My Monday…

Yeah, I’m posting a lot less than in the past. The cause is in my rate of discovery; getting back into photography after a few years resulted in a feeling of constant discovery. Now that I’ve caught up with the technology, discoveries have become fewer and further in between. While I am a child of technology and enjoy trying, and mastering, new things, that’s not what this blog is all about. It’s why I comment very little about the current situation as Americans insist on struggling through this pandemic rather than doing what’s best for most until a vaccine is produced. I do have an opinion on many things, I’ve chosen to limit the scope of my blog.

As such, I’ve reverted when it comes to tech. While the X-T3 is a great camera, it became more and more of a compromise once I chose to take on a second body in the GFX. I ended up trading it in for an X-H1. Sure, I could have upgraded to the X-T4 but I would’ve missed out on the ergonomics. Moving to GFX meant scaling back on my APS-C based kit, keeping only the “holy trinity” of zooms, the 100-400mm, 12mm ƒ/2 fast ultrawide, and 2 teleconverters. This allows me to shoot really long shots, with up to 1200mm of reach, and utilize the fast wide for astrophotography as a second, lightweight body for when the GFX is too much to transport. Most importantly, the body feels like the GFX, making it easier to switch between bodies and letting muscle memory take over. It’s also more balanced when using large telephoto lenses and the IBIS makes the 16-55mm ƒ/2.8 much more versatile. Sure, I miss out on the new battery and upgraded autofocus, but I rarely shoot fast action and the extra grip size far outweighs what I’ve lost.

So, it’s barely Monday. It’s a new moon. Comet Neowise is further down on the horizon. Jay and I are gonna camp at Stampede Pass, hoping to align the galactic core with Mt. Rainier and the west fork valley of the White River. Our last trip found ourselves literally behind the 8-ball, without a view of the summit, and under skies polluted with moonlight. Add to it the beginning of the work week, we’re hoping we get the area to ourselves. Since we haven’t scouted the location prior to today, we have no idea if Comet Neowise will be visible from our location and if there’s anything interesting between us and it. I’ll be bringing a 1200mm long setup just in case we do.

Back to gear… I got my 2 person tent and Shimoda Explore 40 back from Craig, a large version 2 camera unit from Shimoda and a 3 filter kit from PolarPro that integrates an ND and polarizer into a single body, allowing the combo to be used on wider angle lenses than previously. While that’s the general benefit, the main goal was a set that fit my 23mm ƒ/4 lens and it’s 82mm filter thread. The hope is the infrared response follows the same curve set by my Wine Country Cameras filter kit so I don’t need to recreate presets for post processing. 10 days have elapsed and I’ve still yet to get any shots with these new filters. Initial impressions of these filters are on pause as I wait for an opportunity to really utilize them but even now I have a huge cartful of thoughts on them. The packaging alone spurred a thousand words but I wait so I can hopefully produce a measured reaction.

Anyways, the above image is my Explore 40, loaded with camera gear, as I stripped my Action X70 and filled it with camping and survival gear. This image reinforced my desire to pick up a second large Shimoda ICU v2 to use regularly with my Explore 40. The medium ICU is just too small for use with my GFX and the new ICUs with internal, wire frames hold up far better, creating a more secure internal system.

I’ll see all of you when I get back to civilization on Tuesday or Wednesday. Let’s hope the skies stay clear until then.

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