Death by neglect….

Lila Lee, in the boat grave yard…

There is something about Shrimpers… I cannot get enough of them and find myself visiting them again and again.  I love the dilapidated nature of them and even though they are in such rough condition they seem to venture out into the deep time after time.  Perhaps they are a reflection of the men who sail them, rough hewn, salty men, eking out a living from the sea.  Regardless, they are things of photographic beauty and deserve to be documented for history. You see, they are vanishing from sight.  Shrimp seems to mainly come for fresh water farm ponds in the lower americas and soon these beautiful boats will be a thing of the past.

The Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi:  “connotes a way of living that finds beauty in imperfection and accepts the natural cycle of growth and decay. Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

Thus begins my exploration of Sabi

You had better get out and enjoy them while you are able too..

Here captured in Black and White, is a detail shot of the shrimper Lila Lee.  She is resting in the boat grave yard in Georgetown, SC. The older shrimpers seem to be abandoned along the shore here in Georteown till they sink.  We have some sitting on the bottom growing trees and weeds from their decks.

This image was captured on the Fuji X-E1  with a MC Soligor 70-300mm C/D manual focus macro lens, another relic of the past…

Lila Lee

Lila Lee


Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6 Lens and the Fuji X Pro 1

Good things that come in small packages!

Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6 Lens

Fuji M Mount Adapter

I have been testing the Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6 Lens with the Fuji M mount adapter on the X Pro 1 for the last week or so and have to admit that I am both impressed and love use and feel of this lens! It is well made and smoooooth to operate!

 I have tested it both on the Kipon adapter and the new Fuji M mount adapter and have to say that the differences between the two are major due to the fuji’s ability to adjust corner color and darkened corners live with version 1.11 firmware!  Pincoushion adjustments still require you to shoot and adjust.

I adjusted the pincushion by taking a picture of the pattern of 2×4’s on the surface of a deck. This allows you to maintain straight lines. I found for the 12mm that an adjustment of +4 was perfect.

I took the  12mm out to two locations for testing, Shem Creek in the Charleston, SC area and the waterfront in Georgetown SC.  Both locations provides nice vistas and shrimp boats full of color and character.

Stormy Seas at the dock. Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6 Lens. Notice the focus from about 3 inches to infinity.

As you can see, the DOF of the 12mm is simply amazing.  The cleat was about 3 inches from the camera.

Here is a monochrome of the same image.

Shem Creek with approaching storm, Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6 Lens

Shem Creek Shrimpers, Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6 Lens

Notice the light rays coming down from right to left thru the clouds!  The lens is VERY sharp and a real pleasure to use!

Let me know what you think!

Tybee Island, GA, Hidden Paradise!

Once here it is difficult to leave!

Tybee Island Beach in front of our rental!

Every year I try to make it down to Tybee Island, GA for a visit.  It is one of the hidden treasures of the Southeast coast!  There are two lighthouses there, shrimpers, beaches, birds and many more photographic subjects!  Last year, my wife Ellen made arrangements for a family vacation there with a rental right on the beach.  There were 9 of us there in all and we had a great time!  For me the exciting parts of the week were the photographic excursions out and about.  I am always excited to visit the same places many times as they will always present themselves in a different fashion on each visit!  Below is a small selection of the many things to experience while visiting…

The sand on the beaches there is a fine off white sugar sand and the kids loved to play in it.  There were ALWAYS large ships lined up  to leave and enter the river going up to the port!  Every morning there were shrimp boats going back and forth just off of the beach fishing!

The Tybee Island Lighthouse is a MUST SEE!  It is one of the better looking lighthouses on the coast and always makes a great photographic subject!

Tybee Island Lighthouse in 590nm Infrared.

Cockspur Lighthouse , the 2nd local light house is up the river a mile or so from the Tybee Island Lighthouse.  You can visit it by heading north off of Tybee Island and stopping just before the first bridge and taking the small dirt road off to the right to the marina.  You will then have access with a longer lens to photograph it.  I have done this many times but for this trip we took a Dauphin boat trip out into the river and went around the lighthouse several times.

