Hot and Humid

Wednesday

Formerly known as the New Jersey State Village for Epileptics, The North Princeton Developmental Center was a medical facility within my township, Montgomery Township, New Jersey. The facility was home to a variety of mental health institutions throughout the years. The 246-acre property was once a bustling place, built to self-sustain up to 2,000 people in tiny homes and apartments but had been abandoned and had fallen into horrible disrepair. The dilapidated facility garnered much notoriety across the state over the past decades due to its “ghost town” appearance and mention in the popular book and periodical, “Weird N.J.

The Village School, one of the elementary schools, was located on the eastern end of Skillman Village. The township purchased the property from the state to demolish or renovate the existing structures and replace them with a large town centre, which would include health care facilities, shops, housing for senior citizens, and parks. But soon after purchase, the township realised just how dire the situation was. The buildings were filled with asbestos, raw sewage, and leftover heating oil.

Montgomery Township decided to sue the State of New Jersey, citing the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the State Environmental Rights Act. They won.

The township then sold 247 acres of the plot to Somerset County, which paid for cleanup of the site, including demolition of all the homes, removal of sewage. It took a few years, but in 2012, the property was re-opened as a county park, Skillman Park.

Today, Skillman Park is a multi-use park that the Somerset County Parks Department maintains. Somerset County put in new roads, trails, a dog park, and picnic tables. I think it’s the best use of tax money I have ever witnessed.

Thursday

Due to new US Environmental Protection Agency restrictions Fujifilm have discontinued distribution, sales and production of Velvia 100 in the United States. I have one roll of Velvia which I will expose and develop before the September deadline. Then, I’ll move on.

On March 8, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule regarding the chemical phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) (CASRN 68937-41-7) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which prohibited the processing and distribution in commerce, including sales, of the chemical and products containing the chemical. EPA also issued an enforcement policy on the same day stating that it will not enforce the ban on processing and distribution until September 5, 2021.

Tuesday 13 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1110 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 6400

During an interview with Fujilove Manny Almeida, President of the Imaging Division at FUJIFILM North America Corporation said:

Film is basically organic chemistry. Digital is basically electronic engineering. We still have a fair amount of organic chemistry research that goes on, but it’s primarily because of our instant film product, not our traditional 35mm or 120 products. Why don’t we do a whole lot of research? Because it was worthwhile when we were selling billions of rolls of film. Today the market is so small it doesn’t make sense. But really, by 2000 film had been so fine tuned by every manufacturer, it was so good, our quest for fine grain, for brighter colors, for color accuracy and fidelity, basically reached a zenith. And when you look at color negative film, it is not the sole reason a print looks the way it does. FUJIFILM has continued organic chemistry research in color paper. And in fact, we’ve introduced a number of different color papers. We’ve optimized color paper for digital printing.

Friday

After dinner, Bhavna and I went to Flounder to try their new beers.

flounder brewing
Friday 16 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1320 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
Friday 16 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | 50 mm | 1550 sec at f/1.0 | ISO 400
Friday 16 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 640

I experimented with the reflections in the glass of the large garage door.

Friday 16 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 1000
Friday 16 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 1250

Saturday

I enjoyed reading this article by Juliet Schwab, writing in the Casual Photographer.

If you share your images, someone out there may benefit from seeing them in a way you would never have anticipated, and you along with the rest of us will benefit from your engagement in the film community – not Instagram-quantifiable engagement, but interactions between real humans.

washed
Washed | Thursday 15 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 6400
lamp
Lamp | Tuesday 13 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1480 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 800

Today was a hot and humid day. I wanted to visit the farmers’ market, but I wanted to avoid the heat. Then I thought of the bread man, and I was out the door.

