Unequaled.

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Levitation

Visual splendor.

I received Keith Carter: Fifty Years today.

I’m slowly flipping the pages, soaking in the beauty of each photograph.

There are so few photographers whose work can put me in a trance. Carter is one of them.

Magic.

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Exercise is good.

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Stretching the creative muscle.

I read about the Vision Quest Photo Assignment Cards in the December 10, 2018 Shots Magazine email newsletter.

I love Shots Mag. Such a cool idea. And these assignment cards are a nice touch from publisher Doug Beasley, designed by Outside the Box Designs.

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They’re described as “a deck of 36 beautifully designed and printed cards, with a unique photo assignment on the back of each one, housed in an elegant box and all printed on recycled paper.”

Photo Assignments For Personal & Spiritual Growth

The cards are about 3″ x 5″ in size, printed on a thick recycled stock with rounded corners that have a semi-gloss finish. The type used for each card is a serif font at a readable size, and each card is numbered. The front of the cards are dark grey with a series of fine white lines that swirl and overlap. A nice pattern. There’s also a red hanko, Doug’s most likely, centered near the bottom.

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It came with a nifty box with four flaps that folds up to enclose the deck. It’s secured with a hook-and-loop closure. Along with the hanko, there’s a great tagline on the main flap that reads “Photo Assignments For Personal & Spiritual Growth.”

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This collection of 36 assignments will be my 2019 photographic workout and I’m looking forward to getting started.

The leap.

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Worth it.

I’ve been updating my Mac system a bit lately, adding a second monitor, replacing the very old keyboard, and moving up to Apple’s Magic Mouse 2.

The MM2 is awesome. I used the previous model with my work laptop back before I retired and loved it.

The Logitech wired mouse I’ve been using on my personal system the past few years was fine, but that model was discontinued and I had an Apple wired mouse that was just okay.

So, I finally bit the bullet and paid the price for the Magic Mouse 2.

A good investment.

48 sunsets, 2018.

48 sunsets, 2018

Happy New Year!

I’ve had an annual project going since we relocated to Texas a few years ago, making photos of Texas sunsets.

The view from our back porch every day around sundown is spectacular, even more so when there are clouds in the sky. So much drama!

I’m not gonna give away all my secrets, but I use my Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100, set the aperture to ƒ5.6 or smaller, keep the ISO low, and use one of the built-in art filters to achieve the color-pop and vignetting.

Above are 48 sunsets, made 12 per quarter through 2018. Click the image to view large!

Game changer.

panasonic-lumix-dmc-gf1.jpgGood things come in small packages.

This camera was a game changer for me. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1. A super-nifty little Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera with the legendary 20mm ƒ1.7 lens. So many nice images came from this little gem.

I learned of this camera through a blog post by Craig Mod titled “GF1 Fieldtest – 16 Days in the Himalayas.” His detailed review, high praise, and gorgeous photos with the GF1 were all hard to ignore.

The first time I held one and fiddled with it was December 2009 while attending a photo meet-up in Santa Clara, at the coffee shop across from Loyola Hall on El Camino Real.

One of the folks at the meet-up brought along his recently acquired GF1 and was kind enough to let me hold it and play with it a bit.

The minute I pressed the shutter release I was sold.

The minute I pressed the shutter release I was sold. It made a solid two-part click-thunk combo – you knew you’d just made a picture.

I’d gone from Pentax DSLRs to small point-and-shoot cameras in years prior to the GF1. Samsung NV11, Canon S3IS, Ricoh GRD2, Leica D-LUX 4. All awesome cameras, but the GF1 was so cool. Small, 12 megapixels, used interchangeable Panasonic and Olympus lenses, quick auto-focus, a 3″ display, and an external viewfinder could be added.

By Christmas 2009 I had one of my own, along with the 20mm ƒ1.7 and the EVF.

Some of my fave portraits were made with this little guy and I shot a lot of cool cars and beautiful flowers with it, too.

Another new gizmo.

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Platypod Ultra.

I think it was a post I read from Scott Kelby’s blog. Not a commercial, but a ringing endorsement for a small device to use in place of a tripod when traveling.

Intrigued, I watched a video about the little gizmo and was attracted to its small size and portability.

A few weeks later it arrived on my porch.

The Platypod Ultra, a cool little tri/mono-pod alternative that doesn’t take up a lot of room in my camera bag and can even fit in my pocket.

It came with a few useful accessories… 4 screw-in feet, each with a rubber covered end and a pointed end, plus a lock nut, making it easy to adjust height and level the device on pretty much any surface.

The Platypod Ultra also comes with a 20″ long hook-and-loop strap that makes it easy to secure the device to small objects like a pole or a fence post.

Also included is a carabiner clip that’ll attach to the Ultra in a few places, quite practical for hanging it from a camera bag.

I attached a Giottos MH-1304 Pro Series II Socket & Ball Head. Works perfectly.

There are a dozen or so small icons scattered around the top of the Platypod Ultra in locations that give clues as to which of these accessories can be strapped, screwed, or clipped.

Pretty cool. I dig innovation, and this little chunk of metal rings true as a useful photographic tool.