How time flies! It has been a fair few months since the tentative decision was made to start the journey to being a professional photographer. As it seems to have been with a lot of people, 2016 was not a good year, so development of the new business was more or less put on hold while efforts, energies and emotions were channeled in more pressing directions. That’s not to say there weren’t opportunities for photography, and it was at times an excellent way to escape some harsh realities.
Never one to do things by halves, the first job was quite Read More
If you are on the cusp of deciding to ditch your bulky DSLR and go fully mirrorless, here’s a little something that might just tip you over the edge and help make your decision.
£100 trade-in bonus…
For a limited time only, trade-in an eligible DSLR with one of our selected UK retailer partners and get an additional £100 bonus on top of your trade-in value when you buy a brand new Fujifilm X-T1 or X-E2 Digital Compact System Camera.
Trade in discount applies on all purchases of X-T1 + X-E2 made before 11th January 2015.
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 😉
As 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.
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.
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.
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 😉
Is it just me, or have other people experienced a weird phenomenon when they start using Fujifilm X-series cameras? I’m not talking about aesthetics here, I’m talking more fundamental, cerebral kinda stuff.
Lately, thanks to the nice people at Fujifilm UK, I’ve been able to get my hands on some of the X-series models. I’ve tried the X100S (it’s very nice), the X-T1 (it’s very nice) and, most recently the X-E2 (it’s, erm, very nice). But when I’ve gone back and looked at some of the shots I’ve taken with this trio of models they all bear the hallmarks of me transforming into some wannabe reportage-come-street photographer. It’s really quite alarming.
Tourists at the Collosseum – a flip out screen would have been handy. XF10-24mm, 1/1900sec at f/5, ISO 200
Tourists – the very first shot I took when I arrived. XF18-55mm, 1/100sec at f/7.1, ISO 200
Orange umbrella – I followed this lady for ages, think she rumbled me in the end. XF10-24mm, 1/125sec at f/22, ISO 400.
Beggar at the Collosseum. Sadly, there are a lot of these. XF10-24mm, 1/240sec at f/5.6, ISO 400.
To understand the full gravitas of this situation, it’s important for you to understand what sort of a photographer I was before I started using X-series cameras. The immediate word that springs to mind is ‘safe’. Technically adept, but safe. I photographed landscapes because they don’t move, buildings because they don’t talk back to you and my dog, because he’ll do pretty much anything with the promise of a treat. The idea of photographing a fellow human being filled me with fear while the very thought of photographing a fellow human being in a candid way would have me blowing into a paper bag to calm my nerves.
But Fujifilm cameras have changed all that.
Vatican gift stall (2). XF10-24mm, 1/140sec at f8, ISO 200.
The Vatican, this is a heavy crop, but the quality remains. XF18-55mm, 1/80sec at f/10, ISO 200.
The Vatican. XF18-55mm, 1/80sec at f/10, ISO 200
Vatican gift stall. One of at least 100. XF10-24mm, 1/140sec at f/8, ISO 200
I’d borrowed the X-E2 to go on a short city break to Rome. It was accompanied by an XF18-55mm and an XF10-24mm. Ordinarily on a trip of this type, I would have sought out the tourist hot-spots, documented them in my technically adept way and then gone home to bury them on an external hard drive, never to be seen again. But with the X-E2 in my hand, I became some kind of gung-ho street photographer, snapping pretty much anything that moved, and some things that didn’t. Within minutes, Rome went from a selection of photo locations carefully plotted on a tourist map to a photographer’s playground. My playground, to be precise.
Fiat 500. XF10-24mm, 1/50sec at f/5.6, ISO 800.
Graffiti, apologies if it’s rude. XF10-24mm, 1/60sec at f/11, ISO 200.
The pictures I’ve brought home are unlike anything I’ve ever captured in a foreign city. They include people; people I’ve never met before, nor will I ever meet again. As you can see, they do also include a few shots where I lapsed into capturing subjects that didn’t have the ability to talk to me, but even these are a little different. They’re not hackneyed scenes photographed millions of times before by others, they’re my interpretations of the locations I visited; they communicate how I was feeling and how I viewed the area.
How was the X-E2? Well, it was excellent. Sure, it could do with an articulated rear screen, but I also enjoyed not having an optical viewfinder option to choose from; the finder in the X-T1 is fantastic, but I didn’t miss its functionality. In fact, I preferred the X-E2’s viewfinder simplicity (just don’t tell Fujifilm, OK?). The lenses were great, too – sharp, easy to use, no complaints.
So, am I alone, or have other experienced feeling of photographic invincibility with an X-series camera in their hands? Oh ok, just me then.