Through a Photographer’s Eye: 9 Photographers Share Their Advice

Over the last two and a half months, you would have seen a series of interviews which formed Series One of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In each interview, we heard from a handful of Australian photographers and how they use Fujifilm X Series cameras to photograph the world around them.

Before Series Two of Through a Photographer’s Eye begins next week, let us take a look back at what advice was shared when each photographer was asked the question:

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

 

Drew Hopper

Just get out there and shoot! It is not about becoming famous or having all the gear available on the market. It is about enjoying yourself and finding your own style. Shoot what you like shooting, and avoid copying the work of others with the belief that it will make you a ‘better’ photographer. It’s totally fine to follow other photographer’s work, that’s how you find inspiration, but don’t compare yourself to other people’s success. Make your own success. Most importantly, save your money for a flight somewhere, not camera gear. Memories are worth more, and great photos wait for no one.

Fujifilm X100S – 23mm – F4 – 1/100 second – ISO 200

 

Alamby Leung

Social media is a great place for inspiration and to receive feedback, but developing your personal style and be creative with your ideas are important too.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF18mmF2 R – 18mm – ISO 400 – F2.8 – 1/6000 second

 

Ian Tan

Advice for new photographers? Don’t get hung up on the gear. I go a bit nuts about gear myself but at the end of the day, they are just tools. You use the right one for the job, and everyone has their preference for which tools they like to use. Cameras and lenses from any major brand these days are all very capable – heck, even the iPhone takes awesome images – provided you use them properly. So learning how to use your chosen camera (and editing software) well to translate the creative vision that you see in your mind into beautiful images is more important than staying up to date with the latest and greatest gear.

Get out and shoot more. Learn to connect with others and draw inspiration from them, not intimidation. Having said that, I love Fujifilm, the way the cameras handle, the image quality, and the company’s philosophy in how they make cameras and support them through continuous firmware improvements (gotta love kaizen!).

Ice Patterns: X-T2, XF14mmF2.8 – ISO 500 – F4 – 1/125 second

 

Dale Rogers

If you are just starting out in photography, I recommend you follow and watch other photographers on social media especially those who are shooting similar things to yourself. By watching others, you see perspectives or ideas for shooting that you would not have thought of or you start analysing the images trying to determine how the shot was achieved.

Have a look at some of the old masters (or current masters) of photography and see their images. My inspiration for intimate landscapes came from Eliot Porter, one of the first professionals to use colour film, and Jai Maisel who currently shoots street photography in New York City. Have a look at their work and see if you can see the connection I made between them.

I also encourage photographers to try one of the 52-week challenges that exist. On our Photo Rangers Community Facebook page, we host a 52-week challenge. This is a personal challenge and not a contest or competitive event. The purpose is to get photographers creating photos and shooting subjects they would not have done otherwise. If you want to join along in this supportive community, come on over to http://facebook.com/groups/photorangerscommunity.

Fujifilm X-T10 – XF18mmF2 R – ISO 200 – F9 – 1/30 second

Josselin Cornou

Buy a camera with a fixed manual lens. In a day of automation, it is easy to go into the classic auto mode. It works really well in most cases, but this also means that the user will hardly learn any photographic concept. Having a limited focal length will help the user reframe the shot, avoiding any bad practices like constantly zooming. My first camera was a Panasonic GH2 + Voigtlander 25mmF0.95. That setup really helped me step up my game.

If you want to do landscape, then get an ultra wide angled lens. These lenses are expensive, but they will help you frame those ultra wide shots – making it totally worth it.

Fujifilm X100F – ISO 200 – F7.1 – 4.3 seconds

Anirban Chatterjee

Have fun and enjoy. You can be the most technically gifted photographer, but if you are not having fun or enjoying the process, your images will be boring.

And if you are starting to do photography on the street, please be respectful to others. In Australia, it is perfectly legal to do photography in public places, but that doesn’t give you a licence to be a nuisance. As much as we have the right to take photographs in public places, the other person also has a right to walk on the street minding their own business. We live in a community, and respect must be mutual. An image is not worth it if it ruins someone’s day. So please be respectful.

Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 6400 – F16 – 1/210 second

 

Harmeet Gabha

Don’t be scared, just do it (as the Nike ad says). There are so many free resources available online that you will be able to learn and pick up any area of photography very quickly and easily. Google is your best friend; just type in what you are looking for and you’ll find the answer within minutes.

I’m also focusing more on my blog (photoinsomnia.com), by creating content for people just starting out in photography. It’s a resource where they can learn some techniques quickly that will make them more confident and inspired.

“Casa Balto, Barcelona” – Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 400 – F3.5 – 1/180 second

Benjamin Lee

⁃ Shoot everything and as often as possible

⁃ Explore all types of photography, take note of the genre’s aesthetic of photography that really motivates you and hones in on it.

⁃ Consume and view as much photography and art as you are producing (if not more). This will really help you refine your taste and personal aesthetic.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/100 – F2.8 – ISO2500

Joe Jongue

Don’t be caught up in the gear, just go out and shoot. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone; chances are, you may be good in a particular genre than you may think. Join a local photography community, be open to advice and more importantly, interact with other photographers.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/180 – F4 – ISO200

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Joe Jongue

Through a photographer’s eye is the first in a series of interviews featuring Australian photographers. In each interview, we learn about the person behind the camera and how they use Fujifilm X Series cameras to photograph the world around them. Our tenth interview is with Melbourne based photographer, Joe Jongue.

Joe, can you tell us about yourself and what sparks your creativity and gets you out shooting?

 

Like some people, my hobbies and passion for things always change with the wind. However, photography was never on that list, even though my grandfather was a professional photographer in his time (I still have his vintage C.P. Goerz Berlin Dagor lens).

 

The first camera I purchased was the (then stylish) Sony Cybershot T1 back in 2001 when compact ‘happy-snaps’ were in. Fast forward to 2013 which was when my interest and passion for photography began. After briefly using a friend’s Canon 650D, I went out the next week and purchased my own, and the rest was history.

 

It took two years for me to identify and develop my shooting style, it was around this time when I also developed an interest in Street Photography. What sparks my creativity when I’m out shooting is my gut instinct, I go with the flow, if I feel it, then I’ll shoot it, if I only manage one keeper at the end of the day, it’s a good day.

 

What do you photograph with and what gear do you like to take with you when you’re out photographing? 

 

I enjoy shooting Street Photography, anything that is candid and raw. So when I’m out and about, I carry my Fujifilm X-T20 mounted with the XF35mmF2 everywhere I go. It’s a perfect little lens when combined with the smaller body of the X-T20 and the Auto-Focus speed on it is fast enough to capture candid moments while producing tack sharp images in the process. I never leave home without it.

 

 

Can you tell us about the Facebook community you orchestrate and explain why the community is important in the field of photography? 

 

After my transition from DSLR to Fujifilm Mirrorless, there weren’t many support communities around, many of the group’s on Facebook posed as a dumping ground for unboxing photos of other people’s gear, there was little interaction between members of the group. So my good friend, Antonio Colaiacovo (whom I shared the journey of transitioning from DSLR to Fujifilm with), decided to start our own community group, Fujifilm X Australia Photographers Facebook Group.

