2016 – Year in Review with Photos

I originally had the idea to post my top 10 photos of the year after listening to an Improve Photography podcast about the subject.  The purpose is to post your top 10 photos each year, and see how you are progressing, or potentially regressing as a photographer.  Instead of a top 10, I will do a top 12 and provide my best photo that was taken in a given month.  I may go back and do previous years as well.

This year, due to the arrival of my son, I haven’t had as much time to go out and shoot.  Outside of a trip I was able to make over the summer, I haven’t really had any personal time.

January

Abandonded Building
Egli House — Commerce City, CO

Egli House is an interesting abandonded building at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.  The Arsenal is a wildlife refuge just north of Denver.  The best part of the refuge is the free admission.  The visitor center is new and worth stopping in.  I took this photo on a cold cloudy January morning.

February

Welding
A Welder at the Colorado Railroad Museum — Golden, CO

This photo is of a volunteer worker welding something at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, CO.  My brother-in-law worked here for a while and was able to give a behind the scenes tour.  I really like all the different lines in this photo.

March

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Tommy — Littleton, CO

Tommy was born at the end of March.  I took this photo when he was 12-hours-old.  I have tons of other pictures/videos from this time.  These are some of the most backed up files I have.

April

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Overpriced Beer and Rockies Dog at Coors Field — Denver, CO

My parents flew out to meet Tommy in early April.  My dad and I were able to catch a baseball game between the Padres and Rockies on April 10.  The game was pretty good for the Rockies.  There were back to back home runs for Car Go and Arenado in the first inning.  This was also at the time where Trevor Story was hitting home runs at a ridiculous rate.  He hit a home run in this game well.  This was a rare Rockies game that was worth the price of admission.

May

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Coke Ovens — Redstone, CO

In May, we attended a family wedding in Redstone, CO.  This whole area is my favorite in the state.  It is our go-to place for vacationing in the mountains.  This was also our first family vacation.  The photo shows coke ovens, which are alongside the major road that goes from Carbondale to McClure Pass.  These ovens were used in the production of coke fuel from the coal in the area.

June

Jefferson Vegetable Garden
The Vegetable Garden at Monticello — Charlottesville, VA

This was taken during a trip to the east coast at the end of June.  I have always wanted to take the tour of Monticello.  These gardens were the inspiration for my own “Jefferson Garden” at home.  There will be more on that in later blog posts.

July

Dark Hallow Falls
Dark Hallow Falls — Shenandoah National Park, VA

This was one of two hikes I was able to do with limited time in Shenandoah.  There were lots of pictures to choose from in July.  Hopefully the others make it on this site.

August

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13th Hole @ Arrowhead Golf Course — Littleton, CO

Arrowhead is easily the nicest course I have ever played.  I was able to play this course at a decent price as part of a work golf tournament.  I didn’t want to play this hole long, so my tee shot ended up short of the green.  In the past, this area was full of brush/rattlesnake habitat.  Recently, they decided to open up that area and make it into lower cut rough.

September

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Georgetown Loop Railroad — Georgetown, CO

In September, we took a trip up to the mountains to ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad.

October

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Tommy — Littleton, CO

This was Tommy’s halloween costume.

November

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Hot Air Balloon — Littleton, CO

This shot is of an unusual hot air balloon over Chatfield State park in Littleton, CO

December

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Tommy at Christmas — Littleton, CO

This is one of the photos I took of Tommy for the purpose of Christmas cards.

 

In 2016, I didn’t have the best photos, but had some of the best memories.  I hope that I’ll get some personal time to do some more landscape/nature photography in 2017.  There will definitely be lots of pictures of Tommy as he grows up.  Also, in 2017, I will be getting in to Aerial Photography/Videography.  More on that in later posts.  Happy New Year!

While writing this, I found a few photos that were just outside the month boundary.  If it was within a couple of days, I was ok placing them in the wrong month.

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Going Mirrorless

The Reason(s)

I made the switch from mirrored to mirrorless one year ago.  As a non professional, the transition for me was based mostly on use of the system. I found that my camera bag was incredibly heavy and too bulky to use.  I had been looking into trying out a mirrorless system since more and more people had been converting.  I saw some amazing shots on the mirrorless system.  Finally, after a recent trip to Mexico, where I decided it was too much of a hassle to bring my gear… I knew it was time to make a change.

My canon gear consisted of the following:

  • Canon 5D Mark II
  • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L
  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
  • Canon EF 40mm f/2.8

This represents a large, for me, investment in the Canon system.

This bag was heavy.  Very capable, but a pain to carry around hiking and traveling in general.  I was basically using my cell phone for taking pictures in both of these situations that I most likely found myself in.

I decided on keeping my older Cannon Rebel T2i body with 2 EF-S lenses (kit lens and the 55-250mm).  These are worth almost nothing in trade, but still have some capability if I want to use a DSLR in the future.  It will also work as a good spare or primary camera if I can convince my wife to go out shooting with me.  I have managed to do this twice in the last five years.

The Trade

I traded my cannon gear at my local brick and mortar for the Fujifilm XT-10 and comparable lenses.  I chose the brick and mortar, because its a good shop with good people, I feel good supporting small business, and I was able to get a good value in trade.  I could have done a bit better if sold things online, but I preferred to get things done quickly with a lot less hassle.

I chose the X-T10 since it had the same functionality of the X-T1, including the exact same sensor at a fraction of the price.  I do miss the weather sealing, but I rarely use electronics in the rain, even my IP68 Samsung Galaxy S7.  Over the summer I was caught in a very intense thunderstorm while hiking in Shenandoah.  The camera survived.

With the trade I was able to get a brand new camera and the lenses to cover me from 10-200mm. For the above cannon gear, I was able to trade for the following:

  • Fujifilm X-T10 (new)
  • Fujifilm 10-24mm f/4
  • Fujifilm 18-55mm f/2.8-4 (new)
  • Fujifilm 55-200mm f/3.5 – 4.8
  • Battery Charger (new)
  • 2x Batteries (new)
  • $300 credit towards a prime

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The Results

Since day one, I’ve been happy with the trade.  I have carried the camera around a lot more than my previous one.  My camera bag dropped it’s weight in roughly half.  It went from 8lbs 2oz (3680g) down to 3lb 11oz(4lb 60z (1693 g).  This is significant, and a lot easier to take around.  With the exception of the telephoto, which I only use rarely, any configuration of body/lens with the Fuji weighs less than my Cannon 5dm2 body alone.

I have also picked two additional lenses. The Fujifilm 23mm f/1.4 and Zeiss 32mm f/1.8 (effectively 35mm and 50mm primes).  One of the bonuses of switching to Fuji is the price of lenses.  The equivalent Cannon lens (35mm f/1.4) goes for around $1000.  This may be an apples and oranges scenario, but from my experience these Fuji lenses are sharp.  Here is an interesting comparison of the two.  In general Fuji gear (bodies/lenses) are roughly 65% of the price of the Cannon equivalent.  For someone like myself, a non-pro with a family on a budget, it’s nice having an option of purchasing high quality gear.

With the new camera, I have been able to take a lot shots that I have been proud of this year.  Here are just a few of them:

In short, I traded a very capable camera for another very capable camera that I will have on me more often.  As the technology changes, I feel like I’m in a system where the future cost of upgrade is a lot more comfortable.