Serene nature.

I never invested much time in photographing nature. I’d occasionally photograph a beautiful flower, but it was never my focus. However, I found myself photographing nature much more in the past year – partly due to COVID and partly because my teenagers have requested I stop taking pictures of them – and I actually found it quite therapeutic. I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, but I did get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

My favorite pictures turned out to be the ones from my own yard. I have a whole host of images of foliage from around my house and continue to be amazed by the variety.

What have you found yourself photographing most as of late?

My “new-to-me” camera, the Fujifilm X-E2s.

I hinted a few weeks ago that I added another camera to my kit, and so far, it does not disappoint. In fact, I’m enjoying it so much, it may replace good ‘ol Sebastian (my X-T1 – yes, I name my cameras) as my favorite interchangeable lens camera I’ve ever owned. I think more time in use is required for me to make such a determination, but it’s a real possibility.

Does that surprise you? It surprises me. The X-T1 transformed my photography. It was revolutionary to me. And yet, despite the absence of a tilting screen and a dedicated ISO dial, I LOVE the five year old Fujifilm X-E2s (affectionately named, Baloo). I love the form factor and the way it handles. I added a thumb grip for a bit of extra security (not due to any failing of the camera, but rather, due to a wrist injury I sustained two decades ago) and the feel in the hand is so comfortable and natural. The X-T1 is not a big camera and yet the X-E2s is even smaller, lighter and more compact.

That said, the X-E2s, while very nice and clearly well made, lacks the same solid feel as the X-T1 (and even the X70, if I’m being honest). It doesn’t feel cheap by any means, but in comparison to my other Fujifilm cameras, it feels more plastic-y, especially the buttons. Just something to keep in mind if you’re considering adding one of the X-E series cameras to your photography bag. The build quality of my X-T1 and X70 gives me the confidence of knowing those cameras can take a beating and will still last a good long while. Again, while the X-E2s in no way feels “cheap,” the build quality just doesn’t feel as durable.

Now, I think it warrants saying that neither of these cameras could replace the absolutely tiny X70 (“Pascal” to my kids*). Comparing interchangeable lens cameras to fixed lens cameras is apples and oranges. In my opinion, the X70 really stands alone amongst the three because it fits a completely different niche. It’s not better or worse – it’s different.

The picture quality from the X-E2s is identical to those from the X-T1, as you’d expect, given that they share the same sensor. Like the X70, the X-E2s has the ability to store a different white balance when saving custom film simulation recipes, which is a very handy feature that is lacking on the X-T1. You’d think they could’ve fixed that via firmware, but they didn’t. This makes using custom recipes from places like Fuji X Weekly much more accessible on the X-E2s (and X70) than on the X-T1. I don’t like to edit so any adjustments I can customize in camera to craft a finished SOOC jpeg definitely gives the X-E2s an edge.

I am thoroughly enjoying the X-E2s and look forward to continuing to put it through its paces. I have normally purchased my used gear from B&H Photo but this time around, I found the camera I was looking for at KEH and had a great experience with them as well. I would recommend both of these online retailers. I’m a BIG fan of buying used gear and purchasing from a reputable shop gives me peace of mind.

*Did you notice a trend? I name all my personal electronics after Disney sidekicks. Because I’m a nerd and an unashamed Disney fan. It’s also much easier to get kids to look at the camera when you tell them a familiar Disney character wants to take a picture of them rather than the strange lady they just met. You’re welcome.

An ordinary exercise.

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon. A chilly Sunday afternoon. I thought of taking a photo walk, but to be honest, I’m really a wimp when it comes to the cold. But I am trying to make more of an effort to photograph life outside my own home. The older my kids get, the less they’re willing to let me photograph them. The years I’ve spent documenting their lives in a candid way feel like they’ve come to a screeching halt. Teenagers, right?

It’s a new season of life and I’m still trying to figure out what it looks like photographically. It will likely be a long process to determine this new creative direction. I brainstorm ideas, keep visual notes, etc. – all in the hope that it will eventually come together in some sort of cohesive fashion. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. Maybe a lack of cohesion will be more descriptive, when all is said and done. 

Sitting here in my office, I grabbed a camera and challenged myself to make a few photos of what was right in front of me, without getting up, without moving the item. Just to practice working within the confines of the light and composition presented to me. It was a good exercise.