If you ever have the chance to visit Paris, one of the absolute highlights is, of course, the Eiffel Tower. Riding the elevator to the top is an experience in and of itself — as you fly through the Tower’s metallic skeleton, you start to see flashes of the city shrinking below you. When you come to a stop (after stepping past the fifteen-foot tall gears that turn the elevator’s cable), the view you see is maddeningly beautiful.
I’m a European. Through and through. Even now I am sitting at a coffee house, tired from a sleepless night, my mind a little hazy. And yet, despite that, I am quietly remembering my favourite streets of my favourite city that I got to know with my favourite people, and that city, at least the loveliest part of it, is European down to last brick. It’s just outside that big window and it’s called Vilnius, capital of Lithuania. I love the narrow streets and tiny churches. I love how old, confusing and irrational the planning is, at least at first glance. I love its outright beauty and history, too, and how the only two means of transport that don’t seem out of place in those narrows streets are scooters and bicycles.
Imagine how strange it feels to also love what little of Manhattan I saw during my five day visit. For, in just about every single way, it’s the complete opposite of what I just described.
I’ll admit it — I was a bit late to the party. While everyone else has been enjoying the brand new D750 and D810, I have been happily stuck with my aging D7000.
Being a student, I am on a student budget. This means that I buy used technology, and I buy old technology. I have nothing against this, though, since older DSLRs are truly dependable machines, and they still are capable of producing wonderful images. Over the course of two years, I have taken 50,000 photos with my D7000, and it doesn’t look a click over 10,000.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in the technical aspects of our gear that we forget that the most important things are the images we capture regardless of the gear we are using. Those images help to enshrine memories. They could be of family and friends, pets, events, or places that we have visited.
A Panasonic FZ28 super-zoom would never be considered as anything much more than a point-and-shoot camera by most folks. After all, its 10Mp sensor is a miniscule 1/2.33″ (6.08×4.56mm), with uninspiring dynamic range and colour depth, and very poor low light performance. But in my mind it will always be one of my favourite cameras because of the memories that it allowed me to capture. Like a sightseeing trip to Arizona and southeastern Utah.
Antarctica…. a place I never thought I would visit. A place on the bottom side of Earth where few people go. Most of my friends, when they learned I would be taking this trip, asked: “why Antarctica? What’s to see besides penguins, seals and ice?” For me and most photography friends of mine, Antarctica is on our bucket list. Not just for the photographic opportunities, but for the natural beauty all around that cannot be described by any word other than awesome. My partner in this adventure was my 34 year old, world traveler daughter. We are both amateur photographers, me more amateur than her. This was an extraordinary father-daughter bonding trip.
What little I saw of New York was as overwhelming as I thought it would be. And then some. But that is not where it all started for me, oh no. See, my dear readers, I have an embarrassing secret to tell you. For some of you, it will not be in any way special, whilst others will find it mildly amusing. Certainly, when one of the friendliest and most fun people I met in New York, a brilliant guy named Mark, heard me say it, his immediate response was – “I don’t know how to talk to you.” I laughed and for a while, he just stared at me in surprise. Wholeheartedly hoping the same fate will not strike you, here is the ever so slightly shocking truth – this trip was not only my first trip to New York. Or the US. Or somewhere to the West of Lithuania. It was also, among all these things, my first ever flight. In other words, my first ever big trip just happened to be to New York City, by plane, over eight thousand kilometers away from home – that’s five thousand miles – and every single bit of it, every moment, was new and special to me.
Oh my, the things I am about to write now…
After having some experience with seabirds in Scotland, Norway, Canada and Alaska we wanted to watch and photograph penguins in Antarctica and the sub Antarctic islands: But how to get there? There is no possibility of individual travel in and around this huge continent. So after some research we decided to use a cruise ship as a base for our travel plans. Fortunately in 1993 we were asked to share a book project on Antarctica by a German (Munich based) publisher. They had already sent a photographer to Antarctica and needed text material on nature, ecology and species accounts. Both of our studies we cramped with scientific stuff on exactly these topics. So we did half of the books text. The other half – a text essay – was done by a well known travel author. This book appeared during spring 1994 sold very well. So we used it to appeal for jobs as bilingual biology and geography lecturers on the German- an US-managed ship “World Discoverer.” We were invited to come to the agency in Hamburg and… we got our favourite trips!
I would like to preface this article by saying it is not intended as a “do this, don’t do that” sermon from the mount. To me, using a camera is akin to playing a guitar. It is simply an instrument that a person uses to achieve a particular outcome. And, like a guitar, there are many styles and approaches in how to “play it”. What works for me may not work or feel comfortable for you. So, if this article provides a few useful tidbits for some readers, it will have served its purpose.
There’s quite a bit of text in this article so I will be showing a range of images shot with my Nikon 1 V2 to provide some visual breaks, and also to help illustrate the capability of the Nikon 1 system.
Back in May of this year Nasim visited London and kindly invited local followers of PL on a photowalk. All the participants greatly enjoyed that experience and came away with pleasing images. Well, a couple of months ago, I met up again with one of those participants, Theresa, for a photowalk in London and we decided to challenge ourselves to take the same route again and capture new images from it.