Through a Photographer’s Eye: Joe Allam

Welcome to the Second Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our seventh interview in Series Two is with Melbourne based photographer, Joe Allam.

Joe, tell us about yourself and how you ended up with a camera in your hand travelling the world?

 

Hey, thanks for inviting me to the blog! I’m a mid-20s “independent creative” as I like to label it. Descending from a background in graphic design and a passion for photography from a young age, I’ve slowly been becoming more and more self-sufficient with my work and more remote with my clients, to allow extended travel around the world.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF23mmF2 R WR – 1/40 second – F4 – ISO 1000

 

It all started from a personal goal with my partner Elly, to pack everything up and go travelling for at least a year, with the intention of basing ourselves in Melbourne for the majority of that time. Throughout the past couple of years, I’ve been documenting my photography experiences to a growing audience on YouTube. In short, this has all helped to create a lifestyle that opens further opportunities for even more travel content creation!

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/140 second – F5.6 – ISO 200

 

 

What are your impressions on the Fujifilm X-T2?

 

I love the X-T2! In fact, I’ve been falling heavily for Fujifilm cameras ever since I recommended Elly get the X-T10 last year. They’ve easily been the most enjoyable cameras I’ve ever used. The X-T2, in particular, is just incredibly functional and usable, with everything I need fully accessible while shooting. I’ve been dabbling with various mirrorless setups over the past few years, but always took note of them not being DSLRs. With the X-T2, I have to remind myself that it is actually a mirrorless camera! There’s always been talk about when the DSLR will truly die off in favour of mirrorless, but I’ve never been so confident of that coming sooner until I used the X-T2.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/1600 second – F5 – ISO 200

 

One of the standout features I’ve loved about the X-T2 and other Fujifilm cameras is the viewfinder. I’ve never been much of a fan of electronic viewfinders in the past. I’ve always been very conscious of them, which can be quite distracting when taking photos. There’s just something extremely comfortable and enjoyable with the Fujifilm ones though. Coupled with just the right settings for customisation, I’ve been able to make them personal to me and my shooting style very easily.

 

For my travel lifestyle, using the X-T2 has been an extremely welcome change regarding the size and weight of my equipment. It’s been able to replace almost all needs that I had for a photography camera, in a body that’s about half the weight and size of my previous cameras.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF23mmF2 R WR – 1/30 second – F10 – ISO 200

 

 

Recently you travelled to New Zealand, in your opinion what was the best photo you captured using the X-T2 during the trip? Can you tell us the story behind the image?

 

An image that really stands out for me was taken in Arthur’s Pass overlooking “the viaduct”. It’s a viewpoint I’d seen visiting New Zealand for the first time last year and still amazes me having seen it a couple more times since.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/125 second – F9 – ISO 200

 

Previously I’d been unlucky with the light and time of day for travelling through Arthur’s Pass, as it’s always been during a day of 5+ hours of driving, which doesn’t give much flexibility for an itinerary. This year was much the same, driving through Arthur’s Pass slap bang in the middle of the day with flat cloud cover and drizzling rain. However, just as I reached the viewpoint for the shot, some cloud cover broke, and the rain stopped to add some extra variation to the lighting which was very welcome!

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/125 second – F9 – ISO 200

 

I wanted to display the landscape’s diversity with the foreground grass interest, to show how varied the terrain is; rather than it just looking like a drone shot; which is why I got low for the shot poking the lens through the metal railings. With the coach driving through the middle, I was also able to show a sense of scale for the bridge, and hopefully, with this shot, I’ve been able to inspire other people to visit New Zealand.

 

 

What Fujinon lens did you reach for most when you were travelling? Why was this your favourite lens?

 

I found myself using the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 throughout most of the trip, which actually surprised me. I honestly thought I was going to have the XF23mmF2 almost permanently fixed, but I think the convenience of the wide to telephoto focal length really came into play while travelling.

 

The trip was very hectic, with multiple long distance driving routes, helicopters, 4-wheel driving and boat trips. All that added up to very tight opportunities for actually capturing a moment, which is why the versatility of going from 18mm to 135mm really helped. I especially enjoyed the longer end of the lens and ended up composing more images with telephoto styles than my original style would suggest.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/800 second – F5.6 – ISO 250

 

 

Throughout your travels, in Australia and New Zealand, you used the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X-T2. What did you find was the main advantage/disadvantage of one camera over the other?

 

Even though both cameras are very similar, they both still have their distinct features and use cases. This may sound a bit contradicting, but I find the X-T2 to be much more of an all-round camera, yet the X-Pro2 feels more like a camera that I would actually have with me everyday. I really enjoy the stealthy approach to the X-Pro2 when shooting in urban environments. The form factor felt ever so slightly more portable than the X-T2 as well. Overall it just felt like a camera I could pretty much always have in my bag or pocket, no matter where I was going in the city.

 

The X-T2 on the other hand felt a little more substantial as a camera. It felt like something that I would bring for a particular shooting intention. Of course, this is all relative to just my personal experience, as I know photographers who shoot weddings and such with an X-Pro2…

 

One aspect of the X-T2 that I found so much more comfortable however was the SLR-styled design, especially with the viewfinder inline with the lens. Not that I disliked the side orientation on the X-Pro2, it just took an extra bit of a conscious effort to hold the camera to my face in the right place. Again, it sounds silly, but when transitioning between so many different brands of cameras at the same time, sometimes my muscle memory just couldn’t keep up with itself!

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/60 second – F5.6 – ISO 2500

 

The dial locks and placements were somewhat better implemented on the X-T2, but in reality, it barely changed my shooting style between the two cameras. There is definitely a lot of crossover within the tech specs between the two cameras. Yet, I can still distinctly see a use case for either body.

 

 

When filming on the Fujifilm X-T2, are there any settings you would recommend using?

 

I pretty much always follow the cinematic style of shooting video with an 180º shutter angle. So I would mostly be using a shutter speed of 1/50th or 1/100th depending on whether I was shooting at 25fps or 50fps. Specific to Fujifilm, however, would be using the film simulation “Pro Neg Hi.” I found it to be the most neutral and pleasing to use with regards to colour grading the footage in post production.

 

I did also shoot some F-Log footage into my Atomos Ninja Assassin via HDMI out, which worked very well. However, a setting I discovered I needed to disable was the auto-off feature. F-Log video is recorded externally rather than to the SD card, which means the camera is technically idle and would need some form of interaction to stop it from going to sleep.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF23mmF2 R WR – 1/30 second – F5 – ISO 200

 

 

If you were to design the next Fujifilm X Series camera what feature(s) would you include based on your vast experience with mirrorless cameras?

 

Although I very much enjoy the Fujifilm system for my work, there are still a few very specific features I feel are missing. Most notably would be an 180º flip-out touch screen so that I could consider using an X-T2 for vlogging. It would also be suitable for when filming in tight spaces when the back of the camera is up against a wall. Mix in some in-body image stabilisation to compliment a lens based image stabilisation, and there could be some serious video specs to tick all the boxes!

