X-Thusiast Featured Photographer – Billy Thompson

This month, Irish native Billy Thompson brightens our palette with some dazzling seascapes and nature photography. Learn why he loves the X-T2 and how he finds opportunity in everyday places.

Blue Moon – XF18-55mmF2.8-4 – F8 – 0.9 sec – ISO 200 

 

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

 

Hi everyone! I am Billy Thompson and I am a keen amateur photographer. I was born in Northern Ireland, and spent most of my childhood and early adult life living and working in County Antrim. In 2007, my work brought my family and I to South Australia where we now live. Our home is in the north western suburb of North Haven, about 22 km out of Adelaide. North Haven offers a relaxed beachside lifestyle, and it is the perfect base for getting to fantastic photography locations in and around Adelaide. Adelaide arguably has the best sunsets in the world!

 

 

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

 

Growing up in Ireland, I was fascinated by the changes that each season brought. In particular I loved the coming of spring, the new growth, and the feeling of renewal and warmth. As a boy I started to play around with an old film camera and tried hard to capture the moments of rejuvenation that spring brought each year. Many years later, having moved to Australia I again fell in love with photography. It was a perfect means of capturing life in a new country. Fujifilm equipment provides me with a camera and lens system that meets my needs, creates crystal clear images, and has a lightweight setup tough enough to take anywhere. My X-T2 brings back fond memories of that old film camera I used as a boy.

Largs Jetty – XF 10-24mmF4 – F8 – 2.6 sec – ISO 200

 

How would you describe your photography style and strategy?

 

At heart, I’m a landscape photographer. I love nature, getting out with my camera exploring new locations, or revisiting familiar ones hoping to find a perfect composition. My preferred time of day to shoot is definitely around sunset; the change in light provides so much opportunity to nail a great shot. My strategy is all about taking photographs that make people stop and really look at what I have captured. I always aim to create images that will allow people to see just what I saw in that moment.

 

 

What inspires your photography?

 

I’m inspired by the beauty that is around us, not only the beauty found at iconic locations, but also the beauty that is right at our fingertips, in our backyards, on a local beach, or in the streets we walk everyday. Photography makes me look at and see the world in a different way. My brother-in-law Martin was an avid photographer and had the uncanny knack of being able to capture a shot that made you stop and look into the scene. Martin’s work and influence inspires me to take better shots.

The Bay – XF10-24mmF4 – F11 – 1 sec – ISO 100

 

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

 

My favourite shots almost always contain a water element — river and oceanside locations are prominently featured in my work. Living close to the beach and the Port Adelaide River makes it easy to get out, and more often than not a seascape or riverscape shot is what catches my eye. The light at the end of the day is my preferred option, not just for the sunsets but also for that soft golden light that comes just before and after the sunset. After sunset, I will often hang around to watch the light slowly melt into blue hour.

 

 

What is your favourite memory from a photography session?

 

I have lots of fond memories from photo sessions, but if I had to pick a favourite it would have to be from a recent trip to Innes National Park in South Australia. Innes is a special place and the beauty of the area is just jaw dropping. To be honest, I don’t think my shots did it justice, but I loved the experience of being there and trying to capture it. It’s going to be a regular photography location for me in the future.

 

 

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

 

I shoot with the Fujifilm X-T2 and what impresses me most is the image quality. The images are just awesome straight out of the camera. Another joy is how lightweight and easy it is to use. The controls are very intuitive and give me the personalised options that I want right at my fingertips.

The Old Port – XF10-24mmF4 – 26 sec – F11 – ISO 200

 

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

 

I currently own three Fujinon lenses; the XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS stays on my camera 90% of the time. It’s a great general purpose lens that produces exceptionally sharp images. When I’m in full landscape mode and want to get that big foreground element, I reach for my XF10-24mmF4 R OIS. This lens is amazing, I love the results I get from it. When I need that little bit of extra low light capability, I opt for the super sharp XF14mmF2.8 R. This little lens is a joy to use and when travelling it is my go-to wide angle lens.

 

 

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

 

I always shoot in RAW. I like to have total control of the post creative aspect of my work, and shooting in RAW allows me to do that. My typical workflow is copy the RAW file to Lightroom and convert it to DNG via Irident X-Transformer and then I post process in Lightroom. Occasionally I will use Photoshop to help with cleanup, removing unwanted objects, or for photo-stacking to help get total front to back sharpness.

