Toronto. At night. In the rain.

I always try to fit in a little photography when I travel and my recent trip to Toronto was no exception. The weather wasn't great, but I've learned that my little Fujifilm X100T will stay fairly dry if I tuck it under my palm as I walk (having the camera on a wrist strap makes this fairly easy). And rainy nights in a city give means lots of mist, reflections and vivid colours.

Here are a few shots in those conditions taken around Toronto's City Hall at Nathan Phillips Square.

Paris: Day 1

I have taken advantage of the fact that I am between assignments at work to spend a few days in Paris. Although the city has the reputation of being very grey during the month of February, I seem to have lucked out with a forecast that calls for a sunny week with temperatures of 10 - 12C. Just a bit warmer and less snowy than the Ottawa Valley at this time of year.

So here I am with only my Fuji X-E1 and X100T for company in a city that is a photographer's dream. I've got some ideas for a project but the challenge, as always, is to say something visually that hasn't been said in Paris a million times before. I'm here for a break, though, so I may just let the challenge go and enjoy myself. We'll see.

Here are some night shots from my first evening in the city. All were taken handheld at ISO 3200 beside the Canal de la Villette in the city's 19th arrondissement. 

 

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Liquid colour in Manhattan with the X100T

I got the chance recently to spend a couple of days at a conference in NYC. Given that I'd only be there a short time, I decided to take just my Fujifilm X100T rather than pack the whole kit.

In my mind's eye, New York lends itself to black and white photography particularly well but I was concerned that I was falling into a rut. Or perpetuating photographic clichés. Or both. Or... well, whatever it was, I thought it was time to try something new for me. I'd be in meetings all day and it would be getting dark before 5:00 pm, so I'd have to try my hand at night photography. And I decided it was time to add some colour to my NYC shots. On top of that, the weather forecast called for quite a bit of rain. So there it was: night shots in colour in the wet. Challenge accepted!

I debated whether to rig some sort of waterproof cover for the X100T but decided to chance walking around with the camera on a wrist strap, held flat beneath my palm. I'd be ready at a moment's notice and still keep the worst of the rain off the camera body and lens.

To help deal with the wildly different light levels in the city, it was also time to try the Auto ISO setting rather than fiddle constantly with ISO and exposure in the rain. I usually shoot at the lowest ISO I can get away with to help keep the image quality up and have always been worried that the camera would choose sky-high ISOs just to avoid camera shake. This time, I opeted for simplicity: the fixed 23mm lens, Aperture Priority, Auto ISO and wide open at f/2.0. I'd add exposure compensation where necessary. 

And I was happy with the results. The X100T didn't get too wet, scenes were well exposed and I had a riot. Easily the most fun I've had in the rain (a decent waterproof jacket is also a big help).

To my mind, it worked. I'd be glad to hear what you think.



At the protest with the Fujinon 55–200mm

I was in Vancouver for business a couple of weeks back with my new Fujinon 55-200mm zoom lens and was anxious to try it out. A group of protestors obliged me by blocking the street not far from my hotel, so I put the zoom on my X-E1 and spent a few enjoyable minutes with them. As you can tell from the pictures, they're concerned about oil pipelines and their impact on the environment and treaty lens. They also seem concerned with having fun, chatting and taking pictures of each other. And, yes... they're not fans of the current Prime Minister.

The zoom performed beautifully—I was really pleased with getting extra reach beyond my current set of lenses. The focus speed seemed just fine. The biggest plus, however, was the Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) that gave me greater freedom with the choice of slower shutter speeds hand-held. It just works. Try it.

Rockefeller Center (with the Fujinon 14mm)

Radio City (Tony Bennett) -- Fuji X-E1 - 14mm - f/2.8 - 1/60 sec - ISO 800I recently had the chance to spend a week in New York City on my own. It's rare that I take a trip without the family, so I decided to make the most of it and drew up a list of places I wanted to visit and photograph. Photography is always a part of any travelling we do, but it's freeing when you have only yourself to plHalal food -- Fuji X-E1 - 14mm - f/2.8 - 1/60 sec - ISO 800ease.

Just before taking the trip I decided to give my Fuji X-E1 a present: a new lens. I wavered back and forth between the Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 and the 14mm f/2.8 before finally settling on the wide angle. The optical stabilization of the longer lens sounded interesting, but the wider lens has received rave reviews and better suits the kind of shooting I like to do.

These shots were all taken around the Rockefeller Center complex and the 14mm did not disappoint. It is a fantastic lens.Bags and shoes -- Fuji X-E1 - 14mm - f/2.8 - 1/220 sec - ISO 800

Anthropologie -- Fuji X-E1 - 14mm - f/2.8 - 1/85 sec - ISO 800

Alone, but never on your own

One of the great things about a big city is the range of options you can have for interacting with other people. You can be anonymous, if you'd like. Or you can seek out the company of others if you'd prefer to do that. Or, in large common spaces like a Central Park, you can move back and forth between the two, choosing now to find a quiet space to read or stroll and then joining with others to applaud a street musician. That ease of movement between different degrees of social interaction also makes it easier to try your hand at street photography: as long as you are not obnoxious, no one is the least bit surprised to see you taking pictures. Much harder to do in a smaller town.

I like NY.