 

I switch between photo and video modes often when out shooting, yet I get frustrated having to adjust settings between the two every time I switch modes. A simple solution would be a setting that could enable a “last-used settings” for each mode, rather than carrying everything over each time. For example, when in video mode, I would set my shutter to 1/50th and film a scene for a cinematic frame rate. Yet in photo mode, I may want to use a higher shutter speed to freeze the motion rather than introduce blur. I’ve experimented with setting custom modes for each setup, but this still doesn’t fulfil the “remember last settings” for each particular mode. Along similar lines would be a dedicated video button similar to what is used on the X-Pro2, but is missing from the X-T2.

 

I’d also love to see the XF lenses have reduced friction on the lens barrel for smoother zooming and manual focus, along with a constant physical size using internal moving components — I’ve never been a fan of lenses that “grow” when zooming.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/680 second – F5 – ISO 200

 

If you have some advice for someone starting out in photography what would it be?

 

The best advice I can give to anyone starting out is to always have a camera with you. Sometimes you never know when you may come across a shot, but more importantly, it’s about knowing your camera inside out, so that when you do come across the right shot, you’re prepared for it, with a camera you know how to use.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/180 second – F10 – ISO 200

 

On too many occasions I see beginner photographers get frustrated in a situation because they can’t get a look or style they have in mind, or the camera is “acting weird”. Take the time to truly get to know your equipment by shooting often, and you’ll soon find that your creative side will start to improve as you try to find better ways of shooting your everyday life!

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/1000 second – F20 – ISO 3200

To view more Joe’s work visit his blog, watch him on YouTube or visit his Instagram account or Facebook page.

Other interviews in this series

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Rhys Tattersall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Jared Morgan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Tony Gardiner

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Greg Cromie

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Clèment Breuille

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Bhagiraj Sivagnanasundaram

 

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer Mark Loader

Our latest X-Thusiast photographer brings an inspiring approach to photographing his subjects. Learn how Mark Loader adds mood and emotion to his images, and be inspired.

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?

 

My name is Mark Loader and I’m from Perth Western Australia. I currently live in the southern suburbs between Perth and Fremantle. I’m married with three children. You can see my work on Instagram under the name Ranford Stealth.

 

How did you develop an interest in photography using Fujifilm equipment?

 

I only took up photography eight years ago (January 2009) after a lifetime of interest, so better late than never! I used DSLRs for the first few years and I still have those but rarely take them out now. I first discovered the X100 and was struck with its usability and IQ. The old-style shutter speed and aperture controls seemed so much more intuitive to me even though I wasn’t active with film SLRs. This naturally progressed to the interchangeable lens models, which I use constantly today.

Fujifilm X-E1 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS – F14 – 1/250 second – ISO 250

 

How would you describe your photography style and strategy?

 

I was lucky in that my good friend Rob Miller is a pro and has mentored me. He impressed upon me the importance of an image’s background and its relationship to the subject. I mostly take portraits and I found this invaluable to my growth as a photographer. So it’s background first always. I try to get as much mood and emotion in a portrait as I can and I put relationship preeminent in my shoots. I like to know my subject. Finding great available light and playing with shadows affects my work as well. Shadows are to light what silence is to sound in music. They go hand in hand.

 

What inspires your photography?

 

My subjects of course, and the work of other photographers like W. Eugene Smith and Dan Winters. Locations often suggest ideas depending on the light and time of day.

 

Where are your favourite places to take photos and do you prefer a certain type of light?

 

I prefer cityscapes … alleys, lanes, doorways, etc. But I’m always open to new ideas and places.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF565mmF1.2 R – F5.6 – 1/250 second – ISO 250

 

What is your favourite memory from a photography session?

 

A few years ago I went out with a friend (it was about the fourth time I’d shot with her) and we went from about 11am to 5pm (with breaks). Everything clicked that day; she became my muse, and I went home believing I had something to say as a photographer.

 

Can you tell us what’s your favourite Fujifilm camera to use and why?

 

Mostly the X-T1, great workhorse and the live preview is wonderful. I always shoot manual so that helps with fine-tuning the exposure. I also use the X-Pro1 and X-E1 … I get attached!

Fujifilm X100 at 23mm – F8 – 1/250 second – ISO 250

 

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer to use with your Fujifilm camera and why?

 

For portraiture I love the XF56mmF1.2. The XF35mmF1.4 is a great all-rounder and the XF23mmF2 for street and it was a great asset for shooting bridal prep indoors at my friend’s wedding last November. I’m a bit stunned by the XF16mmF1.4 at the moment, a surprising choice for me considering I used to think the 35mm was ultra wide! The XF18-55mmF2.8-4 is so much more than a “kit” lens.

 

What sort of workflow do you use in your photography? Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?

 

For portraits, I shoot RAW and JPEG, but usually just the latter for street. I edit in LR5 and Nik. Each picture presents a different mood and challenge so I don’t have too many default presets.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 with XF56mmF1.2 R – F2.8 – 1/250 second – ISO 400

 

Do you have any technical tips you’d like to share? Perhaps suggestions on the best lighting, shutter speed, white balance, aperture, ISO, etc? Other preferences?

 

Learn the basics, sunny 16 rule, subject/background relationship, rule of thirds, Fibonacci’s principle. Getting it right in camera is a great discipline to adopt from the get go. Anyone who simply says “fix it in Photoshop” should be hunted down and dealt with severely! As should be those who say to ignore the rules. To that I say: Fine, break the rules if you want but do it for a reason, not out of ignorance. My photographic education really started when the camera was no longer an obstacle.

 

Do you have advice for new photographers or the next potential X-Thusiast?

 

Be passionate. If you are not then photography may not be for you. That’s ok. Buy books, go for long walks looking for possible locations and where and when the great light hits it. Find a mentor if you can. If not buy “Road To Seeing” by Dan Winters before it’s out of print. Actually grab that book come what may, it’s a mentorship in itself. Find out who the top shooters are in your preferred genres and learn about them. And from them. Lastly, browse some photography quotes. You may find a gem or two in there to live by….”What’s the use of a great depth of field if there is not an adequate depth of feeling?” (W. Eugene Smith)…so be like Nike, fellow togs, and just DO it!

Fujifilm X-Pro1 with XF35mmF1.4 R – F2 – 1/250 second – ISO 500

 

 

If you or someone you know in Australia is interested in joining our X-Thusiast community, check out the full X-Thusiast Gallery and submission details here.

 

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Bhagiraj Sivagnanasundaram

Welcome to the Second Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our sixth interview in Series Two is with Sydney based photographer, Bhagiraj Sivagnanasundaram.

Bhagiraj, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in photography?

