Let’s put this straight. 1. This blog post is not about bicycles. 2. This is bog post number 400. Not too shabby for a blog that’s just 4 years old.
It’s not about bicycles – it is about cameras. So what does the bicycle do in the header? Some might know already and for the rest I recommend to google the phrase. But back to cameras or better why so many of us, including myself, seem to be obsessed with them. Why is that when deep down we all know that the camera is not important for our photography at all.
What is important for our beautiful passion is time. To spend as much time as possible doing what we love: to take pictures. There is no substitute for that. Only constant practice makes you better just as constant training on the bike makes you a better bike rider. So why do we keep on purchasing the latest and greatest? Because today most of us have more money that we have time. We work all day to earn money to afford things that we hardly use (because we have no time – because we have to work all day).
I never owned so many nice outdoor jackets and hiking boots but I hike much less than I did in the past. I have three bicycles but I put less miles on all three of them together than what I put on that race bike that I bought twenty years back. Today I have the money but back than it seems that I had much more time.
And of course that list goes on. I have a very nice hifi system but I hardly listen to music at home. I listen to music when I’m in my car or on a plane.
But not all is lost! There is one area where I spend more time than ever before in my life: traveling and photography! I never traveled as much as I do today and as a consequence I never took so many pictures. I travel so much because it’s part of my job but I also travel farther away than I did before for leisure.
When I started to travel in 1991 my focus was on Europe (mainly Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia). From 1998 I also included the Southern part of Europe (i.e. Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece, Croatia). From 2009 I started to travel through former Eastern Europe for business (Russia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, …) and regarding vacations my focus switched to Canada and the USA. Beginning with 2013 my business trips now bring me to Asia while it seems that regarding vacations I have found my perfect destination: in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 I went to the South West of the USA. Seems that I can’t get enough of the the landscape and the solitude that is in stark contrast to the busy mega cities of Asia.
If you looked at the captions and the EXIF data you already saw that the first image started back in 2002. Why the year 2002? The answer is simple: In January 2002 I got myself a second hand Nikon D1 and completely switched to digital photography and I never looked back. While you can argue that 2.7MP isn’t the last word in image quality I really loved to shoot digital and the fact that I could shoot a lot of images without dealing with film-, developing- and framing-costs.
Digital photography renewed my passion for photography. I shot the Nikon D1/Canon Ixus V2 combo for 3 years before I bought something new. Since than I went through many cameras to get better image quality and features but I have to admit that the Canon 5D already had great image quality and still has even by todays standards. Easily good enough for everything but high ISO.
Within the last couple of years APS-C cameras have become so good that there is no need to shoot full frame anymore. A smaller sensor means smaller lenses and an overall smaller camera which is a very good thing for travel photography. In 2002 my Nikon D1 had 2.7MP and ISO 800 was considered high ISO. The camera was a brick and felt like one. Today my Fuji X Pro-2 has 24MP and shoots up to ISO 12.800. The camera is rather small and light but shoots 8 frames per second if needed. The lenses I use today are small too but the overall quality is as good as what I used to get from my full frame gear.
Now I ended up talking about cameras again even though I stated that they are not important for our photography. What I was trying to say is that today all cameras are so good that it doesn’t matter anymore what you choose. It comes down to personal preference and to what you value most. If compactness is the most important thing something like a Sony RX100 IV or like the Canon G7X II might be the perfect solution. If you want to be more flexible a system camera might be the better choice.
For me the Fuji system works best because I love the handling, the files and the lenses. And I love the fact that I can have a very small camera bag if I restrict myself to one or two lenses.
The most important thing is that I love to travel and that I enjoy to take pictures. Of course sometimes I also shoot some pictures at home or in my backyard. I take portraits of friends and every now and than I do some nature photography but most of all I take pictures when I travel. To travel and to take pictures., for me those two have always been together.
I traveled with big camera back-bags and heavy tripods but sometimes I also traveled light. This year I finally gave up my DSLR. Now Fuji is my only camera system. When I go on business trips to Asia, where photography plays the second fiddle, I take nothing but the X Pro-2 plus the 14mm and the 27mm lens to keep the camera gear as small and light as possible. When I go on vacation I take the zooms 10-24, 18-55, 55-200 plus a couple of primes like the 14, 16 and the 23. Depending on the situation I take my back-bag or in the evening or for sightseeing in cities I take just my small shoulder bag with one or two lenses. Because of the excellent high ISO quality I also gave up on traveling with a tripod.
Today I take more pictures than I ever did before and thanks to modern technology it never was so easy. The way I take pictures today, especially on my business trips where I heavily rely on high ISO, was not possible even a couple of years back. Now I can capture what I see “on the fly” without a tripod. I can shoot street scenes in crazy low light thanks to useable ISO 12.800 and f1.4 primes.
It would have been great to have this technology available 25 years ago when I started to travel but I don’t complain. The fact that I shot ISO 50 slide film back than let me appreciate todays technology even more. At least regarding photography gear we live in great times. I’m curious what the next 25 years will bring.