A Review of 2019

Well, 2019 is over in a few hours and I thought it would be a good time to share a few of my favourites from the year. Photographically it was a very good year. I took a big step back from taking photos for other people yet I still took about 12000 shots, the majority being self-motivated.

Jenny and I had two trips, to Cuba in February and Spain in November. For both of these trips I brought the lightest kit I could… the X100S to Cuba and my new X100F to Spain. I brought the WCL and TCL adapters as well and made pretty heavy use of the former.

Speaking of the X100 cameras, more of my favourites were with those bodies than my two Nikons (D750 and D810) combined. That says as much about the “bring everywhere” portability as it does about the image quality. Still, I’m delighted by those little cameras. I took my favourite Milky Way shot so far on the X100S with the WCL and the minuscule Ultra Pod.

I picked up two new lenses this year, the Nikkor AF-S 24mm f/1.8 G and the Samyang 14mm f/2.8. The Nikon 24 was my default hiking lens, along with the 70-200mm f/4. The Samyang, on the hand, was used maybe just 3 times. Yet, it took one of my absolute favourite all time shots (the boathouse at sunset). Looking at the other shots in this post I see appearances from the Nikon 18-35, 24, 60 macro, 135 DC, the Sigma 35 and 50 1.4 ART lenses, the Samyang 14. The X100 series make up the rest with 5 from the native lens, 6 from the WCL and one from the TCL.

I also managed to complete a month of Photo of the Day but called it off when I got too busy… maybe I’ll pick it up again in 2020!

So here are my favourites, in order of date:

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Street shot in Trinidad, Cuba (X100S and WCL-X100)

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Street shot in Trinidad, Cuba (X100S and TCL-X100)

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Playa Ancon, Cuba long exposure (X100S and WCL-X100)

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From the roof of our hotel at Playa Ancon, Cuba (X100S and WCL-X100)

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Milky Way at Playa Ancon, Cuba with an alignment of the Moon, Venus, and Saturn (X100S and WCL-X100)

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Spring thaw at Schneider’s Bush, my favourite local trail (panorama D810 and Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART)

Greta on the Piano

Greta on the Piano (D750 and Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART)

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Hall’s Lake boathouse at sunset (D750 with Samyang 14mm f/2.8)

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Milky Way near Thornbury, Ontario (D810 and Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5, panorama with five exposures at each of two positions, processed with Sequator)

Milky Way with Sigma 50mm Art

Milky Way near Thornbury, Ontario (D750 and Sigma 50mm Art at f/1.4, 6s, ISO 1600. 9 images combined in Sequator)

Old Baldy Crevace

Old Baldy, Beaver Valley Ontario (X100S and WCL-X100)

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Leslie and Magnus (X100S and WCL-X100)

Golden X-Wing

X-Wing (D810 with Nikon 60mm f/2.8 G Micro)

Bashful and Grumpy

Egg Cup and Clown (D810 and Nikon 135mm f/2 DC)

Immaculate Puffball

A perfect puffball (X100S) 

DIckson Wilderness Area

North Dumfries, Ontario (D750 with Nikon 24mm f/1.8 G)

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Canada flag and a cornfield near St Jacobs Market, Ontario (X100S)

Sunrise at Beithaupt Park

Sunrise at Breithaupt Park, Waterloo, Ontario (D810 with Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G)

Grand River Sunrise

Misty sunrise on the Grand River, Waterloo, Ontario (D810 and Nikon 24mm f/1.8 G)

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On the Canal du Midi, Toulouse, France (X100F)

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Placa de Sant Filip Neri, Barcelona, Spain (X100F)

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Sunset in Gerona, Spain (X100F)

Yukon, BC, and Alaska in August

This past August I took a trip. A trip to the Great White North to visit Emily (and Brad and Leika). A trip of a lifetime, really. How often does one buy a flight to Whitehorse on a whim for 10 days of road tripping, camping and hiking?

I brought along with me the Fujifilm X100s with the WCL adaptor and the Nikon D750 with AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5, AF-S 70-200mm f/4, and AF-S 85mm f/1.8. Choosing what to pack for an extended trip is always a challenge but this combination has treated me very well in the past. For the most part on this trip, the X100s went up the mountains and the D750 did everything else.

