Public Holiday

It was a slow day and needed to get out of the house and take some shots in the gorgeous autumn light.

I thought of the spot that I used for my X-T1 review. It has some great rolling hills in the distance and the sun sets right into them, ending the day with the most beautiful light.

After a rough little drive on the rain-flushed terrain, we arrived at the spot. Some of the grass has burnt in patches, but luckily most was still nice and long. The sun was very close to the perfect spot, I grabbed the camera and started to shoot.

By now the sun was behind the hills and the light was looking good. At this time of year, we have maybe 20 minutes to work with. As always, my wife is my favourite model. 

X-Pro1 & 35mm

To finish off, I was just taking out the X100S to get a wider view when this bird flew right in my direction. Totally the wrong camera for this, but hey, it's what I had in my hand. And look, there is even a tiny little moon there too. :)  

Coming to the end of 2013

It's been a very good and interesting year, particularly the last 3-4 months, that I've been working non-stop on my blog and photography. Another very interesting and very busy year is to come, with many weddings of friends, visits from abroad, some travelling abroad of our own and hopefully more stories to tell. 

I still have to get my personal X100S review out. I have had the X100S since July, but a lot has happened in the meantime and I just never got around to writing it. In all honesty, I would never have guessed half the stuff would have happened to me, as it all came forth from the experience to date with Fujifilm and their X-series.

My cameras 

I've always shot with a DSLR. I have had my Nikon D200 since 2008, and D50 before that. I still love the SLR system, my wife shoots her pro-work on the D600, while I play support with holding reflectors and shooting a bit on the side.

At one point our photography looked almost identical due to me teaching her, now however, I have been trying different things, and she has grown and developed her own style.

The gadget-geek in me would try every piece of gear I can get my hands on to, down to tablets and smartphones. But I realised I needed to be more focused, which partly lead me to make the switch to Fujifilm's X-range of cameras. 

I really started to focus on the environmental portraits of people, and wanted something that would be slightly less intimidating when I am photographing strangers and also something that was small enough to carry with me all the time, but still took pictures of a quality I was used to.  So about six months ago, I took the plunge and completely replaced my D200 with the X100S. I was a bit hesitant of the fixed lens at first, but with some courage I did it.

I loved the X100S right from the start. It is very refined, but still at times I struggle with the 23mm, as I evolved with a 50mm and 85mm. I am slowly getting used it.

I did find some limitations with it in some of the work I was helping with on my wife's business, so went ahead and got a X-Pro1 with the 35mm. In the past, I mostly shot with a 50mm on my D200, so I felt right at home, and with the 56mm (85mm) coming, I think I'll be fully kitted for any needs still to come. 

The X-E2 is, in my opinion, much better, yes. But I preferred the size of the X-Pro1 and was happy with it's performance for what I needed.

In the end, I still have access to the SLR and my wife's D600, but I am loving this change to Fujifilm. I feel that little bit more confident in my photography. Of course, there was the cost factor when you have to buy into two camera systems. In my defence, I did sell 3 lenses and a D3100, though I don't really have a good excuses for the all gear.

Sometimes I wonder why I do this, why talk about gear when I am looking for recognition of my photos. I am technical and love the gear, just as much as talking about the art, but somehow, all the gear talk has gotten me on the radar more than my photos. So be it. 

I read a lot about the pros and cons of the X-series and we're all out to justify the change by proving it can do a lot of stuff the SLR's can do, including me. I feel that going forward, I'm going to try focus on what I have and use it for the type of photography I am currently enjoying and hope to do more of. Also, the style I am leaning towards is what best suits the camera: street, environmental portraits and some travel photography, when the South African currency allows me to go beyond our borders.

A few things I have drawn from the last few months:

  1. There is still the art of photography to learn and grow, no matter the gear. I have a long road ahead of me and am looking forward to the ride.
  2. As much as there is a lot of gear talk, I have grown more as a photographer since the change to Fujifilm.
  3. My circle of photographers, friends and contacts has also grown ten-fold because of it.
  4. I write better. I struggle with dyslexia and have always had a fear of writing. This improved not only due to the camera switch for which I had to write a lot, but also has a lot to do with my wife. She puts a lot of patience into checking my writing, and I am deeply thankful for that.  
  5. I try to edit a lot less and try focus more on in-camera edits. Thanks to Fujifilm's cool film simulations and quick edits in the Q-menu.
  6. Lastly, I have far more passion in the last 6 months, and even though it sounds like I am repeating a lot of what others in the Fuji circles say, it's definitely true.   

Now my biggest decision every morning when I leave for work is wether to take my X100S or my X-Pro1 with me!

I leave my DSLR behind and go forth. 
All the best for 2014 and let's print more images, and make sure they're big!

 

My wife helping with this every step of the way 

Green

I live in a part of the country which I can love and hate. In winter it can be so brown, with  fields of burnt bushes and grass, it can certainly bring you down.

Now with winter over 3 months past, and spring just coming to an end, things are starting to look up. We have a few nice parks in the Jo'burg area, which is where we decided to spend our Sunday afternoon. This one you have to pay to go in, as it is the beautiful botanical gardens, Walter Sisulu.

We take our usual picnic gear and head off. It's a strange, cloudy day, with threats of rain on the way we wonder if it is worth paying to go in, only to be rushed out by the dark clouds and some drizzle. We brave it with the hope of a couple hours of trees and birds. 

Once we've settled down and are ready to just lie down and take in the area, I instead grab my camera and think: 'Let's see if I can get some nice images in a 10-20 meter radius.'

This low-cut trunk at a close distance caught my eye, and I wander towards it to take the shot, I go low to shoot and the colours just pop out and scream at me. It hit me; I have found my subjects!

Technical Stuff

X-Pro1 with my favourite 35mm f/1.4. Even though I shot in RAW + Jpeg, all the photos I posted were the jpeg version.

  • Astia 
  • Highlights +2
  • Shadows +2
  • Colour + 2
  • Sharp + 1

In Lightroom I added blacks/contrast and a little bit of clarity.