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  Wyoming

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

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

[Not] My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Tri-X Push-Process Film Simulation Recipe

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Hail Storm – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

Fuji X Weekly reader Luis Costa shared on his website, Lifeunintended.com, a brilliant black-and-white film simulation recipe for Fujifilm X-Trans III cameras. I’ll get into why it’s genius in a moment, but I wanted to give Luis a big “thank you” for coming up with these settings and sharing them. I strongly encourage you to visit his site and check out his photography and articles, as it’s worth your time to do so.

For most of the 20 years that I’ve been making pictures, one rule of thumb has been to keep the ISO as low as you can get away with. A big reason for this is that high-ISO film typically wasn’t very good. In fact, my favorite choice for high-ISO photography was Ilford Delta 400, and if I needed something higher than ISO 400 I might push that film a stop or two. So, if I really needed to, I’d go as high as ISO 1600. I did shoot Delta 3200 once and found it barely usable. Usually ISO 800 was my limit. Most often I was shooting between ISO 50 and ISO 100.

I was a little late to the digital photography game. Even so, my first digital camera, a Pentax DSLR, didn’t look great at ISO 1600 except for “grainy” black-and-white pictures. At one time I used a Sigma Merrill camera that even ISO 400 was pushing it. The crazy high ISOs that are common today are a recent development. Now ISO 3200 doesn’t seem all that high, and many people use it freely without thinking twice about it. It’s really quite amazing!

I have found on X-Trans III cameras, such as the Fujifilm X-Pro2, that ISO 12800 is the upper limit, and it’s better for black-and-white than color. Even so, I stopped using ISO 12800 and made ISO 6400 my upper Auto-ISO limit some months ago just because I felt that ISO 6400 was a better top ISO for color photographs and I didn’t want to bother changing the ISO depending on if I was shooting color or black-and-white. Besides, ISO 6400 is plenty high for almost any situation. As it turns out, that wasn’t the greatest idea I’ve ever had, and I’ll explain why.

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Shutter Speed – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

Luis made a film simulation recipe that requires the ISO to be high. In fact, he uses ISO 12800, and only moves the ISO down when he has to because there is too much light. In case you didn’t catch that, he purposely chooses ISO 12800 because of how it looks. This is a radical move! It works because of the genius of the Acros film simulation. You see, Fujifilm designed Acros to have a built-in grain effect that automatically increases the graininess of the photograph as the ISO increases. At and near ISO 12800 the grain looks absolutely beautiful, and his recipe takes full advantage of that.

The film simulation recipe that Luis invented produces results that resemble Kodak Tri-X 400 film that’s been pushed one or perhaps one-and-a-half stops, and I would add using Agfa Rodinal. The grain pattern and structure isn’t a 100% match, but for straight-out-of-camera results, it’s pretty darn convincing. I’ve only been using it for a week, but it has already become one of my favorites! It’s better than my Acros Push-Process recipe that I use frequently, and I like that one a lot, too.

The one thing that I do different than Luis is I set Auto-ISO to be between ISO 3200 and 12800, with the minimum shutter speed 1/500. I find that ISO 3200 is the lowest ISO that still gives an acceptably grainy result (but the results are better when the ISO is higher). Using 1/500 as the minimum shutter speed forces the camera to use a higher ISO except for when there is a lot of light. Initially I tried a lower shutter speed, but it wasn’t pushing the ISO up enough, so I found 1/500 to be better. Now the camera will often choose an ISO of 6400 or higher, which is where this recipe shines.

Acros (Acros+Y, Acros+R, Acros+G)
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +3
Shadow: +4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: -1
Grain Effect: Off
ISO: Auto between 3200 & 12800
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically) 

Example photographs, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs made using [Not] My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Tri-X Push-Process Film Simulation recipe:

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Camera Shutter Dial – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Aperture – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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35mm Film Rolls – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Strange Plant – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Chair Stripes – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Canadian – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Tri-X Push-Process”

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Storm Building Over Wasatch Ridge – South Weber, UT – Fuji X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Writing Lessons – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push-Process”

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Learning The Letter S – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Joshua Bowling – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Watching The Rainfall – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Boy On A Rocking Chair – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push-Process”

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Cracker Barrel Checkers – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Deer On The Wall – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Reverends – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

See also:
My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Kodachrome II Film Simulation Recipe
My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Vintage Agfacolor Film Simulation Recipe
My Fujifilm X100F Film Simulation Settings

My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Kodachrome II Film Simulation Recipe

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Drummond Ranch – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

I was asked by a couple different Fuji X Weekly readers if I could create some film simulation recipes that mimic the look of renown photographers Ernst Haas, Luigi Ghirri and William Eggleston, each of which are known for their unique style. As I was contemplating how to go about this, I learned that all three of them used Kodachrome film. Although none of them used Kodachrome exclusively, they all used it extensively at one time. If I could make a Kodachrome recipe, I would have something that covers Haas, Ghirri and Eggleston. To copy their look using this recipe, simply find color and light in the same manor as those famous photographers did (easy, right?).

