Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Travel

The High Line

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Nearly two years ago I wrote a blog post about my visit to New York’s High Line elevated park. A tweaked version of that post just made it to print in the biannual publication CITYGREEN, appearing in the magazine’s 6th issue entitled Green Spaces For Sustainable Cities. Currently available in paperback only, a digital version of issue 6 will be available in a couple months. Here are a few highlights from my original blog post:

The folks at CITYGREEN were nice enough to shoot me a free copy of issue 6, and it looks great!




These shots of the paperback version represent just a portion of the 8-page spread that appears in the magazine, so check out the actual publication if you want to see the rest. CITYGREEN is loaded with a ton of cool articles about green spaces in urban environments around the world, so it’s a pretty good read. You can also check the blog post my article is based on here.

All the images I posted on the blog and in the CITYGREEN article were taken with my Fuji X100. Represent!

Written by Jonathan

February 15, 2013 at 8:53 am

The California Coast

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A few snaps from a trip up the California coast line. The morning always starts with an outing with the dog, this time at the beach. Really helps get Suki tired enough to relax in the car during the long drive.

The foggy coastal morning along with the shapes and textures on the beach seemed perfect for some black and white shooting. At this point, Lightroom 4 doesn’t support RAW files from the XPRO-1, so these images are all processed in-camera using either the red or green filtered black and white film simulation modes. Though I figured I’d probably switch over to color as the sun burned off the fog, I ended up staying in black and white for the rest of the trip:

Trips like this make me so glad I live by the coast =)

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All Images: Fuji XPRO-1 + 35mm f/1.4 XF R and 18mm f/2 XF R lenses

Written by Jonathan

May 15, 2012 at 11:33 am

Super Moon

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Nikon D800 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII | 1/2 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

The moon passed awfully close to the Earth over the weekend, and we found ourselves over 200 miles north of home on a gig the night we saw it rise over the horizon, bigger and brighter than I’ve ever seen it before. As the sun set and the sky darkened, we quickly looked for a place to pull over and nab a few frames.

The problem, however, was that there was a beautiful sunset over a mountain range to the west, but the moon was rising to the east. At this point, the rock was all by itself in the sky and any shot of it lacked context, so I thought I’d cheat a little. I turned on the D800‘s double exposure mode, spot metered on the moon, took one exposure. Spun the camera around, flipped back to matrix, second exposure of the hills and sun setting sky. The camera combined the two, and the result was pretty cool. I’d love to do this over San Francisco next time…

Written by Jonathan

May 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Kyoto in Black and White

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I recently went over some of the images I took on what till this day I still consider to be my favorite photo walk ever.  Thinking about exploring the rain soaked streets of Kyoto on our most recent visit to Japan brings back some great memories of that beautiful city.

These photographs were originally processed in color, but I spent the night yesterday converting them into a simulation of Kodak Tri-X black and white film. VSCO rocks, y’all.

I miss this place.

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Images: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 | Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC

Written by Jonathan

November 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Walking the High Line

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Fuji X100 | 1/640 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800

This weekend we spent an entire morning walking along the beautifully designed High Line, an elevated park that runs through the west side of Manhattan. Arriving at the park’s Ganesvoort street entrance, I was very happy to see dramatic morning light sweeping across town.

The High Line was once an elevated rail system, supporting freight trains that ran cargo between warehouses and processing facilities in Manhattan’s meat packing district. It’s been several decades since the railway has been used for that purpose, but to preserve the structure as part of New York’s rich history, it was recently overhauled for reuse as a public park.

We arrived early enough to be among only people there in the morning, and it was so peaceful and serene:

Vendors were still setting up during sunrise. Blue Bottle Coffee? Yup, this was going to be a good day.

As we continued walking and shooting, people began trickling into the park, mostly runners as well as the occasional couple doing a photo shoot with their photographer. And speaking of photography, I couldn’t have asked for better morning light for photographs. There was brilliant light and shadow all over the place that morning.

I absolutely love the park’s design. The landscaping was inspired by the wild, self-seeded plant life that once grew on the High Line when it was no longer in use as a rail system. Parts of the original tracks have been reintegrated into the landscape, giving the park a sort of post-apocalyptic look, as if nature has claimed this part of the city as her own, though there is obviously a lot of control to the “chaos.”

Long, concrete “planks” form most of the High Line’s smooth walkways. Our walking progress was extremely slow as I was stopping just about every other second to take pictures. There’s just so much to photograph up there, and my camera was just loving the “wild nature meets man-made structure” theme that permeates the park and creates fascinating visual contrasts.

Speaking of the camera, these images are all from the Fuji X100. Compared to my DSLR, the X100 is just about weightless, and a joy to carry around and shoot with on the nearly 3 mile walk from one end of the park to the other and back.

Without my camera strap, I was fearing for my camera’s life a little here.

Another interesting, visually contrasting element of the park is the neighborhood it sits in. As you walk along, you see decades-old factories and housing mixed in with ultra-modern high rise buildings that run along the High Line’s path.

The park features a large public lawn, which was unfortunately off limits the day we visited. I love the viewing platforms that extend from the path, allowing me to basically step off the High Line to get a better view of the park, soak in sweeping views of the city’s skyline and buzzing streets, or people watch while kicking back on one of the many benches placed along the walkway.

Ok, so I think that’s enough yapping from me. I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story:

The High Line is a must see if you ever find yourself in New York City. I’m pretty sure it’ll be on my to do list every single time I visit!