I’m a wanderer often travelling between two worlds, one as a Doctor in a busy Emergency Department, another as a photographer. 
There should be a starting point to any kind of passion. For us photographers, it’s mostly another photographer or a photo that pushes us to start exploring the world. For me, it was the photos taken by my cousin brother when I was just five or six years old. The small chicks under the monsoon mushrooms in Sri Lanka, the beautiful flowers and of course the photos of myself in different attires, sometimes as a fashionista and occasionally as a native hunter wearing just a leaf where appropriate. Those were the old film days which provoked the craving for the looks of films even though I hardly used a film camera – one strong point that made me fall in love with Fujifilm and its film simulations.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/15 second – F4.5 – ISO 400

The journey began with a small point and shoot ten years back; I went through different phases of bridge cameras, DSLRs and now have finally settled on Fujifilm X Series. Luckily I had early recognition of my work as some of them ended up in few magazines and some won awards. Slowly the passion to Travel started, and now I proudly call myself as a Travel & Documentary photographer even though occasionally I try other genres of photography out of curiosity.

 

We noticed travel and documentary photography form an important part of your portfolio.
 Can you tell us why?

Travel and documentary photography is something that challenges me. It’s highly unpredictable; scenes won’t wait for me, so I have to be at the right spot at the right time. I have to handle people with all types of personalities, and most importantly our world is rapidly evolving. We don’t see half as much of what our grandparents saw, and our grandkids won’t see much of what we see today. This reality constantly pushes me towards Travel and Photography.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF35mmF2 R WR – 1/20 second – F2 – ISO 500

My inspirations are from famous travel and documentary photographers, and I follow the passion of those travellers who witnessed the various cultures, people, lifestyle and stunning destinations. However, art should be unique, and I try my best to maintain my way of the journey. I explore my way of expressing my inner feelings of witnessing a moment, let it be a happy event or something bad, either way, I make sure it will be remembered forever for what it is and I share it with my audience.

It is not only about a process of making an infinite physical memory of my travels. It is also a medium that connects me to a lonely Shepard in a cold Himalayan region with whom I shared a hot coffee or with a cliff diver in a rural village in Sri Lanka who asked me to take a good picture of him doing the stunt, risking his life.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/500 second – F9 – ISO 250

Each moment I encounter has an unexplored history behind it. When explored, these moments become so important that they carry an experience of that fraction of a second. I become the portal connecting two unknown worlds, and the tool is my camera, from the artisans of Fujifilm. The fraction of a second that I encountered will never repeat, but it will resonate forever through my photographs.

 

What are your thoughts on editing an image by removing a distracting object from the scene? Do you change the scene in post processing or is your preferred capturing method SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) with much editing?

I do not modify the scene, but I create the image to represent the actual scene as much as possible. We are getting a little bit technical here. As we know human eyes have higher dynamic range than any of the consumer cameras ever produced. So it becomes essential to process the photos to a certain level, so they match the original dynamic range of the scenes.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 0.6 seconds – F16 – ISO 100

Over the course of a decade, I have used three different brands, and I have found Fujifilm is different to them. The mix of colours, shadows, and highlights are more artistic with this Japanese brand. When combined with stunning film simulations it just brings back my childhood memories, and it is one of the most important factors that opted me to do the big jump to the Fujifilm X Series territory. When used correctly the film simulations have some strange good emotions in them which I cannot explain, but I love them. Sometimes you don’t know why you love something, but it’s the best thing you can ever do.

SOOC has never been my method until I discovered Fujifilm. It is also one important reason I switched to the brand. With Fujifilm, all I have to do is a very basic editing for few a seconds or a couple of minutes, and sometimes I do nothing to the images at all.

One would argue that using film simulations is similar to digital manipulations. However being the photographer we should decide on what is the most important message we are conveying through our photographs. We should decide whether to give weight to the shadows, highlights or colours. Simulations help us to achieve them- I’m not talking about digital filters here.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/100 second – F8 – ISO 100

Depending on the genres of photography the use of simulations or post processing differ. For example, travel photographs can be a bit exaggerated replica of the reality in a more promotional way of a destination, while most of my documentary photographs undergo very little processing or none. A travel image with a stray dog or a light post with wires visible on the street could give a negative feeling to the viewer which is unwanted, where the same scene in a documentary (more towards photojournalism) photograph will work entirely differently. I mostly avoid those scenes for a travel picture than spending hours removing it in Photoshop. This is where the composition comes into the picture; I think it is the most ethical means of removing a distracting object from the picture or changing the distractor into a helper and I’m a very strong supporter of compositions. It is the most important thing for me in photography. One wise man once said, “Photography is an art of exclusions”.

 

You recently travelled to Sri Lanka with the XF10-24mmF4 and XF90mmF2. How did you find the XF10-24mmF4 lens for travel photography? Did the lens meet your expectations?


I never used such wide angle range. The minimum I have used previously was a 24mm (35mm equivalent). I was never keen on landscapes. Most of my landscapes were the backdrops of the environmental portraits. The Fujifilm XF10-24mmF4 was the first lens of its kind for me, and the intention was to capture more landscapes.

Fujifilm X-E2S with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/500 second – F4 – ISO 400

In the field, it was far beyond that, the use of it in creating beautiful compositions of day to day Sri Lankan life was impressive. The lens remained on one of the camera bodies for the rest of the trip because of its versatility. I no longer see the wide angle lens reserved mostly for landscapes. Of course, there will be issues with distortion. However, I worry more about the moment than the technical aspects of capturing it. You don’t need to switch to Fujifilm for this lens, it doesn’t mean it is inferior to any other branded wide angles, but if you are into Fujifilm, then this is one lens you should have.

Both the XF10-24mmF4 and XF90mmF2 were loaned products from Fujifilm Australia. When I returned the gear, I made sure those are the next two lenses I will acquire.

 

How did the portraits you captured using the XF90mmF2 differ from the lens you used previously? Where there any differences in quality, sharpness and autofocus speeds?

I would like to answer it differently. Could the XF90mmF2 truly replace the legendary lens I already used before making the switch to Fujifilm? The answer is, yes by all means! In reality, the Fujifilm XF90mmF2 almost equals the 35mm equivalent focal length of 135mm. It’s a specialised focal length with specific uses, particularly with portraitures. So many hardcore lens reviewers have already concluded that it is one of the best lenses in the current market.

Fujifilm X-E2S with X90mmF2 R LM WR – 1/400 second – F2 – ISO 320

The autofocus speed is super fast that I hardly missed any shots and it maintains its speed in low light – my favourite type of lighting situation. The sharpness is equally incredible, and corner sharpness is well maintained at any aperture. The beautiful bokeh, particularly at F2, works amazingly well when compared to other 135mm lenses from other brands. With the excellent contrast, colour rendition, weather resistant sealing, lesser weight than counterparts, there’s nothing more I need other than just to keep shooting with this beauty. It’s an instant boost to the confidence level in image making.

 

If someone was travelling to Sri Lanka, based on your experience what camera and lens configuration would you recommend they take?

