Early Morning at Spendthrift Farm


Last Saturday I arose at six o’clock to attend a photo tour of Spendthrift Farm, located about nineteen minutes from my home.  That’s what Google said, and Google was, of course, right.   Spendthrift has a long history as a thoroughbred horse farm, and is simply beautiful.  I crammed all the photography I could into the ninety minute outing, but it is hard to get both the sunrise and great lighting for the active horses in such a short time.  The tour left me wanting more, which is probably part of the hope – that I will come back for more tours.  Well, I think I will.  Well played, Spendthrift Farm!

Spendthrift Square-5 Spendthrift Square-8 Spendthrift Square-2  Spendthrift Square-3 Spendthrift Square Spendthrift Square-6 Spendthrift Square-7


Jeff Damron, Street Photographer?

St. Mark Square, 6 am

I’ve never thought of myself as a street photographer.  I’ve never really understood a lot of what seems to pass as “street” photography these days, which often appears to me to be snaps of people walking randomly, frequently away from the camera.  I’ve stumbled upon a bit more interesting photographs on Youtube lately in which background architecture and lighting seem to be the most importants aspects, with people walking there mostly for perspective.  I often don’t get those either, but some strike me as a really interesting.  And those picture have gotten me thinking about my my own.  Although I don’t typically go out on the “streets” for photography, I certainly seem to go there when I’m traveling.  And with this in mind, I’ve combed through the last ten years of my photographs and found a hundred or so that I think fall within this more expansive definition of street photography.  Here are some from a vacation to Italy taken in June.

Monk on Cell, Assisi
Nun, Assisi
Florian Cafe, Venice
Dome, Milan
Lugano, Switzerland
Market, Lugano
The Duomo, Florence

Switzer Covered Bridge and Elkhorn Creek

I received two lenses from KEH today.  They are in “bargain” condition according to the dealer, but they look like they have only been lightly used to me.  The Fujifilm XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS lens is a great wide-angle lens with a useful  zoom range.  I took my new toys, uh, tools, to the Switzer Covered Bridge in Franklin County, Kentucky this evening, trying to arrive during the “golden hour” before sunset.  It probably would have been better to arrive a little earlier, or to have underexposed a little, but I am happy with the lens’s performance.

Switzer Bridge

Switzer Bridge-4

I also bought the Fujifilm XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS lens, a moderate telephoto zoom.  One of the pictures has some blur from not noticing that the shutter speed had dropped to 1/30 of second and I was shooting hand-held. This was too slow for the 100mm setting , but here it is anyhow.

Switzer Bridge-2

The other picture I took with the  lens was also at 1/30, but at 55mm – the short end of the zoom range.  It turned out sharp.

Switzer Bridge-3

I’m happy with my new lenses so far, even though I only got a handful of pictures in today.  I saved about $700 by buying them in “bargain” condition instead of new, and that does make me happy.

Sigma DP2 Merrill Memories

It’s hard for me to believe that it has been seven years since I spent a month using, and reviewing, a Sigma DP2 Merrill.  The little camera had amazaing output, and if I hadn’t already purchased two other cameras I had tested not long before, I would probably have bought it then and there.  I’ve always been a fan of the “look” one gets from Foveon sensors, which use a radically different technology than other manufacturers.  While others have different pixels absorbing and reporting different colors that are then merged to form the picture, each individual pixel in a Foveon sensor is sensitive to all of the three primary colors – red, green, and blue.  The Foveon formula blew other sensors away when it came to sharpness and resolving power per pixel.  The small camera came with a small f2.8 45mm equivalent lens that was a perfect match for the sensor and which have some very nice bokeh, to my eyes at least.

But that was 2012, and the bayer pattern sensors that have abandoned detail-smearing anti-aliasing filters,  and Fujifilm sensors that also don’t have such filters, have narrowed the gap on the Foveons these days.  Until the latest round of Sigma cameras, however, RAW images from Foveon sensors did not play well with Adobe products.  One had to use Sigma’s own rather clunky software to first convert RAW files into TIFF formats, and then import the TIFFs into Lightroom.  Also, Foveon sensors have always been, and apparently continue to be, very noisy about ISO 400.  In short, those Sigma cameras are (still!) capable of truly impressive images, but at the cost of more work and less versatility than their bayer pattern siblings from other companies.  At the time, while appreciating the special nature of the Sigma pictures, I opted for ease and versatility in my camera choices.

Here are a few of my favorites from the 2012 DP2 Merrill, taken while I had it.

Sigma DP2 Merrill-15 Sigma DP2 Merrill-10 Sigma DP2 Merrill-16 Sigma DP2 Merrill-17 Sigma DP2 Merrill-8 Sigma DP2 Merrill-14 Sigma DP2 Merrill-13 Sigma DP2 Merrill-12 Sigma DP2 Merrill-4

Sigma DP2 Merrill-3

Sigma DP2 Merrill-2

Sigma DP2 Merrill

Sigma DP2 Merrill-7

Sigma DP2 Merrill-6

Sigma DP2 Merrill-11