Roger Payne explains how to take a colour image and use Lightroom to convert it into a contrasty black & white shot Continue reading Black & white conversions – Lightroom tutorial video
Roger Payne explains how to take a colour image and use Lightroom to convert it into a contrasty black & white shot Continue reading Black & white conversions – Lightroom tutorial video
Shooting live music events is one of the trickiest disciplines in photography. Subjects move a lot, often lighting changes constantly and in general it can be a lot of hard work. With that said, live music events have passion by the bucket load and if you can capture that in a single frame it makes for some exceptional images. It could be a front man working the crowd, the guitarist tearing up a solo or people attending having the time of their lives, whatever it is, the subject matter can never be accused of being dull.
In this blog, I’m going to get a bit technical running you through the kit I use to shoot events and the reasons behind it. Also, we’ll cover what to look for when photographing live music. Enjoy!
Right, let’s jump straight into it by running you through my usual kit for shooting live music and festivals.
I usually take two camera bodies with me. The reason I do this is so I can use two different lenses and change quickly between them. My preference is the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the Fujifilm X-T2 with the battery grip. Overall, the cameras are similar in terms of feature set but the build and handling of each make them serve a different purpose. The battery-gripped X-T2 has several advantages – Firstly, it allows me to shoot all day without needing to change batteries over. Secondly, I can switch to portrait and landscape orientation easily and lastly, the joystick for positioning the AF point is incredibly useful for accurate and quick focusing on specific subjects.
While the X-Pro2 is more than capable of shooting a live music event or festival, I like to keep the X-Pro2 free to shoot images of interesting people. These days I shoot with the X-Pro2 almost exclusively for my street photography, so bringing it to a festival makes a lot of sense for me. I’m taking my ever-faithful street photography setup and just applying it to a slightly different environment. For me, the main benefit is the rangefinder style. Unlike the X-T2, the viewfinder is off-centre and when you point it towards a subject, it doesn’t look like you’re aiming directly at them. This means people are far less likely to close up and act differently. Pointing a huge camera directly at a person usually means they’ll pose for their picture, but my aim is to capture the more candid, natural moments instead.
With a lot of events, you will be firmly planted in what is lovingly referred to as ‘the pit’. This is the area at the front of the stage where you can see the performers and have the opportunity to take shots of them. For this, I will opt for the XF50-140mm lens. Its focal length suits subjects that are quite far away and it also allows me to zoom in enough to get a tight shot should I want to capture that. It’s also very useful for capturing people in the crowd on each others shoulder too.
With the exception of the Fujinon 50-140mm XF lens, I mostly shoot with prime lenses. My kit bag usually comprises of the Fujinon 16mm f/1.4, Fujinon 23mm f/2 and sometimes the Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens too. I like to have the have fast, wide prime lenses, especially in low-light situations. I will alternate between the 16mm and the 23mm often and occasionally draw upon the 90mm when I want to capture close-up portraiture or to shoot a subject I want to isolate from the background.
In general, I use primes as I just love all the characteristics they give. However, there are a couple of zoom lenses which are incredibly sharp and suit shooting events perfectly. Firstly, the Fujinon 10-24mm f/4 is a fantastic lens. It’s wide enough for big stage shots, capturing crowds and potential to get very creative too. Another great lens is the XF16-55mm f/2.8 this serves the purpose of all of the primes and it’s a bit more convenient not having to switch out lenses.
Many moons ago I shot club nights and festivals week-in week-out but these days I’m not shooting for a promoter or club, instead I’m shooting for myself. My brief is set by myself so I’m trying to look images that excite me. It’s all about capturing the mood and telling a story of the event.
Here are a few of the key shots to look for when shooting an event.
Capturing musicians in action is quite tricky. If they’re moving fast in low-light in can be incredibly difficult. The important thing to remember though is what the viewer is going to want to see – that’s the musician and possibly some environmental context if it adds to the composition. If the subject is the main focus I prefer to shoot wide open and isolate the subject. If there’s something interesting like a DJ with their decks or a rack of guitars I might stop down the aperture or shoot the scene with a wide angle lens to give a sense of the environment.
If you’re shooting from the stage or in the pit, it’s always worth spinning around and checking out what the crowd are doing. A well timed pyrotechnic or a person on another person’s shoulder makes for an amazing picture. Sometimes I walk along the front row and pick out a group of interesting people.
