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

Fuji X-T1

When I originally bought into the Fuji system back in 2018, I elected to go with the X-E3 and X-T20, which have been excellent cameras and have supported the wide variety of work that I do. However, in choosing to go with those camera bodies, there were a few compromises–with weather sealing being one. A couple of years later, as my family planned our first trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, I became plagued with the fear of sand-logged cameras leading to an inability to work. My solution was to pick up an older, used (and weather sealed) camera body to supplement my gear on excursions such as this. Enter the Fuji X-T1.

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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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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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Great Smoky Mountains National Park (with kids), Part 1

In our modern world, there are precious few places that entertain and enrich the psyche in a way that satisfies wholly, despite whatever wild expectations or seeming familiarity one may have. Places static, though still offering continually different experiences. Places wild, mysterious, and at times, magical. ┬áPlaces that achieve everything already described, even though they are among the most loved and most visited of their kind. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of those places, and I’ll soon share how best to enjoy it with kiddos in tow.

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Virginia Sublime Part 2

Posted in Adventure, art, beer, family, Fuji, Hike, Jason Gray, links, Park, photography, prime lens, prime lenses, Travel, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on July 21, 2019

Virginia is a state where the Nation’s history unfolds, but it is also a place of great natural beauty and strong, local community. It is home to saltwater sunrises, cool mountain mists, and almost everything in-between.

If you read Virginia Sublime Part 1, then you already know how this survey of the State is structured, but just in case, this is a report back from my family of four’s recent trip to Virginia (and nearby). The State has essentially five distinct regions, of which I have now visited three. In the last article, I covered the Valley and Ridge Region and the Piedmont, while this post will focus on the Coastal Plain/Tidewater Region.

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Virginia Sublime Part 1

Virginia may be for lovers, but it is also easy to love. The State possesses an incredible diversity of landscape (from the Atlantic Coast, to tidal marshes, historic towns, rolling mountains, mighty rivers, and busy cities), and even a great diversity of people (ranked 14th overall in the U.S. for 2019, whereas my home state of Missouri comes in at 37th). Its proximity to other interesting places is also good, being essentially centrally positioned along the east coast of the U.S.

My family has now had the chance to visit Virginia twice, though we’ve seen much of the State on those trips. Consider this post part travelog and part recommendation, though it only truly scratches the surface on all there is to do there (perhaps I’ll expand it in the future as we return to explore other sites). Nonetheless, I’m quite confidant that you could plan a stellar trip using the info contained herein, after all, we already did!

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Topo Designs Travel Bag Review

In just a few days, the family and I leave for an eight-day roadtrip to the East Coast. We’ll be visiting friends in Richmond, Virginia (who just had a baby; congrats Katie and Ed!) and Washington D.C., before heading on to the beach for a little, much-needed R an R. I thought it would be fun to take the opportunity to review my Topo Travel Bag, even if it is the older version. Enjoy!

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St. Francois State Park

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St. Francois State Park is a pleasant park with a surprising variety of landscapes to explore. On our visit, we hiked the shortish Mooner’s Hollow Trail (2.75 miles), but still found ourselves transported through Ozark fens and glades, past a gentle cascade, and even across bridge-less streams. Our son, Harper surprised himself (and us) when he slipped into a creek (!!). The cool water was a relief, however, and he was quickly all smiles.

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Castor River Shut-Ins Natural Area

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There are some places in nature that you just luckily stumble across. Places that are in the vicinity of your regular spots, that you finally take notice of, and are amazed that you could have missed them all this time. Castor River Shut-Ins Natural Area is not one of those places. It is tucked away inside the Amidon Memorial Conservation Area, down remote gravel roads, susceptible to wash outs after a heavy rain, that dead end at your destination. From St. Louis, it is also a bit of a haul (to be more precise, it is about the exact distance away as to necessitate ten or twelve “Are we almost there?!”‘s from a growingly impatient five year old). That said, it is totally worth all the effort.

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Things to do in Denver (When You’re Not Dead)

Posted in Adventure, art, black and white, family, Hike, Jason Gray, learning, nikon, Park, photography, Travel, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on February 28, 2019

jason_gray-23

Friends, here are some things (I call them ‘musts’) to do in Denver when you are not dead. I happened to fit them all into a single day, but you could definitely spread them out over a longer trip.

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