The Cockspur Lighthouse in Tybee Island.

One of the more interesting things about Tybee Island is the fact that during the summer there are usually daily thunderstorms the come thru the area and this makes for a good opportunity to grab some high speed lightning shots!

High speed daylight lightning capture from the deck of our rental!

Tybee Island is worth taking the time to visit anytime of the year.  Go for a day or a week, you will not be disappointed!

My grandson Jordan pondering the lighthouse keeper's hat as he gets ready to climb the lighthouse stairs!

Going Back To Momma…

Falling In Love With The Fuji X Pro 1 Camera system..

Or, what does a camera system have in common with a good doggie?

Fuji X Pro 1 System

A little history:

I started in photography over 45 years ago (yes I am an old fart)… A long time for sure!  I started using and learning on an Argus C3 35mm rangefinder camera then just started working up through many many more rangefinders.  Along came SLR camera systems and like  most other photographers of the time I decided that I too must have one of these so that I could actually see through the lens to see what I  am going to get.  Many years passed and every time I would pass a camera store I found myself looking with lust  at rangefinders of all things.  At first I thought that there must be something wrong with me, why else would I be drawn to an older technology after the many thousands of dollars I had invested in the best Canon bodies and lenses over the years?

Skittles the Dashound, #9

After much reflection I decided that it must be like dogs!  You know… your parents purchase you your first dog which you fall in love with,  and you are forever imprinted with love for the dog and the type of dog.  Then for the rest of your life you desire only that type of dog!  I am on my 9th dashound now and wouldn’t dream of any other type!  So, back to the point, cameras, like dogs are imprinted upon us at an early age and we tend to gravitate back to momma so to speak!  After coming to grips with this fact I went out and spent another $2500 on the Hasselblad XPan II rangefinder and was forever re-hooked.  Yes, I still have and shoot Canon bodies and L glass, but my true passion is for rangefinders and dashounds!  I have accepted this fact as part of who I am. I find that I even occasionally purchase an old rangefinder camera to display in a glass case in my studio!

Ok, enter Fuji!  Last year, Fuji introduced the X100, which is a digital rangefinder styled camera, not a rangefinder focusing camera.  It looked great and got great press. I wanted one from the very first but held off for a year.  Last fall I actually purchased one and was instantly in love with the thing!  It was small and light and SILENT…  It has a fixed 23mm lens and did I mention that it is totally silent in operation!!  Oh yea, in love to be sure.  This February (2012) my wife and I went to Italy for 11 days of photographic heaven and the only cameras I took were a small Infrared camera (Panasonic GH2) and the Fuji X100.  It was a match made in heaven for travel.  Light,  small and no work to lug around!  I got amazing images with the Fuji even though it had a wide fixed lens.  I simply had to rely upon my sneaker zoom to get close!

I found that I was not totally satisfied with the X100 because it was limited to a single lens.  So I ordered the new digital Fuji X Pro 1 interchangeable lens system with the 35mm f/1.4 and the 60mm f/2.4 lenses, and I have the 18mm f/2 lens currently on order.  It arrived at the end March and I was amazed by its light weight but enhanced functionality that the camera system provided!  now after a month of shooting with it I feel like I have returned to momma and have again found myself through my roots in photography!  God, please help me.. I am so locked onto this camera system that I can not  see any way to ever break away, hooked, addicted with a big fuji monkey on my back!  Fuji also says that  later this year they are offering a 14mm and a 18mm to 72mm zoom!  Then 3 more new lenses next year!  I can feel the dollars slipping away now.. I hope that my wife can forgive me for these future purchases.  I WILL keep the X100, it is after all a rangefinder styled camera and it is silent in operation!  I will purchase new lenses for the X Pro 1 and look to the future for the Pro 2 and Pro 3 bodies…

It seems as though I have found yet another addiction…

X Pro 1, 30 second exposure, 35mm f/1.4 lens, B&W Seascape of Pawleys Island Groin

This post is not a review of the X Pro 1, there are a ton of those out there on the web. It is simply a short series of statements and facts about the camera and why I love it so!

