Analog Apex

The blend of analog photography & modern Motorsport...

I'm always up for a creative challenge, so I jumped at the opportunity to really test out the EOS 650 35mm camera during a IMSA race at Virginia International Raceway a few weeks ago with my trusty 50mm 1.8 and a rented 70-200mm. I also had my Hasselblad 500cm with me as well for some more static shots. Lets get right into it! For the Canon I was shooting Kodak T-Max 400 a Black and White favorite of mine and I'm sure many others, and I was also shooting some Fuji 400h Pro for the first time. For the Hassy I was shooting some expensive, yet sexy, and magical, Fuji Chrome Velvia 50, also for the first time. 

Rahal Letterman BMW M6 blasting down the back of the track...

Rahal Letterman BMW M6 blasting down the back of the track...

As the day got underway I was pumped with how decently well the Canon auto focus held up and dealt with cars hustling around the track some places over 100 mph. It would sometimes go out of focus and not be spot on however I just made sure that I was 100% sure I nailed the shot, because well as we all know, you can't review your images! In total I had 48 shots of black and white and 72 shots of color. 120 shots is not a lot esp when you are shooting all day and want to capture all parts of an event but I made the most of it alternating between the track and the paddock. 

A gentleman's chariot, Mercedes AMG GT car getting prepped to hit the track...  

A gentleman's chariot, Mercedes AMG GT car getting prepped to hit the track...  

After I got the film back I was disappointed to say the least. More than half of the shots both black and white and color, however most of the color ones were completely blacked out and it was obvious there was a shutter lag issue with this camera, bummer!  However looking at the bright side and staying positive this was the first shots I've ever taken with this camera and it essentially was a trial run. If I would have shot a roll prior I would have caught it, oh well. 

Team Risi Competizione prepping the Ferrari 488 GT car for track time...

Team Risi Competizione prepping the Ferrari 488 GT car for track time...

Out of the shots I got, I was pretty pleased that they were indeed in focus and offered some great images for the day. Since I did start with black and white, those turned out the most usable images. As it got hotter in the afternoon the shutter issue I feel became more apparent, hence the color not turning out so hot. 

The Ford GT speeding along full throttle...

The Ford GT speeding along full throttle...

All in a days work it was a fun time to shoot film at a fun event. I did also, get some weird looks, and struck up some good conversation with people who were shooting the latest high-end Nikon or Canon gear with 400mm glass and all sorts of gizmos. They were actually intrigued for the most part, and well when I pulled out the Hasselblad, some even turned away from looking at R8's or Porsches. 

Since then I have fixed the shutter issue for now, "crossing fingers" and still plan to use the camera for several upcoming events and travel, just need to maintain the shutter after each roll to ensure the sticking issue has ended. As a 25$ camera body investment for the Canon, I'm not too worried about it. If it breaks, I'll probably just buy another one. 

As far as the Hasselblad goes and that Velvia 50 Fuji film. Oh boy of course it is probably one of my favorite films I've shot on this camera. It sure is pricey though! At about 12$ a roll $55 for a five  pack it is not cheap, nor is it cheap to have developed, yet I want to buy a five pack and keep on hand for some awesome moments when I can put it to use. Forget really using this film in terrible light, however the dynamic range on it is fantastic, the grain is non existent and the colors are nothing short of Fuji fantastic. It uses an E6 processing method too, which creates a "positive" on the film once developed and in essence "slide film" The film itself once developed looks amazing holding them up to the light and once scanned looks brilliant. The images shown were not altered in Lightroom that much. I just adjusted the highlights and shadows a touch and some other minor dust removal ect.

BMW M6 of Rahal Letterman in the garage getting some tuning done before the race... 

BMW M6 of Rahal Letterman in the garage getting some tuning done before the race... 

Race Marshal looking on to the start of the race...

Race Marshal looking on to the start of the race...

This film would be best in early morning shoots, and early evening and even mid day when you have great light. I would also be careful on exposure and if you can push 1/2 or a full stop in camera depending on the light and shadows or else the image could be too dark. I'm happy with my first set of images and can't wait to shoot some proper landscape with this film. 

The R8 sits in the Paddock as it gets prepped to get on the track...

The R8 sits in the Paddock as it gets prepped to get on the track...

A driver looking focused and ready to race...

A driver looking focused and ready to race...

