Through a Photographer’s Eye: Matt Murray

Welcome to the Third Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our ninth interview in Series Three is with Brisbane based photographer, Matt Murray.

 

Matt, tell us about yourself and what your photographic journey has been?

When I was twenty, I travelled around Europe for two years with a Pentax 35mm film camera. A few months in I got the photos developed – they were terrible! I resolved to learn more about photography so I could do justice to all the amazing places I was visiting.

In the mid-90s I mostly shot 35mm prints and slides with Canon SLRs. I bought my first digital camera when I was living in the UK in 2001 – it was the Fujifilm FinePix 6800Z. It was such a novelty seeing images instantly on the back of a screen! I missed the manual controls of an SLR but really loved this camera. Over the next decade, I had various Canon and Nikon DSLRs and also bought a Rolleiflex T and started to shoot some 120 film. I purchased the original Fujifilm X100 in 2011. Compared to the Nikon and Canon images, the JPEGs straight out of camera (SOOC) were just beautiful, and I fell in love with them. In 2015 I sold my Nikon kit and bought into the Fujifilm X series system, initially with a Fujifilm X-T1 and five lenses.

In recent years I’ve become a huge instant film fan. I have a small collection of instant cameras including a couple that take peel-apart pack film – I wish Fujifilm would continue production of FP-100C! My daughter and I both have Instax Mini 8 cameras, and I have the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 printer, which is fantastic when travelling. I’ve also just bought the Fujifilm SQ10 hybrid camera, which takes the new Instax Square film format – very exciting!

Fujifilm X-T10 with XF35mmF1.4 R

 

Looking through your Instagram account we noticed your photos are very colourful, can you tell us what process your images go through and do you use any of the Fujifilm Film Simulations?

 

Ever since I shot my first roll of Velvia, I’ve always loved bright, vibrant punchy colours. I love shooting travel, landscape and nature photos, so not surprisingly the film simulation I’m drawn to most is Velvia. I try to get things right in camera, as I don’t enjoy spending hours upon hours on a single image in Lightroom or Photoshop. I shoot JPEG+RAW, but I rarely use the RAW files. I work on most images only for 2-3 minutes in Lightroom. A lot of the images on my @mattloves Instagram account are straight out of camera JPEGs with only slight tweaks in Lightroom or on my iPhone.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS.

 

You mentioned you in a blog post you currently use 10 Fujinon lenses. What is your favourite lens out of these and do you have a prized photo you have captured using the lens? Can you tell us the story behind the image?

 

Usually, the lens I’ve just bought is my favourite – in this case, it’s the XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR. I love using telephoto lenses for travel photography, although I do see the irony of buying a smaller mirrorless kit and loving the larger lenses most!

My favourite image taken this year is of a galah in the sunflower fields in southern Queensland early in the morning. Most of the other parrots flew off when I approached, but this cheeky galah sat there looking at me. I captured this image with my Fujifilm X-T2 and Fujinon XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens. The image has been published in the latest Rough Guides travel photo book “You Are Here.” One of the judges was legendary Magnum photographer Martin Parr.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

 

When traveling in Australia, what Fujifilm X Series gear do you tend to take with you and do you find it restricts you in any way?

 

It depends on where I’m going and what I’ll be photographing. The XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS always gets packed: a large percentage of my favourite ever images have been taken with this lens. Next up is a telephoto: I used to pack the XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, but I suspect the XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR will take its place for a while now. If I’m going anywhere to photograph wildlife, I’ll also pack the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR.

As well as zooms, I also take a couple of fast primes, usually the XF16mmF1.4 R WR, the XF35mmF1.4 R or the XF60mmF2.4 R Macro. I’m really looking forward to the release of the Fujifilm XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro lens but I’ve run out of money for now so may have to sell some kit to buy it!

Fujifilm X-T10 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS

 

 

 

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

 

Learn as much as you can about your camera: read the manual, watch YouTube videos, go to photography meets, ask lots of questions. Although many photographers – including myself – always want the latest and greatest camera gear, some of my favourite photos were taken with my least expensive Fujifilm kit: an X-T10 and either the XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS or the XF35mmF1.4 R lenses (approximately $1200 worth of gear).

Learn as much as you can about photography. There are so many good free websites and resources out there these days. Follow photographers on Instagram and study their photos. Join photography related Facebook groups – I’m a member of about a dozen. Post your work in there and ask for constructive criticism. One excellent group I recommend is Fuji X Australia where a dedicated group of admins encourage and support Australian and New Zealand Fujifilm photographers.

