JAMES CRAIG PHOTOGRAPHY

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Something Close to My Heart: old ArtQuest T-Shirts

Apr 8, 2018

  Plus: Camera Remote Apps for the Phone • How-to Books for Digital Cameras • Camera Cards are not Created Equal • and Another Great Book Read.  While I work on my first set of images from the Spring launch of happenings here in town, I find I have a number of things I want to address before I get busy actually taking pictures again. The image above came about because I stumbled on two friends talking about our old ArtQuest event t-shirts. It seems all of our memories were a little rusty as to what went when and where. To settle it I laid my treasured collection out on the bed and photographed them in order.

     The last seven I designed by converting work from local artists. If I do say so myself, we had some nice shirts – shirts that we still catch people wearing. Sales of these shirts financed adding free tent cover for artists without their own tents to an already free-to-enter art show. No small deal. Solving the t-shirt ordering problem was interesting – it seems that if you poll people as to their favorite color for a t-shirt like this, you find that any one color will satisfy only a few people, and no one else. But we also found that the "natural" cotton color, sort of a light beigeand nobody's favorite, was one that almost everyone would accept as a second choice. Add to that an effort to find designs that were at the same time interesting AND acceptable to men, women and children alike – voila, a shirt that actually sold. Of course we never completely solved the unsolvable… exactly how many of each size to order.

     The first 5 shirts lost money for the committee – the second (an atrocity) being the result of a contest and committee vote – we never did that again. The other four simply sported the event logo at the time and shirt colors determined by vote. In the face of a vote to discontinue doing shirts altogether, I asked for one more shot.

     The sixth through 12th were designed by yours truly using art from area artists – Number six (Zebra Kick) and the whole front row were converted over from Dave DeRan folk-art paintings (we bought the original Zebra Kick painting from him). Number seven (counting across from top left) was very painstakingly converted over from a painting by Marcia Gayle Snee – celebrating 30,000 years of art at the turn of the century (I love that one and keep meaning to ask her if she still has the original). The last, number 8 here was taken from a painting in the youth-art tent the year before – the artist: a very young fifth grade at the time, Andrea Corbin. The Zebra Kick shirt was redone in 2004 when we moved the show to Aberdeen, adding in a small number of light green shirts.

FUN with CAMERA REMOTE CONTROL APPS:

other camera remote apps will certainly work similarly

     Fuji X-T2 – I installed the free app(s) on both my iPhone and iPad Mini. Set-up was easy, belying the instructions in the manual that made it look more confusing than it was. Come on folks, how about a simple step-by-step? What should have taken me two minutes took ten. After the initial set-up, access is easy. Looking forward to using this on the X-T2 with the 500mm (750mm equiv) mirror lens this summer.

     Lumix LX100 – This is Nan's very nice little camera, I use it as a backup or quick-draw cam. The set-up instructions for the Remote Control apps were a complete debacle, understandable since, from my experience, nobody writes a more convoluted, useless, incomprehensible instruction manual than Panasonic, with the possible exception of Canon. I had to use a 3rd party guide. At one process you are actually supposed to aim your phone camera at the screen on the back of the camera to "reas" a bar code – it did not work. So I did the alternative, type in a password (these remotes actually initiate a wifi address from the camera). After about 15 minutes of back and forth, got it. I want to use this in April to make a 4K video of a performance – the one negative being that the camera has a 15 minute limit on any one video – necessitating a regular start/restart. AND I had better have a load of batteries on hand.

 These remote apps are definitely worth the trauma of setting up – and the Remote Apps show what is in the viewfinder, focus, zoom, touch-screen focus, change settings, etc. It's a better way to do tripod shots where heavy use is involved. Heck, I already use a remote app on my iPad to operate MoviePro on the iPhone (really cool). I've got all of these nailed now, so if anyone wants me to give them a step-by-step on any of these, just let me know.


Camera Card Purgatory: no, they are not all created equal

     OK, that's nice to know, I gurss. So far I've han no issues whatsoever with my Fuji using 95 MB/sec (MegaBits per second) write-rate cards. These things are expensive enough, running pretty much at best $40 for a 64 gig card from a reliable manufacturer. Come to find out, there are two operations on my Fuji that are simply not available if one is not using the new 300 MB/s cards – at three times the speed and three times the cost. Arrrrgh.

     My X-T2, like most high resolution cameras, will hang trying to shoot 4K videos on the cards I have. Not that I have a use for that as yet, but I should be prepared. The other shoe to fall is that the high expense cards, are pretty much required for the 11 fps (frames per second) high speed burst shooting. Again, not something I find much use for – preferring the 4 fps I get with the slower setting. But ordering the card I must – kicking and screaming all the way. Don't think for a minute that these things are universally a go-to. Most cameras still cannot use them at all, Nan's (and my backup) included.


CAMERA HOW-TO BOOKS – a help or not?

almost every camera out there has a third party how-to book or two

These things vary greatly as how much they are actually needed and how good they really are. I recently went back the the instruction manual for Nan's Lumix LX100 – a candidate for the crappiest and worst thought out assemblage of so called instructions I have seen yet. You have a better chance of figuring it all out by playing with the camera – problem is that that way you are bound to miss things. Checking out a number of books, I purchased:

Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Limix LX!00 by Alexander White (I'll bet he had to resort to drink after translating their manual into something that can be comprehended).

 It was, to say the least enlightening. I picked up so much that I had missed that I immediately took a chance and got one for my main camera:

Fujifilm X-T2 X-Pert Tips by Rico Pfirstinger

I'm kinda glad I did. Not that the Fuji manual is "that" bad, but ithis book goes into so much more than the technical "how-to" that I wound up changing a couple of my default settings. Besides, ANY trip back into the menus on these new, very complex cameras, is a big help in absorbing that world into one's brain.


and OH NOS, ANOTHER GREAT BOOK READ

     Steven Pinker, one of the best and more prolific science writers of the last couple of decades, has written a volume that manages to break from his usual "more focused" works (Nan would never touch them) and gives us something to balance the scale of what is going on in the world today. While this book targets a more general audience than most of the others, Pinker doesn't dumb down his rhetoric – in other words one might have to "think" a little while reading. Then again, that's just what this work is all about, thinking rather than simply reacting.

     Bill Gates calls Enlightenment Now his "new favorite book of all time". Though I think it is important, even great, it does somewhat in the mode of "preaching to the choir". Those who need to read this book won't – and in spite of the temptation, it would do no good to beat them over the head with it. I'm not saying that the "choir" doesn't need to read it, this book works best at addressing where the left might also be getting things wrong – by simply putting issues into perspective with factw we never see because everyone is too busy bombarding us with "news", which pretty much restricts itself to the negative side of things.