 

 

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

 

As I mentioned earlier, my preferred time of day to shoot is without a doubt in the late evening around sunset. I like to slow the shutter speed down and to do that I use neutral density filters. I find that aperture priority mode is my default setting. It allows me to shoot at F8 to F13 which results in front to back sharp images and the ability to control my shutter speed to get that long-exposure look. ISO is almost always at 100 or 200, although in low light I will use ISO as a means of controlling my shutter speed to perfection. The X-T2 has fantastic dynamic range and bumping up the ISO can be done with absolute confidence.

 

 

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

 

For me, there are three elements: composition, light and opportunity. Taking the opportunity to be out there as often as you can will allow you to hone your framing and composition skills and then just maybe when you get that perfect light you will be ready to nail your magic shot.

Haven – XF18-55mmF2.8-4 – F8 – 7 sec – ISO 100

 

To see more of Billy’s work visit his 500px portfolio or follow him on Instagram – @BTAdelaide.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Stocksy Photographer Rowena Naylor

Over the next eight weeks, we will be featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.

 

Our first interview is with Melbourne based photographer, Rowena Naylor.

 

Can you tell us about yourself and what you most love about photography?

 

I had my first camera at the age of 12, my father was the classic 1970s wedding photographer. I shudder when I look at his work now but being exposed to taking photos, developing, darkrooms and classic film cameras of the day apparently affected me as I haven’t put a camera down since. I eventually ‘gave up my day job’ to pursue a photography career in 2008, and have never looked back. I love my job!

 

Alongside shooting professionally for clients, I also have a healthy and expensive obsession with film and film cameras. I have even been experimenting with some of the old analogue lenses on the Fujifilm X-T2 recently and have loved the results.

 

You have previously used a Fujifilm X-T1 for your commercial work, how did you find the upgrade to the X-T2? Was there a noticeable difference in performance and quality?

 

I was definitely the classic early adopter of the Fujifilm X Series, I had my name on the waitlist for the very first X100 and can still remember the excitement when the camera store called to say it had arrived!

 

I followed through with purchasing the X-PRO1 followed by the X-T1 and most recently, the X-T2. It was a slow transition in using the X-T1 in my commercial work, but when the X-T2 arrived I put away the huge Digital SLR and used the X-T2 for all commercial and stock shooting.

 

Performance and quality are on par with what I was previously shooting with the Canon 5D MK II

 

When you photograph architectural interiors what are the steps you follow before a shoot? Do you do much preparation to get the scene ready?

 

Yes, quite a bit of prep is needed to get a great interior shot. It always worth checking natural light, sun direction and time of day that the room will look it best.

 

What has been the most challenging photography shoot you have done and how did this experience improve your photography?

 

I had a big energy company client that I worked for during the construction phase of gas drilling rigs. This was challenging work, especially working in tight spaces high up on rig platforms capturing workers and equipment being moved and placed by cranes. Working with the Fujifilm X Series cameras was great in these conditions. The small compact lenses offered easy portability and excellent low-light resolution. I found it easy to change lenses while moving around in tight areas with the camera strapped to my body. The X-T2 improved my work by giving me the confidence that I could take the camera anywhere without feeling it would be an encumbrance.

 

When you travel what Fujinon lenses do you take with you? Is there a mixture of wide angle, portrait and telephoto, or do you just take one lens?

 

I always travel with two Fujifilm bodies, the X-T2 and X-PRO1. I always find it difficult deciding which lens to take and which to leave behind. My favourite picks are always the XF56mmF1.2, XF23mmF1.4, XF16mm1.4 and the XF27mm2.8. I also usually pack the XF50-140mmF2.8 for most shoots too.

 

Can you take us through your workflow? Do you photograph in RAW or capture images in Jpeg? Is there much editing work involved?

 

I always shoot in RAW. The photos captured are imported into Adobe Lightroom, and editing is dependent on the client’s brief. I find I hardly crop images when post processing. I think I put this down to the fact that I shoot with primes, which force you into composing a scene in a particular way.

 

What do you like most about the Fujifilm X-T2, and if you were to add or improve a feature to assist your photography what would it be?

 

I love the weight and handling of the X-T2. When I need it to look like a big camera (for clients) I add the Vertical Battery Power Booster Grip. When I want to roam the streets, to make the camera smaller and lighter, I remove the grip and mount the XF27mmF2.8 pancake lens. Improvement? I am happy right now, but still, do dream of a full frame X-T model.

 

What advice can you give someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocky to represent your work?

 

It seems everyone is a photographer these days, and I encourage that premise. We all need to catalogue and preserve our history and lives.