Well that's all I have so far! Hope you made it to the end of this long post as it was sort of two or three posts in one. Get out there and keep shooting, and don't be afraid to try something new and expand on something you might not be comfortable with. 

Concours d'Elegance

Blending the history, heritage and grandeur from three of North Carolina’s proudest traditions – Motorsports, golf and military – The Pinehurst Concours d'Elegance is a unique celebration of America’s passion for the automobile and honor for the brave men and women who protect and provide the very freedom we enjoy.

Known as the birthplace of golf in the United States, Pinehurst has hosted more golf championships than any other site in America, including the 2014 U.S. Open and 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, PGA Championship, a Ryder Cup match, PGA Tour Championship and U.S. Amateurs.

Events are planned for the fifth annual Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance on Saturday, May 6, 2017, with some of the most historic and rare automobiles staged on the fairways of the iconic golf resort.

Take Your Own ENGAGEMENT Photos!! A can do attitude!

Planning a wedding can be tedious, stressful, confusing, and probably, most importantly, costly on the pocket book. One way to have fun with your soon to be bride or groom is to alleviate the stresses and spend a fun filled day together out in the city, or maybe the mountains, or a place you both consider romantic. Not only spend the day together but bring along a few simple tools to take your own engagement photos! Now I'll admit it, I have over 8 years in the photography industry, some hobby and some working professionally on many different projects, however taking your own photos is not as daunting as it may seem. I will give some helpful tips and tricks to follow and you can achieve similar results. Let's get started!   

Selfie time! Actually I'm using my phone to control my camera shutter remotely!

THE GEAR! So I used to believe the more $$ the camera the better it is. While that is still true somewhat today, most decent consumer "non professional" cameras on the market are packed with megapixels and features. I will break it down.

THE CAMERA: Fuji Xt1 camera. Fuji 18-55mm f2.8-4  Tripod: Any sturdy tripod will do, however make sure when fully extended it's sturdy and wont tip over (some of very cheaply made) and a smart phone that allows you to download the Fuji app in my case or a wireless shutter remote that works for your camera brand. That's literally it! 

My fiance and I strike a pose while I control the camera with my phone behind me!

For the camera, it can be any type honestly, and whatever your budget fits. I like to buy used as long as it's from a reputable company locally or online. KEH, Adorama, and B&H Photo are all awesome sites that have used gear and offer warranties with them. I bought my XT1 right after the XT2 came out and got a great deal on it!. Fuji, Sony, Nikon and Canon are all great brands, however Sony and Fuji are stepping ahead of the game in the tech and features department and being mirrorless, they offer a much more compact option. 

I would also recommend something that you can change the lenses on but it's not totally needed, just givesyou more options down the road. At the end I'll have a few recommended cameras that are of different styles. 

A peaceful yet productive Saturday afternoon. 

Just dancing on the sidewalk... No big deal! 

THE PLAN: I would highly recommend doing a bit of recon where you plan to take photos. You don't necessarily have to know every single spot but know the area and always have a backup plan! We choose an urban environment for we felt it would give us many different looks and have more areas to explore as apposed to a rural or even mountainous environment. Do some research too! Agree on the look you want and research on the shots other people have done then replicate that with your own flair! I also planned for the shoot to take longer than it actually did. Typically with your own photographer he or she will tell you how to pose, what to do and you can knock out a shoot in 2-3 hours. We took slightly longer, about 5-6 hours total. This did include a few breaks but we still managed our time wisely. Time used for setting up the shot on the tripod, different poses, walking around other parts of the city all take up more time so plan for that!

TOP TIPS: Check the weather too! May be overlooked but make sure you know when you are heading out that the weather is great for the whole day. You can also bring a few different outfits to do a wardrobe change mid session if you would like. Bring a small bag to use for snacks, water, and miscellaneous things if needed or just take a break grab a coffee, snacks or some bloody marry's, on a break!

Most importantly have fun! Make the day stress free and what you want!

When it comes down to it these are your photos and they should reflect you both individually and as a couple. Don't get caught up in a million different details and that every single shot has to be perfect or else the day is ruined. Communicate with each other in the look you want. Bounce ideas of each other and make them work. Some ideas don't work but experiment and find out. Remember two minds are better than one! 

