Fuji X100F in Upper Manhattan: July Photowalk

I realized why I wasn't growing as a photographer – and how to fix it.

Over the past month, I've been doing a lot of travel work for clients, but I've also made time for personal work. These photos, all taken with the Fuji X100F, are all from those quiet moments that I've carved out for myself.

And if I'm honest, that's my real passion for photography: the ability to artfully document a scene, and the sense of security you feel when you have a printed book full of beautiful memories you'll never risk losing to forgetfulness. 

My latest photography revelation is that I've been relying on the TCL-X100, a screw-on lens adapter that lengthens the focal length from 35mm to an equivalent 50mm to make shooting easier, rather than pushing myself to adapt a wider perspective. 

So I decided to make a change. All these photos from the past month were shot on the Fuji X100F at the native 35mm field of view – and transferred and edited on my iPad Pro while I was out shooting.

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Something nobody talks about in the photography world is how important your first lens is.

Mine was a thrifty fifty – aka a Canon 50mm f/1.8 on a crop sensor, the baby brother of the 50mm f/1.2 – and I fell immediately in love with the idea of isolation – and of course the creamy bokeh. I started shooting before smartphones were as big as they are now, so I've never been acclimated to the wide field of view that the younger generation of photographers likely is.

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Unfortunately for me, I never got away from that field of view. My eye for composition is based around subtraction, and wide angles make that much harder. Not to mention, living between San Francisco and Manhattan, it's not easy to find clean compositions with a wide field of view.

There are some photographers – like my friend Brendon Burton, who I've interviewed for Shark & Palm – that have the innate ability to project their vision on to any given scene. Their compositions and colors are distinct, beautiful, and dynamic. Brendon can shoot a farm, a subway station, or a fashion editorial and it will all feel like vaguely threatening, surrealist Americana.

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Precisely that is my current photographic pursuit. At this point, I know how to capture a gorgeous image. I understand light, I understand color, I understand composition. I get paid to take photos! But it's going to take even more practice to use photography as a medium for technically successful creative expression.

And it all starts with unscrewing my telephoto adapter and shooting a bit wider.

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Digital strategist, writer, and image maker based in Manhattan working with clients in the tech and entertainment industry.