Sri Lanka is a small tropical Island. In a matter of few hours, you will be on a misty mountain or a rain forest from a beach. Depending on the places and the season you visit the selection of camera gear will vary. In general, it is advisable to carry weather resistant lenses and cameras as most of the beautiful natural habitats in the country are water based. Also, the island has friendly people, rich traditions and festivals. So you will need lenses that can be wide opened (in aperture) and good at focusing in low light. It is also a land of leopards, elephants and the mighty blue whales. It’s one of the best places on earth to witness these giants. So you will need a good telephoto lens if you decide to take photos of them.

Fujifilm X-E2S with XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS – 1/4000 second – F5 – ISO 200

I would like to summarise the gear recommendation that will work for any travel and documentary photographer anywhere in the world.


Body Recommendations:

Main Camera – The Fujifilm X-T2.
Backup Camera – The Fujifilm X-T20.

Lens Recommendations:

The lenses listed below are the ones I carried.

Fujinon XF 18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
Fujinon XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR
Fujinon XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
Fujinon XF90mmF2 R LM WR (I’m comfortable with this focal length, but some people prefer Fujifilm XF56mmF1.2 R)
Optional – Fujifilm XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR (If you are serious about wildlife photography).

 

 

Do you have a favourite image you captured on your trip? What was the story behind the shot?

My favourite image was from a remote village in Sri Lanka nestled among the large mountains ranges. It has a rich history dating back to many centuries. The village is abundant with beauty, and it was only recently received widespread attention from tourists after a few local films were shot in the location. Over very few years the village transformed dramatically, and now it’s a popular holiday hub for many tourists. Many villagers who relied primarily on paddy fields and other traditional lifestyle jobs are now into tourism as it gives more financial stability in the modern economy. Even though methods are implemented for sustainable tourism the rate at which tourism grows is a major threat to the centuries-old traditions of the village.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/100 second – F16 – ISO 200

I wanted to capture the essence of the community, and during a stroll, I saw a villager visiting his paddy field surrounded by dark foliages and huts built for tourists – a familiar scene throughout the village.

The whole scene was like an arena – the field is the village, the dark foliage from the mountains and the huts surrounding it portrayed how tourism was slowly penetrating into the heart of the village. The man was both the victim and witness of this event. It was like there was a spotlight turned on to an important event in that village which will change its future forever.

 

When you look at a scene what is the most important thing you try and capture? Does composition play an important part of your photography?


Most of the times it is about how unique the image is. In the current world, almost all of us have a camera of some sort, from smartphones to the high-end medium formats. So many photographs are made of the same subject each second. Once I visited the Taj Mahal in India, and I tried to go as early as possible before sunrise, and I was among the handful of photographers at that time, and in few minutes there are hundreds of people with cameras. So it means most of them are going to take photographs of the same place at the same time and my worry is how can I stand out from that crowd while retaining the true meaning of the scenes I encountered.

This is where composition becomes important. For me, it is the most important part of a photograph. How you place and connect the elements of a scene into a photo will decide how the picture will connect with the audience. Naturally, I’m inclined towards better compositions in my images. The actual scene may look dull, could have bad weather, etc, but still one can come out with a good image if the composition is different and unique – often turning those negative factors into positives.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/500 second – F4.5 – ISO 400

Just because a sunset looks beautiful or a shadow from a person in a city looks mysterious doesn’t mean they will make a great photograph unless they connect well with their surroundings and tell a story together which makes the audience have inner discussions about the image. Occasionally the story can come from just the subject alone like in close up portraits, but most of the time it’s something that evolves around the subject and its environment. So, we should be vigilant on how we are going to present the whole thing to the audience.

 

If you have some advice for someone starting out in photography what would it be?

Learn how to be a tough critic of your images. You can book a trip for a few thousand, buy the most expensive photography gear to take to your exotic location, but at the end of the day in the hotel room; you should be brave enough to delete most of those images which you think are not the best. You shouldn’t reflect on the amount of effort you put in to get those shots.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS – 1/25 second – F16 – ISO 200

There is a difference between ‘creating’ images and ‘taking/capturing’ images. Photography is an art; we have to be the creators of the art. Perfection needs experience, and even with the best experience, it’s highly doubtful that anyone would become just perfect in image making, but keep fighting for it. Cherish the better pictures that you make today and compare these to the ones you shot last week and keep going. Keep connecting well with fellow photographers and share knowledge. Remember, it is not about the destination, but more about the journey. Good Luck!

 

To view more Bhagiraj’s work visit his websiteblog or Facebook Page. You can also follow him on Instagram.

Other interviews in this series

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Rhys Tattersall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Jared Morgan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Tony Gardiner

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Greg Cromie

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Clèment Breuille

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Clèment Breuille

Welcome to the Second Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our fifth interview in Series Two is with Sydney based photographer, Clèment Breuille.

Clément, what do you most like about Australian landscape photography and how did you end up shooting with a Fujifilm X-Pro2? 

I’ve grown up in France and never really got the chance to travel before I was twenty. During my master in design at l’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantiques, it was mandatory for us to do an internship abroad. And this is where everything started. I’ve found my internship in Sydney, which is the farthest destination possible from France (17000km).

I think this is what the internship was all about, getting out of your comfort zone: discovering a new way of living, new language, new perspective, etc…

It’s a great thing as a designer to do this exercise as it does open your vision on the world. People understand the role of the designer only from a graphic approach, someone who is creating something visually attractive. This is not entirely true. Design is a process, a way of approaching a problem and developing a solution. I think this is why I’ve started photography. Not only as a hobby but as an exercise with rules and processes.

Landscape photography is my favourite subject down under. First of all for the challenge, but also for the magnificence of it.

As a European growing up in France for pretty much my entire life, I’m always amazed by the diversity and richness of this country, and this is even after two years of living here. As a designer, a photographer requires the appropriate tools to succeed. This is why I’ve ended up shooting with a Fujifilm X-Pro2 after having been Canon user for the last four years.

The X-Pro2 is a compact and lightweight camera, which is exactly what I need when I have to endure a long hike to access my dream locations. Additionally, the great details and quality produced by the camera are perfect.

 

What do you like most about the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and what do you like the least? 

The capability of the Fujifilm X-PRO2 is just incredible for a camera of its size. I can literally bring it with me everywhere each day with the ability to shoot within a few seconds.
I think this is what I like the most after using the camera for the last year. The capability of knowing what you are doing at all time and being able to obtain the best possible shot straight out of the camera with its viewfinder is just incredible for a photographer like me.

For me, the weakness of the X-Pro2 is visible when you mount it on a tripod. When shooting landscapes you don’t always have the luxury to get the camera at your height and in front of you, and for this reason, I’d love to have a tilt screen. Managing your settings and especially your ISO could be challenging. You need to pull up the ISO selector on the top of the camera, which sometimes can create a little vibration creating blur in your image. These two points were solved on the Fujifilm X-T2, but I wish that the features will be considered in the next generation of the X-Pro2.

 

We noticed you photograph quite a few long exposures, can you show us one and tell us the story behind the image?

