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

My Go-To Equipment in 2017

Understanding what cameras and lenses you use most often provides all sorts of data, and is something that I always think is pretty interesting and can be very helpful. For instance, in the pie chart above (based upon the images I selected for My Best of 2017 posts 1 and 2), I know that I leave the bigger, heavier cameras at home at least 25% of the time (or at the very least, I use the iPhone 7+ to document things that I don’t feel warrant the use of a DSLR- I included documentary images in this metric). What’s more, my second backup body, the D200, makes an appearance because my primary body, the D7200, had to be sent in for repair this year.  Also, knowing my stats from last year, I can see that I am using the D300 less and less often, which means that I greatly prefer the images that the D7200 makes, even though it has been a problem-prone camera for me (if it is worth putting down for posterity, I am going to try to do that with the best quality equipment that I own).



Road Trip!


I am getting ready for a 5-day trip to the Great Smoky Mountains with my wife and first-born son, later this month.  The travel itinerary that I have made will take us to both Louisville and Nashville, up to the second highest peak in the Appalachians, to a pond full of salamanders, into a cave that’s been haunted for two hundred years, behind the curtain of a waterfall, and more.

This will be the first adventure where all three of us will have a camera.  I’m excited, and can’t wait to share the pictures!


Heavy Metal

Posted in art, photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on June 30, 2012

Sitting around the house with a broken right hand is no fun. To provide me with a little entertainment and generally rid me of my recent, Virginia Woolfish reclusiveness, my good friend (and metal sculptor), Joshua Meyer, invited me to his home and studio to watch as he completed a new work for his upcoming exhibition, centered around circus performers. We grabbed some beers, turned the dial on his stereo up, and got to work. (more…)

Zoo of the Uncanny

Posted in art, perception, photography, zoo by Jason Gray on September 2, 2011

So I was walking through the Saint Louis Zoo the other day, and I turned around to witness the strange Arbusian scene of a little girl trying to coax a small flock of exotic birds to be her friend. After taking the picture above, I started to think about how really strange the whole zoo environment is, with all of the animals tidily on display for their (often disgusting) human counterparts to look at, all wild-eyed. The zoo is a fantastically odd place, and I tried to snap a few photos that relayed this feeling that I was having at the time. Enjoy.

All Nikon D50 with Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-x pro lens.


Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro Lens

Posted in photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on April 29, 2010

This lens rocks! If you are looking for an extremely functional, yet relatively inexpensive DX lens, in the wide-angle territory, then look no further. Tokina was created by a group of Nikon lens designers who broke away from the camera giant to start a little business of their own. This background shows in nearly all of the lenses available in the Tokina catalog, making it a leader in quality among the third-party lens manufacturers. However, this lens, in particular, demonstrates the best possible mix of affordability, build quality, and optical performance that I have yet seen, even from Tokina. I would not hesitate to own this lens, whether you are traditionally a Nikon purest (like me) or not.

That said, I don’t use this lens a terrible awful lot, and that’s because this lens (and all wide angles, in my opinion) requires a certain sort of shot before it comes out of the camera bag. What I mean is that, I often will only pull this lens out when I am shooting large groups, or when I want a certain “look”. However, I don’t hesitate ever attaching this lens in those situations because it really is a stellar performer.

In terms of its competition, the Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G gives a broader range but is about $150-200 more expensive and a little slower, the Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 is the same price and slightly wider but is way slower, and the Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 gives a broader range and is cheaper by about $200 but is slower and has been shown to be way less sharp.

All shots Nikon D300 with Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G lens.

More pics and stats after the jump–>