FOTOGRAFIA INC.: Blog http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) FOTOGRAFIA INC. contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:42:00 GMT Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:42:00 GMT http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/img/s2/v53/u579051059-o220014726-50.jpg FOTOGRAFIA INC.: Blog http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog 120 120 Animal in the Cage http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/animal-in-the-cage smallRig X-T2 cage review


The entire “DSLR for video” revolution is responsible for the rise of entire new segment of camera “hardware” market around the world. It’s a good thing! I remember the time when I started using my brand new Canon 5D MKII for video. I was so excited and so frustrated at the same time. Excited, we all know why but (one of my) frustrations as a camera operator was a lack of options on how to customize  a piece of photographic gear to be (enjoyably) used as video gear. It took years for market for this kind of accessories to “mature” properly and gives us smart, quality and affordable options.

 

Fast forward to mid 2016: after trying many pieces of camera hardware over the years to customize my video camera kits (good, bad, expensive, cheap, American, Indian, Chinese made,…) I was at the point of completing my newly acquired Sony FS-7 camera package to my own requirements, applying all the knowledge and experience i accumulated over years with using various “packages”, rented or my own. I needed a source that can be my “Lego kit basket” and provide all components that I envisioned for my FS-7 rig. Oh, and do it on budget! I was not willing to pay premium (over rated) prices for  milled pieces of aluminum only because they were “made in USA” (“made in Canada”), had “life time warranty”, recommended by your favorite “VIDEO PRO” blogger and all that jazz… But, build quality was paramount. After going over endless listings on eBay (my usual starting point for “new searches”), one brand started showing up more and more: smallRig. Strange name but smart bits and pieces. At that time I could not get any online feedback on their products. I decided to risk it and get few parts. After getting the first “batch” I was sure I found what I was looking for. Quality and finish is top notch. I decided to order more. With in few weeks I completed my entire set and more. Following images illustrate what I did with Sony FS-7 using 95% smallRig products…


After using my smallRig set up on Sony FS-7 kit with great success over the last 8 months, time has come to customize my new “B-camera”. Fujifilm X-T2. This is a mirror-less APS-C size sensor type of camera, with very capable video performance. It replaced my (probably last ever DSLR body) Nikon D800. I went with smallRig again. First, because of the satisfaction I had so far with their parts second, because (at this moment) they are the only dedicated cage option for this particular camera. And smallRig has 2 version of the cage for X-T2. I opted for bigger one that accommodates optional power booster that is permanently attached to my camera body when I shoot stills with it, and especially useful if you require maximum performance (for stills or video) of this puny digital camera.

 

FIT & FINISH

As all other machined pieces from smallRig, this one is no different. All pieces fit perfect. No bending or flexing. All treads are 100% accurate. All “cheese pate” patterns are precise. Black finish is great and durable. It does not chip. It is not shinny. All screws included with the set are precise. They all screw with ease and don’t strip. Cage fits “snugly” over the camera/booster combo. Some might be bothered by it, not me. I just take my time when installing the cage and once in place, fact that the tolerance is so tight makes the package more as one unit. More about fit in next part…


DESIGN

Smart. Cage design and “volume” is minimal in bulk but not functionality. X-T2 is a small size camera. smallRig cage for it is small as well. Great! Once mounted, it does not increase size and “appearance” that much. Of course, it is up to the operator to elaborate on final look and lay out of the final rig. I belong to a school of thought that any camera rig must be mobile. That hardware once mobile must be usable in various positions and angles, versatile the same way any vintage film based or broadcast video (ENG) camera was. I can’t stand seeing online photos of various other camera rigs that look like alien bots or some mythical creatures with rods and bars and modules and microphones and cables sticking out all over, not able to be placed on the ground due to poor lay out, that are obviously so heavy and cumbersome that require body builder type of operator, etc… Cage by smallRig for X-T2 does all I needed it to do. Most importantly, keeps the volume of the kit to a minimal. Sure, you can extend it. I love using 15mm rods on my video cameras at all times. That is the most “bulk” I am willing to permanently add to the core set up. I love using follow focus on my Nikon glass. I love using Genus matte box on all my lenses. For this, 15mm rods are essentials. X-T2 cage fits properly in to smallRIg system of accessories. For that reason, bottom plate with 15mm rods mount was added.

Side wall elements of the X-T2 cage feature multiple mounting options for various “cheese plate standard” elements form smallRig catalogue or any other popular brand. I went  minimal again, just adding Arri Rosette style mounting point for my DIU hand grip ball. The same balls are mounted on another smallRig Arri rosette style connector piece on the bottom of 15mm rods.

On the top element of X-T2 cage, I decided to go with “Nato style” multi handle. Another excellent and universal piece by smallRig. This pice is no different in quality and design than any other “brand name” product. Solid and good.


BUT…

Yes, there is but. No, it is not a “deal breaker”. My only critique for this set up is following: I can not line up my Genus matte box to go over the mounted lens in to the perfect circle. Matte Box opening just sits a bit off centre, and not high enough. There is just not enough of “play” to move all elements and centre the matte box opening perfectly. This is due to the fact that once camera booster is mounted on the bottom of the camera body, and body/booster are mounted with in the cage, it raises lens axis too high from the standard lens/15mm rods distance as other (video) cameras on the market. I tried correcting the issue with additional 15mm rods riser/adapter and have the mounting rods for matte box closer to the lens axis (another smallRigg “Lego piece”) but it was not enough. It needs few extra mm. Oh, well. It is fine when using OEM Fujifilm lenses (smaller in diameter). Lens “pokes out” a bit higher with in matte box opening. The issue is with “fatty” Nikon zooms. Still usable but not perfect. For that critical use, I just switch to using OEM lens hood instead of matte box.

Another glitch is the optional HDMI plug lock. Once attached to the side of the cage it is in a way of opening the battery door on the booster and/or opening rubber gasket cover on the phone jack (AC power outlet). I understand smallRig is aware of this issue and the updated bracket is in the works.

Last nuance is the right side of the cage. It is a bit to close to the SD cards door. Door is not possible to be opened all the way and get the free access to both SD slots. It gets tight, but inserting and pulling out cards IS POSSIBLE.


SUMMARY

If you need to “kit out” your X-T2 for video work, I highly recommend this smallRig product (and all other parts I used to complete my set). As I mentioned before, smallRig bits have proven as good and trusty accessories in my (broadcast, documentary & corporate) work so far. With fit & finish and quality, stand next to any other “brand name” accessory on the market.  You can order all of the line directly from smallRig or look for particular parts form numerous vendors on eBay (if the web site is out of stock).


DISCLOSURE


I am not affiliated with smallRig. I am a freelance professional. I did receive the cage (and some of the bits) for free in return for taking time to produce this write up. Still, I stand behind this. I will continue using products from smallRig because they work for me.

 

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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/animal-in-the-cage Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:42:15 GMT
Sharpening my eye with street photography http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/sharpening-my-eye-with-street-photography Practicing my craft is crucial. No matter if I am behind still or movie camera. Picture I see in the viewfinder is the frame of life I capture. Technology is secondary. It's just happens to be digital these days, just as few years back it was film or 1/2in magnetic tape. Does not matter to me. Full frame or cropped frame camera? Does not matter to me. As long as it helps me "see" the world as I want. Looking at the world thru the glass (of the lens) can inspire the mind. Picture seen once, can reappear again in totally different context, different idea, different story all together. But art & form of composition, layout and frame of the image can be universal. Walking the streets with camera close to my eye is the best exercise for the craft...

 

August 2015.

 

Long Island Ferry is  docking at the South tip of Manhattan. My family and I exiting thru nice terminal building. My wife and boys are few steps in front of me, as I am looking for "perfect angle" for another shot. The ferry ride was a delight. Summer sunset over the Hudson, Statue of Liberty and perfect view of Lower Manhattan. I am contemplating about all "perfect moments" I captured on the boat. I am exiting terminal building. People in front on the Plato. Kids riding bikes and scooter. Tourists looking at their maps. I see a man standing. Still. I am circling around him to get a better angle. His arms are crossed. I am behind his back. Now, he is "framed" against the front facade of the terminal building. I am looking thru rangefinder of my Fuji X. I see name of the building behind him: "Island ferry". I press the shutter half way, to focus on the background. I notice he is looking aside. I press the shutter. He walks away. I got it!...

 

Fast forward to...

 

August 2016.

