Montana & My Fuji

A few weeks back as I sipped my coffee driving east toward a sunrise location on the snowy backroads of Montana I came to sudden realization. I was about to celebrate one year of making images with my Fuji X-T1. The last year of making images with my new camera system has been a bit of a revolution and creative awakening. As I've mentioned before, I was a bit nervous about switching camera systems from the more traditional digital Nikon DSLR that I had been shooting for a decade. It had served me well, but the bulk and heavier weight were starting to wear me down for my travels. As I started to research lighter weight systems I realized the mirrorless technology has come a long way and performance specs were up to snuff with DSLR for a fraction of the weight and bulk. 

This last year has proven I can get the images I want with a far more portable and lighter system. In fact, for this trip to Montana I didn't even carry a camera bag. I simply put my Fuji XT-1, Fuji 18-135mm and Rokinon 12mm lenses in my standard Timbuk2 messenger and called it a day. My tripod fits nicely into my standard rollerboard bag and a few other accessories such as filters, extra battery & charger fit easily as well. 

My Fuji XT-1, filters & accessories fit nicely in my daily messenger.

Tripod, filters, charger & accessories snugly fit into my rollerboard bag.

I usually carry a small point & shoot (Nikon or Sigma) with me each week when I travel, but I've realized I can easily throw the much more capable XT1 with a single lens in my bag instead for virtually the same amount of space. Though it isn't quite the 'everyday carry' camera either. I'm looking forward to another big year traveling with my Fuji system and making some great images. Have you changed your camera system or thinking about it? Comment below and let me know what you think!


Photo Lego Dude checking out the surrounds.

Goodnight to a hazy Helena.

A Look Back at Lucky 2013

A lot photographers like to end the year with a post looking back on what the year meant to them through their images.  I guess I'm not much different however I'll choose my more personal favorites from each month vs. just the most aesthetically pleasing images.  

I don't consider myself particularly superstitious but as the clock struck midnight and my teeth were chattering near Times Square last year, I couldn't help but wonder if a year that ended in '13' might be well, interesting.  Indeed it proved to be as we witnessed two polar extremes of historic floods and fires that ravaged Colorado and my wife breaking her arm on her mountain bike it wasn't the 'luckiest' year we've experienced. That said, we managed to get through with lots of laughs, smiles and some new adventures so in the end lucky '13' couldn't get the best of us.  Here is looking forward to 2014 may each of you have a healthy, adventurous and amazing year!

And now a look at my personal favorites from each month in 2013...

January | A Late Christmas - being an airline pilot I don't get to spend very many actual holidays with my wife or family.  So per our new normalized routine we celebrated Christmas with my family in January, this is picture of my Dad snowshoeing in the Colorado backcountry near Keystone.

February | Paris - around the middle of February we had planned a road trip to southern Colorado to hopefully find some deep snow as the Summit County resorts hadn't seen much good snow as of late. Alas, none of Colorado had good snow when the time came and since we had 4 days off we felt we wanted to do an adventure somewhere.  So being the travel junkie types we are, we flew to Minneapolis and decided to get on the first flight we could over the Atlantic.  Paris, Amsterdam and London in that order were our options.  Paris it was, and I booked the hotel on my phone as we were walking on the airplane.  This image was a spur of the moment capture of my wife, Allison, waiting for the Metro to arrive as were heading out to explore Paris.

March | Idle Skies - after finally getting a long layover in Tucson, Arizona I was able to begin work on a project I've wanted to start for quite some time.  This is the Pima Project of old aircraft in muesems and boneyards scattered across Arizona.  It will be an on-going project and I was pleased with the results from only a single day of shooting so far.  

April | Snow Finally - as the ski season started to wind down Colorado finally got snow and lots of it. The last two weeks were the best we had all season and in fact some resorts had their largest storms after they closed.  This image was from a cold chair ride up Arapahoe Basin on a fine powder day captured with my camera phone.

May | Istanbul - exploring a city that straddles two continents and is one of the oldest cities on the planet is bound to create great images.  We had a wonderful, albeit too short of a time exploring old Constantinople (still fancy that name) in May. Turkey is a wonderful country and we hope to get back to explore more soon.  This image was taken on the famous Galata Bridge as local fisherman worked the waters of the Golden Horn with the mosques of the Old City rising in the background.

June | Glacier National Park - once again taking advantage of a long layover in a cool place, I ventured out of Kalispell, Montana and drove to Glacier National Park with camera gear in tow. This was the first layover of any length I had here, so despite being a little tired from an early start in El Paso I fueled up on caffeine and good eats at a local coffee shop and ran for the hills. Though it was an amazing place to see, I don't consider this my finest work to date so I'll look forward to getting back for more shots!

July | The Storm - one of the unfortunate things about being a pilot is that it is really hard to share the things we see from the air. Whether it be that the camera simply can't do the scene justice or we are just too darn busy to snap a photo it is rare I can share the beauty of a life aloft.  This storm caught me eye we were working around storms all day this muggy afternoon in July.  No matter how many thunderstorms I've seen from the air, they are always impressive.

August | Ride - overall it was a great summer of riding, I probably rode my bikes more consistently up until the flood in September than I have for quite a few years. It felt great being in pretty decent shape again although I took less photos this summer than I wanted.  An even trade off I suppose and I even got to ride bikes and take photos which are of course two of my favorite things.

September | The Flood - there has long been talk that we were overdue for a large flood, but I don't believe many of us thought we'd actually see it with our own eyes. It was a surreal few days that saw 17" of rain fall in short time period and every single creek and river flooded all along the Front Range. The towns of Lyons, Salina and Jamestown saw massive destruction and our home in Boulder wasn't spared either.  This image is of a Chinook off on another rescue mission looking for folks cutoff in the mountain communities. If you'd like to donate to the on-going flood recovery effort, check out Boulder Flood Relief for more info.

October | Greece - once we got our house cleaned up as much as possible from the flood and realized there wasn't much else we could do until the flood restoration pros arrived, it was time to travel again.  Despite having recently broken her arm, Allison was up for the adventure as we had the time already planned off.  So we decided not to let a 1,000 year rain or broken bones get in the way of travels and we were thankfully able to head to the Greek island of Santorini for a week and explore Athens a little. The island was so picturesque I could have spent a month on Santorini alone, not to mention the other thousands of islands in the Greek Isle. 

November | Winter is Back - a good start to the snow season brings many a smile in Colorado especially to my wife. After a tough healing proces of dealing with her broken arm, she was very excited to get back on the snowboard. Here is hoping to lots of snow this year and no more broken bones!

December | The Studio - working in a studio setting for the first time the last month has been a fun challenge and opportunity to learn. I'll be working with many top level bikes from the industry so keep an eye out of what kind of creativity my buddy Jason and I can produce. As always, I try to stray from the norm with my photography and this is one of my early favorites.

Snow Fall Sequence

So with a series of spring storms rolling through, I had the idea to try the interval shooting on the D300 the other day once I got home from work. Snowfall accumulation rates were up to 3" per hour at one time, so it was a great opportunity to try it out. In the end, I was mildly pleased with result looking forward to another shot at it soon! The last frame is from the following day!

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