 

My advice to new photographers would be to work with prime lenses. Drop the zooms and teach yourself to move and frame your shot using one fixed focal length lens. Also if you intend to make it a career, I would say specialise in one area of photography, and be good at it.

I am honoured to have Stocksy present my work. They were introduced to me by a fellow stock photographer before start up, and I eagerly jumped on board. The growth and path they have taken since launch in 2013 has been amazing and empowering and I have definitely grown as a photographer by being part of the Stocksy Co-operative.

How Fujifilm Builds Strong, Quality Cameras

A world leader in optic technology, Fujifilm has been building cameras since the 1940s. Today, our Fujinon lenses are used in medical equipment, satellites and high-end filming devices, as well as countless additional products.

While Fujifilm is well-known for analogue photography, we’ve made major strides into the digital realm, and our flagship cameras include the X-Pro2, X-T2 and the recently released GFX 50S. Known for their strength and durability as well as their unmatched photo quality, these models are all assembled in our Taiwa factory in Sendai, Japan. Here’s how.

 

Made in Japan

 

A sign of quality, craftsmanship and reliability, we proudly etch “Made in Japan” onto all of our flagship models like the Fujifilm GFX 50S, X-T2 and X-Pro2. Among other products, the X100F, X-T2 and X-Pro2 all undergo final assembly in our Taiwa plant about 20 miles outside of Sendai, the largest city in Japan’s Tohoku region, roughly 370 kilometres northeast of Tokyo.

 

From Raw to Refined

 

Our optics division is also the only company in the industry that handles every step of the production process, from raw materials to finished product. Fujifilm Optics Co. has three more factories in Japan that mould glass, process barrels and polish lenses.

 

Handmade with Care

 

As our visitors can attest, very little automation occurs in our Taiwa facility. Skilled workers carefully assemble and test every lens, barrel and finished camera, ensuring the highest degree of precision and craftsmanship. One lens may take several hours to produce, and the production process includes at least seven different tests and inspections. Even our more hazardous, automated processes are watched over by skilled workers and managers.

Image by @azul_zaidi via Instagram

 

An Eye for Details

 

That level of handiwork also requires exquisite attention to detail. Small devices in and of themselves, each camera contains hundreds of tiny components, each of which must be properly placed to produce a functioning product. In particular, aligning the image sensor is the most important and difficult part of the process, requiring a trained eye, patience and several in-process tests.

 

Safety and Cleanliness

 

Getting dirt on your lens is bad enough. It would be terrible if you opened a new camera to find grit in the lens, or to realize its moving parts weren’t working because of debris. To ensure the cleanest, safest production environment possible, we require all of our workers to wear lint-free fabrics, and some technicians also don double-layered hoods, surgical masks and padded booties. When making precise, highly sensitive lenses and cameras, no precaution can be spared.

Image by @danielrucci via Instagram

 

Rigorous Quality Control

 

Last but certainly not least, our rigorous quality-control process all but eliminates the chance a customer will receive a faulty product. Each assembled lens passes through quality control, where it is tested for mechanics and sharpness. Any failed unit is adjusted and readjusted until it renders the test image correctly. Even then, 10 percent of all packaged lenses are randomly selected, unpackaged and loaded onto a camera to ensure they’ll operate properly for customers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Top 9 Camera Accessories

Are you looking for a few add-ons to take your photos (and photo business) to the next level? Or are you shopping for a photographer? Either way, there are more camera accessories available today than ever before. From lenses to simple, reliable cases and cleaners, there’s something for everyone. Here are the top nine camera accessories you might want to consider for your Fujifilm camera.

Image by @Hendralou via Instagram

  1. Lenses

 

A photographer’s skill will impact a shot more than anything – but a top-notch lens sure doesn’t hurt! In fact, the lens affects photo quality more than the camera body itself. If your shots aren’t turning out the way you want, and you’ve only got one accessory in the budget, a new lens is your best bet.

 

There’s quite a selection of Fujinon XC, XF or GF lenses to choose from, but most lenses fit into one of two categories. Prime, or fixed, lenses are versatile and low-cost, but they can’t zoom in and out. Zoom lenses, on the other hand, allow for a variety of depths of field, often at the touch of a button.

 

  1. External Flashes

 

As new photographers quickly learn, the built-in flashes on most cameras aren’t strong enough to light a subject that’s further away, images can start to look underexposed and too dark.

 

An external flash like the Fujifilm EF-X500, however, can strategically shine light into an area that reflects onto your subject from an angle. Mounted onto your camera or even a stand in another part of the room, you can point multiple flashes wherever you like – the ceiling, for instance – and set them to fire in sync with your shutter.

