Before I make a start on this blog it is important to say that yes, I know, I have already written about my travel plans for Tokyo 2017. And that yes, I made a firm decision that I would travel light and only take my Fujifilm X70. And I was resolved to stick to that plan at the time. But as many a photographer will admit, our favourite piece of gear will change or we will stop shooting in one style and swing to another. Or we will see a different set of opportunities present themselves. And I think that much of my previous declaration was to do with travelling light and hardly carrying anything. It is certainly appealing. On with the blog…
I leave for Tokyo in less than one week. OMG, OMG, OMG I am so damn looking forward to it! I cannot believe it is finally here. I booked at the start of February! Where has the year gone. Still a couple of hurdles between now and then – aside form ensuring that I am all ready and the kids have what they need whilst I am away. A couple of important dates. The four year anniversary of Isobel’s last day on earth. That’s always a tough one. And then four days later her Birthday. They can be very complex times for the children and I. Then I leave four days later, on my Birthday. Emotional time for everyone.
Anyway, I won’t bore you with my actual plans whilst in Tokyo. Yes, I have decided to review my plans on what photography gear to take with me. And it is important for me to understand and then explain why this is. This has only become clear to me in recent days. Ever since my journey in photography began in August of 2013 I have been building up my involvement in the medium. I have become more actively involved in online photography communities, I love reviewing photography related products, I am an advocate for Fujifilm gear, have become involved in various opportunities with Fujifilm Australia and a big one for me is that I now have a fairly consistent blog as a result. That blog is about all of the above and also about my love of Japan and my journeys their.
My annual journeys to Japan form a big part of my projects leading up to, during and after my travels. Especially the after bit. As I edit my photos from those journeys I find sources of inspiration to blog about. I can incorporate my words with visually interesting photographs. Obviously I love to document those journeys and experiences with my camera. When in Japan, I am out day and night capturing images. Thousands and thousands of photos that when reviewed and considered even months later, form small parts or stories of my overall journey. These become my blogging projects for much of the year between my travels. To document that to its fullest, I have decided to take a little more gear than just my Fujifilm X70. I do want my best camera in hand after all.
As I have already written about, the X70 is a solid little camera that is fantastic for street photography. And it will be coming with me and playing an important role. But after much experimenting with it over the last couple of months, I have discovered that in low light, it can struggle with Auto Focus. And when I shoot street, I rely on my Auto Focus a lot. At night, the X70 hunts for focus on the subject I have chosen. Marginal time elapses but this can often mean that the composition has changed or lost altogether while I wait for the Auto Focus to find its mark and take the shot. In stronger light it is a gem and will be put to good use.
Joining the X70, will be the Fujifilm X-T2. Fast, reliable, weather sealed and stunning image quality. Incredible low light performance. Despite a generous offer from Fujifilm Australia to provide some additional lenses for my journey, I am only taking two prime lenses with this camera. Maybe three! The Fujifilm XF23mmF2 – I love this lens and it pretty much lives on my X-T2 90% of the time it is in use. Again a weather sealed lens and probably the fastest Auto Focus performer in the Fujifilm lens line-up. Along with this I will be taking my new XF14mmF2.8. Not weather sealed but a great prime for street photography and that wider angle will allow me to pull in more of the background story around the subjects I photograph. Great also for capturing interesting architecture angles – another project I have in mind whilst in Tokyo. Having a weather sealed lens and body makes sense also as Japan has recently been experiencing some pretty heavy rainfall in some parts. And the current forecast for Tokyo over the time of my time there? Average 30 degrees. Rain and storms. 80% humidity! Might need to pack a canoe also!
With the X70 and the X-T2, I will have a 14mm, 18.5mm and 23mm set of lenses available to me (21mm, 28mm and 35mm full frame equivalent). Any the maybe lens is the XF50mmF2. This lens came out a number of months ago and I picked it up on day one. I love it. Based on what and how I shoot those focal distances are perfect for me. Plus, travelling all that way for a week to shoot street, what if I only had the one camera and it failed or ceased due to condensation. Having a back up camera makes sense. And all up this kit weighs under 1.3 kg. That’s nothing. Whilst I could fit all of this gear, along with spare batteries for both cameras, into my ONA The Bowery camera bag, it leaves very little space for much else – in terms of travel needs. So in a recent purchase I picked up the ONA The Prince Street camera bag in black waxed canvas. Similar in lots of ways to the ONA The Bowery bag, but with double the capacity. Check out fellow Fujifilm shooter Athol Hill’s review here! He’s a good bloke!
Also, I have recently changed both of my cameras to using leather wrist straps only. This removes a lot of clutter from my bag previously experienced with full length neck straps. Also wearing a neck strap, headphones and having the bag strap across one should can result in some pretty frustrating tangles. The Fujifilm X70 has the Fujifilm brown half leather case and leather wrist strap attached. It is a very well made product. For the X-T2, I recently purchased a CURA Wagyu Cattle Hide wrist strap in brown. Premium product from Japan. Wrist straps aid in making a street photography camera less obvious. And there is something to be said about having a camera in hand at all times – especially a light one. It makes the camera feel more ready to take a shot. More of an extension of yourself rather than an accessory.
As mentioned, I intend to create a lot of content whilst in and as a result of my trip to Tokyo. I have some very specific projects or themes that I want to play around with whilst there. Those ideas will then form very specific projects in the way I choose to edit images, group them, blog about them, present them, possible look at creating some Zines (small magazines for distribution of images), printed books, etc. These are all very possible projects for me – so the opportunities that a trip like this creates is exciting. I may also choose to publish blogs live from Tokyo. We will see. Happy shooting!