Interesting people and music events go hand in hand. The crowd shots are always good, but I love to get into the crowd and capture the people having fun. Essentially, I take a street photography approach to this. I want people to be relaxed and natural around me, so before I start taking any pictures I walk around in the crowd, blending in and just enjoy myself. Once you’re in there amongst everyone you can begin to capture what you see in front of you which will be a unique perspective.
You simply can’t stage atmosphere – It’s either there or it’s not. The shots that I find myself looking at time and time again are the ones that tell the story of what the festival was like. It’s all about capturing the moment and the soul of the event. Now, there’s no hard and fast way to capture this kind of scene but if it sounds good, the crowd are noisy or the hairs are standing up on your arms, shoot what makes you smile!
By Dan Taylor
It’s not every day that you get the chance to photograph a person who is directly involved in creating a product that has changed the world. And it’s even rarer to have this person’s undivided attention for a few minutes just before getting mic’d up to take the stage.So, when I first got word that I’d have exactly this opportunity to photograph Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in Manchester, England, at Business Rocks, I knew I had to be prepared and have everything ready to go the minute he came out of the green room. Striving for absolute image perfection, my choice of gear was clear: The Fujifilm X-Pro2 and XF56mmF1.2 R.
While I’m generally a fan of the SLR body format, e.g. my X-T1, utilizing the new technology and features in the rangefinder format X-Pro2 was too good to pass up. And when combined with the XF56mmF1.2 R (in this case at F8) the results are razor sharp, crystal clear, and absolutely stunning. I’d even venture to say that the XF56mm is the best headshot lens I’ve ever used.
Knowing that I had very little time with Steve, I had prepared my lighting setup in advance, and fired off a few quick test images with a colleague. Given that our time together was to be quite short, I knew that simplicity would be key. Building on this simplicity, I found a plain white wall between the green room and stage and used a slow(er) shutter speed to capture the ambient lighting to help illuminate the background.
Initially, I had a black background setup, but decided at the last minute to go with white. With the black background I could use a fast shutter speed, as ambient light wasn’t needed or wanted. However, with the introduction of the white background, I did want to capture the ambient light generated by the speedlights. At f/8, a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second was just right.
For my headshot with The Woz, I used 1 key and 1 fill triggered via a wireless transceiver in an off axis clamshell lighting setup. The key light is diffused inside a Lastolite Umbrella Box, and the fill light diffused via a standard umbrella.
Depending on the look you’re trying to create, the fill light might not even be necessary. In this case, I’ve used it to fill and soften the shadows the key light would be casting.When shooting with speedlights and any FUJIFILM X Series camera, one crucial menu option you want to turn off is the Preview Exp./WB in Manual Mode. If this option is on, you’ll be presented with things exactly the way the sensor sees things, normally a good thing, but here, without compensating for the light the speedlights are going to generate.
Right. Settings set, lights lit, The Woz ready to go. Let’s make some magic!
I generally turn to humor to get the ball rolling, and always have a joke or two ready. I’ve got a few really, really bad one liners that are just so horrible, there’s really no choice but not to laugh at them, and so far, they haven’t let me down. With The Woz, I actually had to resort to joke number two, as he gave me the punch line to joke number one before I could even finish the sentence. Ever the prankster. All in all, I’d estimate that Steve and I did 4 shots together in a time period totaling less than a minute. And even though our time together was short, The Woz has been one of my favorite sessions yet. Not only is he an iconic figure, but a true gentleman, as for when I sent him the images we did together, he replied within minutes, stating, “It was great to watch you work. I love seeing great technical skills of all kinds.”
Thank YOU Steve for a great collaboration!
For me, when it comes to quality, portability, and forward thinking, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is the camera that always makes it in my bag.
I’ve been interested in photography since I was young. I always had a fascination with images and imagery and would love to be able to draw, but I just couldn’t do it so photography became my outlet for getting images onto the page. Developing a style is something I’ve written about in the past and I think it is a trap I think a lot of people fall into, myself included, whereby we try hard to develop a particular style that we think will make us stand out. The problem is that whilst you’re trying to develop that style you end up jumping from one thing to the other with no real direction. I’ve found that by just doing what I like my own natural preference for shooting comes out in the end, which then organically becomes your “style”.
I sometimes like to use the lighting equipment as an element in a shot, even deliberately put it into the shot and work with it. I’ve had a number of criticisms for it online, but it’s what I like to do and eventually has become a part of my style. I don’t really care what others think if I like the image myself.