 

Boardroom of Toronto's Branding Agency. I am at the (introduction) meeting with the head of the agency, creative director and head producer. I was called for a last minute photography job. All I could do prior to the meeting (due to shortage of time) was to to send few "Thank you for the opportunity" lines in email and some links of my work online. We are talking about the shoot coming up in two days. Discussing idea, concept, usage and target for the campaign, the photos will be part of. All is going well, even I am meeting this team for the first time. Nice Folks. Colleague's referral can do miracles for you. They all know I can do the job (thanks Greg!). I am excited about the shoot after hearing details. I always wanted to do "recreation" of real life situations, capturing professional people working. This time it's all about  nurses in scrubs. Intensive care. Healthcare issue. I am loving every part of the concept. They know I shoot with Fuji X. No issues there. Now, I'm even more excited. Even I "battle tested" the gear on numerous stock and travel shoots so far, this will be my first "for hire" commercial assignment with new X-pro2(s). Now, head of the agency goes in to details about how he sees story developing. He is browsing over his emails looking for (inspiring?) samples. He opens up the folder. I see projected picture of his "desk top" on the boardroom wall. It's the folder with thumbnails. He clicks on the file. "I see the story going from here..." He says while photo appears on the wall. It's my photo of the man shot from the back with his arms crossed in front of the Manhattan Ferry Terminal (that he saved, off my personal work web site). "I love this...", he said...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captured with two Fujifilm X-Pro2 cameras and few (very fast!) Fujifilm Prime lenses...

 

