“Never go into a shoot with kit you don’t know inside out: it’s a recipe for disaster”. My ancient photography tutor’s voice from way back rang clear as our flight circled Belfast, descending through the mist to land. The only two people onboard choosing to wear shorts and running gear, on an early December Irish morning (it’s not known for warm winters…) wasn’t the only questionable decision that day: the X-Pro2 and lenses, wrapped in spare running socks & thermals between my feet, that had arrived by courier the afternoon before were completely alien to me.Continue reading “On the run with the FUJIFILM X-Pro2”
The trip of a lifetime for X-T1 user Gary Collyer delivers some truly memorable images
A photographic enthusiast for many years, Gary Collyer got more serious six years ago and started going on ‘urban safaris’ to shoot candid and street images. His switch to Fujifilm came two years ago when he bought an X-E1 and XF35mm lens, and he’s since sold all his DSLRs and moved to using two X-T1s, an X-Pro1 and various lenses. “Using Fujifilm cameras takes me back to what felt to me, as a very natural form of photography,” he told us. “Their ease of use coupled with a very high-quality output leaves me to concentrate on the content and story of the image.” Recently, Gary’s storytelling quest saw him visit Monument Valley, which is where these shots were taken. “It had been on my list of places to visit for a while,” he said. “For me, it presented a unique opportunity to capture images that I had seen not only in the movies, but throughout photographic history.”
The Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei Mesa (Holy People)
“We had been out for about an hour watching and photographing the sunrise, on a beautiful clear morning. The sun had risen just enough to start bringing out the colours in the sand, whilst still being low enough to give definition to the ripples. The low-light capability of the X-T1 coupled with Fujifilm’s excellent stabilisation system allowed this to be taken handheld at a relatively slow shutter speed.”
Sun’s Eye Arch
“These eroded holes in the sandstone pepper the landscape, with some being more spectacular than others. This one stood out with me because of the water patterns in the rocks matched by the direction of the thin strips of cloud in the sky. The capability of the X-T1 to cope with difficult lighting conditions meant that I could shoot with confidence, knowing that the dynamic range would cope with the shade of the cavern against the bright sky.”
Old shack, backcountry area
“It’s difficult to explain the sheer scale and beauty of these lands. Much of it is sacred to the Navajo people, and it is a privilege to be invited onto it, and to capture images of it. “By this time of the day, the sun had brightened considerably, causing deep shadows on this side of the shack, and this for me was the most interesting side to shoot from. That meant really testing the Fujifilm X-T1’s ability to get a balanced shot that delivered details in both light and shade. For this I relied heavily on the manual exposure preview, to get just the right balance.”
Juniper tree, Mystery Valley near the Square House Ruin
“I had been fascinated by the fallen and broken juniper trees from the start of the tour of Monument Valley and the adjacent Mystery Valley. All day I had been lining up shots, and taken a few, but they just didn’t feel right. Then we came across this tree, and I was really happy with the shots.”
Mitchell Mesa at sunrise
“This image was taken from the public balcony area of the View Hotel. I had been out an hour, capturing silhouettes of the nearby rock formations, when the sun came up over the horizon, revealing the cloud formations and lighting the Mitchell Mesa. For the sunrise I had two X-T1s set up. The first was on a tripod, taking longer exposures, the second that took this was handheld.”
West Mitten from the WildCat Trail
“The Wildcat Trail is the only unaccompanied walking trail available to visitors. At 3.2 miles long, in high temperatures, it can prove to be fairly challenging, particularly at the end, walking steeply uphill on shifting loose sand. So everything was stripped down… one camera, one lens, one spare battery, one spare card, sunblock, hat and plenty of water. Not knowing what to expect, I also needed maximum versatility from the lens, hence the choice of the 18-135mm. It allowed me to take this image of West Mitten (and believe me it’s only when you get close up on foot, that you realise the scale of these rock formations), and later fallen trees and stone piles. The dust and weather sealing proved invaluable with the occasional swirling wind.”
Issue 9 of the Fujifilm X Magazine is now available to view online, or download to your mobile or tablet via the Android or Apple app.
In this issue check out the brilliant fine art landscape work of Pete Bridgwood and Bruno Morandi’s colourful Lisbon cityscapes. If you’re more of the indoor type, there’s advice and tips to help you shoot still-lifes and close-ups. Plus, don’t miss your chance to win a superb XF18-135mm weather-resistant zoom!
Interview – Pete Bridgwood
Pete Bridgwood explains how X-series cameras and lenses help him to produce stunning fine art landscapes.
Here you will learn how to shoot creative flash-lit portraits in four easy steps
All the shots taken in this tutorial were shot with a Fujifilm X-T1, 56mm APD lens and EF-42 flashgun. In normal use, when the EF-42 is mounted on the camera’s hotshoe there is communication between the two. As soon as the flashgun is separated from the camera, that link is severed. To get around this problem, you’ll need a remote trigger, of which a variety of third-party options is available. Triggers come in pairs and function wirelessly over many metres. The transmitter unit is fixed into the camera’s hotshoe while the receiver is connected to the flashgun. When you’re working with the flash off camera, you should use the manual (M) exposure mode so you have total control of the camera’s shutter speed. Correct flash operation is only possible at the camera’s flash synchronisation speed or slower. The Fujifilm X-T1 synchronises with flash at a shutter speed of 1/180sec or slower – the 1/180sec speed on the shutter speed is marked with an X on the shutter speed dial to indicate this. Use a shutter speed faster than this and the flash will be incorrectly exposed.
