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Snapshot of Mariluz original from Colombia in South America now living in Panama. She kindly posed for the camera. After exchanging pleasantries, I found out her last name was Upegui and was born in Pereira, Department of Risaralda. My father’s last name was Upegui and was born in Pereira. Small world, isn’t it? Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.


The Fujifilm X30 will hit the shelves on September 30, 2014 to replace the discontinued X20.  On August 26, 2014, the Internet was sizzling hot announcing this latest buzz for the picture taking zealots.

The new Fujifilm X30 has the 2/3-inch X-Trans II sensor and 28mm-112mm/F2.0-F2.8 lens found in the X20, which it will replace. That lens is operated with a twist of the barrel rather than a powered toggle. The X30’s hybrid phase-/contrast-detection autofocus system is also lightning fast—0.06 seconds, according to Fujifilm—and its continuous-shooting mode tops out at 12fps without AF enabled.

Photograph of the new Fujifilm X30 mirrorless camera in black. Credit: Fujifilm Inc.

There’s a second control ring around the lens that can be used to adjust aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and other settings without removing your hand from the lens. The X30 also has a high-resolution eye-level OLED viewfinder with specs similar to the OLED EVF found in the Fujifilm X-T1. The camera’s 3-inch LCD screen now tilts, and battery life has nearly doubled compared to the X20.  Fujifilm claims it will get 470 shots per charge compared to the X20’s 270-shot rating.

A few more excellent features are holdovers, too. The X30 has a “Super Macro Mode” that practically lets you touch the lens to a subject, and like the higher-end X-series cameras, there are helpful manual-focus assist features in the mix. The X30 has built-in Wi-Fi to communicate with smartphones or tablets, and there’s a remote-control app that lets you operate the camera from iOS and Android devices.

The Fujifilm X30 camera has a 2.36 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder with a tilting mechanism to assist the user in selecting a better shooting angle. Credit: Techradar.com

This significantly updated X model will be available in late September in both Silver and Black for $599.95.  I scanned to Web to see if Amazon had placed this camera on their website.  They did it the same day it was announced by the Fuji guys with an indication that it would be available on September 30, 2014, but you could go ahead and pre-order it now.  It can be had for $599.95.

For several months I had been on the lookout for this new camera, since the previous Fujifilm X20 had been discontinued and was slowly disappearing from the shelves.  My experience with the DSLR cameras is that they are too bulky, heavy,  intimidating and far too complex.  Remembering all the functions, menus and buttons will drive you crazy.  I prefer to concentrate on the subject instead of breaking my head understanding all the complexities of the machine. Simplicity is beautiful.

Credit: Fujifilm Inc.

Definitely I will buy the new Fujifilm X30 as soon as my cash-strapped budget will allow it.  The trend to replace the bulky DSLRs cameras with smaller, lighter and more efficient mirrorless cameras is gaining momentum in the photography industry.  Introduced in 2008, mirrorless cameras became popular in the 2011 time frame and are becoming the choice of amateur photographers who want to migrate from point-and-shoot cameras. As these hybrids continue to increase sensor size and add high-end features, as well as offer a wide variety of lenses, they are expected to give the bulkier digital SLRs a run for their money. I firmly believe a game-changer phenomenon is taking place even as we speak and Fujifilm is the company leading the herd. Good Day.

Reflections


Snapshot of a cluster of high-rise buildings flanking the Via Ricardo J. Alfaro Avenue in Panama City, Panama reflected on a puddle of rainwater. It had rained heavily a few hours before taking this shot. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Street Gazer


A young man listening to his smartphone while waiting for a bus at El Dorado. He kindly posed for the camera like a pro. Before I left, with a big smile I told him, “Te acuerdas de mí cuando estés en Hollywood.” (Remember me when you’re in Hollywood.) He smiled back. And then I headed home. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.


“Titanic’s Radio Room was operated by two Radio Officers (or, as they were known in those days, ‘Marconi Wireless Operators’ or ‘Telegraphists’).

In charge was 25 year old John George Phillips – better known as ‘Jack’ or ‘Sparks’, with 22 year old Harold Bride as the Deputy or Assistant Radio Operator.

‘Touch the spark. . . Sound the tone’ (a line from ‘Titanic’—the musical) sums up beautifully how the wireless apparatus operated these days. Because of this, all wireless operators were nick-named ‘Sparks’.

A wireless operator employed by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd., had to be between the age of 21 and 25 and able to send and receive at least 25 words per minute in Morse. The age restriction was rarely enforced and most wireless operators started their seagoing career already at the age of 19 or 20. After passing their civil service examination, the wireless operators had to finish their training at the Marconi Training School in Liverpool. After the five months final training, they were ready to be stationed on a vessel. In 1912, Jack Phillips could tap out 39 words per minute, ditto that for Harold Thomas Cottam (‘Carpathia’s’ wireless operator), and Harold Bride’s speed was 26 words per minute.

Marconi Wireless Operators often became snippy in regards to Non-Marconi operators—claiming they were ‘incompetent’ and ‘didn’t know how to use Morse properly’ (the United States Navy bore the brunt of such attacks).

Both Radio Operators remained at their posts until about 3 minutes before the Titanic foundered, even after being released from their duties by Captain Smith.