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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) Commercial Commercial Photography Fuji Fujifilm Nurse Street Photography http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/sharpening-my-eye-with-street-photography Fri, 30 Sep 2016 21:35:45 GMT
The New Standard: 56mm http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/the-new-standard-56mm I am a wide angle guy. Period. My favorite FOV is more wide than narrow. When I'm picking up a camera, wider lens is always priority. But... When I decide to go longer it is usually normal lens or standard portrait lens. So what is the exact focal length "number", someone might ask? It all get confusing when you start hopping from full frame to APS-c and back. But, I won't elaborate or explain about it here. This is just another hymn to great lens that Fujifilm made: 56mm/1.2. My Fuji X kit started recently, see my initial story here. And all of the lenses I got were primes, with the longest lens as 35mm. Than, I felt a need for a portrait focal length and being budget conscious decided to go for Kijiji based great deal on 60mm. I got that one. Like NIB. Great optical quality. Great files. Great for MACRO. I used this lens few times, but I was left wanting more.Too slow focusing. Too much hunting when focusing. And the biggest "issue" was that I was missing that stop and a change from 2.4 to 1.4 when I was pairing it up with my other Fuji primes (35 and 23) that I use for shoots like this one displayed bellow. Why having fast (and good) lenses and not shoot wide open when you need/want? Shooting with two xpro1 bodies on a assignment and going back and forth between two, if one body is a stop "slower" than the other, something had to be done. Of course, 56mm was the obvious choice. I sold my 60mm back on Kijiji with in days for the same great price I got it for, and went for the discounted price of Fuji's November promotion here in Canada. Yes, it was hard to "swallow" the price even with the discount, but a promise of such a fast lens (the fastest since my days with EOS and 85/1.2...) helped with the pain. This lens handling is better than that of EOS 85/1.2. Not just the shear size difference. But this lens focuses faster, hunts less. And the results were gorgeous. Keeper after keeper. I find focusing system in my ancient x-pro1 way more usable than my ex EOS or my current Nikon D800. I am afraid even to mention my previous rangefinder type of camera that had manual focus only and optical viewfinder and while very exotic piece of gear suffered greatly of back and front focus with high speed lenses when shooting wide open or close to it (one would never be sure if it is a short coming of archaic film era optics, wrong fine tuning of incompatible lens and body by manufacturer and repair service, or operator person?). Again, for what and how I shoot I find this combo far more successful in amount of usable frames when looking at focus accuracy. And I don't care if it's because smaller camera sensor, pure optic and physics of it. Doesn't matter! I care when I open the file, what do I see on my computer screen. Simple... My first shoot was with live subject, indoors. Working with mix of low available light and artificial sources (diva type Cine lights and classic tungsten "hot" lights), working f-stop was 1.2-1.8 range. Focusing points were all over the available diagram of selectable points in x-pro1 viewfinder. No problems! For framing accuracy and speed of shooting I used evf instead my usual choice of ovf. Quick review of the work done, shows great results. This great portrait lens paired with relatively old mirrorless Fuji X camera delivered exactly what I expected and more. This was a TFCD type of shoot, but I feel confident just after one "test drive" to use this combination for any upcoming professional assignment or stock shoot. Out of focus areas of the image show beautiful bokeh as expected, while focused points of the subject show that now famous Fuji definition. Shooting in relatively low light general set up in studio like conditions, there was little focus hunting (far less then with 60mm) and closest focusing distance never was an issue with the style of shoot I was doing. I belong to "old school" of "crop and compose before you press the button" so all images displayed here are as they were captured. The only cropping adjustment I do sometimes is to strait up the verticals or horizontals if I made that mistake while I was passionately concentrating to subject in front of me rather then the edge of the wall or bed post. All files were processed in Lightroom with help of VSCO plug ins as a starting point. The only gripe I have with 56mm is the hood it comes with. It is still in the original plastic bag in original lens box. It will stay there. I opted for eBay 62mm vented hood and UV filter (yes, I am one of those who puts UV filter on every lens I own). This way I can pack lens better and hood can stay on the lens at all times. I use the same type of hood on my 23mm. Oh, and it does look much cooler than that OEM plastic crap (even if it "hoods" less flare). My Fuji kit is now complete. I have no need for any other focal length or zoom (but I will NOT turn down any generous donations from Fuji Canada!). With this last glass, I am TOTALLY sold on this system. Enjoy the images. Until next time... Captured in Toronto, Canada. November 2014. Images displayed are from one of the two X-pro1 cameras + Fuji XF 56mm F1.2 lens. ]]> contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) TFCD fuji fujiX implied nude model nude portrait xpro1 http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/the-new-standard-56mm Tue, 02 Dec 2014 15:13:50 GMT Anatomy of Serbian Diner http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/anatomy-of-serbian-diner How do you define a happy moment? What is the formula for saving something in your memory? Do we need an actual photo to remember how good was the time we have with people we love? And the Food? Somehow in tradition of "my people", good times are usually associated with great food. Nothing unusual. This is common for most cultures anywhere in the world, so Balkan is no different... This particular evening was one that came close to perfection. My immediate family (my loving wife and my 3 kids), my dad, his brother and my cousins with their families. Where? Vracar. Old part of downtown Belgrade, at the house of my Dad's aunt (long time desist) where my cousin and his family now live. When? July of 2014, when we went for a family trip back to Serbia. Why? Occasion to meet with people that we don't see that often since we live across the world in Canada. This backyard has so much history. I remember coming to this place as a child, when I was younger than my youngest son is today. I remember my dad's aunt. I remember old cherry trees (now long gone), the smell of roasted lamb from the small kitchen... Now, it looks different yet the same. It looks beautiful and peaceful, this small house and backyard are now surrounded with high-rise condos and the street the house is on practically does not exists any more by being a hostage to all the parking lots. People who live here now love this place and it shows. Kids live here, dog too. It feels as a happy place. When you don't see someone for a long time and then you have only a brief moment to "catch up" sometimes it might be awkward. Not this time. This time was so relaxed. Not because there was some great Tokay (white Hungarian wine). It really felt that all people present wanted to be there at that spot at that time and spend time with other who were present. We all know how family gatherings can be stressful sometimes. Not this time. There was no argument. There was no shouting (typical for "my people"). Just nice conversation. Lots of laughter. Children playing. Great warm evening. I hope for another meet like this next time I go to Belgrade. Three generations of my family at the same place. Great people. Good food. Plenty of wine. Full Heart... Captured in Belgrade, Serbia in July 2014, with one camera and one lens: Fujifilm X-pro1 + Fuji X 35mm/1.4 Processed in Lightroom with help of VSCO. ]]> contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) Diner Family Fuji Serbia Summer Xpro1 http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/anatomy-of-serbian-diner Mon, 01 Dec 2014 20:04:45 GMT I RAN WITH THE BULLDOGS... http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/i-ran-with-the-bulldogs MINI INVASION 2014. MINIs attacked Fort George! There is hope for MINIACs in Toronto (and GTA). After much anticipation and looking at the weather report for the day in question, MINI INVASION happened on August 7, 2014. Let me tell you right up front: IT WAS GREAT. Not perfect, always room for improvement but all my remarks are minor and really can not overshadow the greatness of the day in general. Let's start from the morning. For this occasion, I had company on my driver's seat: Adrian "Lightwrangler", fellow member of Toronto MINI Club. He had a mishap with his old MINI, and at that point he was still waiting for delivery of his brand new F56. It was so much fun having a company in the car. Not just for a morning traffic jam on Gardiner (Expressway) in downtown Toronto heading West, but thru out the day. We headed to MINI Oakville for a meet with the rest of the gang and some Danish "delight" for breakfast. Food was delish, but no salty stuff and no tea (what? Not everybody likes sweet food in the morning. And tea? Aren't we driving "British Heritage" cars?). But, as I said minor stuff. I'm just spoiled, I guess. After the group of maybe 30ish cars and drivers got together, we headed up for Niagara on the Lake for the main event. Now, driving MINIs in the group IS FUN. Driving it on the highway as a group is fun even more. I drove few times this route this summer, and this time there was no traffic jams and bumper to bumper as I experienced few time in past few months. Perfect! We made it to the point of getting off the highway, and after a short confusion on which exit to take, the group "regrouped" and my trusty co-driver took over the task of leading "almost" lost group of MINIs (by using walkie-talkie) to the final destination. The little "direction brochure" that was handed to us in Oakville was a GREAT IDEA, but it required for drivers to have someone sitting next to them (like I did) and direct "turn by turn". We encountered great MINI direction signs on some intersections, but not enough and not on every point of turning... After driving thru picturesque and upscale town of Niagara on the Lake, we arrived at Fort George, the final destination. Greeted by good looking smiling people in black T-shirts with MINI logo, we got our "mug shots" done by sitting in our rides. Another great idea! By the mid day, I received email with the photo. Fast enough to be spread all over my social media (ultimate selfie with the car!). Rock on MINI people! Then, we got directed to proper parking spots. Time to mingle with other MINIACs. Now, there were already things to do at the event: register, get swag, get water, try our luck with bocce, check out MINI merchandise and of course check out some cool MINIs... First impressions, good and bad: Good: great place to park on grass (no gravel to damage the cars), Good: nice layout of improvised parking, Good: great location in general. Good: we got free swag. Good: great "Johnny on the job" facilities (mobile bathrooms). Good: free food with selection from great Food Truck Vendors. Great: DJ! I mean, who ever picked this dude to play basically 90% of my "car music" gotta get a bonus @ MINI. I have been on many MINI and MINI authorized dealers events and this is the first time that music was appropriate to MINI brand (if you can defined it that way at all). All good stuff! Bravo for the "sound track of the day"! And, of course few of these: Bad: not enough spots with shade (few more tents scattered on the field would be nice). Bad: not a perfect timing on having the food ready for hungry mob of MINI fans. Bad: no place for MINI clubs to present them selfs. Bad: not enough classic Minis (like it was on a very first invasion few years ago). I understand BMW Canada can not sell any parts and services to classic Mini owners, but "Zee Germans" own this iconic brand and just out of respect and tradition, corporate wigs in Richmond Hill should invite from time to time all these "die hard" car enthusiasts. It brings the good in people when they see old Minis. It brings memories, and even more smiles. Just look at what happened at the YDS for the unveiling of James Hunt Edition F56 few weeks ago, when we had MINIs of all models and all generation parked TOGETHER (!!) on the main Toronto Square. Again, the day was great. We had a chance to spend time on a great Canadian Historic site (and to remind our self that Canadians really won the War of 1812, after all). By the afternoon after a great meal, good time spent with fellow car nuts, a photo op with huge Canadian Maple leaf (thanks Donna!), some of the drivers continued to Buffalo for the MINI TAKES THE STATES event, and the rest of us headed back to TO. Great drive along Lakeshore, stop for some fresh Ontario produce. And to top it of: one stop at the local Kelsey's in Stoney Creek for a SINGLE pint of Stella (yes, Mr.Ociffer, just one with a meal) and again great time with MINI friends. For closing, I will repeat again: Thank you MINI CANADA. Thank you Frederic for getting in touch with our club and finding time to get our feedback. Thank you for making me a part of the event and for using my images for promotion. Cheers, for many more events like this! ]]> contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) Canada MINI COOPER MINI Canada MINI INVASION 2104 Ontario event summer http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/i-ran-with-the-bulldogs Sun, 17 Aug 2014 17:40:43 GMT New system in my bag http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/new-system-in-my-bag So after using Leica digital M system since it became available with first M8 model and raving about it any chance I had (see my previous post here on that subject), I woke up one day and had a "brain fart": why am I paying every few years for a rangefinder digital body so much money only to sell it 3 years after for a fraction of purchase cost (pure reality of shooting digital with any system. Basically using a computer with a lens mount. Not much, not less...)? Problem IS that Leica digital rangefinder loses value percentage wise far more than some other digital cameras, as they are overpriced to begin with (I have no idea what is going on but just check out the used prices on the net on year old M240s...). Lenses are a different story: Leica glass IS an investment. You can not go wrong with good (and desirable) Leica M lens. Over the years I acquired all lenses that I needed to complete the system. But, amount of money invested became crazy high... After all I am professional photographer, not wealthy collector. I got tired of dropping a big bag of cash every 3 years for a new Leica M body... Something had to change! It did. I sold off all my Leica gear, with in months. Return of cash was as expected and satisfying. But, now I needed a new "smallish" in size system that I can carry with me but still capable of producing great quality. After researching and trying different options, I decided on Fuji X system. Why? 1) because I knew Fuji from my Hasselblad xPan days (this 35mm panoramic camera was produced by Fuji including 3 great lenses). And I LOVED IT. 2) because I read so much positive stuff about X glass. 3) because hybrid viewfinder of xpro1 (even it's old camera for today's digital age) 4) because how X cameras are designed (retro styling with "knobs") and built (metal. As little plastic as possible). 5) because of the cost. 6) because full line of prime lenses (no interest in zooms). 7) because I don't care how big (or small) the X camera sensor is and that shallow depth of field is not "Holly Grail" of photography art ( keep in mind that 35mm cinematography Academy Ratio format that has been in use for decades in Hollywood, Bollywood and the rest of the film world IS ALMOST THE SAME SIZE AS APS-C sensor size). So what I did, I traded one medium priced (I said ONE) Leica tele lens that was not selling fast enough for Fuji X-pro1 and two prime lenses (14mm/2.8 and 35mm/1.4) and some essential accessories... Basically got the core of my new system for a great deal. Two lenses are equivalent of my usual focal lengths (21mm and 50mm). Getting used to field of view with new Fuji X glass was no brainier. Quality is there and then some! I have to say, I don't miss Leica glass... Now, getting used to navigating X-pro1 menus and different buttons (on the back) was and still is an issue (from time to time). Leica has solved this much nicer and simpler. BUT having a exposure compensation dial on top of the camera IS a great feature. Viewfinder, even being "so old" is another feature I like about this Fuji. No more clunky external viewfinders for my Wide angle work. And if precise framing is needed, switching to EVF is under the finger. How great is that?! My style of shooting does not require fast pace-action and reaction so all technical "imperfection" of EVF are not of much concern. Focusing speed with Fuji is great comparing to manual focusing with Leica M. I have more "hits" than before, and having a subject in focus by pressing shutter button while looking thru optical viewfinder is really great (and not possible with M). I can say, after few months of using Fuji I am getting more consistent result regarding focus than I even get with my Nikon D800. This Fuji really "looks up" in focus even with fast 35mm lens (normal field of view) full open @1.4... I took the camera with me to a few shoots so far, ranging from my son's birthday party, documentary/event assignments (for MINI Canada) to model shoots and even a Family trip to Europe (see sample pictures accompanying this story, all done with one X-Pro1 body and two primes). I even "tested" the quality and robustness of the system by banging it to the ground on the cobblestone of Belgrade's main square due to lousy Fuji strap getting loose (now gone and replaced by sexy and slick SAILORSTRAP from Warsaw). I am very satisfied with results. Files are exactly what I expected. Handling in Lightroom and applying my usual VSCO treatment is very nice. With these 2 prime lenses I find less "issues" to deal with in post than with Nikon's "holly trinity" zooms (12-24/24-70/70-200) that I use as well. Go figure! Did I say how sharp the images are? As my primary photography income in past few years is stock photography, Fuji X system with it's 16mp of resolution still produces files equivalent of "XL" size for stock market. Not D800 territory but still very acceptable. Remind you, many of my great sellers were captured with Leica M8 that is even less resolution. As far as megapixel "lust" goes, I kinda came to conclusion that 22-24 mp is ideal size for what I want and do. I had at one point or other, Canon 5D MKII and Leica M240 and those kind of file sizes were ideal (for me). Sure, my current X system camera is not there but still very satisfactory (there is rumor going on on the net as I am writing this in August 2014. that next generation of Fuji X will be just that- 24mp). Even when next generation arrives, I am sure the X camera that I use now will stay in my bag as a back up and not get sold. Extra body is extra body. And to go back to what I previous mentioned, I will not feel guilty owning an extra body considering how "cheap" I got it. A bit more about great Fuji X line of lenses. To rephrase a thought that I read recently: Fuji started this line of lenses for the sensor they had in front of them. These lenses work great in the environment they are made for. What ever "magic" Fuji put in technology of these cameras and lenses, results are amazing. I have no need or desire to use any other brand or type of lenses with my X-pro1 (even Zeiss Touit line, and I am a "Zeiss fan", and honestly I don't like the design of Zeiss lenses for X system) I have no need to experiment with "heritage" manual lenses of any kind. I want the auto focus on my (hybrid) rangefinder camera! I want auto focus because it works great (for what I do). In past few months I did not even have a need to manually override the auto focus (not possible on X lenses) so that is not a shortcoming for me in practice. On the other hand I love the feel of X lenses: all metal to the touch. Retro styling, and easy mounting. And then when you hold one, it's light. How? I have no idea, but the quality is there, so who cares. Yes, filter sizes are all over the map with X lenses. But, being a photographer for last 25+ years, I can always find a filter of particular diameter in my bottom drawer... Again, no issue. I am missing lens or two in my set. Don't get me wrong. I will not be getting any zooms for this system. I want small sized glass on X body. Small and as fast as possible. So, I am looking at that 56mm/1.2. That is next on my list. Final one will be 23mm/1.4. That's it. Set will be completed. At the end, I'm looking forward to this fall and Photokina. New cameras from Fuji are coming. Even new lens or two. My biggest wish for the future of Fuji mirrorless system would be that somehow X line "gets stretched" in to PANORAMIC FORMAT (Digital xPan). What? A man can dream! Fuji is doing the right thing. They listen. And they deliver. I have no regrets adopting Fuji X system as my "mobile kit". It's not perfect but what system is? I enjoy using it. More important, I enjoy the results. Even with APS-C sensor and all... Yup, I am a convert. Now where is that X-Pro2 ?... P.S. Since this is my blog on my home page, I am giving my self the right on shameless plug directed at Fuji Canada: I am available any time to take any of your great X gear for a test drive... Thank You. ]]> contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) Digital Fuji X-Pro1 camera mirrorless rangefinder travel http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/new-system-in-my-bag Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:30:33 GMT 25 Years a MINIAC... http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/25-years-a-miniac  