 

 

What do you look for in a photo and do you worry about composition, lighting or focus? 

 

I enjoy black & white photos, I’m a big fan of leading lines and will always try and incorporate these into my images as I compose for a shot. I find that having a leading line in the scene can sometimes help frame and compose the shot for you than not having one. In terms of lighting, as opposed to most photographers who will try and seek out the ‘Golden’ hour for natural lighting and avoid the harsh 12 o’clock sun, I, on the other hand, prefer this, it creates more defined shadows and can often help create leading lines in situations that would not normally allow.

 

 

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

 

Don’t be caught up in the gear, just go out and shoot. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone; chances are, you may be good in a particular genre than you may think. Join a local photography community, be open to advice and more importantly, interact with other photographers.

 

How did you find out about Fujifilm X Series cameras and what made you choose the model you shoot with? 

 

I first came across the Fujifilm X Series when I was searching for an alternative solution to my encumbering DSLR set up. Before making the full transition, I purchased the compact Fujifilm X30 as it had the same sensor and processor as the X-T1. I immediately fell in love with the colours and clarity of its JPEG quality; the film simulation was also a bonus; however, I was still on the fence and needed a little more convincing. About two years ago I participated in the Global 500px Photo Walk hosted by Fujifilm Australia, it was my opportunity to ask some questions around areas of concern, but more so I had the chance to try the X-T1.

The very next week I sold all my DSLR gear and made a full transition over to Fujifilm and am now fully invested. I now shoot with the X-T20, I chose this over the more popular X-T2 because of the small size and light weight body but mainly because it was almost identical to the X-T2, I was happy without the extra features offered by X-T2, and it suited my style of shooting.

 

Can you tell us the story behind your favourite photo you have captured using an X Series camera? 

 

One of my favourite photos was the one taken of a man walking in the middle of the tram tracks; the shot was taken on Bourke St Mall, Melbourne using the Fujifilm X30 during the busy afternoon rush hour. What makes this special is that this particular street is usually busy with pedestrians crossing from all directions while trams run up and down the street at regular intervals.

While I was framing this shot, the intention was to capture the tram tracks leading up the hill to the horizon. However, while standing in the middle of the tram tracks, I could hear a tram approaching from behind, I wanted to move out the way but my gut instinct convinced me otherwise, and that’s when I noticed a man walking into my frame. I paused a moment even though the tram behind was honking for me to move, once the man was in the centre of the frame I took the shot and moved out the way for the oncoming tram. The end result would not have been possible if I had moved and not listened to my gut instinct.

 

What’s one photography tip you have learned from someone else that you would like to pass on to the greater audience?

 

Just because you have a fast prime i.e. F1.2 doesn’t mean you must shoot wide open, each lens has a sweet spot, understanding the aperture range can mean the difference between a tack sharp image and a blurry one.

To view more of Joe’s work visit his site or visit any of his profile on Facebook or Instagram.

Editors Note: Fujifilm Australia does not endorse photographing while standing on train or tram tracks.

Other interviews in this series

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Drew Hopper

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Alamby Leung

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ian Tan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Dale Rogers

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Josselin Cornou

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Chris Hopkins

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Anirban Chatterjee

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Harmeet Gabha

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Benjamin Lee

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Benjamin Lee

Through a photographer’s eye is the first in a series of interviews featuring Australian photographers. In each interview, we learn about the person behind the camera and how they use Fujifilm X Series cameras to photograph the world around them. Our ninth interview is with Sydney based photographer, Benjamin Lee.

Benjamin, tell us about yourself and how photography has impacted your life.

Photography has played a huge role in my life, shifting the direction of my career and lifestyle. Just over two years ago, I was working a regular, boring office job straight out of university. I wasn’t even working in a role I went to university for. The pay was great and steady, which made it hard to break out of that comfort zone. I finally built up the courage, and just quit on a whim. I knew I had enough savings to not worry too much.

I knew I wanted to spend a good six months being willfully unemployed and so I did. I spent my mornings at cafes, days visiting galleries and hiking national parks. With all my free time spent doing fun things and going to interesting places, I wanted to learn how to take photos and document it all.

That was when I bought my first camera – the Fujifilm X-Pro1 (w/ XF35mmF1.4 & XF18mmF2). I started sharing my photos to this brand new app called Instagram, and not long after that, Instagram put me on their suggested user list. My following grew quite significantly because of that and it set me on this path to where I am today.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF35mmF2 R WR – 1/550 – F2 – ISO400


You started with a Fujifilm X-Pro1 and had recently used the X-Pro2. For those not familiar with Fujifilm products, what did you find to be the biggest change between these models and do you think Fujifilm X Series cameras are heading in the right direction?

The first thing I immediately noticed was how quick the autofocus was. Paired with the XF35mmF2 and the XF16-55mmF2.8, the X-Pro2 never missed a beat for the two weeks I was testing it.

Some other differences I liked were:

⁃ Dual SD card slots: This feature really brings the camera into the modern professional standard.

⁃ ISO performance was surpassingly good. It was comparable to some of the full frame cameras I’ve used before.

⁃ Megapixels: the extra megapixels (from 16MP to 24MP) meant I could crop heavily in post processing.

⁃ The added weather sealing is a must for me, as I shoot a lot outdoors.

⁃ The subtle button redesign on the back of the camera is great. I can mostly operate the XPro2 with one hand now that the buttons have been moved to the right side of the camera. I think it’s amazing and commendable that Fujifilm has listened to the needs and wants of its customers and made small changes to perfect an already great camera.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/4700 – F2.8 – ISO200

How do you find social media helps your photography career? Did you find using the Fujifilm Camera Remote App helpful when paired with the X-Pro2?

I started photography around the same time social media really started to pick up. It really played an integral role in growing my career to the point it’s at today. Instagram spurred my interest in photography. It has helped in enhancing my visibility as a photographer. From that visibility, I have met and worked with a lot of amazing people and brands.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/100 – F2.8 – ISO2500

Best of all, I fully control the distribution of my work and have a direct line to communicate with my audience. I didn’t really get a chance to play around with the Camera Remote App. My workflow is with RAWs, so I prefer the traditional method of editing via computer and transferring to my phone that way.


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

⁃ Shoot everything and as often as possible

⁃ Explore all types of photography, take note of the genre’s aesthetic of photography that really motivates you and hones in on it.

⁃ Consume and view as much photography and art as you are producing (if not more). This will really help you refine your taste and personal aesthetic.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/5400 – F2.8 – ISO400


Can you tell us the story behind your favourite image captured using the Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8?

This is my favourite photo that I took over the two weeks I had the X-PRO2. It was shot with the XF16-55mmF2.8 on the longer range of the lens. A few friends and I went to the city to shoot some street photography.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/500 – F2.8 – ISO400

We found this intersection where the sunset light was hitting just right, the buildings had strong character and the rush hour office folks were busily crossing the street trying to get home.

I’m a bit of a bokeh addict and like to blur out my subjects against interesting backdrops. I like how it adds a sense of mystery to the subject. The fast F2.8 aperture on the XF16-55mmF2.8 definitely helped with this effect.