It will NOT replace my Canon 7d for (5%):

  • Lightning Photography, because it does not have a electronic shutter.
  • Water Drop Collision Photography, because it does not have an electronic shutter.
  • Macro Photography, well, it might actually work out for this one.
  • Birds in flight, focus is not fast enough.
  • Sports Photography, I simply don’t do this anyways.
  • Movies, has HD movies but no external mic hookup.

I will use this camera for(95%):

  • Landscapes
  • Seascapes
  • Hummingbirds in flight, works great.
  • Grist Mills & Covered Bridges
  • Long Exposures, works great.
  • Travel, light with many lens choices.
  • My MAIN every day camera system!

Leica Pin Hole pancake

I was considering the Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f/4.5 M Mount Lens instead of the Fuji 18mm but there have been so many web posts on how bad this lens is on the Fuji that I have decided against it.  I instead will use a Leica M mount Pin Hole plate from Skink on the Leica to Fuji adapter!   I love Pin Hole photography and have them for ALL of my camera bodies!  There is just something very peaceful and satisfying about using technology for the early 1800’s and the resulting images are very etherial!

Ok, more to come on this great new camera system in the future, I have to have a chance to actually go out and shoot the thing!

Antique Gas Pump, Fuji X Pro 1


Returning to the love of our roots can mean:

Camera Love <= Really does equal => Doggy Love

Told you I was a sic person…


Galleries Are Here!

The Gallery pages are coming online!

Sunrise on Folley Beach, Light painting on the driftwood with a white LED light! Very LONG Exposure...


On the top menu of the blog you will find several pages listed across the top.  The one labeled Galleries is actually a series of drop down menus which will let you select several organized image galleries containing my favorite work from over the years.  So far, I have 4 galleries populated but will be expanding over this month to around 15.  Please stop by for a visit and come back often to see the changes there!

I hope that you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed creating them!  They cover about 15 years of my work since living in the Low Country of South Carolina and cover about 19 different states and 6 different countries! I even have some high speed water drop photography thrown in as good measure.

Comparing Color To B&W For Viewer Impact

Mattamuskeet Light, B&W Conversion

B&W or Color, The Eternal Question!

Wow, talk about a loaded topic!  I have ALWAYS preferred B&W over color, but until recently the public voted with their dollars for color over B&W about 3 to 1.  Along came Infrared and the trend totally reversed!  So I find myself looking at B&W conversions of my color images each and every time I sit down in front of the computer!  This is especially true in Infrared also.

What this means is that as I post process my color images I also do a B&W version just to be sure…

After doing my RAW conversion and basic cropping for my master image library size I use the Nik filters in the following way…

Color Work Flow:

  • Nik Define 2.0 – In the auto mode simply select the defaults and check OK to complete.  If needed you can switch over to Manual and add extra control points in noisy areas but make sure you select the measure noise button before clicking OK.  This process cleans up the  the image but doesn’t reduce clarity!
  • Nik Color EFX 4.0 – I usually run the Tonal Contrast recipe but always try the Warmth and Brilliance and others as well.  This is to sharpen and adjust the saturation levels!
  • Nik Viveza – Overall spot corrections.
  • Flatten Layers and save as a 16 bit PSD file with a usable name keeping the camera image serial number as part of the name.

B&W Work Flow:

  • Always run through this workflow after finished with your color processing.  Never switch your camera over to it’s B&W internal mode.  You will get better conversions using the Post Processing!
  • Nik Silver EFX 2.0 – Boy this is a tough one.  There are so many recipes plus millions of individual adjustments.  For me I usually use the Basic recipe, or the Full Spectrum recipe (my choice most of the time) but for some images the Wet Rocks recipe is too magic to overlook!
  • Under Image > Mode select B&W than flatten the layers keeping the image in the 16 bit mode.
  • Save As giving the image a new name with BW in the name field.

