Exploring Iceland with a FUJIFILM X-T2

By Stuart Dudleston

Needless to say, Iceland is a pretty awesome place. And with awesome places comes awesome and often very extreme weather. During my recent travels around Iceland, I endured everything from minor sandstorms to a fully fledged blizzard as we crossed the mountains into Akureyri.

 

 

Continue reading Exploring Iceland with a FUJIFILM X-T2

Shooting the Captivating Italian Lakes with the GFX

By Mark Bauer

Landscape photographer, Mark Bauer lives near Dorset’s Jurassic coast, which is world renowned for being stunningly beautiful. This part of the country, as well as travelling with photography provides him with a constant source of inspiration. Mark recently visited the captivating Italian lakes. Armed with a FUJIFILM GFX 50S he captured some stunning images. In this blog he talks about his experience with medium format, and how the GFX was the perfect companion for his trip. Continue reading Shooting the Captivating Italian Lakes with the GFX

Experiencing Rajasthan with the X100S

By Simon Bray

I wanted to explore somewhere different, somewhere that would stretch me, show me part of the world that I’d never experienced before, and may not have the freedom or lack of responsibilities to explore in the same way again; so we chose India, specifically, two weeks in Rajasthan.


I think to say that it stretched me would be an understatement of vast proportions. Every time I thought I was getting somewhere close to understanding the place I was in, something new would throw me off. My senses were constantly stimulated, whether it was relentless traffic and horns sounding, incense or burning rubbish, the colours and constant movement, being stared at or asked for money, flavours that were totally new, the combination was overwhelming.

However, there was never a shortage of things to photograph. It was almost as if every corner demanded to be documented. Everything was new, interesting, exciting, it was like returning to when I’d just started to pick up a camera and the possibilities of making images was totally new again.

Being a tourist gave me permission to photograph, I didn’t feel any boundaries. Every time someone asked me and my wife (mainly my wife) for a portrait, I asked for one in return. My confidence to take images soon built, even if my the rest of my instincts remained unsure about everything happening around me.

I don’t think I went with any direct expectations of what I wanted to capture. I don’t think I had any direct expectations of what I was about to throw myself into at all actually! The one thing I did know was that I wanted to travel light. I took just one backpack, so taking a raft of lenses and equipment really wasn’t an option, which is why I opted for the FUJIFILM X100S, it was an obvious choice really.

It’s a camera that I’d grown to love shooting with over the past year or so. The simplicity of using it is what really drew me in, but the image quality continues to impress me, I’d go as far as saying I like working with the files over my full frame DSLR option. It’s my go-to camera for travel, to the extent that I’ve just ordered the FUJIFILM X100F, which I know will be by my side pretty much everywhere I go!

I have compiled the images I took during my time in Rajasthan into an 86 page book, co-published by Let’s Explore Publishing and myself. It’s an exploration to experience a culture that is different to my own. Different values, commodities, traditions, history, religions, customs, food, politics, economics and yet so much to be shared together along the way.

If you would like to pre-order a copy of the book, please visit: http://www.simonbray.co.uk/prints-publications/the-limited-findings-of-a-westerners-short-stay-in-rajasthan


About Simon

Simon Bray is a Manchester based documentary & landscape photographer. He began taking photographs when he moved from Hampshire to Manchester as a means of assimilating into his new surroundings and adjusting to city life. His work has been exhibited at The Whitworth, Manchester and Brighton Photo Biennial and displayed at The Southbank Centre and Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. His work has been published in The Guardian, BBC In Pictures and Outdoor Photography.

Website: www.simonbray.co.uk
Instagram: www.instagram.com/simonbray
Twitter: www.twitter.com/simonbray

Road tripping the USA

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by Damien Lovegrove

As I finish my preparations for another epic road trip adventure it gives me a great excuse to share with you my passion for what has to be one of the finest locations for photography on the planet; The Wild West of the USA. The high deserts of Arizona, the Canyons of Utah and the rock formations of Nevada deliver a spectacular backdrop while Route 66 and small town America provide us with a texture and cultural heritage to be cherished and immortalised on camera. Continue reading Road tripping the USA

Capturing Winter – a photographer’s guide

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By Chris Upton

With low raking light, crisp clear air, lingering morning mists, beautiful frosts and (hopefully!) a covering of pristine white snow it’s no wonder that winter is a photographers delight. The icing on the cake is that at this time of the year sunrise and sunset are at civilized times of the day so you can enjoy a lie in and be back for a family meal at the end of the day.