The Breadmaker | Saturday 17 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 18000 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400

I came back home, lay on the couch under the ceiling fan, and followed Alphonso’s example. We watched Captain America together.

cat
Nap time | Saturday 17 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 3200
cat
Saturday 17 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 2500
cat
Saturday 17 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 2000
cat
Saturday 17 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 1600

In the late afternoon, Bhavna and I made a quick trip to the Home Depot to find compost. But Home Depot does not sell compost. I used the opportunity to photograph the flowers in the garden centre. It was still hot and humid outside.

pink hibiscus flower
Saturday 17 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 110000 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
orange flowers
Saturday 17 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1/2400 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400

I had fun this week shooting exclusively at f/2.8 with my Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 adapted to my Fuji X-T2. I think I’m addicted to the bokeh of the lens.

The Black and the White

Tuesday 6 July 2021

The Online Photographer compares the Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 R WR to a Nikon SE.

The new version of the Fuji XF 27mm ƒ/2.8 R is 22.7 mm shorter than the Nikon SE and about the same diameter. It's also considerably lighter at 84g / 3 oz.

It also sports about the tiniest lens hood ever...almost comical-looking. And yet, who wants a giant hood on a small lens?

There are a few more differences. The Nikon SE has nine elements, and the Fujinon has seven. The XF 27mm has an aperture ring, and the 28mm SE doesn't (neither did the original Fuji 27mm). The Fuji costs $399 (although, as Fujiphiles know, Fuji has periodic sales), and Nikon says the SE will cost $299 when available.

I keep reading good things about the XF27mmF2.8 R LM WR lens, which makes me smile, but then I am reminded that the lens is sold out everywhere, and the smile turns to a frown. It's good that I didn't sell my XF27mmF2.8 lens and place my order when the XF27mmF2.8 R LM WR was announced.


I watched the most recent episode of Apple's TV series, Home Before Dark. The episode is titled "Dark Rooms". During an emotional outburst, the main character, Hilde, breaks the lens on her camera and borrows her grandpa's old-school film camera. There is a great learning moment with the whole family huddled around Hilde holding the film camera. Her dad, Matt, explains that with 35mm film, you take pictures by exposing the roll of film, then when the roll is finished, you drop the film off at the drug store, and two weeks later, you get photographic prints by which time you've forgotten why you took them. Later in the episode, her dad helps her develop the images in the darkroom he set up in the basement of their home.

I have not developed a 35mm colour film since 1989. I'm inspired by nostalgia to develop a roll of 35mm film myself. I've got a kit from Film Photography Project in my shopping cart, but I'm nervous about completing the purchase.

I'm worried about failing.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

"The discussion was 'what are we doing in the future in terms of engine', because we want to save costs, so we don't want to reinvent the wheel," [Toto] Wolff, who did not attend the summit but is protecting vested interests, told the FIA conference on Monday.

"We also want to have a relevant engine from 2025 to 2030, and we can't be old petrolheads with screaming engines when everybody expects us to be going electric.

"So these engines are still going to be fuelled [by zero-carbon fuels]. We are staying with the current V6 format, but the electric component is going to massively increase."

The FIA are increasingly aware that a sport primarily based on burning gas station amounts of fuel on a single weekend needs to adjust expectations for a world where the phrase internal combustion engine is increasingly seen in a negative light.

Thursday 8 July 2021

Over on 35hunter, Dan James asked:

Do you prefer manual or autofocus, and why?

One of the things I love about my Fuji X-T2 is how easy manual focusing can be when using the focus peaking feature. On the Fuji, focus peaking detects the edges of the highest contrast in the scene and highlights them in bright colours (red, blue, or white).

I can adapt almost any manual focus 35mm film-era lens to my Fuji X and never worry about focusing. The ability to use decades-old 35mm film lenses on my Fuji X-T2 brought me back to 35mm film photography after a nearly thirty-year hiatus.

The digital Fujinon lenses for the Fuji X-series also have a focus ring with an instant manual focus feature. Just grab the focus ring and turn. In the viewfinder (or LCD), a manual focus indicator shows the distance to the subject (in meters or feet ), which is useful when zone-focusing. There is also a manual focus assist feature. When activated, the camera zooms in digitally, filling the viewfinder/LCD with a section of the scene for more accurate focusing. There is a digital split image focusing feature, but I have never used it. When using manual 35mm lenses at their largest aperture, I tend to use focus peaking and the "move the body forward-back" technique.