 

  1. Filters

 

A flash helps you control how much light hits your subject; a filter limits the light that reaches your camera’s image sensor. In general, filters come in one of three categories. Ultraviolet (UV) filters block out harsh light, but cheaper ones may reduce clarity. Neutral density (ND) filters limit the overall amount of light that passes through your lens, allowing for longer shutter speeds without overexposure. Finally, polarizing filters reduce glare and reflections, somewhat like putting a pair of sunglasses on your lens.

Image by @tylerweberphoto via Instagram

 

  1. Reflectors

 

Simple and effective, reflectors reduce unwanted shadows by reflecting light onto a subject. The angle, material and colour of the reflector determine the intensity of that light. White produces the softest light, while silver and gold offer a higher intensity and degree of warmth. To achieve the opposite effect, you can even add a black panel to a reflector, preventing a light source from hitting your subject from a certain angle.

 

  1. Photo Tents

 

Most commonly used for shooting flowers, food and other small objects. Tents are translucent “boxes” that diffuse light from multiple sources. In effect, they allow for even, almost shadowless lighting – perfect for product photography with a de-emphasized background.

 

  1. Cleaning Kits

 

Dust and dirt are a photographer’s nightmare, and even the best lenses won’t shoot clearly when they’re dirty. A microfiber cloth is perfect for wiping away debris, but a blower can make the job easier and faster. Also, while most new cameras have self-cleaning sensors, you may still need a sensor cleaning kit to keep your camera in tip-top shape during frequent shoots. Although sensor cleaning kits are available we highly recommend sending in your Fujifilm camera in to your nearest Fujifilm repair centre to have your camera serviced by a qualified technician.

 

  1. Battery Grips

 

You never want to run out of power during a long shoot. You can carry an extra battery in your pack, but a more convenient option is the battery grip: a holding device that plugs into the bottom of your camera. Many photographers enjoy the extra heft it adds to an otherwise small device, and many models include extra buttons that make portrait shooting more ergonomic.

 

  1. Lens Hoods

 

Almost like a hat for your camera, a lens hood can improve image quality by blocking strong sunlight from directly hitting your lens. A sturdy hood also provides physical protection, preventing bumps and scratches to the most important – and expensive – part of your setup.

 

  1. Tripods and Ballheads

 

Does your shoot require laser-like focus and an impossibly steady hand? If so, a tripod is your best bet. Today’s carbon fiber tripods are lightweight, sturdy and stylish, and they come in a variety of sizes for use at different heights. Topped with an adjustable ball head, they can be used to position your camera at virtually any angle.

Image by @myahya09 via Instagram

 

If you’re interested in a Fujifilm camera, but don’t know where to start looking, download our free eBook, Which X Series Should I Buy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstract Architecture Photography with the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 Lens

By Felix Mooneeram

I first became interested in the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 lens when I had an idea for a specific photo series which came to mind as I was travelling around my home city: Manchester. There’s a lot of history here but there’s also been a great deal of new architecture built in the last 10 or 15 years. For a few months, I imagined a series of images where I could get closer to the architecture that was catching my eye everyday around the city. I wanted to explore the relationships between the old and the new, whilst examining the styles and materials of the recent developments more closely and the XF100-400mm was the definitely the lens to do this. Not only was I interested to see how a lens typically used for sports and wildlife photography could work in a city; but I was excited about the new perspective it could gave me on buildings that I pass on a daily basis. Continue reading Abstract Architecture Photography with the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 Lens

Sports Photography as a Spectator – Football

By Jeff Carter

In a series of articles X Photographer Jeff Carter will be shooting at sports events in the UK and showing how to capture great images with the Fujifilm X Series without the need for a media pass.  In this blog Jeff gives you all his top tips for photographing football matches.


Continue reading Sports Photography as a Spectator – Football

Quick Techniques – Beginners: The wonders of WiFi

Want to get the most out of your Fujifilm X Series cameras? Our Quick Techniques will provide you with lots of handy hints and tips to help you understand the features our range offers. In the last article in this series, we look at the WiFi functionality of X Series. Continue reading Quick Techniques – Beginners: The wonders of WiFi

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer – David Tan

Our first X-Thusiast of 2018 evokes passion and inspiration with his colourful landscape photography. Learn how Singapore native David Tan uses his Fujifilm X-T1 to capture tranquil waters and sprawling outdoor scenes.

