Personal Favorites 2016

FUJIFILM X-T1 (14mm, f/4, 1/60 sec, ISO250)

With nowhere to go there is time to look back. This time to the year 2016. My most busy year regarding traveling so far.

In 2016 I spent more than 100 days abroad. For business and also to a lesser extend for leisure. I love to travel. The more the better but there is a limited and it seems that in 2016 I reached it. I traveled to Tawain, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila, New Delhi, Mumbai, Agra and also for the first time to Tokyo and Osaka, Japan.

We also spent our usual three weeks in the South West of the USA. This time during a heat wave in June where we also stayed over night in Death Valley at close to record temperatures. And we spent a couple of days in Croatia and a skiing vacation at home in the Austrian Alps. What a year!

Canon PowerShot G7 X (8.8mm, f/2.5, 1/160 sec, ISO125)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (14mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec, ISO640)
Canon PowerShot G7 X (29.902mm, f/4, 1/500 sec, ISO125)
Canon PowerShot G7 X (8.8mm, f/2, 1/80 sec, ISO640)
Canon PowerShot G7 X (36.8mm, f/4, 1/400 sec, ISO125)
Canon PowerShot G7 X (20.495mm, f/2.8, 1/8 sec, ISO400)
Canon PowerShot G7 X (8.8mm, f/1.8, 1/25 sec, ISO1600)
Canon PowerShot G7 X (32.89mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO500)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (14mm, f/5.6, 1/150 sec, ISO200)
Canon PowerShot G7 X (36.8mm, f/5.6, 1/1250 sec, ISO1600)

The year 2016 started with the longest business trip so far. Three weeks in total in January that brought me Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taipei, Jakarta, Manila and Kuala Lumpur. From the Austrian winter to summer to winter again (it was rather cold in Hong Kong and even colder in Taipei) back to summer in Jakarta, Manila and Kuala Lumpur and finally back to the winter in Austria. The images above are mainly from Hong Kong and Taipei but the first is taken in Bangkok and the last one in Manila.

On this trip I took my then brand new Canon G7X so I took a lot of pictures with a compact camera instead of my trusted Fuji.

But 2016 was also the year the Fuji X-Pro2 came out. When I got the X-Pro2 I sold my full frame gear from Canon and Sony and also my m43 gear from Panasonic and Olympus and went all Fuji X. The image below from our skiing vacation is the last one here taken with the Sony A7R. The rest of the images are taken with either the X-Pro2 or the X-T1 that I used as a second camera body during out vacation in the USA. Two more images below are from home or close to home. The paddle border taken at the Neusiedler See in Austria and museum shot is from Bavaria, Germany.

SONY ILCE-7R (35mm, f/11, 1/160 sec, ISO100)
 FUJIFILM X-T1 (230mm, f/6.7, 1/1900 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/8, 1/80 sec, ISO320)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (55mm, f/9, 1/800 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (42.5mm, f/8, 1/400 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (55mm, f/5, 1/200 sec, ISO640)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (42.5mm, f/4, 1/1700 sec, ISO200)

In 2016 I managed to visit the Taj Mahal twice! This is such an amazing place and its an experience you will never forget. Of course there are millions of pictures on the internet but it is nothing compared to the real thing and the real experience. The Taj Mahal and what it does with you can’t be captured. The playing kids on the rooftop are taken from my hotel room and the last image above shows school kids on the beach in Chennai, India.

Below are three images from HCMC, Vietnam where I experienced a monsoon shower. I took the image below with the 27/2.8 which is not weather sealed but I simply used the umbrella from my hotel. So umbrella in my left hand and the camera in the right hand I photographed the scooters passing by.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (27mm, f/8, 1/125 sec, ISO800)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (16mm, f/4, 1/60 sec, ISO800)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (27mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO800)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (28.9mm, f/9, 1/300 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (81.9mm, f/9, 1/240 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (16mm, f/1.4, 1/80 sec, ISO2500)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (99.8mm, f/5.6, 1/200 sec, ISO320)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (13.2mm, f/9, 1/400 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (200mm, f/9, 1/1800 sec, ISO200)

Above and below are images from a fantastic vacation in the USA. Because of the massive heat wave we changed our route and decided to focus on the coast of California. It was our fifth road trip in the USA and it was amazing like always. We just love the space and the freedom. Nothing compares to that. And even though we have been there many times already we always manage to see something new. This time we visited the Sequoia NP and we stayed overnight in Death Valley to see the sun rise and the Zabriskie point.

And we saw sea otters at play and pelicans diving for fish at the Morro Bay. California is a great place to experience nature!

