Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘nature

A Coastal Road Trip

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Road trips are the best. We just got back from our latest long drive, and this time we even brought Suki along. So. Much. Fun.

Though I brought the pack film shooter and the M3 along for the trip, I did a bulk of my vacation photography in digital this time around. Here, in reverse chronological order, is a series of photos I took during the course of my trip with the Fuji X100s. All color photos are out of camera JPEGs using the camera’s “standard” picture control setting. Black and whites are also processed by the camera using the its red filter mode.

The wife took the image above of me trying to do a Photosphere with my camera phone.

The beaches along the Oregon coast are breath taking. Early morning light falling on massive rock formations on the sand made for some interesting black and white photos. I felt like I was on a different planet at times:

We made sure Suki had her fair share of hikes and meet ups:

Well, those are my digital highlights. A couple rolls of 35mm are at the lab from the trip, so we’ll see how those turn out =)

All Images: Fuji X100s

Written by Jonathan

September 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm

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

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!


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

A Starry Evening at the Grand Canyon

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Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G | 5 sec, f/1.4, ISO 5000

After a grueling 16 hour drive from San Francisco, we stopped about half an hour from Grand Canyon National Park and stayed the night. The sun had already set before we could get to the Canyon, but we headed out there anyway to check out a star party by the park’s visitor center. There were tons of astronomers there with their large telescopes pointed skyward, and people lined up to take a close look at different celestial bodies. The most memorable view was seeing Saturn with its rings and moons. You can see high-resolution images of Saturn from NASA’s image archives of course, but there’s something so amazing about being able to see the planet with your own eyes.

One thing we city folk never see is a sky full of stars, since their feint glow is drowned out by light pollution. For the first time in years we looked skyward during the night and were in complete awe. Can’t remember the last time I could see an arm of the milky way in the sky! Taking a break from the star party, I set my D700 up on a tripod out in an area away from any ambient light. I could barely even see my hand in front of my face it was so dark! The large aperture of the 24mm f/1.4 together with a really high ISO brought out more stars than you could see with the naked eye.

After the star shots were done, I benched the D700 for the rest of the trip. It’s too big and heavy to carry around all day, so everything from here forward is all X100. Oh, and because I’m lazy, on vacation, and want to keep up with these blog posts throughout the week, I’ll be in JPEG for the entire trip:

Fuji X100 | 1/300 sec, f/11, ISO 200

The next morning we headed back to the Canyon. Conveniently, we had to drive through it to get to our next destination, so we stopped at different vista points along the way to take some snaps. Would have loved to get there at sunrise or sunset to get some dramatic light in my images, but when you’re traveling (and not necessarily for the purpose of photography), your schedule doesn’t always allow it. So we found ourselves viewing the canyon in  great light for human eyes, “meh” light for a camera.

Fuji X100 | 1/640 sec, f/8, ISO 200

It was still incredibly awe-inspiring. A picture can do no justice to how massive the canyon is. The image above has no point of reference for scale, so it’s hard to get a sense of the canyon’s size.

Fuji X100 | 1/220 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 (flash fired)

Fuji X100 | 1/300 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 (flash fired)

No diving! Taking a peak over the edge of this cliff can give you some serious vertigo if you fear heights. Including these foreground elements (leaves, the cliff’s edge) gives you a little more scale, but watch what happens when you stick a person in the frame:

Fuji X100 | 1/550 sec, f/9, ISO 400

Fuji X100 | 1/340 sec, f/5, ISO 400

Fuji X100 | 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 400

Fuji X100 | 1/640 sec, f/8, ISO 200

I really wish I could have had Suki with me on the trip. Can you imagine the epic-ness of a shot of her with a backdrop like this!? Oh well, I had to settle for my goofy friend here =P

On one of the stops there was a watchtower. Climbing to the top gives you sweeping views of the canyon:

When we were done there, it was time to get back into the car and continue our trek, but not before I grabbed one more pano:

Fuji X100 | 1/240 sec, f/11, ISO 200 | Motion Panorama Mode (click image to view large)

This is a 180 degree motion panorama straight from the X100. I’ve been really interested in trying this feature, and what more perfect place to test it than the Grand Canyon? You simply set the camera to the motion pano drive mode, choose an angle  (either 120 or 180 degrees), choose one of four directions you wish to sweep the camera, fire the shutter, and sweep over the scene. The camera automatically stitches the series of images it captures into one high-resolution pano. The X100 is not the only camera out there that can do this, but I’m impressed with Fuji’s implementation. Click here for a larger version of the above on my website, or just click the image above.

Written by Jonathan

June 22, 2011 at 7:18 pm