We are currently working on this Fujifilm Blog, meaning we are renovating to optimise talking to – YOU.
We will tear a few walls down to open the former blog with you, our precious world wide X-Photographer and camera community, to become the brand new Fujifilm Corporate Blog Europe and invite even more Fujifilm friends. Here, within our new premises, you and us, we will have the opportunity to meet, exchange and tell each other good stories.
As everybody knows, moving house and renovating is not people’s most favourite thing to do. One needs a good reason to handle all the box packing, carrying, paper work, organising friends to help and getting all the heavy work done. Well, we do have a very good reason to “move and renovate blog” – all the exciting, interesting and new things happening that we want to tell YOU. We, the Fujifilm employees in Europe, would like to show our Fujifilm world to you. You will experience Fujifilm’s products, our work, our events and projects. Sometimes to NEVER STOP showing our world to you means renovating and moving house. So bring some bread and salt and let’s meet here, at our brand new fujifilm.blog.
Welcome to the Second 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 Two is with Sydney based photographer, Bhagiraj Sivagnanasundaram.
Bhagiraj, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in photography?
I’m a wanderer often travelling between two worlds, one as a Doctor in a busy Emergency Department, another as a photographer. There should be a starting point to any kind of passion. For us photographers, it’s mostly another photographer or a photo that pushes us to start exploring the world. For me, it was the photos taken by my cousin brother when I was just five or six years old. The small chicks under the monsoon mushrooms in Sri Lanka, the beautiful flowers and of course the photos of myself in different attires, sometimes as a fashionista and occasionally as a native hunter wearing just a leaf where appropriate. Those were the old film days which provoked the craving for the looks of films even though I hardly used a film camera – one strong point that made me fall in love with Fujifilm and its film simulations.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/15 second – F4.5 – ISO 400
The journey began with a small point and shoot ten years back; I went through different phases of bridge cameras, DSLRs and now have finally settled on Fujifilm X Series. Luckily I had early recognition of my work as some of them ended up in few magazines and some won awards. Slowly the passion to Travel started, and now I proudly call myself as a Travel & Documentary photographer even though occasionally I try other genres of photography out of curiosity.
We noticed travel and documentary photography form an important part of your portfolio. Can you tell us why?
Travel and documentary photography is something that challenges me. It’s highly unpredictable; scenes won’t wait for me, so I have to be at the right spot at the right time. I have to handle people with all types of personalities, and most importantly our world is rapidly evolving. We don’t see half as much of what our grandparents saw, and our grandkids won’t see much of what we see today. This reality constantly pushes me towards Travel and Photography.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF35mmF2 R WR – 1/20 second – F2 – ISO 500
My inspirations are from famous travel and documentary photographers, and I follow the passion of those travellers who witnessed the various cultures, people, lifestyle and stunning destinations. However, art should be unique, and I try my best to maintain my way of the journey. I explore my way of expressing my inner feelings of witnessing a moment, let it be a happy event or something bad, either way, I make sure it will be remembered forever for what it is and I share it with my audience.
It is not only about a process of making an infinite physical memory of my travels. It is also a medium that connects me to a lonely Shepard in a cold Himalayan region with whom I shared a hot coffee or with a cliff diver in a rural village in Sri Lanka who asked me to take a good picture of him doing the stunt, risking his life.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/500 second – F9 – ISO 250
Each moment I encounter has an unexplored history behind it. When explored, these moments become so important that they carry an experience of that fraction of a second. I become the portal connecting two unknown worlds, and the tool is my camera, from the artisans of Fujifilm. The fraction of a second that I encountered will never repeat, but it will resonate forever through my photographs.
What are your thoughts on editing an image by removing a distracting object from the scene? Do you change the scene in post processing or is your preferred capturing method SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) with much editing?
I do not modify the scene, but I create the image to represent the actual scene as much as possible. We are getting a little bit technical here. As we know human eyes have higher dynamic range than any of the consumer cameras ever produced. So it becomes essential to process the photos to a certain level, so they match the original dynamic range of the scenes.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 0.6 seconds – F16 – ISO 100
Over the course of a decade, I have used three different brands, and I have found Fujifilm is different to them. The mix of colours, shadows, and highlights are more artistic with this Japanese brand. When combined with stunning film simulations it just brings back my childhood memories, and it is one of the most important factors that opted me to do the big jump to the Fujifilm X Series territory. When used correctly the film simulations have some strange good emotions in them which I cannot explain, but I love them. Sometimes you don’t know why you love something, but it’s the best thing you can ever do.
