Total Eclipse - An Unbelievable Sight

On the 21st I was fortunate enough to witness "The Great American Eclipse". My house is located roughly 25 miles north of one of the reported spots that would see full totality, so I was able to set up in my garage to see the amazing event take place.

An edited version of one of my shots of the solar eclipse.

An edited version of one of my shots of the solar eclipse.

I was never able to pick up a pair of Eclipse Glasses so I rigged some binoculars to a tripod (I saw this in a YouTube video) to watch the eclipse. The sun was projected onto a piece of printer paper taped to a chair.

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I watched as the moon slowly eclipsed the sun over the course of an hour and at 10:18am I was able to capture these images. All of these images were taken with my Fuji X-T20 and my 56mm f/1.2 without any lens filters. I started with a polarizer but it was refracting strangely so I took it off. Most of my settings were on auto because Totality was only supposed to last maybe a minute where I was (In reality it was about 30-40 seconds).

These images are all straight out of camera and cropped about 50%. Shot at 1/100sec @ f/14, ISO 800.

The first image is a few seconds before the total eclipse, the second is maybe one second before it, third is the actual eclipse, and the final one is the moment right after the eclipse.

After I took them I texted them to friends and we traded our images of what we saw. About an hour later, almost as an after thought, I posted them on Twitter on my personal account (@shoujoboi) and they quickly and unexpectedly went viral, gaining an immense amount of likes and retweets. It was pretty insane.

The eclipse was awesome! The experience was not just about seeing the sun, it was much more than that. The temperature dropped, what felt like, 10 degrees. It was so dark that you could see the stars in the day time! All in all it was such a cool experience. Something well worth seeing in person.

A trip to the river - breaking-in my Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R

Last Saturday I went down to the river with a handful of friends and decided to bring my brand new Fujinon 56mm F1.2 R and my Fujifilm X-T20 along with me. I've never owned a lens as expensive as this one before. I bought it brand new at $999, so when I snapped it on to my camera I was praying that it would "wow" me.

We'll see if the 56mm lives up to my hopes and dreams in a bit, but lets talk about my lenses a little first.

Fujinon XF 35mm F2 R WR

Fujinon XF 35mm F2 R WR

When I purchased my X-T20 I decided to grab Fuji's 35mm F2 along with it. It was said to be a small, light weight, inexpensive, optically amazing, 50mm full frame equivalent that all first time Fuji buyers should own. I thought to myself, "50mm standard focal length! Of course I need that! It's going to be perfect!". It never occurred to me that when I owned my Nikon D800 I only used an 85mm 1.8 and a 35mm 1.4 manual focus for all my shooting needs.

I wasn't used to the 50mm focal length. The only 50mm I own is my dad's old Nikkor 50mm 1.4 that I only use on my Nikon FE. Furthermore, I've stated several times in this blog that I don't shoot film much, so in turn, I don't use a 50mm lens much.

So when I started to play around with the Fuji XF 35mm it just didn't feel right. Maybe it was the f/2.0 minimum aperture that didn't give me the kind of bokeh I really wanted. Maybe it was that feeling in my gut telling me "I just wish I was tighter in" or "I really want to be a bit wider right now". Something was off. Because of this I slowly began to realize that the 50mm focal length is just not for me.

And so I sought a new lens, one that would give me what I needed.

Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R

Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R

I did a ton of research before pulling the trigger on this lens. Hours of YouTube reviews and tons of galleries from all across the internet. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to be let down again. The 35mm F2 is in no way a bad lens. It's tack sharp and renders colors beautifully. But it just wasn't the lens for me. I needed something familiar. I needed an 85.

I'm excited to tell you that the 56mm F1.2 is exactly what dreamed it would be. This lens' focal length is equivalent to an 85mm, just what I was looking for. It's not without it's faults, but there are many things I can look past if it delivers the images that I see in my mind.

When shooting wide open with this lens, the world becomes a dreamlike blur of bokeh and magic. All of the photos I took at the river were shot at either f/1.2 or f/1.8 in bright sunlight. I shot these in JPEG, which was probably a mistake because the sun was blowing out a lot of things most of the time, but It wasn't a professional job so I don't really give a shit.

The Fujinon 56mm F1.2 R is an absolute pleasure to shoot with. I can't wait to bring it to Japan in December and make some killer images.

I thought I would also try and create some sequential pieces for some of the "jumping into the river" shots I got as well.

Film Fascinations - Nikon FE

I've stated before that I am not a film shooter. That being said, I love my Nikon FE. I don't bring it out much - its usually on my shelf looking pretty - but when I do its always a really enjoyable experience. I'm not sure what it is about this specific camera but I really love shooting with it.

I got a bunch of film processed the other day and among the rolls were shots I took from my friend's wedding with my Nikon FE and my Rokinon 35mm lens. These shots were exposed almost 3 years ago on Illford Delta 3200 film. I scanned the prints with my crappy flat bed scanner and edited them slightly.

Film Fascinations - Hasselblad 501cm

Recently I sold my Hasselblad 501cm in order to buy my Fujifilm X-T20. It was an easy decision because, 1) I am not a film shooter - I only like to experiment with it, 2) Its really expensive to develop 120 film, & 3) I hardly ever used it and it just sat and collected dust.

Last week I gathered up 10 rolls of various different film from various different cameras to get them processed. The film were all exposed no less than 4 years ago. I had been sitting on them for years, never processing them for one reason or another. But last week it was finally time to get them developed and printed.

As previously stated, I am not a film shooter. I know my exposure triangle fairly well and I can compensate for things adequately. That being said I only like to experiment with film. So of course most of my shots were complete bunk. However there were a handful that came out of my old 501cm that I thought were all right.

Just shots of fun times with friends. That's all I ever really want to shoot anyway.

Cascadia Strength - Assisting on a Portfolio Shoot

On Sunday I helped Justin Myers with his portfolio shoot at Cascadia Strength. I was able to shoot some photos as well. I shot a handful of good photos and some Behind the Scenes shots for Justin. We got to shoot some CrossFit athletes that day, it was an awesome experience.

I had a chance to play with the X-T20's Acros Black and White filter for the first time and I really enjoyed the results. I shot all of the photos in jpeg format and wanted a higher contrast look so I set the Highlight Tone to +1 and the Shadow Tone to +3. I also shot with Acros' Green Filter for "pleasing skin tones". I edited the photos a bit in Lightroom.

Here's some BTS for Justin's shots as well.

Shots from Jimmy and Conley's Going Away Party

Two of my best friends, Jimmy and Conley, are moving to Nagoya, Japan next week. Last Night they threw a Going Away Party and it was so much fun. I saw a lot of people who I hadn't seen in years and it was a blast. I hope these shots help celebrate Jimmy and Conley and all of the people who love them. Safe travels my friends. I love you both.

Last night was also a great opportunity to test out my new Fujifilm X-T20. For these shots I used three different lenses, a Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS, a Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR, and a Nikon Nikkor S.C Auto 50mm f/1.4 w/ Fotasy Nik-FX Adaptor. All I can say is that I am in love with this camera. The joy I feel shooting with this Fuji is something I haven't felt since leaving photo school. I'm simply blown away. The files look great and even shooting at 8000 ISO in the low light of the bar the Fuji produced files that still looked good for the web. All of the photos were shot in jpeg and some editing was done, hence the artifacting on some of the shots.