The Invisible Photo

 

@parisa_jfrn6854

For most of us, no one will ever see our photos.

This has likely always been the case for most photographers. Before, it was having rolls and rolls of undeveloped film no one would ever see. Things new home owners find stuffed in the attic of a fixer-upper. Dirty DVD’s and rolls of film and old lenses.

Softball

It’s sort or like that now, except now our photos are stuffed away on passcode protected computers which themselves will be discarded in 7 years. We may transfer photos between computers using an external drive, but I have a feeling future home owners will find our SSD drives in old Amazon boxes in a corner in the attic…

Even if you post photos online, the hardcore truth is: nobody really spends significant time looking at the average online portfolio they come across. Flickr could shut down tomorrow and all those photos will be scattered to the wind….

To be fair, photography itself is a young art genre. I mean, it can’t be that much older than spray paint graffiti art. Both were created within 150 years of one another I’m sure, as opposed to traditional painting, which was done in caves a million years ago. Affordable consumer cameras, much less digital ones, are a fairly recent phenomenon.

Still, it seems like most of what we do will never be seen by another human, or maybe your friends and family will see it, but most likely they don’t care. In many ways that’s ok…

Tumbling Cheerleader

Immortality through art. More data needed to process….

Exit.

The Weak End of Summer…

There were no 100 degree days this summer.

I’m not saying global warming is wrong, but back in the 90’s I recall consecutive summers in Baltimore and Georgia where the thermometer read 100 degrees or above.

The current/past summer was muggy yes. Hot? Not really to me.

I switched companies that I shoot sports for. (If you want to know to whom I switched check my Facebook page or something) Shooting sports is fun but the money is drying up pretty quickly. Fewer and fewer parents are willing to buy prints of their kid once he or she (the parent) leaves an event, and those photo tents you see at tournaments aren’t as lucrative as they once may have been. Couple that with newspapers and magazines dying slowly, and there really isn’t a major demand for sports photos. I see parents and high school students with semi-pro gear on the sidelines now all the time. They may not have the passion and skill to produce high level sports compositions, but that camera and lens they now hold represents the money they would have spent on professional photos perhaps…..

Sports are in full swing though. I’m booked to shoot every weekday afternoon (after my main job) up till probably the first week of November. I’m also shooting models now until kingdom come, and will probably miss many Sundays in front of the tube watching the Redzone channel because of it. Sundays are great to shoot models for that reason however. It’s a dead day in the city for foot traffic and that’s a perfect environment to shoot in….

MICROSTRUGGLER is nearly a year old. I mainly like to shoot women and that’s what this blog will be about moving forward: photos and women…..

Exit.

Model on Instagram is @myrlanis_

She only accepts followers who follow me first….

My IG is @rickyray73

Tee shirt available here.

FUJI X100F – 6 Month Review

Enter.

I like this little camera. Model Ana Rivera ain’t bad either.

So it has been 6 months since the Fuji X100F debuted and I of course purchased the first one sold in my city of Baltimore. In fact, I have yet to see another X100F in Baltimore, but I digress. Since I bought the camera I’ve shot ~5000 photos and spent untold lunch breaks going through the menus. I’ve shot sports sidelines, pretty models, and I’ve shot and killed streets. I’ve hooked up an external flash, more on that later, and have fallen in love with using the LCD only to shoot.

WHAT I LOVE

I started out with this camera thinking I could shoot jpegs using those cute film simulation modes. I really tried to make it work too. My favorite one is ACROS (followed by Classic Chrome). I used ACROS a lot. I knew though, that sometimes I needed to record a scene in color so I quickly started shooting RAW + Jpegs to my card, which slows my Lightroom flow down, but it was manageable. Then, at some point, I downloaded the fuji film simulation plugins from some damn place on the internet and installed it in Lightroom. That way I could change a Fuji (only Fuji) RAW file to the Classic Chrome look if I wanted, or whatever. After a while I figured there really is no fucking difference between the in-camera jpeg film simulations and the Lightroom plugin camera conversions, AND I noticed that Fuji RAW files have a shit ton of dynamic range. I shoot all RAW now. Fuck it. Those in-camera film simulation modes are too cute for me…

I never understood or cared about having a leaf shutter until I started shooting sidelines at sporting events. I normally shoot 1/1000 F5.6 and auto ISO range 200-800 during the day for streets. When I’m shooting events I turn on the built-in fill flash just for shits and giggles. This is when I discovered that I could overpower the sun and create these hauntingly half dark images. I continued this trend later shooting models using an external flash….