Recently, during the Vivid Festival 2017. Josselin Cornou and I were photographing at Circular Quay. We were quite surprised at just how clear was the sky was. We decided to check the position of the Milky Way by using the Photopills app, as we knew that it was the perfect time to observe and shoot the stars. Josselin tried it first using his Fujifilm GFX 50S, to have as much detail as possible and check if the shot was worth trying. We didn’t wait long as the first attempt was a success.

Following that shot, we had been shooting continuously for at least two hours before. At the festival, there were many lights moving around making it hard to get that “perfect shot”. After a long shoot and a long process in Photoshop, I finally was able to produce this one.

I never post-process my shots that much, as I tend to have the best possible image straight out of the camera. I was quite surprised at just how much detail I was able to get back from the X-Pro2 even when I pushed it to the limit.

Of course, we are now comparing an image from a medium format camera, against an APS-C Sized sensor. But seeing the two final shots and forgetting about the two post-processing styles, I do think that the Fujifilm X-Pro2 holds up against its bigger brother.

As an expat living in Australia what artistic, environmental or logistical challenges have you found when photographing ‘down under’ compared with your homeland?

Australia is a great country for a landscape photographer. There are many opportunities to shoot here all time of the year. To capitalise on this, you need to be ready.
In France, it is quite different as everything is ‘close’. Here in Australia, you need to plan where you are going, and when you are going to leave. You can be isolated and most of the time without mobile reception.

Taking the above image as an example, the plan was to go at Stockton just above Newcastle for sunset. After a long day driving and shooting at some spots on our way, @Adriano, @Josselin and I finally got to our location. After a quick one hour walk, we arrived in front of the dunes just on time.

We were there on time, but we didn’t take into consideration that we had to climb the massive dunes that were separating the track from the actual sand area where we wanted to shoot. It took us a good twenty minutes to climb the high dunes with all of our gear and equipment. In the end, we were only able to capture some of the last light due to the unexpected obstacle.
Looking back, the thought of driving, walking and climbing just for one shot was quite insane, but totally worth it.

Luckily enough, the conditions were perfect. During our stay in the dunes, we spotted a lot of nebulas and shooting stars that were clearly visible with our own eyes. When you arrive, you certainly feel small as Stockton is massive. You are surrounded by sand, and as we were walking, we started losing the notion of distance or time.

Around 3 am, we were all tired and cold. We weren’t sure exactly how far the was car, so we made the decision to sleep on the dunes. Without a tent, we used our camera bags as pillows and used the clothes on our backs to warm us up. That was certainly some of the longest hours I’ve experienced in my life! Waiting for the cold and the wind to dissipate before the sun warmed us up.

I remember us looking for another spot to ‘sleep’ as the first one ended up being too windy. We were walking like zombies in the dark hoping that this would end up soon. And that was the time the sun camera up, bringing with it a mysterious fog.

The journey to the dunes certainly was an amazing experience. Putting aside all the great moment and images it could have ended up turning for the worst. For example, running low on water, getting cold in the dunes without mobile reception, these things were avoidable if only we didn’t rush and instead equipped ourselves with all the information we needed to succeed in our trip.

Photography is a passion that requires a lot of time and effort, but you should never put yourself in a dangerous situation. Remember that at the end of the day (or night in our case) it’s only an image and it is not worth breaking your equipment for the shot, or worst losing your life.

In summary, my advice would be to know where you are going and what the weather will be, bring a lot of water and food, and let people know where you are.

 

How do you find the colours produced from Fujifilm X Series cameras compared with previous brands you may have used?

The colours straight out of the camera on the Fujifilm X-Pro2 are just amazingly correct! I used to shoot on a Canon EOS 60D for a long time, and I remember always having to change the white balance to get the shot looking natural in camera. With the X-Pro2, I may sometimes just increase the saturation and that’s it.

As a landscape photographer, it’s a great thing to be able to trust your camera as you are not always able to post process on the go. The Fujifilm cameras have an excellent advantage; they boast a broad range of film simulation, which makes your shot ready for social media or printing SOOC (straight out of the camera).

 

If you have some advice for someone starting out in photography what would it be?

The great thing about photography is that you have a lot of different genres to explore. For example, someone who is an excellent portrait photographer might find a new challenge in landscape photography. That’s why I love photography. You always have news technique and things to learn, it never stops.

My first piece of advice would be to not invest too much money in your gear. The most important aspect of your gear is to understand how it works. For that, you should bring it with you daily, take it to work for instance. Shoot as many different subjects as possible, until you learn what settings are best. There’s no need to have a professional camera body to start off with. I’ve seen a lot of people investing in professional cameras without even understanding it.

My second piece of advice would be not to limit yourself and your creativity. Recently I’ve participated in a creative meetup at the Vivid festival in Sydney. The purpose of the event was to produce an image based on the particular brief. By participating in meetups like this, you will find your creativity. As a designer, I’ll never be able to produce something if I didn’t have direction from the client. The same should be said when it comes to your photography. Try and push your ideas so that they develop into photos.

My final advice would be to stay aware and connected. With the chance to live in a connected world, where it’s easy to share and learn from other people it’s a great place to learn. I have watched a lot of tutorials on YouTube and other social media platforms to understand how to achieve things in my photography journey.

Share your work and ask for feedback. Even if the feedback is negative, remember people are judging an image not you. By listening and exploring your creativity, you will only improve your work.

If you could give Fujifilm any advice on future camera models what would it be and why?

Fujifilm designs their product very well and understands their end user. You can feel it when you have one of their cameras in your hand. However as I’ve mentioned, I’d love to understand why some of the features of the X-T2 such as the dedicated ISO selector and the tilt screen are not available for the X-PRO2. I’m also disappointed to see a particular range of L-Brackets and battery grips for the X-T2, whereas the X-Pro2 is lacking in the accessories arena. Reading this, you might be thinking why didn’t I purchased a Fujifilm X-T2? The reason is simple, at the time of buying my X-PRO2 nothing was communicated about the release of the X-T2.

I know that Fujifilm love to keep their product secret, but maybe a better communication for the next generation might be necessary.

Can you share any insight into any post processing techniques other Fujifilm users should explore?

When it comes to post processing, everybody has their preferences, the most popular programs I hear about are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.
As a personal choice, I only use Photoshop and Camera RAW which is part of Photoshop.

The important thing for me to remember is to keep the final image ‘natural’. It is good to think about this sometimes when you work on a picture. I find taking a break and returning to the edit later can be beneficial. The reason is when you process you might make a mistake. Having a fresh eye on your workflow will give you the ability to notice and improve your way of working.

For my editing process, I’ve followed some tutorials produced by Jimmy Mcintyre. I must say they have helped me on this difficult photographic journey. I will not get into details as I don’t want to steal the credit and effort that he put into his techniques, all I will say is you should check out his YouTube channel.

I’ll use this image shown below to explain how I best process an image.