In this particular photo, I like all the layers of the scene, from the blurry man with the hat, the fire truck & the couple, to all the layers of buildings that fill the entire frame. I like how this image has that full; big city feel – kind of like NYC.

I also really like the complimentary colours: fire truck reds, oranges and yellows too!


Based on your style of photography, if you could put any improvements into a future X Series camera what would they include?

I love the size and discreetness of the X-Pro2 and Fujifilm systems in general. You don’t get hassled as much while taking photos out in public and can usually fly under the radar.

I would love improved battery life. I’m often shooting for long periods (both photos and videos) and the latter really seems to chew through batteries.

Another possible feature might be in body stabilisation. It has it’s pro’s and con’s but it would definitely be handy in my use cases. I’m not a fan of tripods and like to be agiler in my photography.

It would also mean that lenses could be made without IS, or possibly even used in conjunction (dual IS).


Do any photographers inspire you to ‘think outside of the square’ and shoot differently?

Other photographers constantly inspire me. I’m just as big as a fan of photography as I like taking photos myself so I’m continuously browsing the work of others.

Although my list of favourite photographers is constantly changing, here are my current favourites:

@benjaminhardman, @mattcherub, @donalboyd, @airpixels@monaris_@visualmemories_@pat_kay@5.12 and @nk7

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/2500 – F2.8 – ISO200

 

Along with the X-Pro2 and XF16-55mmF2.8, you also used the XF35mmF2 lens. What did you find the main difference(s) between the wide angled lens and which lens out of the two did you prefer to shoot with?

It’s hard to beat the lure of a quality zoom lens – especially one that covers the 16-55 range. The convenience of a zoom lens brings versatility to it that allows you to be able to be flexible and react quickly to changing conditions.

If I were to pick one walk around lens out of the two, I would probably go with the XF35mmF2. The XF16-55mmF2.8 is a little heavy and large relative to the compact X-Pro2 body.

The XF35mmF2 is tiny! Coming from a larger DSLR system, using a lens that is this small is kind of mind blowing. Best of all there is no compromise with image quality, speed AND it’s weather sealed. Kind of hard to beat, when it comes to an everyday walk around / travel lens.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/1250 – F2.8 – ISO400

 

To view more of Benjamin’s work visit his site or visit any of his profile on Instagram or YouTube.

Other interviews in this series

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Drew Hopper

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Alamby Leung

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ian Tan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Dale Rogers

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Josselin Cornou

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Chris Hopkins

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Anirban Chatterjee

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Harmeet Gabha

Shooting architecture with the Fujifilm X Series

For as long as I can remember, architecture has been my interest in photography.

By Felix Mooneeram

Before becoming a photographer, I worked as a designer. I’ve always had a great appreciation for architecture and what architects do. I love thinking about the tools in their bag when I shoot buildings. It could be a simple application of a beautiful material, a playful means of connecting two spaces; or just a way of adding natural light to a space. All of these things can influence the way people engage with a building – and that is what I try to think about when I am Continue reading Shooting architecture with the Fujifilm X Series

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Harmeet Gabha

through-a-photographers-eye

Through a photographer’s eye is the first in a series of interviews featuring Australian photographers. In each interview, we learn about the person behind the camera and how they use Fujifilm X Series cameras to photograph the world around them. Our eighth interview is with Sydney based photographer, Harmeet Gabha.

profile-xf56mm1-4

Harmeet, can you tell us about how you got into photography and why you pursue it?

 

I got into photography in 2005 when a colleague handed me his DSLR to take some pictures at a work cruise. The sun was setting and the Sydney Harbour Bridge was in the backdrop. I took the picture and he showed me the image on the LCD. As soon as I saw that, a spark lit up in my mind and I was hooked. I wanted to capture my own images like that. Later that year I saved up and bought my first Digital Camera a Fujifilm FinePix S5000, a 6 Megapixel camera.

I started taking pictures of friends and family during my travels. The more I photographed the more I realised that the world around me is changing so rapidly. Without images, we have no documented history of our lives. Now as a father, I have so many images of my daughter that when I look back at her early years as an infant, many beautiful memories keep flooding back. The joy and the memories that photography preserves are priceless.

Being able to freeze time with your camera is what keeps me excited about pursuing my passion.

casa-batllo-barcelona

“Casa Balto, Barcelona” – Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 400 – F3.5 – 1/180 second

The advancement in the photography field is just astonishing and, at the same time, I see people being scared and feeling lost when they buy their first camera. I enjoy helping others when they need help and sharing what I have learned throughout my journey. I get a sense of fulfilment when I see that by helping someone I have helped them get to their next level in their own journey. All this keeps me going.

 

After viewing your blog and vlog we see you travel quite a bit, what Fujifilm equipment do you take with you on these trips and why?

 

I’m using an X-T1 and XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 lens as my primary combo for travel. The camera is absolutely fantastic and the lens is versatile for a lot of shooting situations. I can use it for wide-angle photos through to the telephoto range without having to swap the lens. I can just throw the camera over my shoulder and I go out and shoot. Also being weather resistant I don’t have to worry about the occasional shower.

hobbiton-nz-hdr

“Hobbiton, New Zealand” – Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 400 – F6.4 – 1/2200 second

I also carry in my bag a XF23mmF1.4 which is an awesome prime lens and works beautifully indoors in low light conditions. Coupled with the X-T1 it has such brilliant performance at high ISOs, I can easily push the camera to ISO 3200 and shoot handheld. After dragging 10kg+ backpacks through airports loaded with DSLRs, batteries & lens and a hernia operation something had to change! The X-T1 was the perfect solution and a welcome change on my back.

 

Can you provide some insight into how you best process a RAW image taken by a Fujifilm X-T1? What software do you use and are there any settings you set on the camera for optimal colour?

 

I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for processing my RAW files from the X-T1. Lightroom has an easy to use interface that lets me create the final image I want. I always apply the desired camera profile like Vivid or Pro Neg. Hi to my images in Lightroom before proceeding with my edit.

I have tried using Capture One Pro, which a lot of X Series shooters use but it’s too clunky and complex to learn. I have tried using it several times but the User Interface (UI) just puts me off. Additionally, to Lightroom, I use software such as Luminar, Aurora HDR 2017, Photoshop, Google Nik Collection and currently testing On1 Photo Raw.

While shooting in Camera, I mostly shoot RAW+JPEG and I set Velvia as the Film Simulation for the JPEG. I find that the jpegs straight out of the camera are also great for sharing on social media using the WiFi feature of the camera. It’s so convenient and easy! I also enjoy editing RAW images directly on the Fujifilm X-T1.

For HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos, I just turn one mode dial and I am ready to shoot bracketed images. I will import the images for initial adjustments in Lightroom, followed by Aurora HDR 2017, which processes the 3 images to create the final HDR image.

la-sagrada-familia-before

“la sagrada familia – before” – Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 200 – F3.5 – 1/500 second

la-sagrada-familia-after

“la sagrada familia – after” – Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 200 – F3.5 – 1/500 second

So depending what I want to create, I use different tools for processing my RAW images. However, I’d say the majority of them just require Lightroom edits and I’m done.

