make exposures on those days when time is limited.

In order to purchase the camera I had to sell my distressed X-E1, which I didn’t really want to do, but I had to. The XF10 will help me with this project much more than the X-E1. Besides, if I want to, I can distress another X-E1 in the future, which I might do once this project is finished.

Something that you might notice in the photographs below is that autumn has set in. The trees have begun changing color. So far it looks like it will be a mediocre year for fall colors in Utah. Last autumn was quite colorful. I need to get out there while I can because winter is just around the corner and the fall colors, even though they just arrived, are not going to hang on much longer.

Monday, September 3, 2018

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Autumn Beginning – Ogden Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

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Magnolia – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

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Burlap Camera – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Thursday, September 6, 2018

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Airport Road – SLC, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Friday, September 7, 2018

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Green & Yellow – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Saturday, September 8, 2018

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Wasatch Ridge Autumn – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Sunday, September 9, 2018

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Shy Horse – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Week 6  

Review: Fujifilm XF10 – The Best Camera

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The Fujifilm XF10 is the best camera. I’ll explain why this is so in a few minutes. For now, just know I truly mean that bold statement.

A few weeks ago Fujifilm released an ultra-compact, fixed-lens, fixed-focal-length, wide-angle, low-budget, APS-C sensor camera. The XF10 is a brand-new camera, but it borrows much of its design and features from other Fujifilm cameras, as well as a non-Fujifilm camera. There are a lot of similarities between the XF10 and the X70, including the same exact 28mm (equivalent) f/2.8 lens. The X70 was essentially a smaller, lighter, cheaper, and more wide-angle X100T. While the XF10 is noticeably influenced from the design heritage of Fujifilm’s rangefinder-style fixed-lens cameras, there’s a touch of the X-E3 and X-T100 in it, as well. Oh, and Fujifilm even took a little from the Ricoh GR series.

I don’t want to go all that deep into the stat sheet of this camera. You can readily find that information online. I’ll talk about what I feel is important and perhaps what I believe others want to know. I will do my best to keep this review from reading like all the rest, which, by the way, brings up a point that I want to clarify right from the start. I paid for this camera myself. Fujifilm did not give or loan me an XF10. You can rest assured that this review is strictly my own opinion and not influenced by a corporate gift. If someone did offer me a camera I would not turn it down because, well, I like free stuff as much as the next guy, but that has never happened and probably never will.

The elephant in the room is that the XF10 uses a 24-megapixel sensor with a Bayer color filter array and not an X-Trans array. It’s the same sensor that’s found in the Fujifilm X-A5 and X-T100. Also, the processor is not the same one found in X-Trans III cameras, but a generic one that seems related to the processor found in X-Trans II cameras. What this means is that the XF10 feels more like an X-Trans II camera, but with subtly inferior color rendition. It does have more resolution and slightly better high-ISO performance than X-Trans II, but overall it’s a lot closer to X-Trans II than X-Trans III and not exactly like either.

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One thing that’s missing on the XF10 is the Acros Film Simulation, which, in my opinion, is the very best in-camera JPEG option on any digital camera ever. It’s a shame that it’s not on this camera, but it’s omission is understandable. There are also no faux film grain options. Adjustments max out at plus or minus two instead of four like what’s found on X-Trans III cameras. For the JPEG shooter, the XF10 will not quite produce the wonderful analog-like photographs that one can achieve with an X-Trans III camera, but that doesn’t mean the images don’t look good because they do.

All of the common film simulations, such as Classic Chrome, Velvia, Astia, Provia, etc., are found on the XF10. The odd thing is that you can only save one custom setting. On any Fujifilm camera that I’ve owned before, there are nine custom presets that one can create and save for quick recall, but not so on the XF10. I was extremely disappointed by this at first, because I have tons of great film simulation recipes that I like to use (none of which are directly compatible with the XF10), but after awhile this setup grew on me. I found freedom in the limitation, and for the XF10 it’s actually great because it plays into the camera’s philosophy.

