Tag: Maya Sugiharto

Untethered: 7000 – Adventure to another world with the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X100S

Maya Sugiharto and Aviva Minc are Visual Storytellers. Photographers and Short Filmmakers based in Melbourne, Australia.  They are the Co-Founders and Creative Directors behind Agent Morphe.  They love to travel (with their cameras) on adventures and road trips, off the beaten tracks. To see more of their photos, visit them on Facebook and Twitter or on their personal Instagram accounts.

Maya Sugiharto –@mayasugihartophotography  and Aviva Minc –@photographersassistant.


Untethered: 7000 – Adventure to another world with the Fujifilm X-Pro2

Photography Road Trip Fact Sheet:

– 1,449km travelled
– 7 days
– Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF35mmF2 R WR + XF23mmF2 R WR
– Fujifilm X100S


Part 1: City Forest Cave

From the sand storms in the isolated deserts in Broken Hill Northern Territory, to the ice blizzards in the most southern state of the nation, Tasmania, we are putting ourselves, and our Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X100S cameras to the test.

We set ourselves the goal of seeing and photographing the circumference of Tasmania over a seven-day period, by road in winter – to document the landscape and to test how well our Fujifilm digital appendages would cope in the extreme conditions.

We jumped on a plane from Melbourne to Hobart – first stop our Hotel – top recommendation Ibis Styles (only a few month old) for views as we stayed on Level 9, great photography ops and clean, modern facilities.

As soon as we landed and had our car hire sorted, our first day goals were to get as far South as we could drive in Australia. We travelled down to Kettering, Middleton, Charlotte Cove, Huonville, Southport and all the way down to the most southern point in Australia – Cockle Creek.

The best way to describe this part of Tasmania would be quant and serene. There were fishing villages dotted along the journey, a wooden boat shed and builder, apple cider cellars and caves with thermal springs (Hastings) which we didn’t get time to see. There are heaps of photo opportunities as you can see below are just a few.

On our second day, our goal was to scout and find the filming locations of the Kettering Incident created by Vicky Madden and staring Elizabeth Debicki (Porchlight and Sweet Potato Films). The show was filmed at various locations around Kettering and Bruny Island itself, however it was apparently also filmed around Myrtle Forest – where you get the awesome green, mossy lush forest scenes. The film is about two women who go missing – not necessarily the best premise to head into the woods on our own, but we really wanted those beautiful lush photographs that many of us know Tasmania to show off.

We collected all of our gear and were about to head off onto the Myrtle Forest trail up to the waterfall, which was dark, wet and slippery. However were greeted by an odd man and his barking pit bull who seemed to appear again at various parts of the track. We had flashbacks to Wolf Creek crossed with the Kettering Incident itself, and to be honest were actually a little concerned about our safety.

In retrospect, we probably should’ve turned around – however the determination to get what we came for, out won our logic and we headed up the track. It was spooky, but beautiful.

After surviving the forest and its inhabitants, we drove east towards Dunalley, where you find a fish and chip shop that is on Tasmania’s top eats, and then we drove down to the Tessellated Pavement where our plan was to get some shots at sunset but things don’t always go to plan – however when we arrived, two guys told us about three whales that were playing in the bay at Remarkable Cave; so we took their word, jumped in the car and headed down there pronto! We didn’t have the zoom lens to be able to capture the whales but we certainly heard them talking all the way past sunset, which was pretty amazing.

Next up: to the mountains.

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.” Arthur C Clarke


Part 2: Mountain[s]

Otherworldly.

It was time to go north. We were heading to Cradle Mountain to photograph, hopefully, a snowstorm that was due to arrive overnight and possibly the Southern Aurora if the clouds/snow passed.

There’s two ways to get to Cradle Mountain from Hobart – via the West or straight up. The more picturesque route is via Georgetown to the West, where you go through some pretty amazing terrain, however because of an incoming storm warning for snow thunderstorms that night, we decided to play this one safe.

You pass by some beautiful jagged mountains, such as Mount Roland, on the way. So Jurassic, other worldly, and powerful. As we were driving, our GPS announced “ turn right, and you will arrive in Paradise (photograph below) – that it certainly was. To top it off we were driving through this whole area during golden hour! As you’re approaching Cradle, the landscape changes significantly. It is surreal, and ethereal – eerie and another dimension perhaps.

We arrived safely after a long 5 hours drive to our lodge at Cradle Mountain. The closest supermarket is 45 minutes away, so be prepared – bring supplies! You have limited choices for places to eat, and those available are pricey, so be ready for that. Once we re-fueled our body, charged our cameras, it was time to rest our souls and get ready for the next adventure the following day.

The next morning, sure enough we woke up to -1 degree temperatures and a covering of snow and continuous snowfalls and blizzards – beautiful and breathtaking! Now we had the day to explore Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair with a big dose of snow, and an opportunity to really test the Fujifilm X-Pro2 (which is promoted as being weather resistant) and the Fujifilm X100S!

