Welcome to the Third Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our sixth interview in Series Three is with Brisbane based photographer, Harrison Candlin.
Harrison, your travel, adventure and landscape photography is spectacular. Why do you think you were drawn to photography and how will it impact your future career?
I think the reason I became so fond of photography is because of my father. I would like to say I followed in his footsteps. As a retired professional landscape and wildlife photographer, he always inspired me by his landscape imagery and how a person could capture and convey a scene with a camera. The ability to document the world around us; specifically, the natural world, opened my eyes to the possibilities of photography and how it could lead me to places and see things a bit differently to everyone else. As a travel, adventure and landscape photographer, I attempt to capture the true surroundings and emotional feelings of a scene. To me, that’s something that cannot be replaced, and this is how my style has evolved. Travelling around Australia and Europe has broadened my horizons immensely. Only four years ago I hadn’t travelled anywhere. I think the more of the world I get to see, the more landscape I can walk, and the more culture I experience, the deeper my perspective of the world will become. I’ll be a graduate Industrial Designer in a month, so having knowledge of the world is fundamental for design.
You mentioned on social media you used the Fujifilm X-E2S and Fujifilm X-Pro1. Can you provide some insight into why you choose a rangefinder over a Digital SLR?
They are both excellent cameras that have performed exceptionally well. Having previously owned DSLR’s, I never felt overly comfortable with using them and just never felt at home. The Fujifilm system is incredibly discreet and compact, and the light weight factor was a major selling point. The unique conservative design was different to the regular camera shape, and that caught my attention dramatically. Back in 2013 when I saw Fujifilm release the interchangeable lens system of the X-Pro1, I was captivated by its size, retro style, and image quality. Since then, Fujifilm and mirrorless cameras in general, have taken a huge leap forward in competition with DSLR’s. I think the major reason for wanting to own a rangefinder is its direct correlation to its old film predecessors. It makes me feel connected to photography, not just part of it.
Based on your experience, how would you describe Fujifilm’s quality when talking about image quality and the design of X Series cameras?
The image quality is superb. The colour rendition is phenomenal, and editing capability in the RAW files is outstanding for an APS-C sensor. Regarding design, Fujifilm to me has led the way in beautiful classic, refined cameras. The materials are solid, well-constructed and I feel the sense of true craftsmanship and dedication when using them.
Do you have a favourite location to photograph? How did you stumble upon it?
For me when I photograph in nature, I pursue the feeling of reflection and the escape that comes with it. The disconnect from the modern world when entering the natural, untampered world is a feeling I will always chase. Mount Barney National Park in the Gold Coast area and lately the New England National Park in the Northern NSW Tablelands has become a favourite place of mine. These places are relatively close to home and leave me with a greater sense of appreciation every time I go. I’m drawn to wild places where I can enjoy the surreal feeling of standing high on a mountain overlooking valleys, gorges, and lush rainforest. I’m very lucky to have such raw beauty and rugged mountains so close to home. I find most of my locations from word of mouth, books or Instagram.
How do you find the natural environment impacts your photography?
I’m lured by light and moved by the characteristic of the changing landscape. I feel a sense of security and embeddedness in the natural environment while I’m hiking and climbing, alone or with friends. It brings me to life. I feel freedom in the wild and can truly slowdown from the fast paced world. This is the basis for my photography. Enjoying the moment and slowing down, capturing what I can and leaving with a sense of accomplishment whether or not I took a great shot.
If you have some advice for someone starting out in photography, what would it be?
Just pick up a camera and have a go. A lot of learning comes from mistakes I have realised. Dedication is something you will need to develop over time. It’s a fundamental key in developing your style, your photography quality and most importantly, being there to capture it. I have driven numerous six-hour drives to the same places just to get the shot I want, only to find out I couldn’t get it. However, if you’re dedicated enough, you’ll always want to go back and pursue it. The beauty of photography though is you might not always get your intended shot, but something else will always pop up. To be honest, most of my work has happened this way. Capture it, work the scene, change your angles, get down low or up high and fire away. Improvise and be spontaneous.
Lenses obviously play an important part of overall quality, so with this in mind what lenses do you prefer to use and why?
In my field, the classic 24-70mm range out performs any other lens in versatility, and with that in mind, I use the Fujinon XF16-55mm (equivalent in 35mm). This lens is fantastic; weather sealed, durable, and exceptionally fast and well performing. In the travel, adventure, and landscape field, I always have a need to go wide and to go tight depending on the scene and landscape. Therefore, this lens covers the focal lengths I use most often while keeping a constant F2.8 aperture which is imperative for low light and shallow depth of field. Before I bought my Fujinon XF16-55mm, the majority of my landscape shots were shot on the Fujinon XC50-230mm. This lens is versatile because of its mid-telephoto to long telephoto length. It’s a great, light weight and cost effective lens that has served me for three years now, allowing me to take some of my best work in over five countries.
An expensive and fast lens doesn’t always make your photos any better. For city traveling purposes, I tend to use my Fujinon XF18mm, because of its small form factor, great width, and fast aperture. These are my go to lenses that cover nearly all of my photography and give the versatility to work scenes and make something brilliant. I have recently bought the Fujinon XF55-200mm.
What does traveling to new places mean to you and do you partake in any location research before you go?
I research a lot before I go anywhere, more so the access, facilities, and tracks instead of the photos. I like to be open minded when visiting new places so my images don’t sub consciously conform around other photographer’s work that I’ve seen.
Previous interviews from Series Three of Through a Photographer’s Eye: