Dylan Seeger

Hello! I'm Dylan Seeger. I started a design studio called Lovably Grey. I also made a record called CLAYE, and another called Readers & Reporters. I write an online magazine called Turtle Pie. You can find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Manual Focusing in NYC

 

Most people would describe Manhattan as a very fast-paced environment, and a lot of it is. If you haven't spent much time there, you may be under the impression that people in NYC are participating in a 24/7/365 game of 'Who Seems the Most Stressed Out & Busy'.

It's such a lovely place.

I don't personally get the impression that it's that crazy, but maybe I'm just used to it. There is certainly a lot going on, and the city is always packed with a fair number of people who are rushing to get themselves somewhere as quickly as possible, but it's more than that. There's truth to the stigma, especially in midtown, but it's not all fast-paced drama.

I like to casually stroll around Manhattan, observing the soon to be fading memories of millions of strangers fly past me. I think it's probably similar in most other major cities.

When I first started to get into photography last year, I spent some time playing with a Leica M, which really got me into shooting in manual focus mode. Besides technical reasons to shoot in manual, like when you want the camera to focus on the window, not what's through the window, there is the slowness of manual focusing that is very appealing to me. In a similar way to slowing down while on the crowded streets of New York, slowing down while taking photos is relaxing and makes me feel more involved in creating something worthwhile.

NYC is one of my favourite places to shoot in manual mode. It turns out that slowing down in 'the city that never sleeps' (that's such a bullshit phrase, by the way) is more than possible. It's actually really enjoyable, and you get a chance see a lot of interesting stuff fly by your lens.

The following thirteen photos were (duh, duh, duh, duh) taken with a Fuji X100T in manual focus mode.

 

Twin: The Wonders of Multiple Exposure

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I was downtown in NYC with a camera in my right hand yesterday afternoon and found myself beside the crazy-massive One World Trade Center. I'm in this neighborhood relatively often lately, and yet I'm always surprised when I look up and see this building.

I was still too young when the old Twin Towers were standing to remember what it was like to be next to them, so I can only imagine how insane it must have been to be next to two similarly sized buildings. I know that I once stood on the top observation deck once, probably when I was five years old or something, but I'm having a hard time recalling much of it. I probably didn't comprehend how amazing it was at the time.

Earlier this week, I started playing around with a button, labeled 'Drive', on my X100T that I've totally neglected since buying the camera. It includes a few creative shooting options, the second to last being one labeled 'Multiple Exposure'.

It's insane.

 
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Multiple exposure mode allows you to superimpose two exposures to create a single image. The X100T makes this extremely simple. Once you're in Multiple Exposure mode, you snap one shot, press enter, and then snap another.

While composing the second shot, the camera shows you what the final image will look like. Nothing has to be done in Photoshop or Lightroom after shooting. As long as you compose a decent pair of photos, the camera will do the work for you.

 
 

When I'm taking photos, I tend to spend most of my time trying to capture real life. I rarely do anything to augment things for the sake of art, because I'm already so intrigued by what's there. I'm sure I'll go through phases with how and why I take photos, but discovering the multiple exposure capabilities on the X100T has really gotten me to look at things a little differently.

As my awe slowly shifted to wonder while standing next to the World Trade Center yesterday, one of the first thoughts that popped into my head was... Well, what if there were two of them?

I'm really excited that a camera actually let me see this.

 

Fujifilm X100T (Part 03)

 

This is Part 03 of my Fujifilm X100T series, in which I share a bunch of photos that I've taken with the camera so far and talk about how I ended up deciding to buy it.

If you haven't been following along, here is Part 01, and here is Part 02.

In Part 01, while discussing my experience trying out the Sony RX1 and A7R, I concluded that I wasn't very impressed with the camera. Some people might be surprised to know that conclusion actually had much less to do with technology and image quality than it did with how these objects are physically designed and engineered.