SOOC has never been my method until I discovered Fujifilm. It is also one important reason I switched to the brand. With Fujifilm, all I have to do is a very basic editing for few a seconds or a couple of minutes, and sometimes I do nothing to the images at all.
One would argue that using film simulations is similar to digital manipulations. However being the photographer we should decide on what is the most important message we are conveying through our photographs. We should decide whether to give weight to the shadows, highlights or colours. Simulations help us to achieve them- I’m not talking about digital filters here.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/100 second – F8 – ISO 100
Depending on the genres of photography the use of simulations or post processing differ. For example, travel photographs can be a bit exaggerated replica of the reality in a more promotional way of a destination, while most of my documentary photographs undergo very little processing or none. A travel image with a stray dog or a light post with wires visible on the street could give a negative feeling to the viewer which is unwanted, where the same scene in a documentary (more towards photojournalism) photograph will work entirely differently. I mostly avoid those scenes for a travel picture than spending hours removing it in Photoshop. This is where the composition comes into the picture; I think it is the most ethical means of removing a distracting object from the picture or changing the distractor into a helper and I’m a very strong supporter of compositions. It is the most important thing for me in photography. One wise man once said, “Photography is an art of exclusions”.
You recently travelled to Sri Lanka with the XF10-24mmF4 and XF90mmF2. How did you find the XF10-24mmF4 lens for travel photography? Did the lens meet your expectations?
I never used such wide angle range. The minimum I have used previously was a 24mm (35mm equivalent). I was never keen on landscapes. Most of my landscapes were the backdrops of the environmental portraits. The Fujifilm XF10-24mmF4 was the first lens of its kind for me, and the intention was to capture more landscapes.
Fujifilm X-E2S with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/500 second – F4 – ISO 400
In the field, it was far beyond that, the use of it in creating beautiful compositions of day to day Sri Lankan life was impressive. The lens remained on one of the camera bodies for the rest of the trip because of its versatility. I no longer see the wide angle lens reserved mostly for landscapes. Of course, there will be issues with distortion. However, I worry more about the moment than the technical aspects of capturing it. You don’t need to switch to Fujifilm for this lens, it doesn’t mean it is inferior to any other branded wide angles, but if you are into Fujifilm, then this is one lens you should have.
Both the XF10-24mmF4 and XF90mmF2 were loaned products from Fujifilm Australia. When I returned the gear, I made sure those are the next two lenses I will acquire.
How did the portraits you captured using the XF90mmF2 differ from the lens you used previously? Where there any differences in quality, sharpness and autofocus speeds?
I would like to answer it differently. Could the XF90mmF2 truly replace the legendary lens I already used before making the switch to Fujifilm? The answer is, yes by all means! In reality, the Fujifilm XF90mmF2 almost equals the 35mm equivalent focal length of 135mm. It’s a specialised focal length with specific uses, particularly with portraitures. So many hardcore lens reviewers have already concluded that it is one of the best lenses in the current market.
Fujifilm X-E2S with X90mmF2 R LM WR – 1/400 second – F2 – ISO 320
The autofocus speed is super fast that I hardly missed any shots and it maintains its speed in low light – my favourite type of lighting situation. The sharpness is equally incredible, and corner sharpness is well maintained at any aperture. The beautiful bokeh, particularly at F2, works amazingly well when compared to other 135mm lenses from other brands. With the excellent contrast, colour rendition, weather resistant sealing, lesser weight than counterparts, there’s nothing more I need other than just to keep shooting with this beauty. It’s an instant boost to the confidence level in image making.
If someone was travelling to Sri Lanka, based on your experience what camera and lens configuration would you recommend they take?
Sri Lanka is a small tropical Island. In a matter of few hours, you will be on a misty mountain or a rain forest from a beach. Depending on the places and the season you visit the selection of camera gear will vary. In general, it is advisable to carry weather resistant lenses and cameras as most of the beautiful natural habitats in the country are water based. Also, the island has friendly people, rich traditions and festivals. So you will need lenses that can be wide opened (in aperture) and good at focusing in low light. It is also a land of leopards, elephants and the mighty blue whales. It’s one of the best places on earth to witness these giants. So you will need a good telephoto lens if you decide to take photos of them.