Kirkjufell – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 58 sec – F8​ – ISO 200

 

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

 

Hey everyone! My name is David, and I was born and raised in Singapore. I’ve been living on the Gold Coast for the past year and am in the midst of completing my Bachelor of Pharmacology. My photography focus started around weddings and portraiture but has moved purely to travel and landscapes in recent years. I have been in love with the Fujifilm collection for the past three years and am absolutely honoured to be featured by Fujifilm Australia.

 

 

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

 

While hiking up a mountain in Norway with my DSLR and heavy photography gear, I realised I wanted something a lot more compact and light that had the image quality I was looking for. A friend introduced me to the X-T1 and after a bit of research, I made the jump to Fujifilm and have never looked back. The X-T1 produces amazing colours, is intuitive to use and is easy to bring along on my travels, which is important to me.

Vestrahorn – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 30 sec – F16 – ISO 200

 

How would you describe your photography style and strategy?

 

Tough question! I think my style is pensive, quiet and to an extent, almost melancholic. I commonly incorporate water movement as it really adds to the depth of the photo. That combined with beautiful geographic formations is what really does it for me. Funny enough, I don’t like having people in my landscapes, though I’m quite a people person. I may possibly explore that in the future.
As for strategy, it is quite straightforward. Find awesome locations, wait till sunset then photograph it!

 

 

What inspires your photography?

 

Nature. Every time I see a mountain, waterfall or lake, I immediately want to photograph it. They seem so peaceful and I could sit there the whole day looking at it. At sunrise and sunset, it’s pure magic.

 

 

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

 

Iceland is the definite winner, it has amazing landscapes which change so dramatically within such a short distance and looks almost out of this world. Australia and New Zealand also have really beautiful landscapes and are much closer for me to travel to.

I absolutely love shooting at sunrise and sunset; the light is golden and the sky gets some crazy colours. It’s the best when the light hits from the side and you get such a good depth.

Stokksnes – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 125 sec – F16 – ISO 200

 

What is your favourite memory from a photography session?

 

My favourite memory would be photographing Vestrahorn, Iceland. Driving around Iceland for eight days, eating hot dogs and sleeping in the car was an absolute experience. I didn’t know about Vestrahorn but when I drove past, the mountains against the black sand and ocean, I knew I had go back. I remember trying out a technique to stretch the mountains in-camera and was so excited to process the photo when I got back. It ended up being my favourite photo of the trip!

 

 

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

 

I’ve only ever owned and used the Fujifilm X-T1 Silver Graphite. It’s an amazing camera, aesthetically pleasing, shoots great photos and does everything I need it to do. The X-T2 would be an awesome upgrade and maybe the X100F might slip in there too!

Nugget Point – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 30 sec – F11 – ISO 200

 

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

 

For my landscape work, I exclusively use the XF 10-24mm F4. It’s got the focal range I need and has amazing image quality, much love for this lens. The XF 56mm F1.2 and XF 35mm F1.4 are also amazing lenses that I have used. Very sharp lenses, great colour and flare.

 

 

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

 

I’m a very straightforward workflow kind of guy. 30s shutter speed, ISO 200, f16, manual focus, 10-stop ND filter and tripod. This sets me up for the majority of my shots and really helps to keep me focused with composition rather than worrying about all the settings. I shoot JPEG + RAW which allows me to process multiple exposures of my photos in camera, which I then bring into Photoshop. Simple luminance masking brings back any details lost in shadows, luminance toning, colour toning, selective sharpening and a slight vignette to finish it all off!

 

 

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

 

Get comfortable with the technical side of it and know which parameters you need to achieve the look you’re going for, everything else is just compensation. A great way to start is aperture or shutter speed control. Once that’s down, your mind is free to explore the creative side of things without having to worry about the technical.
Again, I am a huge advocate of shooting during sunset, the light is golden, colours are vibrant and everything just looks beautiful. I’m also a lot more awake at sunset compared to sunrise. Knowing the location and how you plan on photographing it is also important for landscapes as it will determine if sunrise or sunset will work better for the photo.

 

 

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

 

Make memories, not just photos. Too many times have I just gone out just to photograph an amazing location to come back home realising I didn’t soak it all in. Enjoy the view, sit on it and then, take the photo.

Arnarstapi – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 30 sec – F16 – ISO 200

 

Would you like to become our next featured X-Thusiast photographer? Check out our full X-Thusiast Gallery and submission details.

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Techniques – Beginners: Using exposure compensation

Want to get the most out of your Fujifilm X Series cameras? Our Quick Techniques will provide you with lots of handy hints and tips to help you understand the features our range offers. This week we look at exposure compensation. Continue reading Quick Techniques – Beginners: Using exposure compensation