Fujifilm X-T10 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS

 

Do you use the Fujifilm Remote Camera App to transfer images to your smartphone? If so, can you recommend any future improvements you would like to see included within the app and lastly, how do you find Instagram has helped your exposure?

 

I sure do, it’s convenient, but can be frustrating to use. Sometimes it connects no problem at all, other times it says it’s connected, but it’s not. I’ve no idea if this is possible, but in a future version of the app, it would be amazing if you could transfer RAW files to the app and then see previews of the image with different film simulations, with the ability to export JPGs from there.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Instagram since I first heard about it in a photography podcast in 2010. The first account I started in 2011 was solely iPhone photos. I started my @mattloves account in 2016 as a kind of homage to Fujifilm cameras, and it’s been wonderful discovering so many fantastic photographers and being featured by large accounts such as @Queensland, @VisitBrisbane and @FujiCamerasAus.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

 

As a XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 owner, how do you find the auto focusing speed when mounted on the Fujifilm X-T2? Does the focus keep up with fast-moving subjects? What’s your overall experience with the lens?

 

I’ve only used the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens once with fast-moving subjects – that was at a local speedway on a sunny day. The Fujifilm X-T2 and lens kept up well with the action and I was happy with the results given. It was my first time photographing cars. I love using the lens for wildlife – especially the array of colourful parrots we have here in Australia. I would’ve liked to have taken it with me to the Faroe Islands in June 2017, but the XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR was a better fit overall for my trip to Europe and I’m very happy with the puffin shots I took with it.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR

 

If you could list three stand out features of the Fujifilm X Series system, what would they be and why are the features important to you?

 

Fujifilm makes photography fun again! I’d fallen out of love with photography somewhat until I picked up the Fujifilm X100 in 2011. Since switching to Fujifilm, I am obsessed with photography again!

Image quality – the quality of the images from Fujifilm equipment is incredible.

The compact size of the equipment – unfortunately, this doesn’t mean I have a lighter bag, it just means I can pack more gear in my bag now!

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS

 

To see more of Matt’s photography visit his blog, website or follow him on Instagram.

Previous interviews from Series Three of Through a Photographer’s Eye:

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Johny Spencer

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Gavin Host

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Mike Bell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ryan Cantwell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Sarp Soysal

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Harrison Candlin

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Geoff Marshall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Myles Kalus

X-T2: Engaging with the Beauty of the Natural World

By Oliver Wheeldon

Photographer Oliver Wheeldon normally shoots adventurous landscapes with the X-T1. In this article he tries the FUJIFILM X-T2 on location in Cornwall, and gives us his feedback, along with his top tips on how to engage with the beauty of the natural world. Continue reading X-T2: Engaging with the Beauty of the Natural World

10 Lighting Tips To Up Your Portrait Game

By Dave Kai Piper

It has been said many times that photography is about light, which is true but it is also about shape, shadow and creating story, drama and emotion. Getting to grips with how you can shape light and how your camera can control light, is one of the stepping stones to unlocking more of your skill as a photographer. Here are 10 tips on how to up your portrait game using lighting. Continue reading 10 Lighting Tips To Up Your Portrait Game

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Myles Kalus

Welcome to the Third Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our eighth interview in Series Three is with photographer, Myles Kalus.

Myles, tell us a bit about yourself and how you relate to Fujifilm X Series cameras?

 

I originally intended to pursue an engineering career and studied mechanical engineering at university. Towards the end of my degree, I realised that engineering wasn’t really for me. By some stroke of luck, I picked up a camera in my last semester and realised that photography was what I wanted to do. I finished my degree, and immediately immersed myself into photography. I spent some time looking for the right camera to work with as I grew as a photographer, bouncing between different brands and different types of cameras.

 

I eventually picked up a first Fujifilm camera, the X100S, and knew from using it that what I needed for my “perfect” camera was one that had the modern advancements of digital camera technology in the shape and feel of a traditional camera. Having the aperture, and shutter speed dials right there to see just felt right to me. So, when the Fujifilm X-T1 was announced, I sold all the gear I had and made sure I was the first one in line at my local camera store to get my hands on it. I’ve exclusively used Fujifilm cameras ever since for both work and leisure.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF23mmF1.4 R – 1/500 second – F5.6 – ISO 320

 

As someone who photographs a lot of portraits, do you have any recommendations for XF lenses to use? For instance, based on your experience which lens do you think is better, the XF56mmF1.2 or XF90mmF2?