 

How did you find the transition from your previous camera to Fujifilm mirrorless?

 

As I mentioned earlier, my back thanks me for making the change, however, the transition from Canon DSLRs was a very pleasant surprise. I quickly adapted to the X Series system. All the major controls for image capture are at your fingertips. With the dials and buttons, it makes it easy to setup for any scene. I suppose, what I like about it most is in order to shoot you don’t have to dig into the menus or press multiple buttons to take a photo.

bondi-sculptures

“Bondi Sculptures” – Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 200 – F8 – 2.8 seconds

The Fujifilm X-Trans sensor is brilliant; there is so much detail in the shadows that you can pull out from the RAW file. And I don’t mean just light shadows; I mean really dark almost black areas in the image can be lighted up via RAW processing. Best thing is the image quality is quite clean and noise free. On my previous camera that was not the case, shadows could not be pushed as much as the X-T1 and if you did noise would appear. However, I have to say the X-T1 doesn’t recover highlights as well as my previous camera. So I tend to underexpose my image when I have some bright spots in the image, by doing this I can be confident that shadows can be recovered easily.

 

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

 

Don’t be scared, just do it (as the Nike ad says). There are so many free resources available online that you will be able to learn and pick up any area of photography very quickly and easily. Google is your best friend; just type in what you are looking for and you’ll find the answer within minutes.

la-sagrada-familia-barcelona-hdr

“la sangrada familia, Barcelona” – Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 800 – F3.5 – 1/50 second

I’m also focusing more on my blog (photoinsomnia.com), by creating content for people just starting out in photography. It’s a resource where they can learn some techniques quickly that will make them more confident and inspired.

 

What sort of misconceptions do you hear (in conversation or online) when talking about mirrorless?

 

I’ve heard two main misconceptions; People think that mirrorless cameras won’t produce as good quality images as a DSLR but the fact is that my X-T1 produces much better images than many DSLRs. In my opinion, on Fujifilm cameras, the colours are richer and real. The sharpness of the images is amazing even at a very shallow depth of field e.g. F1.2 or F1.4.

park-guel-barcelona

“Park Guel, Barcelona” – Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 400 – F8 – 1/400 second

The second one misconception is that the ‘battery life on mirrorless is crap’. I agree that battery life is not as long as DSLR. I get 350-400 images on full charge whereas on a DSLR you can expect 600-700 images. But people forget battery capacity is proportional to its physical size. Smaller camera, smaller battery.

I’ve even taken 600+ images out of one charge with the X-T1 when shooting a Time Lapse sequence, probably because the LCD wasn’t being used and the camera was just firing off images for 30-40mins.

Also, I’d like to point out the benefit of the Electronic View Finder compared to an optical one – “what you see is what you will get”. By having one on the X-T1 you tend to shoot less wasteful frames, you only capture exactly what you want. In a DSLR you will have more throwaway shots, as the mirror will show you one thing while your result might be totally different if you get your settings wrong. But with the X-T1, what you see is what you get, so the shutter is only pressed when you are happy with your settings and what you are seeing through the camera.

 

Being a Fujifilm X-T1 user, where you excited to see the X-T2 arrive and do you think it met your expectations in a newer model?

 

Indeed, it was exciting to see the brand new camera packed with features and improvements released in the X-T2. I attended its launch event in Sydney and had an exclusive opportunity to try out the camera before it hit the market.

It was great to see that Fujifilm was listening to its market and incorporated the feedback to improve the next camera. On the X-T2 dials, it now has a locking mechanism, the camera has a new focus lever, tripod thread position and exposure compensation making an overall improvement to the useability.

new-plymouth

“New Plymouth” – Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 400 – F8 – 1/750 second

They improved the video capabilities of the camera to 4K so people wanting to film can be confident in capturing video. The one thing that still disappoints me is that Fujifilm doesn’t believe much in bracketing features as still you can only bracket -1 & +1 exposures and no more. I would love to see one of the firmware updates to just extend this range.

 

Answer this: If you could have your dream Fujifilm kit, what would it consist of?

 

My dream gear would be an X-T2 with an XF18-135mm lens and an X-Pro2 with an XF23mmF1.4 lens. But for the moment I’m very happy with what I’m using. The camera delivers the results for what I do and is rock solid.

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“Burning Man Sculpture, Reno, Nevarda” – Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 1000 – F3.5 – 1/2400 second

 

To view more of Harmeet’s work visit his blog or visit any of his social channels: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or Instagram.

Other interviews in this series

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Drew Hopper

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Alamby Leung

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ian Tan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Dale Rogers

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Josselin Cornou

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Chris Hopkins

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Anirban Chatterjee

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Anirban Chatterjee

through-a-photographers-eye

Through a photographer’s eye is the first in a series of interviews featuring Australian photographers. In each interview, we learn about the person behind the camera and how they use Fujifilm X Series cameras to photograph the world around them. Our seventh interview is with Melbourne based photographer Anirban Chatterjee.

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Anirban, can you tell us about your journey of becoming a visual storyteller and how you became involved in photography?

 

I was very curious about photography in childhood. Both my dad and granddad were amateur photographers. As far as I remember, we always had a camera or two in our house. But in India in the 80s and 90s, the time when I was growing up, owning a camera was not very common. The camera was more of a family treasure than a tool of the trade. So, my time with the camera was very limited. The norm was I got to take one frame during an entire family vacation. I don’t think my dad could have handled his anxiety more than that. So, yes, I was curious more in a forbidden fruit kind of way than anything else.

Actual photography happened a bit late in my life. My first camera was a Kodak point and shoot which I bought in 2005 when I was living in London. It was my first time outside India, and I wanted to preserve my memories. Then in 2007, I moved to Thailand. This was the time when prosumer DSLRs were getting more mainstream. All my friends had a DSLR. They were all talking about stuff my simple point and shoot could never do. So, one day I went and bought a Pentax K10D. Yes, in a way, I bought my first DSLR because of peer pressure. And that’s pretty much how I got started in photography.

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Between 2005 and 2012, I was living a nomadic life. Especially between 2007 and 2012, I lived in five countries and visited two more. When I started, my images were mostly of these new places, its culture, and people. I wanted to share stories about these new experiences with my parent back in India. I like to think of my Mom as my first editorial client. That’s how I started telling stories through my photography.

During this time, I was also fortunate to get published in a few global publications and was featured in the Pentax artist gallery. This led to a few actual client assignments which further pushed me to learn more about the craft, and to improve my skills.

In 2013 I moved to Australia. Soon after I became a dad, life took over, and photography moved to the bottom of the priority list. In hindsight, I think the time off was a great thing to happen. I got the time to think about where I wanted to be with my life, reset my priorities and what photography meant to me as a person.

My passion continues to be a visual storyteller and photography will always be my chosen medium. I think with time, and from experience, I have finally found the way.

Though I started doing photography almost 10 years back, it has only been a year or so that I feel I have become a photographer.

 

Having shot exclusively on the Fujifilm X-T1 and X100T since 2013, can you explain how X Series equipment has helped your photography style?

