personal photography


I spent part of the Labour Day long weekend in Vancouver, night market in Richmond, biking around Stanley Park, and hiking in West Vancouver. It was a great weekend of outdoors activity, accompanied by beautiful weather. It was a ton of fun, and at the last moment while packing, I decided to bring my neglected Nikon D600 (I figured the night market would benefit from the high ISO performance). To test out whether my interest in the Fuji X-system and its great prime lenses will work out, I brought a fast prime, the Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4. More challenging than being just a fast prime, it’s a manual focus-only lens. Not something I envied a ton, with my little experience with manual focusing and the razor-thin focal plane of a fast prime paired with a full format sensor.

What I did forget, though, is just how stunning a great sensor and lens combo can be. That’s not to say that my go-to Panasonic GX1 + 14-42mm or 20mm pancake isn’t capable of producing good photos; it’s simply that there is another tier of image quality to be achieved, if one is willing to lug around some more weight. I took a risk by opting for the 58mm as my only lens on this trip, but I’m happy I did. I discovered that it’s very enjoyable to frame and zoom with your feet. I also discovered epic image quality, again. Below is a small crop of a shot at night (full frame is inset, top-right) at ISO 1600 with no sharpening or noise reduction (aka both are set to 0 in Lightroom). Wow. This cleans up very nicely with minor tweaks. By comparison, the GX1’s sensor quickly falls apart beyond ~ISO 800.

Nikon D600 + Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4

It certainly gets me even more excited for the highly lauded X-Trans sensor on the Fuji X-E1 and great (autofocus) primes in that system, including the 35mm f/1.4!


The Island

A whirlwind two day trip back to Prince Edward Island reminded me of precisely why the province, and I can speak best about Charlottetown and its environs, is a wonderful place to grow up. The strong sense of community and inclusiveness makes it inviting and warm. The island is often visited for its natural beauty and tourism highlights, like Anne of Green Gables or its many golf courses; however, its true remark is in its people.

For 12 years, I called PEI my home, and the friends I made my extended family. So, it’s been easy for me to return when any excuse pops up. Of course, for this current trip, that reason was a good one, the marriage of a friend I’ve known for 20 years.


It was a beautiful wedding, set at a fantastic spot in eastern PEI, on the beach, with a gorgeous, new family home as the venue. But like the island, the scenery was but a small part of the experience. The people made it what it is. Folks I’d not seen in many years made me feel like I had never left. Other folks, whom I’ve never met before, greeted me with warmth and acceptance. With a laid back style and the refreshing lack of rushing to do the next thing, we spent the time to really catch up or to get to know each other, even if the likelihood of ever bumping into that person again is low. The rat race of the larger urban centers hasn’t touch much of the island or its inhabitants, yet.

Visiting the island has always been something of a bittersweet experience. Sweet, because everyone just picks things up where they last left off so naturally, not missing a beat. Bitter, because it’s always so short, with so many people and places not revisited. The one piece of consolation that I hold on to is that I discovered many people had traveled long distances to return to the island to be a part of this friend’s special day; I hope they’ll carry and spread that Island spirit wherever they are, not succumbing to the pressures of daily life, through the years. I’ll try harder.

P.S. Congratulations to the couple!