Paintings from Sunset Series by Spence Munsinger, Color Field + Blank White Canvas + Realism + Contemporary Abstract Art, original paintings for sale

"You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea..."
― Pablo Picasso

Yosemite in Smoke

I’ve been deepening my work in Lightroom, by going through a tutorial on post processing. I had read Scott kelby’s Lightroom and Raw Processing books a long time ago – I used that workflow for many years – but there is a depth to the Lightroom software, in presets, snapshots, presets for brushes, tone curve, Hue/Saturation?Luminosoty and gradient filters, that I have not delved into. All the things that make Lightroom the software equivalent of a darkroom for processing RAW images.

Here are a couple of images I was paying with.

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There was smoke from a nearby fire drifting by Half Dome, it made the light unique.

—spence

Fuji X-T1: Panorama

I took a trip with my brother and father to Zion and Yosemite Parks this past couple of weeks. The Fuji X-T1 has a panorama function – where you pan the camera through a sequence of shots and the internals of the camera collates and assembles those images into a single jpg image. I was discovering this function, and one of the things I would have done if I had more experience with it would be to change the film setting from B&W(Yellow Filter) to Vivid. Even if you are shooting RAW+FineJPG, with the panorama function, the output is strictly JPG. Thus these are B&W.

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I decided at the last moment NOT to take a tripod, so these were shot hand-held – thus the curved horizon it this shot. But still, amazing tool and effect.

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This one was closer to a straight horizon – I really love the reflections that came out once the water was completely still…

And a vertical pano…

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—spence

Canon 5D…

There’s something about a camera that fails to work, and then can’t be effectively fixed, that makes the other camera look so much less bad. Yes, a 5D Mk III with 24-70mm glass weighs about 4.5 lbs. But – it works. Always. Consistently. The focus is always acceptable. And 22.something megapixels of full-frame image is nothing to dismiss.

I’m working through getting consistent results with the Fotodiox Rhinocam captures – I’ve had acceptable images, but nothing yet as crisp as the Canon 5D with a Zeiss 50mm lens – just not quite as clear. I know I can print full size from the Canon images. I’m still testing the Rhinocam stitched captures. The last ten paintings I took photos of were coming out soft, losing detail – like the focus missed. Manual focus using peaking and zoom, and f8 so should have been better than that.

I’ll have to take a day and do some focus bracketing and assembly of the images, see what’s truly possible.

Meantime, keeping the Canon beast camera…

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X-T1 comes in… …and Goes Back. Again. (3rd Time) (This camera)

X-T1 originally went in to resolve dust spots on the sensor that would not clean off. They replaced the sensor or the glass in front of it, and it came back.

The sensor was clean. But the eye sensor, the switch that dropped the back panel LCD and turned on the viewfinder when you bring the camera up to your eye, completely failed. Back to Fuji…

Yesterday the X-T1 came back again – and the eye sensor works, but random pixels misfire in all images resulting in white spots on the photographs. Amazing. On the other hand the sensor is still clean…

The repair ticket has notes saying they reset the eye sensor – somewhere along the line either new pixels starting misbehaving or the reset wiped out the dead-pixel map (all sensors have misfiring pixels – the manufacturers map them out, making them disappear, up to a failed tolerance).

All of this has been immediately available information to anyone who actually tested the camera – so obviously, checking a camera after repair to make certain it is working and resolved is simply not happening at the moment, at all.

When these cameras work they are outstanding – but I’ve never had to send a Canon camera in for repair. They simply work. These do not, and they don’t because of manufacturing issues right out of the box (three sensors in these cameras so far that are flawed, plus another four cameras I’ve rejected and returned because of the same lack of quality control) and then because Fuji can’t seem to simply fix the goddamn cameras.

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—spence

99 Megapixels: Fotodiox Rhinocam With Mamiya Lens and Fuji X Camera

One of the huge advantages of mirrorless cameras, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony and Fuji, is the shortness of the dimension between lens mount and sensor. I have adapters for M39 rangefinder lenses, Olympus OM lenses, and they work beautifully on my Fuji cameras. I have an EOS – FX adapter to use my Lensbaby 5mm Fisheye on the Fuji camera. All of this is possible because you can move the lenses designed for 35mm film dimensions out to where they need to be to focus on the mirrorless sensor with an adapter.