I mentioned that the RX1 felt very much like a camera designed by a software engineer, and I stand by this. Knobs and buttons weren't where I wanted them to be, build quality felt distinctly electronics-y (I'm making up words now), and everything on a whole was rather uncomfortable. It just didn't feel natural in my hands.

Around the same time that I was interested in the Sony offerings, a hyped up little camera, crafted from a single block of hand-polished-by-a-German aluminum, called the Leica T was just making its way into the hands of reviewers. Luckily for me, being in New York, I was able to get my own hands on a Leica T at the Leica Store in SoHo. They went on to be sold out for months, though I wonder how many were actually made and sold. My guess is very few.

Now, this was also around this same time that I was finishing up Claye, and just barely starting Lovably Grey, so I didn't actually buy one. The T is over $3,000 for the body and lens, and I had quite a few expenses from getting these projects off the ground. On top of that, I didn't even have any real income until September. In fact, when Lovably Grey's site went live for the first time a year ago, I had all of $6 in my personal bank account, so I clearly had no intentions of buying a high-end $3,500+ camera at the time.

But I really enjoyed learning about photography and shopping for the right camera, even if I couldn't buy one.

Visiting the Leica Store to see the T was a lot of fun, though I ended up liking the very expensive and limiting Leica M more than the less expensive and trendier T. I tried so hard to convince myself that the T was great, but I don't think I was right about that.

The almost exclusively touch-screen interface worked far better than previous touchscreen cameras, but it still sucked. That was a deal-breaker. Even the Leica Store employee was consistently confused. He tried telling me on multiple occasions that I needed to 'press really hard and slide down' to see my previous shots.

'You're not pressing hard enough, I think!'

Definitely not something you believe if you know how modern capacitive touch screens without pressure sensitivity work. The dude just didn't know how to use it.

More on this story in Part 04.

As with the previous two parts, all images were taken by me through the lens of a Fujifilm X100T (affiliate link). If you have any questions about the camera or my setup, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter.

 
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Fujifilm X100T (Part 02)

 

This is Part 02 of my Fujifilm X100T series, in which I showcase a bunch of photos I've taken with the camera so far, as well as talk a bit about the experience I had looking for the right camera for me. If you haven't already seen it, Part 01 can be found here.

I was planning to continue the story of how I ended up buying the X100T, in fact I already have it written, but after looking through the album I compiled for this post, I decided to delay the continuation of that story for Part 03.

This is a bit of a darker set of photos than last time. Nothing terribly graphic or anything, just darker. I simply didn't feel like it would be right to go into detail about my purchasing of a $1,300 camera with the last photo being of somebody who can't even afford food and shelter for himself.

 

Fujifilm X100T (Part 01)

 

Last summer, I became pretty obsessed with cameras. After hearing countless good things from respected camera geeks about recent Sony releases, I took a trip to the Sony store at a nearby mall to play with the A7R and, more importantly, the RX1. And by 'a trip', I of course mean twenty trips.

I was never impressed. Every time I used the Sony cameras, I struggled. Autofocus wouldn't focus. Switching between modes was complicated. Shooting in manual made the camera feel like it was designed by a software engineer. I always assumed that it wasn't the camera's fault that I struggled with it, and that it all came down to my own suckiness. After all, I had never really spent much time with cameras that weren't iPhones. So I think it's still safe to say that my struggles with the Sony hardware were at the very least partially my fault. Either way, I decided not to buy.

More on that story in Part 02.

Long story short, in November I bought a Fujifilm X100T (affiliate link), and I haven't looked back. I decided that there are more than enough good reviews of the camera by people way more qualified than I am, so instead of reviewing it, I thought that it might be more interesting to give a little bit of background on my purchase decisions, and then let the camera speak for itself.

Every image you're about to see was taken by me with the X100T. Almost all are completely untouched—straight from the SD card—though a few have some exposure and/or hue tweaks. If you have any questions about the camera or my setup, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter.

 
 

© 2008 - 2015 Dylan Seeger