I am back in Beijing. It is funny how comforting it is to be back in this massively overcrowded city with its choking traffic, near lethal pedestrian crossings and aloof hospitality industry! It has been just about 5 weeks of traveling to very remote places, meeting the warmest people ever and living in all manner of lodgings. but coming back to Beijing is something familiar and something predictable. The past few days been spent on a train. 33 hours from Xiamen in south China on the sea. The “soft sleeper” is a small cubical about 7 feet wide, and tall enough for two bunks arranged on each side. The lower bunks cost a little more and have a tray-sized shared table between them under the window. The upper bunks have no such furnishings, but do have two folding seats out in the common hallway looking out the window on the other side of the train, also a big bonus… an electrical outlet! Small pleasures! ……
An impromptu road trip to Jodhpur happened last weekend. With a few essentials & the Fuji camera, which I love since the time I pressed the shutter of XT-1 for the first time, we ie Rohit (my brother and a photographer), me and my indispensable camera left at the crack of dawn for a photography journey to the historic blue city of Jodhpur. We decided beforehand that we are not going to do photography en route otherwise we wouldn’t reach till the next day! But things rarely happen the way we plan, the sun came out playing hide & seek with the clouds & started teasing us with some immaculate light & both of us had to surrender to our passion………
Since May of 2013, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Fujifilm X-Series Cameras and XF lenses, and during that time I’ve managed to shoot with them in more than 20 different countries, spanning nearly every possible photography condition. In the process, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting many Fujifilm shooters from around the world and what I’ve discovered is that people love their Fujifilm cameras and, like me, they’re excited to talk about them. There have been quite a few times, where I was completely immersed in a sea of tripods, riddled with shooters toting every type of camera brand known to man. People with Canons, Nikons, Pentax, and Hasselblads, all sizing each other’s gear up—in typical photographer fashion—while never exchanging a word. Fujifilm shooters on the other hand, just seem to smile at each other, as if they have a shared secret that no one else knows. It’s the strangest thing, but even during photo walks, Fujifilm shooters seem to congregate; proud to be carrying their cameras and excited to talk about their favorite lenses and what is to come. There’s a sense of community and shared love for these cameras that I find absolutely delightful…….
In my last post I talked about what photo gear I brought to Italy for one month and the reasons behind those plans. So how did reality compare to expectations? Which gear earned another trip and what won’t make the cut next time? The good news is that the planning paid off and most things worked very well. There were a couple exceptions though and an uncertainty that might seem familiar/tiresome to some Fuji fans. Let’s take a look……..
Back in the Spring I visited Italy with the family. It was my first big trip DSLR-free, traveling just with the Fuji X-T1 and X100s. It was so pleasant not lugging around heavy gear all trip. I didn’t get hardly any dedicated photography time this trip, with most images taken quickly on the go. A lot of the street photography images were even shot “from the hip”. We visited Venice, Montepulciano (and some nearby Tuscan countryside), and Rome. The trip was too short by half, but it whet the appetite and I anxiously await visiting the country again in the future…….
At last count I had visited Iceland a total of three times, the first I was an amature photographer and went with a Nikon D60 + 18-105 lens, the second I had got better and went with a D90 +24/50/135 lenses, the last time was after I fell for Fuji and went with 2 XE1′s; 8mm, 18mm, 35mm, 60mm and 50-230mm lenses. I’ve blogged about my time in Iceland before but have decided to put this post together to keep it all in one place and show you some photography of this awesome place! One thing that keeps me coming back to Iceland is the quick changing nature of the weather and the raw unspoilt landscapes that greet you around every bend, as this was my third time out I was very much ready for what would be in store and some very good ideas of places I wanted to visit. All the photos here were shot on 2 Fuji XE-1′s the size and weight of these cameras make them great for travel and the image quality is just incredible, at no point did I feel the need for anything more that the gear I had and would be happy to travel anywhere in the world with just this small bag of gear…….
This last May, I was lucky enough to spend my honeymoon in Italy. I couldn’t go on a trip of this scale without some serious photography (luckily my wife already knew this) so I put a lot of thought into what gear I wanted to bring. I’ve been enjoying my Fuji X-T1 lately and, although the last trip I did of this length was with my full-frame Canon gear, this time I wanted to bring a much lighter kit. So what gear did I bring to Italy? The problem is, I’m a lazy photographer and changing lenses is sometimes a deterrent from shooting. In addition, my instincts from my African photo safaris mean I’m nervous unless I have backups. So even though I feel like I packed light, it’s all relative and some of my more hardcore street photographer friends will raise an eyebrow at my kit. I decided to bring two Fuji X-T1s (one mine, one rented from LensProToGo), each with a lens attached. I then brought a couple of other lenses to fill out my range…
What’s a visit in India without visiting a palace? Right after the Charminar we went to see the Chowmahalla Palace which is located almost next door. There is a restriction you should be aware of: no professional cameras and tripods allowed! Good thing is that I neither had a tripod nor a professional camera with me. Just my Fuji X Pro-1. I was entitled to enter but I got a tag for my camera for whatever reason. It seems that though India is a paradise for photographers it is not the most photographer friendly country I can think of. But the people are great. I talked with this gentleman who restored the furniture of the palace. Before I walked on I asked if I could take his portrait. He agreed and luckily he did not smile into the camera but just got back to his work. A true craftsman! …..
This project, which I first started shooting in May of 2006, was born from my observances of the sheer humanity, the spectacle of the beach and it’s denizens. The beach… Where else do we work so hard at enjoying ourselves? We haul half a truckload of toys, tents, chairs, blankets, fishing poles, pets, food–you name it, just to get burned by the sun, stung by a jellyfish, knocked down by a wave and scuffed by the sand. Then, we head home exhausted only to ‘wash, rinse and repeat’ the following weekend. Since I live in Florida, am a photojournalist by trade and love to photograph people, this project was a no-brainer: out here, this is where life happens. It’s a place that transcends cultures, social status, age and race. Strip a guy down, put him in a Speedo and you have no idea if he’s rich or poor. Ah, life is a beach. Correction: Life is a Florida Beach. The work below is a sample of my most recent photographs from the larger project that I hope will become a hardcover photography book in the future…..
Die Chinesischen Kollegen haben mich sehr warmherzig aufgenommen und haben mich auch immer unterstützt. Ob menschlich, oder auch fachlich. Ich kann ihnen nur ein großes Lob aussprechen. Auch wenn manche Arbeitsweisen und kulturelle Aspekte für uns doch eher fremd sind, so hat die Zusammenarbeit wirklich gut funktioniert. Und wenn man der fremden Kultur mit Toleranz begegnet, so sind auch diese Unterschiede sehr gut zu überbrücken. Ich habe das Gefühl bekommen dass beide Seiten eher Neugierig, denn Skeptisch waren. Ich muss gestehen dass ich mich im Vorfeld doch recht umfangreich über die Kulturellen unterschiede informiert habe. So ist es zum Beispiel, dass sich die Chinesen morgens nicht die Hände schütteln. Es gibt ein good morning und das war es dann auch. Beim Thema essen sind die Sitten im Land des Lächelns ebenfalls anders als bei uns. Schmatzen darf man, ebenso wie schlürfen. Es wird auch keinen Guten Appetit gewünscht, sondern einfach gegessen. Nach dem Essen wird auch nicht mehr lange gequatscht. Man steht auf, verabschiedet sich und fertig. Daran muss man sich schon erst einmal gewöhnen. Bei uns in Deutschland bleibt man doch eher noch etwas sitzen und unterhält sich über das eine oder andere Thema…….