The mountain pass costs $20 per adult for the day, but in fact is for 24hrs, so if you enter at 1pm as we did, it lasts until 1pm the following day, which is fantastic. We were fortunate to be there whilst it was snowing very heavily, and got the chance to throw the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the WR lenses into the snow, to test them for their durability. We can honestly say that they live up to our expectation and their reputation. Even the X100S performed awesomely in the snow. Fujifilm does not recommend using it in a snowstorm, but we found the casing and the design made it really easy to use in those conditions.

Timing is everything, and again, we were at Lake St Clair during the golden hour for sunset, which was gorgeous. Highly recommend, especially when it’s snowing. The park gate counts the cars and only allows a certain amount of cars in at once, mainly due to the road only being a single lane but also to stop it getting too crowded there. A brilliant idea because we really got to experience it without the huge crowds you might see at the Twelve Apostles for example. Although it might have been because it was snowing so much too, that the traffic was low.

The next morning, we went back into Cradle Mountain Park to see the Waldheims Cabins – there was talk from the locals of wombats hanging around the area, so we were very keen to get up close and personal with them.

We only had a few hours before we needed to begin our long drive back to Hobart, but our wish did come true and we got to meet a wonderful friendly wombat whom was very willing to have their photograph taken.

Sadly, we had to leave Cradle Mountain without any opportunity to see or photograph the Southern Aurora and her dancing lights. The cloud cover just never passed, as we had snow the whole time we were there, but according to the readings and reports we had, if the clouds had passed, there was meant to be some pretty amazing lights.

We have to say, it was pretty difficult to leave Cradle Mountain, and a definite highlight to the trip. Such a surreal and majestic place to spend time in, and the snow just added to the whole mystique. We wished we had planned a longer visit there, a chance to go on the many walk trails around Lake St Clair in the park that would have been beautiful with the snow covering (and very cold!).

We were meant to spend the last two days of the road trip driving down the east coast, but fell ill with the flu, and had to skip it and headed to Hobart instead.

Hobart is a great base to work from, especially when travelling to the lower parts of Tasmania. We decided to go back to the Tessellated Pavement at Eaglehawk Neck (because we had missed it when we went chasing the whales on our second day) and get some shots of the gorgeous rocks on the beach.

That was followed by a drive up to snow covered Mt Wellington, with the plan of getting some great shots of Hobart, and some footage of more snow. Whilst driving up the mountain, we came to a Whippet that was running scared on its own on the road in front of our car, and instead spent the rest of our day helping a local couple find that same dog that ran into the forest in the cold past sunset. So we never reached the top, or got any photographs, and as it turns out, the road to the top of Mt Wellington was blocked (which can happen on the spur of the moment) due to ice and snow. So it’s best to call the City of Hobart and the rangers to get updates before you go!

This was an incredible trip. Definitely not enough time in many of the places we visited, and not enough time to get to all the places we had hoped to see. We missed a lot. In researching the places to visit, other people had said that a week was not enough to drive around and see all of Tasmania. And we have to agree. You can rush it, but you’d be doing yourself an injustice because Tasmania is a good-looking place to photograph and you deserve to see it all. One way to do that would be to break the trip into three parts: the east coast; the south and the west.

Our heart breaks that we missed the Aurora Australis. However there are awesome opportunities to get some incredible shots from what I’ve heard and seen from others, in fact just a few days after we left, there was a peak in activity and a beautiful show in the sky, that could even be seen over Hobart. As they say, next time, in Tasmania, with our Fujifilm cameras!

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Henry Miller

 

 

UNTETHERED: 2880

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It’s our last night in Broken Hill and the heavens have opened up with severe weather conditions including floods and thunderstorms that ended a day of gale force winds. For a long time I’ve wanted to travel on an adventure, out into the Australian Outback, with my trusted camera in hand, for opportunities of the ‘not so ordinary’ photographs.

 

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As a professional photographer, I began my career as a Nikon user, and I still am on one hand (excuse the pun), however I like being untethered. So taking my DSLR out on the road for trips like this one, felt like a burden – not because of its ability to take beautiful photographs, but because of the size and weight of it, and also because of how much it draws attention. It wasn’t until last year when I did Project 23 with Fujifilm Australia using the X100S, that the seed was planted; that’s when I realised the potential of the Fujifilm mirrorless camera. I always wanted to have a camera that was small enough in my hand, yet capable and rugged enough to handle all shooting situations, especially when I’m on the road. So began my journey to find the right ‘partner’ in the perfect camera world.