 

Story about yours truly on MINI SPACE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed it?...

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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/25-years-a-miniac Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:13:29 GMT
Essential Auto Clubbing http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/essential-auto-clubbing April. A month of "waking up" here in Toronto. Temperature finally rose above zero for longer periods of time. Sun even decided to stay clear entire day... Finally. But, you never know, as they're calling for snow again tomorrow... With nicer weather it became easier for people here to interact directly with no electronic mail or social media or mobile technology. Yes, I appreciate all the benefits of before mentioned "tools" in helping me connect, but meeting good people in person is still essential. Over the last two weekends I had a couple of fun outings with some good people that inspired me to write this. First was previous Sunday. I believe first sunny weekend of this long awaited spring. I had planned to go out of town and shoot a new MINI F56, just introduced recently. Unfortunately, my "car connection" (who was about to provide the hero car) flaked out last minute, so I was left out with no "subject". And it was a perfect day to shoot some nice cars... What to do? Few text messages, a Facebook posting. That's it. Meet was set. Good people showed up. No matter if they lived near or totally opposite part of GTA (largest city in Canada!). No matter if their cars were dirty that morning or in storage for entire winter. Good people showed up with shinny MINIs and if they were not clean enough, some detailing on the spot was done. Location I picked was my "usual spot" on the East side of Toronto, near the lake. Perfect blend of public yet deserted place and old Canadian architecture. Afternoon was great! Produced some great photography of various generations and models of my favorite car brand. Exactly what I had in mind. But, all that would not be possible without Good People. Essential Auto Clubbing. Second event was the following weekend. This time in Hamilton. It was announced as "MINI MOD DAY 1" on our club's poor web page. Long time in planning. But still you never know who will show up. It was imagined as a gathering of MINIACs for a do-it-your-self modding day. Good young man that I met previous weekend for the first time was the organizer and person in charge of securing a great location for all cars to be indoors. Again, Good People showed up! Indoor location was filled up with MINIs. Some Good People brought their cars to mod, other Good People came just to give a helping hand: wheel swapping, coilovers mounting, electrical work... Everything and anything was on the "menu". Essential Auto Clubbing. Yes, this is a club. No, we have no membership fees, we have no "regular" or "mandatory" weekly, monthly or annual meetings. Despite the fact that MINI CANADA year after year refuses to acknowledge this small army of dedicated fans and genuine brand promoters. All these Good People are car nuts. Some more then the other. They all consider this small car a bit more than mode of transportation. And the key thing is they SHOW UP. ]]> contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) assignment auto club canada car photography custom cars mini mini canada mini cooper modding toronto http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/essential-auto-clubbing Mon, 14 Apr 2014 20:18:48 GMT Mr. Barry is no friend of mine... http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/mr-barry-is-no-friend-of-mine This is a story about Human nature. Story about bad business. An episode from life of professional photographer. Last summer I was contacted by Mr. Barry to do a few shoots "in Detroit" (me being just "few hours away") for his (US, West Coast) magazine featuring my favorite car brand. My first thought was: great! The man writes about this car, he drives this same car (I saw it in the mag.), he mingles with the people who love this car, he must be a stand up dude... Cause I never ever met a person in the community of people who enjoy this particular 4wheeler that is not proper... Boy, was I wrong! Communication with Mr. Barry was like pulling teeth. No managing from his side at all. I ended up setting up everything spending far more time then anticipated, for one of those shoots I even had to find the location last minute (in "different" country after all: we shot at the farm in Ontario, Canada I scouted last minute). But, that was the fun part. I did not mind doing all extra stuff and of course doing actual photography. Problem was (still is) I did not get payed by Mr. Barry. I have no idea where he found the formula to pay contributors "one day at the later date" when stuff gets published?? I have been working editorial assignments for last 20+ years in this country and never encountered that kind of system. Even then, I agreed to that as I had no choice at that point. The man had my work, and all I had was "his word"... Maybe he's thinking: "well this car nut should be grateful to shoot for my Magazine, and his photos featured in only publication of this kind in North America... He really does not need to get payed on the top". Beside the fact that Mr. Barry pays on the level of Chinese sweat shops (considering what he is getting in return), I agreed on the fee (and To get it once the stuff is published): So, stuff got published! A month ago. No word from Mr.Barry. Not a single line. Thank you note at least. What thank you note? I sent him a courtesy email 10 days ago reminding him about due invoice: not a word back. He must be a busy guy! What a disappointment! And it's not that I don't care for minuscule fee I did not receive. I do! Just because I am fed up with notion that professionals like me should work for free in exchange for exposure. Dentist don't do it. Bankers definitely don't do it. Why photographers? Mr. Barry is no friend of mine. Take what ever you wish from this, and maybe next time when you open his Magazine think about if he payed all photographers and writers who made the stuff you enjoy to read...

 

