Kenai Fjords National Park and the Fujifilm X-T3

We made our first trip to Alaska this summer. After spending a night in Anchorage, we rented a car and headed out to explore the Last Frontier. We started our journey in Denali National Park, made our way to Seward to explore Kenai Fjords National Park, and wound down in Girdwood at the Alyeska Resort. I had no idea how much I would enjoy Alaska before leaving on our trip. I’d seen pictures of Mt. McKinley and watched videos of glaciers calving, but looking at these scenes through a screen paled in comparison to experiencing them in real life. Alaska is simply an amazing place and definitely somewhere that I would like to revisit soon.

Before leaving for the trip, I purchased a Fujifilm X-T3 to replace my 5 year old X-T1. I had put off upgrading my camera because the X-T1 still seemed to be working just fine. After spending a week with the X-T3 however, I have to admit that I’m pretty happy with the upgrade. The biggest things I noticed going from the X-T1 to the X-T3 were the usability improvements. The camera started up and responded more quickly, the auto focus (with most lenses) was snappier, the buttons were more tactile, and the addition of a joystick made switching auto focus points so much better. I’ll have to spend more time shooting with the X-T3 before writing up my final thoughts. Until then, here are a few of my first photos from the X-T3 shot while we were enjoying our time with Kenai Fjords Tours.

Dotonbori in Black & White

Our hotel in Osaka was in the Namba district near the bright lights of Dotonbori. After checking in and getting settled, we headed out to explore and to find dinner. Having spent the previous three days in Kyoto, we had to readjust to the chaos and commotion of the big city. Even though each of the tourist destinations we visited in Kyoto were crowded, Kyoto itself was relatively calm compared to Osaka. Once we readjusted however, we were able to enjoy all that Osaka had to offer.

A interesting side note about the following set of images from our first night in Osaka. They were all shot on an iPhone and converted to black and white using Lightroom CC on an iPad. This is a first for me because I’ve never posted images from an iPhone on the site before. Having used many iPhones over the year, I must say that the image quality (especially in low light) has really come a long way. This may not be news to most, but for me, it’s a confirmation that I no longer have to worry about heading out without one of my Fujifilm cameras by my side.

Grouse Mountain in Velvia

We spent a long weekend in Vancouver in March and found some time for a day trip to Grouse Mountain. I brought my Fujifilm X100T on the trip so I was able to get some images from my first visit to Grouse Mountain. On the Fujifilm cameras, the Astia preset is my favorite so I almost always end up processing my images using that preset. This time around, I decided to try something different and processed my images using the Velvia preset. I really like how the images turned out and this exercise was a good reminder of why I love shooting with the Fuji cameras so much.

Palm Springs and the Fujinon XF 35mm

The Fujinon XF 35mm lens was the first X Mount lens I bought with my X-Pro1 back in early 2013. Nearly two years later, after all the other lenses I have rented, bought, and sold, the XF 35mm is still the lens I reach for most often. I've used the XF 35mm for everything from portraiture to landscape photography and I've always been impressed with the results.

After installing the latest firmware update on my X-T1, I decided to test out the new features using the XF 35mm on a road trip to Palm Springs. Of all the new and exciting things Fuji has given us original X-T1 owners, the one that I find most useful is the new high-speed electronic shutter option. Being able to the shoot the XF 35mm wide open at f/1.4 in broad daylight really opens up a lot of possibilities. To give you an idea of the versatility of the XF 35mm, and why it's my favorite lens, here are a few images from a short hike we took at the Mount San Jacinto State Park located at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Santa Cruz and the Fujinon XF 18-135mm

We took a road trip to Santa Cruz last month and I thought it would be a good opportunity to rent and try out the Fujinon XF 18-135mm lens. Even though I generally prefer prime lenses, the XF 18-135mm intrigued me because it's the first weather resistant lens from Fuji and because it covers a very useful focal length range. Being someone that spends a lot of time shooting near the ocean, the idea of having a weather resistant lens that covers most of my shooting situations sounded quite appealing.

During the week I spent with the lens, I was impressed with almost everything about it. While it's bigger and heavier than the lenses I'm used to shooting with, it didn't feel as unwieldy as I expected. In fact, it felt quite well balanced with the X-T1. I don't have the battery grip for the X-T1, but I think those that do will find that they pair nicely with the XF 18-135mm lens. All the images I captured with the lens were plenty sharp for me and the image stabilization came in handy on numerous occasions.

The only issue I had with the lens was with vignetting while using my Lee Seven5 filter system. With the lens zoomed out to 18mm, there was noticeable vignetting in the corners when I had the filter system mounted on the lens. Zooming in to about 24mm seemed to have taken care of the vignetting in my images. This wasn't a huge issue for me since I had the XF 14mm for my wide angle images, but it's definitely something to keep in mind if you plan to use this lens for long exposures. With that, I'll leave you with a few images shot in and around Santa Cruz using the X-T1 and XF 18-135mm lens.