Fujifilm X-T2 Goes to Abu Dhabi and Dubai

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I had no idea whether I would even have 10 minutes to photograph while in the United Arab Emirates given that this was a business trip and my itinerary was laid out carefully and well in advance.  Still though, you don’t get over to places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai without a camera of some type, so I grabbed the Fujifilm X-T2 and two lenses: the 14mm and 23mm (21mm and 35mm equivalents).  Note that the 23 was the 1.4 version, not the 2.0 one.  My primary objective was to have a small and light yet highly capable kit with me at all times and certainly one that would not interfere with my primary task, that being the business meetings I was there for.

Well, photographic opportunity did knock twice.  Before dinner one evening, I had a chance to walk around the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi for about an hour and then on my last day, after the business objectives had been conquered, I took a quick stroll around the Spice Souk market and port area in what is called Old Dubai.

I have been shooting nearly exclusively with the fine Fujifilm X-Pro2 over the past several months and so this was an opportunity to test its top of the line sibling, the X-T2.  Under the hood, these are essentially the same camera though the X-T2 allows for customization of autofocus tracking and limited 4k video shooting (shorter bursts unless you equip it with a battery grip).  The sensor is the same as the X-Pro2 which can reportedly shoot 4k as well but heat dissipation issues precluded it from the final version.  I have always found the HD video of the X-Pro2 to be excellent and so I’ve never missed not having 4k.

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Ten Reasons Why I Photograph

Perhaps it is because the year now draws to a close and the skies grow more ashen.

Perhaps it is because I’m in a more self-reflective state these days given the declining health of loved ones.

Or perhaps it is simply because I have been asked this more than once and have never felt as though I offered a complete or compelling enough response.

So… here are the reasons I photograph.  There are ten of them altogether.

I begin by noting with vigor one of the reasons I do not photograph and that is to make money, to put food on the table, to advance a career.  My means of sustaining myself and my family lies elsewhere and so photography is diversion, relief only.  I have had moments when the thought did cross my mind… but I’ve suppressed the instinct, declined the opportunity to let it fester.  Why?  Because I have always feared the loss of respite… and so I’ve protected it.

Why then do I photograph?

1. It helps me see.

Family, job, volunteer activities, plus an active Walter Mitty imagination.  That’s me.  I can get up into my own head and travel through space and time without actually seeing anything.  My visual acuity is sufficient enough to allow me to operate a car, traverse through busy city streets, accomplish all of the necessary activities of daily living, but rarely do I notice, rarely do I truly see.

When I am carrying a camera, I look through the viewfinder or onto the back LCD screen and observe, carefully so.  I notice contrasts, vivid colors, the textures within shadows, the places where light illuminates or washes over detail.  I notice.  Photography does that to me, even if I never press down on the shutter button.

2. It affixes me to a moment.

My mind wanders to points on the distant shore.  I don’t profess to be particularly adept at it, but I constantly consider chess moves on the board in front of me, thinking through implication and consequence, action or its opposite.  When I lift a camera to my eye, not only do I see but my mind ceases all forms of time travel.  I plant myself in a particular moment and after I observe, I exhale and then I just simply am.

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