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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) Magazine assignment editorial nopay http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/mr-barry-is-no-friend-of-mine Mon, 03 Feb 2014 16:22:59 GMT
Somehow shooting film today is "cooler"? http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/somehow-shooting-film-today-is-cooler Disclaimer: Author has nothing personal against photographers who choose to shoot film over digital today ( November 2013.). All images illustrating this post were produced on FILM and they are part of series FROM LAST CENTURY. So I read today one too many blogs or essays about how the author "rediscovered" film in his/hers art of photography. How after getting that "old" film (Leica) camera author's craft suddenly "changed" and the change in medium basically made this person a better photographer... How by not "chimping" at the back of gigantic DSLR ( and getting instant feedback from LCD) made this person "insecure" and striving for better images. Or another one who states that once in possession of film camera there is suddenly a "magic" of not pressing the shutter button so often and so long ("continuous shooting mode")... Don't even mention a popular mantra off the net that goes something like this: "shoot film, not pixels" or "film over food". And that somehow "real" photographers have to shoot celluloid... Everything else is less "art"... Really? What if you're like me and started with OR-WO film and Forte Silver Paper in Eastern Europe in 70s? I loved photography from the first day I took my father's Zorki. But, I dreaded post production part of the process. I always hated developing negatives. Always! Dust was my immortal enemy. For years. Having an "exciting" roll of B&W film in my hands, only to discover all bunch of dust spots after developing it by my self in my family's home bathroom... Devastating! Or spending hours making a "perfect print" from that "thin" negative frame. Numerous copies of that expensive paper, smelly chemical odour on my fingers (never was a fan of those darkroom "pliers"...). Burning, dodging, burning, dodging. The entire process was too tedious and nerve racking. The reward was great, don't get me wrong. Finally making that B&W print the way I wanted was priceless... But, the process... So yes, I started in "analog age". I learned my craft with film. Various formats. From 126 to 4x5... I did it all. My "way of shooting" was always the same. Regardless of what type of film was behind the lens. The "way I see the world around" was/is the same regardless. My views and style changed of course because I got older and matured as a human, not because my camera has memory card instead of a roll or sheet of film... And then the evil "D" showed up! Yes, digital started creeping up. From the first encounter of early "digital monsters" by Kodak (at the introduction sessions at IATSE 667 meetings) I knew film is ready to be retired. Some 13 years later, Kodak is gone and and I don't shoot film at all any more. As soon as full frame digital cameras were reality, all my photography became "film less". No regrets. None. At the same time, I still "think" the same as if I have film in my camera. I don't click like crazy. If you look at my cameras shutter counter, you'll see that numbers are extremely low for gear used professionally (I sold my 5D MKII after 5 years of "heavy use" both stills and video with 16K on the clock, my M9 after 4 years has less than 7K). No excessive "chimping" here as well. I do like the fact that today's cameras have that luxury of displaying just captured image, but that tiny LCD screen is not in use. Heck, my Digital Rangefinders even have a half case with the screen "flap door" covering it. Out of the way, out of mind. And at the end of the day, my batteries do last longer. After a full day of shooting on location, I am not "glued" to my lap top reviewing and editing my work in Lightroom or Photoshop. If I am in South America or Africa, after the productive day, I back up my cards on external hard drives while enjoying a bottle of local brewski and that's it! What's there, is there. All my hard work will be "inspected" back in Toronto... Sometimes I even leave lap top at home. No backing up while traveling. No reviewing the work while traveling as well. Just as I did with film. I keep my full memory cards safe and secure. Just as I did with rolls of Kodakchrome some years ago. Nothing changed. I admit one thing: I do love fine and powerful modern gear. Sometimes I even go over budget to get that particular piece of gear. But, once in my possession that's it. I am ready for a "love affair". I stop looking around for a next "great thing". I tent to keep my gear long enough to write it off with my professional practice if not longer. Yes, cameras/lenses are objects of desire for me as well. I keep them in perfect cosmetic shape. I hate dings, nicks and brassing. I even get teased by my friends for being "anal" about it. But, my gear stays perfect. For me, having a banged out and scraped camera was never an "ID" for being a pro... Digital age brought us devices that are not "cameras" any more, but rather "computers" with lens mounts. So, like any other computer today's image capturing devices have much shorter life span. That is a reality. Still, all that has no effect on how I shoot. I don't need to go "back to film" in order to improve my self. I did film. I did it for so long. I am totally comfortable sitting in my living room "developing" my images on my lap top and not standing in some dark, smelly, rental darkroom in downtown Toronto juggling paper sheets in darkness and waiting for prints to show in the developer... I am guilty, but not feeling romantic about film... ]]> contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/somehow-shooting-film-today-is-cooler Fri, 01 Nov 2013 14:23:25 GMT Why Leica (M)? http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/why-leica-m I don't know if that has to do anything with the fact that first camera ever I was given to shoot was a rangefinder. Sure, it was a "copy" of the "original", my Dad's Russian made Zorki... Chrome body with 50 lens and full leather case. Smell of that leather I count as one of "the smells from my childhood". I struggled with that camera to make it in focus. For a teenage kid, rushing to press the shutter button it was unbearable to "wait" and line up that "double image" in the little "window"... But I did it! And I photographed my first celluloid images with that camera... After Zorki, many other cameras came in to my bag, some stayed longer some not. I was a "Canon guy", then "Nikon guy", then "Hasselblad guy", then "Nikon guy"... You get the picture. My "second encounter" with rangefinder type of camera was with Hasselblad's xPan. I loved that machine! Two lenses only (45 and 90 mm, on two bodies) that's it. I took it with me all around, my perfect travel gear. I still wish it will come back in to this century as "digital reincarnation" but seeing in which direction the company is heading with latest products, I doubt it will EVER happen. When I was a young photographer, one of the first names I learned was "Leica". But, I was never able to get it. Always "out of reach"... I don't think I even held a little Leica in my little hands until I emigrated to Canada in early 90s. One of the first "things of business" once in Toronto was to go to Alt's and "feel the brass" of German tradition. But, my professional carrier and style of shooting never led me to Leica M in all my "analog years". Once digital became reality, I left film for good. I don't own a film based camera any more except for my father's Zorki. Don't use it for sure. "Work horse" cameras were here. Big lenses, small lenses, shift lenses, zoom lenses. But, I needed/wanted a different kind of tool. The gear that I can have with me at any time (traveling or spending time with family), that would be small enough not to be a burden. A digital camera that can deliver great results in situations when I needed it. The lens and body or two combo that would not scare away my subjects, while shooting at unknown places. Great lenses. Rangefinder. Leica M8 came out. Digital rangefinder. Revelation! Is it possible? They were saying "yes"... I got one. The copy I got was a lemon (famous "issues" you can read about elsewhere). Mandatory UV/IR filters came as well. My first body was replaced with the "good one". Then the lenses came along. First modestly "zm" and "VC" until I found great internet deals on used Leica glass. I got the second M8 as well. My "all around kit" was reborn! Even with all known shortcomings of first digital M, I was able to create hundreds of personal and stock images that would not exist for a simple fact that at the given moment I would not have had my big Canon (or Nikon) with me. Thru out my carrier as a Director of Photography I was fortunate enough to travel to exciting and distant locations. Carrying professional video gear was "load" enough, so having a pro level (still photography) DSLR gear was out of question. Digital Leica M was/is the perfect solution. Every moment possible when not looking thru (video camera) viewfinder, my eye is on a Leica's rangefinder. Some of that you can see in series of my books at Blurb. Every new generation of Leica M digital brought more and more versatility. M9, the full frame sensor and better sensitivity. New M (Typ240), video capability and live view (and possibility to use other type of lenses on M body). But, when I got new M I did not rush to mount any big-ass lenses on puny M body. No desire. I don't see that as (this camera's) purpose. What I rushed to try out was "new" rangefinder focusing. That, I found improved over the previous digital Ms. That, I love. Better high ISO is great. Not a revelation (I shoot 80% of my work on base level) but good to have when needed. Battery life is improved. That I like. File size/resolution is at my "sweet spot" of 24mp, so my computer doesn't get "chocked up" digesting it. Possibility of properly framing lenses wider than 28mm (when framing is critical) with help of EVF is great. The same goes for properly framing tele lenses, if 100% accurate framing is needed. What I especially like is the fact that the newest Digital M "feels" the same in my hands (dressed up in Luigi's "flap" leather half case) as the first one. I am not picky about the minor thickness difference. My Leica M lens kit is modest, comparing to some. Minuscule even, comparing to all new "Leica aficionados" that are flooding numerous Leica group pages on Social Media with snap shots of tree tops and pets, done with fastest possible optics ever made. I don't own Noctilux, sorry. Don't get me wrong! I would love to have it in my bag. But, at this moment I can't (i am open to donations, of course!). At the same time, I get by just fine with basic layout of 15, 21, 28, 35, 50 and 75 mm lenses. It is a fine mix of Leica brand with some "spice" of Zeiss and Voightlander. Both my M9 and New M can work magic with these focal lengths. When I use Leica digital rangefinders I have no need for zooms, and other "specialty" glass. I see the world around me in "primes". There is something unexplainable when I mount my old 50/1.4 Lux on Leica M: it just "fits" like no other DSLR and the same focal length. Same for 35/2.0. Yes, I have 15 and 21. Both are needed since I shoot extensively (travel) architecture and interiors. And that tiny Voightlander 15/4.5 is so hard to pass. Even with all post production needed after, the versatility and usability of that "micro" wide is worth it. It was a permanent lens on cropped sensor (one of my M8s had it on, all the time!). With full sensor, it is a "must glass" in my bag for any serious shooting. For portrait "department", I am on Summarit 75mm. I had 75/1.4 for a few years. I found that lens to be just like a Super Model: so beautiful when all "done up" with perfect make up, perfect wardrobe, and with all entourage, in ideal advertising campaign. Meaning, I missed too many shots because of finicky focus shift, too heavy to be on camera all the time. Too exotic and too bulky to be in the travel kit 100% of the time. On the other side, little Summarit is with me all the time. Got hundreds perfect shots with it. Never missed a focus! And you could argue the "look" of one against the other. But, as I mentioned before: I look thru my Leica more in focal lengths only rather than what "look" particular focal length will produce comparing one "tele" to other lens of a same type. I needed small and accurate 75mm, and Summarit was better fit. I could not keep both. One of each, otherwise I would "morph" in a collector rather then photographer and again in my bag there is room only for one 75. Lens is there to be used and to produce, if it stays home on the shelf and I am in Amazon Forrest shooting, it is just a glass ashtray left at home. An expensive ashtray! Digital Imaging technology is rushing. No, make it speeding. Life span of the gear is becoming increasingly shorter with every new x-mas. Even just looking at professional video gear advances, makes me nauseous... Other camera brands are trying hard to get the piece of action from Leica. Some better than others. One man can't have it all! Options are numerous. But, being an "old school" guy who started in prehistorical age of analog photography, I always wanted to shoot with Leica. I waited for digital to come around and get my Leica. Yes, system is not perfect and IT WILL NEVER BE PERFECT. If you want the latest and greatest "menu options" and features, pass Leica. The most megapixel? The best video features? Not Leica again. Rangefinder concept is not for everybody. But, I find I will be using my already "mature" Leica M9 far longer than any other DSLR. Same with Leica M (Typ240). With Digital Leica M, I have no need for more stuff to be part of the features. If not, I like less. I just need optical rangefinder (hope it will stay on with any other new generation of "M"), M mount, great quality files, same physical size, proper build quality and reliability. Red Dot and all. I got all from Leica M. ]]> contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/10/why-leica-m Mon, 14 Oct 2013 00:37:25 GMT MINI OBSESSION. http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/6/mini-obsession MINI maniac manifesto... How it all started? Me being a kid that used to play with die cast cars almost exclusively, one car had to be a favorite. It was sort of a soul searching: Tornado, Capri, Land Rover,... And ended up on Mini. Corgy Toys white Mini with black bonnet and boot. That was the one! Fast forward to young manhood and wanting to get my first car. It just happened to be a Mini again. Old beaten up rust bucket that I got from my future brother in law, for the exact money I saved to get a new Canon F-1. I got it painted (in a barn), had it fixed up. And she was a beauty. My first of several Minis I had... Fast forward to XXI century: New MINI become a reality and every day normal thing on the roads all over the world. MINI brand was reborn, and I was lucky enough to enjoy it as well. The new MINI is everything the old was and then some: it is stylish, it looks like the old one, and it is as spoiled and temperamental as the classic Mini was. I won't go in to details about handling, suspension, wheels on the corners, turbo this, supercharger that, bla, bla, bla,... You can read about it on any MINI forum. To accompany my photos, I will try to explain the obsession with MINI... Classic Mini was genuine. Planned as something really minimal, it became so much more than that. The new car continues on the same path, of course adopted for the today's market demands. But, for me the MINI I drive is more than 4 wheels... After a frustrating day or a hard shoot at the location, or a grueling trip or spending a day behind the camera shooting boring corporate subjects, my mental relaxation is a proper wash and detailing of my Clubman. A hose, bucket, a car... Works for me. Baseball or hockey games don't work for me. A drive in my MINI to Water Plant at the Beach in Toronto (and back) does the trick. Very well. I usually run in to a person or two who want to find out more about the car, or just it happens that they have one as well. Classic or new one. Does not matter to me. As long as it's mini... Personalizing the ride. MINI is made for that. There is a cliché line about that there are no two MINIs alike on the roads. That is so true. I don't think I ever seen 2011 Clubman S in white silver that looks the same as mine. I do remember that at the same time I got my MINI, there was another lucky guy in Leslieville that got the same "Soho edition" package as mine. On the dealer's lot, our two MINIs were the same. But, they left the lot... And with in few months, both cars "morphed" in to something else. Then, they were different. In any of the meets of MINI owners (being that our local Toronto crew, or Southern Ontario members or even MINI invasion organized by MINI Canada) I never saw two identical MINIs... Going back to people I met with MINI. The clubbers! The crazies just like I am. The MINI army. Those are the people who get upset when another MINI passes by and the driver does not wave back. Those are the geeks that know what "boot" and "bonnet" are. Those are the ones that can get really heated up on a simple question: run flat tires or NON run flat tires on MINI. Yes, I was lucky enough to meet quite a few of them in the years I drive MINI and have joined SOMC (Southern Ontario MINI Club) and TMC (Toronto MINI Club). We all try to "fight the beast" of hectic living in big North American city and try to get together as much as we can to drive together our cars and "shoot the shit" about our cars or what ever else... Accompanying images in this blog post were made during one evening like that in early June of 2013. Just by checking the "mug shot" of "prime suspects", you can get the picture who are the people driving MINIs today in Toronto. We are all colors, all nationalities, all professional backgrounds. All of us have a huge reason for driving exactly this car. And when we find time to meet, being that a nice cruise outside the city to vintage British car market or laying down the twisties in Muskoka on a Rattler or just a sit down for a good bite, or as of lately the evening convoy to ERTEFA in Woodbridge... We always have a great time. What else is there to ask for?