Harold Bride remarked that water could be heard flooding into the wheelhouse as he and Jack Phillips abandoned the Radio Room. Jack Phillips was still sending as the power supply to the Radio Room failed.The Titanic Radio Operators did great honor to their profession.

Both Radio Operators earned very little for the amount of work they were required to do. John George Phillips earned £4 and 5 shilling per voyage. Harold Bride earned £2 and 2 shilling and sixpence per voyage.

Jack Phillips died of hypothermia on or near collapsible lifeboat B, his body was never recovered. Harold Bride left the sea after WW1, and faded into obscurity. He died in Scotland in 1956.”Great Yarmouth Radio Club

Yesterday, while roaming the shops of El Dorado Shopping Mall, I encountered a brand new Swedish telegraphy machine marketed by a company operating under the name of Icom.  One of the employees was kind enough to pull the machine from the window and place it on the counter so I could take a picture of it.  In my mind, I had the remembrance of the heroic radio operators of the Titanic who remained at their posts until about three minutes before it was swallowed up by the Atlantic Ocean.

Below are two shots of a Swedish telegraphy machine being offered to the Panamanian hobbyists who still enjoy communicating in Morse Code for the sake of entertainment.  I had no idea people were buying these machines in this day and age to use as a personal hobby.  Good Day.

Shot taken with a Canon DSLR EOS Rebel T2i camera with an EF 50mm f/1.8 II fixed lens.  Notice the soft bokeh on the background of the picture.  You can’t even distinguish the filing cabinets.  I love the  “nifty-fifty” lens. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Shot taken with a P&S Canon PowerShot A720 IS camera.  Please take notice of the deep depth of field of this small compact camera. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.


During a photo-walk yesterday morning, I happened into a Hindu store dubbed, “El Sol de la India” (The Sun of India) in the neighborhood of El Dorado.  That’s usually where I wander about to look for my pictures.

It was here where I noticed this beautiful piper exhibited inside the store’s window.  I spent quite some time post processing the shot in an effort to enhance its colors and delete the effects of the reflection on the window’s glass.  The tiles in the picture represent the mirror image of the tiles outside the store.

All in all I liked the colors, clothing, and shape of the Indian wooden figure playing his pipe.  Take a look.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.


“He who seeks beauty will find it.”Bill Cunningham

After a disastrous photo session at the Coastal Strip a few weeks ago, I planned another trip to the site in an effort to save face.  Only this time the pictures would be taken at dawn on a Sunday morning with sparse traffic and almost no people around.  The Coastal Strip would be all to myself, my tripod and camera.  I made sure the Auto Focus was On as soon as I placed the camera on the tripod.  I promised not make the same mistake twice.

After making sure the camera was properly positioned on a tripod on top of a pedestrian bridge, and the settings were adjusted to the amount of low light on the site, I was ready to activate the shutter hoping for the best.  My wife told me to calm down, as my hands was shaking showing how nervous I was.

These are the five pictures that were finally selected after the photo session was over.  I was pleased with what I saw.  Here we go.

Photograph of Panama City’s skyline at dawn. Everything looked blueish. The blue hour bathes the metropolis and the bay in blue light. Please click on all images to expand them. The graphic effect is very dramatic. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

The blue hour and the golden hour are names photographers use to describe specific parts of the day when the light has particularly desirable properties for photography. The light found during these times of day can produce some of the most stunning photography possible. While filters can sometimes approximate this lighting effect, it is nearly impossible to capture the true quality of light from the Blue Hour at any other time in any other way.

The blue hour is the time of day when the light takes on a strong blue tone. The sky becomes a deep and rich blue that appears to have almost a smooth, creamy texture. The earth is covered in the bluish tinted light that gives a feeling of nighttime without hiding details like often is the result of true night photos. The blue hour is an excellent time for taking photos of nighttime objects that are very bright like the moon.

Notice how the sky begins to open up giving way to the subtle lights of daybreak. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

When looking at the blue hour and the golden hour, the blue hour generally produces the most unique lighting of the two hours. The blue hour is also the most misleading term as it doesn’t even come close to lasting a full hour. In reality, what photographers call the blue hour really only lasts about 20 minutes. The blue hour generally lasts the 20 to 30 minutes just after sunset and just before sunrise. For example, if the sun sets at 5:00 p.m., the blue hour would last from approximately 5:10 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. If the sun rises at 5:00 a.m., the blue hour lasts from about 4:30 a.m. to 4:50 a.m. The exact timing of the blue hour will vary from location to location and change depending on time of year and air quality.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

As the day begins to break, you can see the light of the sun reflected on the glass of the buildings on your left. It was an awesome view with a cool breeze wafting from the Pacific Ocean. No cars, no people, no nothing. Just the the city, the lights, my wife and me. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

The sun was exiting from the darkness and we were ready to wrap it up and go home. Mission accomplished! Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

The gear I used to take these pictures were:

  • Camera:  DSLR Canon EOS Rebel T2i
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (fixed focal prime lens)
  • Canon Wireless Remote Control for activating the camera’s shutter.
  • Post Processing:  Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 and Pixlr

In my opinion, these are the best pictures I’ve taken in five years, however as they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Please remember to expand the photographs, the view of the skyline is stunning, in search of a better word.  Good Day.

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