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X marks the spot: The Lake District, UK

One photographer, one Fujifilm X-series camera, a whole lot of great images

Ian Allington

Ian Allington

The Fujifilm X-M1 was made for photographers who like to travel light. Incorporating all the best elements of the X-series, including the superb X-Trans sensor, its compact dimensions and light weight set it firmly in the sights of photographers who don’t want a day in the field to result in a bad back or poor-quality images. Photographers like England-based Ian Allington (right), in fact, who regularly treks many miles in the picturesque Lake District to combine his two great passions: walking and photography.

We gave Ian an X-M1 along with the XC 16-50mm to accompany him on his latest trip into the hills and asked him to report back on his findings as he walked around the famous Old Man of Coniston. Click on the map to see his images and read his thoughts about the X-M1 and lenses.

1.The old man and dow crag

The old man and dow crag

Lens: XC16-50mm at 35mm setting
Exposure: 1/50sec at f/10, ISO 200

I decided on an early morning start and took this shot of The Old Man (on the right) and Dow Crag (on the left) from Torver before I started climbing. At this time, there was a deep shadow across the lower fields whilst the top of the hill was enjoying some early morning sun, so I was interested to see how the X-M1 coped with these conditions. As you can see, it’s coped extremely well with the contrast, retaining detail both in the shadows and the sunlit peak.

The camera offers different Dynamic Range settings to cope with strong contrast like this. Although this was taken with the standard 100% setting, 200% is available at ISO sensitivities of 400 and above, while the highest 400% setting is available at ISO 800 and above.

2.Winch cable tower

Winch cable tower

Lens: XC16-50mm at 16mm setting
Exposure: 1/200sec at f/9, ISO 200

One of the most striking features on the landscape in this area is the number of slate mines dotted around the hillside. I’ve taken many pictures here before, but what I particularly liked was being able to take pictures from ground level without having to lie on my stomach in the mud! Thanks to the huge three-inch tilt LCD screen on the X-M1, getting creative with low-level shots was a piece of cake. This is a picture of one of the old winch cable towers and the X-M1 has captured plenty of detail in the cables and the distant spoil heaps on the slopes of The Old Man of Coniston.

3.Old winch room

Old winch room

Lens: XC16-50mm at 30mm setting
Exposure: 1/350sec at f/6.4, ISO 320

Climbing up from the ruins you get a view down on the old winch room, or what’s left of it. The area below is known as Smithy Bank, which was one of the platforms used to transport the slate down the mountain. Here, I tried some of the X-M1’s in-camera filters. The first of these two shots was taken with the Miniature setting and gives an impression of the hut being a model, similar to the tilt shift function created by Photoshop editing, but much quicker and simpler! The second image was taken with the Toy Camera filter giving the effect of being shot with a plastic lens camera. The filters are fun to use and can change a simple image into something far more interesting.

4.Summit of the old man

Summit of the old man

Lens: XC16-50mm at 50mm setting
Exposure: 1/350sec at f/10, ISO 200

After a short climb from Low Water, which nestles below The Old Man, I finally reached the summit which stands at 803m. This view over the summit trig point is looking towards Wetherlam with the Eastern fells in the distance partly obscured by low cloud. I had been mainly shooting in the manual exposure mode up to this point, but here I took the opportunity to switch to the Landscape function on the camera. Comparing results to ones taken in Manual, there was very little difference so the X-M1 can clearly be relied upon for point-and-shoot simplicity. Again, the tilt screen was used to get a low down shot across the summit. My very first Fuji camera – the S9600 – had one and I’d forgotten how useful it could be!

5. View of low water

View of low water

Lens: XC16-50mm at 16mm setting
Exposure: 1/320sec at f/11, ISO 640

Time to start heading back down, and I took this picture looking over the edge towards Low Water below. The village of Coniston is visible nestled just at the end of Coniston Water with a glimpse of Windermere beyond. The colour reproduction is excellent with the greens in the distance well displayed. All the images today were taken using the standard setting as the light and natural colours were vibrant enough, but there are also a range of Film Simulation modes that replicate popular Fujifilm emulsions, should I have wanted to boost or mute colours. I’m sure in the future I’ll be pressing these into service.

6. The Scafell massif

The Scafell massif

Lens: XC16-50mm at 50mm setting
Exposure: 1/320sec at f/11, ISO 200

I descended via Goat’s Water, mainly because I love this view across England’s highest mountains; the Scafell massif. From left to right Scafell, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Ill Crag and Great End viewed across the dappled flanks of Grey Friar. The X-M1’s 49-point AF system with the ability to select your focus point was very useful when composing shots like this. Normally, I would select the focal point in the image, half depress the shutter then recompose before shooting. With this facility it was so easy to select the correct point without the need for recomposing. Just press the AF button on the back of the camera, then use the selector buttons to choose the focusing point on the rear LCD.

7.The cove

The cove

Lens: XC16-50mm at 16mm setting
Exposure: 1/125sec at f/14, ISO 200

After leaving Goat’s Water, the footpath leads you across the Cove. This shot was taken looking back at the imposing face of Dow Crag and the wonderful blue skies above it; I made no adjustment to the saturation on this shot, another example of the vibrancy of the images produced from the X-Trans sensor.

By this point, I’d spent some time with the camera round my neck. I usually store my DSLR in a camera rucksack as I walk because of the weight and the bulk, but the X-M1 is so light and compact it was no problem. It also speeds up picture-taking, as does the inclusion of the Q button, which provides quick and easy access to all the major features of the camera.

1 reply »

  1. I know Ian, I love his photographs and what he is achieving with a Fuji camera. I would happily switch from my heavy Pentax DSLR to a lighter Fuji camera except for one thing. The exposure limit on Auto-Bracketing which is +/- 1 Ev. Nearly all of my photography is HDR and when you are in a dimly lit church you need that extra exposure range to cover the shadow areas.

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