 

 

A Serbian BBQ, of course! But, we got that on our last "MEET, DRIVE, MEAT" event at Royal Meats in Etobicoke (above picture to prove it).

 


Thank you, Sir Alec Issigonis. Where ever you parked your Mini...

 

 

 

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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/6/mini-obsession Thu, 27 Jun 2013 22:15:03 GMT
MINI Heaven Weekend, part 2. http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/6/mini-heaven-weekend-part-2
MINI Canada used to rock this city... Few years back we had MINI Invasions, two years in a row. Then the third one got cancelled. Then some less than great small events happened (last summer). It looked like MINI Canada forgot the actual MINI drivers (owners)...

Fast forward few days ago: where? MINI Canada Facebook page. What?











ROCKSTAR HOTEL MINI DRIVE EVENT!










Although announced last minute, the event was sweet! At least for the part I was able to attend. After returning early form Mini Meet North at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, I went strait down to Lakeshore West...














This past Saturday June 15th, 1:00PM to 7:00PM, at Ontario Place Parking Lot 2, MINI Canada had an exclusive drive event where their professional  drive instructors helped participating drivers  refine skills and show them how to fully enjoy their own MINIs on a small circuit. Another bonus was a chance to ride in the 1st Canadian MINI John Cooper Works GP for a few hot laps. 










After all the fun-filled driving, participants were invited to rock out at a private performance by the iconic British punk rock band The Stranglers (unfortunately, that part I had to skip even being a Fan of the band since my teenage years...).







Good job, MINI Canada! 

I hope more days like this are ahead of us this summer. The small circuit was fun, the instructors were great (and funny!), the MINI girls were cute and friendly, there was free swag and free (great) food as well. What else a man can ask for?...












Unique moment was when a lady walked in from a near by park and asked at the registration desk if she can buy a ticket for what ever these people were doing with (their own) MINIs.... She wanted to be a part of it right there! Money in her hand! Then a sweet and polite MINI girl told her she has to buy a MINI first... Lady was all bummed down.





All together it was maybe twenty MINI owners and their cars. All variety of models, from first generation R50 and R53 all the way to brand new JCW Paceman. Also very interesting was a generation and character variety of all MINI owners that showed up. Just a proof that this little car is accepted by everybody. 











I was also happy to meet Frederic, MINI Canada Central Region Manager and exchange few words with him. Told him a bit about Toronto MINI Club and assure him that his company has foot soldiers in this city. Grass roots, sort of speak. We want to help and promote this car brand. So many members of our club want more days like this from MINI Canada. Track days? VIP days? Show and shine days? You call it MINI Canada, we will be there!...




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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/6/mini-heaven-weekend-part-2 Fri, 21 Jun 2013 19:02:26 GMT
MINI Heaven Weekend, Part 1. http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/6/mini-heaven-weekend-part-1

I drive my MINI 9 months in a year. Those 3 left (in the winter) I keep it off the roads mainly because of salt and snow and city drivers who don't know how to drive in bad winter condition (while living in Canada!!!).

 

 

 

So, when the nice weather comes, I love attending any kind of group events (big and small) where I can drive (and show off) my Clubman S. One of those times was this past weekend in June...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enter MINI Heaven Weekend, part 1.

 

 

Prime suspect: Tamer Metwalli, the JOLTFREAK.

 

Just a single peak at the monster Mini "SS" he rolled down this year, tells you all about the dedication. This Egyptian-Canadian is one crazy Mini enthusiast! Because of him Mini Meet North exists.

 

 

 

It happened at the annual event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on FATHERS DAY WEEKEND from June 14 to 16, 2013 on the Mosport Grand Prix Circuit – Canada’s Home of Motorsport.

 

 

 

Mini meet North 2013 was part of the greater happening of The Vintage Automobile Racing Association of Canada and their annual event with racers from across Canada and the US comping in three days of racing in six race groups.

