My wife and I spent four days in Tokyo at the end of May before heading to Hong Kong to visit our families. This was the second time each of us had visited Tokyo, but it was our first trip there together. We both loved the trip and felt that four days just wasn't enough to see and experience all that Tokyo had to offer. One of the places we really enjoyed visiting was the Asakusa district. We liked it so much that we ended up spending two afternoons there. We explored the area surrounding the Sensoji Temple and tried many of the snacks along the way. My favorite of all the food we tried was the freshly baked, jumbo melon pan from Kagetsudo. We had to line up for about twenty minutes since Kagetsudo is quite well known, but it was well worth the wait. If you ever find yourself in Toyko, you should definitely set aside some time to visit Asakusa. Just make sure you go hungry so that you can sample all the great, local food you'll find there.

An overcast morning in La Jolla

We made the ninety minute drive south to La Jolla recently for a quick weekend getaway. Even though we've been to La Jolla numerous times over the last couple years, I never get tired of exploring this stretch of beautiful shoreline with my camera. On this particular trip, we were fortunate enough to wake up on our last morning to overcast skies. While gloomy weather might not sound ideal for a day at the beach, it does make for more interesting and dramatic photographs. Here are three of my favorite images from the overcast morning we spent wandering along Coast Boulevard.

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.

Hawaii Island

My wife and I took our second trip to Hawaii Island last month for some rest and relaxation. Since the point of the trip was mostly for us to hang out and enjoy the beach, we didn't venture out nearly as much as we did during our first visit to the Big Island. The two short excursions we did make brought us to the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Center and the Pololu Valley Lookout. These were both places we visited before but both were well worth returning to. Even though I didn't spend much time shooting, I did manage to bring back a few images I really liked. Here are a few of my favorites.

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.