Initially I was looking for a complement to my Nikon dSLR that I could carry around every day, mainly for pictures of family when the Nikon would just get in the way. I went through series of mirrorless cameras until I picked up the X100, which instantly had me hooked. I purchased the X-Pro1 as soon as it came out, it came with me on jobs, and I soon realised that I wasn’t using my dSLR any more and sold all my dSLR gear. Since then I find using mirrorless, and the Fujifilm X-Series in particular, a much more natural way to shoot. It made me slow down and think before I took an image, it means I shoot far fewer frames, but keep many more of them. I actually find it quite an awkward experience going back to shooting with a dSLR if I ever pick one up these days. Live preview, and in particular an instant image preview without having to take your eye from the viewfinder makes for a much smoother shooting experience.
Shoot what you enjoy. For me photography is a passion, if I was forced to shoot things I didn’t like just to earn money I would no longer want to do it. I’d rather be a part-time photographer and enjoy what I did than be full-time and moan about it. If I ever became a full-time photographer I’d have to specialise in a field that I wanted to shoot in and work hard until I was well known enough to only shoot those types of images.
Photography for me is a never ending journey of improvement, if you’re not improving then you’ll get left behind. I see shots I took even just a year ago and find them difficult to look at as I find so many elements in them that I know I could have done better if I shot them now. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because if I ever get to the point that I’m comfortable then I’m pretty sure I would soon get bored.
The people who inspire me have changed over the years, and it very much depends on what type of thing I’m doing, there are far too many to mention. My real passion is environmental portraiture, initially that was in a reportage style, but I tend to prefer to set things up now and shoot with portable studio flash or speedlights. My current inspiration comes from a variety of photographers who really understand and know how to control light, Tim Wallace, Damien Lovegrove and others, but there are many amazing images shot by amateurs. You only have to look through Flickr or 500px to see images that in many cases are better than a great number of full-time professionals.
Although it can be hard, I try not to simply copy what others are doing, but use their work as inspiration for my own.
Never underestimate the strength that a good model can bring to a shoot. The model is so often forgotten in favour of the photographer, but a good model can bring at least as much to the image as a photographer, especially if you are inexperienced at shooting people. I often bounce ideas off a model before a shoot and it can very much become a collaborative work.
I’m a strong believer in educating yourself. I spend a lot of time looking at images, reading and learning about photography. Workshops, reading and watching videos online have proven to be the most useful things I’ve done. Before you go out and buy something that you think will help you improve, learn to use what you have and then you will understand better why you need that new camera or lens rather than buying it thinking it will improve your photography. I’m good with the technical, but struggle with the artistic side of things. Zack Arias told me a couple of years ago to set myself small projects and run with that for a while, shooting only lines, circles, or only things that a red, then only red lines, etc. It does help.
Take as little with you as possible when you do shoot. For personal projects I rarely take more than one camera and one lens with me. Not only will you be thankful by the end of the day that you didn’t carry around a bag full of gear, but you will have spent more time taking photographs because you’re not concerned with which camera or lens combination to choose as you have no choice! That lack of choice also forces you to sometimes think outside of the box and get a more interesting shot than you otherwise would not have taken. The landscape below was shot with a 75mm equivalent lens. Not a traditional Lake District landscape shot, but personally I feel it is more interesting.
Finally, you don’t need to show off every image you take. When starting out and you don’t have a lot to show off it is tempting, and I used to post up a huge gallery of images from a shoot just to get stuff out there, you’ll regret that later! These days I may only even put one single image from a shoot into my portfolio. It only takes one great image to capture the imagination of a client, a whole page will just confuse them. Sometimes I may not even post up anything from a shoot at all, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn something from doing it. If I’m making up a gallery from a shoot I try to limit it to the best 5-6 images.
Not long ago I realised that many of the images in my portfolio were old and out of date, often without much cohesion. I’ve been working hard on personal projects aimed at refreshing my portfolio over the past year or so, deleting and weeding out the old and replacing them with new images. I’m getting there, but there are a few more ideas I have before it is at the point I’m aiming for, so I’ll be busy planning and shooting those. Planning a shoot is one of the most important aspects for me and I often use Pinterest boards to pull an idea together.
Once that is done it’s going to be about getting my updated portfolio of images out there and in front of people who can offer me more paid work. I’m also planning another series of workshops around the country based on using the Fujifilm X-Series cameras with off-camera flash for on-location shooting.