 

 

 

Over past 3 days, this was the largest annual gathering of all minis (Classics or Second generation). This is the one place where owners of "die hard" old Minis shake hands and mingle with owners of BMW made MINIs... Pure bliss!

 

 

 

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is an ideal place for MINI gathering. Large grounds with great nature, great places to put up a tent, have a camp fire see a movie or "Top Gear" compiled stories featuring our little car.

 

 

 

Great time, while having a sounds of real auto races in the background. Seeing all these classic if not iconic race cars at one place was an experience on it's own. Sow and shine display was another chance to check out most of the great vehicles on one parking lot.

 

 

 

From ultra expensive racing Cobras to classic Mustangs and some vintage British and American icons on 4 wheels. And our MINIs, of course...

 

 

 

 

 

I attended this event with my two boys. This was their first time camping. Both passed with flying colors. Sleeping in the tent, outdoors over the chilly June night was great experience for all 3 of us. This was a chance for me to test out all additional hardware I have for Clubman, by loading it with 3 mountain bikes and all necessary camping gear for this trip, minus the food (!!!). For that we have great help and generosity from Nancy and Tamer and by crashing some lunch parties for the real racers. This test was completed with success as well. MINI can haul!

 

 

 

We had to leave the event a day before it ended. Sunday was the last day and judging from experience from previous year , another great day completed with some track time as well. By getting early back to the City, I was able to complete my "Heaven weekend" and making it to another MINI event, but more about it in part 2.

 

 

At the end, a big thanks to Tamer Metwalli for keeping Mini Meet North alive. It was pleasure spending time with him and his lovely family. And his ham and eggs are great! Again, thank you Nancy and Tamer...

 

 

 

P.S.

 

Thanks to Cooper for making this experience complete. God Dog!

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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/6/mini-heaven-weekend-part-1 Fri, 21 Jun 2013 17:45:29 GMT
Fitted weekend in Caledon http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/5/fitted-weekend-in-caledon Fitted weekend...

 

 

Yes, I am a Gearhead... I am also a Petrolsexual as well...


Any chance I have, I like to dedicate my spare time to doing something related to cars. I was like that most of my life. When I was a kid, I collected die cast "Dinky" cars... I had many. Some of those are still hiding in some closet at my parent's place in Serbia.

 

Back to the present: I like going to car shows. Any kind but "official" Toronto Car Show (in winter). That is of no interest to me. I love seeing "owner's" cars, not brand new "show room" cars. So, there are few events that I attend from time to time. This weekend I wanted to see some " stretch & poke" crowd. For uninformed, those would be mostly European and Japanese cars lowered (dumped) on all kinds of suspension modifications (springs, coils, bags,..) and stretched tires over wide rims sticking out of wheel arches.

Here comes FITTED...

 

Event that was promising by all the buzz on FB and on their web page. Day was sunny but kinda cold and windy. Place? Now, that was my big disappointment! Who the hell makes a "show & shine" car show on dusty gravel covered field?? No sense what so ever! My car was detailed a day before and after arriving and parking it with other cars, black roof of my MINI was gray (!!) covered in thick layer of sand paper like dust... Shame on who ever fought of this... Yeah, some "VIP" rides were under covered roof in one of the hangars, but for the rest of us? Out in the dust and wind... Big minus! OK, now the sucky part is off my chest, we can go back to cars: lots of nice rims, man! It was like BBS show room. All VW, STIs, Civics, Zs, Subs,... Very different. Most of the cars were relatively recent productions, with few gems from the past. My favorite, 1965 VW van "shagg'n wagon" with 2.3 liter engine and big brakes aaaaaand original sheet metal and paint. Nice! Than a classic bug, dumped to the ground and of course Carman Gia... Lovely trio. There were some "red necks specials" as well. I will not mention them by brand or name out of respect. But, gosh some were ridiculous...

 

On the other hand, there were some totally out of place rides. Like metallic orange Lamborghini, one red Ferrari or totally stock BMW series 5. Who brings cars like this to a custom car show? I dunno... I was in desperate search of some car models, but I guess not this day. Cold? Wind? That day of the month? I have no idea.

There were no "import car" models or any models for that matter. Just... I am not sure how many cars were there. But, it was crowded. That was good... I drove my Clubman S in company of my club buddy Alessandro. He brought his 2010 WC50 JCW MINI. There was another MINI R50 on the lot, but not that exciting. It was a pleasant drive for two of us coming from downtown Toronto, up North to Caledon. We spent a couple of hours at this event and enjoyed it (except for the dust, cold and wind).

 

 

Mission acomplished!

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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) caledon car show custom cars fitted gearhead low rider strech & poke http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/5/fitted-weekend-in-caledon Sun, 26 May 2013 02:47:56 GMT
My Dear Professor: thank you. http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/5/my-dear-professor-thank-you May 5th. Afternoon. Just sat down to browse the net. Clicked the FB, only to get stunned: my professor has died! Mr. Nikola Majdak was my professor on final year at Film Academy in Belgrade. Major of the course was animation. I won't talk here about his numerous achievements as film artist and professional. Too many to list. I will just try to pay tribute to THE MAN who stood in front of me and my (one) classmate on the final year of my studies. He was serious. He was direct. But, he made it easy. He was demanding but not pushy. His memory was "out of this world" good. Yes, we all joked about how he liked a nice brandy... Sort of speak. But, he was always there in his rather tiny classroom/office. We had lectures regularly (not like with many other "professors" who were there just by appointment and I guess to pick up a paycheck and the "title" I guess...). He build up his carrier before coming to be a educator. And then there were stories... About anything and everything film related. That was the treasure! That, you could not read in any book. For that, you had to be there! My time at ФДУ (Faculty of Dramatic Arts, former Film Academy) in Belgrade was at the time when unfortunately it was less and less chance to handle actual film stock. Times were tough and school budget was no better. "New" (very primitive by today's standards) Video technology was slowly "creeping in" and it was hard to study animation techniques when you had no basic tool: film stock. Mr. Majdak made it easy. Bottom line, he pushed me to finish and graduate the school on time. It was his suggestion to take upon final exam in Animation and he offered to be a mentor, naturally. So, I did it. I wrote the essay and guided by Mr. Majdak I was able to graduate on time (unlike many of my colleagues who waited years to "officially" finish). Professor helped me to successfully close this chapter of my life and I am forever grateful for the help I got from him. So many years have been passed since I left ФДУ, and eventually (left) Belgrade. Mr.Majdak remained one person from school days that I was hoping to see again some day on my visit to my home town. One professor that I wanted to talk to again. To tell him thank you. Since this morning, I am out of luck on that one. On the other hand, I was so glad to read about his son's (Nikola Majdak Jr.) recent success on Berlin Film Festival with his short animated film "Rabbitland". What a great story! I am sure the old man was proud of young Mr. Majdak. And he lived to see it. But also there are many, many more of us around the world (his former students) who were fortunate enough to learn from old pro. Not just about animation. More, much more... Thank you, Professor Majdak. Let your camera be tuned up, your film stock be fresh, all your lights with proper bulbs and filters... Where ever you are now... Thanks to my colleague Goran Basaric for letting me use his masterful portraits of Professor. "... Once upon a time, there were two brothers... One was smart, the other- Cinematographer..."

Nikola Majdak

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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) FDU Majdak Professor Thank You http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/5/my-dear-professor-thank-you Sun, 05 May 2013 20:43:13 GMT
Hulkanizing Sony PMW-F3 http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/4/hulkanizing-sony-pmw-f3 Disclaimer: this is not a technical (scientific) review of hardware/software of the camera equipment. No pixel peeping. No LUT discussion. No deconstruction in bits and pieces of video signal. Just a personal note of the Cinematographer excited about personalizing his tool...

 

Sony PMW-F3 is one the first professional grade HD video cameras featuring large "Super 35" size imaging sensor, in size similar to "classic" 35mm movie cameras. As a result, this camera records images with so called "shallow depth of field" so popular last few years in broadcasting business ( largely thanks to DSLR craze). Being the first model in Sony's line with this size of the sensor, when introduced camera was revolutionary on so many levels (great "look", stunning low light capability, PL mount, flexibility of mounting almost any lens on it with appropriate adapter...). BUT... Yes, there was a "but".

Ergonomics!

In that department Sony totally blew it. Camera had no physical personality. It looked awkward. Handled even more awkward. Parts on the exterior of the camera were giving up mixed messages: is it a "handy cam"? No, to large. Is it a shoulder cam? No, key shoulder mount parts were missing. Then the eye finder. Disaster! In more than two years of owning and using this camera, I did not use it once on the shoot. The damn thing was useless, in every aspect. Just check out on my pictures with all the 'fun" ways I tried to mask it and protect it. I even put an apple cozy over it to secure eventual ding or damage... And it was an big issue (more and more with new rules of air travel limitations) when packing the camera in less volume, smaller traveling case. The side hollow handle with zoom rocker? Come on. Another waste of real estate. No way to mount anything on that side of the camera.