With this portrait, camera settings of 1/110sec at f/2.5 were needed to reveal the subject’s face using ambient (available) light only. Going to the other extreme we took a meter reading with the camera from the sky – this was 1/180sec at f/3.6 – and took another shot (below). This totally silhouetted our subject, but recorded the sky accurately. For a dramatic portrait we need to stick with this exposure and then add some flash to reveal the subject.
The flashgun can be held in position by an assistant, or placed on a tripod or lighting stand, then you’ll need to vary the position and power output to get the best result. To prove why taking the flash off camera is a good idea, we started by taking a straight flash shot with the EF-42 slipped into the camera’s hotshoe and the TTL setting. Our subject is correctly exposed, but the light is harsh, the background is too dark and the sky lacks depth and colour.
With the flashgun attached to the wireless triggers, it has to be used manually with a power output to suit the flash-to-subject distance. With experience you’ll be able to estimate the required output, but initially you can shoot and review the result before fine-tuning the flash output. Keeping the same exposure for the sky from Step 1, we started at 1/16 output (main image) but the result was too weak. Changing the output to 1/2 power (inset) gives too much light, resulting in overexposure of our subject’s face.
Adjusting the flash output again to 1/4 power produces the right result with our subject correctly lit, some detail in the background and colour and depth in the sky. Simple!
Winter isn’t just about shooting landscapes, you can grab some great portraits too – just follow our advice for better people pictures
Good portraits don’t just happen, some planning is essential. Preparation can be a constant process; bookmark websites with images that inspire you, tear out pictures from magazines, grab shots of billboards that appeal. That way you’ll have some ideas to draw on.
When it comes to taking the pictures, share those ideas with your subject; see the shoot as a collaboration. Keep talking to them as you take pictures and show them the images on the rear LCD – silence isn’t golden in portraiture.
At this time of year, you may want to shoot indoors or out. Outdoors on a cloudy day, the light is beautifully soft, which is very flattering for portraits. Use a reflector to even the light up as much as possible and consider changing the white-balance to the Shade preset to warm up the scene. Sunny conditions work well too, but make sure you use a lens hood to avoid excessive flare and ghosting. Indoors, position your subject near a window for an available light shot or use flash lighting for greater control.
No matter where you work, keep the shooting time short, especially if you’re photographing kids.
Sharp focus on the eyes is crucial otherwise the portrait will lack impact, but don’t feel your subject has to look straight at the camera. Be bold with your compositions – you don’t have to take everything with the camera held upright.
When it comes to lenses, anything goes! The XF50-140mm and XF56mm APD lenses are obvious options, thanks to their excellent bokeh effects, but wide-angle optics are worth consideration, especially if you want to include more of the surroundings. Need some portrait ideas? Try these…
Portraits aren’t all about cropping in close, they can also work well when shooting wide to include the surroundings. Use this approach when you want to tell more of a story with your subject, or simply want to make the most of a fantastic location you’ve found.
Go for bokeh
Fujifilm’s new XF56mm F1.2 APD lens is perfect for portraits. Position your subject in front of a background with bright highlights, then use the maximum aperture for stunning bokeh effects. This approach also works well with other fast-aperture prime XF lenses.
Keep it simple
If you’re shooting in a studio, don’t try to use too many lights. One main light and a reflector is all you need to get some great shots, especially if the light has an umbrella or softbox to diffuse the light for a more flattering result.
Form a group
Make portraiture more social by shooting a group. Avoid lining everyone up in one row; try having some people sitting with others standing behind, or look for a slope or steps for compositional variety. Silhouettes like this work well, too. Take plenty of shots – you’ll be surprised how many group shots can be spoiled by one person blinking!
Getting your subject engrossed in an indoor or outdoor activity gives you the perfect chance to shoot natural candids. Set your X-series camera to continuous AF and continuous shooting so you can keep up with any movement, then fire away. Choosing one of the Auto ISO options will increase your hit rate of sharp shots.
Add some colour
When the weather is colder, natural colours are more muted. Give your portraits a colour boost by adding in bright accessories such as a hat, scarf, coat or gloves. Then select the Velvia Film Simulation mode to give them extra saturation.
This issue’s “X Marks The Spot” features some fantastic street photography by Italian photographer Emanuele Toscano in and around Varese, Italy.
Issue 6 also contains the other usual features; “What to Shoot Now” provides you with inspiration on what subjects to shoot during the summer holiday months, “Get more from your X series” takes a look at bracketing functions that feature on most Fujifilm X cameras and the “Exhibition” shows a fantastic array of colourful images, plus the stories behind them, shot by our readers.
What to shoot now
Get more from your X series
X Magazine exhibition – Colour
And finally, you could win a fantastic XQ1 underwater kit in our competition. For a chance to win, send us your best holiday shot. More details in the magazine itself!
This issue’s “X Marks The Spot” features some amazing infra-red photography by Simon Weir using a modified X-E1 plus Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro.
And the usual features; “What to Shoot Now” provides you with inspiration on what subjects to shoot during the summer months, “Get more from your X series” takes a look at the wireless connectivity function featured on many Fujifilm X cameras and the “Exhibition” shows a fantastic array of images, plus the sotires behind them, shot by our readers.
What to shoot now
Get more from your X series
X Magazine exhibition – Documentary
And finally, you could win a fantastic XF10-24mm lens in our competition. For a chance to win, send us your best wide-angle image. More details in the magazine itself!