The Fotodiox Rhinocam Viselex rig mounts a medium format lens on the front. On the back you have a ground glass viewfinder that is useful primarily for framing the future assembled image on the left side, and a mirrorless camera mount on the right, along with two sliding tracks, one vertical and one horizontal, and dots for positioning. All of this works for taking 8 overlapping 16MP images that can be assembled into a 9000 x 11000 pixel image. You are taking these images and focusing through a medium format lens, moving the mirrorless camera around in that lens’s field of view.

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I’ve taken 6x7cm medium format film of a painting, scanned it in a Nikon film scanner, and come up with an image about that size. Way more work, and the detail in film is not as clear as the detail in an X series sensor. There aren’t alot of action photographs you could take with this rig – actually anything that moves won’t work unless it happens to be restricted to within a section of the image. And I would avoid dusty environments – the camera is somewhat protected while in the rig from dust, but nowhere as well protected as with a single native lens. So there are limits to what it can do. But for photographing works of art in polarized lighting in a studio at high resolution without spending $40000.00 on a Phase One medium format rig, this is awesome.

Assembling the photographs sometimes works in Lightroom – about 50% of the time – it seems to consistently work in Photoshop. I’ve had one failure in Photoshop, where two sections ended off above and below the rest of the image, disconnected. I think I can take more individual images, overlap them more, and maybe get it to work, but I haven’t tried it as yet. That same image worked in Lightroom, so go figure. The resulting images are about 9000 x 11000 pixels, or roughly 99 Megapixels. The resolution is outstanding, the detail and focus are every bit as good as medium format film.

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—spence

X-T1 comes back, and U-Turns right back to Factory Service… (And a couple of X-Pro 1’s go in as well)

I went down to the Fed Ex Shipping Station today to pick up my Fuji X-T1 camera, back from repair. The package was shipped “requires signature”, and the fastest way to get it once I missed signing for it was to go get it.

I got it back home and opened it up and tested the sensor – very good. Really, really clear. They replaced the glass in front or the sensor, major work. Outstanding.

I took it out to shoot at sunset. Someone had messed with the menus on the camera, probably while repairing it. I wasn’t getting the information panel on the back LCD of the camera, and then the Electronic View Finder (EVF) should be lighting up when I brought the camera up to my eye. I could get the LCD to work, or the EVF – but the eye sensor that should switch automatically was not turned on or something, probably a setting. I set it on EVF only and shot a few pictures. Once I got back, I worked through getting the eye sensor to work – and nothing. It’s completely broken. So… The camera goes back to Fuji. Tomorrow. That’s four weeks of repair time. I purchased it in March 2015. Five months old and 20% of that time in repair service.

I found a kit deal on Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras. The kit has the Fuji X-Pro 1 camera, and two lenses. I have both of the lenses already. I realized, though, that if I bought a couple of these kits and then sold the lenses I could acquire two Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras for about $310 each. Maybe $350 with eBay fees… Of course, I’d have to check the sensors and then figure out what to do about the cameras if they weren’t acceptable. But this is a camera that two years ago I bought for $1700 and then returned and even at that price I regretted it. It is an exceptional camera, I think actually the best I’ve ever used.

I did order the kits, I did check the sensors. Neither X-Pro 1 was in acceptable condition when they arrived. Both cameras had dirt specks that could not be removed on the sensor (yes, despite using different lenses to test, the spots remained). I decided to have them fixed under warranty – after all, the X-T1 sensor came back clean from a similar issue. And out of 6 Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras I’ve looked at, only one had a clean sensor. The Fuji X-Pro 1 has the same eye sensor as the X-T1… But you’d hope that knowing they disabled one sensor would put the service techs on alert and the next few repairs would have the eye sensor verified before it was sent back, right?

It’s worth it. I don’t know if I’ll keep the X-T1, I haven’t yet had the chance to use it enough. But I know that I want to work with the Fuji X-Pro 1. That camera plus the Fuji 35mm lens hit a sweet spot for me, a place where the camera does exactly the right things to stay out of the way and the lens just makes it magical.

Fuji X-Pro 1 and 35mm f1.4 lens:

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Tomorrow AM three cameras at once go to service.

—spence