Don't get me wrong. I love using this camera. Once "tricked out" with proper base plate and 15mm rods, good monitor or EVF and optional higher bit recorder this machine becomes one serious imaging tool... I did use this camera on most diverse types of shoots and locations. From corporate, reality, stock and documentary to narrative.

 

From cold North of Ontario, to heat of Zambian bush. Never ever this camera failed me. I never lost a clip of footage in more than two years. But the form of the camera bothered me more and more. And I wasn't going to dump it for cheap on the net or Kijiji and take up a mortgage for another "newest and greatest" from Sony, Canon or that other company. Simply made no sense. There was so much "life" left in this old girl.

 

Enter 3ality Technica...

 

Company from US, specializing in professional digital cinema camera accessories. They found the solution. It is called "F3 body armor". Basically it is a "new skin" for two sides of the camera. Two most problematic sides: top and right "dum" side. New skin is made of high grade aluminum finished in matte black and featuring numerous mounting 1/4 and 3/8 holes. What we loose?

On the top: whole OEM handle assembly together with stupid eye finder, headphone jack, play back commands, microphone holder, one of start/stop buttons.

On the right side: OEM handle and strap, another start/stop button, preview button, zoom in for focus button.

No worries...

What we gain?

On the top: less cluttered top with numerous mounting holes, "man handle" that is easy removable for transport (if needed) that features variety of mounting options including hollow center to "swallow" standard 15mm type rod for additional mounting option, protection,...

On the right side: it is a simple panel look with no hollow handle and again numerous mounting holes, smooth and flat side. All together, less bulk. Did I mention protection?

From the distance camera becomes a more boxy form, more defined. From close, it feels more handy with less bulk. It is much easier now to reconfigure and personalize the machine to operators needs and requirements. Man handle is great and comfy. All functions lost by removal of OEM parts are easily reprogrammed by using buttons on the smart side of the camera. Sound monitoring can now be executed by 2 RCA outputs bellow XLR jacks. All together, no original function is lost. To summarize, camera now looks like it was suppose to be when originally designed. Just look at the next few models done by Sony since then. Starting with FS100/700 and ending with newest F5/55. They all evolved to a box. That simple.

 

And now the icing on the cake: the price.

A little background about the pricing. You see, if you follow professional digital cinema camera news you would now that certain US Digital Cinema Camera Company has sued Sony Corporation over some patents and stuff. Demanding that all Sony's Digital Cinema cameras get destroyed. Go figure! Luck happened that the same US Digital Cinema Camera Company BOUGHT 3ality Technica recently. Result: all Sony F3 stuff gotta go (this is how I see it). So, in last month or so all F3 related accessories has been discontinued & discounted to remarkable 70% off (!!!). Can't go wrong with discount of that magnitude. This is Walmart style pricing! Good for us, consumers. I was able to give my two year old camera a proper "makeover". Totally happy. I gave old lady an new lease on life, to continue using her for quite some time. I have no need at this point upgrading to 4K , 5K, global shutter, RAW recording or what ever (i am not saying never, just not now). Some of my clients did not yet master the art of HD and tape less recording, let alone higher resolution and much higher requirements for footage storage. "Future proofing" my shooting with 4K? Some might say: Nice sales pitch from camera manufacturers to get you to spend more. At this time, HD will do. So Sony PMW-F3 dressed in 3ality body armor is staying in my bag a while longer...

 

P.S.

A big thanks to Scott Putnam from 3ality for helping me with my camera "makeover".

 

 

Update on May 2, 2013...

here is the answer from Mr. Joey Romero on DVX Forum about what was going with the company:

"... Yes, the day before NAB2013, JUST the Element Technica portion of 3ality was purchased by RED. 3ality is still 3ality but they are only in 3D now. Element will continue to do what we do but now we are under the RED umbrella. Our business strategy doesn't change much though. We will still be working diligently on non-RED and RED cameras alike. The "dump sale" has zero to do with this. In fact we are offloading the F3 because sales had dipped to zero for month long stretches. That's not a product line we should continue to sit on if it means sitting for years. So instead we figured we would make a lot of people happy by getting them into our gear and hopefully make some new, long term customers....".

And a bit about the product in question:

"...This armor kit was built at the request of Sony. It took a year of back and forth with Sony to come to a final product that they would sign off on. When we started selling the kits, the camera was already on its downslide in popularity. We had missed the boat. Because we made such a small number, the production costs were through the roof. What we will never ever do again, is run these two pieces. Ever. Never ever."

 

 

This is GREAT just to clear things up, thans Mr. Romero!

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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) 35mm Body Armor Cinema HD PMW-F3 Sony Video http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/4/hulkanizing-sony-pmw-f3 Fri, 26 Apr 2013 02:15:56 GMT
Run to Ancaster in April... http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/4/run-to-ancaster-in-april Sunday morning in April: getting together with some "petrol head" friends. My MINI buddies from SOMC (Southern Ontario MINI Club).

 

 

This is our yearly run in early spring. Final destination: Ancaster, Ontario. British Car Flee Market. This time around 19 (!!!) MINIs in total with few new faces. The group is growing. Great! Weather was brisk cold but sunny. Looking outside from the warm room, you would think spring is here. Not yet! When i started my MINI in the morning, outside temperature gauge was showing "skinny" 4 degrees C. Perfect, since I still have my winter rubbers on the car...

From our meeting place to the final destination the road took us thru some great twists and turns around Hamilton, Ontario area. What a great route! Thanks, Mr. Michael Williams.

 

 

I love coming to this place, again and again. It feels like time stopped some time ago, in sixties... When British had a thing going with all cars they produced on the "Island". Before all Hundais, Kias, etc... Before turbos, electronic injections, limited slip. Carburators, baby!

Design, form factor, all metal-very little plastic...

 

 

 

This place was filled with gray haired gentlemen, all with spring in their steps walking around these great cars. It's like time did not move...

I stopped for a moment thinking of my Dad and my Grandfather. They were both "gearheads", sort of (my Dad still is. Back in Serbia he is designing AND BUILDING HIM SELF a 3 wheels, single seat car from the scratch). My late Grandfather (my mum's father) always had some kind of "ride". Starting with BMW motorcycle back after the Second World War. In my family house's basement (Belgrade, Serbia) there are still numerous German made,  old tools for fixing engines and such. These two old geezers (bellow) could be just like my folks...

 

 

 

 

It was nice to mix our New MINIs with all old generation cars. And please, don't even consider starting the argument on how "new" MINI is not a Mini. Bull! If you ever drove the original (I did, owning two back in late 80's when all my friends were lusting after brand new Yugo 55) the second generation has the same DNA. Crazy handling, more comfort (and size). Original Mini is CLASSIC. Great classic. But not a Mini for every day use. That said, if I could I would have one classic any time of the day or night...

 

 

 

 

 

As any flee market, this was filled as well with lots of junk. Among all of that, there was some "gold" as well. I had to check out all the die cast models. As my own collection came to full capacity, what I have left is to admire all the other cars that are not on my shelf. No complaints...

 

Some more "sheet metal gold"...

 

What a great place for a day!

History of British Automobiles in one parking lot.  You don't see them that often on the roads of GTA. Especially the classic Mini. Still, my No.1 car. This Baby Blue "S" was (is) the essence of coolness...

 

 

By early afternoon, hunger kicked in... The "original crew" from early morning meeting spot, ended up in Mississauga for some serious Mexican... Until next time, my friends!

 

 

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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) Ancaster Club Clubman Cooper Cruise Flee Market Mini SOMC mini cooper http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/4/run-to-ancaster-in-april Mon, 22 Apr 2013 01:45:51 GMT
First Day of April... http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/4/first-day-of-april Still no spring in Toronto. Winter is trying hard to stay an extra day, week,...

Today I got a notification that somebody actually "liked" my submission for the best photo competition over at I SHOT IT web site. This one is part of Black and White competition 1. I entered one of my favorite images from India.

 

Let's see what will Jury think about it...

 

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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) I SHOT IT contest photo competition submission http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/4/first-day-of-april Mon, 01 Apr 2013 19:01:06 GMT
Revealing the new Home page http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/3/introduction Long over due!

 

Finally, i got some time to put my new home page together. My photography from recent years. Old web site is going to web history...

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contact@stevenmiric.com (FOTOGRAFIA INC.) fotografia inc home home page new start web page http://fotografiainc.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/3/introduction Mon, 25 Mar 2013 23:20:37 GMT