 

It may sound a bit odd, but I want my camera to do most of the heavy lifting for me. For me, that’s the reason technology exists. Carl Mydans once said that sophisticated equipment simply “frees all of us from the tyranny of technique and enables us to turn to what photography is all about – creating a picture”. And X Series cameras allow me to do just that.

The beauty of X-Series camera is the common design principles they all share. My main gear for my client work is X-T1, but I also use my X100T when required. For me, it is another body with XF23mmF2 lens. This is where the common design principle helps. Both the cameras work the same way, the menu options which I use are common, the dials and knobs are almost at the same place. I set up both the cameras in the same way, and the entire process feels very seamless.

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Not only are the cameras are similar, but the files they produce are also identical. I rely heavily on automation and like to trust my camera. I am always on Aperture Priority; I set WB to auto, the meter is set to Multi, ISO is always set to 6400, and I use the Chrome Film Simulation almost all the time. That’s what I meant by a camera doing the heavy lifting for me. They also react to post processing the same way and even looks the same when I convert them to monochrome. This makes the entire post-processing workflow very simple and fast.

I think to put it in simple terms; it has made my photographic process very simple and intuitive.

 

You recently travelled to Jakarta with Fujifilm X Series equipment, did you have a particular lens setup you preferred to photography with?

 

I prefer the 23mm focal length on a crop sensor. It gives a 35mm equivalent field of view which suits my street/documentary style of shooting. Being a wide angle lens, it also adds a sense of depth in the images, which I love.

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X100T gives all these in a very small form factor. Add to that a leaf shutter with an inbuilt ND filter. Though I have not used flash on my recent trip, but I have done it before. And it eliminates the need to carry multiple ND filters as well as the limitations of sync speed.
It checks all the boxes for me, and it is my go-to setup for travelling.

 

Did you find photographing in a foreign country to be different to photographing in Australia? If so, how?

 

Definitely. There is a huge difference.

The biggest difference is the way you compose. Photography is an art of elimination. You are always looking for elements to eliminate from the frame to make a stronger image. In places like India, China, Indonesia, and Japan it is very difficult to do that especially when you are used to photographing in a place like Australia.

In Australia, when you are on the streets you are dealing with limited variables. You focus on one or two things. You know the way people interact and behave so it is easier for you to predict and you can pre-visualise things, but in places like Tokyo, Shanghai or Jakarta, with a higher population density, it is very easy to get overwhelmed.

The population of greater Jakarta region itself is more than that of entire Australia. The first time I went out on the streets, I was simply overwhelmed. There were so many people within the frame. Add to that you have other visual elements to deal with. There are more colours on the street, the quality of light is different, just too many variables to consider which takes some time to get used to.

 

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I grew up in India and lived in the South East and East Asia region for almost 5 years. I knew what to expect but still got overwhelmed when I went. It takes a huge shift in the way you react to all those visual cues, to process the information, and make the image.

 

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

 

Have fun and enjoy. You can be the most technically gifted photographer, but if you are not having fun or enjoying the process, your images will be boring.

And if you are starting to do photography on the street, please be respectful to others. In Australia, it is perfectly legal to do photography in public places, but that doesn’t give you a licence to be a nuisance. As much as we have the right to take photographs in public places, the other person also has a right to walk on the street minding their own business. We live in a community, and respect must be mutual. An image is not worth it if it ruins someone’s day. So please be respectful.

 

In a recent project featured on your website you explored the concept of identity among humans, can you explain the settings you used on your X100T to help portray the subject?

 

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F4 and ISO 6400. Shutter speed was between 1/6th and 1/10th of a second. I used aperture priority mode, so shutter speed was pretty much what the camera decided. Since, I was shooting at the exact same location, standing almost near the same spot and at about the same time of the day, I knew the shutter speed wouldn’t vary that much. Also, I wanted the camera to adjust to the random changes in light from vehicles passing by. Like I said, I want my cameras to do the heavy lifting for me.

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Overall based on your experience, how did you find travelling exclusively with the Fujifilm X100T to document all your travels? Were there any advantages or disadvantages?

 

For my style of shooting, I think it is as good as it can get. To me, the versatility of a 35mm equivalent lens in a small form factor is its biggest advantage.

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I don’t think there are any disadvantages as such. In the end, it comes down to individual preferences and style of shooting. For travelling, landscape photographers only having a fixed prime can be limiting. Also, different people see the world in a different way. If one sees things in ‘telephoto way’ i.e. prefers to isolate subjects or to include minimal elements within the frame, this camera may create some creative constraints. For beginners and people who are a generalist, I feel a camera with XF18-135mm lens is a much better option.

 

 

Do you have any more projects you are planning that we should look out for and where should people go to see more of your work?

 

I am very passionate about the concept of Human identity. So far, I feel I have just scratched the surface, so I will definitely be exploring the theme more in depth. I am also planning to do a few more projects specific to Australia. I think there are many stories in this country still being untold. It is my way of learning more about my adopted country and fellow people.

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I try to update my Instagram and Facebook feed regularly with my latest work and projects. And to see my current work, you can go to my website.

Other interviews in this series

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Drew Hopper

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Alamby Leung

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ian Tan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Dale Rogers

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Josselin Cornou

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Chris Hopkins

BBC & NatGeo wildlife photographer Ben Osborne switches to Fujifilm

By Ben Osborne

Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography

Photography has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I still have packets full of black and white negatives taken on 127 roll film with an old Brownie box camera – memories of family holidays and school trips from way back when. At the University of Edinburgh my interest in photography developed when I used still images and Super 8 film to back up field research on the feeding behavior of Ringed Plover, the subject of my Zoology Honours Degree dissertation. Having completed a second degree, my scientific “career” took a series of slightly disjointed steps through various biological research jobs, mainly ones with a wildlife theme. My interest in photography matured during this time until Continue reading BBC & NatGeo wildlife photographer Ben Osborne switches to Fujifilm

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Chris Hopkins

through-a-photographers-eye

Through a photographer’s eye is the first in a series of interviews featuring Australian photographers. In each interview, we learn about the person behind the camera and how they use Fujifilm X Series cameras to photograph the world around them. Our sixth interview is with Melbourne based photographer, Chris Hopkins.

Portrait of Chris Hopkins. Photograph by Michael Coyne © 2016
Portrait of Chris Hopkins. Photograph by Michael Coyne © 2016

Chris, can you tell us how you got started in photography and what the visual medium means to you?

 

I travelled a lot in my twenties. I spent 6 years travelling around the world, but Africa got to me visually. I decided (prematurely!) that I wanted to be a wildlife photographer and upon returning home to Melbourne with no career my partner encouraged me to enrol in a photography course. I was then accepted into Melbourne’s Photography Studies College. I did studio classes and learned about the history of photography but it was seeing the work of the masters of photojournalism like; Sebastiao Salgado, Henri Cartier Bresson, James Nachtwey and Marcus Bleasdale that hooked me.

The visual impact these guys images had, particularly their composition and ability to tell a story within a single frame resonated in me and my passion grew from there. In a society that is oversaturated with images, I still feel that quality photojournalism is the most powerful tool to convey a message whilst documenting history. As visual storytellers, I feel it is our duty, to use our skills to tell the story of those that otherwise couldn’t. The ability of an image to change policy and make the world a better, safer place is why I love photojournalism.