Coming up, more posts from photo walks in NY over the weekend, meeting three amazing Shibas (well, technically four), and the best coffee I’ve ever had on the east coast, or possibly anywhere for that matter. Stay tuned!

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All photos:
Fuji Finepix X100: Provia Film Sim (JPEG output)
Black and Whites processed in Silver Efex Pro 2

Written by Jonathan

September 13, 2011 at 6:56 am

Passing Through Nevada City

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Fuji X100 | 1/350 sec, f/5, ISO 800

After attending to some important business in Auburn this weekend, we decided to take a 15 minute or so break in Nevada City before heading back to San Francisco. Temperatures in the upper 90s were a stark contrast to the typical cooler summers I’m used to.

Nevada City brings back memories of my childhood. Our family tradition growing up was a camping trip every summer in the Tahoe National forest, and it always included stopping through old little towns like this one on the way back home.

I originally took all of these photos in color using my X100’s standard (Provia) film mode. When I got home however, I realized that this series is just screaming for a black and white conversion:

Unprepared for the high heat, and unable to enter an air-conditioned cafe to cool due to Suki being with us, I lasted about 15 minutes before seeking refuge in the car.


Fuji x100 | 1/350 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800

Until next time, Nevada City! Though I have no idea when that will be. The campground we used to go to every year has been closed for several years now…

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Images: Fuji X100, all JPEGs (Black and White: Silver Efex Pro II)

Written by Jonathan

August 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Review: Think Tank Retrospective 5 Camera Bag

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Fuji X100 | 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 2000

The Think Tank Retrospective 5 bag: Photographer tested, Shiba approved.  Ever since I started regularly heading out with smaller, lighter gear like my EPL2, X100, and even Nikon FM, I’ve been yearning for an appropriate bag. I have a “carry everything bag” already,  so what I need here is a bag that will carry just what I need for a particular outing. The requirements were pretty simple: durable, comfortable, portable yet efficient, and most importantly, inconspicuous.

I realized something about the design of this bag while eating dinner at a restaurant over the weekend. A family with baby in tow sat down at the table next to us, and I noticed that the father had a bag that looked just like mine, only a bit bigger and with cartoon designs all over it…and it was filled with diapers. But hey, that’s nothing to be ashamed about! Like a good diaper bag, the Retrospective 5 has a very minimalist but efficient design.

Made of highly durable cotton canvas and available in Pinestone (mine) or Black, you certainly wouldn’t confuse it for a diaper bag, but you wouldn’t necessarily think it was a camera bag either, and that’s what I love most about the Retrospective 5. I carry it around with me everywhere, so the last thing I want is for it to scream “I have thousands of dollars of camera gear in me!” According to Think Tank, the minimalist design was intentional in order to help photographers inconspicuously blend into different environments.


Fuji X100 | 1/480 sec, f/2, ISO 200

Under the main flap there’s a clear pocket for your business card along with a really cool hook-and-loop strip system equipped with what Think Tank calls “sound silencers.” Again, the design of the bag is purposefully minimal and inconspicuous, so how inconspicuous is opening a hook-and-loop strip sealed bag in a quiet environment? Not very.

The image on the left shows one of the hook-and-loop strips in “silent mode.” In this configuration, the flap just falls over the bag instead of attaching at the strip, and hence makes no noise. This is how I leave the bag most of the time. On the far right the strip is active, and noisy. =)


Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | 1/50 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400

The strap is awesome. The strips of highly grippy rubber (feels like silicone) along the strap’s padding are extremely effective at keeping the  strap from sliding, allowing me to  hang the bag on the edge of my shoulder and move around with confidence while the bag stays put. Thoughtful little details like this add up to make this bag great.

On the left is an included, seam-sealed rain cover. It covers the entire bag with the exception of the straps to protect your gear in the rain. You can see it deployed here.


Fuji X100 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 1000

Even though the Retrospective 5 was designed with rangefinder or micro 4/3 systems in mind, it will still happily carry a big DSLR (though your shoulder may not be quite as happy).  In the bag above is a D700 with Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G mounted (that’s a big chunk of glass), and in the side pocket a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, stacked on top of a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens. There’s still plenty of room to the left of the 50mm, so a bigger lens could definitely take its place. I could mount my 24-120mm f/4 VRII and put it in the bag with my 70-300 VR and have a really wide range in a very small bag.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 35mm f1.4G | 1/30 sec, f/2, ISO 400

This is my most common setup when I head out onto the street, walk the dog, or for travel. In one compartment is my Fuji X100, and in the other, my Olympus EPL2 with Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 mounted, effectively giving me a wide and a telephoto in two cameras. This setup is extremely light. The bag also comes with plenty of removable compartments that allow you to customize the interior any way you like. Think Tank says it can easily take a Micro 4/3 system with 3-6 lenses plus accessories. I believe it!


Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 |  1/20 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400

See that front pocket in the image above? It’s expandable, so much so in fact that it can swallow my D700 body with ease:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 35mm f1.4G | 1/30 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400

Of course, it has no problem carrying my X100 all by itself. If I want to travel as light as possible, I just slip the one camera in the bag, and the rest of the bag easily holds chargers, batteries, and other accessories.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 35mm f1.4G | 1/50 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400

Finally, a removable carry handle. Sounds simple, but it’s extremely convenient in practice.

This post doesn’t even cover every single feature, just my favorite ones. There are many little purpose-made pockets and compartments in the bag that I didn’t mention here, but the bottom line is that if you’re a micro 4/3 or rangefinder system user, or even a DSLR user who wants a more compact and inconspicuous solution for carrying a camera and one or two lenses, the Retrospective 5 is a great choice.