Tegucigalpa

My first visit to Honduras. I didn't experience anything particularly exciting on my trip to Miami, where I had to spend the night before the morning flight to Tegucigalpa. 

I was advised to get a good window seat, as there would be some potentially good photo opportunities on the short flight down. Sadly, the flight started with a fairly long delay, resulting in us waiting on the tarmac for quite a while.....

The views soon changed from the beautiful ocean colours, to the mountainous rural mainland of Honduras itself......

Shortly after being told I had a trip to Honduras coming up, the conversation soon changed to how 'interesting' the landing at the airport can be. A quick google of 'most dangerous airports in the world' will reveal that this airport regularly appears in the top 10! The first time I saw the runway (not long before taking the photo below), you immediately see how short it is, and.....how shall we say......'not-flat' the approach is! 

Safely on the ground.......

After work, we were taken to a small village in the mountains nearby - Valle de Ángeles. 

X-T2

If I'm honest, I've done well putting off the inevitable upgrade from my trusty X-T1. It's a truly fantastic camera, and I've had no regrets trading in all my Nikon gear to make the Fuji switch. I don't have the most extensive Fuji lens collection, but each has a specific purpose. Lately, switching from lens to lens has become a real hassle, and I've had many instances on my travels where a second body would have been really handy. So why not kill two birds with one stone?! Upgrade, and keep my X-T1 as a backup body when needed. 

I'm not going to to a complete review, there are hundreds of those online already. But these are just my observations, having used the X-T1 for a few years. 

Within the first few minutes of playing about with the X-T2, and needlessly fiddling with various controls in excitement, there are some big noticeable improvements over it's predecessor. Some are only minor ergonomic changes, but they are sure to make a big difference using the camera everyday. For instance, the exposure compensation dial requires more force to rotate. This is great news for me, as I've lost count how many times I've taken the X-T1 from my bag, and found the dial has moved on its own! Even the up/down, left/right navigation buttons are raised further, so there's a more positive click with each press. Even the side covers take a lot more force to open. I was initially struggling to open them at all initially, probably because the body was so new, but gone are the days when you might accidentally open the covers when you don't need to. 

The 'joystick' is a great addition. Moving the AF points in the X-T1 was a real pain, having to open the option, then move them, then confirm. Now you can just move the points with the joystick anytime. No need to jump in and out of menus. 

Another fantastic hardware change is the even more flexible rear screen. Being able to tilt in the additional axis is a BIG deal for me. As sad as it sounds, I'm always excited to try out some cliched puddle reflection shots, and doing this in portrait was a real pain, unless you wanted to get wet! Thank you Fuji for adding this!!

One change I'm not so keen on is the shutter speed dial. Previously it would lock into place on the automatic setting, meaning I could have it set to 1/60th for example, and without looking at the camera, rotate the dial until it locks, knowing then it would be back to A. Not anymore. On the X-T2 the dial just spins, and only locks when you press the centre button in (you unlock it by depressing the centre button again). I'm sure I'll get used to this, but I miss the 'lock to automatic' option. 

There are some great software changes too. The menus have been rearranged a little, not that they were a problem at all for me on the X-T1. Again, small changes that make everyday shooting even more hassle free. There are now three auto ISO control options, so I can have one set up for my standard 'everyday' shooting. One for shooting in poor light (or handheld at night), and one for.....well I haven't figured that out yet, but it's nice to have a spare! Changing between them takes a second or so, when allocated to a shortcut button. 

The metering dial mode is still awkward to use, and now there's an additional mode (good news), I find it harder to switch from the spot metering mode, as the latch you use to rotate the dial is closer to the camera body itself. Again, I'm sure I'll get used to this as I use it more and more. 

Finally, one feature I really missed when I moved from the X100T to the X-T1 was in camera charging. Mirror-less cameras in general aren't renowned for their amazing battery life, although I can comfortably get through a day with one battery in most situations. But the ability to connect a mobile phone charger to the camera during lunch, or any down time was incredibly useful. I'm glad Fuji brought this feature back to the X-T2. 

If you're an X-T1 user, the decision to upgrade to the X-T2 can be tricky.....but so far I've had no regrets!

Golden Hour at 244m

Back in September last year, I went down to London to experience the Open House event for the first time. Essentially, this free to attend event exhibits some of London's finest and most elusive buildings, with the chance to enter quite a few buildings that are otherwise strictly off limits to the public.

Although not part of the Open House event, one building I had yet to visit was the Shard. London's tallest and most striking new building. I always seem a bit unlucky with the weather whenever I plan to go to any tall building with amazing views, but one evening the forecast was looking promising so we decided to head over.

The top is split into two floors, the lower of the two being 'indoors' - as obvious as that may sound! The second floor however allows you to feel almost outside, as there is no roof as such, just the external structure of the building. So if you ever plan to visit in the colder months, as we did, make sure you dress for cold and windy weather!

Luckily for us it wasn't too busy, so we spent a good couple of hours chilling out at the top, waiting for the sunset - with probably the best view in London......

Mauritius

Anyone who follows my blog or instagram will see I get to travel to some interesting places for work. Some are places you'd only really go for work, and others are more holiday destinations.....I think I can safely categorise this as the latter! The only downside to this trip was that it was so brief.....only two days. By arriving on a Sunday afternoon, and leaving Tuesday night, I only had two opportunities for some free time to put my newly acquired Fuji X-T2 through its paces.

Despite being "Winter" during my visit, it was still very warm with lots of sunshine....something we're lucky to get in Summer back in the UK! I was staying at a nice hotel in the Flic en Flac region, a beautiful long beach on the west side of the island. I must admit this wasn't my first trip to Mauritius, having previously visited there for work almost five years ago. Then, I was staying in the same area, but much further down the beach. Sunday afternoon and evening was purely spent walking all the way down the beach and back. 

On Monday morning I had a brief moment to take some photos before being picked up for work.....

I was back at the hotel just in time to catch the sunset.....

On the Tuesday morning, I had one more chance to quickly walk around the hotel area before being picked up. A brief rain shower had passed, leaving some more dramatic clouds......

....and I had one more crack at nailing that pool side reflection shot. I think this one turned out a lot better! The vertical tilting screen on the X-T2 came in really handy here, as I needed to position the camera as close to the water as possible. I would have really struggled to keep the horizon straight in this five photo panorama with the X-T1.

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After work, it was straight to the airport for my flight back home. Of course it would have been great to stay for longer, but this has given me another taste of Mauritius, and more temptation to return for a holiday one day to see everything this country has to offer.