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…….
I recently spend one week camping in the southern and south western part of Norway, on the coast line from Kristiansand to Stavanger. It’s a beautiful area of Norway I think, especially in the summer. You don’t have the nice deep fjords of western Norway, or the mountains of North Norway that goes steep into the sea – but this part of Norway has its beauty of its own I think. I could have used a lower ISO and 1/60 sec and gotten a sharp image – but the wind made the grass swayed in the wind so I bumped the ISO to 800. Also I wanted to use f/16 to get it nice and sharp from front to back. I travelled together with my wife. She is pregnant, and that made some impact of what I could and could not do. Most of my photos were taken during day time, in harsh sun light. Not the best time of the day for taking pictures. Still, I managed to get out some mornings on my own and take som shots, while she was sleeping…..
The Fuji XT1 is definitely my favourite Fujifilm camera. It has a very descent dynamic range and everything already works excellent right out of the box. The auto-focus system is basic, but works well. I often use the focus-and-recompose technique: with AF set to center spot, I focus on my subject and then reframe the shot whilst keeping the shutter button half-pressed. There is a wide AF function available, but never really seem to use it with this camera. It’s also worth noting that the Fuji XT-1 is fully weather sealed (80 points!). As I travel much, it’s important that I can use my gear in all circumstances. I never have to worry about increased humidity or a drop of rain, it will continue to operate as expected. I often shoot landscapes and have found the color palette excellent and the lenses on par with anything produced by Nikon. Thanks to the excellent color registration of the Fuji XT1 16 megapixel X-Trans CMOS II sensor, there is plenty of information in thee RAW files for you to play around with afterwards. You’ll be able pull lots of shadow detail out too as long as you stay under ISO 1600…….
I recently went on a 13-day cruise to the Baltic with the Fuji X-system. I took both of my bodies (X-E1 & X-T1) plus my single zoom (18-55) and several primes. I took my Tenba Messenger (small) bag for the Macbook, chargers, backup HDD, cables, Rolleicord film camera, iPod and extra lenses, but intended to only carry the Ona Bowery bag on a day to day basis. Stops were made for days out around several major cities, including Amsterdam, Tallin, Helsinki, Stockholm and St Petersburg. It was a good chance to give the X-T1 a practical workout and to see whether imaging with this compact setup would be effective and enjoyable. In terms of portability I have only praise for the setup I chose to carry on a day to day basis. I took the Ona bag with both bodies, each fitted with a lens that I thought would be most suitable for the location visited. Also carried were 2 spare batteries, lens cloth, detachable neck strap/wrist strap and city map. This setup was light and comfortable to carry, never once giving me shoulder ache. It was easy to open or secure the bag and rapidly remove or replace a camera. There was no need for lens changing in the streets, which in my experience tends to lead to dropping kit, losing bits like lens caps and missing the moment. I prefer to shoot already set up and would rather carry 2 bodies, each with a lens, than a single body with 3 lenses, for this sort of photography……..
We have just got back from a week away in St Ives. It’s one of my favourite places to visit in the UK and when you get the weather it’s just about perfect. St Ives is blessed with some fantastic beaches, which essentially surround the small fishing town. The harbour area is the bustling focal point of St Ives with its shops, restaurants, cafés and traditional old pub – The Sloop Inn. The tables outside the pub face the harbour and it’s a great spot for people watching. On elf the first things I do when I arrive in St Ives is order a pint of Doombar, sit back and just relax. The atmosphere is unique. Local fishermen mix with tourists and conversations play out against a background soundtrack of waves gently lapping on the shore and the shrill sound of seagulls. The only sound more shrill than the gulls is the screams of newbie tourists losing their newly purchased ice-creams and pasties to the swooping airborne aggressors. Here are a few photos from this year’s visit. The pictures here were taken on the Fuji X-Pro1with mainly the new 10-24mm f4 and the X-E1 with the 55-200mm attached. The reason for the two bodies was that it enabled me to cover a wide range of shots without changing lenses in what can be a fairly dusty environment with all that sand swirling around………
We left Rome today and are now in Florence for the next few days. Rome was everything I had dreamed it would be. Well, almost. Everyone said the coffee would be the best I have ever tasted. So far I have not had a bad cup of coffee. But I don’t find it head and shoulders above the rest of the worlds cappuccino’s and espressos. Now the gelato… that’s another story! I am sure there is no better ice cream on the planet! I think literally half of Rome is under construction. Most of what we wanted to see was under scaffoldings. Seriously, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps and more all under renovation. Oh well, looks like we will just have to visit again! Here are a few images from Roma! Arrivederci Roma……
The past year has been a record year for me in terms of travel, being a working photographer has its advantages and disadvantages, while most people think that all we do is take pictures, there is a lot of work that takes place prior and after the fact. From getting to the location to shooting pictures to selecting, editing and publishing, all of these take up more time than the actual making of photographs. I have spent enough time in airports and inside airplanes the past year and a half to last me a life time, but still everyday I wake up feeling blessed that I get to do what I love. I have put my old blog to rest, and for the past couple of days I have worked on changing my mindset of how I will be posting my work online and luckily I figured things out, this new format is the way to go. I now don’t feel the urge to wait till I collect a large number of photos to post to a blog, this new format will allow me to share more of my photographs with the world……