I enjoy using manual and autofocus lenses, but I prefer autofocus.

Saturday 10 July 2021

Inspired by Steve Schwartzman's horsemint portraits post, I grabbed my Fuji X-T2, FotodioX adapter, and a 1980's era manual film lens, my Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 and headed outside to my garden.

I love this lens. It creates a beautiful buttery soft cinematic look perfect for a portrait photograph. My lens was part of a Minolta X-700 bundle I bought from a local amateur who had owned the lens and kit for over three decades.

The MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 is constructed almost entirely of metal1. It feels hefty compared to my Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 lens, especially with the weight of the FotodioX MD-FX adapter, but it was a reasonably lightweight lens (165g) for its time. My X-T2 has a crop factor of 1.52, so the 50mm is roughly a 76mm full-frame equivalent when adapted to my Fuji.

MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 adapted to Fuji X-T2
MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 adapted to Fuji X-T2 | Saturday 27 February, 2021 | Apple iPhone 11 Pro | iPhone 11 Pro back dual camera 6mm f/2 | 1120 sec at f/2.0 | ISO 80

Extirpation is when a plant or animal species ceases to exist in a chosen geographic area of study, though it still exists elsewhere. In densely populated areas like New Jersey, all the large native predators like the wolf, bear, wolverine, and cougar have suffered extirpation, allowing herbivores such as white-tailed deer to reproduce unchecked except by hunting. White-tailed deer are a problem in New Jersey.

Several years ago, I planted some Hosta, which I translated from my brother's garden in Stamford, Connecticut. Over the years, the Hosta have colonised a good section of the tiny garden and provided a short-lived burst of flowers in the summer. They are short-lived because deer find them tasty. This year I used Deer Out to keep the deer at bay; however, I still lost some flowers. But I had enough left over for this experiment.

The lens, camera and FotodioX adapter's overall weight make precise manual focusing extremely tough to nail at f/1.7. I was also kneeling on the concrete in the driveway. I used focus peaking to get the image to where things appeared sharp and then rocked my body back and forth to hit the right spot, but this made the kneeling even more painful. I need to invest in some garden knee pads. I gave up and went inside for my RRS L-bracket and Manfrotto tripod.

With the camera firmly placed to frame the flowers, I used the focus peaking and focus-check features on my Fuji to dial in focus. I captured three frames, one each at f/1.7, f/2.8 and f/4.

Bokeh was nice and circular at f/1.7, but highlights in the background became hexagonal once I stopped the lens down. This lens has six non-rounded blades. Here are three examples of how the bokeh looks at f/1.7, f/2.8, and f/4. I skipped f/3.32.

The flower at f/1.7 has a dreamy look that I love, but the DOF is too shallow. The bokeh of the f/4 image is less soft and feels a bit muddy, but the DOF is better. That f/2.8 is the sweet spot with pleasing bokeh and just enough DOF.

While I prefer the f/1.7, I think I'll experiment using this lens at f/2.8 for a while.

Hosta Flower
Hosta Flower | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1500 sec at f/1.7 | ISO 200
Hosta Flower
Hosta Flower | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1280 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 200
Hosta Flower
Hosta Flower | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/4.0 | ISO 200

I practised using the Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 at f/2.8. First, at the Brick Farm Tavern and Sourland Mountain Spirits.

Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1/1700 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 200
Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1/1250 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1950 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 200

After cocktails, we drove to East Broad Street to order takeout at Tomatello's Latin Cuisine, a clever assemble of the word tomatillo and the owner's last name, Tello. We had a large order for Bhavna, Shaan and myself. While the restaurant prepared our food, we walked around East Broad Street and Seminary Avenue.

Broad Street, Hopewell | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1/1700 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
Harley Davidson
Harley Davidson | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1500 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400

East Broad Street is a popular location for showing off cars and motorbikes.

