We caught up with photographer Stephen Vincent-Grace this month to learn more about how to capture the beauty of the world, and find out what inspires him to continue to pursue photography as a hobby.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?
My name is Stephen Vincent-Grace, although everyone knows me as SVG. I am originally from Adelaide but have lived in Italy, England and the U.S.A. and have now settled in Melbourne, where I am product manager for a creative online marketplace. Besides photography, I am a crazy soccer fan and love to travel with 37 countries ticked off my bucket list.
How did you develop an interest in photography using Fujifilm equipment?
My interest in Fujifilm developed when I was on a trip to New York a few years back. I had my DSLR gear and over a three-week period took it out twice due to the pain of carrying it around everywhere. Subsequently after that trip I didn’t take a photo for over a year. I knew then it was time to sell the DSLR and look for something else. The X-Pro2 had just come out and I needed a camera. I instantly fell in love with the rangefinder look and manual dials of the brand. I read reviews and I was sold on Fujifilm and have been in love with it ever since.
Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF16mmF1.4 R WR – 1.3 seconds – F5 – ISO 200
How would you describe your photography style and strategy?
Interesting question. I would say my style is still evolving; at the moment it’s about big iconic landscapes and cityscapes with lots of colours but I am also exploring something different from this. I am working on something surrounding the ACROS film simulation with not a landscape in sight. In regards to my strategy, so far it is to research places that inspire me and then plan to see them and share my take on them.
What inspires your photography?
I get inspired by the the Fujifilm X community, from official X photographers such as Elia Locardi and Jonas Rask (who are my idols) to fellow Fujifilm X enthusiasts. I see what they can create and it inspires me to know that we are all using the same tools and that I can hopefully create beautiful photos like everyone else. It’s nice to know there is a community out there that is passionate and positive.
Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 20 seconds – F10 – ISO 100
Where are your favourite places to take photos and do you prefer a certain type of light for photography?
I just love diverse and beautiful landscapes, so it has to be Iceland and New Zealand. They are a photographer’s paradise and they are small enough you can see so many different sites in a short period of time. If I am not wanting a landscape, then for the amazing skyline or cool street photos, it has to be New York City. For me, when it comes to light, it’s the tried-and-tested formula of sunrise and sunset. Sunrise is amazing as it’s hard to do, as you have to get up so early but that is why it is so rewarding because you get lovely, soft light and there are usually not many people around. I think the blue hour is magical too, especially at sunset.
Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1 second – F11 – ISO 100
What is your favourite memory from a photography session?
My favourite memory is going to Aldeyjarfoss, Iceland. I went to Iceland for five days and hired a tiny campervan and tried to get a few shots in a small amount of time. The magic of Aldeyjarfoss was that I had to drive to a spot in the middle of nowhere, sleep the night at the bottom of a path that could only be accessed via four-wheel drive or on foot. The next morning I got up at 4am, walked 45 minutes with no maps, hoping I was going the right way. When I got there, it was so magical that I got emotional because of how beautiful it was and the adventure of getting there.
Can you tell us what’s your favourite Fujifilm camera and why?
My favourite camera is the one I own, the Fujifilm X-Pro2. I just love the look and feel of the camera. It can be used as a general purpose camera for travel and landscape or it can be the iconic rangefinder street camera. I probably shouldn’t admit this but it sits on my desk at home and sometimes I just look at it and admire the aesthetic of the camera or just pick it up for no reason.
Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer to use with your Fujifilm X-Pro2 and why?
My current lens lineup starts with the XF35mmF2, which I use for general walk-around, weddings for friends and family and sometimes for landscapes if my XF10-24mmF4 is too wide. The next is the XF10-24mmF4, which I purely use for landscapes and cityscapes. I absolutely love this lens, although it would be even more amazing if it had weather sealing. The last lens I own is XF56mmF1.2, which I use for portraits and weddings for friends. I intend on getting the XF55-200mm as I need a telephoto for that extra reach on some of my travel adventures. I have also just seen the newly announced XF8-16mmF2.8 WR; if it lives up to expectations and isn’t crazy big then I might have to add that, too!
Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 25 seconds – F9 – ISO 100
What sort of workflow do you use in your photography? Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?
I shoot mostly RAW, I import the photos, just copying them over to my computer then use Photo Mechanic for the cull process. I then use Adobe LR and Nik Collection and a touch of Photoshop for sharpening and corrections if needed. I have just become a Capture One Beta tester, so I want to teach myself how to use this software as I have heard it handles the X-Trans raws a lot better than Adobe. I do use JPEG when I shoot in ACROS as I have read the JPEGs are tied so closely to the processor that there is a slight difference when coming straight out of camera.
Do you have any technical tips you’d like to share? Perhaps suggestions on the best lighting, shutter speed, white balance, aperture, ISO, etc.? Other preferences?
I don’t think I have specific tips as I feel settings really depend on the lighting conditions you are in or what style of photography you are doing. However, my general tips would be first and foremost read the manual of your camera inside out. I actually bought a tip book for the Fujifilm X-Pro2, which explained in detail some of the functions that helped me get the most of my camera and understand some of the settings and how to best set them. I also follow so many blogs and photography Twitter feeds and always find something new I didn’t know. Finally, just keep practicing and use the camera as much as you can.
Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 9 seconds – F10 – ISO 250
Do you have advice for new photographers or the next potential X-Thusiast?
Enjoy your Fuji camera, go out and shoot and love the photography journey you are on. It’s a journey that never has to end and can go anywhere you want to take it.
Are you interested in becoming our next featured X-Thusiast photographer? Check out our full X-Thusiast Gallery and submission details.