I’ve been earning a living doing photography and writing for almost half-a-century, employed by or contracting with newspapers, magazines, and periodicals. I don’t have a website, I don’t enter contests. No weddings. But I’ve worked on four continents, rode with police and firefighters, bounced along on garbage trucks and photographed the upper one percent of the one percent. It has afforded me the ability to see what everyone else does for a living and I love it. Word of mouth and people seeing my work gets me most of my jobs and I still enjoy the heck out of what I do. And I love my Fujifilm cameras and lenses. They’re great, solid tools I don’t have to worry about. They just let me do my job.
In earlier days my choice of gear was fairly traditional; lots of DSLRs and zoom lenses. But then, about six years ago I came across the Fujifilm system. A salesman convinced a friend to buy a Fujifilm X100. After a week he was totally frustrated. We went to lunch and he looked at my rig and said that is what he wanted. By the time we walked out I owned an X100 with no idea what I had done.
Then I started using the little camera. Great fun, great photos, lousy firmware. I updated it and it became my best friend. Since then I have gradually shed everything else and today rely solely on Fuji. I even own an XQ1. The cameras and lenses, anything from a 10-24 to a 50-230, fit right in my hands and in my mind. I have never looked back.
I believe in taking a camera whenever I go, working or not. But my work has to be of the best I can muster. Fujifilm lets me do that. When I’m not working for a client, I’m working for myself. I become my own client.
For example, I live in California and was on a job in Salt Lake City, Utah. The plan was after I was done, my wife Diane would fly up and join me. She had never seen Utah, Wyoming, or Colorado and this would be the perfect opportunity. The weather was magnificent.
Until the second day, when we woke up to falling temperature, wind, and snow flurries. Driving east I was apologizing about the weather when I turned and saw she was having a great adventure! A photo from my X-E1 with a 27mm sits on her desk. Award-winning photography? Far from it. But a great memory in a less stressful time.
It’s the same wherever I am. Our first morning on a Hawaiian vacation I was treated to a beautiful sunrise. I woke Diane up – thankfully she has a forgiving soul – and had her sit on the balcony. I was traveling light, just an X100s. I didn’t need anything else.
When driving in uncharted territory I always try and take side roads and visit small towns. The watermelon parade float was a must, with Diane posing with it for size. Creativity at its finest? I don’t think so. But sharp, nice contrast and even coverage across the frame. Fuji didn’t let me down.
With Covid 19 I don’t lunch with friends anymore. But that doesn’t stop us from occasionally getting together in an empty parking lot with social distancing. That’s John Wade and his pride and joy Jaguar. I had my X70 with me.
A vacation trip to England and I packed light; just an X-T1 and a 16-50. The London street vendor was just outside our hotel and a small hotel in Tonebridge with uneven window panes helped blend old and new. The double-decker London bus shot was just a snapshot of my wife enjoying the view – she’s in the lower right – with the 16-50 again giving me a wonderful memory. Again, Fuji let me just take photos, and not worry about the equipment.
My friend Randy had buried his parents in a rural part of eastern California many years ago. This was part of his annual pilgrimage to honor them. An X-Pro2 was wonderfully stealthy and didn’t disturb his train of thought.
In Disneyland I tried for something different. Using a Fuji with an 18mm lens and a slow shutter speed I captured us coming out of a tunnel rolling into the light. With the Fuji I had the confidence to try something different. And I think it worked.
And finally, with the pandemic, we had a cleaning crew come to our house and it was too cold for us to wait outside. So my wife and I and our dog holed up in my office. She had her headset on to listen to music when I tapped her on the shoulder. She knew what I wanted. Not sure if she’s smiling or not. Don’t know if I wanted to find out. But the little XQ1 was perfect. I captured an event in our lives that hopefully we’ll have to repeat but preserved it as a great memory.
That’s what Fujifilm cameras and lenses do for me. They make me want to pick them up and use them. The combination of a quality build and great lenses have been perfect for me personally and professionally. I can’t ask for anything more.