 

We had planned a four-day road trip in early October from Melbourne to Broken Hill and the NSW Outback Desert. When Fujifilm announced the release of the X-Pro2 at the beginning of this year, I had my keen eyes set on it. However timing wise, the X-T2 was just released at the same time I was ready to buy a new camera, and right before I was leaving for the Outback Road Trip. So my decision was very hard. Weighing up the latest X-T2 against the X-Pro2 was an extremely difficult and time-consuming exercise for me. I did a lot of research online, talked to photographers who use the X-T1 and even rented the X-Pro2 for one day to see how I felt with it. But on D-Day, it mostly came down to personal preference: durability; the hybrid viewfinder on the X-Pro2 vs. EVF only on the X-T2; and just how good the Fujifilm X-Pro2 felt ergonomically in my hands. So X-Pro2 it was.

 

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We stayed in Broken Hill for 4 days (inclusive of our 2 x 11 hour drives from/to Melbourne each way). There’s so much to see along the way, a 9-hour drive that became 11-12 hours because of the amount of times we stopped to take photographs. Conditions wise, just in those four days, we went through flash floodings, mini cyclones, thunderstorms and gale force winds including red dust storms. I couldn’t just sit inside the car and feel protective or scared of ruining my new X-Pro2, as much as instinctively I wanted to. There will be battle scars that my camera will earn and I’m ok with that.

 

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Whilst walking along a road outside of Broken Hill, during what they say is a normal windy Spring day, I was shooting in an actual red dust storm – with fine little pieces of dirt and dust blowing straight towards me, and my X-Pro2 was completely exposed. I spent the evening blowing the dirt out of the grooves of my Polarizing Filter, lens and buttons.

 

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On other shoots, we were standing on top of a mine, exposed without protection, in pouring rain and gale force winds – on the day where we planned to do our long exposure night photography shoot. It’s about the adventure for me; so making the most of the opportunities, and capturing moments when they happen, is what I live for. So I have to get out there.

 

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Fujifilm advertise their X-Pro2 and the XF35mm F2 R WR lens (which I also bought with my X-Pro2) as being Weather Resistant. Based on my experience, I can honestly say that the ‘army-like machine’s’ durability of the camera casing is definitely weather resistant, and no matter what I put it through on this ‘field test’ trip, it is exactly the sort of camera I can rely on, and take with me on all my adventures!

 

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Our goal for the trip was to really see and experience the environment of the Aussie Outback – after all, it’s all about the journey, not the destination. A constant reminder our GPS announced throughout the trip was to ‘proceed to the route’. But we didn’t care because stopping along the way and going off the beaten track WAS the journey.

 

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Broken Hill and Silverton (30-minute drive North West of Broken Hill) both have so many opportunities for photography, including the 270km stretch of uninhabited desert that lies between the drive from Wentworth to Broken Hill. It’s a pretty awesome landscape for all photographers. What I know from my own experience, in most cases, the best photographs come out of spontaneity. I am willing to admit that I am a huge planner – I like to make lists and plan my shots ahead of time and it always served me well. But on journeys such as this, I had to put my inner control freak aside, and just be in the moment.

 

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These are some of the places we shot at whilst on this Outback Road Trip:

 

  1. Silver City Hwy – this is the Hwy you have to travel on when driving to Broken Hill from Wentworth. The terrain is barren, vast and rugged. Red earth, lots of lizards and nature along the road, and carcases of animals long gone. We saw the remains of what seemed to be a Dingo, with just the tail and claws, and the skeleton half buried in the red dust, just a little way off the side of the road.

 

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  1. Palace Hotel – this is where Priscilla Queen of the Desert was filmed, and made famous in Broken Hill City Centre. They have an event in September called Broken Heel where they have a performing Drag Queen and re-enact the movie. The inside of the hotel has huge murals that are apparently great to see.

 

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  1. Line of Lode Miners Memorial – this is literally just 5 minutes out of Broken Hill City Centre and has great views of Broken Hill City. We used this location for our long exposure night photography and storm photography. The altitude here and the front of views of the city make it a great place to take some amazing shots.

 

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  1. Silverton Hotel – is in Silverton, which is a 30-minute drive North West of Broken Hill. The hotel is famous for being the film set of movies such as Mad Max and Razorback just to name a few.

 

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  1. Silverton and its surrounds – if you want Ghost Town kind of Outback, then Silverton is an amazing place to get some arid photographs of the desert, along with a whole range of abandoned cars and buildings. It’s called a Ghost Town because of all the empty relics. We found it a bit spooky to be honest, but it had a real Aussie Outback feel, and the fact that it is used so often as movies sets, says it all about the opportunities it has for photographers too.

 

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  1. Mundi Mundi Lookout – is just 10-minute out of Silverton, and has amazing views of the flat plains and desert-facing sunset, all the way to the horizon. We stayed out there and did our night and star photography from there because we could see all the way to the horizon. Amazing sunsets too. Word of warning, it can get crowded because tour buses come out there for sunset too, as well as many other people to watch the sunset. So if you like solitude, don’t go on weekends or school holidays. Also take insect repellent – the mosquitos out there bite really hard!

