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

Emmenegger Nature Park

Posted in Adventure, art, awareness, Hike, Interlude, Jason Gray, nikon, Park, photography, St. Louis, Uncategorized, winter by Jason Gray on February 17, 2019

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Emmenegger Nature Park, named after Russell Emmenegger, the last private owner of the property that would become the Park, is a 93-acre forested area owned by the City of Kirkwood. It is adjacent to a 15-acre Conservation Area named Possum Woods, though it is hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. For what it’s worth, this is a special bit of tranquility just outside of the St. Louis.

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The Nikon/Canon/Sony Cost Penalty

I promise, this blog will get back to focusing on other aspects of photography soon, but my recent camera brand switch has brought so many realizations that I think warrant sharing before I move on. Among them, perhaps chief among them, is the realization that all brands are not created equal when it comes to cost vs. performance analysis. You might be tempted to say, “Duh!”, but for me, this was a realization of how successfully I had been marketed to as a Nikon shooter in the past, as much as it was a recognition that I have been paying a “penalty” for shooting that line, and increasingly so over recent years. I’ll explain further below.

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Sharpening Fuji RAF Files with Lightroom

Posted in awareness, Fuji, Jason Gray, learning, perception, photography, science, technique by Jason Gray on January 3, 2019

One of the things that I was not prepared for when I switched to Fuji from Nikon was that my trusty image editor, Adobe Lightroom, sucks at demosaicing Fuji RAF (RAW) files. I did plenty of research with regard to system capabilities versus other camera platforms, and lens availability and performance versus other manufacturers, but somehow missed all of the online content out there on the dreaded “worm artifacts”, until I sat smiling on my couch one evening, just after ordering my new Fujis, and I came across this:

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My Go-To Equipment in 2018

Last year, 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 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. This data also includes the documentary “snapshots” that wind up in those posts, and this explains why the iPhone 7+ stat is so high.

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My Best of 2018 (part 2)

16. Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Current River

Part 1 of this year’s Best Of, may have ended a bit sour, and granted, those feelings aren’t gone, but I’d rather at least steer the start of this one into another direction. Let’s begin with some artistic and business accomplishments that I had in 2018.

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My Best of 2018 (part 1)

Posted in Adventure, art, awareness, family, Jason Gray, learning, nikon, perception, photography, St. Louis, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on December 13, 2018

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1. Gravois Park

2018 has been an interesting year- one that, as I write this, I can’t yet define as awesome or a real drag. You could say that, in 2018, I closed a lot of chapters in an effort to open a really good one; one that would create both material and livelihood changes for myself and my family. For context, feel free to flip back to 2016’s Best Of post (a year that I lost my job and my purpose) or 2017’s Best Of (a year of transition and preparation). This year has been the year of “I used to be”, as in, I used to be a curator, I used to be a photographer, and I used to be some things that still remain to be seen.

NOTE: The images with numbers are those that I consider “my best of 2018”

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Moonlighting

Posted in Adventure, art, awareness, Jason Gray, learning, photography, St. Louis by Jason Gray on November 24, 2018


The more you walk down the worn path of art, the more you realize that what’s required of you often goes beyond whatever discipline you’ve elected to pursue. The most successful working artists are their own marketers, social media managers, graphic designers, web developers, business managers, and so much more, in addition to being excellent at their craft.

For me, as someone managing my own art trajectory, acting as the Founding Director of Photo Flood Saint Louis, and as a small business owner, I’ve worn a lot of hats. One of the roles that I’ve assumed increasingly, and rather enjoyed, is that of (an incredibly amateur) Graphic Designer. This post is to show off some of my favorite designs created over the years.

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Starting Out in Photography, What Options Exist in 2018?

Posted in awareness, Jason Gray, learning, links, nikon, photography by Jason Gray on October 19, 2018

In 2018, digital photography has been the standard for over 15 years, which means that options are vast (we now have both traditional SLR-style cameras and mirrorless options available in multiple sensor sizes), the cost of entry is low (the 2.7 megapixel, cropped Nikon D1 was over $5k at intro in 1999 and you can get well above the specs of that camera for about $100 now), and the ease of learning photography has never been so simple (I know that is a controversial statement, but it is true). So, what camera/system should the beginner photographer purchase in October of 2018? Let’s take a look.

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Photography is No Monolith

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Photography, at its root, is two things: 1. the recording of light phenomena (sometimes invisible to the human eye); 2. a means of communication (sometimes for a conversation that we have only with ourselves). In the overlap between these two, we see all of the photographs ever made, which of course, says very little about the purpose of their creation. This distinction, the photograph’s “purpose”, only becomes apparent once the relationship between the photographer and viewer has been established. For instance, a message delivered through a megaphone that never reaches the recipient renders the projection device meaningless, or without purpose. In this way, the purpose of a photograph that sells to an ad agency is commercial, while the purpose of a photograph that sells to a Museum is cultural, but this is also an oversimplification, since photographs that originally sold to ad agencies have wound up in Museums (a photograph’s purpose can change over time or a photograph can have multiple purposes simultaneously).

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New Blog!

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I am excited to announce that my wife and I will be opening a brick-and-mortar shop (explorer boutique, wanderer goods) called KAMP in St. Louis, Missouri this March. Our motto is “Equip, explore, reflect, repeat”, and we hope that you’ll stop by if/when you can.

For those of you that enjoy my outdoor content on this blog, most of that will be moving over to the store’s blog, so be sure to subscribe over there to not miss anything!

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