 

It’s hard to pick between both as they have different qualities but I’d have to go with the XF56mmF1.2. While the XF90mmF2 is technically the perfect lens for portrait work, the XF56mmF1.2 allows me to get physically closer to the subject, allowing me to interact, and connect better with the person I’m photographing. It’s also a smaller lens, so it’s less intimidating for my subject.

 

I’ve always found the smaller more retro your gear looks; the more relaxed and natural people will be when photographing them. Alternatively, I’ve also used the XF23mmF1.4 to shoot portraits to provide a little more context to the picture and involve the environment to show where the portrait is captured. This lens has been instrumental when doing backstage work.

 

 

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

 

Looking into gear, I would say to buy a camera that is straightforward to use. A lot of cameras these days have added functionalities that sometimes become a distraction. I’ve personally found that the fewer choices I have, the more concentrated I’ve been with learning and studying the camera and photography. If possible, I’d highly recommend a camera with an electronic viewfinder (EVF) as it allows you to immediately see how the settings affect exposure and depth-of-field. All these factors taken into consideration will speed up your learning process significantly, and improve your technical mastery within a short span.

 

From a photography perspective, I’ve always advised newcomers to find a few photographers of which their works you like, go through their work obsessively, learn what is it about their work that you admire, and try to replicate their work. This forces you to experiment with your camera and pushes your eye to see what and how they saw and why they photographed it.

 

You have worked with many international clients, do you think the Fujifilm X Series system delivers the image quality they are after and what are your thoughts on the new Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format camera for fashion photography?

 

Yes. I can confidently say that the Fujifilm X Series fulfills what my clients need. I’ve never heard back from a client questioning me about the quality or questioning about the gear I used. Whatever does the job as per client requirements. That’s all that matters when working with a client.

 

I feel the Fujifilm GFX 50S is a great addition to the Fujifilm lineup, and see it as an ideal camera for those requiring the benefits of medium format when working within fashion photography; higher resolution for detail, reduced vibration from the lack of a mirror and expanded dynamic range. It also opens the doors to medium format that would otherwise be closed to many photographers due to how expensive other medium format cameras are in general.

 

 

What is Street Style Australia and how has it helped you establish yourself?

 

Street Style Australia is a documentary project I started some years ago with the goal of documenting how Australians express themselves through what they wear. No one was doing it properly back then. So, I decided to take it upon myself to do it. Doing the project has opened many doors for me, regarding meeting and working with people within the industry, and allowing me to create work and fulfil a niche for an international audience. It’s also allowed me to further delve into the inner-workings of the fashion world documenting backstage and behind-the-scenes for runways, fashion events, etc.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF56mmF1.2 R – 1/1000 second – F1.2 – ISO 640

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF56mmF1.2 R – 1/500 second – F1.4 – ISO 200

 

 

Aside from fashion, what elements of the photo do you think are important to make a portfolio-worthy fashion shot?

 

For me, the first step is understanding the purpose of the photo and working out how to deliver that goal through the photo. Great portfolio-worthy fashion photographs have always put feeling, mood, and story-telling before technicalities and aesthetics. An aesthetically pleasing photograph doesn’t cut it. Great fashion photographs also make the audience immediately look straight into and embrace the content within the frame as if it is a window, and see what the photographer is seeing. The presence of the photograph as an object to the viewer is invisible or non-existent.

 

So, giving an example from landscape photography, when I look at Ansel Adams’ photographs of Yosemite, I don’t think about how beautiful the photograph is. I think about how beautiful Yosemite is, feel how amazing it is to see the view. His photos make me feel like I’m there witnessing or at least, make me want to go there to witness Yosemite myself. I forget that the photo is a photo.

 

How important is it to work in a team in your field? Do you find stylists; makeup artists and models are all easy to work with? How does a general shoot form?

 

A good team is vital because you can’t-do everything yourself in general. How easy others are to work with is usually based on the individual and their capabilities. Most of the time, everyone’s down-to-earth and professional. Occasionally, you do get less than ideal team member, but that doesn’t often happen, thankfully.

 

Ideally, you’d work with those who understand what you’re trying to create in the photographs. A lot of discussion happens before shoots, to discuss how to execute the shoot, and to find the right people who can do what you need in the shoot.

 

Generally, a shoot forms when someone (client, creative director, stylist, or even the photographer) has an idea or a brief that they want executed. A team that they feel is right for the task is then assembled, pre-production for the shoot that involves location-scouting, pulling garments or accessories from brands/labels, identifying the right gear (camera, lighting, etc.) for the job. Then, once all the pre-production is hopefully done, then the shoot happens.

