Instant Fun, Squared.

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Hybrid vs. Analog.

I participated in a NAPfS photowalk on Tuesday, an early evening stroll through an older part of Pflugerville, TX. Well attended, it was a nice gathering with about 15-16 peeps. I had a great time.

I brought along 3 cameras… my trusty Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100, the Fujifilm SQ10, and a new Fuji Instax camera, the Fujifilm Instax SQ6.

The SQ6 uses the Fuji square film. It’s totally analog, unlike the hybrid SQ10. You point, shoot, and a picture pops out. What you shot is what you print. Immediately!

The SQ6 has an Auto mode, a ‘selfie’ mode, macro and landscape settings, the ability to lighten and darken, and it’ll shoot double exposures. You can turn off and on the flash – plus included in the box are green, red, and purple colored plastic filters that fit snugly over the decent sized protruding flash located at the top left corner on the face of the camera.

It was my first pack of film in the SQ6, and that’s the camera I started out with for the stroll.

I had only read through the manual a couple of times, so I was familiar enough to do some damage! The 10 pictures I made with the SQ6 turned out decent enough. I like the mystery of not knowing what’s going to emerge.

Solid purchase.

SPECS | Fujifilm Instax SQ10 + Fujifilm Instax Square Instant Film & Fujifilm Instax SQ6 + Fujifilm Instax Square Instant Film

After I emptied the SQ6 of its 10 images I broke out the SQ10, which is a lot more predictable. I like being able to shoot manually and print later. And that’s what I did. I just shot a bunch of pictures and when the group wound its way back to the coffee shop, I opened a box of film and stuck it in the camera.

I was able to be selective about which pictures I printed, and that’s something about the SQ10 that makes it work for me.

I like and will use both cameras, but the SQ10 just edges out the SQ6 in coolness. Now, I’m hoping Fujifilm produces square black and white film for the SQ6. That’d be awesome.

Here are 10 pictures, the 5 in the left column were made with the SQ10, the 5 in the right the SQ6.

 

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Dead Bumble Bee.

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A lesson in observation.

I was out working in the studio and got up to go check for a package on the front porch. As I walked across the driveway I noticed this black spot on the sidewalk.

We’d had a little bit of rain lately, and I’m wondering if maybe that’s what caused this poor little guy’s demise.

There wasn’t a package at the door, so I turned back and went in the house and got my clip-on macro lens for the iPhone. I unscrewed the stock macro/wide-angle lens from the clip and twisted on 4 – 37mm diopters a +10, +4, +2, and a +1.

There’s a bunch of paper scraps on my work table and I was able to fish out a piece of black art board to use as a background, and as a scoop to pick the bee up from the concrete walkway.

I moved my art stool out of the garage to the top of the driveway, placed the art board with the bee on the stool, and fired up the Blackie App.

It took a few attempts to get the focus the way I wanted, using natural light from the cloudy skies.

The detail in the wings is my favorite part.

RIP Bumble Bee.

Beto.

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Texas Politics.

A couple weeks back I’d read on Twitter that Beto O’Rourke was holding a town hall in Cedar Park, a mere 15 minute drive from our home, west on FM1431.

It was held this morning.

I left the house at 8:45 a.m.

I should have left the house earlier.

Parking was full at the Cedar Park Recreation Center – where the rally was being held – so I had to park near the local Costco and walk about an eighth of a mile.

I brought a bottled water to sip on, but I should have worn a hat, too. I thought the town hall would be indoors, but it was staged outdoors on the back patio of the center. I couldn’t get as close as I’d have liked, but I was able to hear perfectly from where I stood.

The crowd was a mix of young and old, lots of Beto t-shirts, I even saw a few red Moms Demand Action t-shirts. I’d say there were around a thousand people in attendance. Big crowd.

Beto’s a good speaker. Charismatic. Eloquent. And after visiting every county in the state this year, I’m sure he’s got speech makin’ down.

During his speech, the only politician he mentioned by name was Senator John McCain, and he spoke highly of him.

Beto spoke mostly about issues. Lots of hootin’ and hollerin’ with a healthy dose of applause following just about every point he made. The audience was into it!

I got a little overheated, so I started to back away from the patio area and seek shade under nearby trees, and from there listened to Beto speak for just a few minutes.