The image quality beats the unholy fuck out of my Canon 5d Mark III, even when the DSLR is coupled with the world class 70-200 2.8 IS II lens. This little Fuji point-and-shoot compact beats it handily as far as micro contrast and sharpness is concerned. RAW to RAW the Fuji wins handily when it comes to dynamic range for both shadow pulling AND highlight recovery. Colors are more of a taste thing, but I find Fuji colors to be more accurate than Canon, even though Canon’s colors are warm and lovely.

The face detection works reasonably well, and it will even detect a models eye (left or right depending on your chosen setting) when it feels like it.

 

This is most likely the finest street photography camera ever made.

Models and subjects smile at this camera, as opposed to my big ass Canon which makes folks get all serious or run away.

THINGS I HATE

The afl/ael button is useless and positioned horribly. I have reassigned it to change my focus type.

The control ring concept is so horrid that I try my best to never touch the lens unless I’m changing apertures.

What the fuck is up with Fuji and off camera flash? Nothing works right. I can get my Canon (actually a Pixel Mago) flash to fire in manual using a chord that I have to jiggle and pray to get it to work. When it works the results are good though. I’m getting the X-T2 and some lenses soon as well as this new Godox flash trigger and flash unit that’s supposed to work with Fuji TTL and HSS and do it all wireless. We shall see…

I hate the view mode button. God forbid you ever hit that bitch by accident and spend an hour thinking your camera is malfunctioning. Perhaps I’m just an idiot but still….

FINAL THOUGHTS

This camera is a nice intro into the Fuji universe and also has a leaf shutter. That’s the deal. The jpegs are good but overrated. The RAW files are superb. It’s compact yet made of steel. It’s sharp as fuck. It’s silent. The autofocus is good in single shot mode. If you’re a street photographer this camera is superior to almost any camera you can buy besides a manual focus Leica and maybe my beloved Leica Q. None of those cameras have a fill flash though. This one does….

Exit. Please like and subscribe.

Tee shirt available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073X8L6WS

Model: Ana Rivera @myrlanis_ on Instagram.

Creep Show

The more I carry a camera around the streets, the more I realize that some people think it's weird that I'm carrying a camera around on the streets.

It's not my fault really. My little Fuji X100F is small enough to not intimidate folks. The true reason carrying a camera in the streets seems weird is because it is implied that every person ALREADY has a camera on them in their iPhones.

Of course the quality of an iPhone image is not on true par with a raw file from my Fuji or my Canon bodies, but that's where the disconnect happens for most folks. Many people are completely satisfied with their cell phone cameras and, unless they are a parent photographing youth sports, they feel no need to use a bulky old school traditional or post modern traditional style camera. Thus, an old man walking through the streets with a camera around his neck looks stereotypical and creepy to many millennials. Oh well.

Keeping my camera at my side helps me to avoid that "are you a creep?" glare from folks. Looks more professional that way anyhow. In the winter I can stick the Fuji in my jacket pocket. It's all about stealth out there and if people are long-spotting you and they know you're creepy their guard goes up and you lose the ability to capture a true candid. Strategy….

Do you dangle your camera around your neck? Let me know in the comments below.

Exit.

Muggy Summer

This summer has been very hot and muggy. Blame global warming I guess, but if I’m going that far I may as well blame the sun while I’m at it…..

I’m gearing up to accept a second sports photography gig for the school year. Here goes….

I’ve been shooting street, working full time hours at my day job, and launching a few other business ventures. I’ve also resumed investing in my potential retirement. Here goes….

Single again. Here goes…..

Summer means scooting around on my Harley. I’ve been doing that a lot. If I wasn’t so busy maybe I’d combine my rides with street shooting….