What to shoot

You will not be short of subjects to photograph in these conditions but you may have to be quick as the light or the mist may only be present for minutes or even seconds. From big sweeping landscapes, to isolated trees or barns, to detail shots of frosted grass, icicles or bubbles under the ice there are shots everywhere.

It’s the harsh weather that creates those Continue reading Capturing Winter – a photographer’s guide

Climbing China’s Yellow Mountains with the FUJIFILM X-Pro2

It’s not often you get to visit a country like China that is full of wonders, but as most of you may know when an opportunity like this comes your way it’s best to capture it in full.

Recently, my overseas trip involved trekking through the Yellow Mountains located in the Huangshan National Park, located about an hours flight from Shanghai, China. Although this majestic place was close to Shanghai, I travelled from the busy tech hub of Shenzhen (around a 5 hours flight), and the limited air conditioning outside the terminal didn’t seem to compete with the hot and sticky weather.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF16mmF1.4 – ISO 500 – F5.6 – 1/1400 second

Our driver who didn’t seem to care much for his life, raced around blind corners in his F1 fighter jet or otherwise known to the people-who-want-to-live as a car. I must say, the door handles of the vehicle certainly became weakened by the end of the trip due to the constant strain from clenched grips. We survived, though and desperately scrambled into our accommodation after an hour in our driving simulator before we explored the town located a few kilometres from the base of the majestic Yellow Mountains. Upon taking a few steps outside of the car park I was reminded no matter where you are in the world, even in a small Chinese country town in the middle of nowhere you can’t escape technology!

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF16mmF1.4 – ISO 1250 – F1.4 – 1/7 second

The evening consisted of strolling the streets with the Fujifilm X-Pro2 to find a well-known market street which catered an array of local fresh and exotic produce. The mystery world of new dialects, interesting smells and many chance photo opportunities had me meandering through the rough cobbled streets as my attention was drawn in every direction. The X-Pro2 was discreet and simple to use. It felt natural and more importantly it didn’t obstruct my experience. Changing the ISO, aperture or shutter speed was simple, making it the perfect camera for my trip.

The hustle and bustle of the street died as the remaining colourful lanterns flickered in the moist late night air. The doors began to shut and my time among the people had come to an end.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF16mm R WR – ISO 1250 – F1.4 – 1/640 second

The following day brought the same heavy humid weather. After a quick breakfast, I was driven to a cramped bus that would eventually follow the winding route to the majestic Yellow Mountains in Huangshan. The iconic mountain range was best known for its eerie pine trees atop of stunning granite landscapes that often ‘floated’ amongst the heavy mist. Sunsets at this time of year were rare, but one could only hope there would be an occasional break in the clouds to expose the panoramic beauty beneath.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 – ISO 200 – F7.1 – 1/160 second

In preparation for the trip, I debated what lenses I would take to accompany the Fujifilm X-Pro2. I decided on a wide-angle, prime, an all round lens and telephoto as they seemed to be the best option to cover landscapes and any wildlife I might encounter when climbing the 1850+ metres. It was a hard choice, but considering the time of year and weather sealing on some of the lenses, I felt this was the best setup for my photography style.

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For the three days of climbing the weight of the Fujinon XF16mmF1.4, XF56mmF1.2 APD, XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 and XF50-140mmF2.8 plus two Fujifilm X-Pro2 bodies seemed a bit over the top. I quickly regretted carrying so much!

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My daily hand carry favoured the XF16mmF1.4 and X-Pro2 while the rest of the gear stayed in a small backpack, along with a few changes of clothes, extra socks, plenty of water and of course some spare batteries and a handful of large memory cards.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF50-140mmF2.8 – ISO 200 – F5 – 1/800 second

The history of the Yellow Mountains was learned with each step. The large carved stone had masterfully been moulded into the side of the mountain, quietly telling its story to the ascending travellers. The pea thick mist hid most of the peak’s grandeur for the first day but presented a rare opportunity to create silhouettes from the languishing pines, stagnate in time and nature.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 – ISO 800 – F5.6 – 1/2400 second

Day two tackled the steepest climb I had ever attempted. My neck arched every couple of minutes to calculate the vertical steps that disappeared into the heavens. A slow pace and solid grip on the mountain and the other on the X-Pro2 was the best means to overcome being pushed backwards down the mountain by the howling wind. The thoughts of ‘are we there yet’ constantly reverberated in my head, but I pushed on, knowing the images at the peak would be worthwhile from the extensive Google searches I had researched.

