Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

What’s in my Camera Bag, 2022?

photo by Harper Gray (my oldest son)

It has been a while since I have shared a true, “what’s in my camera bag?”-style peek into the gear that I use on a regular basis. I am going to take the opportunity to really deep dive into what I pack in my primary kit, my everyday carry, and for travel or street photography. I will also summarize my thoughts on Fuji, after three years of using this system as my primary choice.

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Mound City Chronicle

STL250 Celebration, from the roof of Saint Louis Art Museum, 2014.

Since moving back to St. Louis (my birthplace) in 2009, my creative focus has been the city itself. I photographed to reorient myself with a place I’d lost familiarity with in an effort to find myself somewhere within it. Over time, this exploration matured into a cohesive body of work that is a testament to this search, but also a chronicle of the forces of change that are ever present in St. Louis–a process exuded by human inhabitants of the region for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

With this process in mind, of emergence and evanescence, Mound City Chronicle was born.

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Fuji GFX 100s

The museum where I work may be updating the camera equipment in its photo studio, so Fujifilm USA sent me a GFX 100s and three lenses (GF 24mm f/4, GF 45-100mm f/4, and GF 120mm f/4 Macro) to test out for a week. I’ve been shooting Fuji’s X series for several years now, and I consider it a very competent, versatile system. However, there is “capable” and there is “CAPABLE”. This camera fits easily into the latter, as you will soon see.

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My Go-To Equipment in 2021

Posted in 35mm, Fuji, Jason Gray, learning, photography, prime lens, prime lenses, What's in My Camera Bag? by Jason Gray on December 6, 2021

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Three years ago, I started sharing a version of the lens and camera stats that I collect every year to observe how I am using or not using my equipment. These public posts are based on the images from my “Best Of” posts, which tend to be a great microcosm for how I use equipment on the whole.

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My Best of 2021

1. St. Louis Riverfront, from Mound City Chronicle

You wouldn’t know it from this blog (considering that this is my first post of the year), but 2021 was an opportunity for me to stretch my wings a bit and expand horizons for my work. For much of the last ten years, I’ve been primarily focused on assisting other artists in St. Louis, whether that was through Photo Flood Saint Louis, curating, teaching or mentoring. The effect of this was that I had lost sight of promoting myself and my work as an artist–to the degree that it had been more than ten years since my last solo exhibition. This year, all of that changed.

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My Go-To Equipment in 2020

Posted in 35mm, Fuji, Jason Gray, learning, photography, prime lens, prime lenses, What's in My Camera Bag? by Jason Gray on December 20, 2020

Screen Shot 2020-12-20 at 12.15.36 AM

Two years ago, I started sharing a version of the lens and camera stats that I collect every year to observe how I am using or not using my equipment. These public posts are based on the images from my Best Of posts, which tend to be a great microcosm for how I use equipment on the whole.

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My Best of 2020

Posted in Adventure, art, Arts Writing, awareness, Fuji, Hike, photography, prime lens, prime lenses, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on December 20, 2020

1. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

It feels insane to type it, but 2020 was in some ways a more stable year (personally) than those of recent memory, despite the overshadowing of a global pandemic and extreme political uncertainty.

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First Impressions: Vallerret Ipsoot Photography Gloves

Posted in Adventure, Jason Gray, links, photography, Review, St. Louis, Travel, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on November 26, 2020

Vallerret Ipsoot Photography Gloves

I was recently sent a pair of Ipsoot Photography Gloves by Vallerret, and asked to share my thoughts. This is the Norway-based company that is the winter weather best friend to cold hands everywhere. Things have been a little unseasonably warm here in St. Louis, so my more in-depth review will come later. However, I wanted to take a quick moment to give my first impressions.

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7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lens

Posted in art, Fuji, manual focus, photography, prime lens, prime lenses, Review by Jason Gray on March 28, 2020


Photography is not all about MTF charts- in fact, it’s not even all about gear. The point of photography is expression, and that is conducted in all manner of ways: with film or digital capture, from large to small format, with equipment that is perfect to purposely using equipment with flaws. That said, sometimes you just can’t get around the equipment, like when it actually impedes your ability to create…

The lenses I review are measured in terms of their performance in three categories: Specialist, Utility or Passion. As always, I am not a technical reviewer, so this won’t be charts and tests driven, just real world experiences.         (more…)

Fujinon XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 OIS Lens

Posted in art, Fuji, Jason Gray, photography, Review, zoom lens by Jason Gray on March 28, 2020


Several years ago, I decided to convert from zoom lenses to prime lenses. This was a pivot designed to benefit my creativity (prime lenses encourage you to move around, which lends to new perspectives, and they simplify compositional decisions), and to give my work a more cohesive “look”. Since making that decision, I’ve never really looked back, and couldn’t imagine lugging heavy 2.8 zooms around anymore. However, when I converted from Nikon to Fuji, I recognized that I needed a focal length longer than 50mm, that could fill the shoes (mostly) of my old Nikkor 105mm. I considered the Fuji 90mm f/2, but this 55-200mm was on sale, fast enough for my occasional use, and offered more reach than I had previously. I took a chance, and boy, am I happy that I did!

The lenses I review are measured in terms of their performance in three categories: Specialist, Utility or Passion. As always, I am not a technical reviewer, so this won’t be charts and tests driven, just real world experiences.         (more…)