The basic idea I like to use when processing one or multiple images is to use luminosity masks. The great thing about Fujifilm RAW files is they have a lot of image detail information in them. This gives you the ability to recover shadow or highlight details in a picture easily without affecting the final image. I must say though if you want to use multiple images, remember to use a tripod when shooting.

For this particular image, I used two photos: the RAW above and another image slightly more exposed for the fence. After the blending here is the results:

Once you have all blending completed and have one final image, move onto enhancing the image. This is a subjective step, and you can go as creative as you want, but I recommend for landscape photographers always to remember to be conservative and keep it ‘natural’. For this image, I enhanced the contrast and colours and finished with a soft vignette to lead the eyes to the subject.

 

To view more Clèment’s work visit his website or follow him on Instagram or Facebook.

Other interviews in this series

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Rhys Tattersall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Jared Morgan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Tony Gardiner

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Greg Cromie

5 Moments to Shoot With Manual Focus

In your early days as a photographer, you likely relied on your camera’s autofocus settings. There is nothing wrong with shooting that way. In fact, there are plenty of moments when even the most respected photographers utilise this mode, so there is no stigma for shooting in auto. There are some situations, though, when manual focus is most sensible.

 

 

Choose your focus wisely by knowing five moments when manual is ideal.

 

Locate fine detail in macro pics.

Macro photography — those shots of small objects at larger-than-life size — requires you to focus specifically on an intricate detail of a tiny object. In most cases, you will shoot with your narrowest depth of field in order to emphasise textures and distinguish your focal point. So even a slight error in focus makes your shot tell a different story. By shooting in manual, you retain control to communicate the details you want.

Image by @william_hartanto

 

Point to the pupils in portraits.

Portraits, like macro shots, call for focus at a highly specific point. You want the pupils of your subject to be in complete focus. With autofocus, you would prefocus your shot before finally framing and shooting, and in that time your subject could budge or blink. Manual focus allows you to locate the pupils and shoot in the instant you reach them.

Image by @timcubittphotography

 

Pick a tree or hilltop for your landscape images.

Landscape photos might seem like shots for auto because you likely do not shoot with a narrow depth of field. Even with these nature pictures, you can communicate a better story by identifying whatever tree limb or rock formation deserves viewers’ attention. Whereas some genres of photography require you to frame and shoot quickly, landscape work allows you to take your time and be methodical with your manual specificity.

Image by @adamatorres

 

 

Anticipate the action by focusing ahead.

Action photos are another sort that may seem, at first notion, more suited for auto. Objects are moving fast, so there is little time to adjust your settings. If you shoot action in auto, though, you can anticipate your frame by focusing on a particular point where your subject will pass through. Hit your shutter just as your object enters the frame.

Image by @russellordphoto

 

Travel through glass with fewer scratches and smears.

If you take photos from planes, museums and zoos, you may have to shoot from behind glass. Of course, that surface is often compromised by scratches and handprints, and it is also giving you reflections to worry about. Manual focus is much better for avoiding reflections and minimising the appearance of discrepancies on the glass.

Image by @alessandrobiggiphotography

 

Auto and manual both have their place in your repertoire as an artist. You can be strategic and confident that you know the moments for each focus.

 

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Greg Cromie

Welcome to the Second Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our fourth interview in Series Two is with Melbourne based photographer, Greg Cromie.

Greg, tell us a bit about your photography journey and how you ended up choosing street photography as your main genre?

I studied film photography in art school however once I graduated I did not pursue it any further.  It was 20 years later, in 2013, that I was encouraged to take up photography again. My wife had just passed away and I used street photography as a way to get out and face the world.  Through street photography I was able to see that the world and life went on. From behind the safety of my camera I captured life and love and happiness and every other emotion without feeling like it would swamp me in my raw state. A bit like snorkelling on a reef. I almost felt invisible and unaffected by what I was seeing. My street photography journey has been a tremendous part of dealing with my grief, reconnecting with the world and expressing myself through my images. It was, and still is, a form of therapy for me.

Queen Victorian Market – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF35mmF1.4 – 35mm – ISO 1000 – F2 – 1/1000 second


You mentioned you jumped from the X100 to the X-T1 and more recently to the Fujifilm X-T2. What made you want to upgrade your X Series camera?

When I picked up the original X100 I was instantly intrigued by the Fujifilm X Series. The image quality and the way that the Fujifilm X System renders images was just amazing and very unique. I prefer shooting with primes and having interchangeable lenses so it was not long before I sold all my DSLR gear and bought the Fujifilm X-T1 with the XF23mmF1.4 and the XF16mmF1.4. I loved the build quality of the Fujifilm X Series products. To have the manual controls so accessible on the camera allowed me complete creative control. It reminded me of my film photography days and the joy of creating a photo.

I took my Fujifilm X-T1 with me wherever I went – including two trips to Japan. It is such a compact and light kit that I could take my camera with a prime lens everywhere and hardly even notice it was in my bag. When the Fujifilm X-T2 launched I was quick to get my hands on one. Such a significant upgrade in capabilities from the X-T1 to the X-T2. The X-T1 had taught me the joy of controlling light and time to create images. The X-T2 has allowed me to master my photography and take it to the next level.

Melbourne Man – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18mmF2 – 18mm – ISO 3200 – F2 – 1/640 second

 

There’s a lot of emotion that unveils itself on the street, can you share the photo you’ve captured with the most impact and tell us a bit about what you were feeling when you captured it?

On my last trip to Japan, I took a Shinkansen from Kyoto to Hiroshima on the International Day of Peace. Such a humbling and highly emotional experience. On August 6, 1945, 80,000 people were immediately killed when the first deployed atomic weapon was unleashed by the United States. 6,000 degrees Celsius. 90 percent of the city destroyed. Tens of thousands later died due to radiation exposure and disease. Nothing like it had ever been experienced before nor since.

Converging on Hiroshima were school groups, survivors and the families of victims visiting the site to perhaps share in hope that the world never had to visit such devastation and loss again. This shot was taken outside the building now known as the Atomic Bomb Dome – the exact location over which the atomic bomb detonated. The building is a shell of twisted steel and even melted concrete and bricks. This class of students with their matching yellow hats were all listening attentively and respectfully to their teacher.  I could not understand what was being said but the implied lesson was clear.

I think my own personal experience with loss and grief was awoken that day as I could all too clearly understand losing so much. But I was equally encouraged by the composure of the Japanese people and their ability to endure the worst of the worst and still prosper.

Hiroshima Education – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF50-140mmF2.8 – 140mm – ISO 200 – F2.8 – 1/500 second

 

What are the sorts of subjects you look for on the street and do you prefer a particular focal length to capture them?

I find my style of street photography to be an organic process. I prefer to capture images that tell some sort of story of the human experience. Where are we? What are the political and social considerations of the time and how does this subject interact with those? Is there tension or joy or stillness in the subject’s emotional experience? How are others impacting the scene or the experience of the subject? How is the subject impacting others? I will stroll though a location with camera in hand while my eyes scan the scene looking for the alignment of all these factors and much more. My preferred focal length for shooting street is 23mm. Something about this length allows me to capture a subject but also enough of the surrounding scene to suggest or tell the story.