You might be thinking, doesn’t Classic Chrome already look like Kodachrome? No, it actually resembles Ektachrome more than Kodachrome, but it is a good starting point since it has a general Kodak aesthetic. What about the Kodachrome recipe I already made? Actually, that mimics an earlier version of the film, which has a little different look than what I was going for here. You could use that, as I’m certain that some of Haas’ early color work was shot on that era of Kodachrome. Primarily, the Kodachrome that Haas, Ghirri and Eggleston used was Kodachrome II and Kodachrome-X.

In 1961 Kodak replaced the original Kodachrome with a new and improved version called Kodachrome II and a higher-ISO sibling called Kodachrome-X. These films had more accurate color, finer grain and faster ISOs (ISO 25 and 64, respectively, compared to ISO 10 of the original) than the previous version. It was a big leap forward for color photography, and so it is no surprise that the innovators of color photography in the 1960’s and 1970’s relied heavily on it. It’s also the version that Paul Simon sang, “They give us the greens of summer, makes you think all the world’s a sunny day.”

Kodachrome II and Kodachrome-X produced a very similar look to each other. The main differences were in grain, contrast and saturation, but overall the variations were quite minor. Kodachrome-X was slightly more bold while Kodachrome II was slightly more clean. Even so, comparing slides, it’s tough to distinguish one from the other (conveniently, I have my grandparents old slides at my home). Even though I have named this film simulation recipe “Kodachrome II” I think it more closely resembles Kodachrome-X, but I find it to be a reasonable match for both.

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Chair Shadow – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

Because of the toxic chemicals used in the development of this era of Kodachrome, plus the complexity of the process, Kodak changed from K-12 development to K-14 development, which ushered in new Kodachrome in 1974, called Kodachrome 25 and Kodachrome 64. This version of the film is the one that I have personally used. Interestingly enough, even though this version wasn’t all that much aesthetically different than the previous, there was a big outcry among photographers, and a large group who used Kodachrome II and Kodachrome-X did not appreciate the change.

I believe that Haas, Ghirri and Eggleston continued to use Kodachrome even beyond 1974 when the new version came out, but it seems they used it less extensively, especially Eggleston, who became known for his work with color negatives. Still, each of these three photographers captured some of their most recognizable images on the second era of Kodachrome. And that’s the look that the film simulation recipe below is based on.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +1
Shadow: +2
Color: -1
Noise Reduction: -3
Sharpening: 1
Grain Effect: Weak
White Balance: Auto, +3 Red & -4 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)

Example photos, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured using my Fujifilm X-Pro2 Kodachrome II Film Simulation recipe:

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Roof & Sky – Wichita, KS – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Small Green Hill – McAlester, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Ranch View – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Foal Shy – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Blackberry Lemonade – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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From Dust To Dust – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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McDiner – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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McTaos – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Pawhuska Reflection – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Open Window Reflection – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Kitchen Flowers – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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White Water Lily – Princeton, TX – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Park Boys – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Rural Sunset – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Weed At Sunset – Montrose, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

See also: My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Vintage Agfacolor Film Simulation Recipe

Photoessay: Along The Highway, Part 1 – Colorado

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Uncertain – Delta, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 50

My wife and I, along with our four children, took a road trip across several states over the course of 16 days, and we returned about a week-and-a-half ago. It was, at times, especially epic, and we saw some amazing places. I, of course, captured the whole thing using my Fujifilm X series cameras.

Upon returning, one of the first things I did was review the images that I had captured. I noticed that there were a lot of pictures of things I saw along our highways. Oftentimes when we stopped for gas or to eat, I’d capture some images of what was around. I had many photographs of different sights that were found along the highway. Some were immediately off the highway, while others were perhaps a half-block away from the highway. I felt that, as long as the highway was clearly visible from where I captured the photograph, it was alright to include it in this series.

I decided to break this Photoessay, called Along The Highway, into several segments organized by states. The first part, which are viewing now, is Colorado. These are the pictures that I captured while traversing along the highways in that state.

The highways in Colorado were open and oftentimes lonely. That is, outside of the city limits, as we sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic in Denver at one point. Sometimes towns were far apart and it seemed like we were far outside of civilization. We crossed mountain passes and saw some amazing scenery! Many of the towns we drove through had quite obviously seen better days, and they sharply contrasted the natural wonder that was never far away. It was almost as if these communities were not supposed to be there, that they were holding on with their last inner strength against an unseen force to rid them from this place. Either that, or the residents lost sight of the wonder around them, and neglected to maintain what those who came before had begun. This is not unique to Colorado, but a phenomenon seen throughout the west. It was simply more obvious this trip. It was, at times, depressing. But the highway compelled us on.

