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Bay Area Bound (Also, Fuji X-T3)

A few weeks ago I had the wonderful fortune to visit my fiancé in our future home. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area whilst I am in the UK waiting for visa papers to go through. The lion’s share of the trip was dedicated to spending time with each other but there were moments of discovery and de-mystification that weren’t anticipated. I also took the opportunity of being across the pond to invest in a new hybrid camera (one for video and stills) so you photographers out there can see if they notice any difference between these Fuji X-T3 images and my usual Canon work.

The stereotypes of the Bay Area reach far and wide – elite tech bros, woke vegans, controversial authority figures, outdoor sports weekend warriors, red and blue political activists – are all said to live in close quarters in the cities and towns surrounding San Francisco. What I found was, of course, a much watered down and livable version of this vision but with some telling features that revealed the uncomfortable cultural pairing the area is struggling with. High-end jewelry parlors next to shuttered residence buildings, the much documented homelessness, industrial warehouses converted to climbing gyms.

However, there was one stereotype that I am glad lived up to expectations – access to the outdoors. The ease with which you can glide out of the metropolis (a car is a must, sadly) and into the mountains or onto the beach is unlike anywhere else I have lived. We capitalized on this during my stay and made trips to Castle Rock, Half Moon Bay and Baker Beach for views of the Golden Gate Bridge. You might notice that throughout it all we were clouded by the smoke from the Camp wildfire. The fire is now thankfully contained but the fact its smoke reached us and necessitated face masks 175 miles away should give you an indication as to how serious it was.

So the Bay Area is now a place I know to some degree and no longer the stereotype driven image I had in my head. And as such I am more excited than ever to move across the pond to be with my future wife.

A note on the Fuji X-T3

This is more for camera nerds like me so please skip to the images if terms like “dynamic range” and “electronic shutter” send you to sleep.

I’m sure the question on everyone’s lips is “are you switching away from Canon?” In a word, no. I bought the Fujifilm camera primarily for features that would cost an arm and a leg with Canon gear. Log video recoding, full HD 120p slow motion and 30fps drive mode are all features that you pay £6000 for with Canon or simply don’t exist. I still love the look of Canon colours and the full frame look from my 5d Mark II will be hard to achieve with the Fuji’s APSC sensor. The Fuji merely adds another string to my bow, and a powerful one at that! Can you see any differences between these images and ones I have posted in the past?

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