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Wandering Windsor with the Fujifilm XT4 & 27mm Pancake Lens ~ A Photo Essay

Inspired by the first blush of spring, we packed up the car and drove three hours from where we live in south Wales to the riverside town of Windsor.

We were visiting outside of the peak tourist months, yet still couldn’t get into a single restaurant due to it also being Mother’s Day weekend. But it was mild and more or less dry, so we were happy strolling the streets and getting lost in Windsor Castle.

In a strange turn of events, we ended up staying in a four-bedroom house on the River Thames, views of Windsor Castle from the balcony. A little glimpse of what a more urban family life might look like for us. We liked it very much.

Did you know that there are non-blue blood people who live within the grounds of the castle?

We saw them pottering about in their gardens and carting shopping bags into their houses. These are the official Military Knights of the Garter, or “26 ‘Poor Knights’, mirroring the 26 Garter Knights, were given accommodation in the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle in exchange for daily prayer in St George’s Chapel for, and on behalf of, the Monarch and the Garter Knights.”

In other words: these are honorary heads of the military who have been gifted accommodation in return for their dedication. All they have to do is visit St George’s Chapel to pray for the king.

Not a bad gig if you can get it. Apparently, once all the tourists are kicked out of Windsor at 5.30pm each day, they have the place to themselves. Can you imgine?

Windsor Travel Photography - Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com23

Camera Gear Talk

It was a week or so after the launch of the new Fujifilm X100VI, a camera I must confess I would love to get my hands on. But being the minimalist/tightwad I am, I took my trusty Fujifilm XT4 fitted with the “old” 27mm 2.8 pancake lens. It’s a small setup – perhaps not as tiny as the X100 series cameras – and fitted snuggly in my jacket pocket. I shot jpeg only and lightly/quickly edited them on my phone.

Resisting the X100IV: Interestingly, in my search for other relevant content to link to from this post, I found this video (also shared below) which I published at exactly this time last year. In the description I wrote about how the “new” Fujifilm X100V had just come out, and how I was resisting the temptation to buy it. It’s funny, it goes to show that you don’t really need the latest and greatest camera model. I mean, ok, so maybe these photos from our recent Windsor trip would have been marginally better, but so what? The photos I took are more than good enough to share here on my blog, or on social media. And if I wanted to print them, I definitely could.

Ultimately, this was a family trip not a photo trip, but it gave me a sense of satisfaction to know that my XT4 was there, ready to whip out and snap away as the mood took me. Which it did.

More and more, travelling has become about seeking shared experiences with my family, with my son. And photography has taken a major back seat. Contradicting myself here, but I’d say photography has a greater value to me now, as a father, and I truly see it is a means to stop time and capture the memories that seem so hard to hold onto in my head and heart.

My son, a little over two now, is growing so quickly and it’s difficult to keep up with his progress. Hitting the shutter button on my camera helps to slow things down, and I have yet to take a picture that I haven’t been glad to have just a few months later, as the memory has begun to fade or be taken over by all the new developments that come with each day.

What changes in your life have changed the way you think of photography and its role within your life? Are you satisfied with “old” gear, or are you constantly “upgrading” the latest and greatest? 

Let me know in the comments below.

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