ONE FINAL THOUGHT: Now you may ask yourself... But I'm not a pro photographer or don't have the experience like you. How can I even come close to getting shots like that! Don't sell yourself short. Patience and knowing you can do it is half the battle. Make sure you are in good light, a super bright sunny day is not ideal, unless it's early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun starts to go down, overcast is actually the best because it diffuses the light and doesn't cast harsh shadows. Try NOT to use the on camera flash. This will create a weird look and in my opinion not as professional looking. Natural light is your friend. Shoot your photos in RAW format and on the maximum file setting. This will allow you to extract the most info out of your images for the best results later on. I recommend Adobe Lightroom CC for editing. It makes adjusting the photos very easy. You can download a free trial from Adobes website and edit the photos and never have to pay for it... unless you want to use it after 30 days. Lastly, most cameras these days as I mentioned have oodles of megapixels, however try to at least find something that is over 12. Anything beyond that is honestly overkill for amateur photography. With 12 you will be able to post them online easily, and make decent size prints for your friends and family.

RECOMMENDED CAMERAS: Fuji XT1, Sony A6000. Those are my two top cameras I would suggest. And honestly for the $$ I would go with the Sony. It already comes with a lens. It's higher megapixels and it's smaller. Both offer features too where you can send the pictures to your phone which is great for social media uploading. 

Well although a bit lengthy, I hope I covered a decent amount to enable you to get some great photos! If there are more questions feel free to email me or comment and I can help with answering anything. Happy Shooting! 

Tactical Wrist Lanyard

UPDATE VERSION 2.0!!  Just finished the 4 color lanyard spread that will be available for sale. This is the colors I'm currently running. $35 for 1 and $50 for 2 with FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in the US!


UPDATE!! Just finished another wrist lanyard in a nice deep red with beautiful rich tobacco leather. Love how this turned out. It's being shipped to one of my friends in a few days for him to enjoy!  


Inspired by things that are rugged, functional yet fashionable I was looking for a simple method of keeping my camera secure while also allowing me to get shots on the move. I have used bulky camera slings that were cumbersome and just got in the way especially when shooting casually. I wanted something with a quick disconnect that I could easily take off and store with out fussing about.

A lover of para-cord, I deiced to make my own. I went with a simple wrist strap as I didn't need a camera necklace, yet at the same time this is lightweight and strong. The PROTOTYPE, if you want to call it that, turned out great! I am entertaining the idea of making a few other color options in this style and putting them up for sale. Look for new color options in the upcoming week or two.

Cheers and happy shooting! 

Rokinon 85mm F1.4 Beast!

So continuing my journey of exploring photography I was looking to add another lens to my Fuji XT1 to pair with the 18-55mm kit lens. While this lens is an excellent factory kit lens that pairs well with the XT1 I was looking for something with a bit longer reach. Since I bought the XT1 used and am not ready to sink in tons of $$ for insane zoom lenses I was looking for a budget friendly option. After some research I came across the ROKINON 85mm F1.4. I watched countless of YouTube reviews and read all about it and finally decided to give it a try. Snagged it up from Amazon for $270 shipped. 

I was pumped to get it and try it out to say the least. First thing I notices is the lenses size and weight. The construction is solid being made out of aluminum and it's a hefty fella. It's robust and I feel confident that even if I dinged it on a few things here and there it would stay strong. 

When I first got around to shooting with it there was a bit of a learning curve. I'm used to fast action auto focusing lenses in which I can just hold down the shutter and fire away and nail shots right after one anther. With this lens being a manual focus lens, I needed to take a different approach to shooting, especially if I was trying to capture a moving subject or people in general. 

Needless to saw I got the hang of it fairly easily and I was off enjoying the wonders of F1.4! Now, one thing that I had to keep in mind and if you a FUJI user you should as well is the focus peaking option. I keep my focusing to either "M" or "C" because with "C" mode engaged I can have face detection still on. This helps for getting moving shots and people in focus. Now for normal still shots or even portraits I would use "M" mode for more precise shooting and focus checking

I won't get all hard core and crazy with the specs and details of the lens as you can easily look that up. Just my honest opinion and real life review here. I would rate this lens high 8.5/10 mainly because the images are very sharp, you can't beat the quality of this lens paired with F1.4 for the price, and the build quality is great

I don't think anything can be perfect, but this lens does a great job. The fact that it doesn't have auto focus and no electronic connection to the camera is really the only downfall, yet for something equivalent from one of the big companies you will easily pay 4-5x the price.