Dayelsford Entertainer – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF23mmF2 – 23mm – ISO 400 – F2.8 – 1/1000 second

 

What’s it like owning the F2 trinity? Which lens out of the three do you prefer to use and can you show us your favourite photo captured with it?

With the recent release of the XF50mmF2 I was able to complete the F2 trinity of Fujifilm lenses. I prefer to shoot with primes so now that I have the XF23mmF2, XF35mmF2 and the XF50mmF2 I feel like my street kit (and my travel kit) is complete. The 23mm gives me the subject within the scene and allows for both to tell the story. The 35mm allows me to isolate the subject more but still allow for background and foreground elements to play a small part.  The 50mm gives me greater reach to capture the subject in isolation. To pull the subject out of the scene without disrupting it.

With my X-T2 and these three lenses I can carry my kit in a messenger bag and hardly notice the weight. When paired with the X-T2 each of these lenses are sharp and super quick on the auto focus. Plus, this makes my whole kit weather resistant. My favourite of these three lenses changes as they are all exceptional lenses. At the moment my ‘new’ favourite is the XF50mmF2 probably because it is the newest and there is so much enjoyment to be had with a new focal length. I look forward to taking only the F2 trinity with me to Japan again later this year.

Coffee Capital – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF23mmF2 – 23mm – ISO 1600 – F2 – 1/250 second

Here I am – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF35mmF2 – 35mm – ISO 400 – F5 – 1/250 second

Head – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF50mmF2 – 50mm – ISO 200 – F4 – 1/250 second

 

 

If you have some advice for someone starting out in photography what would it be?

A lot of people seem to have a fear about how to use their new gear. I see a lot of questions appear on forums from new photographers saying that they have camera X and lens Y and they want advice on the best settings to shoot something straight forward. This is so unnecessary as unlike in the film days, digital cameras give us limitless opportunity for trial and error. Your only real obstacle is how long your battery will last or how much your SD card can hold.

Be brave and take lots and lots of photos. If you are using a camera like one from the Fujifilm X Series, then set the Aperture and ISO to A (Auto) and just experiment with the Shutter Speed manually for a day or two. At the end of your shoot review your images and take note of the ones that you love and the ones you hate. What settings did you use? The next day, just use ISO on manual to see how this changes your images. Carry your camera everywhere and shoot everything. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your camera. As long as there is a hint of light, you can make an image.

Kyoto Couple – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF23mmF1.4 – 23mm – ISO 200 – F1.4 – 1/1000 second

 

Your passion for street photography has recently taken you to Japan for a second time, how did you find photographing people on the streets compared to Australia? Did you prefer a particular lens over another?

I have always had an affinity with Japanese culture so to be able to travel there was a big item on my bucket list. The first trip was to Tokyo and I stayed in Shibuya. What a crazy and amazing experience that was. A very youth centric area in the heart of the biggest and most densely populated city on the planet. The second time I travelled to Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima.

Doing street photography in Japan is incredible. Such diverse cities with backdrops that range from hyper-futuristic ‘Bladerunner’ style scenes in Tokyo to the still and sacred spaces that house the traditional temples and shrines in Kyoto. One day I was photographing in Shibuya at the scramble crossing, where thousands of people cross a giant zebra-crossing every few minutes. The next I was in the Tsukiji Central Fish Market photographing fish mongers carving giant tuna. On both trips to Japan I took my X-T1 and predominantly used the XF16mmF1.4 and XF23mmF1.4 lenses. I swapped between these two quite a bit and on days or nights when it was raining I stuck with the XF16mmF1.4 due to its weather resistance. They are both very versatile lenses and can be used for street, landscape and architecture.

Fish Monger – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF16mmF1.4 – 16mm – ISO 5000 – F2.2 – 1/500 second

Prayer – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF23mmF1.4 – 23mm – ISO 800 – F2.2 – 1/125 second

 

Based on your experience what would you like to see included on a future X Series camera?

When I first purchased the X-T1 I knew I was using such an incredible camera. The build quality, aesthetics, ergonomics and overall capabilities of the camera were amazing. My wish list for improvements was non-existent as the system was meeting all my needs at the time. Then the X-T2 was developed and Fujifilm managed to deliver a greater photography experience by adding features that I didn’t even know I wanted or needed. Superior sensor and processor, dual SD card slots and I find the AF toggle stick such a great addition for street photography. The quality and capabilities of this camera has also allowed me to start my own photography business and offer a broader range of photographic services. Conceptually an X-T3 could include improved battery durability and a performance boost system without the need for the additional battery grip to make it worthwhile. One of my favourite features of the Fujifilm X System is the film simulations. Further film simulations would be a fantastic addition.

Ice Cream Girl – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF35mmF1.4R – 35mm – ISO 800 – F2 – 1/2000 second

 

To view more of Greg’s work visit his web landing page that links to all of his social media profiles.

Other interviews in this series

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Rhys Tattersall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Jared Morgan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Tony Gardiner

 

 

 

 

5 Tips on Portraiture with the Fujifilm X Series

We hear more and more stories of photographers making the Fujifilm X Series their go-to kit for portraiture. The series is ideal for this style. The lightweight equipment allows portrait photographers to nimbly adjust around their subjects and the vivid colour processing makes subjects look stunning.

 

Get the most out of portraits with an X Series kit by following these tips.

 

  1. Fill your frame with complementary colours.

You chose your X Series likely in part for its vibrant colour processing. So make colours pop perfectly in your portraits as you play with contrast and hue. To the extent, you control attire and scene for your shoot, find colours that complement each other and especially those in your subject’s eyes and skin. If necessary, look at a colour wheel to strategize your fashion and setting.

Image by Edo Xu

 

  1. Bring a street photo mindset to portraiture.

Not all portrait photography requires studio space or time slots for your subjects. Get to the streets and capture portraits from the urban bustle. For this style of portraiture, use the XF23mmF1.4 R, which has a 63-degree angle of view, or a similar wide-angle lens to capture both your subject and your scene in detail.

Image by Derek Snee

  1. Get candid portraits with a quick X Series lens.

On streets, at events or in studio, permit your subjects to move freely, and then follow them for candid portraits. Make sure to get them in the act of something viewers can understand, and look for moments when their hand position adds emotion. For these fleeting moments, you want a lens with a quick autofocus sensor. Go with the XF23mmF1.4 R mentioned above or the XF35mmF2 R WR.

Image by Brandon Wong

 

  1. Clarify your subject by using bokeh.

One way to make your subject a focal point in a portrait is to use bokeh, the blurring of out-of-focus regions. To get this effect, portrait photographers favour lenses with wide maximum apertures. While the XF23mmF1.4 R and the XF35mmF2 R WR both fit this category, the XF56mmF1.2 R is the optimum Fujinon lens to achieve sharp bokeh.

