Tag: dale young

Why do I love the XF18-135mm lens? Composition.

Good day everyone, I will have to call this a mini-blog as normally I ramble on for ages and bombard you with images – who knows, maybe I still will 😉

1504372_10154010549280534_5836271885610257265_oAs you may or may not know I’m an amateur photographer who loves to try out new types of photography – I’m sure this is not to different from many of you out there. When I first started out with photography I was educated that the more zoom you had the better. So when I was given the X100 for the first time I was quite baffled as to how to work a fixed prime lens. I felt restricted and puzzled as to why I would want one. Of course once I looked at the pictures from it, I was sold and this opened my eyes to the real aspects of what makes a great camera. The images were crisp, clear and full of vibrant colour, all I had to get used to was zooming without a telephoto lens – AKA the Hokey Cokey. Once I got this down though, there was no stopping me, I was out with my original X-E1 and 35mm prime lens and I loved every minute of it!

This leads me to the XF18-135mm. This time I had the promise of excellent image quality but with that lovely versatility of a zoom lens. When I first clicked it into position on the camera body and fired up the camera I was taken back by just how much I could see or not see depending on the focal length. It was something that took me back to the olde days of me using a camera, I was VERY excited to get out and use this new kit.

I decided upon a location in the local area that always seems to make a good picture, this being the Stevington Windmill. I looked at when the sun was going to set and got there about 50 minutes earlier to allow time for running across fields, fumbling with tripods and such like. Once I got a good position near to the windmill I shot this image.

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Focal Length: 49mm – f/5.6 – ISO200

I shot this image at the slightly wider-side of the lens to open up the landscape a bit – this to me gives a very peaceful feel to the shot. Compositionally (is that really a word?) I have dedicated two thirds of the frame to the sky as it is a sunset after all, and I think this really helps the landscape silhouette ‘POP-OUT’ from the skyline.

This next shot I really wanted to focus on the windmill and give a more intense feel. To do this I have used the lens at a longer focal length as this has a very clever effect on the composition. The more you zoom towards a subject, the more the background and foreground are compressed together. So this in turn pulls the Sun closer to the windmill and vice-versa. Not only that, but it also reduces the angle of view – cutting out all the peripheral stuff we perhaps don’t want in our shot.

As a side note – To get the composition I wanted using more zoom, I did have to move further back to accommodate the extra focal length. Basically this means I had to run like crazy across a field and keep checking to see if the composition was right as every moment I wasted meant the sun was getting lower and would soon disappear behind the hillside.

Focal Length: 98.6mm – f/7.1 – ISO200

These next two shots show this compression effect quite well I feel. It really brings the background closer to the foreground making for a more intense composition that would not have been possible with my 35mm prime lens.

And in case you were wondering, this is my better-half with her camera at her side relaxing whilst I’m running about like a madman saying things like “That’s great, just don’t move. Pretend I’m not here..” which was all great fun. Photography should be fun and if you can get your friends and family involved, so much the better.

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Here’s a playful shot of some hot air balloons in the distance. I framed it up so that they sat on the furthest third of the frame to sweep your eyes across the beauty of the landscape. Because of the compression effect (pulling the background and foreground together) I could give the hot air balloons a bit more presence in the shot, especially when you consider the real distance between the main tree and the hot air balloons.


I really hope this inspires you to go out and have a play with your camera, shoot a sunset, bring a friend, mix up your compositions and most of all have fun. When you do all that great pictures will naturally follow.

P.S: Seems I managed to get a good ramble and bombardment of images in after all 😉


Capturing Croyde and Lundy Island with the XF10-24mm & X-E2 combo

Follow Dale as he takes a journey round Devon’s beautiful Croyde Bay & Lundy Island.

As you may or may not know the XF35mm is my ‘everyday’ lens but when it comes to landscape photography the XF10-24mm is my next ‘must-have’ lens. I used to use the XF14mm lens – which by the way is superb, but I’ve realised that I just cannot get enough of that ultra-wide 10mm setting.