By Brian Rolfe
I love shooting fashion portraits, easy to plan, far less work than an editorial or commercial job! Give me a good model, quite often no team, just me, the model and an idea of what we want to create and almost without fail we’ll come away with some great shots that look uncontrived and natural. These are my tips for approaching this kind of portraiture…! !
#1 Put together a mood board beforehand that gives the general idea of what you’re aiming for, this doesn’t have to be an exact guide of the result you’d like but more of an overview so that everyone is on the same page. If you’ve not yet got a clearcut style then it’s good to find an image that’s close to what you want to create.!
#2 Pick the right model for the style you’re shooting, it sounds obvious but casting a very commercial girl next door type model when you want an editorial style with attitude is generally not going to work.!
#3 Remember models are people too, take the time to chat with them, get to know them a
little. Fashion portraits and people photography in general is as much about your personality as it is a model’s, create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere and it will show in your results!!
#4 Try not to over direct, I always find a good professional fashion model allowed to pose free will usually create magic you never thought of yourself, that pretty much goes for fashion portraits as well as editorials.!
#5 Don’t ever put your camera down while the model is in front of you, you may just miss a candid shot that is a killer! I’ve done it and you will kick yourself.!
#6 Don’t get hung up on having a full team, some of my favourite shoots have been with no make up, hair or styling aside from what the model brings with her or him. I’ve shot models in an old pair of my jeans and that’s it.!
#7 Keep things simple, good lighting doesn’t need multiple light sources and expensive
modifiers, one light or daylight works best for a fashion portrait.!
#8 Play with angles, shoot from the floor, move around the model and experiment.!
#9 Keep make up natural or even shoot without any at all, a blank canvas and unstyled hair bring a realism to the shoot.!
#10 I generally keep styling basic for this kind or shoot, denim, t-shirts, vest tops, basics underwear, again give your model some ideas in advance or get something in yourself if you don’t have a stylist.! !
Brian Rolfe is a professional photographer based just outside of London with a clean and classic style specialising in beauty, hair, fashion and portraiture.
Inspired by the classic photography of the sixties and the supermodel era of the eighties and nineties, he takes a simplistic approach, preferring to work with one or two lights and keep retouching to a minimum in order to enhance rather than overpower an image.
Spend the day with renowned Fujifilm X Photographer Matt Hart, exploring the exciting streets of Edinburgh picking up tricks and tips from Matt along the way. This will be delivered in a relaxed and often, very entertaining way. You will also have personal guide Ami Strachan for the day to reveal all the best locations to shoot street in Edinburgh.
The course will give you an insight into the way Matt works and his style of Street Photography. You will learn how to anticipate and capture decisive moments throughout the city. And, having a guide for the day will help to future-proof your knowledge of the area. So, if you choose to come back – you’ll know all the best spots!
After the event you will be able to post your work and talk to Matt through his Social Media pages or by e mail; this can include online critique and coaching when requested.
The workshop will take place on Sunday the 8th of March from 10:30am till 4:30pm with a break for lunch. Don’t worry – there will be plenty of comfort breaks for those who need them throughout the day.
In addition to Matt’s expertise, a Fujifilm representative will also be on hand with a selection of the latest cameras and lenses to try, and will be there to help answer any of your technical questions.
The exact location will be made known when a ticket is purchased and will be distributed via email.
For more information on cost or to book, please visit the event page here.
Images from past events can be found here.
Matt is a black & white street and event Photographer based in Liverpool England.
His journey through photography has been over 40 years mostly using film. He still shoots film, but more recently he prefers the freedom and flexibility of the digital medium striving to retain the integrity of the original image. Matt’s stock images have been used in advertising all over the world, his work has also been published in many books and magazines, including many photography magazines.
By Steve Best
Who am I? Good question.
I’ll be succinct.
I’m a clown photographer.
But mainly I’m a stand-up comedian – www.stevebest.com. I have been one for many years. I have plied my trade all around the world, having toured with many a famous person.
I have also co-founded Abnormally Funny People, which is a group of gifted stand-up comedians strutting their funny stuff. All but one of them is disabled (that’s me!) I’m the ‘token’ able-bodied comedian www.abnormallyfunnypeople.com
I also take pictures. Mainly of comedians. I have published a book with 436 pictures of comedians. One comedian on each page, with a joke of theirs, and a few weird and wonderful facts about themselves.
So, what now? And why is Fuji posting this blog? Let me explain a bit more…
The first book wasn’t really intentional. When I set out I took a few pictures with a camera phone just for posterity. Here’s one of Ross Noble. The fuzziness kind of suits him.
