I was a graphic designer and an art director in advertising for many years.
I hold a BFA in fine art. Photography is my passion.
Photography is an art form in that you are able to create or captures images that are uniquely your own vision. But first, you have to have the right equipment that is perfect for what you envision.
I used to shoot with an iPhone camera until I saw the color quality in the images shot with Fujifilm cameras. I knew I had to switch in order to achieve the subtle tones, colors, textures and depth that would enrich my images.
I had been considering several cameras. When a friend showed me his Fujifilm XT100, I knew this was it.
I have been shooting with Fujifilm cameras for over a year. I started with a borrowed X100T and now I shoot with an X-T1. It is the perfect camera for me, just the right size and surface texture, not too heavy, great retro look, and it fits perfectly in my hands. It’s fun to shoot with. It didn’t take me long to learn the basics but there are endless possibilities with this camera. It has given me exactly what I was looking for in a camera.
One of the handy features I love about X-T1 is that I can transfer pictures directly, via WI-FI, from the camera to my iPhone. This is perfect for Instagram users.
Flatlay, or tabletop photography, is different from landscapes or portraits in that you are creating your own subject to shoot rather than shooting what is already there. It provides a totally different experience, creative control and it shows in the resulting images. This process has been deeply meditative for me. I work alone, without a crew, as I used to as an art director.
Shooting flatlay gives us total control over the subject and allows us to be creative in our own unique way. You can use any material you find interesting. I work mostly with found or foraged props from nature that we all see every day and are readily available all around us. I don’t purchase props for shooting.
Light is everything in photography. I almost always set up my shots near a big window in my house. My typical background is a piece of plywood painted black on one side and white on the other or foam core boards in black or white. A very simple set up. I use a tripod whenever necessary.
When I travel, I shoot on what is readily available: sandy beaches, beautiful rock, etc.
The lighting is the most important component of photography. I don’t use artificial lighting. I’ve tried them but it doesn’t have the depth and subtle variations that natural light offers. I love the shadows that appear with natural light. Shadows give depth and dimension to images.
This is a simple grid with various stages of fresh to wilting late summer blooms. I frequently save and reuse props as they dry, mixing them with other things to make new and different images. Nothing is wasted and ultimately all goes to compost.
Often they are more beautiful when they dry, so be playful and experiment.
My subjects are almost always found or foraged. The process of collecting, imagining how they might look together in my mind is part of my creative process. Ultimately, they do need to be selected and arranged in your own creative way that makes the picture beautiful and compelling.
Cultivate Your Own Style
These varieties of wild sunflowers bloom everywhere in the Southwest in late summer. All of them are collected from the sides of the road and arranged while still fresh in a very simple vertical design. I use reusable plastic containers to keep them fresh until I get home. Shot on silver PMS paper.
Most of my pictures are shot with the XF35mmF1.4 R lens, a great everyday lens. I shoot with other lenses but I love the honesty and zero distortion of this lens.
I love shooting with wide angle lenses XF16mmF1.4 R WR or XF18mmF2 R when I am out shooting landscapes. I also shoot with the XF60mmF2.4 R Macro when I want to play with close ups or create different affects.
More recently, I’ve began shooting with the X-T2 and look forward to the types of images I can create with this beautiful camera.
Discover more of these images created with FUJIFILM X Series in my instagram feed!