 

Recently you photographed a series of portraits of Melbourne’s homeless, tell us why did you find it important to document this and how did you go about crafting this visual story?

 

I photographed the series ‘Streeties’ after a small batch of homeless set up a makeshift protest camp in Melbourne’s City Square. They set up the camp in response to the tabloid media’s misrepresentation of the homeless; painting them as violent, drug users and a danger to society. This witch hunt led to the police ‘cleaning up’ the streets, leaving the genuine homeless with nowhere to go. I am a stringer for Getty Images and Fairfax Media and around that time I was on shift for The Age newspaper and felt it right to try to portray these people as the people they are, not the objects of derision they had been touted as. Initially, I introduced myself to a few of the guys in the camp and listened to their stories and explained what I wanted to do. They were keen to be shown in a positive light.

Melbourne, Australia. From "Streeties' a series on Melbournes homeless. The series aims to present Melbournes homeless as dignified, 'real' people as opposed to the generalised view that they are a stain on society. Some have mental issues some have been successful business people who have fallen on hard times. Some also have drug dependancy issues but all are human beings and deserving of a 'fair go'. Murray, 52 has been on the street for 11 months. Well aware of the drug and alcohol problems associated with the homeless and the public perceptions he takes refuge with others as there is strength in numbers. "The most important thing for us is that the public are made aware of our situation." Photograph by Chris Hopkins
Melbourne, Australia. From “Streeties’ a series on Melbournes homeless. The series aims to present Melbournes homeless as dignified, ‘real’ people as opposed to the generalised view that they are a stain on society. Some have mental issues some have been successful business people who have fallen on hard times. Some also have drug dependency issues but all are human beings and deserving of a ‘fair go’. Murray, 52 has been on the street for 11 months. Well aware of the drug and alcohol problems associated with the homeless and the public perceptions he takes refuge with others as there is strength in numbers. “The most important thing for us is that the public are made aware of our situation.” Photograph by Chris Hopkins

The winter sun in Melbourne comes in very low in the late afternoon but it is golden and warm and I wanted to use this to contrast against the blacks that form in the shadows of the city. I only had a ten-minute window before the sun dropped behind the high-rises so I would find the pocket of light and move the subject into position then let them pose as they wanted. Some would stare at the camera, some would smile others looked away but they all have a certain dignity to them, even after all they have been through and that is ultimately what I wanted to show.

Melbourne, Australia. From "Streeties' a series on Melbournes homeless. The series aims to present Melbournes homeless as dignified, 'real' people as opposed to the generalised view that they are a stain on society. Some have mental issues some have been successful business people who have fallen on hard times. Some also have drug dependancy issues but all are human beings and deserving of a 'fair go'. John, 40 has been on the streets off and on for 27 years. "Its time for the pollies to fulfill promises and make affordable housing for all of us." Photograph by Chris Hopkins
Melbourne, Australia. From “Streeties’ a series on Melbournes homeless. The series aims to present Melbournes homeless as dignified, ‘real’ people as opposed to the generalised view that they are a stain on society. Some have mental issues some have been successful business people who have fallen on hard times. Some also have drug dependency issues but all are human beings and deserving of a ‘fair go’. John, 40 has been on the streets off and on for 27 years. “It’s time for the pollies to fulfil promises and make affordable housing for all of us.” Photograph by Chris Hopkins

 

Did the size of the camera and lens combination put off your subjects at all? Were any shots arranged or did you take the portraits without any planning?

 

I think the size of the camera helps. In this situation, the homeless had long telephoto lens pointed at them from across the street, so immediately if I went into the camp with that sort of gear it would be met with apprehension. I know from experience that using a big press kit on intimate documentary work can have an adverse effect as the subject can feel objectified. The less myself and my camera compromise a situation the more ‘real’ the image will be. Obviously, it’s got a great deal to do with how you interact with the subject as to what picture you make but I feel the Fujifilm’s smaller, less conspicuous size helps put the subject at ease.

Melbourne, Australia. From "Streeties' a series on Melbournes homeless. The series aims to present Melbournes homeless as dignified, 'real' people as opposed to the generalised view that they are a stain on society. Some have mental issues some have been successful business people who have fallen on hard times. Some also have drug dependancy issues but all are human beings and deserving of a 'fair go'. Asha, 62 from Camperdown has been on the streets for 13 years. A writer and poet he sees his street life as a lifestyle always "living a nomadic life" He is worried that the recent attention on the homeless will overlook the bigger issues and he hopes that "the government see through the individuals and support worthwhile programs such as the soup kitchen". Photograph by Chris Hopkins
Melbourne, Australia. From “Streeties’ a series on Melbournes homeless. The series aims to present Melbournes homeless as dignified, ‘real’ people as opposed to the generalised view that they are a stain on society. Some have mental issues some have been successful business people who have fallen on hard times. Some also have drug dependancy issues but all are human beings and deserving of a ‘fair go’. Asha, 62 from Camperdown has been on the streets for 13 years. A writer and poet he sees his street life as a lifestyle always “living a nomadic life” He is worried that the recent attention on the homeless will overlook the bigger issues and he hopes that “the government see through the individuals and support worthwhile programs such as the soup kitchen”. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

For the series of portraits published in Fairfax Media, as mentioned earlier, I basically had the guys, 2 or 3 at a time follow me into pockets of light as it slowly fell away. We would chat and interact and I would make pictures as the sun dropped. I would return the next day at the same time to do more and because of the initial work I did getting to know them it was easy for me to organise people to photograph.

 

Is there a reason why you decided to photograph in black and white and can you elaborate on the lighting setup you used?

 

I wanted the portraits to have an ageless feel like they could be from the States during the depression or under Thatcher in the backstreets of London but I also wanted to give the subject a sense of dignity, despite their situation. I feel that by making the images Black and White it was easier to achieve this goal. The lighting was all natural. I just found the smallest shard of light possible and by exposing for the light it meant that the shadows deepened and made for the contrast I was looking for.

When engaging with the people, did you form any emotional ties with any of them, and how has this project affected your outlook on life?

 

Since meeting these guys I now know most of them to say G’day too and have a chat about how their day is going. I am in the city for the paper or Getty most days so I get to see them reasonably often. I always have had an open view regarding people and their circumstances, by that I mean not to judge a book by its cover, but I wasn’t aware of the wide variety of people who are homeless. While many are drug dependent and some are violent, most that I know are quite gentle and polite, often with some form of mental illness, but a quick chat and asking how they are can mean the world of difference to their day. One gentleman Asha, I have formed a bond with and subsequently, I have been documenting his life on the street.

 

You mentioned you were documenting Asha’s life on the street after one of his family members got in contact after seeing him in published photos online. How has the story unfolded since?

 

I received a message via social media, six months after the series was published, from his grand-daughter saying that she saw the images and was certain Asha was her missing grandfather. Her family hadn’t had any contact in thirteen years and had presumed he was dead. She asked, if possible, could I contact him or somehow get a message to him for her.