I wandered around to the other side of the center where I came upon campaign volunteers putting together lawn signs and handing them out for free, one per person. I grabbed mine, thanked them, and started walking back around.

By the time I got to the other side of the center, Beto was taking questions from folks in the audience. I sat at a bench under the shade of an old Live Oak and listened for a while longer, finishing off the water. Then I started walking back towards Costco, still able to hear Beto’s finishing remarks and the crowd cheering as I made my way back to the Escape.

Impressive. Glad I got to see and hear him.

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Taking a shot.

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Seeing my work in print.

I learned of Shots Magazine earlier this year, and after doing a little research about how it’s published, decided to subscribe. 4 issues annually for $29.

The good folks at shotsmag.com describe the magazine as “a beautifully printed black & white quarterly in world gone digital, not an on-line publication.”

Each quarterly issue revolves around a theme and subscribers can submit 8 images per issue for free.

Well, not exactly free – I figured it averages out to $7.25 an issue and a decent chance at seeing one of my pictures in a magazine.

I whiffed on my first issue’s theme, which was “Offerings,” then spazzed out on the Spring 2018 theme “Self-portraits.” It wasn’t until until the issue arrived in my mailbox that it dawned on me to submit a picture I made for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 2017 titled “My shadow over rocks.”

The newest issue’s theme is “Forces of Nature” and I entered 3 black and white pieces I’d taken over the last year or so. One of them made it in the Summer issue. I titled the picture “Thistles” for submission. It was taken while wandering around Georgetown, Tx for Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk back on October 7, 2017.

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Pretty cool.

The theme for the Fall issue is “Home.”

In with the new(ish).

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Out with the old.

It finally happened.

Torri’s iPhone 6 reached the point of no return.

The battery over-heated to the point where it was starting to bulge, dislodging the phone’s screen from the body.

I’d been having problems with my 6, too. I couldn’t get the lightning cable connector to seat in the phone unless I jammed in a piece of very thin paper along with it.

Her issue, it turns out, was keeping the phone plugged into the charger.

I learned that the dongle problem is peculiar to men who carry phones in their front pocket. Pocket lint builds up.

My 6 was still usable, but the rule of compromise is, if one of us gets a new phone, so does the other. Fair.

We’re going to send my old 6 to her dad.

Although it’s nearly a year old technology at this point, I’m diggin’ the 8. It’s nice to have a 12 megapixel camera with a fast f/1.8 aperture in my pocket.

I’ve been having fun with the Blackie App, too.

Old faithful.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100.

I’m not a pro by any stretch of the imagination, more of an obsessed enthusiast and I’m not really loyal to any brand, but over the past dozen years or so have used (digital) Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Leica, Fujifilm, Panasonic Lumix, and Ricoh cameras.

My primary shooter for more than three years has been the Panasonic LX100. I love that camera. It’s light, compact, and uses a 4/3 sensor @ 12.7 megapixels.

The lens barrel has a real deal aperture ring. Shutter speeds and exposure compensation are dials located on top of the body. It uses a good sized EVF along with a 3″ LCD.

The lens is 24-75mm F1.7-2.8. And it’s Leica glass.

It has some cool in-camera filters and 4K video recording capability.

I’m not sure how close Panasonic is to upgrading this particular model, but it’s pricing a bit lower than when I bought mine.

Great little camera.

Something a little different.

Tillery Street Plant Co.

Carpooling to the nursery.

In an effort to meet other people that’re into gardening, I recently became a little more active on Meetup.com where I joined a local gardening group.

The group is limited to 50 people, and every time I tried to join, it was maxed, so it took a while to get in as I waited – somewhat patiently – for others to leave the group. My persistence paid off.

Sunday afternoon 3 of us carpooled down to Austin’s Tillery Street Plant Co. and East Austin Succulents.

Pretty cool little side-by-side nurseries. Lots of plants and pots and plenty of shade with good-sized electric fans spinning to keep everything and everybody cool.

My new friends, Kali and Chris, both purchased something from East Austin Succulents and I found a great terracotta pot at TSPCo for the red and white Vinca our neighbors gave us a few weeks back.

The trip was a little over 2 hours total and I had a blast. Always good to meet new folk.