We ended our trip on San Francisco where we stayed in the Hyatt at union square again. I used my Hyatt points from my many stays in Bangkok to upgrade to the executive floor. There was free breakfast and late lunch and the view from our hotel room was amazing.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (110.3mm, f/4.5, 1/2200 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (23mm, f/3.6, 1/1900 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (16.6mm, f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO320)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (18.2mm, f/10, 1/600 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (200mm, f/4.8, 1/680 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/10, 1/350 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (55mm, f/7.1, 1/125 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (16mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO500)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/9, 1/150 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/10, 1/320 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (24mm, f/11, 1/950 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (200mm, f/10, 1/170 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (164mm, f/9, 1/800 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/4, 1/40 sec, ISO4000)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/8, 1/350 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (81.9mm, f/8, 1/125 sec, ISO250)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO800)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (23mm, f/1.4, 1/60 sec, ISO640)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (56mm, f/3.6, 1/2700 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO2500)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (56mm, f/4, 1/550 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO2000)

From the USA I went almost straight to Singapore. I came back on Saturday and was on a plane again to the other side of the world less than two days later. That was a really tough thing to do. There was practically no time to adjust. There are nine hours in between California and Austria and about eight hours difference in between Austria and Singapore. It was difficult to sleep at night and the weather in Singapore was tough too. Hot and humid as always.

I also spent the weekend in Singapore before I moved on to Jakarta. That weekend in Singapore I didn’t enjoy that much. I traveled a lot this year and spent many weekends abroad and away from family and friends. It didn’t help that I was in Singapore before many times. Don’t get me wrong. Singapore is a nice city but there is not too much things you can do or you can see and I did all of them before. For the first time ever I asked myself if I would like to do this for much longer.

But then came my first business trip to Japan and that changed everything. There was excitement again. Finally a completely new experience. Japan is different, very different to everything I have seen so far in Asia or elsewhere. Japan reignited my passion to travel.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (23mm, f/2, 1/2400 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/5, 1/80 sec, ISO1250)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/2.8, 1/160 sec, ISO640)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/2.8, 1/200 sec, ISO4000)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/8, 1/80 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO3200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/3.2, 1/60 sec, ISO2000)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO1600)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/6.4, 1/15 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO640)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO2500)

After Japan we spent a very nice vacation in Croatia. This is the fastest way for us to get to the sea. Our favourite get away hotel close to Split is just a six hours drive away from home. Compared to my usual destinations that’s practically next door.

The historic cities are beautiful, the coast is amazing and there are some really unique places like the Plitvice Lake NP. A short trip, just a couple of days to soak in the sun before the long and cold winter at home. The older I get the more I need to have the sun and the more I suffer if it doesn’t shine for days or weeks in November or December. I never understand why people move South to retire in Portugal or Spain or Florida or elsewhere but now I start to get it. There is still plenty of time to make up my mind.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/13, 1/110 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (200mm, f/9, 1/340 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (23mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO500)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/8, 1/480 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/9, 1/40 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (17.4mm, f/8, 1/15 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (35mm, f/7.1, 1/480 sec, ISO200)

The year ended like it began. With a spectacular business trip. This time it was India and it was a two weeks trip that brought me to Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai. I spent the weekend in New Delhi so I had plenty of time to revisit some of my favourite places. On Saturday I stayed in New Delhi where I visited the Humayun’s Tomb and the Red Fort.

On the way back to my hotel I saw an elephant taking part of the evening traffic like it was the most natural thing. But elephants in New Delhi have become very rare. There have been too many accidents and I have to admit that an elephant bull is a little intimidating when you travel in a compact car. The people around us felt the same. There was no honking! If you have been to India you know that this is very special.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (23mm, f/8, 1/250 sec, ISO640)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (35mm, f/2.8, 1/1500 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (23mm, f/2, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (35mm, f/1.4, 1/11000 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/4, 1/1000 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (23mm, f/2, 1/6000 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (35mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO200)
 FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (35mm, f/2.8, 1/3200 sec, ISO200)

On Sunday I visited the Taj Mahal again. For the third time! This time the weather was perfect. December is the best time for a visit. It was still very warm but not hot and humid like on the two other occasions. The light was perfect too, there was no haze or smog and  since I have visited the Taj Mahal before I was not totally overwhelmed and managed to take some pictures I’m very happy with. I’m especially proud of the monkey shot where I used the Taj Mahal as a background. I got as close to the monkey as possible and shot my 23/2 wide open to slightly blur the Taj Mahal. At this visit at the Taj Mahal I returned to my favourite set of lenses: 14/2.8, 23/2 and 35/1.4. If you shoot with Fuji X those three lenses are all you need if you want to travel light but still don’t want to make any compromises regarding your images.

Final destination was Mumbai where I managed to squeeze in a short walk at the sea close to The Oberoi and to visit the Victoria Station, the India Gate and the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel nearby.

This was my busiest year regarding traveling and photography and that’s why this is my blog post with the most images so far. Just the right thing after a three months break from my blog. I’m back and I hope that traveling will be back soon too.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/8, 1/400 sec, ISO200)