That’s all there is to my workflow from the color world.  Infrared is much different and you can read great volumes about it on my IR blog at:

OK, here are some color/B&W comparisons for you to ponder over…

Capt James, Very Moody & interesting image

But, check out how the B&W version draws you into the image and smacks you around a little!  Both images are good but the B&W works better for me!

Emotionally Charged, Moody... Perfect!

B&W - Down & Out, Moody, Nice but a little plain don't you think?

But the Color image is something else!

The Color version tells more of a story and works better!

As you can see, I like the Color version much better.  This goes to prove that you never know which is going to work out the best so you should process for both each and every time!

What do YOU think?

Shrimp Boats from the NC Infrared Workshop!

Infrared vs. Color/B&W, So Many Choices – So Little Time!

Shrimp Boats & Crab Pots!

I know, it really was an Infrared workshop given in the Swan Quarter area of North Carolina!  BUT, (really big but!) I wanted to capture these shrimpers in color.  The lighting was perfect, the clouds were moody and there were literally hundreds of the boats in port in both Swan Quarter and Englehard.  It was a dream come true!

Joane B. - Englehard, NC

Just look at these colors!  This first image was taken in Swan Quarter.  The fleet infrastructure was dismal and beyond poor condition.  Some (most) docks were physically crumbled but yet still had boats tied up!

The difference between Swan Quarter and Englehard was simply amazing!  Englehard was well maintained and full of boats.  Everything was sparkling (well, as much as a fleet of shrimpers can be!)

And yes, I did shoot in Infrared as well but will post those images on the IR Blog at

Ok, and now for some of my favorite shrimp boats of the weekend.  All were shot with the 7D switching off between the 24-70L f/2.8 and the 17-40L f/4 lenses!

Wonder Woman, Englehard, NC

Swan Quarter Fleet

Mary Elizabeth, Englehard, NC B&W

I did mention B&W shrimp boat images didn’t I? Sometimes, B&W images can be so stunning that they can take your breath away.  They pack and incredible emotional punch that can grab the viewer by the throat and scream “Look At Me!”

Swan Quarter Fleet, B&W

Mary Elizabeth, Englehard, NC

All images were processed in Adobe CS5 using the Nik Filter set.

Please let me know what you think!

A Few Infrared Images

A Few Of My Favorites…

Infrared Photography has had a life changing effect on my photography.  It has caused my creative juices to be re-charged!  I cannot get enough of it and to that end I find that I take hundreds of Infrared images to each single color image!  I find Infrared Photography to be emotionally charged in a way that takes my breath away!  I hope that you agree!


On a recent trip to Greece I visited the Temple Of Poseidon where the sky and storms work to my advantage to produce this moody image!

Temple Of Poseidon, Faux Color Infrared

The Temple Of Poseidon, B&W Infrared

An image from Brookgreen Gardens.  Sometimes the unprocessed image straight out of the camera can be be very stunning and full of emotional impact!

Brookgreen Gardens Reflection, Unprocessed Infrared

A garden gate in Brookgreen Gardens, Faux Color Processed!

Brookgreen Gardens Gate, Faux Color Infrared

Shrimp Boats in Georgetown, SC, Faux Color Infrared.  I like the Yellows and Pinks in this one!

Carson Elizabeth In Georgetown, SC, Faux Color Infrared

This B&W  image of the wheel house and bell of a shrimper is one of my favorite Infrared images of all time!

The Wheel House Bell, B&W Infrared

I am very passionate about my Infrared Photography and tend to take 100 Infrared images to each color image! I have several WEB sites dedicated to Infrared Photography but my best one is listed below!

For a more detailed discussion of my infrared work please visit my Infrared BLOG