Personal & Travel

New Chapter, New Country

Four-month-old Moby Hjelm helps Beth Trujillo lay out A1 on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, on his mother's last day the Albuquerque Journal.

Four-month-old Moby Hjelm helps Beth Trujillo lay out A1 on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, on his mother's last day the Albuquerque Journal.

This post is a bit overdue I'll admit it. Back in January of this year I had my last day in the newsroom of the Albuquerque Journal. A newsroom that had come to feel like a second home. Journalists, we're funny people. We know our city or our beat all too well, way better than our non-journalist friends. We become a second family when we spend such odd hours with our coworkers, sometimes on last minute road trips, sometimes just filing and editing late into the night racing to the final deadline. We eat (free) pizza on election nights together as the results come in. We celebrate when our coworkers have family milestones: marriages, births, and graduations. And also support each other when harder times hit. I was only supposed to be in Albuquerque for six months. SIX MONTHS. I arrived in the summer of 2007 and almost immediately started counting down. Not that I didn't love it. I did. However, I was in my "intern" part of life and expected to move on to another internship in six months and thus wanted to make the most of my short time there as most interns do. I had a blast. I took every opportunity that came my way. I climbed a crazy peak, flew in a hot air balloon, drove all over the state whenever asked, and tried my hardest to make some cool photos.

I ended up staying nine and half years. The Land of Enchantment really was the Land of Entrapment. I became a staff photographer, then the assistant photo editor, and then the photo editor. A lot changed in that window of time as well. A newspaper that was so focused on the print product, finally started paying attention to the web. (I feel like I can say this as a GenY-er who saw the writing on the wall from the day I walked in the door.) And with the push to web, the photo department had a chance like never before to be seen.

But, I've gotten off track...

About the same time as my maternity leave was starting with my son, my husband was offered a post-doc at the University of Montreal. So it was finally time to say goodbye to my Journal family and start a new chapter in Canada. So on a bittersweet Friday afternoon, I brought my 4-month-old son to work with me and said my goodbyes to the people and building that had welcomed me nine and a half years earlier. It's been a few months now, and I still miss the journalism adrenaline rush, but mostly I miss my co-workers and comrades who made the daily battles worth it.

So, here I am, now in Montreal, missing New Mexico a little, but also enjoying this new wonderful city. If anyone needs a photographer, or a journalist, I'd still very much love to tell your story.

Why I'm a Fujifilm fangirl

IMG_3907aaa
IMG_3907aaa

Disclaimer: This is a post that is at least a year overdue.

The last camera to have the privilege of me hauling it around everywhere I went was my Canon 5DmkII, with my 50mm attached when I wasn't on assignment. This all changed almost two years ago. My co-worker and staff photojournalist at the Albuquerque Journal Roberto Rosales had purchased the Fuji X-Pro1, I borrowed it and then couldn't get it out of my mind.

It was like the first time I held my medium format Yashica 635 and knew that camera was going to be attached to me for a long time. However, with that love affair I was dealing with film. Which I love. But didn't have the time and energy to keep up with the developing and scanning. I still have undeveloped rolls from it in my desk, more on that another time. But that camera went with me everywhere at the time. I hauled it around on many of my assignments for the paper and snapped one frame every once in a while. It was magical. It made me stop, plan, and focus.

This Fuji was in that playing field. The realm of "magical" cameras. I don't believe a camera can make you a better photographer, oh no, but sometimes when you hold a camera you realize it has the potential to be a bigger part of your life than just a small piece of (often expensive) equipment. I jumped in and bought the Fuji X-E1 with a 35mm lens, right before hitting the road for the summer in 2013. I also packed my Canon 5DmkII, not yet convinced I would be completely devoted to using the Fuji. I used my Canon twice on that road trip. Once for long night exposures and once because I needed a wide angle lens. Other than that, the Canon was buried way in the back of the car under camp equipment and my new Fuji was glued to my hand.

Maybe it was just the thrill of a new camera you say? Almost two years later I've since upgraded to the Fuji X-E2 and added two other Fujifilm x-mount lenses to my bag. It's still glued to my hand. Sure there are some small limitations and I do occasionally still drag out my Canon 5DmkII, but my Fuji is always with me. The color profiles, the size, the un-intruding nature of it, the built-in wifi, and the quality of the images SOOC are all amazing. I could gush more, but there are more technical reviews for that. When I shoot an assignment or an event with both my Fuji X-E2 and my Canon 5DmkII, the Fuji wins every time in my book. The Canon has been retired to the huge camera backpack I leave at home. I only use my Canon for shooting dance events, and even in that case I'm starting to use it less and less and trying to rely solely on the Fuji. The Fuji's auto-focus system has improved leaps and bounds in the past two years, but for fast action it's still not quite perfect. I hear word the Fuji X-T1 can keep up in fast action situations, so I have high hopes for future software and camera upgrades.

Updated 4/15/15 : I realize I completely forgot to mention one of my other top reasons for loving Fujifilm. The amount of firmware updates for the cameras and lens are astonishing. Unlike Canon and Nikon, both which I've shot with extensively, Fuji releases updates more often with great new features and bug fixes. So even if you've had your camera for over a year and they are releasing a new camera with new features, often (not always) those features will be available to your older camera as well through a firmware update!

For last summer's travels I only used my Fuji X-E2 and I couldn't have been happier. I drove out to California with my fiancé and then had many short weekend trips to California to visit him throughout the summer. When traveling so much, the Fuji didn't weigh me down. And I didn't feel limited. By then I had added the 18mm to my bag and could get the wide angle shots that I had wanted my Canon for the year before. Not that I really needed the 18mm by the way, one can always walk backwards to get a wider shot, unless there's a cliff behind you.

The camera doesn't make or break photography for me, as I'm sure another camera will come along and makes me just as happy. Practically speaking, it has also helped me eliminate the back pain I was having from carrying my DSLRs everywhere, so there's that too. In the end, a camera is a tool and this tool is a great match for me.

Photos from summer 2014 travels.

Zion National Park
Zion National Park
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
Zion National Park Yosemite National Park
Zion National Park Yosemite National Park
Las Vegas
Las Vegas
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DSCF5949aa
Montano de Oro State Park
Montano de Oro State Park