I have only been delving into the landscape photography world of late and am still very much finding my feet. When looking back through my landscapes I have noticed that I clearly love the slightly stranger viewpoints, mainly from a wide-angle, ground-up perspective. It may be that the world is just more interesting down there!?

Focal Length: 10mm (XF10-24mm) – ISO200 – f/4.5 – 1/950 – Ilfracombe Harbour

I like trying to ‘add a little epic’ to my landscapes. The way I have found myself doing this is to locate a small object, whether it be a footprint, a rock etc and get it right up close to the lens. This distorts its perspective and makes it a real important part to the composition. It’s very easy to miss the small details in a beautiful view, so doing this can really shake-up the images and give a new feel to your photography.

Focal Length: 10mm (XF10-24mm) – ISO200 – f/4 – 1/950 – Lundy Island

We’ve always been told practice makes perfect right? Well, I don’t know if it makes ‘perfect’ but it certainly helps with repetition. I find that the more I shoot, the more I know how a shot is going to turn out before I’ve even turned the camera on. It can give great insight as to whether I should get set up for a shot or move on to a new area / viewpoint.

XF35mm – ISO200 – f/4 – 1/2900 – Lundy Island – Had to sneak my XF35mm lens into this blog somewhere! 😉

In an effort to create better landscape images I have been using the Rule of Thirds more and more consciously. Across the board this has rewarded me with more “That’s a keeper!” shots.

In addition to this, I’ve been thinking more carefully about where to ‘put’ the horizon line. I usually just ponder which is more interesting – the sky or the foreground? If the sky is more interesting it takes up two thirds of the image and vice versa. I thought the scene below had a more interesting foreground to shoot, so the foreground takes prominence.

Focal Length: 10mm (XF10-24mm) – ISO200 – f/11 – 1/420 – Ilfracombe Harbour

On the opposite side of things, I found this sky (below) to be more dramatic and I loved how the church had an on-the-edge-of-the-world feel to it. So, I gave the sky two thirds of the frame and the church the lesser attention to increase this on-the-edge-of-the-world theme. I post-processed this one to give it a more matte-like / painted finish.

XF35mm – ISO200 – f/11 – 1/420 – Lundy Island

The XF10-24mm isn’t just for landscape either, it worked perfectly inside the Lundy Island lighthouse to capture the whole winding staircase – which on a different note, was very steep!

Focal Length: 10mm (XF10-24mm) – ISO6400 – f/4 – 1/56 – Lundy Island

Sunsets, anyone?

The next few images are some of the best I could get while shooting in the ‘golden hour‘. It’s not an area I have had great amounts of experience with, but, I wanted to share a few tips that could save you some stress as I found out the hard way.

Firstly, give yourself lots of time to get to the location you are going to shoot. Set up and relax way before the sun has started setting. Otherwise, you may find yourself fumbling with ND grad filters and tripods like I was.

I always thought a sunset was a peaceful, enjoyable thing, but when you are trying to shoot it the sun seems to set faster than you can say Usain Bolt!

Focal Length: 18mm (XF10-24mm) – ISO200 – f/9 – 1/38 – Croyde Bay

The second piece of advice is to know where the sun is going to set. One night I literally found myself running across a beach. I had the camera attached to a tripod while dangerously navigating slippery rocks pools and small sand holes that the kids had dug during the day! I must say though it was some of the most exciting photography I have done in a long time.

Focal Length: 24mm (XF10-24mm) – ISO200 – f/8 – 1/60 – Croyde Bay

On the bright side, the running down the beach to capture the sunset actually made a picture in itself. Again, emphasising the foreground subject by getting on my hands and knees to put the lens right up close. DEVN0176

I hope you have enjoyed taking my very short tour of some truly photogenic places. Here are some other shots I captured from the trip away that you may like. Any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy Shooting


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