Jaisalmer is a living fort in the Thar Desert, in north-west India, relatively close to the border with Pakistan. Ideal given my dislike of both heat, sand and the sun! It is one of the places in India that should be seen but is a bit of a slog to get to and out of the way of virtually everything else. Once there, it’s easy to see why people should and are encouraged to go and see it. Peppering the desert around the fort are old derelict ruins of entire villages, the fort stands high on its walled foundations and can be seen for miles around.The village shown below was abandoned (according to the events we were told by our guide, shown cooking) following a King’s forced marriage with a very young girl who he then maltreated, leading to the entire village vacating one night in protest of him and in support of her. We visited this old village on our way out into the desert for the most uncomfortable 45 minutes I have ever experienced – aboard a camel……..
So, I have a habit of being naturally argumentative when it comes the things that are described as a ‘must see‘ but given the Taj‘s status as one of the wonders of the world, there was no way we were going to miss it. However, I had said to Sarah already that I had a suspicion it‘ll be no more impressive than the Golden Temple. Once again, allowing my preconceptions to cloud my judgement on something I had only seen online and I was proved wrong. Very wrong. The Taj Mahal is simply astonishing. Words and photos cannot do it justice. In this information age, where with a keyboard and screen, anyone can find out about and ‘see‘ almost anything on the planet – it’s easy to assume that some things don’t need visiting……
Thing young lady made my day, she rode her uni cycle up and down the beach for me and helped create this fantastic black and white photograph. It is moments like these that I am glad I took the camera with me (we were actually at the beach to scout for a upcoming wedding in Piha). I am looking forward to when the family gets in touch and I can share the image with them. Piha is not our local iron sand beach (we usually visit Muriwai instead) and were pleasantly surprised with the photographic opportunities on offer desite the flat lighting. We prefer a harsher and more directional form of lighting for dramatic scenes such as this surf beach…….
I have been shooting with Fuji for over two years now. I was a happy Nikon full frame shooter but was looking for something smaller and more lightweight which would still offer decent image quality and the possibility for quick access to the most important settings. Little did I know then how much I would come to love the X series by Fuji. I first used it only for fun and travelling and am now using it more and more also for paid jobs. It all started with an X-E1 and the wonderful 35mm f/1.4 R. I now most of the time use an X-T1 and have a couple of prime lenses to choose from as well as an X100T (which is the camera I take along always and every day) with both converters……
As I am sitting in my office I get a notification from Facebook. Sebastian arrived on the Lofoten. I always wanted to go there in January or February. So I just booked a flight and here we go again. Sadly Natascha is not able to join, so is Frank. My base camp will be again Anne Gerd’s Lofoten Guesthouse – simply the best! I will drive to Hamburg, fly to Oslo, then fly to Tromsö and from there take the Hurtigruten south to Stamsund. What a wonderful trip…but a long one to finally get there. Everything is fine until I reach Oslo. Because of a heavy storm many flights are canceled. I am lucky and my flight isn’t – so I am on time in Tromsö. Around midnight the Hurtigruten arrives and I really am happy to spend 20 hours on the Polarlys – my favorite ship. The next day I am told that because of the storm it is not sure wether the ship will make it into Stamsund harbor……..
In my previous blog post of my visit to the Taj Mahal all shots were taken with the kit lens. In this blog post they are taken with my favorite Fuji lens – the XF14/2.8 R. As I moved closer to the Taj Mahal it was clear to me that now is the time for the 14mm lens. I already praised this lens a lot on my blog. If you scroll down to take a look at the tag cloud of my blog you can see that the 14mm is my main lens and there is a reason for it. The 14mm (or 21mm in full frame terms) is a surprisingly flexible lens. It has many advantages not only over the kit lens but also over the 10-24 but of course it depends on your shooting style and subject if you value them as much as I do. Here are the most important ones:
- zero distortion
- small and light
- wide but not too wide
- offer a focus clutch for easy manual focus (and zone focus)
- uses the same lens hood than the kit lens……..
My excitement grew, as we drew near to the spot Andrew had picked for our desert picnic. I used to have the same feeling when we would arrive at a new ski destination, set to explore. Do we have water, do we have food, how long would we last out here if we got lost? Those thoughts were not real concerns, as we never ventured more than a few hundred meters away from the car, but my imagination had free roam. It was so quiet I could hear the ringing in my ears. That did not last long though as we started running around the sand dunes, believing for an instant we were half our age. We snapped pictures from every conceivable angle. Our son had some fun photo-shopping a few of them. Great job Mik and what a wonderful surprise in my inbox this morning…..
Back when I first switched to Fuji around 6 months ago I was already pretty convinced that the X Series cameras would be ideal for travel because of their size and weight but at the time I wasn’t totally sure that I would be able to use them as my first choice landscape camera. I’d been using a Nikon D800E for a number of years and wasn’t sure whether the X System was really designed with landscape photographers in mind. In my last blog (HERE) I tested the image quality of the X-T10 with the 10-24mm and 55-200mm zooms against my Nikon and found that while there is obviously a resolution difference, the difference in detail and quality was negligible. Since then I’ve used both the X-T1 and X-T10 extensively for landscapes both at home in Portugal and while travelling around Indonesia for a month last summer. My first landscape shoot with the X-T10 was when I led a workshop for a sunrise shoot at Lisbon’s iconic Vasco da Gama bridge. I was impressed by how intuitive it was to use and……
Marrakesh ; Beautiful and Chaotic. This short trip to Marrakesh served as a timely reminder of why I love travelling. I want to see the world. I want to educate myself. I want to grow and develop as a person. I travel to explore and experience different cultures and to see things through the perspective of others. I travel to build connections and trade stories, to try new foods and hear different music. “The further I get, the further I want to go” – There is so much more out there! I had a great time exploring this mystical city with the awesome folks at Travel Noire, let’s do it again sometime……..
A couple of months ago I looked at my photography gear and saw three cameras with 9 lenses, all of them for Micro Four Thirds. I did a good job closing every possible gap regarding focal length and aperture to be prepared for every possible photography challenge on earth. But here is the thing: I had way to many options and thought more about the best gear for a photo while looking at a scene and making photos became more work than fun. And even though I had all these lenses I STILL missed something many people call the full frame look. For me this special look that some people see and some don’t is the possibility to seperate your subject from the background with wide angle lenses like a 35mm equivalent……….
Fujifilm Fujinon XF 23mm F1.4
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