A Juneau Excursion – Alaska

 

My family and I took the seven-day Princess cruise from Vancouver to Alaska. That was a week ago and we’ve been traveling through Alaska since. With spotty cell service and often no free Internet, this is the first chance I’ve had to post. 

The cruised starts at Vancouver Canada and makes it way up to Whittier Alaska with a few stops along the way. Juneau was one of those stops and we had a full day to hang out, enjoy the culture, eating amazing king crab and taking photos.

 


Cruising to Alaska | Juneau | Fujifilm X-T2


 

For this excursion I shot with two lenses; the Fujinon 35mm f2 and the 23mm f1.4. Both lenses are fantastic with my favorite of the two being the 23mm f1.4. The 35mm f2 is part of a new design of lenses that feels a little consumer for my taste, but is still a very nice lens – You can see my review on the 35mm f2 here.

For this trip, I’ve also been shooting mostly with the X-T2 and some A7rII with the occasional X100F thrown in the mix.

I left my X-Pro 2 home because I didn’t want to deal with dead batteries and the X-T2 with the vertical battery grip can go for a solid two days. Plus my bags were already filled with Sony batteries to keep that A7rII running for more than thirty minutes.

For the sake of simplicity, all the photos in this post are shot with the X-T2.

 

 

For our excursion we mostly stuck around downtown Juneau. We walked through almost the entire downtown area which was amazing for shooting streets. The downtown area is pretty small and can be walked easily in a couple of hours, double that when you’re with a two year old.

 

 

With Juneau as far north as it is, you have a low sun throughout the day that puts the light at a much more interesting angle than say Los Angeles. In Los Angeles you really need to time your shoots to avoid the mid day sun, which in the summer leaves with only a few hours of optimal shooting conditions since overhead lighting typically doesn’t look good in any scenario, unless you’re one of those weirdos that likes to wake up early in the morning. 🙂 This is why I love going north.

 

 

The roads are all very narrow since they never expanded it since the days before automobiles, this sort of compresses everything and allows you to catch a lot of action from across the street and the buildings reflections and colors play off of each other very nicely. 

 

 

Because of the cruise ships dumping thousands of people a day into Juneau, you get a really nice mix of people from all around the world adding to the city’s already colorful architecture, heritage and culture. 

I know, Alaska is known for its nature and wildlife photography, but I had a great time shooting in Juneau while letting my little two-year old explore every nook and cranny. 

 

 

Processing the Shots

Since people always ask, I’ll share the workflow here.

Usually for my day-to-day photography I shoot JPEG, but since I was in a place of rarity, I switched the camera over to RAW. I didn’t want to miss out on the ability to recover extreme highlights or shadows if need be.

Usually processing shots like this involves reloading color profiles in Lightroom (for me it’s usually Provia), then applying some VSCO on top of that. Well actually you have to apply the filter first, then use the color profile because VSCO filters will wipe out any settings you already had.

So I know this seems weird to have two different film simulators going at the same time, and sometimes it is, but it often times works and can help produce deep, rich colors. 

Typically I use Porta with Fujifilms Provia. That’s mostly the look you see here and sometimes I’ll just work with Provia, or Classic Chrome without using any other filters.

A lot of times using a simulator like Kodak Gold or Forta is too much and I’ll then turn off the Fujifilm profile, or tweak the colors or adjust the contrast back to normal by hand

I then export the shots into a folder that syncs with Dropbox. I export by date sorting by year like this “2017_09_18_Juneau,” so all my exports are easy to find. Then I’ve been doing this new thing where I have an automator that automatically compressed all my photos to a max width of 3,000 with a lossy compression that I upload to WordPress and the full quality version I upload to Smugmug. This keeps my CDN from over charging me and keeps my site fast.

I’ll share more on this whole process later, is fairly important for those who want to start a photo blog. 

 

 

More About The Gear

Fujifilm X-T2 Review / X-T2 Vertical Battery Grip Review

Fujifilm 35mm f2 Review / Fujifilm 23mm f1.4