Pepper trees grow all around me. My in-laws have a beauty in their front yard. I find them out hiking. However, I have never researched if their berries are useful in cooking!
These long shots always have such an interesting sense of depth – all squashed and magnified at the same time. Above is a detail from the photo below.
I grew up in the midwest, surrounded by oak trees. In California, the trees are still recognizably oaks, but adapted to a dryer climate, and green for most of the year. I think this may be an import as its leaves are bigger, and changing with the season.
Pepper trees are common where I live, providing bright spots of green against the barren beige of California’s winter hills. The branches are like those of willows – long, slender leaves – with the addition of beautiful, pale red peppers.
The other day I just had to get out for a bit of a walk, this time without the dogs. I headed out to an area that is reached by a tunnel under a busy road. From there, a school is to the right and a trail heads out to a canyon behind a number of houses. It’s rather wild back there, but it is also a view into people’s back yards. In one spot, I heard the cooing of doves or pigeons, and then a sudden flap of wings. Looking up, the birds were circling around and around. I managed to catch this after a lot of misses.
Pardon the outdated slang.
October is birthday month, for which I was well feted and well fed. And I got an Instax SP-3 printer. It’s rather cool. It prints out square format images using the FujiFilm Instax Square film. There are no memory card slots, so it is all wireless. There is an app for both Apple and Android phones called Instax Share. It works quite easily as well as lets you play around with your image. FujiFilm cameras with wireless connectivity in their menus, specifically for the Instax, also work. It is also easy to do, and there are videos on YouTube (of course!) showing you how to use the Instax SP-3 with your phone and camera. I’ll let you delve into that if you are interested.
Instax SP-3 Printer
I printed out 3 images from both my phone and from X100V. Seamless interface, really. The hardest thing was reading the teeny, tiny serial numbers on the bottom of the SP-3 to link it to the camera. The phone just found it and ID’d it readily, bringing up the actual serial number.
The above is a SOC image from the X100V. I chose it because I wanted to see how a true B&W object taken with color could look. With in-camera and in-phone editing, you can make a monochrome image, and this little color printer will print monochrome. Yay!
I wanted to see the details in the trees here as well as to catch the range of colors that trees and plants give. I pushed the saturation using the Instax phone app. Not displeased by the results.
I just printed this one because I liked it, as well as to see how the printer renders reds.
Instax SQ6 Camera
Besides the printer, the Instax SQ6 instant camera came along for the ride. It has been out for a bit, but the reason it was chosen is because it is the most feature rich of the Instax square cameras. You can also get it in different colors – I have the Graphite Grey model.
One of my big complaints about the Instax Wide is the lousy macro system. It’s just poor, and that is that. I never succeed, and really don’t like to spend a lot of time, film, and money doing something that proves worthless each time. However, the SQ6 does really well in this arena. The image above doesn’t really have the appearance of a macro – it’s really a close up. The viewfinder has some weird little thingies in the viewfinder, like a range finder, and you move in close to your subject, being sure to put it in the lower left corner of the viewfinder. The coffee cup was my main subject, and in the end your close-up object is fairly well centered. I will practice with that feature of the camera more.
One thing that the Instax Wide doesn’t have is a flash suppression. I use gaffer’s tape over it so I don’t get it. There are light and dark adjustments on the Instax Wide, and these same adjustments are found on the SQ6. There is also a flash suppression button on the SQ6. The above image is with the flash turned off.
Here, the flash is on, on auto mode, and the colors are good, the composition relatively sharp.
Altogether, no complaints about either printer, camera, or film. The nice thing is the square format, which is something I really enjoy working with in both analog and digital photography. The wireless technology of the printer is a real kick, and the its small footprint means it is easily portable. The camera has a good set of features that improve the ease of using it as well as allowing the photog(rapher) just the right amount of control to succeed. The printer is better for “good” images in someways than the camera as the resolution of a digital photo is going to be inherently better than that of the SQ6, but both fill niches for me.
Yeah, good presents to get and give!
This afternoon I finally got out for a walk – the weather was not in the high 90s by 10 a.m. It felt so good to be outdoors after nearly 6 weeks inside or in the shade, trying to keep from melting. In general, heat doesn’t bother me, but exercising and sweating in such temperatures gets to me, and it seems this year has been particularly intense. The only walks seem to occur at night, once the sun has gone down and the sidewalks quit sizzling. Our air conditioning ran non-stop a few days in a row, which is unusual for us, but that gives you a sense of the heat – but at least our humidity is relatively low, unlike the southeast.
I decided to play with my Instax Wide by FujiFilm. Normally I just take a picture here and there with my instant cameras but thought it would be fun to use it as the camera to record today’s wanderings. Thus, in no particular order, a few scenes from my afternoon’s perambulation. Click on an image to move through the gallery.