The XF10 has a minimalist design. There’s no hotshoe. There are no threads on the lens. The rear screen doesn’t tilt or swivel. There are fewer buttons, knobs and wheels than one would find on other Fujifilm cameras. It’s like Fujifilm took a look at their cameras, such as the X100F and X-T20, and asked, “What’s unnecessary?” What is left is a camera that has just what you need, nothing more, nothing less. There are exactly the right amount of controls for everything, thanks in part to the touch options on the rear screen. The gesture touch controls are a nice addition, although it’s very particular and one must do it just right for it to work well, which for me took some practice. If there is one complaint about the camera’s design, it’s the darn PASM dial, which I don’t care much for. I would appreciate dedicated controls for aperture, shutter and ISO like on my X100F and X-Pro2, but the XF10 is designed for a different group of photographers.

Fujifilm tends to have a certain group in mind when they design a camera. That’s why they have so many different models that are similar to each. The differences between the X-T100, X-T20, X-T2, X-H1 and now the X-T3 aren’t huge, yet each is clearly intended for a different faction. The X-A5, X-E3 and X-Pro2 are quite similar not only to each other but also the previous list, yet they are meant for different groups. The X100F and XF10 could be grouped together, but the XF10 wasn’t designed for and is not marketed towards the same group that purchased the X100F. That doesn’t mean those who own the X100F shouldn’t buy it or won’t appreciate it. It simply helps us to understand why the designers made the choices that they did.

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What I have come to appreciate about the XF10 is the simplicity of it. I’m thinking less about camera settings and more about the image itself. The camera becomes less important. It fades away at the end of my hand. That’s not necessarily what Fujifilm intended. What they were attempting was simplicity for the inexperienced photographer. They wanted something that a novice could pick up and use without trouble, something that wouldn’t seem overwhelming to the beginner. They achieved that, but in the process made a camera that’s fantastic for the experienced user to just shoot with. That should be the camera’s slogan: Just shoot it. Perhaps Nike wouldn’t care for that, so I digress.

While I’m sure that the XF10 has a lot of plastic in it, the camera feels solid and sturdy, like it could take a beating and still function just fine (I have no plans to test this). It doesn’t look or feel cheap. It seems higher-end than the price would suggest. However, something I’ve noticed in the short time that I’ve owned the camera is the paint on a couple of the corners is already starting to wear. I’m sure that this is from shoving the camera into pockets, but it seems much too quick for the paint to be rubbing off. That’s really too bad.

Like the X100 series, the XF10 has a leaf shutter and fantastic built-in fill-flash. The camera seems to balance the exposure and flash perfectly every time, which is just fantastic! This is something that Fujifilm does better than anybody. A side effect of the leaf shutter is that it is nearly silent, making this camera particularly great for street photography. Just be sure to turn off all the artificial noises that the camera is programmed to make.

There’s a feature on the XF10 that should be on every single camera manufactured today. It’s called Snapshot, which is a zone focus system where the focus and aperture are at predetermined settings. There are two options: five meters, which utilizes f/5.6, and two meters, which uses f/8. Both of these settings will give you a large depth-of-field where much of the scene will be in focus. I wish that there was a one meter option using f/11, but there’s not. What’s great about Snapshot is it makes street photography or even pictures of the kids as they play extraordinarily easy and quick because focus and aperture are already taken care of by the camera ahead of time. As quick as auto-focus systems are becoming, there’s still nothing faster than focus that’s been preset. I love it! If Snapshot sounds familiar, it’s because the Ricoh GR series has a nearly identical feature.

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While Snapshot is quick, the XF10 as a whole is not particularly fast. Auto-focus, startup times and even frames-per-second aren’t bad, which is what one usually thinks of when it comes to camera quickness. It’s the general responsiveness to adjustments that’s noticeably slow. My fingers can fly through the menus and buttons faster than the camera can keep up. The camera can be painfully slow if it’s writing to the SD card, as it seems to have a hard time doing that and other functions simultaneously. I think that shoving this camera into such a small body required some compromises (maybe more than “some”), and the speed of the processor is certainly one of the trade-offs.

