Category: Reportage

Sun, sights & sunburn with the X-E2

I know what you’re thinking, sun on a bank holiday?…. Never.

It sure took me by surprise, so much so, that I didn’t want to waste one drop of it. It was time for my X-E2 to come on a sun-filled adventure to a local Cavalcade. 

I had the chance to borrow the XF56mm lens over the bank holiday weekend and I really wanted to give it a good go. I decided the best way to do that was to only take the XF56mm thus eliminating any other lens choices. I like doing this from time to time as it forces me to think harder about my composition and gets me moving in and out of the action far more regularly.

After battling through the traditional English queuing system for the car park and entrance, I saw a small tent with various furry animals with a few scary ones thrown in for good measure. I snapped this cute little Hedgehog relaxing in a lady’s hat. I can also confirm that he was actually surprisingly soft!

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I also caught this seemingly unimpressed Owl, but I loved the colours in the background that I had to share it with you.

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After moving from the animal kingdom, I took to an area filled with small miniature ‘lands’ and fairgrounds, most of which were handmade by the stall owners. Some were really quite impressive. I knew I could get some serious bokeh effects here using the f/1.2 aperture. Here are some of the results I got.

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After having a go on some remote controlled boats, having a race with my fiancée, and ‘letting’ her win, we stepped outside the modelers tent and saw this clown doing his thing. I love this next shot because of the people in the background watching him go by. 

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One thing you’ve just got to love about days out like this, there are simply SO many subjects to take pictures of. As we strolled across the fiery grass I came across lots of random but interesting scenes. Here are a few of my favourites.

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Find the best expression & give it attention in the composition
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Look to fill the frame for maximum colour impact
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Shoot candid shots whenever you get a chance

A little later in the afternoon after grabbing an ice-cream and putting on some much needed (yet too late) suncream. We could hear the in-house speakers beckoning us to a central location where cars of all shapes and sizes were going to present. This was probably the trickiest part of the day (photography-wise) as the sun was very high, beating down and creating a very bright, high-contrast scene. I wanted to slow the shutter speed down to capture some movement here but had to stray away from the idea due to this brightness. What I needed to have brought with me was an ND (Neutral density) filter. This is best described as ‘sunglasses’ for the lens. Here are some of the shots that came out pretty well.

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All in all, this was the perfect day for photography, great light, great subjects and a cracking good lens! The XF56mm never failed to focus once and is sharp as a button. I hope that you all have as good an experience as I did. We would love to see your bank holiday images popping up on our Facebook page and Twitter accounts!

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Freedom Through Photography – No. 3 Portrait of a Rock Climber

No. 3 in the Fujifilm x Millican series, following a number of award-winning X-series photographers for a day in the Lake District, England. This time, award-winning documentary photographer Derek Clark works with local rock climber, Al Wilson – capturing his experience as he boulders on the famous Bowderstone in the Borrowdale Valley.

Join the campaign and share your own #FreedomThroughPhotography, or find out more about our collaboration with Millican: http://homeofmillican.com/info/fujifilm-x

The ‘Bear’ Necessities

1504372_10154010549280534_5836271885610257265_oEver wondered how the X-E2 performs in low-light? I took a trip to a local jam night to find out. 

So, what’s with the title? Well, it is the perfect combination of wanting to carry as little as possible to not hinder my evening and the fact the pub was called The Bear.

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ISO 6400 – f/2 – XF35mm

My aim was simple, have a great night and take some great shots. I really wanted to push the camera and give it a good run in low-light, and inside this pub it wasn’t hard as it was noticeably dark. This allowed me two options; shoot at high ISOs or use fill-in flash. I choose to have a little combination of the two.  When I first arrived, I just took some time to take in all areas of the bar, the lighting, the people, everything and anything that might be interesting as the night went on.

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Can you see why it’s called ‘The Bear’? ISO4000 – f/14 – XF35mm
My brother catching me at work

After taking in the environment, I knew I needed to get a good spot for the music. The best I could muster was a front row ‘stand’ as I couldn’t find a seat at the edge of the stage area.  The lighting in the stage area was still very dimly lit on one side, but quite bright on the other. This made for some excellent contrast, which if you didn’t guess already, I love a bit of contrast in my images.

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I took a break from the music and went outside with friends, aiding another perfect opportunity to catch some good candid shots. Here is a handy hint I discovered: For great candid shots without being noticed, bring a friend. You can aim the camera at them but focus beyond them to get the ‘actual’ subject you want to capture. Here is a shot that reflects this ‘technique’.

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As the evening went on I just kept snapping away trying to get a blend between abstract and street style. Generally I kept the aperture wide open to ensure the stunning bokeh you get from the 35mm lens, and also to keep the ISO down as much as possible.

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I love the simple, yet powerful message scribbled on a window pane in this shot below.

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After having such a great evening with the X-E2 and XF35mm combo, I thought my luck was all but spent for good photography, then, on the walk home I got just a couple more shots that I was pretty happy with. As it was getting dark and the shutter was very slow, I kept my elbows tight into my sides and always shot the image on my out-breath.

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I also caught some wedding dress makers working very late, maybe it was a short deadline? These are the kind of self generated questions I love when shooting street photography.

I hope you have enjoyed this little blog and it inspires you to keep your camera on you at all times. You really can push the camera and retain excellent quality images that can be enjoyed by all. Here are all the ‘keeper’ shots from the night.

 

 

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Guest post: Tips on candid photography at parties

Professional wedding photographer Kevin Mullins has a couple of tips for shooting candid photos of parties:

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Get In close… it is a party after all!
You don’t need to stand in the corner of a room with a 200mm lens to be unobtrusive. Get a short lens, get in close, mingle and be part of the environment you are shooting. You will get more natural and creative images without the subjects feeling.

Bide your time
The scene in front of you is the stage, and the characters are the actors. Let them act out the play naturally, wait, bide your time and the images will come. Don’t contrive or force the pictures.

“Auto” is your friend
Set your camera up so all you have to do is concentrate on the moment. I shoot parties in Aperture Priority Mode and with Auto-ISO set to 6,400 and a minimum shutter speed of 1/125 (you X-Pro1 users can’t complain about not having that after the firmware update on the 19th December!).

Pick a spot to manually focus on and wait for the action to come to you
Use Manual Focus if necessary when in a dark environment – focus on a spot on the floor or something with enough contrast and wait for the action to happen.

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Bring your own light
Use an external flash (I use the EF-X20) as the slave, hand hold it above your head and move around with freedom. You can direct the light so easily using this flash so when the light at the party does get too low it won’t stop you shooting away. The key thing is be in the mix, especially on the dance floor. Everyone will face in, and you need be on the dance floor getting those shots. You will find it difficult with a long zoom so stick with a 14, 18 or 23mm lens for optimum shooting. And Happy Christmas!

About Kevin

Kevin Mullins is an award winning UK Wedding Photographer specialising in the documentary style of wedding photography. To see more of his work you can follow him on Facebook or follow his blog.