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Photos: A Southern Illinoisan photo editor in London

Victoria Street, London.

There are definite advantages to being a professional photojournalist. I have had a front row seat to many amazing and important events, stories and experiences over the years, but there are disadvantages as well. 

Unlike other professions, when I go on vacation I can’t totally escape my vocation — while I am able to switch off “work mode,” I have a terrible time turning off “photographer mode.” I can’t seem to just enjoy being somewhere. I still want to capture interesting images of these places and not just grab snapshots.

I have tried just shooting mindless photos, but at the end of the day I would look at what I had shot and be frustrated that I didn’t make better images. So I guess it’s actually less stressful for me to stay in photographer mode.

I used to take quite a bit of my camera gear with me when I traveled and that did seem like work. I would take at least one camera body and at least two lenses—a wide angle zoom and a telephoto zoom. Not only did the weight of the gear start to add up, but so did my stress level as I worried about the prospect of being targeted by thieves.

A year ago I picked up a Fuji X100s, a digital camera that looks a lot like the old-style rangefinder cameras, such as a Leica. It captures beautiful image files with its fixed 23mm lens and is small, light and inconspicuous—I really look like any other tourist with it. Using this camera along with my iPhone really helps me blend in and reduce my weight load.

Granted, some of the photos I took were just snapshots to remember a place or a scene. But more often than not, I put a little more effort into making a much more memorable image. I often took the time to take a step back, change my perspective and tried to look beyond the obvious — which is not much different from what I try to do here at The Southern.

Enjoy a few of my favorite images from my trip.



Photo editor

Byron Hetzler is the photo editor for The Southern Illinoisan.

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