Image of Asha Lang from long term project by Chris Hopkins. Photograph by Chris Hopkins
Image of Asha Lang from long term project by Chris Hopkins. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

 

Image of Asha Lang from long term project by Chris Hopkins. Photograph by Chris Hopkins
Image of Asha Lang from long term project by Chris Hopkins. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

I wasn’t sure that he wanted to be found or have anything to do with his family as I was aware that his past, especially his family life, was quite chequered. After a couple of days searching I found him in a new camp that was set up on Flinders St and has since become infamous for its open visible drug use and recently disbanded by police. He was cleanly shaven unlike in his portrait where he sported a heavy beard.

Image of Asha Lang from long term project by Chris Hopkins. Photograph by Chris Hopkins
Image of Asha Lang from long term project by Chris Hopkins. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

When I told him about his granddaughter he was overcome with emotion and desperately wanted to make contact. I’m sure he rang from a payphone within 5 minutes of me giving him the number and I have been documenting his life on the street ever since. It has been an emotional and at times frustrating project, as it’s hard to find him as initially Asha didn’t carry a phone, but I guess knowing that because of my work he has made steps to reunite with his family and put plans in place to better his quality of life is rewarding personally. The full story, “Melbourne’s homeless: Photo tells the story of hope and renewal for Asha Lang” can be seen here.

 

Can you see yourself staying with Fujifilm X Series equipment for your future projects and how has the Fujifilm X-T1 helped you with your photography?

 

Oh definitely! I now use both the X-T1 and the X-T2 on all my projects. The nature of press photography is one of constant pressure and there is a great deal of emphasis on speed. Events happen quickly, you’ve got to be fast to get the shot and filing must be done so quickly that it seems the editor wants the pics before you make them! Using the Fujifilm gear allows me to get into a situation where I can dictate how long I need to make the shot. By giving myself that time I then can concentrate more effort on composition and really think about the story the image will portray. I am also in awe of the image quality that I get from the lens. I use the XF23mmF1.4 and the XF14mmF2.8 and the crispness of the image and focus speed are second to none in my mind.

Melbourne, Australia. From "Streeties' a series on Melbournes homeless. The series aims to present Melbournes homeless as dignified, 'real' people as opposed to the generalised view that they are a stain on society. Some have mental issues some have been successful business people who have fallen on hard times. Some also have drug dependancy issues but all are human beings and deserving of a 'fair go'. Andy, 47 has been homeless for thirty years. He is angry at the anti begging laws in Melbourne and feels that such a minor charge can send those with more serious criminal histories who are going straight backwards in their recovery. "Its like every time i get myself out of the gutter I get pushed back into it." he adds "I wouldnt change anything, theres more genuine, giving people on the streets than in general society." Photograph by Chris Hopkins
Melbourne, Australia. From “Streeties’ a series on Melbournes homeless. The series aims to present Melbournes homeless as dignified, ‘real’ people as opposed to the generalised view that they are a stain on society. Some have mental issues some have been successful business people who have fallen on hard times. Some also have drug dependancy issues but all are human beings and deserving of a ‘fair go’. Andy, 47 has been homeless for thirty years. He is angry at the anti begging laws in Melbourne and feels that such a minor charge can send those with more serious criminal histories who are going straight backwards in their recovery. “Its like every time i get myself out of the gutter I get pushed back into it.” he adds “I wouldnt change anything, theres more genuine, giving people on the streets than in general society.” Photograph by Chris Hopkins

 

Where can people find you online if they want to see more of your work and do you have any other projects coming up we should look out for?

 

My folio can be seen at www.chris-hopkins.com.au. My next project has already been shot, all with Fujifilm gear, and will be released as part of a documentary film release campaign in March. I spent time in the Mentawai, an archipelago off the coast of Sumatra, which is the home to a small indigenous tribe that is on the brink of extinction. A small band of natives led by their Sikerei (Shaman) are rebelling against the government’s forced assimilation program that strips them of their culture and traditional ways. It was an amazing experience and the images are particularly striking so I can’t wait for it to be published.

 

To view more of Chris’s work visit his Facebook Page or follow him on Instagram or Twitter.

Other interviews in this series

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Drew Hopper

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Alamby Leung

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ian Tan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Dale Rogers

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Josselin Cornou

 

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Josselin Cornou

Through a photographer’s eye is the first in a series of interviews featuring Australian photographers. In each interview, we learn about the person behind the camera and how they use Fujifilm X Series cameras to photograph the world around them. Our fifth interview is with Sydney based photographer, Josselin Cornou.

Josselin, your photography is extraordinary, can you tell us about yourself, what you do and why you enjoy taking photos?

Photography is simply more than just a hobby, it’s sometimes a way of life. Working in a highly competitive and technical environment, I see photography as a way to express my feelings and develop my artistic mindset. I also see a real opportunity to use photography to gain impact by campaigning, in order to help great causes, like the reduction of CO2 in the world.

Funny enough, I was lucky to follow the training “Search Inside Yourself”, the #1 most popular training program at Google, and I was stunned to see that photography is actually really similar to the process of meditating and journaling. Slowing down and appreciating without judging, in order to capture the moment at its fullest!

 

 

You recently ventured to the Rocky Creek Canyon in New South Wales to test out the new Fujifilm X100F. Tell us, how did you find the experience and did the X100F perform well?

 

The Fujifilm performed well, it felt like the previous X100S, just better. The top ISO dial was really useful in order to change settings on the fly. This is actually really useful, as you can’t always carry a tripod while venturing through canyons.

It is interesting to know that, while shooting in a long ‘technical’ Canyon, you need to be aware that time can be against you:

  1. You spend typically at least a good 80-90% of your time swimming/abseiling/jumping around/throwing bags in the water. You need a camera that you can take quickly, and being able to change setting in a click of a button is a real advantage.
  2. You will spend less than 20% of the time with a tripod. Time counts, and trust me – you don’t want to get stuck in the water (it’s freezing)

To add to the complexity of canyoning photography, you need to manage really wide dynamic range, and bracketing is sometimes the only option to capture the moment.

I think the X100F is a nice camera to venture into incredible landscapes. While I am a big adept of ultra wide angle, it is good sometimes to keep yourself at a 35mm focal length (full frame equivalent). If I needed a wider field of view, I would simply create a stitched pano. The fact that the X100 series has a small lens is actually a big plus for panorama photography. You will unlikely see any parallax issues while composing your panorama.

 

 

Again, I have to say I do love the new top dial to change the ISO on the fly. Also, I like the compact size of the body.

 

The canyon was quite treacherous in some parts, can you let the readers know how you kept the Fujifilm X100F dry? Also, did the battery life perform for the day-long expedition?

 

My solution: Use a dry bag in a dry bag 🙂 Macpac do sell those small 5L dry bags for a couple of dollars, and that should cover you for most situations when venturing through the water. Using an underwater housing would be best, but those dry bags do the job just fine.

I only needed to use one battery. That was actually more than enough for a day shooting in a canyon (about 400 shots). I personally never wondered why battery life on mirrorless was an issue. Those batteries are much lighter than DSLR cameras.

