Traveling without Telephoto, A New York No-No

Wanting wide? Think about where you are going…

So while I was in New York City, I’ve recently discussed how the Fujifilm X-T2 had become my main shooter for the whole trip. It doesn’t mean I didn’t take the Sony A7Riii out to shoot with, I did, however I have to say a few things about the lens I chose.

A 16-35mm focal length is very hard to travel with, and I am a travel style photographer- this means I enjoy having an all around style of lens while I’m walking around. If I need a macro shot I could get it, or a slight telephoto I would get it too. But this focal length was, kryptonite for my camera, and for myself. Whenever I would look through my finder I never truly enjoyed what I saw.

I prefer a 24-70mm range for my Sony, I have a 50mm macro lens and the 70mm is just enough telephoto to really get around and get nice and close for interesting angles. While negatively the 35mm is still considered wide- if I wanted to get a nice shot of a seagull I would have to post process my photo to get a good crop. That isn’t the point of travel photography. Running and gunning is the point.

Now most people I talked to said that the 16-35mm would be great in New York City, and I do agree with them, but as an additional lens to an arsenal. To only bring a 16-35 is not beneficial to anyone, it is a landscape camera in a city with a lot of old fencing. There was a carousel in Bryant Park I was doing long exposures of, unfortunately it had a fence around it. And it’s one of those old iron fences about 3 feet high, but with no tripod available your ability to get that diminishes quickly. The focal length no matter what I did, got the fence unless I went for an artistic approach of composition. Sometimes it seemed too artistic.

The Sony still takes gorgeous images, but it is a very evident camera to be carrying around, it was uncomfortable and I’m not the type to stick gaff tape all over my camera. Plus if I had brought my other lens I would have needed back surgery (the 24-70mm is nearly 3 times the size of the 16-35mm).

But I will say I loved the long exposures I can get with the Sony, needs a tripod but otherwise I should have chosen a different focal length for the trip. Below are my favorite shots from the Sony, not many as I only took roughly 30 photos with the camera. But still some goodies.

A New York Minute

Run for the Train, it’s a quarter to 2

Recently I had the pleasure to go to New York City to attend Photo Plus Expo, and have the fun of a vacation along with it. While packing I had brought with me two digital SLR cameras: The Sony A7Riii with the 16-35 f/4, and my newly acquired Fujifilm X-T2 with the 16-35 f/2.8. 

I chose to bring these two as one was my go to camera, the Sony, and one was brand new that I wanted to give a test run. So first off, I decided the Sony would only come out while I was at the Statue of Liberty, the Sony was recognizable, and significantly heavier than the Fuji. I even though that I would enjoy the focal length I brought and would most likely use the Fuji as a proxy for my film cameras which stayed home.

Yet when we got there I took the Fuji out the very first day, it was light and I wanted to bring the camera with to the Expo. I needed an eyecup and a screen protector, I thought maybe I’d find something. 

Now when I travel I have a significantly hard time getting into the groove of Photography, I’m mainly tired, hungry, and getting my bearings before I’m willing to get creative. When I carried the Fuji, because of it’s familiar manual style dials, it was easy to start shooting. Couple days through the trip, it had become my primary shooter.

The color, the dials, the ease of use, it actually felt like I was using the camera and me not having the camera use me. By that I mean I was actually setting exposures instead of relying on Auto to get me through a trip. Yes that means I had less photos but I at least had ones I was willing to go back and look at time and time again. Some of them I know I will even get printed in large formats. 

Maybe that’s why I loved the Fuji so much in New York, it made me feel creative, cultivate it and aid me in enjoying the experience. When I use the Sony it felt very calculated and the camera at times felt much more technological then I could handle. Doesn’t mean I hate the camera, means that I am still on a journey to learn how to use that camera in my style.

The Fujifilm however, is firmly in the lead, and I truly loved carrying it with me everyday in a city that is always willing to give you a good shot. Below are some examples of what I got with the Fujifilm X-T2 and the 16-55 f/2.8

More photos here

PSA: The Fujifilm is completely water resistant, it went through a full day drizzle with no cover just fine, the lens is one of Fuji’s WR lenses so it is sealed for weather.

Meet Me In St. Louis

Recently I had the pleasure -or pain- to travel to St Louis Missouri and spend some time in this old city over the 4th of July. The pain part of this, well 110 degrees and two destroyed rolls of film later I would recommend visiting in the fall. Still, the history that the state had to offer gave me some wonderful photography. Here are a few that I loved from the trip.

Queen City Architectural Salvage

4750 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216

Finding this little gem is easy to do, straight off a main highway this junk yard is a photographers dream. However be warned, its only open for short hours and only part of the week; not to mention the construction surrounding the entire place. 

The best way to get there currently is to still get off at Brighton Blvd, just know parking is scarce and the neighborhood can be a bit rough. But with this salvage junk yard gem of a place it is well worth whatever walk you might have to do. When I went the sun was just peaking out and the place was packed (there was a photography meet-up) so walking room was tight. I would not recommend bringing a tripod as the aisle ways are small, uneven, and to be courteous to other patrons it would be best to leave it be. 

There are plenty of things there, around 4 old cars, an old diner, toilets, and so much texture some people might overload. The owner is super polite and loves that photographers come to see the place, he is also a Denver Historian. If there is anything you want to know about Denver- ask him. I would say this is definitely a place you could go if you wanted some fun stuff to take pictures of, or if you need a good restoration project for a house. The old doors would make good picture frames, or if you need some fun lighting some of the older buildings are also stocked. 

I might head back in awhile as the place is small, but still enjoyed my time there, and I do believe you will too.