Fujifilm X-E2S with XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS – 1/4000 second – F5 – ISO 200
I would like to summarise the gear recommendation that will work for any travel and documentary photographer anywhere in the world.
Main Camera – The Fujifilm X-T2.
Backup Camera – The Fujifilm X-T20.
The lenses listed below are the ones I carried.
Fujinon XF 18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
Fujinon XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR
Fujinon XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
Fujinon XF90mmF2 R LM WR (I’m comfortable with this focal length, but some people prefer Fujifilm XF56mmF1.2 R)
Optional – Fujifilm XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR (If you are serious about wildlife photography).
Do you have a favourite image you captured on your trip? What was the story behind the shot?
My favourite image was from a remote village in Sri Lanka nestled among the large mountains ranges. It has a rich history dating back to many centuries. The village is abundant with beauty, and it was only recently received widespread attention from tourists after a few local films were shot in the location. Over very few years the village transformed dramatically, and now it’s a popular holiday hub for many tourists. Many villagers who relied primarily on paddy fields and other traditional lifestyle jobs are now into tourism as it gives more financial stability in the modern economy. Even though methods are implemented for sustainable tourism the rate at which tourism grows is a major threat to the centuries-old traditions of the village.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/100 second – F16 – ISO 200
I wanted to capture the essence of the community, and during a stroll, I saw a villager visiting his paddy field surrounded by dark foliages and huts built for tourists – a familiar scene throughout the village.
The whole scene was like an arena – the field is the village, the dark foliage from the mountains and the huts surrounding it portrayed how tourism was slowly penetrating into the heart of the village. The man was both the victim and witness of this event. It was like there was a spotlight turned on to an important event in that village which will change its future forever.
When you look at a scene what is the most important thing you try and capture? Does composition play an important part of your photography?
Most of the times it is about how unique the image is. In the current world, almost all of us have a camera of some sort, from smartphones to the high-end medium formats. So many photographs are made of the same subject each second. Once I visited the Taj Mahal in India, and I tried to go as early as possible before sunrise, and I was among the handful of photographers at that time, and in few minutes there are hundreds of people with cameras. So it means most of them are going to take photographs of the same place at the same time and my worry is how can I stand out from that crowd while retaining the true meaning of the scenes I encountered.
This is where composition becomes important. For me, it is the most important part of a photograph. How you place and connect the elements of a scene into a photo will decide how the picture will connect with the audience. Naturally, I’m inclined towards better compositions in my images. The actual scene may look dull, could have bad weather, etc, but still one can come out with a good image if the composition is different and unique – often turning those negative factors into positives.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/500 second – F4.5 – ISO 400
Just because a sunset looks beautiful or a shadow from a person in a city looks mysterious doesn’t mean they will make a great photograph unless they connect well with their surroundings and tell a story together which makes the audience have inner discussions about the image. Occasionally the story can come from just the subject alone like in close up portraits, but most of the time it’s something that evolves around the subject and its environment. So, we should be vigilant on how we are going to present the whole thing to the audience.
If you have some advice for someone starting out in photography what would it be?
Learn how to be a tough critic of your images. You can book a trip for a few thousand, buy the most expensive photography gear to take to your exotic location, but at the end of the day in the hotel room; you should be brave enough to delete most of those images which you think are not the best. You shouldn’t reflect on the amount of effort you put in to get those shots.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS – 1/25 second – F16 – ISO 200
There is a difference between ‘creating’ images and ‘taking/capturing’ images. Photography is an art; we have to be the creators of the art. Perfection needs experience, and even with the best experience, it’s highly doubtful that anyone would become just perfect in image making, but keep fighting for it. Cherish the better pictures that you make today and compare these to the ones you shot last week and keep going. Keep connecting well with fellow photographers and share knowledge. Remember, it is not about the destination, but more about the journey. Good Luck!
Fujifilm has become a household name. It is a publicly traded company and a leader in digital cameras and accessories. That level of success does not come instantly or easily, though. More than eight decades of history have contributed to building the film behemoth Fujifilm is today.
When you get a sense of Fujifilm’s history, then you can even better appreciate how legacy influences the characteristics of Fujifilm products today.
An innovative company enters the photography industry.
In the early 1930s, the Japanese government set out a plan to create a local industry for photographic film. That mandate led to the Fuji Photo Film Company’s formation in 1934. Its first factory, Ashigara, sat at the foot of Mount Hakone, but because the “Hakone” title was registered to another company, the film business took the name of a nearby mountain, Fuji.
