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

Interlude: CityArchRiver Portraits

Posted in art, F-Stop Gear, Jason Gray, links, perception, Photo Walk, photography, prime lenses, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on June 6, 2016

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On Thursday, June 2, the newly renovated Leonore K. Sullivan Boulevard (named for the consumer advocate and first Missouri woman to enter Congress) was reopened to the public.  This warf road parallels both the Gateway Arch and Mississippi Rivers, and has been closed for some time as work on the redesigned arch grounds is ongoing.

Thursday’s event, a partnership between CityArchRiver (agency overseeing the redesign) and Great Rivers Greenway (a bi-state effort to envelope the St. Louis Metropolitan area with accessible bike paths), featured a 2016 foot long picnic table, live music, food trucks, fireworks, and more.  I was there with Photo Flood Saint Louis, which was invited by the organizers to cover the event.



F-Stop Gear Loka

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Over a year ago, I switched from using the rugged Pelican 1510 roller to the Loka, by f-stop Gear. For the most part, this has been a happy trade off (with a few caveats), which has given me more flexibility for how and where I can take varying volumes of photo equipment.


Accessories, Bags, and more

Interlude: St. Louis Magazine

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Recently, I had the opportunity to return to the incredible, historic renovation project underway in south St. Louis being conducted by Earthbound Beer, for their new tap room and brewing facility.  On the return, I re-joined historian and writer, Chris Naffziger, whose excellent feature can be read here.  You might recall the earlier images, and my facetious complaining about photographing in complete darkness; this time around, the brewers and builders have installed some lighting and ventilation in areas which made photography a snap.




A beginner’s guide to aperture.

What is aperture?

When the photographer aims the camera at something and takes a picture, he or she is making an exposure.  An exposure is the net result of a combination of several mechanical, chemical or electronic factors working together in unison.

An exposure fixes an image in time, and can be considered “proper”, “under-“ (meaning too dark), or “over-“ (meaning too bright).

Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are the three primary adjustments that affect exposure.  In a proper exposure, a change to any single one of these will necessitate an equal and opposite change in at least one of the others.  This truth is known as equivalency.

The simplest definition of aperture is that it is the opening in an otherwise light-tight box (known as a camera) that allows in light to enable exposure.


F-Stop Gear Mountain Series


image by Isaac Richardson of me wearing f-stop Guru

As many of you know, I am a former employee of f-stop Gear, purveyors of adventure photography packs and accessories, and so it is important to disclaim that with this and future reviews of their products, I will be writing from the user’s perspective and will not be disclosing any insider information that the company has not already made public.  The f-stop products which I use have been obtained in various ways, including as employee incentives, direct purchases, and third-party purchases.  It is important to also note that I was an f-stop customer before I was an f-stop employee.


My Best of 2015

Posted in art, black and white, cruise, F-Stop Gear, family, Hawaii trip, Jason Gray, photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on December 13, 2015


St. Louis Zoo zookeeper cleaning the reticulated python exhibit

What a crazy year 2015 has been! In January, I assumed a part-time role with f-stop Gear as their St. Louis Community Manager. This company designs expedition and backcountry packs for adventure photographers (landscape, action sports, nature, travel, etc.). As well, I took over curation duties at The Dark Room Photo Gallery and Wine Bar on behalf of my other employer, the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum. The first exhibit that I would mount there was James Palmour: Reclaimed, a solo show of urban interior images by the St. louis-based, architectural preservationist photographer.


installation image of James Palmour: Reclaimed


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F-Stop Millar Series, Bandon

Posted in F-Stop Gear, F-Stop Millar Series Bandon, Jason Gray by Jason Gray on May 4, 2015


I recently converted to using the F-Stop Millar Series, Bandon bag in an effort to make my street shooting process quicker, lighter, and more efficient. Essentially, the problem for photographers who shoot like I do is that the bags that you are likely to encounter are either designed for speed or transport. Those designed for speed, like many slings, typically do not hold as much gear, and/or are a bit uncomfortable for many physiques. Those designed for transport usually weigh a ton when packed, and/or require you to take the bag off of your body to access your gear. In terms of styling, almost no affordable bags on the market look anything other than utilitarian. I am happy to report that, with the Bandon, none of the conventional wisdom applies.


What’s in my Camera Bag?


Who doesn’t love “What’s in My Camera Bag?” posts? This one shows what I plan to take on vacation with me at the end of the month, when my family and I will be traveling by cruise ship from Oahu to Maui, then to Hawaii (Big Island), and finally to Vancouver, BC. I’ve never taken a cruise, so I am excited for the experience.

As for the gear, I will be taking memory enough for 2500 pictures (I doubt that I will shoot anywhere near that), two camera bodies with older manual focus lenses attached (a wide and a short telephoto on DX), ND filters (I seldom use these, but have some ideas in mind), a passport (for Canada), and more.

I decided upon the two bodies with primes because of the improved shooting experience. I’ve been using this set-up for a while, and it really gets me connected to the shot. I had considered my f/2.8 zooms, but they are heavy and are not nearly as much fun to shoot.

The F-Stop Millar Series Bandon bag that I am using is configured for speed with the two bodies; I grab the camera/lens combo that I want, nail down the shot, and then it goes back in the bag super fast. The Millar line is designed with this versatility in mind, but is styled to look good at the same time (leather accents, etc.). In fact, I own the Smoky Mountain backpack from this series as well! If you are looking for a practical (and attractive) camera messenger bag, I highly recommend the Bandon.

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