The yearly gathering of Fuji shooters took place last Sunday: the Montreal Fuji Photo Walk. Huge turnout this year—which is impressive considering last year’s event had already been a success and the early morning weather was… Let’s say iffy.
The undisputed star of the show was the new baby (literally), the X-T10. Fujifilm Canada had a bunch of them on hand for folks to try out, along with all the recent lenses, zooms and primes. We had drinks the night before where I got to play with it briefly and while it’s preliminary, I can say this: it felt completely natural. Best compliment I can give it. Smaller than the X-T1 of course but I immediately fell into it, all the buttons were where I expected them to be and there was no “new body shock”—which I have to admit was a pleasant surprise. Oh and that new autofocus stuff… Impressive. Can’t wait to try this on the X-T1.
But I was personally most looking forward to trying out the upcoming XF 90mm f2R. We played with it Saturday night—Ben Von Wong having a blast shooting much too intimate beer-infused close-ups of everyone that I hope will never see the light of day (!)—but the following morning I brought my X-T1 for The Walk and Billy set me up with one. These are all pre-production units at this point but man… I’m having trouble seeing how it could be improved. Yet another stellar lens for the X-Series.
There’s no OIS, for the same reasons it was left out of the new 16mm: image quality, size considerations etc. Now, at 90mm (135mm equivalent) you kind of expect it nowadays and it’s the one point I was hesitant about. But it balances extremely well on-camera—at least on the X-T1—so I didn’t feel it was that much of an issue. I had no trouble keeping it steady. It may be a different story in low-light situations but that’ll be something to test in the eventual review. In terms of rendering and sharpness: wow. XF 56mm kind of wow so… Right up there.
Check out my buddy Bert Stephani’s video review for more info:
Huge thanks to everyone at Fujifilm Canada for making this all happen: Jerry Julien, Helen Layter and of course Billy Luong. And thanks to everyone who came to shoot the breeze or shake hands… Always a blast to meet everyone at these events; Montreal is becoming quite the nice little Fuji community. Speaking of which: FujiTuesday is coming to our fair city. Rob Zeigler is bringing the concept here from Toronto and I’ll be at the first meetup, probably on June 16 (to be confirmed); I’ll keep you posted on that.
Shot with the X-T1 and Fujinon XF 90mm f2R (pre-production unit)
Stanstead border station:
- “Are those your kids?”
- “What’s the purpose of your trip?”
- “Well, a funeral actually…”
We drive the long drive, the one we know by heart—up the White Mountains and down again, winding through state after state. My eyes are tired and Cynthia takes the wheel for an hour. It’ll be late when we arrive…
These days everything always feels much too late.
Shot with the X100T
I was the new guy. I’d been invited for New Year’s Eve in Maricourt and not only would this be our first official holidays together, I’d be meeting the entire family: aunts, uncles, cousins and… The Americans. Cynthia had told me about her fabled Tante Pierrette—her mom’s older sister—how she had fallen in love with some handsome American guy and left everything behind to get married—without even speaking a word of English at the time. How she had held everything together after Arthur had been taken at a much too young age, raising her three boys, taking over the travel agency and seeing it prosper. How she could control everything and everyone effortlessly, just by being who she was. A taskmaster all obeyed without question.
I pictured a hurricane; I pictured a red-haired Valkyrie riding north to judge and slay me and throw me back into the pit… I was terrified.
But we hit it off.
Sometimes you meet people you’ve known your entire life; there’s no awkwardness, no trial period to go through. You just pick up where you left off, as impossible as it may be. Like souls intersecting. Everything I had heard was true, of course: she was a whirlwind. But she was also funny and fearless and generous and completely mad in the best way imaginable. The let’s-drive-two-hours-for-ice-cream kind of mad. I never once felt out of place in her home, never once felt uncomfortable in her presence. Never felt anything but love, friendship and support for myself, for Cynthia and our kids. She was even one of the few to encourage me into pursuing photography as a career and would send me clippings of magazine articles she thought might interest me. Every single time, we’d simply pick up where we left off, as though mere days had gone by.
Yesterday she passed away.
She fought those odds and beat the crap out of them like the force of nature that she was, bouncing back time and time and time again, making liars out of every doctor she met. A Valkyrie to the very end. But life, inevitably, is a deconstruction.
The picture above—with Cynthia and the kids— is a favourite of mine. It was shot almost three years ago and is one of my very first KAGE essays, something entitled We Hold On. She was already sick at the time and we all feared the end would come way too soon. It did… But boy did she hold on.
I’m not a religious man as most of you know but today I’ll sign off the way she always would:
Love and Prayers