Intro by Chamira Young
Today we bring you beautiful work of Memphis-based photographer and foodie Michael Butler. Last year he had the chance to travel to the Virgin Islands on assignment for a client. Not only did he work hard, but he played hard as well. He had extra time to see the sights, explore the area, and create some amazing images for himself. In the post below, we love how he emphasizes the element of play and fun as he experimented with a couple of new Tamron lenses while out in the field. Photography is an adventure, and it's clear Michael is enjoying every moment of it.
Read the post excerpt below, as well as a sample of the images he took. Also, be sure to check out the specific lenses Michael used while on the trip: the 28-75mm F/2.8 and 17-28mm F/2.8 lenses, featured below!
Destination: St. Croix
By Jenn Gidman
Images by Michael Butler
Michael Butler was born and raised in Memphis, where he still proudly lives, and for years he frequented local restaurants and posted smartphone photos of his visits on Facebook. His writing background spurred him to start his own blog, where he could post his pictures and write about his experiences, but he started noticing other blogs had better photos than he did.
“I reached out to a photographer to ask for some tips, and he wanted to charge me $2,000 a month to mentor me,” Michael says. “When I mentioned that to my dad, he said, ‘Well, let’s just get you a real camera and have you figure it out yourself.” I’m an engineer and tinkerer by trade, so he thought I’d be up to the task. I dove into photography, and as my photos got better, my blog blew up from there.”
That blog no longer exists, as Michael is now in a transitional stage that’s moving his focus to filming, but he still takes plenty of pictures in Memphis, where he writes and takes photos for Edible Memphis magazine. He’s also started venturing outside the city limits and trying his hand at destination photography, most recently on a trip to St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, where he stayed for a week in November. “Expedia sent me down there to shoot two hotels,” he says. “I worked for about four hours a day for Expedia, then had the rest of the time to myself to explore.”
Along for the ride: Michael’s Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 RXD and 17-28mm F/2.8 RXD lenses for his Sony full-frame mirrorless camera. “If I could have just one lens with me at any given time, it would be the 28-75,” he says. “It’s light and gives me all of the focal lengths I need for destination photography. It’s also perfect to place on a gimbal if I’m shooting video. I was formerly a prime lens shooter only and was wary of using zooms, but this lens is so sharp that it totally won me over. As for the 17-28, I got my hands on that lens just a week before my St. Croix trip, so I wanted to play with it as much as possible, especially for photos where I wanted to go a little wider. I love shooting at 24mm, so this lens hits the sweet spot for me.”
Whether he’s staying local in Memphis or traveling abroad, Michael wants his viewers to feel like they’re right there with him. “I want to immerse them in the scene, make them feel like they’re part of the adventure with me,” he says. “If I can draw out some emotion, or make you feel like you’re practically smelling or tasting a local dish, then I’ve done my job.”
Read the full post on Michael’s trip to St. Croix here.
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