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

F-Stop Gear Ando 13

There are many positive things about my switch from DSLRs to mirrorless, though perhaps chief among them is scale. I can now fit an entire kit into an incredibly small space, which has had the ancillary benefit of encouraging me to look at old bags in new ways. One of the “old bags” is the Ando 13 from F-Stop. Read on to find out why it has become my go to bag for EDC and some event shooting.

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History of Nature and Landscape Photography, Transition to Artform

George Shiras and John Hammerin a canoe equipped for jacklighting, Whitefish Lake, Michigan, 1893; © National Geographic Creative Archives

Around the beginning of the 20th Century, significant innovations in camera technology, chemistry, and photographic equipment coalesced at a time when photographers were beginning to recognize the expressive potential of their image-making. An era was fast dawning wherein the photograph would no longer be simply relegated to the realm of science or to cheap novelty, but would instead serve to drive culture, both in and out of art.

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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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Big Announcement: Switching to Fuji from Nikon

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For all of my journey as a photographer, I’ve been a Nikon shooter, and let me just say that that’s no light commitment. The cameras by this manufacturer that I have owned over the years, spanning film and digital, include:

  1. Nikon FM2
  2. Nikon EM
  3. Nikon n8008s
  4. Nikon n6006
  5. Nikon n90s
  6. Nikon n80
  7. Nikon n65
  8. Nikon D100
  9. Nikon D50
  10. Nikon D200
  11. Nikon D300
  12. Nikon D7200

Real world reviews of some of those can be found here.

So why on earth would I switch to Fuji in 2018, and why stick with crop sensor?

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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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