At the beginning of December, I was on my way to California for a part-work, part-fun gig in SoCal. Being that this was only my 2nd trip to California and my first to the coast, I wanted to take everything that I thought I might need. One of the perks of the FUJIFILM X Series system is that I’m able to bring a lot of gear without having to worry about my bag being too heavy, on account of everything being so small and light compared to a DSLR system.Gear List:
FUJIFILM XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
FUJIFILM XF16mmF1.4 R WR
FUJIFILM XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
FUJIFILM XF35mmF1.4 R
FUJIFILM XF56mmF1.2 R
FUJIFILM XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
FUJIFILM XF1.4x TC & XF2.0x TC
Formatt-HItech Firecrest Holder
Formatt-HItech Firecrest 10-stop ND & 3-stop ND Grad
13” Macbook Pro
1TB SSD Hard Drive
Anker PowerCore 20000
The Camps Bay ONA Camera Bag in Smoke
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with shooting out of airplane windows. I’ve taken some beautiful shots, and some terrible ones, but regardless I always give it a shot and hope for the right combination of clouds and terrain to come away with something cool. For the first time in the sky I gave the X-T2 with XF50-140mm and XF1.4X Teleconverter a shot and it ended up being really awesome. Typically I have always tried shooting wide and always seemed to get the wing of the plane, reflections, or window scratches that made my shots unusable. But zooming in that far, and having the crazy good image stabilization of the 50-140 gave me some spectacular results.When I finally landed in San Diego, I only had a few hours to get checked into my hotel and find a good spot to shoot the sunset before I had to shoot the event I was in town for. I grabbed my ONA bag and ran out the door to see what I could find. I just made my way toward the west-facing beach of Coronado. This was my first “true” California coastal sunset, and it was a colorful cloudless sky. I took a few shots but mostly just took it in and enjoyed the moment.Day 2 started when a friend picked me up and we drove out to Anza Borrego. It was an unbelievable experience for this midwestern boy; in just 2 hours, we went from beautiful rolling hills and coastline to mountainous desert. We spent some time shooting from Font’s Point which gave a breathtaking view of the terrain spread out in front of us. This was everything I always expected from California: palm trees and vast expansive desert spread out in front of me. We spent a few hours shooting the beautiful textures and colors of the desert before moving on.Heading back towards the coast, we decided that the next stop would be the rocks of Corona Del Mar. Despite slipping multiple times and having extremely soggy shoes, I was thankful to have experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets of my entire life. Having 2 camera bodies is absolutely essential for the kind of work that I like to do. I split my time between my X-Pro2 with XF10-24mm set up on a tripod shooting long exposures, and my X-T2 with XF50-140mm combo in hand snapping away at boats, water and really fine-tuning my compositions with the compressed field of view. Having the 50-140 lens has turned me from a 100% wide shooter to a 60/40 tele/wide shooter and it has made such a huge impact on the work that I create.The next day was spent shooting around the picturesque Laguna beach area. It was a semi-low tide so we climbed to an area along the coast that has a sinkhole with beautiful swirling water, and set up our gear. After a bit of droning and waiting to see what we would get in terms of a sunset burn, we all got a bit ambitious and ventured further out on the rocks that were exposed by the low tide. While setting up on a tripod to get some water movement shots, a rogue wave came out of nowhere and completely soaked me and my camera. There has never been a time that I was more thankful to have weather-resistant gear. I spent the rest of the night soaking wet from head to toe, but was able to continue to shoot the rest of the sunset.After drying off at my hotel and grabbing a couple hours of sleep, I decided that my final morning before flying home was going spent in Long Beach shooting the sun coming up behind The Queen Mary. I arrived to a beautiful star-filled sky, giving me enough time to nitpick and get the composition that I really wanted. As I sat there on the rocks with my X-T2 on-tripod in front of me just waiting for the perfect moment, I thought about all I was able to experience on such a short trip, and how there is so much more of the world to see and explore. I couldn’t ask for anything better than being constantly inspired to create by my surroundings, and the gear that helps me capture it all.
I like to travel alone. Partners and friends are great, but they can also hold you back from really experiencing a culture deeply. Solo travel allows you a freedom and adventure rarely achievable for those rushing back home for dinner. So when a group of friends and I booked a house in a rather touristy area of Panama, I didn’t plan to spend much time shooting. I grabbed my trusted X-T1 and my favorite lens – the XF23mmF1.4 R.One of the local attractions in this area is a beach only accessible by boat or a long muddy trail through the jungle. After attempting the trail, we opted for the boat and were dropped at a small dock in a lagoon filled with mangrove trees. A short walk across the island towards the sound of surf led us to a beautiful beach. We were walking along the beach when a foreign couple approached saying that a man with a machete had tried to rob them, but they were able to run away. Suddenly. I regretted bringing my camera. We stopped walking for some time. We swam, did hand stands, and drank beer. Eventually, the allure of discovery won over and we continued along the deserted beach.
