Aaron's Lyfe

A blog on my lyfe

Category: Photography

All about photography

The Photography World Exploded – 9.25.2018

Today the photography market got shook up even more. Recent dismal announcements from Nikon and Cannon on their entries to the mirrorless market set the tone for anything exciting.  The endless train YouTuber’s regurgitating the same specs over and over since NDA’s are lifted has now quieted down.    What did we learn today?  Today things are starting to change, that’s what!


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Fuji hit a home run with the X-T3

The X-T3

Yesterday I got to get my hands on the new Fuji X-T3 and all I can say is wow!  Last year I looked hard at Fuji yet I still stayed in the Nikon camp by getting the D500 for my APS-C needs.  After using the X-T3 I think Fuji may have knocked it out of the park and stomped the competition.  Buyers remorse? Just a little, I now have no problem rocking a Fuji other than the investment into a new ecosystem.

Fuji X-T3

Fuji X-T3

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Lightning in January

Lightning in January

Unexpected and somewhat frustrating….but I captured lightning, in January, in Indiana!!! WTH?

Here I go

I heard the rumble of thunder.  It was all that I needed to send me out the door with a quickness.  I had my D500 packed and my MeFoto Globetrotter was already strapped to the bag.  At that moment I decided to go with what I had.  Normally I have a bag packed and ready to go out for storm photography.  Tonight wasn’t really that way.  The bag was packed, the camera was kind of set up of BIF so I knew I would have to reconfigure after I got set up.

I sped out of the driveway heading towards town.  Thinking I would go to one of my spots just north of town.  As I got towards my spot the wind was kicking over 30 mph and the rain was going sideways.  Then I decided to backtrack South and West to another spot.  Zigzagging down the wrong road trying to get to another location was setting back time wise.  I should have just went down 1/4 of a mile and it would have been a straight shot.  I could see lighting popping here and there, I just had to get set up and quick.

The frustration

Finally I get to the second location.  The rain had passed and the storm line was to the East of me.  The car was parked facing south, the wind was coming out the South by Southwest and really strong.  I opened up the car door, pulled my bag to the driver seat and began to unpack.   I went to deploy the MeFoto and then realized my fears of a 4 section twist lock tripod were correct.  It takes too damn long to deploy when you need to get ready to in seconds.  Great for the backpack, not so great for storm photography at night, in the wind, without my headlamp.

Using the car as a wind break and the tripod finally deployed I began to get up the D500.    This being the first time I have used the D500 for lightning I was on a little learning curve.  Time was running out, what few lightning strikes were happening were moving rapidly east.  The camera half way setup, I went for 10″ exposures as I was still fiddling with menu items.  I usually have everything I need in my quick menus for this but not on this body.  I had a major blonde moment and forgot where the Auto ISO setting was, because it was on.

More frustration

I keep snapping exposures trying to figure out where the Auto ISO setting was.  For the record, Nikon’s menu system have never felt very intuitive.  This is coming from someone that can navigate code with a hex editor.  Searching Google didn’t  help much either at which point I said never mind.  Finally the lightning stopped within a matter of minutes of being setup.  I went back in the car to solve this Auto ISO problem and also discovered a few more things.

1: My Auto ISO is now in My Menu

2: I forgot I was shooting in 1.3 crop mode, “Choose Image Area” is now in My Menu

3: I actually caught a lightning strike!

4: The wind was really strong affecting this exposure



Lightning In January

Little hack for Star Adventurer Tracker

Sky Watcher Star Adventurer Mini

So I recently picked up a  Sky Watcher Star Adventurer Mini to dive into astrophotography and motion time lapse.  As things progress we all wind up with way too much stuff in out bags. This happens to be on of those things I decided to do to save a little money and space.


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Speculation on Nikon in 2018

Nikon in 2018?

I posted this earlier today on the DPR forum but thought it might make a good post.  So here are my speculative thoughts for Nikon in 2018.

Link to DPR Post

When I got back into photography I was presented the option of the J5 or a D5300. To much surprise from others, I opted for the J5. I did a lot of traveling and spent a lot of time outdoors. The J5 fit the bill perfectly for that part of my life and packed well on a motorcycle and kayak too. For some reason I still grab for the J5 over my DSLR’s for the days I am going out, not planning to shoot, but there is that little voice in the back of my head saying “Take a camera!”

