The shortest and often coldest month of the year thankfully provides great conditions for hitting the slopes on some skis or a snowboard. Just like in December and January, I skied about as much as possible throughout February to hone my skills in and to get my last tastes of the beautiful Japanese mountains before I transfer back the States. In fact, I can confidently say this past month was the one where I crossed the threshold into running as an advanced skier! Okay, okay, so I still fall every now and then in deep powder, and I often have to make slow descents on walls for my own safety, but I find myself going down and enjoying expert courses (successfully!) more than intermediate runs. A win in my book, for sure. What also set February apart from the past couple months, however, was that I brought my a6500 along in my coat pocket for every trip to get much cleaner photos than my iPhone could manage.
The resort Alts Bandai gave some particularly clear views on the second day of skiing, with decent powder still left over for tree runs all day!
As of writing this post, I only have two more ski trips on the books before I ship out of Japan. In the spirit of finishing the season off strong, though, I won’t be bringing my camera along. The first trip looks to be just a small resort at Urabandai Nekoma, and the second is a return trip to the wonderful Zao Onsen Resort I stayed at last year. It will be nice to be able to ski a few more times without worrying about breaking my camera every time I fall!
In other camera news, CP+ is fast approaching this weekend. I would normally love to cover the event just as I did at the 2017 show, but I ship out all of my stuff in the next couple days! To avoid packing a bunch of extra lenses/cameras/microphones on the plane ride back to the States, I’ll just experience the show as a “normal” person when I can manage to go (are photographers even considered “normal” people though?).
With CP+ 2018, there are a slew of announcements going on from all manufacturers, big and small. My favorite off-brand Venus Optics introduced an APS-c version of the great 15mm f/2 Zero-D, a new 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D. If the price is right, I may pick one up for testing purposes (at the very least!). Of note from Sony, just yesterday they formally unveiled the high-specced A7 Mark III. To be honest, I am surprised at the amount of features they cannibalized from their much more expensive A7r Mark III and flagship A9, all at a reasonable price of $2,000. In-body image stabilization, 10 fps, larger battery, 4K video, sensor-wide PDAF points? Tempting. So tempting, in fact, that I will be placing a pre-order or two when it goes live today. I have tried the ergonomics of the A7 series enough to know that–while they’re no rangefinder NEX body–they aren’t terrible in the hand. Assuming a batch of A7 Mk III’s are at CP+ this year and I can have a few minutes with one, I may finally make that full-frame jump I have been putting off for years.
But I still will grumble at the lack of a FF a9000 with Tri-Navi. One day, Sony…one day…
That’s all for this monthly update, guys and gals, thanks for dropping by! It may be quite a while before I can get behind a camera again (or more importantly, a personal computer!), so March’s site update may be pretty sparse, or not come at all. It all depends on when my stuff arrives in the States after shipping it out. I’ll need to focus on getting settled into a new place and work environment, however, so I’ll still have plenty to do. Until then, happy shooting and as always, have a great day!