It's drab and dreary outside right now. The weather reminds me of the drab grey days we had even in mid-March. I'm looking forward to some beach weather.
I captured this photograph while having breakfast muffin and a cappuccino at Sakrid Coffee Roasters in Princeton. There was a soft drizzle, and a fine mist hung. I focused the camera on catching the woman who was crossing the street. A truck pulled up and parked on the corner at about the same time that a woman sat down facing the window.
I think the photograph captures the mood I was in that morning.
This week started on a positive note but ended in the gloom.
Monday 23 August 2021
On Friday, I called the Fujifilm repair facility in Edison to inquire about the status of my damaged X-T2. The person who answered the phone told me that it would cost nearly $600 to repair. I was disappointed, very disappointed. I ask for my broken companion to be returned to me.
When Bhavna woke up, I told her about the cost, and she agreed that she didn't think it was worth it to repair. I had bought the X-T2 used for $1000. I told her it made more sense to buy another used one. She agreed.
I looked on KEH and MPB and Lensrentals. Initially, I focused on buying an X-T2, but I mainly found silver body choices, and I prefer the black body. KEH and MPB sell used X-T2 bodies for $630 to $790 depending on the condition (Excellent to Like New). I noticed that MPB and KEH had more used black body X-T3 models for sale for $900-$1029 for bodies in Excellent to Like New condition. A new X-T3 sells for $1200. I discussed with Bhavna, and she suggested that since we did not vacation in 2019 and 2020, perhaps it was ok to spend that money and get something "new".
My "Like New" Fujifilm X-T3 arrives this Wednesday. Yay!
Last week I bought a pre-owned "Like New" Fuji X-T3 from MPB. I had expected delivery today, but it arrived one day earlier on Tuesday. It was a pleasant surprise and lifted my spirits. During my last meeting of the day, I programmed the settings on the cameras using my memory of what was set on my Fuji X-T2. The Fuji repair site in Edison has still not returned my broken companion.
This morning as I inspected the unit more closely, I realised that though used, it is in excellent shape with no scratches or dings. I want it to stay that way. After some thought, I bought a pre-owned Fujifilm BLC-XT3 Bottom Leather Case from Adorama for $34. The Fujifilm BLC-XT3 is a genuine leather bottom case designed for X-T3, that according to Fujifilm's description, has premium textures and normally retails for $77. My web searches found other attractive (and handmade) options, but they all cost two to three times more. I cannot justify spending that much money.
I also realise that I want a new L-bracket (base plate and L-plate). I have a Really Right Stuff (RRS) BXT2B-L for the Fuji X-T2. It sort of fits and would work in a pinch but doesn't fit snugly in the right places. The Fuji X-T3 is a slightly longer and broader camera by an mm or so. But the RRS BXT3-L plates for Fuji X-T3 seems so expensive. I'm on a hunt for a used one. The best price I have found so far is one in "EX" condition on KEH. I don't require it right now. I'll hold off and maybe find one cheaper.
Thursday 26 August 2021
First images from the Fuji X-T3.
Friday 27 August 2021
Two weeks ago, Bhavna and I had stopped at Magnifico's late at night, and since my broken Fuji was still out for repair, I exposed a few frames of a 35mm roll of Kodak Velvia 100 that I had in my Minolta XD-11. We had driven to Source Brewing to pick up the new release and ended up staying to sit in the back lawn and enjoy a flight before heading home. The sunset was setting as we were leaving.
On the way up through New Brunswick, we stopped for soft-serve ice at Magnifico's, a popular ice creamery we often visited when my nephews lived in South River. Honestly, despite some blurring from low shutter speeds, some of the images from the Minolta are decent. I sent the film off for development and scanning to Boutique Film Lab.
As you may know, in July, Fujifilm has discontinued Velvia 100. The film cannot be sold or developed after September 2021. This is the last roll of Fuji Velvia for me.
I've been preparing to sit the CCSP certification exam for several months. Despite knowledge of the material, some people, like myself, don't perform well on multiple-choice tests. We do better on practical tests or tests where you write in your answer. I completed an online CCSP training course a few months ago, and since then, I have been taking practice tests. I completed a practice test every chance I had, especially this week. I feel confident that I will pass the exam on Saturday.
I was excited about today. Today was supposed to be special in a few ways. I would participate in The Photographers Group one day project, One Summer Day.
The 28th is the last Saturday of blissful August. Our objective for this project is to chronicle the day, to visually record this summer day from dawn to dusk. We will create an online gallery of all the photos and the top photos will be exhibited at the South Harrison Street Outdoor Gallery and compiled into a book.
I had a busy day ahead of me. Blood draws in the morning for my quarterly blood work. Then stop in at Sakrid Coffee Roasters for a cappuccino. Then home for two hours to watch the F1 qualifying race for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Then back out to Princeton University for about an hour to help an international student - child of some doctors from St. Vincent - get his smartphone set up on Verizon. Then back home to relax until my scheduled three-hour exam for my CCSP certification.