On the first leg of the trip, we stuck around the Whitehorse area with a day trip to Carcross and climb up Caribou Mountain, a day trip to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and Gunnar Nilsson & Mikey Lammers Research Forest, a visit to Miles Canyon and putting around downtown.

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Emily, the dog and I then started our road trip with a night camping at Paint Mountain (on Pine Lake near Haines Junction). I got some great shots of the lake and mountain at both sunrise and sunset.

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We then headed south into BC, camping at Million Dollar Falls and taking by far the best hike I’ve been on, to Samuel Glacier. Middle of nowhere, 10km out to the glacier and 10km back. The views were spectacular, but what really struck me was the dead silence once we got away from the highway.

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After the long hike we continues south into Alaska, camping at Chilkat State Park in Haines. I’ve never been to such a good looking campsite. The mountain views were beautiful and the mossy rainforest nook where we set up our tent was totally secluded.

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The next morning we caught the ferry from Haines to Skagway and after exploring the tourist town (while navigating the ridiculous crowd of tourists) we made our way back up to Conrad, Yukon to meet up with Brad and the trailer. The mountain right across the Windy Arm lake had been on fire for a while but luckily the wind was blowing all of the smoke away from us. I got some spectacular fire shots and my new favourite Milky Way.

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We hiked up the Sam McGee trail the next morning and got some great views of the lake and forest fire.

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And that’s pretty much it. An amazing trip and one I’d happily do again!

 

A Week in Toulouse

For the second time, my job sent me to Toulouse, France to speak at an image sensor conference. I had a few days off after and was able to explore the city.. For the most part I used the X100s, shooting only in JPG. I had the D750 as well, with AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G, AF-S 50mm f/1.8 G and AF-S 85mm f/1.8G.

 

A Foggy Saturday

We’ve had a week of fog and unseasonably warm weather here in Southern Ontario. This Saturday I took advantage of the moody atmosphere to grab a few photos. The first two are from a walk at RIM Park with the D750 and AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VR (a lens I’ll talk about soon).

The night shots are from the X100s.  Lately I’ve been playing with the X100s in full manual mode (AF, shutter and aperture). It’s slowed down my shooting but I’ve enjoyed having full control and better consistency from shot to shot. My method is to first set exposure for the scene using the LCD in the view finder and then switch to the optical view. To focus, turning the focus ring on the lens activates the virtual split prism, where the centre of the image is magnified and superimposed with a split image generated from the AF phase-detection sensors. Focus is achieved when the split image is aligned.

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Photos of the Month – June 2016

Well, I haven’t posted in forever. To get myself back on the path to regularly blogging I’m going to try doing a few ‘Photos of the Month’ posts to recap the best images from the month. Most of these were taken with my pretty new Nikon D750 (I’m sure I’ll be writing about it soon) and the rest were with the X100s.

Enjoy!

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Trip to Arizona Part II – The Grand Canyon

Well, I crossed off another item on the bucket list in April with my visit to the Grand Canyon. I woke up at 5AM at the hotel in Flagstaff and hit the road before the sun rose so that I’d get to the canyon in the early morning light. I probably don’t need to say a lot about the place. It was epic and vast. I was there early enough that I was totally alone in some spots, without a person in site. That all changed a few hours later when it was teeming.

I walked down the Kaibob trail about 1200 feet and experienced a 15-20 degree (Celsius) temperature change compared to the top. The hike down was easy. The hike up was strenuous and parching.

I stayed past dark and parked myself at Lipan Point for the sunset and night sky shots. Unfortunately I ran the batteries out in the D700 but the X100s was up to the task! The night sky shot here is a panorama of X100s shots. Here are my 22 favourites spanning 7AM to 10PM.  D700 and X100s, AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G and Sigma 35mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8G.

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7 shot panorama with X100s

7 shot panorama with X100s

Trip to Arizona Part I – Everything but The Grand Canyon

In April one of my best friends, Mike, married Laura in Scottsdale, Arizona and I was lucky enough to get to fly down and shoot the wedding. After the wedding I hung around Arizona for another few days and headed north into the desert in a white Corolla. While the highlight of the trip was the Grand Canyon, the drive there and back was awesome as well! Here are my photos of Phoenix, Sedona and Flagstaff plus a few more from along the highway. Shot with the D700 and X100s.

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