On my extensive travels, I often have a specific image in my mind when I’m shooting. Sometimes, the search for this image blinds me from all the other potential shots present. It’s refreshing to go out with no expectations and see what organically appears. When I saw locals on horseback approaching, I sank into the jungle looking for a frame to contain them as they passed. They had ridden the muddy trail, and were headed to the far end of the island to go hunting.This long strip of sand is interrupted occasionally by large trees overhanging into the ocean. They are a natural jungle gym, and soon we were climbing all over them. From the trunk of a tree,I realized there was a good shot and picked up the camera again. I tilted the LCD to get super low to the ground and avoided wallowing around myself.As my friend Laura was working on a new route for this particular tree, I switch on the Cinematic Mode; it’s accessible on your camera by turning the mode dial to CH and holding down the shutter release button. As it’s clicking away, I’m able to make slight adjustments to the composition. But, I’m mostly waiting on the subject to look at their best. Yes, it fills a memory card really fast. That’s why I use Lexar 128s, so I don’t have to worry about changing cards very often.Beyond the beach, we came across some boys walking around with machetes. They seemed to be out honing their skills with these essential jungle tools. One boy was carefully opening a coconut to drink the water. I sat my X-T1 on the ground near his feet, using the tilting LCD to compose. It must be great to grow up in a land where snacks fall readily from the trees.In the evening, we returned home to discover the hunt had been successful. It’s rare that I do a trip with no photographic objective. It’s refreshing to travel light and go with the flow – and it’s authentic and easy to capture with FUJIFILM X Series. On to the next adventure!
You might be asking: what’s the point of another FUJIFILM X-T2 review if reviewers all talk about the same things? Luckily for you, I wrote a different kind of review.To start, I need to talk a little bit about my experience with this camera. I’ve been working and playing with Fujifilm cameras since the X100S. During the past few years I’ve also shot with the X-E2, X-T10, X100T, X-T1, X70 and X-Pro2.As a curious photographer who gives classes and lectures about the mirrorless revolution all over Brazil, I’ve also tried on Olympus, Samsung and Sony gear together with many a variety of lenses for weddings and portraits. I did this because, as an X-Photographer, I can’t be fully knowledgeably about Fujifilm without also experiencing other brands. I have had great experiences with DSLR cameras, too. I first used Canon cameras back in 2001, testing many different models and lenses.With that brief history, let me begin my X-T2 review.Several months ago, I put my hands on the X-T2 with the Vertical Power Booster. My first impression was that I would never use this booster: I hate weight and big cameras, but as I was going to travel for 21 days, I would have time to experiment.The first part of my trip was Portugal. There, I attended a workshop group at “Quinta” in Viseu, a wine farm. I tried the camera in different situations: on hot days and situations of high contrast, on overcast days with softness, and also during times of balanced light. I began testing the advanced filters, film simulations, and the drive modes. I headed to Paris, where I shot in mixed lighting situations, such as: contrasting scenes and scenes at twilight in the city. Some images were also made with third party lenses with manual focus and an adapter.Then, I returned to Brazil and photographed two weddings. I took along my X-Pro2 and shot the weddings with both cameras, just to feel the differences in action. And not surprisingly, I did feel it.So, l will talk about my recent experiences by making X Series-specific comparisons.
X-T2 versus X-T1
The new camera wins by far when we talk about resolution. With more megapixels, you can crop more, and you can do this without any fear. I know other wedding photographers like that fact as much as I do.
The new LCD screen with vertical movement: when I first heard about this feature, I thought that this wouldn’t be very useful, but with this new dimension of articulation, I challenged myself with the feature many during my street photography, travel photography and in the midst of weddings. This is, surprisingly, a really cool and useful feature.
The new ISO and Shutter Speed dials are proof-positive that a little change can make a huge difference. Fujifilm is always open to photographers’ feedback and they make the proper changes most of the time. This dial took my workflow to a higher level at weddings. Now, all I have to do is just press the button in the dial to lock or unlock it, and I’ll be rest-assured that my settings are perfect.
Dual card slot: this is another change from the X-T1 that made this body more pro. Dual slots are essential for backup and to separate RAW from JPEG.In my opinion, the compensation dial was a negative change from the X-T1 to X-T2. The dial now takes 2 fingers instead of one like with the X-T1. I know Fujifilm engineers changed it by listening to the demands from photographers, but I prefer the old way.