 

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  1. Dirt Roads – there’s many dirt roads, and dried out river beds, outside of Broken Hill, and in particular just out of Silverton as well as the Living Sculptures turnoff, that are amazing opportunities to walk along, explore and take photographs.

 

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  1. Living Desert Sculptures and Flora & Fauna Sanctuary – about 20-minute drive out of Broken Hill, this is yet another location where you get amazing views of the terrain and desert all the way to the horizon. Word of warning, don’t go out there when it’s windy, and make sure you purchase entrance fees ($6 pp as of October 2016) because the Rangers do come and check apparently.

 

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  1. Brownes Shaft Mine & Lookout – is another location where you can get great night sky and star photography. It’s elevated on top of an old mine and the structure is great as a landmark around the night sky for some pretty great shots. The stars are awesome out there, the Milky Way so bright, especially when there is a no moon, which is what we had when we were on this trip.

 

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  1. Tyrell Lake / Salt Lake – this is somewhere you can take a short detour off on your way to / from Broken Hill. Unfortunately, we had heavy rain and floods so the road was closed, and the photo we did get to take was out in pouring rain, so the salt wasn’t so colourful or visible. I think it would be a great place to visit in the dryer months.

 

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  1. Brim Silos – again another place you can plan on your trip up / from Broken Hill, where an artist has painted portraits of farmers on one side of the silos in the wheat producing strip of Henty Hwy in Victoria. Their sheer size is just breathtaking.

 

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And when you need to feed after a very long day out in the desert, we highly recommend Thyme On Argent for their pizzas (say hi to Jodie) and Bells Milk Bar for their heavenly milkshakes and sweets.

 

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I pride myself of shooting RAW all the time but with Fujifilm cameras I shoot FINE (JPEG FINE that is). For some reason the JPEG that comes out of any Fujifilm camera that I’ve own (X-Pro2 and X100S) come out really nice and creamy. I don’t know what ‘spices’ and ‘ingredients’ they put in producing their JPEGs, but the colours come out really nice and just right.

 

My favourite would be Provia, Classic Chrome and of course Monochrome Film Simulation. You can view different JPEG Film Simulations of the Fujifilm X–Pro2 here for comparison.

 

Full disclaimer: I own these two cameras and this isn’t a technical review of the cameras on behalf of Fujifilm. But I’d like to share my first-hand experience of taking both my X-Pro2 and X100S on my ‘field test’ trip. Any locations I mentioned on this blog are purely my own recommendations – obviously you’ll need to do your own research and see whether it’s suitable for your own journey.

 

I’m so in love with my new Fujifilm X-Pro2, and know that I made the right decision. I’m wrapped and satisfied with how it withstood so much from this trip. We love travelling light, on adventures and road trips, and most of our luggage is usually photography or gadgetry equipment. These cameras will stay with me for a very long time.

 

See you all on our next Untethered Adventure!

 

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The gear we used on this field test trip:

 

  1. Fujifilm X-Pro2 (Firmware 1.02)
  2. Fujifilm XF35mm F2 R WR (Firmware 1.01)
  3. Fujifilm X100S (Firmware 1.21)
  4. Peak Design Slide Lite Camera Strap
  5. Peak Design Cuff
  6. Peak Design Field Pouch
  7. Benro Tripod GC168TB1 (used with the X-Pro2)
  8. 3 Legged Thing Brian X1.1 with Evolution 1 with AirHed 1 (used with the X100S)
  9. Hahnel Combi TF with Cable release (used with the X-Pro2)
  10. HOYA Fusion UV Filter 43mm Thread (used on the XF35mm F2 R WR)
  11. HOYA Fusion Circular Polarizer Filter 43mm Thread (used on the XF35mm F2 R WR)
  12. Lexar Pro – 32GB SDXC Card – UHS 1 – 95MB/s – 633x – Class 10 (used on the X-Pro2)
  13. Lexar Platinum II – 16GB – SDHC Card – 100x – Class 6/10 (used on the X100S)
  14. iPhone 7
  15. Apple Macbook Pro 15” Retina Display
  16. Western Digital Passport Hard Drive 1TB
  17. Inmarsat Satellite Phone (yep, you’ve gotta be prepared!)

 

 

 

About the authors

 

Maya Sugiharto and Aviva Minc are Visual Storytellers. Photographers and Short Filmmakers based in Melbourne, Australia. They are the Co-Founders and Creative Directors behind Agent Morphe Design. They love to travel (with their cameras) on adventures and road trips, off the beaten tracks. To see more of their photos visit them on Facebook and Twitter or on their personal Instagram accounts.

Maya Sugiharto – @mayasugihartophotography

Avia Minc – @photographersassistant