The next big purchase for me is the Canon 1dx II. Then after that I’ll try to get the 300mm 2.8 IS II…..

Besides that shit is real. Keep banging….

Exit.

10 Things I love About the Fuji X100F

Here is a list of 10 random things I like  ❤️ love about my Fujifilm X100F…

🔘 The X100F autofocus is accurate and fast. I was worried it might be a bit sluggish when compared to the Panasonic/Leica Q. No worry needed though. It’s zippy fast!

🔘 The X100F is quite useful to me for sideline shots when I shoot sports. So useful in fact that I prefer using it over having a standard two DSLR setup.  No need for a 35mm lens on my 5D mark III when my X100F has a great 35mm equivalent lens and a filler flash to boot!

🔘 I love having analog style dials for my ISO, exposure compensation, aperture, and shutter speed. It beats having to dig through menus in my humble opinion.

🔘 The 35mm 2.0 lens itself is pretty sharp to my eyes, even wide open. RAW files are particularly awesome.

🔘 The ACROS film simulation mode (jpeg only) is maybe the best thing about the camera to me. You can shoot almost anything in ACROS and it looks surreal and historic.

ACROS….

🔘 The flash is useful in a pinch. I use it a lot for sideline shots as I mentioned earlier.

🔘 I almost exclusively use the EVF. It’s so good that my original reason for buying this camera, it having an optional OVF, is a non-issue.

🔘 The camera fits in my pocket and is extremely portable. It’s also so light that I can scarcely feel it dangling around my neckbone.

🔘 The Fuji X100F is 100% silent when the shutter volume is turned off. Dead ass quiet.

🔘 Lastly the little focus knob is swell. It works about as good as the ones on the pro DSLR’s I’ve had the fortune of using.

Thinking of purchasing this camera? Don’t do it! Lol. I want to keep all this bananas awesomeness for myself.

Please support me by buying my classic street-fiction novel available here.

Exit.

Why I want the Canon 1DX Mark II…

Somehow. Some way. I am getting the Canon 1DX Mark II.

This isn’t GAS. I need it.

My Canon 5D Mark III is awesome and everything, especially with a 70-200 2.8 IS II on the front of it, but for fucks sake it’s so slow at 6 fps. It feels like 1 fps really.

I shot a massive soccer tournament last weekend, a total of 57 games. Um, I really could have used the 14 fps that the 1DX II offers. This is really about speed people. The image quality from my 5d3 will probably prove to be a hair better in daylight shooting. For my upcoming night football this fall, and volleyball as well, the 1dx 2 should fare better when I push up the ISO.

The 1dx 2 is expensive as fuck. It’s $5999, which is basically a billion dollars….

Still, it’s for business purposes only. I have my Fuji X100F for street stuff and even casual portraiture. I’ll likely keep the 5d3 for any major portrait work that pops up, or god forbid a goddamn wedding or something…

Quick 1dx 2 specs: 20.5 megapixels. 61 focus points with 41 cross type (same as my 5d3 basically). Faster focus acquisition and better and more reliable focusing in low light. Built like a weapon. That’s it really besides the burst rate. Well, there’s the “my camera is better than yours” factor I’ll feel when facing every person I meet along the sidelines, regardless of what they have if it’s not my camera.

I’d love to get it by the start of football/soccer/volleyball/cross country season in the fall but most likely it will be around Christmas if that soon. Once again this isn’t GAS. This isn’t me wanting the 2 year old mirrorless Leica Q for $4300 or the slow focusing medium format Hassleblad X1D for $9000. This is strictly business, as I’ll likely not even touch the 1dx 2 when not shooting sports. I’ll keep you posted as I get closer to my purchase date.

Oh….before I exit. That Sony A9? Lol. The sonofabitch has overheating issues in STILLS mode! Wow. If that proves to be a permanent feature of the camera then it’s dead to me. Well, deader than it already is, being a Sony….

Exit.