 

 

Can you share some insight into what it’s like to cover an event like Paris Fashion Week on the street? What gear would you recommend someone have to help capture stunning images?

 

Looking at the photos that usually come out from any fashion week, you can’t really tell but shooting street style at fashion week is quite a physically straining job; a lot of running, a lot of rushing from one venue to the other, staying outdoors regardless of how bad the weather is, barely any resting or eating from the deadlines and number of photographs you take in a day. I take about 5000 photos per day and go through them all at night to send them off to the client by morning.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF56mmF1.2 R – 1/2000 second – F1.4 – ISO 200

 

This goes on for each day of fashion week. I usually only get time to have a couple of small meals and about 4 hours of sleep each day during fashion week if I’m lucky. Also, the environment you photograph in is best described as chaos; there are so many unpredictable elements to juggle with, and you have to make quick judgment with what you see in front of you.

 

You’re dealing with trying to find the best angle to photograph the best-looking outfit or garment after finding it among a mass of people moving in an environment that is full of distracting elements, traffic, and at times, unforgiving weather. Think too much and you might lose your only opportunity to photograph a look.

 

Camera body-wise, the X-T2 with the grip was perfect. I bought it before flying off to Europe, and its upgrades over the X-T1 made my life much easier while shooting. The 11 FPS and high refresh rate in the EVF provided in Boost mode, and the customisable autofocus system the X-T2 has were a joy to have while shooting in the erratic shooting environment. For lenses, I predominantly used the XF56mmF1.2. Ideally, I would have preferred using the XF90mmF2 because I prefer the look produced by the lens, is weather-sealed, and is quicker at autofocusing, but ultimately chose not to use it as forced me to step too far back from the subject to photograph them. I did use the XF23mmF1.4 when I wanted to capture more of the environment. Though, I mainly use that lens backstage due to there being limited space.

 

To see more of Myles photography follow Street Style Australia on Instagram or mylekalus.

Previous interviews from Series Three of Through a Photographer’s Eye:

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Johny Spencer

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Gavin Host

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Mike Bell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ryan Cantwell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Sarp Soysal

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Harrison Candlin

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Geoff Marshall

 

Art and Mind – 10 Days in Japan [Part Two]

By Chris Weston

Part 2: Art and Mind

Hokkaido (Days 6 – 10)

We often hear or read the quote, “It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer”, meaning the creation of great photographs is not dependent on having the latest or most expensive gear but on having a keen eye, an open and inquisitive mind and the artistic skills to turn vision into a reality that is a photograph. After sixteen years as a professional photographer, I can attest this is absolutely true. Continue reading Art and Mind – 10 Days in Japan [Part Two]

Untethered: 7000 – Adventure to another world with the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X100S

Maya Sugiharto and Aviva Minc are Visual Storytellers. Photographers and Short Filmmakers based in Melbourne, Australia.  They are the Co-Founders and Creative Directors behind Agent Morphe.  They love to travel (with their cameras) on adventures and road trips, off the beaten tracks. To see more of their photos, visit them on Facebook and Twitter or on their personal Instagram accounts.

Maya Sugiharto –@mayasugihartophotography  and Aviva Minc –@photographersassistant.


Untethered: 7000 – Adventure to another world with the Fujifilm X-Pro2

Photography Road Trip Fact Sheet:

– 1,449km travelled
– 7 days
– Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF35mmF2 R WR + XF23mmF2 R WR
– Fujifilm X100S


Part 1: City Forest Cave

From the sand storms in the isolated deserts in Broken Hill Northern Territory, to the ice blizzards in the most southern state of the nation, Tasmania, we are putting ourselves, and our Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X100S cameras to the test.

We set ourselves the goal of seeing and photographing the circumference of Tasmania over a seven-day period, by road in winter – to document the landscape and to test how well our Fujifilm digital appendages would cope in the extreme conditions.

We jumped on a plane from Melbourne to Hobart – first stop our Hotel – top recommendation Ibis Styles (only a few month old) for views as we stayed on Level 9, great photography ops and clean, modern facilities.

As soon as we landed and had our car hire sorted, our first day goals were to get as far South as we could drive in Australia. We travelled down to Kettering, Middleton, Charlotte Cove, Huonville, Southport and all the way down to the most southern point in Australia – Cockle Creek.

The best way to describe this part of Tasmania would be quant and serene. There were fishing villages dotted along the journey, a wooden boat shed and builder, apple cider cellars and caves with thermal springs (Hastings) which we didn’t get time to see. There are heaps of photo opportunities as you can see below are just a few.