The camera is small and lightweight, noticeably smaller and lighter than the X100F. It fits into a pocket without trouble. The X100F also fits into a pocket, but more so in the winter when pockets are larger and less so in the summer when pockets are smaller. What makes the XF10 the best camera is that it fits into your pocket all of the time. It’s easy to carry around with you wherever you go. It’s never in the way. It’s just there in your pocket when you need it. As Chase Jarvis coined, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” This camera is great because it’s always with you.

Image quality on the XF10 is quite good. The lens has noticeably less distortion than the one on the X100F despite being more wide angle. There’s a little vignetting and corner softness when wide open, but stopping down fixes that. Bokeh is rather pleasant, which is not typically all that important on a 28mm lens, but with the close focus distance of about 4″ it’s possible to get some nice out-of-focus backgrounds and foregrounds. The camera controls lens flare only moderately well, but I kind of like the way it renders it, so this could be positive or negative to you, depending on if you like it or not. There’s not very much negative to mention about the images that this camera produces. If you’ve ever used an X-Trans II camera, that’s pretty darn close to what you can expect from this little camera.

I’m not a video guy, but 4K at 15 frames-per-second isn’t anything to get excited over, and that’s the best this camera can do. I suppose it’s fine if there’s not much movement in the scene and you are using a tripod. The camera can do 1080p at 60 frames-per-second, which is awesome for casual family movies. I think, as far as video goes, the best feature on the XF10 is 4K time lapse at 30 frames-per-second. That’s actually useful if you enjoy making time lapse videos.

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Is the XF10 an upgrade over the X70? In some ways it is, in some ways it’s essentially the same camera, and in some ways it’s a downgrade. If you already own an X70 then you are probably better off keeping what you already have. If you’ve been considering an X70, the XF10 is a good alternative, but you may want to consider the differences between the models before choosing one over the other. If you’ve been thinking about a Ricoh GR II, the XF10 is a similar camera with similar features, but there are pluses and minuses to both that should be considered. As with any camera, one must look at what’s important to himself or herself and judge if the camera will meet those needs or not.

The XF10 comes in two colors: black and champagne-gold with faux brown leather, which is hideous an interesting choice that you’ll either love or hate. I chose black for myself. You can’t go wrong with black. The XF10 has an MSRP of $500, which is a good value for what you get. In fact, it’s the cheapest compact camera with an APS-C sensor on the market right now. I had a coupon so I was able to snag my copy for only $425.

The conclusion to this review is that Fujifilm has a new camera that’s smartly designed, pocket-sized, produces quality pictures, and doesn’t cost very much at all. One could start a list of all the different features not included, and it would be easy to judge this camera based on that list, but the experience of the XF10 isn’t about what’s there, it’s about the simplicity of capturing an image. It’s about having an uncomplicated tool that’s always with you and is never in the way to capture quality pictures of the fleeting moments that often don’t get photographed. The best camera is the one that’s with you in the moment that you need one. The XF10 is the best camera because it will be there in that moment eagerly waiting to be used.

Example photographs, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs (with the exception of some minor cropping) captured using the Fujifilm XF10:

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Terminal Windows – SLC, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Up & Away – SLC, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Airport Road – SLC, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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I Spy Exxon – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Only One Way To Go – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Chevy Blue – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Flag On A Pole – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Artificial Leaves – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Green & Yellow – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Green Leaves – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Leaf In The Forest – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Fall Is In The Trees – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Sunlight Through The Forest – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Rays Between The Trees – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Trail Kids – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Mother & I – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Pilot & Copilot – SLC, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Traveler Check In – SLC, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Shy Horse – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Forest Leaf Monochrome – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Light Patch On The Water – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Provo River Marsh – Utah Lake SP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Hat Abstract – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Curved Stairwell – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Photoessay: Along The Highway, Part 5 – Oklahoma in Color

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Small Green Hill – McAlester, OK – Fuji X-Pro2 & 60mm – Indian Nation TPKE / US HWY 69

Colorado  New Mexico  West Texas  East Texas  Oklahoma In B&W

When we were planning our summer road trip, the one state that I was least interested in was Oklahoma. I’d been to Oklahoma a couple times, and nothing I saw was particularly memorable. But I had never traveled through the eastern part of the state, which is where my family and I drove through, and I was quite impressed with what I saw. Oklahoma blew my expectations out of the water!

