Beijing

A city over more than 21 million people full of mystery, intrigue, the ultra rich, the ultra poor and surprisingly fine coffee & beer. I’ve been fortunate to be flying here a lot lately with some long layovers to explore and begin to get to know the city. While my company puts us up in a very nice hotel in expat central a stones throw from Tiananmen Square, I’ve tried to venture from the worn path and get to know Beijing properly. Branching out on the subway lines one at a time has proved rewarding. It’s slow going but I’m learning to listen to the rhythm of the city and embrace its offerings.

Exploring the Forbidden City at sunrise | Fuji X100T

If I had any preconceived notions of the city they are long gone. The people are friendly, the beer is tasty, the coffee is proper and the place is downright photogenic. I’ve had to work at finding the local places, finding the small moments of peace & zen, coming out of my amateur street photographer shell and get used to the ‘big brother’ is watching you mentality but embracing it all is wonderful. Beijing offers everything a modern metropolis does and doesn’t. The smells (pleasant & not), the sights (same), the dynastic history and the people make for a photo rich environment.

Everyone is watching in Beijing | Fuji X100T

I’ve found my everyday walk around camera (Fuji X100T) to be a perfect fit for blending in on the streets and making friends with its minimal intrusiveness. Though even its minimalist form has attracted the ire of security personnel a time or two already, a friendly smile and shrug of ‘sorry’ seems to accommodate them well enough. Certainly a different environment than taking photos in western countries though not insurmountable by any means. Just be sure to ask before taking photos any military/police or for that matter any seemingly sensitive locations.

It’s a jungle out there | Fuji X100T

The Forbidden City theatre with a bit of smog from Jingshan Park | Fuji X100T

Land of the Selfie, not sure Mao would approve | Fuji X100T

Getting lost on the side & back streets offer a relaxed version of Beijing | Fuji X100T

Approaching people in Beijing has proved fun & challenging | Fuji X100T

Checking out the offerings on the busy ‘Ghost Street’ | Fuji X100T

I’ll keep exploring and finding what Bejing has to offer. Stay tuned for more stories & photos from here and around Asia as I dig in deeper & work on my street photographer mojo.

Lisbon + Zurich

Perhaps an odd couple for cities, but my first trip on my new plane fortunately took me to Portugal and Switzerland. Managed a couple of quick walkabouts to put the Fuji X100T through the paces since I've been busy with training the last six weeks. Nice to get out & shoot again!

The Vasco da Gama Bridge - long exposure X100T

Of course Photo Lego Dude needed his shot of the bridge - X100T

A little exploring of Old Town Lisbon was of course in order - X100T, edit in Snapseed

Street scenes in Lisbon - X100T

Then 24 hours in Zurich - X100T

Lake Zurich - X100T

Evening Falls - X100T

G'night Zurich - X100T

The Alps, Amsterdam & the Fuji X100T

Awhile back I wrote a post about my search for the 'Ultimate Travel Camera', eventually purchased a camera after much deliberation, lazily never made a follow up post about it and have since purchased yet another camera to replace the first 'ultimate travel' camera. Whew. The long short of it? I purchased a Panasonic Lumix LX10, didn't fall in love with it and decided to go back for my gut instinct of the Fuji X100T.

So here I am a few weeks into owning the X100T and I've been loving every minute of shooting with it. While I won't dwell on the Lumix (I plan a post about my experience with it soon), I just never fully loved shooting with it. It simply stayed in my bag too often and I was rarely inspired to shoot with it. I should've known the Fuji brand would be calling my name and I'm happy it's my new everyday carry. 

This post won't be a 'review' because there a million such things out there to geek out about over specs & pixel peeping. Nope, just some pics and the simple joy of shooting with a very capable compact camera that produces gorgeous images.

The Alps offer nothing less than impressive views.  

Typical scene around Chamonix.  

Made friends with this amiable bar keep over our shared passion for Fuji cameras. Bummed I didn't get him in focus as I was still getting used to handling the X100T. Good to show failures & successes too. Next time.

Wow.


Then it was off to Amsterdam for a few days to let the legs recover before we headed home. I wanted to put the X100T through the paces in an urban environment and one I'm more familiar with. Definitely starting to get used to this thing.

Amsterdam is for...

Locals.

Photo Lego Dude checking out the tulips.

Best way to get around town.

Bikes everywhere.

Haarlem.

Photo Lego Dude approves the design of the X100T. [iPhone X]

Delta Airbus 350 at the gate. Goodbye for now Amsterdam and welcome to the family X100T.

 

 

 

Improvising in Zion

Yesterday I had the good fortune to find myself back in southern Utah for a quick journey to Zion National Park. I had been keeping an eye on the weather all last week and was a bit leery of the weekend forecast. Sure enough when my alarm went off at 5am I could hear the pitter patter of rain drops slapping against my hotel room window. It would have been quite easy to turn the alarm off and go back to bed vs driving an hour to Zion, but good photos certainly don't take themselves. Some of my favorite photos have been in inclement weather conditions which can add a sense of drama and besides, blue skies are kinda boring. The morning's adventure could prove to be another great lesson in being flexible and letting the creativity flow. Improv hat on.

So I let my feet hit the floor, quick shower, stopped at the St. George Starbucks (thanks for being open so early) and hit the dark & rainy road northeast toward Zion. I only had about 3 hours to be in the park before I needed head to back to work so time was critical.

The plan was to do the short & easy hike to the Canyon Overlook and be in place for sunrise. After driving through the mile long Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, I made it to the overlook just before the sun came up for golden hour, but alas there would be no sun. Only clouds, rain showers and a peculiar but friendly Englishman taking photos. No matter, the view is always gorgeous and I'll certainly be back for more opportunities. After exhausting my creative ideas at the Overlook, I decided to skip some of the park's more famous aspects in favor of going further east toward the Checkerboard Mesa to see what else I could find. 

Photo Lego Dude was also disappointed with the clouds - Fuji X-T1 

Once I made my way east I quickly decided to shoot in black and white with my Fuji X-T1. With the drab skies and flat light it would make the photos come alive and enhance the landscape. In deciding to focus on the details of the park vs. trying to shoot epic landscapes in drab conditions my morning went from disappointing to reasonably productive. So don't give up when the weather doesn't seem to cooperate, be flexible, improvise and let the creativity flow!

The roots of this very old fallen tree caught my eye - Fuji X-T1

A little bit of color didn't hurt, I'm sure these flowers popped wide open as soon as the sun came out - Fuji X-T1

Details of the ancient landscape - Fuji X-T1

Mesas & Clouds - Fuji X-T1

Virgin - Fuji X-T1