I’m interviewing with Amazon Web Services on Monday, and I wanted to mention that I had passed the exam. I had prepared for this certification which I feel will help open doors to more career opportunities. I completed my online training months ago and have been doing practice tests and exams to prepare for the exams. This week I did about eight hours of testing, and I felt confident I would pass the exam. It also meant that I had very little time this week for photography.
But at 2 PM, when I arrived at the testing centre, I found the doors locked, and no one answered the phone. This was the end of my excitement for the day. I checked my email and found this disappointing message.
**PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL **
Client name: (ISC)2
Site name: Pearson Professional Centers-Princeton(Trenton) NJ
Exam name: Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
Exam date and time: 28 Aug 2021 2:00 PM
Case ID: 06992499
Dear Khurt L Williams,
\*This is a system generated message.\*
Unfortunately, we are unable to deliver your exam as scheduled on 28 Aug 2021 2:00 PM. We know this is disappointing news, and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.
We are working to clear out your existing appointment. In most circumstances, you can select a new appointment for your exam on our website by signing in to your account.
Some event- or window-based exams may not be available for rescheduling on our website. If you are not able to reschedule, your program-specific customer service team is available to assist you. Additionally, if you have any special accommodations, you must call to reschedule your exam.
Please allow one business day before trying to choose a new appointment date through our website.
Thank you for your patience. We look forward to seeing you for your test soon.
Pearson VUE Customer Service
An automated system generated message with no explanation and no contact information?
I am so furious. Livid. Too angry to continue the one summer day project.
I found a new exam date, September 18, but I’m worried about how I’ll maintain my momentum until then. I have strong knowledge of the subject is but sitting exams is challenging for me. I’m also worried that the testing centre will also cancel the new exam date with no explanation.
I feel defeated. I don’t know how to let go of the anger. But I have to find a way before my interview with AWS on Monday. But for now, I want to sit on the couch.
I want to mention that we've had overcast conditions the entire weekend. Any thoughts of Komerebi are dashed. Flat light from the giant softbox that is the sky.
I am so tired this morning. I was up late last night throwing up my dinner. I think I had food poisoning from one of the sausages I ate last night. The sausages had either gone "off" or were undercooked. I put them in the garbage.
I personally prefer a dial that allows me to see at a glance where I am within the settings, but this, I believe, is just a simple user experience preference. In fact, I find the same with analogue clocks. I can read a digital clock just fine, just as I can use a digital camera with a jog dial and digital readout just fine too. But somehow, when I look at an analogue clock dial, I get more of a direct and instant appreciation for the time. I have the same with a camera with dials. I’m not going to attempt to explain this in great detail, I don’t feel I need to, it’s just my preference, and I don’t think it needs to be anything more complicated than that.
The photographs from the 36 exposure roll of Kodak Pro Image 100 that I exposed a few weeks ago during our visit to Brick Farm Tavern and East Broad Street have finally been developed and scanned. The Dark Room sent me a link earlier this week.
This is my second time shooting Kodak Pro Image 100. I used Kodak Pro Image 100 last fall, mostly while attending an outdoor beer garden hosted by Flounder Brewing Co. At that time, I was using the Minolta X-700. My Minolta XD-11 and MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2 lens exposed this roll.
I tried capturing the same images I exposed on my Fuji X-T2 that day. Swapping back and forth between the two cameras was challenging, so I enlisted Bhavna's help. I would hand her one camera, and she would return the other. This is one of the few times I have exposed an entire roll of 35mm film in one weekend. Out of a 36-exposure cartridge, I got back about 32 usable images. My only regret is that I didn't get better-quality scans or make some prints. I could send the negatives back to The Dark Room to get prints or scan the negatives using my Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner.
After two years of physical health challenges from 2018 through 2019 that kept Bhavana and me close to home, unable to travel, we had looked forward to 2020 and the travelling. But, then … COVID-19.
During most of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Bhavna and I looked for safe places to be that we felt was safe. Places to be among people without being "with" those people. That place was the Brick Farm Tavern.
We noted that the owners at the Brick Farm Tavern and the staff who worked there cared about creating a safe space. At first, the owner put out picnic tables space about ten feet or more apart to make the social distance. The staff all wore masks, and we were ourselves required to wear masks when servers came to the table. They opened an outdoor bar in a shed near the bocci court, further reducing risk. It wasn't the same as being inside, but they made it work. Each week from June of 2020 until January 2021, we dined at the Brick Farm Tavern until it became too cold to sit outside. It was our once-weekly getaway.
We're out to dinner at Brick Farm Tavern. Again. This time we brought some family to enjoy our home away from home.
We were always regulars at Flounder Brewing, but now we are regular regulars.
Matt and Jeff were playing at Hopewell Valley Vineyard. We got a bottle of white in a bucket of ice, ordered a pizza with onions and a side salad, and sat back to relax and listen to classic rock and pop.