I captured a whole lot of photographs while there, mostly in and around the town of Pawhuska. We stayed the night there, so the images were taken over a span of two days. I used my Fujifilm X-Pro2 for the color pictures, utilizing my Kodachrome II film simulation recipe. If Pawhuska sound familiar to you, it’s because Ree Drummond (“The Pioneer Woman”) lives there. She has a gift store and restaurant in the town. The best food we ate on the entire trip was in Pawhuska, hands down!

We drove down many miles of rural highways in Oklahoma, and saw some surprisingly beautiful scenery along the way. We passed through several quaint towns and experienced firsthand some great hospitality. I hope to one day return, but I’m grateful for the time I spent there, even if it was short.

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Foal Shy – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Drummond Ranch – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Open Window Reflection – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Buckin’ Flamingo – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Locked Door – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Oklahoma Flag – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Brick – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Window Grill – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Pawhuska Reflection – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Contemplation – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Paint Ladder – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Backwards Gear – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Window Seat – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Rural Sunset – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – OK HWY 99

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Sunset Through The Branches – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – OK HWY 99

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado – Part 2: Color

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Sangre de Cristo & Sand Dunes – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

Part 1 – Monochrome

The Great Sand Dunes National Park lends itself well to black-and-white photography because of the highlight-and-shadow play that is so prevalent, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good place for color pictures. While I definitely came away with more monochrome images, a couple of my favorite pictures are in color. I imagine that autumn would be especially nice for color photography at this location, and perhaps late-spring or early summer when there is an abundance of fresh green. Late summer features a lot of brown, tan, and yellow, which can still be alright.

All of the photographs in this article are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured using my Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 Macro lens attached to the front. I used my Kodachrome II film simulation recipe for most of them. Enjoy!

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Sand Beneath The Peak – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Adversity Alone – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Long Walk Back – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sand In My Boot – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Approaching The Dunes – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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From Dust To Dust – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sandal – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Torrid Terrain – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

Weekly Photo Project, Week 6

Sometimes when it’s not practical to go somewhere to photograph, I find that capturing an image at my house is a wonderful challenge. What I appreciate about it is that often times I must construct the scene from scratch. When you are out somewhere you most often stumble upon something that’s already there. You don’t typically move stuff around. But inside my home, I’m grabbing different things and placing them in specific places. It’s all very purposeful, and the more creative I am with that the better the images turn out. Four of the seven photographs here were taken inside my home.

Monday, August 27, 2018

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Pink Rose Pedals – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

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California Dreamin’ – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

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Blue Umbrella At The Lake – Huntsville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Thursday, August 30, 2018

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250 – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Friday, August 31, 2018

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Synchronized – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Saturday, September 1, 2018

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Mounds – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Sunday, September 2, 2018

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Monochrome Architecture Lines – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Week 5  Week 7

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado – Part 1: Monochrome

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Great Sand Dunes Sign – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

In July my family and I visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve near Alamosa, Colorado. This national park features the tallest sand dunes in North America. The towering Sangre de Cristo Mountains loom in the background. It’s an impressive and unusual landscape!

During wetter months the Medano Creek flows beneath the sand dunes, and in order to get to the dunes one must get their feet wet. We were there during a dry month and there was no water in the wide creek bed. Unsurprisingly, a visit to the sand dunes requires a significant amount of walking on sand, which means that it takes more effort and more time to get from one point to another. It’s no walk in the park, and it’s best to come prepared with plenty of water and ready for the hike.