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The Epic 2017 Adventure Part 1

I’ve always been able to find adventure everywhere I go and this trip was no different. This year’s trip was overdue, needed and unexpectedly one of the best two weeks I have experienced on so many levels.  After a long spell of recovery from a motorcycle accident and an Indiana winter, I was foaming at the mouth to get out and do something grand this year.  The previous big trip was in October of 2015 and due to work and the accident the walls were starting to creep in on me.  This is not how I like to live my life and my no means should one ever be incarcerated by their vocation and confined to a life that does not facilitate living life.

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Eclipse Update!!!

Sorry for the late update. Bill and I left TN the day after the eclipse and went our separate directions.  I wound up in NC that night.  The hotel had wifi…. obviously connected to a 1200K phone modem so I left and worked my way south to catch up with yet another friend.  I have found intewebs and the speedy kind!!!!

So for all of those who wanted pictures of the event, here you go.  I am still working on the composites of the eclipse from the 2 different cameras and the milky way photos captured over there my stay at Pigeon Roost.

But I wanted to get these thrown up anyways as it is and I’ll come back to the blog later when time permits.

Pre-Eclipse@Pigeon Roost

Eclipse2017@Pigeon Roost


More to come soon as time permits

A state of my photography

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Update on my photography

Wow, what a year and huge steps into my personal photography.  What started out as a venture to just increase my overall skill set as gone full bore, balls to the wall shutterbug nut.  My focus was just step up my game in Landscape, Weather and Food photography but now I am doing it all.  It would seem I am slowly developing a creative style beyond my original intentions for this blog and here I am today.  Added notches to the camera strap include, Long Exposure, Astro, Macro and Portrait.

Way Before

My journey in photography didn’t start with a smartphone.  It started at a garage sale at the age of 10 where I procured an ancient Zeiss Ikon.  I was able to get film and my father showed me some basics  but I was dirt poor.  There wasn’t much money and surely not much to get film processed.  But this wasn’t my mother’s Brownie 110 so I was good.

Later in my teens I was loaned a Nikon FG with a small selection of AI-S lenses and I was off to the races for over a year.  Using all manual lenses made you think and even more so with film.  My cousin was into astrophotography so  we would spend hours photographing the moon, stars and sunspots.  There was a crazy solar maximum going on so it made sense to do so.

By the time I was 16 I was pretty busy with music, ham radio, being a teen and working.  I worked at a video transfer company in Orlando which happened to be one of a few in the country at the time that did this.  I would spend what seemed to be an eternity splicing 8mm and 16mm film together.  We would then shoot this film through a loom lens into a video camera and record it to VHS.  I did this for a long time until the business never caught up to the changing time of digital and went under.

My biggest regret is that I never got to keep any of this photos and videos of my youth.  They were lost to my nomadic lifestyle.

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Yesterday was a bad day for lightning photography.  Storms were starting to roll in around 8PM. It was just the right time to go find a spot and set up to take some shots at dusk.  I set up just off the side of the road next to a cornfield and got both of my tripods setup.  After about 20 minutes of setting up, staging and waiting for the light to get just right…. I was ran off.

Yes some angry farmer thought I was too close to his corn and started screaming about private property or the roaring of his diesel truck. I’m pretty sure I was still on public easement but the guy looked like he might want to start a fight.  I know, I am such a huge menace to society standing next to a road with cars going but at 60+ MPH, lightning all over just to take a damn picture of a lightning bolt…. Meh!!!

Deciding not to argue with the grumpy man, I just apologized, packed up my gear and went home.  I had to do some work anyways and seemed like the night was a wash anyways.  Was really wanting to use the tripod and new mount and catch the first lightning shot with the S7 Active.


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Samsung Galaxy S7 Active Preliminary Review

So I’m 5 days into my recently upgrade Samsung Galaxy S7 Active and here is the skinny on it. I’m not going into tech specs, drop tests or other things that have been posted a hundred times over. So what we have now (and all I can compare it to is from the S5 Active) is a pretty awesome phone.  It is a bit heavier than the its predecessors due to its huge 4000mah battery.

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