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HDR – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 – ISO 200 – F5.6 – 1/350 second

Eventually after a number of hours of climbing we reached the top. Dumping the backpack felt like a sheep losing its fleece, an abundance of energy surged as I photographed the misty lone pine dangling precariously on the edge. The cloud lingered and wouldn’t depart to showcase one of the highest points in China. It didn’t matter, though, I had the Fujifilm X-Pro2, plenty of storage space and an idea. I planned to photograph the mystic pine tree from a new perspective to what I had previously seen. Edging to the drop-off and the side of the barrier like a caterpillar I extended my torso beyond the cliff edge to begin a series of handheld vertical images that would later become a panoramic view.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 8 image stitch using the XF16mmF1.4

I finished the trip a week later and upon reflection, I was happy I utilised all three lenses while in the mountains. I wouldn’t have taken any other Fujinon lenses on the trip, as each focal length complemented one another. The durable X-Pro2 was exceptional, both in weight and operability, which is why I will continue to use this camera whenever I go travelling. Being able to travel to the Yellow Mountains is something I recommend you add to your bucket list. The trip for me was truly spectacular, and something I highly recommend photographers pursue, the memories and photographs will be with you forever.

Why I switched BACK to the Fujifilm system

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By Scott Johnson

I first dabbled with Fujifilm WAY back in 2003 while working on a cruise ship.  In an all-film world, we were the first team to go digital with the Fujifilm S2 Pro, and I was really impressed with the quality, so much so, that when I started shooting weddings, I brought an S3 and for the first few years, this was the main camera I used at all of my weddings, but then I went full-frame and moved over to Nikon, and stayed there until the spring of 2016, and the arrival of the X-Pro2.

I’d been lugging around my D4s’ and a handful of prime lenses at weddings for a few years, and it was doing my back no good at all, but it wasn’t until I booked a wedding in the United States that I looked at changing my equipment. “Why change your entire wedding set-up mid way through a season for just one wedding” I hear you shout.  Well, the Continue reading Why I switched BACK to the Fujifilm system

Inspired Coastlines with X Series

X-Photographer strip BLACKBy Bryan Minear

At the beginning of December, I was on my way to California for a part-work, part-fun gig in SoCal.  Being that this was only my 2nd trip to California and my first to the coast, I wanted to take everything that I thought I might need. One of the perks of the FUJIFILM X Series system is that I’m able to bring a lot of gear without having to worry about my bag being too heavy, on account of everything being so small and light compared to a DSLR system.ona_bryanminearblog_4Gear List:

  • FUJIFILM X-T2
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro2
  • FUJIFILM XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
  • FUJIFILM XF16mmF1.4 R WR
  • FUJIFILM XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
  • FUJIFILM XF35mmF1.4 R
  • FUJIFILM XF56mmF1.2 R
  • FUJIFILM XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
  • FUJIFILM XF1.4x TC & XF2.0x TC
  • Formatt-HItech Firecrest Holder
  • Formatt-HItech Firecrest 10-stop ND & 3-stop ND Grad
  • 13” Macbook Pro
  • 1TB SSD Hard Drive
  • Anker PowerCore 20000
  • The Camps Bay ONA Camera Bag in Smoke

