What to take?

If you lurk around the camera and photography forums, you will inevitably¬†come across the post “What camera/lens/gear to take to location X”, where the person is wondering what type of camera gear they should take to where ever they are going. The worse ones are where they say they are going to location X and will be purchasing gear, what should they buy.

The inevitable answers are a range from take a 16-300 all encompassing lens, to just take two primes, three zooms and three camera bodies, to the question, “what type of things do you like to shoot?”

Ugh.

Its like they can’t make up their mind, so the faceless of the Interwebs will decide for them. My thought is, research the location, decide what you want to shoot, and take a chance with what you bring. Its either that or a veiled question that basically says, I’m going here, who else has been there and what should I expect if I want to take pictures.

Which now sets focus on me. I will be heading to Belgium and northern France for a trip to various Canadian WWI and WWII locations. I decided some time ago, that I would go really simple.

Some background. Back in 2010, I went to England and took a Nikon D700 with battery grip, 24-70 f2.8 and 16-35 f4 lens, even bought a sling bag to carry it. At one point during the trip, I left it all at home. Too heavy. A couple years later, I went back and included Scotland. I took a Fuji X-Pr01 and two prime lenses (35mm 1.4 and 18mm 2.0). I loved the second option. Did I miss some shots? Probably. Does it matter? Not really. I really enjoyed the camera and the 18mm stayed on much of the trip.

So for this trip, I’m going even lighter. Here is what I’m taking with me:

A Fuji X100T, and the wide angle and telephoto converter lenses, extra battery and the Fuji container will have three cards. So that gives me three focal lengths: 35mm, 28mm and 50mm (full frame equivalent) That’s it. I can hear photo nerds concerned. No telephoto!? No ultra wide?!? How will I get the photos?

I might not. Its about the complete photo opportunities as it is lightweight and portable. I’ll get great photos. Its about using the tools available.

I can’t wait to get some shots.

Lego in the snow

I have a collection of Star Wars Lego. Some of it is from The Empire Strikes Back, specifically, the scenes from Hoth, the snow-covered planet. For a few years, I’ve been itching to photograph the items in the snow. Usually its too cold, too windy, too dark or not enough snow. The AT-AT wouldn’t stand up if it was too windy or the snow not soft enough to set it in.

Today, besides the wind (which seemed to not be a problem) was an ideal day. So I took it to task to get some shots! The sun was in a good spot when I did this to make some great shadows. I’m very pleased with the results.

Photos done with the Fuji X-T1 and 60mm macro lens.

Tree line

While waiting for the train mentioned in the previous post, I had some time to kill (in the hopes I didn’t miss the train altogether). With camera in hand, one looks for interesting patterns, shapes or compositions. Thus, when looking up I saw the outline of wind-swept trees, giving a very northern Ontario/Canadian look. So I framed it up and took the shot. A little monochrome treatment worked well with the dark tones of the tree and bland sky background.

Shortly after the shot, I heard the train horn, and my attention was shifted.

Shot with the Fuji X100T.

Chasing trains

I believe I’ve mentioned before about the lack of railroading in Ottawa. Let me iterate; there is very little in Ottawa for a railfan/train person to see beyond VIA trains, which are very typical. In fact, most trains in Ottawa are typical and predictable. So one must make the most of what little there is.

I live near the main track that VIARail uses, and passenger trains just don’t do it for me. I like freight trains. Again, there is very little in Ottawa as I mentioned here. Where I work, I do have a limited vantage of the track going up to Arnprior. There is a weekly local that takes some tank cars up there and that really is the only thing to see. From my cubicle, I can hear the train coming and watch it trundle up the line. Its about a five hour turn to come back, and if its a later train, I can make a stop after work and wait for its return. Of course, the camera comes with me every Wednesday, just in case.

Such was my luck last week. It was a late one going up, meaning I could get to a spot to see its return. Being winter and all, I kept to a spot that I knew I could access easily with all the snow (although, not as easy as I’d imagined). After a short wait, I heard the tell-tale horn and got ready for some shots.

I brought my Fuji X100T. Not the best for variable shots, but I like the camera, and I can learn to make do. As it approached the level crossings, the bells and lights went off. As it came around the corner it blew its horn. As it went under the highway bridge, the echoes made it very loud.

And shortly thereafter it came by. It goes at a fairly slow pace, so there is time to get ready for the picture.

The consist is typically three to four tank cars from (and to) the Nylene plant. Again, very predictable. Even the engine is typically the same. Sometimes there is two locomotives, which I suspect is only because one has had some repairs, and it is sent up the line with the other as a backup should the “fixed” one fail.

And within 30 seconds, the train has passed, and I wait another week to possibly see it again.

Fleeting as it is, I look forward to potentially seeing this train each week. As the warmer temperatures approach, I hope to catch it in a few different locations and scenery.

A day for a walk

Its been a nice few days. After last week’s snow storms and dump of 50cm of snow, this weekend was well above normal, and freezing temperatures was a happy change. It was Family Day in Ontario, which means a day off from work, so we went to the Jack Pine trail for a bit of time outside.

Others did too, so it wasn’t quite as quiet in the woods as one would like. But still, nice to see people outside and not sitting in their houses watching TV.

I brought along the Fuji X-T1 and wide angle lens to get some photos. I’ve been lacking in photos for a while. While I did get some good shots, a telephoto lens would have been useful for some bird shots. In this area, the chickadees will land on your hand for some seed.