While we were there, once on the dunes, the wind was blustery and it kicked up the sand quite fiercely. It pelted our legs and would occasionally blow in our faces and get into our eyes. It was more of an issue for the kids since they’re shorter. It was not a fun experience, so we did not stay on the dunes for very long.

The place offers amazing photographic opportunities. If you like working with shadows and highlights and abstract shapes, this is the place for you! The Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of those special landscapes where it’s difficult to come away with bad pictures. I had with me a Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 Macro lens attached to the front. The X-Pro2 is weather sealed, but the lens is not. Thankfully I did not get dust on the sensor. I would strongly recommend not changing lenses while at the dunes, as you’re just asking for trouble by doing so.

We were only at the sand dunes for a couple of hours. It would have been great if we could have stayed longer. I think that a sunrise hike to the top would have been epic, but time just didn’t allow for it. Even so, we were glad for the opportunity that we did have. I’m happy with the photographs and memories that I came away with.

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Great Sand Dunes – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Mountains & Sand Across The Valley – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Mountain of Sand – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Stroller Alone – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sand & Sangre de Cristo – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Running In The Sand – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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It’s A Long Ways To The Top – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Mountain, Sand & Sky – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sand & Sierra Sky – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Improbability – Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO

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Sand Walkers – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Passerby – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Silver Sand – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sandal In The Sand – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

Part 2 – Color

Weekly Photo Project, Week 5

This photo-a-day challenge, in which I’m attempting to capture at least one picture every day for a year, is so far going well. I’m taking things one week at a time, so that if I miss a day I can keep going. I’ll just tack a week or two onto the end if it comes to it. Hopefully it won’t come to that and I’ll be able to string 52 consecutive weeks together.

Some days I capture a bunch of pictures, and the challenge is determining which one to pick to represent that day. Other days I’ve been fortunate to have a couple exposures to choose from. There was one day that I only made one exposure, and thankfully it wasn’t a terrible photograph. Some days I’m able to do a lot of photography, while a few days each week it’s a real challenge to find the time to do any photography at all. Life has a way of being in the way sometimes. That’s alright, as I’m trying to overcome the challenges by forcing myself to pick up a camera at least once, even if it doesn’t seem like time will permit. It’s working so far, and I’m crossing my fingers that this project will continue to go smoothly over the next 11 months.

Monday, August 20, 2018

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Bulletproof Boy – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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Beams Over The Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

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Morning Mountain Green – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Thursday, August 23, 2018

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Analog – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Friday, August 24, 2018

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Square Sky – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Saturday, August 25, 2018

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Aperture – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Sunday, August 26, 2018

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Not Playing Around – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Week 4  Week 6

Photoessay: Along The Highway, Part 4 – East Texas

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Grain Hoppers – Westlake, TX – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 377

Colorado  New Mexico  West Texas  Oklahoma In Color  Oklahoma In B&W  

Visiting east Texas was in a way a homecoming for me–well, sort of, anyway. I lived in the Dallas area for a few years as a teenager. I lived in Houston for one year awhile back, as well. I have family on the right side of the state, and I’ve journeyed to see them many times over the years. It’s in east Texas that I first learned to be a photographer. I’m familiar with the region, to say the least.

This trip was about spending time with family. It was about being with people that I don’t see often enough. Photography was secondary, although I did find plenty of time for capturing images. By a large margin I spent more time in east Texas than anywhere else on this road trip, yet this part of the series seems short on pictures.

The highways that I traversed in east Texas were often wide and new. They connected cities and large towns. Sure, there were plenty of rural segments, but I saw a lot of suburban landscapes. There’s a lot more sprawl than I remember, and it served as a reminder that it had been too long since I last visited the place, and I need to return more frequently.

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Storm Shelter – McKinney, TX – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 380

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Two Towers – Dallas, TX – Fujifilm X100F – TX HWY 366

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Walk This Way – Princeton, TX – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 380

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A Little Birdie Told Me About The Brew – Westlake, TX – Fuji X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 377

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Trash Pallet – McKinney, TX – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 380