On our second day, our goal was to scout and find the filming locations of the Kettering Incident created by Vicky Madden and staring Elizabeth Debicki (Porchlight and Sweet Potato Films). The show was filmed at various locations around Kettering and Bruny Island itself, however it was apparently also filmed around Myrtle Forest – where you get the awesome green, mossy lush forest scenes. The film is about two women who go missing – not necessarily the best premise to head into the woods on our own, but we really wanted those beautiful lush photographs that many of us know Tasmania to show off.

We collected all of our gear and were about to head off onto the Myrtle Forest trail up to the waterfall, which was dark, wet and slippery. However were greeted by an odd man and his barking pit bull who seemed to appear again at various parts of the track. We had flashbacks to Wolf Creek crossed with the Kettering Incident itself, and to be honest were actually a little concerned about our safety.

In retrospect, we probably should’ve turned around – however the determination to get what we came for, out won our logic and we headed up the track. It was spooky, but beautiful.

After surviving the forest and its inhabitants, we drove east towards Dunalley, where you find a fish and chip shop that is on Tasmania’s top eats, and then we drove down to the Tessellated Pavement where our plan was to get some shots at sunset but things don’t always go to plan – however when we arrived, two guys told us about three whales that were playing in the bay at Remarkable Cave; so we took their word, jumped in the car and headed down there pronto! We didn’t have the zoom lens to be able to capture the whales but we certainly heard them talking all the way past sunset, which was pretty amazing.

Next up: to the mountains.

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.” Arthur C Clarke


Part 2: Mountain[s]

Otherworldly.

It was time to go north. We were heading to Cradle Mountain to photograph, hopefully, a snowstorm that was due to arrive overnight and possibly the Southern Aurora if the clouds/snow passed.

There’s two ways to get to Cradle Mountain from Hobart – via the West or straight up. The more picturesque route is via Georgetown to the West, where you go through some pretty amazing terrain, however because of an incoming storm warning for snow thunderstorms that night, we decided to play this one safe.

You pass by some beautiful jagged mountains, such as Mount Roland, on the way. So Jurassic, other worldly, and powerful. As we were driving, our GPS announced “ turn right, and you will arrive in Paradise (photograph below) – that it certainly was. To top it off we were driving through this whole area during golden hour! As you’re approaching Cradle, the landscape changes significantly. It is surreal, and ethereal – eerie and another dimension perhaps.

We arrived safely after a long 5 hours drive to our lodge at Cradle Mountain. The closest supermarket is 45 minutes away, so be prepared – bring supplies! You have limited choices for places to eat, and those available are pricey, so be ready for that. Once we re-fueled our body, charged our cameras, it was time to rest our souls and get ready for the next adventure the following day.

The next morning, sure enough we woke up to -1 degree temperatures and a covering of snow and continuous snowfalls and blizzards – beautiful and breathtaking! Now we had the day to explore Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair with a big dose of snow, and an opportunity to really test the Fujifilm X-Pro2 (which is promoted as being weather resistant) and the Fujifilm X100S!

The mountain pass costs $20 per adult for the day, but in fact is for 24hrs, so if you enter at 1pm as we did, it lasts until 1pm the following day, which is fantastic. We were fortunate to be there whilst it was snowing very heavily, and got the chance to throw the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the WR lenses into the snow, to test them for their durability. We can honestly say that they live up to our expectation and their reputation. Even the X100S performed awesomely in the snow. Fujifilm does not recommend using it in a snowstorm, but we found the casing and the design made it really easy to use in those conditions.

Timing is everything, and again, we were at Lake St Clair during the golden hour for sunset, which was gorgeous. Highly recommend, especially when it’s snowing. The park gate counts the cars and only allows a certain amount of cars in at once, mainly due to the road only being a single lane but also to stop it getting too crowded there. A brilliant idea because we really got to experience it without the huge crowds you might see at the Twelve Apostles for example. Although it might have been because it was snowing so much too, that the traffic was low.

The next morning, we went back into Cradle Mountain Park to see the Waldheims Cabins – there was talk from the locals of wombats hanging around the area, so we were very keen to get up close and personal with them.

We only had a few hours before we needed to begin our long drive back to Hobart, but our wish did come true and we got to meet a wonderful friendly wombat whom was very willing to have their photograph taken.