Image by Ashri Husaeni

 

  1. Frame portraits by using foreground objects.

You can add a creative layer to your composition by placing your subject behind a framing foreground image. Tree branches, plant leaves, window frames and another person’s shoulder are just some of your options for framing. This style of composition works well with the bokeh effect, as you can accentuate the spatial gap between your subject and the framing device.

Image by Dan Ginn

 

With the right equipment, techniques and mindset, you are ready to snap captivating portraits with your Fujifilm X Series kit.

 

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Tony Gardiner

Welcome to the Second Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our third interview in Series Two is with Sydney based photographer, Tony Gardiner.

Tony, cinematography has been a big part of your life and runs in your family, can you tell us why you decided to use the Fujifilm X-Pro2 to capture on set still images and how did your relationship with Fujifilm originally start?

 

I have been very fortunate to grow up around image-makers. Cinematography is the family business! My father and grandfather ran a film lab in Sydney Australia. Because of my long association with image making, I have always been familiar with Fujifilm & Fujinon products and have always held the lenses especially in high regard.

 

I was looking for a lightweight easy to use mirrorless camera to capture both on set stills and for my art projects because I have always liked the look of Fujifilm products.

 

 

Did you face any challenges while using the X-Pro2, XF50-140mmF2.8 or XF35mmF1.4? Can you tell us how you overcame them?

 

There were no significant challenges that would be specific to the X Series. I enjoyed the size and power of the camera. The main challenge was the size of the long lens. However, this is just the physics of glass elements and lens as a whole. The XF50-140mmF2.8 is a beautiful lens, but I just found it a bit too big to shoot from the hip on set.

 

 

You may have seen that Fujifilm released the new MK18-55mm T2.9 lens for E-Mount cameras, tell us in your professional opinion, based on what you have seen, how do you see Fujinon lenses changing the game for independent cinematographers?

 

I have always been a big fan of Fujinon Glass. Owning a set of Alura / Arri Studio zooms which unfortunately I no longer have, however, I have been able to get the Fujinon Cabrio range of zooms for the bigger “tent pole” episodes of the popular TV show, Home and Away. The size and quality of these lenses open up so many opportunities not just for independent but major productions alike.

 

Sony’s E- Mount series of cameras themselves have been wonderful assets to independent and small productions however the lens selection has been limited. The release of the lightweight E-Mount Fujinon lens is a significant step in taking a wonderful system from good to great.

 

 

 

Can you give us an insight into what it’s like working in a crew and how you depend on each other to create a scene?

 

I’m really lucky to have an amazing crew on Home on Away! We work 46 weeks a year together. Spending that much time together makes us kind of like family, and like family, there are ups and downs, but there is no way we could get our insane schedule completed without every single person on set. I have some of the best operators in the business who frame up what I want before I know I want it! My grip can build multiple lenses of track on the beach in no time. It’s because of their talent and ability to work in all conditions (sometimes in relatively harsh conditions) that we can produce excellent results day in day out.

 

 

 

If you have some advice for someone starting out in photography what would it be?

 

Persistence, keep shooting. Shoot as often as you can and learn from every shot you take. I have been working on professional sets since I was 16 and almost every day I still learn new tricks or techniques that I can store in my bag of tricks.

 

 

As a cinematographer, do you do anything differently when capturing a scene on a stills camera compared to one that records video? Does composition and image ratio play an important part?

 

While photography and cinematography share a lot of the same skill sets, they both have very different sets of rules that you need to learn (so you can know when to stick by them and when to break them)! With photography, you are capturing a single moment in time, so the way you tell your story is very different. Cinematography allows you to tell a story with a moving image however it can have more restraints in framing and composition.

 

 

What was your favourite image captured using the Fujinon XF50-140mmF2.8? Can you tell us the story behind the picture?

 

My favourite image with the long lens is just a quick snapshot I took of a boat at sea while in-between setups on a “Home and Away” set at Palm Beach in Sydney. This was a lucky case of excellent timing with the seagull flying through shot. I love the ease of use of the X Series, while on set I was able to quickly pick up the camera and grab this image while shooting a scene.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR – 140mm – 1/32,000 – F2.8 – ISO 250

 

 

Considering you been in the industry for a while and used a lot of gear what would you like to see on a future X Series camera regarding settings and video features?

 

With the updates to the X-T2, I think Fujifilm has come a long way in making a very usable “B” camera for cinematography use. I would like to see 4K video capabilities included in the X-Pro2 camera. However, I understand this may change the ergonomics and size of the camera, so maybe I just have to man up and go for the X-T2!

 

To view more of Tony’s work visit his website or follow him on Instagram.

Other interviews in this series

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Rhys Tattersall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Jared Morgan

 

Fujifilm’s History – Nearly a Century of Innovation

Fujifilm has become a household name. It is a publicly traded company and a leader in digital cameras and accessories. That level of success does not come instantly or easily, though. More than eight decades of history have contributed to building the film behemoth Fujifilm is today.

 

When you get a sense of Fujifilm’s history, then you can even better appreciate how legacy influences the characteristics of Fujifilm products today.

 

An innovative company enters the photography industry.

In the early 1930s, the Japanese government set out a plan to create a local industry for photographic film. That mandate led to the Fuji Photo Film Company’s formation in 1934. Its first factory, Ashigara, sat at the foot of Mount Hakone, but because the “Hakone” title was registered to another company, the film business took the name of a nearby mountain, Fuji.

As Fuji grew, it produced photographic, motion picture and X-Ray films. By 1948, it manufactured its first camera, the Fujica Six, which was known for its compact body and being lightweight. The camera became popular, and Fuji launched a series of Fujica still-photo and motion picture cameras and continued production of that line well into the 1980s.

 

Fujifilm goes digital with the DS-1P.

In 1988, at a photography trade show in Germany, Fujifilm forever changed the industry by unveiling a new toy, the FUJIX DS-1P, the world’s first digital camera. There had been electronic cameras before, but those cameras had stored images in an analog way. The DS-1P did so digitally with its semiconductor memory card. That first model retained only five to 10 images on its card, but Fujifilm further developed its digital technology and, in 1989, released an improved successor, the DS-X, for commercial purchase.

 

The FinePix X100 brings Fujifilm to pros.

Fujifilm continued to build digital cameras—most were designed with the casual user in mind. But in 2010, Fujifilm had something new for the pros when it released the FinePix X100. This camera fused worlds old and new with its APS-C sensor and contemporary viewfinder stashed in a vintage body.

 

Instant success leads to a series.

The X100 was so high in demand that it sold on secondary markets for double its retail price. So the following year, Fujifilm launched an entire series of high-end cameras like the X100. The next in the series, the X10, was released later that year and boasted a larger sensor and an EXR color filter, and the X-S1, the first in a series of interchangeable lenses, came soon after.

 

As the X Series continues today, its products are united not by a particular feature, but by the company’s commitment to create advanced controls for serious photographers.

 

The series is just another way Fujifilm continues its company-wide legacy of advancing technology and anticipating user needs.