Overdue Vacation and the Fuji X100

Dr. Fiance and I hadn’t had a vacation since we went to South Africa in 2010. Which isn’t to say we haven’t traveled at all. I am on the road all the time for work and of course we’ve hit the east coast a number of times during the interim for holidays and friends and family. But we hadn’t done a vacation vacation for more than two years. So we herded the dog off to an awesome friend who looked after her for the week and headed to California.

We spent the first few days in San Francisco with some friends(who were awesome) and the weather was cold (less awesome). We ate good food, went to the pot-smokeyist concert I have ever been too and jumped on trampolines. After San Francisco we made a beeline for Napa Valley, where we had massages (to recover from the trampolining) and then proceeded to do nothing but eat good food, drink lotsa wine and generally slack off. It was seriously awesome. We wrapped up the week in Santa Cruz on the beach. Also awesome.

That haze does not come from a smoke machine.

When we were in South Africa we visited Cape Town. One of the day trips in Cape Town is a hike up Table Mountain, which Xina and I did. I carried along my entire backpack of photography gear, with visions of beautiful photography on the way up and from the summit. Um, no, that didn’t happen. The grueling hike, combined with the altitude, not enough water, and generally underestimating my own physical fitness just about killed me. Dr. Fiance (who is always in much better shape than me) actually ended up carrying my photography bag about half way up so that we wouldn’t have to call in a rescue helicopter to lift my out of breath ass off the mountainside.

I have learned my lesson. On this vacation I only brought one, small camera: my newly acquired Fujifilm X100. I’d been drooling over this thing since it was vaporware and talked myself into and out of buying it on a number of occasions over the last year or so. Then right before vacation I found one in the Amazon Warehouse fairly cheap, and decided to pull the trigger. I’m not going to go into a full review of the thing since there are plenty out there, but I will say this: this little guy is a lot of fun to shoot with. The fixed focal length, the small format, and the whole aesthetic of the thing really takes me back to my Photography 101 days when I was shooting with my dad’s manual-everything 35mm Minolta in college.

Artessa, our favorite winery with crazy modern art.
Bread and wine at Angele’s in Napa – one of many perfect lunches.

That feeling of nostalgia for Photography 101 continued as I started reviewing what I’d shot and comprehended the staggering number of really really bad photographs that I’d taken. At times I definitely felt like a college student again. The X100 really makes you think about the basics of photography without all the bells and whistles of the big cameras. And I admit that I am the worst vacation photographer in the world – I tend to want to live those moments when I’m not working rather than be constantly behind the viewfinder. This camera is not as forgiving as my other cameras and the learning curve is pretty steep. That said, I am really enjoying learning how to shoot with the X100. It is really making me look at things differently that I do through my Canons with their big heavy glass.

Boardwalk Tram in Santa Cruz.
Palm trees in Santa Cruz.
The Casino and Boardwalk after dark, Santa Cruz

The photos in this post are just a few snapshot of our vacation shot with the X100. Now, back to work!

The beach in San Francisco. Yeah, it was cold.
The beach in San Francisco. Yeah, it was cold.
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