Continuous Autofocus is a huge improvement. With this advancement in AF, the gap between Fujifilm and DSLRs is gone. I’ve noticed great improvements with 80% to 90% precision. I like that this camera has more focusing points, which helps a lot with face or eye detection on single focus.
ACROS film simulation allows photographers more freedom to create unique JPEG files.Two good things that I loved were the inclusion of a joystick, which helps a lot for many uses and the continuous shooting that was changed to a controlled one by your finger, so you can shoot even one image on the continuous if you want.
X-T2 versus X-Pro2
Many photographers ask me this question every day: Which is one better: X-T2 or X-Pro2? Which one do I choose?
My answer is: either gives you the same final quality. It is the same sensor and the same processor, but mounted in different bodies, with different design and operational functions.I always say that the X-Pro2 is a camera for rangefinder lovers, documentary or street photographers. In my opinion, it is prettier than the X-T2, but, according to complaints of most users, it lacks an articulating LCD and the ISO dial is also a negative aspect. I suggested that Fujifilm give photographers the option of setting the ISO with the front or back command dials..
The X-T2 is a perfect camera for wedding, sports, outdoor and wildlife photographers. It has a very ergonomic design, everything is reachable and it has a DSLR look, which many photographers still seek (I do not mind it).
The technological advances are not a reason for you to choose between one and the other. Fujifilm takes care about it with constant firmware updates that give both cameras equivalent capacity.Another important thing is the vertical power booster that is available for the X-T2 allows much longer battery life: the grip adds the power of two more batteries, so it raises to three the number of batteries; which, for me, is enough for my entire wedding. The commands in this new booster grip are very well situated and even include the joystick. This booster grip also increases the number of shots per second in the high-speed drive, and this is a very good thing for sports and wildlife photographers.
The negative aspects are the weight and size that are increased and you must turn it off when not using the grip in order to avoid pressing the shutter button accidentally. This can be a mess if you are in the middle of a wedding.
X-T2 versus DSLRs
This is a difficult comparison to make, because we talk about different systems and, in this case, Full Frame, different sensors sizes.
But I think now is the right time for me to compare.The lacks that many photographers used to talk about Fujifilm cameras were mainly related to the resolution (that the sensors were 16 megapixels), autofocus speed, sensor size, dual card slots and flash system.
I believe that, with the release of the X-T2, Fujifilm has reached a point of change.This camera has 24 megapixels with huge quality and increased resolution – the size of its rich RAW files can reach up to 60 megabytes. This size is ideal for photographers who normally crop their images.
Concerning autofocus speed, it is a notorious fact that Fujifilm worked really hard on improving AF: now featuring very good face and eyes detection, as well as 5 different modes of continuous autofocus. I tested it under some situations – including weddings – and it worked very well.In regards to the sensor size, everybody knows that nowadays, technology has been advancing incredibly fast and that the latest APS-C sensors can now achieve beautiful results at high ISO levels and wide latitude. Fujifilm’s latest generation sensors are very competitive in the DSLR market.
With the unique engineering of the X-Trans sensor, the results reached by the X-Pro2 and the X-T2 are even better – arguably better than many DSLRs.The adding of the dual card slot helped a lot for the wedding photographers who need instantly back up.
I always tell my photographer friends that we pay too much attention to irrelevant details about photography gear.
Of course, Canon offers very good cameras and lenses – the same for Nikon, Pentax, Sony, and others. But, the most important thing for me – and the factors that caused me to switch over to Fujifilm were the ergonomic bodies, lightweight design, and very good prices. It was unthinkable that we could have such great and competitive system with this price and such high quality some years ago.
In just 5 years, FUJIFILM X Series has built a solid system with 22 exceptional FUJINON lenses. FUJINON is known by its superb quality glass in medical diagnosis and broadcasting lenses. This legacy experience is now being used within X Series lenses. And, very importantly: at a very good price.To sum this review up, I must emphasize that Fujifilm is a brand that listens to their users very carefully, and that is the secret behind their huge success. You can list some cons about them, but they will be happy to listen, take notes and fix them, maybe even in a simple firmware update.Nowadays, people make decisions based on details. The competition in the camera industry is tremendous. For choosing the best photography gear, we must also make our decisions based on details. Fujifilm has paid attention to the critical details, and the X-T2 is a perfect example of a beautiful result.
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