As Fuji grew, it produced photographic, motion picture and X-Ray films. By 1948, it manufactured its first camera, the Fujica Six, which was known for its compact body and being lightweight. The camera became popular, and Fuji launched a series of Fujica still-photo and motion picture cameras and continued production of that line well into the 1980s.
Fujifilm goes digital with the DS-1P.
In 1988, at a photography trade show in Germany, Fujifilm forever changed the industry by unveiling a new toy, the FUJIX DS-1P, the world’s first digital camera. There had been electronic cameras before, but those cameras had stored images in an analog way. The DS-1P did so digitally with its semiconductor memory card. That first model retained only five to 10 images on its card, but Fujifilm further developed its digital technology and, in 1989, released an improved successor, the DS-X, for commercial purchase.
The FinePix X100 brings Fujifilm to pros.
Fujifilm continued to build digital cameras—most were designed with the casual user in mind. But in 2010, Fujifilm had something new for the pros when it released the FinePix X100. This camera fused worlds old and new with its APS-C sensor and contemporary viewfinder stashed in a vintage body.
Instant success leads to a series.
The X100 was so high in demand that it sold on secondary markets for double its retail price. So the following year, Fujifilm launched an entire series of high-end cameras like the X100. The next in the series, the X10, was released later that year and boasted a larger sensor and an EXR color filter, and the X-S1, the first in a series of interchangeable lenses, came soon after.
As the X Series continues today, its products are united not by a particular feature, but by the company’s commitment to create advanced controls for serious photographers.
The series is just another way Fujifilm continues its company-wide legacy of advancing technology and anticipating user needs.
Mark Bauer recently visited the captivating Italian lakes. Armed with a GFX 50S he captured some stunning images. In this article he talks about his experience with medium format, and how the GFX was the perfect companion for his trip.
Landscape photographer, Mark Bauer lives near Dorset’s Jurassic coast, which is world renowned for being stunningly beautiful. This part of the country, as well as travelling with photography provides him with a constant source of inspiration. Mark recently visited the captivating Italian lakes. Armed with a FUJIFILM GFX 50S he captured some stunning images. In this blog he talks about his experience with medium format, and how the GFX was the perfect companion for his trip. Continue reading “Shooting the Captivating Italian Lakes with the GFX”
With the ease of publishing colour photography, both digitally and in print, monochromatic photos can seem like relics of the past. But there are moments when your shots are best served in black and white. The shapes and busyness of your composition might suggest it is time to break from colour and go monochromatic.
Look for a few reasons to make your next shot monochromatic.
Simplify composition and emphasise basics.
If the colour in your background and light sources is too busy, a monochromatic shot brings focus back to your subject. Your background elements still matter for the shot, but you need not worry about balance and blend of colours.
“Artillery” by Dennis Vogelsang, Fujifilm X-T1
Bring stark shapes to the forefront.
Images that utilise jarring shapes especially benefit greatly from monochromatic. Viewers’ eyes have less to look for when colour is removed, so more of their attention goes toward the geometry in your image.
“Brooklyn Bridge” by David Guest, Fujifilm X100S
Compensate for light sources with ugly hues.
You may have adequate lighting for your shot, but your light source is too warm or cool. If a lamp, fluorescent bulb or car headlight presents an unflattering hue, try the shot in black and white.
“A rainy night in Sydney” by Francis Gorrez, Fujifilm X-T10
Because monochromatic photos were more common decades ago, we still associate them with history. Invoke timelessness in your shots today by going back to black and white. Portraits and cityscapes shot in monochromatic feel like they have a place in the photographic past.
“Look At Me! Lunchtime Rendezvous” by Justin Curtis, Fujifilm X100S
See faces in a new way.
People of all races and backgrounds can be photographed well in monochromatic, which diminishes blemishes and discolorations. Get a full range of black-and-white hues with a well-lit portrait.
Of course, not every moment is best served in black and white. Remember why your image might need a full spectrum of colour.
“Country Meets City” by Grant Ashford, Fujifilm X-Pro2
Show clarity between objects of similar value.
If your image includes items of different colours but similar values, like navy blue and green, then a colour photo may be necessary to distinguish the hues from one another.
Communicate the time of day.
From golden hour to blue hour, times of day come through when your outdoor photo is in full colour. Catch not only the angle of natural light but also its hue to set a more vivid scene.