East Broad Street | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
East Broad Street | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1/2200 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
East Broad Street | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1/1250 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1250 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 200
Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1750 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
Flowers | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1200 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400

Sunday, 11 July, 2021

Lens-Artists Challenge – Black and White

This week, Anne Sandler hosts the Lens Artist Challenge #156. She has picked the topic of black and white.

I love the colour of colour photography. The colour reminds me of the vibrancy of life. In the West Indies, where I grew up, colour is everywhere. People paint their homes and shops in bright reds, greens, blues, pinks, yellow etc. When I was a child, the mode of public transportation was a large diesel truck with a wood cab mounted to the flatbed with the body painted in whimsical colours of the owner's choosing. The local fishing boats were similarly painted in a multitude of colours.

Bhavna is from India, and the women of that country wear vibrantly coloured saris and kurta pyjamas. There is even a festival, Holi, that celebrates colour.

I don't often photograph in black and white. Except for winter, almost all of my photography is colour photography. Why winter? It seems that people in the United States must dislike colour. How else to explain the drab colours of the cities and suburbs? How else to explain the beige and grey cookie-cutter homes that pepper the suburbs of the North Eastern United States? When I drive around New Jersey, especially in the winter, I often wonder why so very few think to paint some colour to their homes and shops front so that we could enjoy a break from the seemingly depressing days of winter when the trees have no leaves, the ground is covered in a mixture of dirt and snow, and the skies are cloudy all day.

two women playing in snow
Drew University, 1988 | Thursday 1 December, 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX 400

I have included examples of my black and white photographs from my early days as a student photographer to more recent ones photographed on my Fuji X-T2 and Minolta and Pentax 35mm film cameras. I remember back in the days shooting Ilford HP5 400, Kodak Tri-X Pan 400, and Kodak T-Max 400, but in the last two years, I have tried using film again after nearly a 30-year hiatus. The original Tri-X, T-MAX and Ilford are no longer available, but I could shoot modern versions of these films. I love Ilford HP5+ 400, but I have also exposed rolls of RPX 25 and RPX 100.

Wall Street Ferry, Manhattan, New York | Tuesday 11 February, 2020 | Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II | SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 | Ilford HP5+ 400
Molisana Deli, Witherspoon Street, Princeton, Rollei RPX 25 | Saturday 5 December 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2 | Rollei RPX 25
Bridge Street, Lambertville, Ilford HP5+ 400
Bridge Street, Lambertville, Ilford HP5+ 400 | Sunday 9 February, 2020 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | f/5.6 | ISO 400

When I process digital images to black and white, I use some of the same tools Anne uses, but most often, it's a mixture of things. Sometimes, I use Silver EFX Pro, and sometimes I use in-camera film simulation recipes. Sometimes, I apply an Adobe Lightroom preset and tweak the image to my liking. I don't use one set method. I use whatever works to create the image I want. However, I get the best results when I shoot in B&W on my Fuji X-T2 using the ACROS film simulation, or I flip to B&W in Adobe Lightroom and edit the images using the Lightroom histogram exposure, shadows, highlight and whites slider.

Kiran | Sunday 5 June, 2011 | Nikon D40 | 35 mm f/1.8 | 1/1600 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 450
Wonder Bar,Asbury Park | Sunday 13 November, 2011 | NIKON D40 | 35 mm f/1.8 | 1160 sec at f/11 | ISO 200
Princeton School of Public and International Affairs | Monday 28 September, 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 16 mm | 1250 sec at f/11 | ISO 250
Flowing Water
Flowing Water, Millstone River | Thursday 4 February, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm | 13 sec at f/20 | ISO 200
Kingston Mill House, Kingston | Thursday 4 February, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | 1/1600 sec at f/6.4 | ISO 400
Sunday 26 July, 2015 | Nikon D5100 | 35 mm f/1.8 | 180 sec at f/4.0 | ISO 800
Dandelion | Tuesday 2 May, 2017 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55 mm | 1160 sec at f/11 | ISO 500
,Gifford Pinchot State Park | Saturday 20 May, 2017 | Nikon D5100 | 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56 mm | 1250 sec at f/4.8 | ISO 180
Battle of Princeton Enactment, Battlefield Park | Saturday 27 May, 2017 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 22 mm | 1320 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 100
Diwalii Fireworks | Saturday 21 October, 2017 | Nikon D5100 | 35 mm f/1.8 | 1.0 sec at f/4.0 | ISO 100
Happy Birthday | Sunday 24 December, 2017 | FujiFilm X100F | 23 mm | 1240 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 12800

  1. The aperture ring is plastic. 
  2. Full click stops are at f/1.7, f/2.8, f/16 and f/22. Half-stop clicks are from f/2.8 through f/16. 