 

How do you like to push the photographic boundaries from a technical imaging aspect and can you show us an example of your imaging process and explain how you formed the final shot?

 

Below are two examples on how I process my photos from start to finish.

 

Example One: My personal three-way incremental techniques. A technique to render photos within 5-10 minutes:

 

  1. First, you have to think about the colour pattern that is going to be used for the photos (e.g. colour wheel). Start with the original image and edit it using Lightroom. I quickly work on the highlights, shadows, white and blacks in the photo. I also correct the hue/saturation of the different colour channels in order to follow my preferred colour wheel scheme. I finally correct distortion and the general aspect ratio in order to bring back the photo as close as I saw it with my own eyes.

 

 

2. I continue to the second step by opening the photo with Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4. I usually apply a custom version of the recipe named “Soft Landscape” and remove any vignetting but add some sharpness back to the photos. Also, I apply some of the filters to the selected part of the photo.

3. Then, I reiterate on step one and two until I am happy with the photo.

 Before

After

 

Example Two: HDR (High Dynamic Range)

 

One of my best photography techniques is to bracket multiple exposures of the same shot. Why would you do this you might say?

 

Sometimes you need more dynamic range, and you don’t have time to manually change your settings. This is particularly useful if you go on a non-photography tour. This technique should give you way more flexibility to edit your photo.

 

Originals:

 

  1. Here I am happy with the general colours of the photos so I will stick with the Analogous colour scheme (groups of three colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel) to portray the natural colour of the rock.
  2. Following this, I will then create my HDR using Lightroom. This technique should work 99% percent of the time. If not, I would recommend using Photoshop to merge your HDR.

 

  1. At this stage, I generally disable auto tone, because it sometimes gives an unrealistic (and ugly) result:

 

  1. Instead of enabling this feature, I reset the auto tone, and play with HDR photos produced by Lightroom. My rule of thumb here is to only edit incrementally, slowly so that I don’t go over the top with any settings:

 

 

Settings:
In this image you can see the settings I used in Lightroom to achieve the overall look.

 

  1. As seen in the photo, during our expedition, the sunlight was hitting the green fern and trees, adding a green ambient light. However, the rock colours remained with a warmer tonality. (It is also interesting to note that Bayer sensors are twice more sensitive to green). I decided to bring back the original colours of the rocks by using an elliptic tool. The end result gave me a nice gradient between the two colour tones. It was important to note that I had to make sure to keep the colours within the predefined Analogous colour scheme.

 

 

  1. I then process two copies of the photo using a Lightroom Plugin called Color Efex Pro and Analog Efex Pro with two different tonalities:

left image – Analog Efex Pro, right image –  Color Efex Pro.

 

  1. Here you can see the final result of both photos. The Analog Efex Pro layer will be used for vignetting, while the Color Efex Pro layer(a warmer version of the original photo) will be used for the centre area to obtain the following rendition. Again changes are extremely subtle:

 

  1. Finally, we can reprocess the image with Lightroom. The goal here is to slightly increase the exposure of the centre of this frame and slightly accentuate the contrast of the underexposed areas. This should create an all round better depth in the image.

 

This should give me a more natural, more realistic photo – depicting a better vision of what was seen during that moment.

Before

 

After

 

Something worth noting is that you can use the following programs to continually reprocess your image to recreate the scene. By making small incremental changes in Lightroom followed by Nik software and then Photoshop, you will be able to recreate the scene as you saw it with your own eyes. I personally used this processing workflow for some of my most popular shots, such as these: ‘Lonely Solitude‘, ‘Sunrise with the old Gods‘ and ‘Sakura, from the leaves to the sky‘.

 

 

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

 

Buy a camera with a fixed manual lens. In a day of automation, it is easy to go into the classic auto mode. It works really well in most cases, but this also means that the user will hardly learn any photographic concept. Having a limited focal length will help the user reframe the shot, avoiding any bad practices like constantly zooming. My first camera was a Panasonic GH2 + Voigtlander 25mmF0.95. That setup really helped me step up my game.

 

If you want to do landscape, then get an ultra wide angled lens. These lenses are expensive, but they will help you frame those ultra wide shots – making it totally worth it.

 

 

You mentioned in a conversation you had a previous X Series model, what made you decide on Fujifilm X Series equipment in the first place and how do you see it’s future unfolding with the introduction of mirrorless medium format?

 

I love the compactness of the system. One camera that really interested me was the X70. I liked it because it provides a 28mm with an adapter to go to 21mm. I travel a lot for work and leisure, and I want to keep my gear light.

 

I think Fujifilm is going toward a good direction with the medium format:

  1. The camera market is shrinking, it’s very evident with CIPA shipment hitting a new low this year. In the way I see things going, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the interchangeable camera market becoming a niche. To prevent this, camera manufacturers needs to innovate on a hardware and software point of view.
  2. Full frame cameras are now proposing higher megapixel cameras. The problem is that effective resolution on full frame camera tops around ~50-70MP. Two solutions to increase those: scale up the size of the sensor, or change the design of the sensor (3 layers stacked one, etc.).

 

Now you have had some time with the X100F, were there any features you enjoyed using and what would you like to see improved in future X Series models?

 

Enjoyed using:

  1. ISO dial, it was great!
  2. Quick menu settings.
  3. The small joystick that can be used to navigate and change focus points.
  4. Backwards compatibility with X100 series lens and accessories.

 

Things to improve:

–   ISO dial is great, I love it. It is sometimes hard to change it on the go.

–   Please provide an app store where we could install apps for time-lapse, overlay with apps (e.g. predicting the position of the sun, etc), social media apps (snap, etc.). Transferring photo to a laptop is old. Sometimes we just want to share on the go.

 

Looking at your photos we noticed you love to travel. Are there any essential pieces of equipment you like to take with you before travelling and what’s the best way to conduct research on the places you are planning to visit?

 

I usually like to bring with me:

  1. Drone (DJI Mavic Pro).
  2. Camera with wide angle lens (15-30mm ~), 50mm lens and 70-200mm. And the kit lens of course (for my underwater housing). Oh and I always have a second old body, just in case one breaks.
  3. Underwater housing, if I plan on bringing the camera underwater. I have a cheap one that does an excellent job (Meikon).
  4. Solar panel to charge on the go + 10,000 mAh battery so that I can quickly charge my camera and equipment.
  5. A phone camera, that is always good to have.
  6. A small tripod, and sometimes a bigger one.

 

The best way to conduct research on places I am planning to visit: That’s a tough question – I usually look at travel guides, I also look at the weather, and the likelihood to see wildlife and scenery (that will dictate which lens I am taking). Also use an app like Photopills to know what I am going to shoot (night photography, etc.). In most cases, I wait only a few days before booking my hotel. The weather might change, and this may dictate your choice of location.

 

I don’t like to look at too many photos from other photographers of the place I’m going to, because it sometimes might spoil the feeling of that place, and it will also give me too much temptation to imitate them. It also gives the opportunity to look at a place differently.

To see more photos from Josselin follow him on Instagram or visit his website here.

Other interviews in this series

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Drew Hopper

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Alamby Leung

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ian Tan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Dale Rogers