Make fashion the focus.
When you take a portrait focused on a person’s fashion as much as his or her facial features, colour photography showcases the colour combinations of clothing and accessories.
Allow trees and birds to show their coats.
Most outdoor photography is best suited for colour. While monochromatic works for some waterbody shots, colour shows trees changing with the seasons and birds donning their kaleidoscope of feathers.
Establish your background as more than an afterthought.
Monochromatic photos bring the most attention to subjects and their shapes. But if you have an alluring background, that may not be your goal. Stick with colour if you want viewers to appreciate much more than your foreground.
Monochromatic and colour photos both have their place in your repertoire, and knowing the best uses for each will give you confidence as you shoot with intention.
Struggling to catch the near-perfect wildlife shots you have seen in top magazines and exhibits? Now that camera technology has become more accessible, many people are branching out into nature. Wildlife photography isn’t for the faint of heart, however, and plenty of professionals and enthusiasts alike encounter challenges.
Photo by Ben Cherry (@benji_cherry), Fujifilm X-T2 with XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens
Fortunately, with the right equipment, research and mindset — and of course, plenty of practice — you can make major improvements. The following are 10 tips you can use to take better wildlife pictures today.
Study Your Subject
What kinds of environments do your local fauna love most? Which animals live within driving distance, and what are their migratory patterns and schedules? Will your subjects even be awake when you go to shoot? Wildlife photography is all about catching those fleeting moments that most people never get to see, and being there at the right time and place is a numbers game. Study your subject matter to give yourself the best chance of being in position for a great shot.
Stand Back, Zoom In
Animals are tough enough to shoot in urban environments; in nature, they can seem impossible to catch up close. To capture wildlife acting as naturally and unafraid as possible, you may need to rely on a long telephoto lens. When dealing with the most skittish creatures, the longer the focal length, the better.
Photo by Vincent Yuhiko, Fujifilm X-T1 with XF18-135mm R LM OIS WR lens
Broaden Your Horizons
As helpful as a long, narrow focus can be, you don’t always need to catch creatures up close — nor do you need to isolate them from their environments. Some shots are actually more powerful when taken with a wide angle that gives the viewer context. Experiment with both broad and narrow focuses to see which suits your tastes and subject matter. You’ll probably find that different shots are best for different situations.
Nature is unpredictable. Even if you rigorously study the animal you want to shoot, you’ll probably have to play the waiting game once you get into position. In fact, patience is one of the defining factors of a great wildlife photographer, and some of the most iconic shots have only been possible after hours or even days of waiting and returning to the same spot.
At the same time, patience isn’t everything. You can’t always wait for great shots to materialise, especially when you only have a small window of decent lighting and weather. If your only goal is to capture a specific animal in a specific moment, then yes, you’ll need to wait. But if you just want to capture interesting shots within an environment, make the most of your time and seek out opportunities for great shots.
Simplify Your Backgrounds
Photography is all about using depth and contrast to highlight your subject, and wildlife photography is no exception. While some photos will be inherently “busy,” you can often create a dramatic effect by simply capturing an animal against a non-distracting background.
Photo by Daniel Bradford (@dbrad1992), Fujifilm X-T1
Keep Both Eyes Open
When you control neither your environment nor your subject matter, you’ve got to be ready for anything. To stay aware of your surroundings, keep both eyes open as you look through the viewfinder. If you’re only focused on what’s in the frame, you’ll miss far more opportunities than you see.
Focus and Exposure
A few setting tweaks can make all the difference between a clear shot and an indecipherable photo. If your camera allows, set your focus mode to “continuous” and your focus area to “zone.” Use a larger grid setting for larger animals and a smaller setting for small subjects. As for exposure, you’ll want to choose a small area for a shot that emphasises the subject and de-emphasizes the background.
During a daylong shoot, you’ll encounter — at best — mere minutes of photo-worthy material. What’s more, each moment of interest may only last a few seconds. If you’re not familiar with the capabilities and settings of your camera and lens, you could miss once-in-a-lifetime shots. Know your equipment’s shutter speeds, memory card speeds and focal lengths, as well as all the options you have for toggling focus points and modes.
(Perfect) Practice Makes Perfect!
Last but not least, practice, practice, practice! Analyse the shots you take, and consult experienced photographers for advice on how you can improve. The more hours you can spend, the better you’ll become, but you can fast-track your progress by seeking feedback and making the most of each shot you take.
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