Weekly Journal

Tuesday

During the pandemic, Bhavna and I talked about how when it was safe to do so, we would take some road trips to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, perhaps with a stop in Boston to visit some of our college days favourites. I wanted to satisfy my urge to photograph lighthouses, and Bhavna wanted to experience the romance of the New England coastal towns.

Now that most of the North East are vaccinated, it seemed like the right time. It's cooler up north, so a trip to Maine would help us escape the heat and humidity of a New Jersey summer. It seems that everyone everywhere had the same idea.

New England resorts are booked through the end of October. Hotels like the Marriot have raised their rates to almost resort levels. My brother-in-law planned road trips to Tennessee. On Sunday, he mentioned that even the usually budget-friendly Holiday Inn has rates one would expect if staying in a hotel in Manhattan or Philadelphia.

But I think we really need to getaway. What to do?


Tuesday 29 June, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 17000 sec at f/1.7 | ISO 400

I'm bored with breakfast. Every day it feels like I eat the same things. Part of it is that my mornings are busy, and I am too lazy to make something, but it's also partly because I have not returned to some of the routines I had pre-pandemic.

Pre-pandemic, I alternated between a few places to get coffee and breakfast on the days I worked from home. Sometimes I went to Bagel Barn for a bagel, egg and cheese bagel sandwich or bagel with a schmear of cream cheese. It's excellent with a coffee from Buy the Cup. Sometimes I drove into Princeton for a muffin and cappuccino from Rojo's Cafe. If time permitted, I sat outside on Palmer Square. On Friday's, if my morning calendar allowed it, I drove into Hopewell for a sit down slow breakfast of grits and collard greens.

I am wary of using the word normal, but I miss these routines. I think it's time for a reset.

Last on the Card for June

I think this is the first time I am linking to the Last on the Card challenge. According to Adobe Lightroom, the last image pulled in before July 1 is this one. The photo has not been edited or post-processed in any way. But that begs the question. Given that my Fuji X-T2 can use in-camera film recipes to apply certain effects to a JPEG before an image is recorded, can I use the straight out of camera JPEG for this challenge?

beer
Tuesday 29 June, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1640 sec at f/4.0 | ISO 400

Wednesday

No one can amass millions of followers on a person blog in a matter of weeks. That is something that can only happen on a social platform like Instagram or TikTok. And that's why most people don't go down the personal site path. Most people are not chasing freedom of expression. They're chasing fame. Quantity over quality seems to be the law of the modern web. ~ Manuel Morale

Thursday

Two years ago, I started photographing migrating Warblers in southern New Jersey. I rented a Fujinon XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens and did my best. These photographs are not significant compared to other photographers, but they are precious images to me.

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler | Sunday 19 May, 2019 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400 mm | 1500 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 4000

Kunj Tirvedi has been photographing wildlife - lions, tigers, cheetah, elephants, etc. - around the world for over two decades, mainly in Africa (Serengeti, Samburu, Kaziranga, Madagascar, Mauritius, Tanzania), America (Argentina, Antarctica, Florida), Europe (Iceland, Norway) and Asia (India, Sri Lanka). He's put together a two-volume bounded portfolio book of his bird photograph, simply entitled "Birds, My Portfolio". I am fortunate that Mr Trivedi's daughter is a good family friend, and she loaned me both books.