ONA_BryanMinearBlog_6.jpgI’ve always had a love/hate relationship with shooting out of airplane windows. I’ve taken some beautiful shots, and some terrible ones, but regardless I always give it a shot and hope for the right combination of clouds and terrain to come away with something cool. For the first time in the sky I gave the X-T2 with XF50-140mm and XF1.4X Teleconverter a shot and it ended up being really awesome. Typically I have always tried shooting wide and always seemed to get the wing of the plane, reflections, or window scratches that made my shots unusable. But zooming in that far, and having the crazy good image stabilization of the 50-140 gave me some spectacular results.ONA_BryanMinearBlog_8.jpgWhen I finally landed in San Diego, I only had a few hours to get checked into my hotel and find a good spot to shoot the sunset before I had to shoot the event I was in town for. I grabbed my ONA bag and ran out the door to see what I could find. I just made my way toward the west-facing beach of Coronado.  This was my first “true” California coastal sunset, and it was a colorful cloudless sky. I took a few shots but mostly just took it in and enjoyed the moment.dscf5272Day 2 started when a friend picked me up and we drove out to Anza Borrego. It was an unbelievable experience for this midwestern boy; in just 2 hours, we went from beautiful rolling hills and coastline to mountainous desert. We spent some time shooting from Font’s Point which gave a breathtaking view of the terrain spread out in front of us. This was everything I always expected from California: palm trees and vast expansive desert spread out in front of me. We spent a few hours shooting the beautiful textures and colors of the desert before moving on.fxp23658Heading back towards the coast, we decided that the next stop would be the rocks of Corona Del Mar. Despite slipping multiple times and having extremely soggy shoes, I was thankful to have experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets of my entire life. Having 2 camera bodies is absolutely essential for the kind of work that I like to do. I split my time between my X-Pro2 with XF10-24mm set up on a tripod shooting long exposures, and my X-T2 with XF50-140mm combo in hand snapping away at boats, water and really fine-tuning my compositions with the compressed field of view. Having the 50-140 lens has turned me from a 100% wide shooter to a 60/40 tele/wide shooter and it has made such a huge impact on the work that I create.dscf5758The next day was spent shooting around the picturesque Laguna beach area. It was a semi-low tide so we climbed to an area along the coast that has a sinkhole with beautiful swirling water, and set up our gear. After a bit of droning and waiting to see what we would get in terms of a sunset burn, we all got a bit ambitious and ventured further out on the rocks that were exposed by the low tide. While setting up on a tripod to get some water movement shots, a rogue wave came out of nowhere and completely soaked me and my camera. There has never been a time that I was more thankful to have weather-resistant gear. I spent the rest of the night soaking wet from head to toe, but was able to continue to shoot the rest of the sunset.dscf5947After drying off at my hotel and grabbing a couple hours of sleep, I decided that my final morning before flying home was going spent in Long Beach shooting the sun coming up behind The Queen Mary. I arrived to a beautiful star-filled sky, giving me enough time to nitpick and get the composition that I really wanted. As I sat there on the rocks with my X-T2 on-tripod in front of me just waiting for the perfect moment, I thought about all I was able to experience on such a short trip, and how there is so much more of the world to see and explore. I couldn’t ask for anything better than being constantly inspired to create by my surroundings, and the gear that helps me capture it all. ona_bryanminearblog_12

Exploring Panama with the X-T1

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By Braden Gunem

I like to travel alone.  Partners and friends are great, but they can also hold you back from really experiencing a culture deeply.  Solo travel allows you a freedom and adventure rarely achievable for those rushing back home for dinner.  So when a group of friends and I booked a house in a rather touristy area of Panama, I didn’t plan to spend much time shooting.  I grabbed my trusted X-T1 and my favorite lens – the XF23mmF1.4 R.dscf3684One of the local attractions in this area is a beach only accessible by boat or a long muddy trail through the jungle.  After attempting the trail, we opted for the boat and were dropped at a small dock in a lagoon filled with mangrove trees.  A short walk across the island towards the sound of surf led us to a beautiful beach. dscf3736We were walking along the beach when a foreign couple approached saying that a man with a machete had tried to rob them, but they were able to run away.  Suddenly. I regretted bringing my camera.  We stopped walking for some time. We swam, did hand stands, and drank beer.  Eventually, the allure of discovery won over and we continued along the deserted beach.

On my extensive travels, I often have a specific image in my mind when I’m shooting.  Sometimes, the search for this image blinds me from all the other potential shots present.  It’s refreshing to go out with no expectations and see what organically appears.  When I saw locals on horseback approaching, I sank into the jungle looking for a frame to contain them as they passed.  They had ridden the muddy trail, and were headed to the far end of the island to go hunting.Beach HorsesThis long strip of sand is interrupted occasionally by large trees overhanging into the ocean.   They are a natural jungle gym, and soon we were climbing all over them.  From the trunk of a tree,I realized there was a good shot and picked up the camera again.  I tilted the LCD to get super low to the ground and avoided wallowing around myself.MonkeyAs my friend Laura was working on a new route for this particular tree, I switch on the Cinematic Mode; it’s accessible on your camera by turning the mode dial to CH and holding down the shutter release button.  As it’s clicking away, I’m able to make  slight adjustments to the composition.  But, I’m mostly waiting on the subject to look at their best.  Yes, it fills a memory card really fast.  That’s why I use Lexar 128s, so I don’t have to worry about changing cards very often.TarzanBeyond the beach, we came across some boys walking around with machetes.  They seemed to be out honing their skills with these essential jungle tools.  One boy was carefully opening a coconut to drink the water.  I sat my X-T1 on the ground near his feet, using the tilting LCD to compose.  It must be great to grow up in a land where snacks fall readily from the trees.Snack TimeIn the evening, we returned home to discover the hunt had been successful. DinnerIt’s rare that I do a trip with no photographic objective.  It’s refreshing to travel light and go with the flow – and it’s authentic and easy to capture with FUJIFILM X Series. On to the next adventure!