It won’t be long before the natural world starts showing signs of life, which will give photographers across the globe plenty of subjects to train their cameras on.
To start, look low to the ground where bulbs will soon start to break the surface of the soil. Getting down low is the key to success and those X-series cameras with an articulated rear LCD will come in handy to help you frame up shots without having to lie on the floor.
Don’t be afraid to crop in close on snowdrops and daffodils, selecting the macro mode to ensure you focus as close as possible. If you’re shooting on a sunny day, placing your camera flat on the ground and pointing the lens upwards will deliver a ‘worm’s eye view’ of the flowers, which works particularly well with yellow crocus, tulips and daffodils set against a deep blue sky. Consider using the Velvia Film Simulation mode to boost colours, or fit a polarising filter to really saturate primary hues.
If you don’t fancy scrabbling in the dirt, birds and wildlife get a little bolder in the springtime as they start searching for mates and building nests. Use a telephoto lens like the XF55-200mm or XC50-230mm to keep a safe distance and make sure you shoot against a clear, uncluttered background such as foliage or even the sky to be sure nothing distracts from the subject. With any wildlife subject you’ll need to be patient; the best shots will come to those who wait… or those who set up feeding stations in their gardens!
Window light portraits
The low sun at this time of year is perfect for people shots indoors. Carefully choose a window – you want sunlight to bathe your subject in, not to blind them. Position your subject nice and close, then switch your camera to aperture-priority mode, using a wide aperture to throw the background out of focus.
A day in your life
If a 365 project is too daunting, perhaps you can manage 24 hours. Pick a typical day and document your life. It’s easy to do with the portable X cameras. Start with your breakfast and only put the camera down when you go to bed. Apply the usual rules though: think about your shots and compose carefully, don’t simply machine-gun it.
Set aside the usual approach to exposing your subject and expose for the background to get a dark, striking silhouette of a person, tree or church – easily recognisable subjects work best. Switch to spot metering and take a reading from the bright background to ensure your subject is rendered as an outline.
Emulate the look of yesteryear’s photos with one of the X-series Film Simulation modes. All the X-series cameras offer these magic modes; the X-Pro1 boasts a stunning selection of 10, including names you may remember from film boxes, such as Provia and Velvia. Find them in your camera’s Shooting menu or via the Q menu.
In countries around the world, Shrove Tuesday (4 March) is a day for celebration; in many, such as Germany and Italy, this means carnival, while in the UK, it’s the chance to flip pancakes. Whichever is happening near you, photograph it. For a carnival parade, try the Pop Color Advanced Filter (on the XQ1, X100S, X-M1, X20 and X10).