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Discovered Truck – Fruita, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – I-70

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Fresh Wind – Fruita, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – I-70

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Warehouse Sunset – Montrose, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US Hwy 50

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Campground – Montrose, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US Hwy 50

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85 Pounds – Montrose, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 50

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Tough Times – Gunnison, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 50

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Safe – Gunnison, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 50

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Regular Sign – Gunnison, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – CO Hwy 135

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Continental Ride – Monarch Pass, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 50

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Motorcycle Mart – Burlington, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – I-70

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County Road V – Burlington, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – I-70

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Old Truck & Mt. Lindsey – Fort Garland, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US Hwy 160

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Monarch Pass – Monarch Pass, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US Hwy 50

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Storm Over San Luis Valley – Alamosa, CO – Fujfilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – CO HWY 150

New Mexico  West Texas  East Texas  Oklahoma (Color)  Oklahoma (B&W)  Wyoming

Summer Lemonade Stand

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Fire & Ice Cold Lemonade – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

My kids have been begging to have a lemonade stand for awhile. The problem is, where I live doesn’t have much traffic, so they wouldn’t sell much of anything. Finally my wife and I caved in, but decided to have them set it up at a city park rather than at our home. That turned out to be a smart plan because they had a lot more customers than they would have otherwise.

This was a good experience for them. There were lessons in business, money, customer service and the value of hard (-ish) work. Yes, the lessons were small, but they’re also young kids. They had a lot of fun, and that’s important, too.

I brought along my Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Fujinon 60mm macro lens to capture their first business venture. This was a good combo to capture the action, from portraits to the smaller details. This should serve as a memory aid for them and us for many years to come. These photographs are all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs using the PRO Neg. Hi film simulation.

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Happy To Serve Lemonade – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Jon, Lemonade Salesman – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Lemonade Joy – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Lemonade Girl – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Lemonade Service – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Lemonade For The Summer – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Glass Lemonade Jar – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Tablecloth – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Ice – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Frozen Color – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Dispensing Ice Cubes – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Dispensing Lemonade – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Lemonade Cup Served – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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One Dollar – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Multiple Exposure Monday, Part 2: The Treachery of Images

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Pas Une Abeille – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

In the late 1920’s, Belgian painter Rene Magritte shocked the art world by painting a realistic pipe for smoking, printing underneath it, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” which is French for, “This is not a pipe.” You look at it and ask, “If it’s not a pipe, what the heck is it? It sure looks like a pipe to me!”

Factually, his painting, entitled The Treachery of Images, is not a pipe, it’s a painting of a pipe. A picture is never the object that is represented on it, but a facsimile of that object. Rene said of his painting, “The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture, ‘This is a pipe,’ I would have been lying!”

This is an important point for photographers. No matter how real an image may look, the fact is that it is a photograph and not the actual scene. It’s a likeness, and a heavily biased one at that. The photographer makes all sorts of decisions before and after opening the shutter that effect the outcome. Whatever it is that you are photographing, you could print underneath it This is not a [insert name of scene being photographed] and you’d be absolutely right. As a photographer, you are making a one-sided representation of a scene. It’s not possible for the viewers of your image to step into the scene and touch things or move stuff around. It’s a picture, and that’s all.

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Not A Light – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

This revelation is liberating! Because it’s not possible for you to photographically make whatever the scene is, only a biased portrayal of it, you can make it look however you wish. You are the artist and you get to decide everything. You are not merely capturing, you are interpreting. You are creating something unique. You are communicating through the picture your thoughts and emotions about the scene in front of the lens. There is no need to be accurate, unless that’s what you, the artist, wants. More important than accuracy is having something interesting or important to nonverbally speak to the viewer.

I copied Rene Magritte’s idea, and made double-exposure photographs that say, in French, “Not a [name of object in the picture],” to remind myself and others of his imperative point. This was a very simple in-camera combination. The first exposure was of black paper with white writing and the second exposure was of the object itself. I did give the photographs some post-processing because, straight-out-of-camera, they’re a little flat.

This was an interesting project that I did over the course of a couple of days. What I appreciate about it is the message. The pictures are nothing more than representatives of the objects, so how I compose, what my settings are, and how I edit are my prerogative, and if you don’t like it that’s fine. I’m the artist, not you. I’m simply communicating through my pictures what I think or how I feel about the object in the picture. Those are my thoughts and my feelings, and I’m allowed to have them. I’m free to create pictures that express myself through them, things that I might have a tough time communicating with actual words.