7 Random Thoughts Before Summer….

I’ve been busy launching a new business venture, settling into a new relationship, and generally shooting less lately now that spring school sports has ended. I have some potential gigs lined up to shoot over the summer, but besides that let me give you 7 random things from my brain meat….


▪️ Sony has made their move to take over the professional photography market. You may not notice it now, but I think the modern DSLR is dead….

▪️ This might be the worst allergy season I’ve experienced in my life. Brutal….

▪️ After sniffing around I’ve discovered stock photography is not worth the time, money and effort required to make a decent bit of coin from it. 


▪️ Even though my current boss at my day job is cool as fuck, I hate nothing more than having to answer to a boss in the first place. I really want to work for myself.

▪️ I am not at all interested or excited about the newest iPhone coming in a few months, despite the fact that it’s near time to upgrade my phone. I love apple of course, but I’m not excited in the slightest. 

▪️ No GAS for me lately. I’m still getting the Leica Q and the Hasselblax X1D though, but there is no real timetable set. 

▪️ My birthday was May 2. I was born the same year as the former twin towers in NYC. Do the math. 


Talk to you soon folks! Enjoy your week. 

Exit. 

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: Go Small or Go Home

I’m going to be a bit of a toolbox here, but bear with me….

I cringe these days when I see guys shooting street photography with a fat DSLR. Full disclosure: I used to be that guy myself just 3 short months ago. Since then I’ve gotten my tiny little Fuji X100F, which might be the worlds best street photography camera, and now I feel embarrassed that I ever pointed my big ass Canon 5D Mark III at an unsuspecting street denizen with artistic intentions. It’s like what Obi Wan Kenobi said when he tossed that blaster aside after shooting General Grevious to death: SO UNCIVILIZED…..

Of course my Fuji, and perhaps every Leica outside of the Leica S (and the Leica Sofort), is an elegant photographic weapon harkening back to ages past. Sure, you can blast away 15 shots per second with your crude DSLR but it’s much more fun to manual focus or shoot in single shot mode with a compact or a rangefinder. Also, I’ve never been braver than I am now with my small camera. Sure, we get braver as we mature as street photographers regardless, but my ninja shit is on fleek these days. (Do the kids still say that?) I can literally stand in people’s faces and my silent leaf shutter compact camera makes absolutely no noise as I snap away photos like a maniac…..

Are Leica’s and little midget Fuji cameras better than say, a Nikon D500? Probably not, UNLESS you’re shooting street. So you need to be committed to specificity if you are contemplating adding a compact camera to your arsenal or switching altogether. In my case I still have my Canon system for sports and my Fuji camera for street and candids, well, until I can afford a Leica….

May the force be with you motherfuckers….

Exit.

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: For a living?

I’ve mastered the art of being broke I think….

I mean, I’ve never earned what some may call a significant income, or anything close to that. I’ve basically toiled alongside the legions of the working poor my entire adult life. Trust me, I’d love to earn an income that would enable me to buy a house or a killer condo downtown, but right now that’s just a dream, sitting beside winning the lottery or finding an original copy of the US Constitution at a garage sale in my mind. 

I do love taking photos though. I mean, no other activity that I earn money from has brought me as much pleasure while doing it, including my days as a rapper signed to a major recording label. Taking photos beats rap in activity based pleasure, though perhaps not in POST activity perks such as groupies and free alcohol and weed. Plus I was young and blissfully angry and stupid back then….

In an ideal world I’d love to earn money from shooting street photography. (FYI, I don’t want you help whores giving me suggestions or condescending pep talks in my comments section. If you have a real offer contact me discretely.)

Street Photography is notoriously ineffective as a profitable venture. I’d have better luck as an electrician or a landscaper, but I HATE doing that stuff and LOVE taking photos in the streets. For this reason I suppose I wouldn’t have to be paid much to be happy doing it. Shit, I don’t earn THAT much shooting sports but I love it so much more than anything else I’ve ever done for money 💰 that I don’t mind the lack of life changing income. Again, I’m not looking for business pep talks here….

Maybe I will figure out a way to earn a nice living shooting women walking down the street. Most likely I’ll live and die and the world will do the same as if I or it never existed….

Exit.