Sadly, we had to leave Cradle Mountain without any opportunity to see or photograph the Southern Aurora and her dancing lights. The cloud cover just never passed, as we had snow the whole time we were there, but according to the readings and reports we had, if the clouds had passed, there was meant to be some pretty amazing lights.

We have to say, it was pretty difficult to leave Cradle Mountain, and a definite highlight to the trip. Such a surreal and majestic place to spend time in, and the snow just added to the whole mystique. We wished we had planned a longer visit there, a chance to go on the many walk trails around Lake St Clair in the park that would have been beautiful with the snow covering (and very cold!).

We were meant to spend the last two days of the road trip driving down the east coast, but fell ill with the flu, and had to skip it and headed to Hobart instead.

Hobart is a great base to work from, especially when travelling to the lower parts of Tasmania. We decided to go back to the Tessellated Pavement at Eaglehawk Neck (because we had missed it when we went chasing the whales on our second day) and get some shots of the gorgeous rocks on the beach.

That was followed by a drive up to snow covered Mt Wellington, with the plan of getting some great shots of Hobart, and some footage of more snow. Whilst driving up the mountain, we came to a Whippet that was running scared on its own on the road in front of our car, and instead spent the rest of our day helping a local couple find that same dog that ran into the forest in the cold past sunset. So we never reached the top, or got any photographs, and as it turns out, the road to the top of Mt Wellington was blocked (which can happen on the spur of the moment) due to ice and snow. So it’s best to call the City of Hobart and the rangers to get updates before you go!

This was an incredible trip. Definitely not enough time in many of the places we visited, and not enough time to get to all the places we had hoped to see. We missed a lot. In researching the places to visit, other people had said that a week was not enough to drive around and see all of Tasmania. And we have to agree. You can rush it, but you’d be doing yourself an injustice because Tasmania is a good-looking place to photograph and you deserve to see it all. One way to do that would be to break the trip into three parts: the east coast; the south and the west.

Our heart breaks that we missed the Aurora Australis. However there are awesome opportunities to get some incredible shots from what I’ve heard and seen from others, in fact just a few days after we left, there was a peak in activity and a beautiful show in the sky, that could even be seen over Hobart. As they say, next time, in Tasmania, with our Fujifilm cameras!

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Henry Miller

 

 

9 Ways to Develop Your Own Photography Style

You are getting serious about photography and want to develop your reputation. You feel like establishing a look so that each photo fits into a greater catalogue of work.

 

Develop a recognisable and genuine photography style by following a few tips.

 

Exercise patience and dabble in many styles.

 

Take time to become comfortable as a photographer. Master fundamentals of composition, angles and lighting. Experiment with every photo style you can imagine. Expand your creative eye and learn what shots you take best.

Image by Clément Breuille

 

Study the work of others.

 

Imitation is the highest form of flattery. So review the work of other photographers, past and present. Learn what inspires you and what resonates with you emotionally.

 

Imagine beyond your current equipment.

 

You might have too much gear but be best suited as a nimble photographer who carries one camera and one lens in order to move freely around a subject. You might have a savvy eye for wildlife photography but lack the zoom to capture animals quickly from afar. Borrow or rent and experiment with photo equipment to delve into any style that intrigues you. Make your creative path more about your passion than today’s possessions.

 

Express yourself.

 

All creative work is, in some sense, biographical. Even in picturing other people and sites, you give the world a sense of yourself. Be in touch with your own hopes, desires and fears so you convey a sense of sincere yearning through your art.

Image by Chelsey Elliott

 

Separate subject from style.

 

Saying you shoot portraits, cityscapes or sports is not enough. True style is not just what you photograph but how you photograph it. The perspective you offer to stage, frame and light your shots defines you. Think about the smallest details as you create your portfolio.

 

Contemplate your business model and your market.

 

Think of how genres of photography follow different economic models. Portrait photographers acquire clients and guarantee pay by booking sessions, whereas landscape photographers often sell shots long after shooting. Consider your market. It is easier to do portraits in a bustling city where many people need headshots. If a genre appeals to you, decide whether relocation increases opportunities.

Image by Nadeesha Rathayake

 

Find the moments when people compel you.

 

When your style involves people, think about the instant when you see their true essence. It could be when they talk about difficult times, have a drink or belt out a laugh. Determine when people seem to you their true selves, capture them in it and make that an element of your signature style.

 

Create recurring elements using aperture, light and colour.

 

Many photographers are known for their use of lighting, whether natural, interior or DIY. Others are known for revisiting a colour or two in many shots. Set at least a few attributes of lighting, colour palette or depth of field to coalesce your photos into a grouped look.

