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

Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D Lens

Lenses, like cameras, are purchased for a variety of reasons:

1. There are lenses out there that are impeccable, that deliver maximum image quality (loads of sharpness, great contrast, minimum distortion and excellent color reproduction) and are lighting fast (generally f/2.8 is considered fast, though with primes sometimes f/1.8 is considered sluggish), but those lenses tend to come with a few caveats also: they are heavy and expensive.  These lenses are specialists’ tools; their purpose is to be the best in the game for the pros that need them.

2. There are lenses that are the optical equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife, they cut, they saw, they open cans, but they’re often clunky and inefficient when compared to tools dedicated to those tasks.  They are your 18-400’s of the world.  These zoom lenses are generalists’ tools; their purpose is utility and convenience for the enthusiast.

3. There are lenses that you form an emotional attachment to.  These lenses can be zooms or primes, slow or fast, cheap or expensive, but they are always at your side.  These lenses are the ones you pick up when you are going out to take pictures for the day when there is no pressure on you for what you’ll bring back.  They make photography fun. They get out of your way, and let you think about composition and subject.  These lenses are seldom the first ones photographers buy. In fact, they almost always come into the bag after years of shooting, when you realize finally that what is truly missing from your kit isn’t its ability to cover fisheye to super telephoto or to be able to pixel peep every shot at 100%.

The Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D is this third category of lenses for me.

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Camp Grits, In the Shadow of the Smokies

Posted in Adventure, art, awareness, Backpacking, family, Hike, Jason Gray, links, photography, Review, Travel, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on November 6, 2016

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Fall and spring in the Midwest are those lovely times of year when either summer’s veil of heat has lifted or the icy grip of winter has loosened, enough for most of us to yearn for those activities that bring us closer to nature.  The hiking boots slip on and our feet once again stomp the earthen paths through the forests of our imagination that have steadily grown up over the months of our climatized isolation indoors.   (more…)

Nikon D3200- A Very Capable Guide

Posted in Jason Gray, learning, links, photography, Review, technique, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on June 20, 2016

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Just a few short years ago, I was rocking my Nikon D50 alongside my more expensive bodies for both personal and professional work, and no one was the wiser.  That camera was small, light, and did all the basics reasonably well, without too much fiddling.  Unfortunately, Nikon neutered that line in many ways when it introduced the D40/D60 cameras (predecessors of the modern day D3xxx/D5xxx cams); most important though, they took away the top LCD, they introduced compression to RAW output, and removed the motor needed for AF-D lenses.

Still, this line is most photographers’ introduction to the Nikon brand, and for the most part, these cameras are great bodies to get to know photography on.  Which explains why I recommended the D3200 to my wife as her first DSLR.  If you are on the lookout for a starter cam, no doubt, the D3200 is a great buy and a very capable guide.

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Nikon D7200-A Compromise?

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***6-Month UPDATE and 1-Year UPDATE at bottom of page***

I recently updated my primary camera body to the Nikon D7200 (my first real update in over 8 years!), but before I explain my rationale for that, let me tell you a bit about my DSLR evolution.

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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.

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F-Stop Gear Mountain Series

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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.

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