I captured this shortly after the latest blizzard hit. The wind is still howling; the drifts of snow reach the kitchen window; our spirits are bent; the whiskey is all gone. I thought this image captured the darkness that winter has brought to my spirit. Time to exodus and heal in time for the warm spring sun and the smell of flowers blooming.
About 18 months ago I decided to give really small cameras a try. I bought a Fuji X100s and rented the Fuji XE-1 along with two lenses. I used that kit to photograph the Lost Coast, a story that has been one of my most popular ever and will be featured in a magazine this spring.
While I enjoyed the size and weight of this kit, and felt the images were good, they still did not give me what I was personally looking for when my goal is to tell a story via the web and have the ability to print large. At that time, I felt that the Fuji kit was nice, but just not up to the task, so I divested myself of the little X100s and moved on.
Fast forward to 2015, and one could argue that Fuji is on a roll, with big names jumping on their bandwagon and a host of my good friends signing up as well. Since that Lost Coast trip I have seen one of my X100s images printed wall size by the wizards at Dugall which again reminded me that today's cameras have plenty of oomph to do just about anything we want of them.
Still, I believe it is important to feel a connection to your gear, something that transcends simply taking photographs. At least for me, this is an important element to my photography. So here we are, and I have now picked up a little Fuji X100T to be my 'grab' camera for my next two trips. I have 3 weeks biking through Ireland, an environment full of spring time color and great old textures. This will be a wonderful palette to play with the little Fuji. Of course, it will not be my primary tool -- that task will belong to the Leica M240 and a 35/50 Summilux combination.
Next, 2 days after returning from Ireland, I head to Alaska for 3 weeks of deep winter cycling through the barren AK interior. A region known for white and shadows, dancing night lights and temperatures that will reach -30F at night. An environment that is hostile towards people and electronics. For that trip, I will again rely on the little X100T as a grab camera alongside my trusty Nikon D810.
My last trip to Alaska I used a D800E for two months with much success. I came back with images that to this day blow me away. They have graced the covers of Salsa's catalogs; are all over their website; and are blown up life size in their traveling display. The quality and image size of the D800 along with the large lithium batteries will be key to dealing with the environment of Alaska winter.
This is not too say that a Fuji couldn't, but I am not prepared to make to big a jump as of yet. So I consider these two trips as my attempt at dipping one of my toes back into the land of Fuji to see if the X series can appeal to my photographic needs. Follow along as the X100T and its wireless capabilities should get a tremendous amount of action on my Instagram and Twitter feeds. I will follow up after the trip with some of my thoughts on how this gear selection worked out and where I see myself going in the future.
I can't remember a piece of bikepacking kit that has had this much interest in quite some time. So in the spirit of helping others out, I will not only showcase what kinds of camera gear the Slinger can hold, but also all of its other wonderful utility. First up, Beer, in the form of a Growler. As you can see, there is plenty of room for a full size growler. Oh yea, this is gonna be killer.
Growler Details: 11 inches tall and 12 inches circumference at its widest point.
Scott Felter, the mastermind at Porcelain Rocket, has continued to push the boundaries of ultralight backpacking bags. Scott has been helping me with my travels by bike for the last 4 years and I am extremely grateful not only for his support but for his creativity.
For quite some time I know that not only I, but other bike photographers have been looking for a solution to easily carry and protect our camera gear on our bikes. We have all gone through a host of solutions, some elegant, and some not so much. I am sure that most of us have tried making crap, using backpacks, repurposing other bits of kit, all in an attempt to come up with a solution that safely carries our cameras; keeps them close at hand; and most importantly, keeps them off of our backs.
I am happy to say, that after seeing the prototypes I am now the proud recipient of one of Scott's new 'Slinger' bags. This is a super light bag that in similar fashion to 'Feed Bags', attaches to the handlebars, fork and stem to create a secure location for carrying a small DSLR, mirrorless camera or range finder. I personally shoot primarily with a rangefinder, but there are definitely situations where I will use a DSLR like the Nikon D810 or even a small mirrorless camera like the Fuji X100T.
Scott's new Slinger fits the bill perfectly with more than enough space for a DSLR and small zoom or fixed lens. For a rangefinder or mirrorless camera, there is enough space in there for a camera, lens and second lens. The pictures below who the bag mounted to the Salsa Mukluk. The 3rd picture shows the bag with a D810/50 combination. Plenty of room in there for a longer fixed lens or a moderate zoom.
I head to Ireland for 3 weeks of photography and bikes starting next week and then am off to Alaska for 3 weeks of winter touring and photography. I look forward to putting the Slinger through its paces and will provide a bit of running commentary on Instagram as to how it works.
Scott -- GREAT JOB!!
I was honored to be a part of this amazing effort to shed some light on what great things are happening in the New England Food system. This video highlights the people we met and showcases the passion they have for bettering our lives through Food. Enjoy!!
Last year I acquired a Salsa Spearfish and absolutely loved that bike. To date, it is the nicest Full Suspension bike I had ever ridden. A trip through Arizona however left me wanting just a bit more travel than what the Fish provided. This is not a knock on the Fish, but more of a refinement on my part of what kind of FS bike I need for the trips that I plan to take.
Enter the 2015 Carbon Horsethief. Like the Fish, the Thief features the new Split Pivot design. Unlike last years Fish, this year the Thief is Carbon Fiber. I must say, I am super stoked about this new design. I built up the bike this morning and took it out for some pictures in the foot of snow we got yesterday. While this makes for pretty snaps, it does not allow me to actually get on the bike and ride...
This year I am off to the SW again to put the bike through its paces and then onto several longer and more robust trips in 2016. I am definitely excited about getting out and putting this bike through its paces.
One of my 2015 goals is to begin showing more of my work, both digitally and in print form. Some call it the decisive moment, some call it luck. I was working on a different way of capturing the Portsmouth Farm Market by trying to bring in some motion to my images. I guess a way of trying to impart the hustle and bustle of the weekend crowd. In this case I caught not only motion, but perfect stillness. One of my favorite images of 2014!
2015 is here and I am going to take a week or two from the beginning of the year to reflect on what my 2015 goals should be. 2014 was one heck of a year, with some tremendous highs and some really big lows. In effect, it was just like the journey of life, up and down, full of twists and turns, with everything in the end working out the way it should be -- Which is a great segway into two of my favorite expressions, words that I try and always live by, but sometimes fail to heed...
I was never not going to be here
Live like a child
These two expressions have formed the basis for my life the past several years, and as we move into 2015 I am committed to once again embracing the true spirit of their meanings. First and foremost, we are where we are, and all is perfect in that which simply IS. Second, if we could all go back to that wonderful joy we had as kids, found in the most mundane of ways, well then wouldn't we all be much happier and more at peace.
On New Years Eve, I danced and twirled and spent time photographing this lovely young girl as she was lost in the world. Her joy was infectious to all that watched and it reminded me that all is well and that all is as it should be and that in the end, just Live!
Happy New Years to all -- I will be back in a couple of weeks with a plan for the year, and some much needed changes in the site.
Once again I am honored to have a selection of my images from this past year used to promote both the Salsa Cycles brand and the philosophy of 'Adventure By Bike'. This year, among others, they have chosen a selection of images from my Oregon Outback adventure, along with my good buddy Josh Spice, to promote life with a Fargo.
You can see a brief glimpse of them on the Salsa Cycles website, and in print at your local Salsa Cycles dealer. If the images intrigue you, the full story of the trip can be seen at my Exposure site.