 

Harness post-production to mark your style.

 

Refine images with photo-editing software to further establish your aesthetic. Subtle but persistent changes to contrast, highlights, shadows and other elements give photos a unified look and set your aesthetic.

Image by Scott Grant

 

As you learn how you view the world and what elements you bring to each shot, you make recognisable work with a photography style that wows.

 

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Geoff Marshall

Welcome to the Third Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our seventh interview in Series Three is with hobbyist photographer, Geoff Marshall.

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

 

I am a hobbyist photographer and have been since 1979, back in the days of 35mm film and before digital. I enjoy photography very much and rather than shooting one genre I tend to shoot anything and everything. I started out with a Zenit 35mm film SLR but quickly moved onto the Olympus OM system. In 2000, I ditched all the Olympus gear to get into digital and purchased, of all things, a Sony Cybershot. I fortunately saw the error of my ways and in 2005 bought into the Nikon DSLR system. I always hankered after a smaller camera and tried out a number of compact cameras but none really did it for me. In January 2012 I purchased a Fujifilm X- E1 with the XF18-55mmF2.8-4 kit lens to see if this system was a viable option for me. I was blown away by the output of the files and that little kit lens attached to such a small body.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS – 1/60 – F4.8 – ISO 320

 

On your website, you showcase a selection of images taken from a range of Fujinon lenses. What’s your favourite photo you have taken and can you tell us the story behind the image?

 

That’s not a fair question! With getting on for 40K images shot with the Fujifilm X Series how can one choose a favourite photo?

 

Fujifilm X-E1 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS – 1/60 – F5 – ISO 800

 

I guess this image, it was taken during a trip back home to the UK. The photo has meaning for me as it was a great holiday albeit in mid-winter, and includes my youngest daughter (foreground) doing ‘touristy’ things in the big smoke of London.

 

What is it that you most like about Fujifilm X Series equipment?

 

I enjoy everything about the Fujifilm X Series equipment. It suits me very well because of its compact size and of course the file output. I have invested heavily into the X Series and my go-to combination is the X-T1 and the wonderful XF56mmF1.2, my most often used lens. Since switching to the Fujifilm X Series 4 years ago, I am primarily a prime lens shooter, my zooms seldom see the light of day but they should be shown more love for they perform very well.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF56mmF1.2 R – 1/850 – F2.5 – ISO 400

 

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

 

Learn the basics of exposure such as aperture, shutter, ISO and how to use them in combination to achieve desired outcomes. Consider your composition and just get out there and shoot. Analyse your photos, be self-critical and learn from your mistakes (we all make them) and develop a technique that you are happy with and produces results that you like. Don’t try and please everybody with your photographs, that’s an impossible task to achieve, we are all different, what one person likes the next will not.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF90mmF2 R LM WR – 1/75 – F8 – ISO 200

Fujifilm X-Pro1 with XF35mmF1.4 R – 1/900 – F5.6 – ISO 800

 

 

You unfortunately recently experienced an issue with your Fujifilm X- T1. How did you find the repair process in Australia and do you have any thoughts on how Fujifilm can improve this process?

 

The fault with my X -T1 was frustrating, isn’t it always the same with any product we may purchase be it a camera or a car? The fault with the X- T1 occurred while under warranty and was dealt with promptly and professionally by Fujifilm Australia. From my initial enquiry to report the fault with the service team, to the safe return of my camera, the service was second to none. That said I hope I never need to use the service again.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF23mmF1.4 R – 1/80 – F11 – ISO 200

 

Not many photographers may have used the XF60mmF2.4 with an Extension Tube to take macro photos of insects. Do you have any tips you could share that would help someone getting started with Fujifilm equipment for macro photography?

 

I purchased the MCEX 11 extension tube so that I could get closer to 1:1 reproduction with my macro work. Although this can be achieved, the depth of field is reduced significantly and therefore you need to be careful with your point of focus or the impact of the shot will be lost. When photographing insects (crawling or flying bugs) I don’t use a tripod as they move too quickly (apart from snails, but they aren’t insects!). However, I do use a tripod for static subjects such as fungi. The number one attribute needed for macro photography, in my opinion, is patience. You also need to learn to slow down, a bush walk that would normally take an hour to complete could easily take me 4 hours as I’m looking for the small details. Oh yeah, one last thing, be prepared to get dirty and to have passers-by look at you strangely as you crawl around on the floor to get the shot!

