Behind the Scenes – Jeep JL Rubicon Build

For the past week, we had a first in a long time: a Jeep. This time, though, it was a Rubicon that already had a lift and the wheels/tires already installed. We installed new parts from Fab Fours all the way around, which was very fitting for the specific wheel and tire setup that the Jeep’s owner had gone with. Fab Fours is known for their “in your face” design with the idea of “it’s not for you,” so with the extremely aggressive street-style, the old-school offroader types will definitely throw shade at the build. Overall, I kinda like it. No, it’s probably not best for the trails of Moab or some extreme rock crawling, but it’s still a Jeep, and it’s still on 40-inch tires, making it very capable on most Florida trails, regardless of how big the wheels might be.

Anyhow, during the build process, I captured these images of the team’s progress as there was a lot of work to do, and with the time crunch, it was great to see everyone come together to make sure that everything got done.

All photos were shot on the Fujifilm X-T2 with the 7artisans 35mm f/1.2 lens. Also, most of them were shot for Instagram Stories in mind, so don’t hate me for having so many portrait-oriented photos.

See the Photos

My Internal Conundrum With My Camera

I own a Fujifilm X-T2. You’ve probably seen me talk about it or post photos from it a million and one times. As it turns out, I’ve had it for almost three years, now. It’s a really good camera, and I thoroughly enjoy using it. I’ve said many times that it out performs the former staple: the Canon 5D Mark 3, and I stand by that. It’s small, compact, and lightweight, and great for when you’re shooting for a long time or walking or hiking.

Then the Sony a7R III came out. It was announced just in time for our budget to come in where I work, and after reviewing the specs and the image quality, I said that we should get one. After all, we had been using the 5D mk 3 and a 7D for a long while, and it was more than time for us to upgrade.  Now, I knew there would have been an increase in image quality over the X-T2, after all, the a7R II had already been ranked as one of the top performing non-medium format cameras on the market AND it was a full frame camera.

I’ve now spent the past 6-ish months in the Sony mirrorless world, I’ve shot a few events and a lot of automotive and commercial things… you know… work. It’s working great! I’m surprised that I’m not missing the dials or the specific Fujifilm “look” (if you will). I have to say the number one thing that I cannot stand about the a7R III is that the files are massive. I mean, rightly so because they’re twice the quality of the X-T2’s, so I can only fit half as many photos on the same card. The first time I shot a wedding with the a7R III, I was panicking trying to dump photos onto my laptop periodically through the night. Meanwhile, I didn’t need to change out cards once with the X-T2 that event or pretty much any event I’ve shot. Excluding Desert Bus, of course. Overall, 300GB per event is a little scary.

NOW

Sony has released the a7 III. The a7 III has all the nice things about the a7R III and some of the nice things from the a9. It has the same megapixel count as the X-T2, which means smaller file sizes. It also has the newer type of battery from the a9, which means it’s been rated to have the longest battery life of all mirrorless cameras out there right now. It also has an autofocus system similar to the a9, which has AF points that cover most of the sensor. It’s also got the same design and button layout as the a7R III. It’s also been shown to have better low-light performance than the a7R III and shoot better video than the a9.

Basically… the a7 III is perfect for what I do.

My dilemma is this, however: While selling the X-T2 would give me the opportunity to buy the a7 III, I would also be ditching a really good camera. Buuuuuuuut, not only has my Gear Acquisition Syndrome been itching like CRAZY since the announcement, but I also have this wild theory (possibly enabled by G.A.S.) that, in my photographing, I don’t want to be limited by my gear. I don’t want to come back after a shoot or an event to blame any defects in the photos on the gear I was using. I don’t want to have any opportunity to say “well, if I had [whatever] this would have come out better.”

Before it’s said, I also do believe in the cliché of it doesn’t matter what camera you use, it’s about the person behind the camera. However, when you’re capable of doing well with a decent camera, imagine what you can do with a better camera, or even THE BEST camera? And yes, yes, yes, lighting is much more important than the camera you have, but I’m doing alright with light right now, considering that most of what I do with my personal work is with natural light and lighting modifiers. I could go on and on about lighting, too, but this is about cameras.

I dunno, this got a little rambly, and I’m not sure where to end it. So… how about support my Patreon so I can have my cake and eat it too?

SpecialKolin Podcast – Episode 9

Recorded: October 3rd, 2017

This time around, Kolin talks about:

– Fujifilm X-T2
– GoPro Hero 6 (Raw footage: https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/9/29/16385642/gopro-hero-6-black-4k-60-sample-footage)
– Las Vegas

Find more of what I do and more podcasts at:
http://attackofthebeards.com
http://specialkolin.com

May 23rd 2017

I have no photos from today, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t take any. I actually took around 600 or so, but they were all for work, so I cannot share them at this time. Also considering I strictly shoot RAW for paid work, none of the photos have been edited since I got back from the shoot around 7pm, and I still needed to go home, so I could get back to work between 7 and 8 in the morning. 

Anyway, the shoot was for Father’s Day, so as one could imagine, we had a “father” and a couple kids helping their dad work some on his truck. Your standard heart-strings tugging stuff. Overall, the shots went great. From what I’ve seen, they came out really well. Fortunately, with the X-T2 I can review photos as I’m taking them from the viewfinder, which makes focus and exposure checking a dream come true especially when you’re trying your best to capture every micro expression, and don’t want to miss anything by looking away from your scene. 

In the end, the kids got ice cream, the dad got ice cream, everyone was happy! It was another great shoot in the bucket, and I’m very greatful for everyone that was involved. 

Took a Hike out to La Chua

Today, Sarah and I had the day off together for the first time in, well… what seemed like FOREVER. So, instead of just sitting around the house, we decided to get out and enjoy the warmer weather and go for a hike. This time, we went a little north to Paynes Prarie and hiked the La Chua Trail. 

When we arrived, to the entrance to the trailhead parking lot, it became apparent that all of Gainesville had the same idea. Cars were lined up all along the road, parked in every last bit of available space. I get it, though, it’s the first day of spring, completely understandable. We were lucky enough to get a parking spot, strapped on our (highly unnecessary, but incredibly comfortable) hiking boots, and headed off for the three mile hike.

It was neat to see so many different animals in their natural habitat. Although, it was pretty odd to see wild horses and Bison in Florida, but that’s what happened after the Spanish settled here all that time ago. As a photographer, this is a good place to get some excellent wildlife shots. There were three or four photographers there with immense lenses strictly to get those crazy close-up shots of the birds, gators, and more.

While we were there, I shot a little bit of video on the Fujifilm X-T2, which I’ll edit together eventually, probably. Unfortunately, tragedy struck my favorite camera. After folding my tripod back up and flipping the screen back into place, I noticed that the screen looked blank. I thought it was maybe because the camera had gone into standby, and I woke it back up. Nope. I guess as a direct result of the tilting screen, I can no longer use the screen when it’s flush to the camera. It still works great in ANY OTHER POSITION, but no, not in the standard alignment. I’ve already fired off an email to Fujifilm USA to see what they have to say about it. It is a little worrisome that after about seven months of use, I’m having problems. Maybe I’ll try to upgrade to the GFX 50s. Who knows! I’ll keep you all updated, because I know you’ll be waiting with bated breath.

Overall, despite the crowds, despite the technical difficulties, we both had a good time, and that’s all that really matters. 10/10 I would recommend this little walk to anyone wanting to just get out for a couple hours with the chance of wildlife interaction.

All photos shot with the Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 Lens and edited in Lightroom CC, except the monochrome photos, which are straight off the camera from the Fujifilm X-T10.