Thursday 1 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/1.7 | ISO 2000

The book starts with a foreword that introduces the photographer and explains the purpose of the books and the care and effort put into selecting each photograph and identifying each bird. Though there is no index or table of contents, the book is broken down into sections featuring specific birds - rollers, bee-eaters. I agreed with Kunj Trivedi when he wrote in his book that the "Lilac Breasted Roller was my favourite bird...". The lilac-breasted roller is stunning. But one of my favourite photographs is one of an Indian Roller in flight. Others are the European bee-eater and Fischer's Lovebird. Their colours remind me of the wooden fishing boats of the West Indies. The photographs are stunning. The book contains over 400 photos.

One more thing about which I am thinking. When will I produce my photobook, what shall I put in it, and who will "read" it?

Friday

I've had an ongoing debate about electric vehicles (EV) with my friend Johnny over the last several months. Unfortunately, there's no economic incentive in the USA to push for bikes, e-bikes, scooters etc. A dedicated bicycle infrastructure requires almost no maintenance, vehicles are incredibly cheap to buy and run, insurance for accidents is irrelevant, and health improvements means fewer hospital visits.

In addition to providing a more affordable and more efficient form of alternative transportation for riders, e-bikes actually help improve things for everyone. While e-bike riders can directly benefit from lower transportation costs, perhaps quicker commute times, and free parking, more e-bikes on the streets mean fewer cars. And fewer cars means less traffic.

I'm writing a bit tongue in cheek, but promoting bicycling could lead to an economic recession. With very few notable exceptions, the USA government won't prioritise cycling infrastructure.

Electric bicycles certainly can't replace all car trips but e-bikes continue to outsell electric cars massively around the world. The growing number of e-bike styles and the emphasis on e-bike utility mean that an increasing number of people are trading a second car for an electric bicycle. If I worked from home regularly, Bhavna and I could get by with just her car and with me using an e-bike for trips around the area.

orange cat
Sir Alphonso Mango | Friday 2 July, 2021 | Apple iPhone 11 Pro | iPhone 11 Pro back triple camera 4.25mm f/1.8 | 130 sec at f/1.8 | ISO 640

At first, Alphonso Mango was like, "Please, play with me".

orange cat
Sir Alphonso Mango | Friday 2 July, 2021 | Apple iPhone 11 Pro | iPhone 11 Pro back triple camera 4.25mm f/1.8 | 135 sec at f/1.8 | ISO 640

Then ... he was a bit more forceful. "Get off the computer. Play with me now!"


The Last Word by Flounder Brewing Co | Friday 2 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1/1000 sec at f/4.0 | ISO 400

This evening Bhavna and I picked up a few slices of pizza from Joe's and headed over to Flounder Brewing for a few pints of ale. While we dined, we were surprised to see Jim D. and Kath D. sitting at another with a group of their friends. They came over to say "Hello," and we ended the evening with a few pints at their table. It turns out that Jim's friends, Rob and Tammy, live in our neighbourhood at the other end of Blue Spring Road.

Saturday

I let Alphonso Mango play outside on the deck. It's enclosed. Bhavna and I sat outside so we can keep an eye on him. He had so much fun sniffing around and exploring and hiding under the house plants.

Saturday 3 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 100 mm | 1640 sec at f/5.0 | ISO 1600
Saturday 3 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 100 mm | 1640 sec at f/5.0 | ISO 640

In the evening, Bhavna and I drove to Conclave Brewing for a pint. We visited Conclave only once during the pandemic, choosing to sit outside. Today it was raining, so we sat inside. We ordered food for delivery from a place called Pork Chops BBQ. The menu was an odd mix of Filipino, Spanish, and Portuguese food. I ordered a paella platter and a serving of fried plantains. Bhavna had a salad.

Saturday 3 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | 50 mm | 190 sec at f/1.0 | ISO 6400

Sunday

Today was a whirlwind of activity. We went to the Brick Farm Tavern for an outdoor BBQ. The chilli cheese dog was delicious. The experience was like being at a BBQ at a friend's house. We didn't have to do any cleanup after.

Sunday 4 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | 1400 sec at f/9.0 | ISO 400
Sunday 4 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | 1950 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 400