Besides, this was a fun project and I find photography in general to be fun. If it’s not enjoyable, then why do it? I get a lot of satisfaction from creating images. I hope that others like them, as well, but it’s alright if they don’t, because that’s not why I created the pictures. I hope that my intended message is meaningful to you. I hope that you appreciate these photographs as much as I do. It’s alright if you don’t because it’s not a pipe and you are entitled to your opinions. Sometimes there aren’t any right or wrong answers, and sometimes what seems untrue is actually true and vice versa. Simply put, create what you want to create how you want to create it, and don’t worry what others will think or say about it.

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Not A Camera – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

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Pas Une Fleur – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

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Pas Une Feuille – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

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Not A Bird – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

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Pas Une Montagne – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

See also: Multiple Exposure Monday, Part 1 

Road Trip: Black Hills, South Dakota – Days 5 & 6

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East North East – Lusk, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

Days 1 & 2  Day 3 – Part 1  Day 3 – Part 2  Day 4 – Part 1  Day 4 – Part 2

The final two days of the road trip to South Dakota involved packing up the trailer and driving home. It was stormy and at times the wind was blowing hard, which meant a lot of white knuckles as I tried to stay on the road. Needles to say, I didn’t capture a whole lot of photographs! I did manage to get a little photography in here and there, which are the pictures you see here.

The Black Hills turned out to be more beautiful and interesting than I had imagined. I felt like I could have stayed several days longer to really experience the place. While Mount Rushmore was a slight let-down, the rest exceeded all expectations. If you’ve never been you’ll have to be sure to someday go.

You might have noticed that I didn’t capture a single photograph using my Fujifilm X100F. All of the photographs in this series were captured using my X-Pro2 (unedited camera-made JPEGs, by the way). The reason for this is that my wife was using the X100F on this trip. Now she has her own camera, an X-T20, so I have my X100F back.

You may have also noticed that I used the Meike 35mm f/1.7 lens a lot on this trip. I learned photography with a nifty-fifty, and for a long time that’s all I had. So having a 50mm (equivalent) focal length lens was a nice change of pace, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The Meike lens, while far from perfect, is well worth the small price it goes for.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this series. I know that viewing other people’s photographs of someplace is never the same as going yourself and creating your own images. But I hope that this inspires you to get out on your own road trip, camera in hand, to see the wonderful world that’s around you.

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Wyoming Thunderstorm – Orin, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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On Track To Rain – Orin, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Storm Over Orin – Orin, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Unleaded Sky – Orin, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Fingernail Moon – Alcova, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Always Moving Ahead – Rawlins, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Trucks, Stopped – Rawlins, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

 

 

Road Trip: Black Hills, South Dakota – Day 4, Part 2

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Paddling Sylvan Lake – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

Days 1 & 2  Day 3 – Part 1  Day 3 – Part 2  Day 4 – Part 1

After my adventurous morning in Custer State Park, I returned back to the campsite as everyone else was waking up. Once breakfast was finished we drove a short distance to Hill City to visit the small railroad museum and watch the steam train arrive (which we almost missed because we were in the museum). Afterwards we had lunch and then returned to camp.

The afternoon was kept low-key. In the early evening we returned to Sylvan Lake to catch some fish. My eight-year-old son, Jonathan, was eager to attempt fishing in South Dakota. Unfortunately, the kids didn’t catch anything, although we could see the fish jumping all over the place. Still, we had a great time and Sylvan Lake is incredibly beautiful.

That night, after everyone was asleep, my wife and I did some astrophotography (my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were camping with us and stayed behind with the kids). We drove up the Needles Highway to Needles Eye, set the camera up on a tripod, and did some long exposures. It was extremely dark and a little creepy, as we heard plenty of noises around us–that area is full of wildlife. The night sky was full of stars and simply breathtaking. Unfortunately, the cloud-like Milky Way wasn’t visible, and I knew it wasn’t going to be because I had done some research before the trip, but I still wanted to get some nighttime photography in.

I used a Fujifilm X-Pro2 for these photographs, which are all camera-made JPEGs using the different film simulations. I attached a Meike 35mm f/1.7 lens and a Fujinon 16mm f/1.4 lens to the camera. Enjoy!

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Semaphore – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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1880 – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Telegraph Office – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Tall Train Tales – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Hartmann – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Wood Cart – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Save Money – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Caboose Roof – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Amanda, Looking Through The Lens – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Boy With A Fishing Pole – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Preparing To Cast – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Fishing With A Worm – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Fishing Can Be Gross – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Line In The Water – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Joshua Fishing At Sylvan Lake – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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The Cast – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Impatiently Waiting – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Casting The Line – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Johanna Watching From Her Stroller – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Rocks & Trees, Sylvan Lake – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Sylvan Lake In May – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Wood & Stone – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Sylvan Lake Reflection – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Stars & Stones – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Stars Over Stones – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Needles Eye Night – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

Days 5 & 6