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF60mmF2.4 R Macro – 1/125 – F4 – ISO 200

Have you ever experience a lull in your creative passion? How did you overcome it to keep taking photos?

I think all photographers go through a creativity block from time to time. It’s a challenge to make your images different, to stand out from the plethora of other images being produced by other photographers, after all most people have a convenient camera with them at all times due to the mobile phone technology we have available to us, collectively we must be taking millions of images on a daily basis. Recently I have purchased two books for moments when I get a creativity block, both provide challenges and ideas to kick start the creativity process, ‘The Photographers Play book’ (Fulford & Halpern) and ‘Use This If You Want To Take Great Photographs, A photo journal’ (Carroll).

Fujifilm X-E1 with XF27mmF2.8 – 1/60 – F8 – ISO3200

 

What sort of processing workflow do your photos experience and do you prefer to shoot in RAW or Jpeg?

 

I shoot exclusively in RAW, legacy from DSLR days I suppose. Many users of the Fujifilm X system rave about the JPEG output and I have used JPEG + RAW settings but I always gravitate toward the RAW files. I use Adobe Lightroom CC for all my processing needs (and cataloguing) and occasionally use the NIK Silver Effex program for processing to monochrome.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF56mmF1.2 R – 1/550 – F8 – ISO 200

 

To see more of Geoff’s photography visit his blog and website.

Previous interviews from Series Three of Through a Photographer’s Eye:

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Johny Spencer

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Gavin Host

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Mike Bell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ryan Cantwell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Sarp Soysal

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Harrison Candlin

11 Ways to Shoot Stunning Astrophotography

If you want a new challenge in your photography, take shots that are out of this world. Astrophotography, the art of recording objects beyond Earth, seems much like other time-lapse photography styles, but its dark skies and distant, moving lights present unique challenges to push you creatively.

Take stunning astrophotography shots by getting your physical setup and camera settings right for this genre.

 

Before you shoot, know your stars.

 

Study what you are capturing. By learning about star constellations, you can decide which stars you want to include and where in your composition you want them displayed.

Stake your spot to study the sky.

 

Determine where you want to shoot your astrophotography images. Get away from big cities and their light pollution. Go toward less-settled regions and their visible skies.

Photo by Bryan Minear

 

Fine-tune your whitest whites.

 

Astrophotography relies on stars’ luminosity, so make sure their whiteness is stark. Adjust your white balance, either through one of your camera’s preset or by manual alteration.

 

Increase your ISO.

 

Your camera’s ISO setting determines the light sensitivity of your camera’s image sensor, and astrophotography requires high sensitivity. Expect to shoot at ISO 400 or more.

Rely on manual settings.

 

Your camera’s autofocus mode is unlikely to stay locked onto a moving star. Use manual focus and if your camera enables focus peaking ensure it is turned on.

Photo by Photo Rangers

Stay steady for an unwavering shot.

 

Everything you know about camera sturdiness applies to astrophotography. Set up your most trusted tripod and, if you have one, use your remote shutter release. If you don’t have a remote turn on your camera’s self timer for two or ten seconds.

 

Place your focus on a single star.

 

With your manual settings, select a star or moon to test and improve your focus. For larger stars or the moon, locate their very edge and make sure it is optimally clear.

 

Embrace star trails.

 

As you shoot from the rotating Earth, your long-exposure photos show the path of stars in the sky. To highlight star trails, choose a wide-angle lens, which keeps a broader range of the paths in your focal region.

 

Or, alternately, eliminate star trails.

 

If you want to focus on the sky’s stillness, you can reduce star trails, though you may want to stash a calculator in your camera bag. Astro photographers follow the Rule of 600, or the Rule of 500, depending on whom you ask, to determine their maximum exposure before star trail becomes visible. Divide the rule’s number by the focal length of your lens. If you have a 28mm lens, divide 500 by 28 to get 17.85. This means you can shoot at an exposure of 17 or 18 seconds before star trail appears.

 

Do not forsake the foreground.

 

Astrophotography shots can still have earthly elements. Frame your shots with trees or hilltops to give your composition added dimension.

 

Utilise editing software for finishing touches.

 

Astrophotography benefits greatly from post-production edits. Alter your contrast, exposure and white balance until the sky tells the story you want.

 

Consider yourself an astrophotography expert, or at least more than a novice. Minding these principles of camera settings and general composition, you are ready to stun with your space shots.

Photo by Josselin Cornou

 

Want to purchase a Fujifilm camera, but not sure which one is right for you? Our Buying Guide can help you narrow down the list to find the best camera for your photography style.