Meeting Jack Kerouac in San Francisco

Observant readers of this blog post will quickly point out that Jack Kerouac died in 1969. Fair point, but in my recent travels I did come across Jack Kerouac Alley and, curiously enough, a poet for hire. I watched a few people pass by him, and just before he was about to get up to take a break over a cold beer in the bar next door, my curiosity made me wander over.

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Review: Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4 R

At first glance, the 23mm f/1.4 looks like an enormous beast of a lens compared to what was (at the time of it’s release) the smaller 18mm f/2 and 35mm f/1.4 lenses. The main reason for the bulk of this lens, aside from it’s fast 1.4 aperture, was the manual focus clutch mechanism. Pulling back on this lens revealed a manual focus design with hard stops and a depth of field scale. This feature is only shared with it’s 14mm f/2.8 and 16mm f/1.4 prime brothers. I take a look at this and other features of the 23mm f/1.4 in this video.

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REVIEW: Fuji XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS Lens

If someone were to mention Fuji X-series zoom lenses, you wouldn’t be wrong to automatically start thinking at the longer range of focal lengths. Their XF 50-140mm and XF 100-400mm are some of the sharpest and most versatile mirrorless zooms around and they're very popular lenses in the Fuji lineup. The XC 50-230mm and XF 55-200mm also pack quite the punch. But at the completely different end of the spectrum, Fuji also focused some of their design prowess on creating a wide angle zoom to cover everything from landscapes to architecture to street photography. So how does this wide angle zoom, the XF 10-24mm f/4 OIS, hold up in usage?

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48 Hours in NYC

The title of this post is a little misleading, because it may have actually been even closer to only 36 hours in New York City. A few weeks ago I made the quick weekend trip to meet up with some amazing photographers for NYCWLK 2.0, which has become an annual gathering courtesy of the founder: Johnny Patience.

 

Brooklyn

I got into La Guardia in the early afternoon of Saturday, September 10th, and only had a few minutes to clean up at my hotel in Brooklyn before heading out to meet up with the rest of the group. The nice thing about this event was that I finally had the chance to meet so many photographers who I had only known through Twitter. It was great getting to put a face to the Twitter handle and I just loved that there were no egos in the entire group. It was truly a meeting of photographers at various skill levels swapping stories and sharing experiences in a relaxed, fun environment. That's definitely the way all walks should begin, in my opinion.

NYCWLK officially took us on a two hour tour through some of Brooklyn and I was so inspired to finally be shooting at these locations. It was a very warm day and there were a lot of people enjoying the sunshine - I often times found myself looking out across the river and closing my eyes to let the breeze and the sounds from the surrounding piers take over my senses. This walk was a fantastic way to start my first trip back to New York since I was a very small child. I just loved shooting there!

 

 

Manhattan

On Sunday, September 11 I found myself heading into Manhattan on the (somewhat confusing) NYC subway. It was only a five minute ride in, and despite being advised to avoid Manhattan because of the crowds on that particular day, I just had to see it for myself.

Immediately upon exiting the subway a couple carrying groceries and yelling at each other in what sounded like Russian shot past me. I stood back and let the rest of the crowd stream past me as I got my bearings. There was so much activity near the World Trade Center and so much security to protect the families at the memorial service.

The streaming crowds of people never seemed to subside. I loved it. And I loved the light. Avoid the crowds? Are you kidding? I jumped in and joined them!

One of the highlights from this particular six hour excursion into Manhattan is that on this particular day, September 11, the skylight in the Oculus is opened to let the sun stream in. The skylight is closed every other day of the year. I made sure to stand in the spot where the sun was shining in before I left. I also had some great conversations with a few NYC police officers who were working security for the memorial service, and also ran into a few people who were obviously dressed to the nines for the start of Fashion Week in NYC. 

 

 

I did end up visiting the 9/11 Memorial myself later in the afternoon before I left, but I'll save those images for a special blog post later on. It was moving, and emotional, and overwhelming all at once. Those images will get their own separate presentation on this site soon.

It was a quick trip, but I made a lot of new friends and saw a lot of amazing sights. I can't wait to go back to NYC, and I'll definitely be there for NYCWLK 3.0!

 

Rome: Monochrome

The strangest thing about photography, and images in general, is that the absence of color can actually make an image much more vivid. A monochrome image can actually serve to make a photograph’s mood and tone shout out in ways that color would have somehow subdued. 

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Rome: Remnants

In the heart of modern Rome lies an architectural graveyard dedicated to the power and ingenuity of its ancient ancestors. To walk the same streets, sit on the same steps and touch the same walls as the people of ancient Rome is a surreal experience.

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Hands On With the X-T2

A few days ago I had the chance to meet up with our local Fujifilm representative at a local camera store to get a look at the new X-T2. A few people have asked what I thought about it, especially since I’ve already pre-ordered one for myself. I went in armed with a lot of knowledge based on what I’ve read and seen so far, but there were still a few surprises that I didn’t expect.

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Positano: Part 1, Peace

This place is like nothing I’ve ever seen before - a vertical city situated precariously on a steep mountainside. A wild mixture of colorful houses, bed & breakfasts and hotels have somehow planted themselves in cliffside positions to secure the best views. Tourism has replaced fishing as the main source of income. This is Positano.

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Counting Down to the X-T2

We're less than 24 hours away from the (rumored) launch of the X-T2, and all signs point to the rumors being right. There are Fuji hardware events scheduled for tomorrow in various cities around the world, and final product shots are being leaked onto the internet just as they were hours before the X-Pro2 was officially launched. This morning I remembered that I created a mock-up showing what I thought the X-T2 would potentially look like based on the (at the time) new X-Pro2...so how close was I?

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Herculaneum: Ancient Street Photography

Herculaneum was a second home for the rich, a resort of sorts. Lead pipes took water directly into massive villas (if only they knew what we know now), and residents frequented luxurious bath houses that featured ingenious ways of recycling water and keeping the separate rooms varying degrees of hot and cold at the same time.

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Herculaneum: Ghosts of Vesuvius

The year is 79AD. Mount Vesuvius has been spewing ash and rock into the air for over 12 hours under an ominously darkened sky. You didn’t even know it was a volcano until the moment it erupted. Since then, you and your family have been huddling in the boat houses near your home in Herculaneum, praying for rescue. You attempt to comfort your children, but your own trembling hands betray your projected confidence.

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Umbria: Friends and a Farmhouse

It’s amazing how true friendships can stand the test of time and distance. My wife Amanda has known Marita and Carlos for decades ever since she was very young and living in Spain, and we were fortunate enough to stay with them and see the amazing sights and restaurants in the area from a locals point of view on our visit.

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Umbria: Assisi, A Holy Place

We’re on our way to Assisi, one of the most visited destinations in Umbria. Located on the slope of Mount Subasio, Assisi is known mostly for being the home of Saint Francis and Saint Catherine of Siena, both patron saints of Italy. As with other nearby cities, Assisi has a tumultuous past filled with war, expansion, plagues, pilgrimages and rebirth. Early rain gives way to fog that eventually lifts to reveal sunshine and blue skies. From the Basilica walls, we can now see far into Perugia below.

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Umbria: Stepping Back in Time

We watch Florence drift away through the dirt streaked windows of the Regionale 3153 train en route to Foligno. Blue station signs proudly announce the names of their towns in large white letters as we pass through stop after stop. We pass Porcellino, skirt around the beautiful Lake Trasamino and two and a half hours later, we arrive in Foligno.

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