I had a Ricoh Caplio GX100 camera with me. It was a great little point and shoot. Of course it had its limitations. It was pretty slow to start up. And it wasn’t great in low light situations. Most of the pictures in the first book were taken with the Ricoh.
So, I had a collection of comedians, which every now and then I plonked up on Facebook. Make it into a book, many people said. One such person who said this was my next door neighbour (ish – 3 doors down), Javier Garcia, who is a wonderful sports photographer, and owner of www.backpageimages.com
So I did it. Just like that. Well not quite. Jeez, it was bloody hard, and rather costly.
The person who really, really, really, really helped me… really, was Drew De Soto. Drew used to be a comedian. He’s still pretty damn funny. He runs a graphic design company,www.navig8.co.uk and in fact was running it while being a comedian. We met again when I was on my quest for the answers to my questions from the comedians. I tracked Drew down. He then asked me the question,
‘Where are you going to design it?’
‘Err, on line?’ I answered back with a kind of question.
‘Come into my office,’ he said.
And the rest is history, so historians would say.
You’re still asking where does Fuji come into this.
While being taught InDesign (actually learnt about 4% of what it can do) and Photoshop (5%) and how to kern (the process of adjusting the spacing between characters in a proportional font, usually to achieve a visually pleasing result), Drew would often pop out to take a picture with, wait for it, the Fuji X100. He loved it. All apart from the slight focusing problem, rectified somewhat with new firmware, and even more rectified with the X100s, which I will one day get him. Although I hear the X100T is out…
So the book came out, and I had become hooked on taking photos. I was still gigging, still bumping into comedians that I somehow hadn’t snapped for the first book. I’ll do another book then, I thought. I wanted to up my game. Park Cameras was down the road to Drew’s offices, so most lunchtimes I’d wander in and touch and stare. Mainly Fuji. But not exclusively. In fact I looked at Ricoh too, as I was pretty familiar with their kit. I took the bull by the horns and phoned up Ricoh to see if they would give me a camera as I had used their GX100 for the first book. Unfortunately the Fuji X100s was in my head as I started talking to the PR person at Ricoh.
‘I love your cameras’ I said, and began to explain my project of the Comedy Snapshot sequel
‘It’s not something we usually do, but what camera would you be looking at?’ She asked.
There was a small pause.
‘That’s not a Ricoh,’ she replied with a little laugh in her voice
There was another pause
‘I’ve mucked this up, haven’t I?’ I said
‘Yes, I think you have.’
I didn’t phone Fuji for fear of doing the same thing in reverse. Instead I spent two weeks of lunches in Park Cameras.
The X100s, the X-Pro1 or the X-T1?
Fuji were doing an offer for the X-Pro1 – the body and a lens, and you’d get a free lens in the post. I went for it, I got the X-Pro1 and the XF18mm F2, and true to their word a few weeks later the XF35mm 1.4 was handed to me by the postman. What a beast! The camera, not the postman…
So off I went taking pictures for the next book with my X-Pro1. And of course a few other shots for the hell of it. Here’s a few. The ‘sheer hell of it shot’ made it to the Sunday Observer.
The X-Pro1 is a great camera. And both lenses are superb. It’s wonderful in low light, even with smacking the ISO up high. It’s not too bulky, it’s quiet, and damn sexy looking… I updated the firmware. But for some reason I kept going back to Park Cameras to touch the other Fuji cameras. I needed another body. I wanted another body.
I looked at the X100s and the X-T1 again. I had no more money left.
I knew a comedian who knew a man at Fuji.
He showed my book to him with the tag that I was doing another, all shot on Fuji. The man at Fuji liked my first book, and loved some of my recent pictures taken on the X-Pro1. Would they be interested in loaning me the X-T1 and the 56mm 1.2 lens?
I waited a few weeks.
The man from Fuji, he say ‘YES’. The deal was done, no meet up, no handshake, no signatures, just coolness and a willingness to take a shot. This is not to say to say that Fuji are lending out cameras willy nilly. I think I was just a little lucky, the right man, the right place, the right face. Two weeks later a brand spanking new X-T1 and 56mm F1.2 lens was delivered by the same postman that had delivered the X-Pro1.
It really is an amazing camera and lens.
The next blog will be a bit more technical on how and where I take the pictures. But for now here’s some pics taken on the X-T1 with the 56mm lens.
Photographer Tim Wallace is the driving force and creative thinking behind Ambient Life. An award winning photographer his work is often described as both conceptual and dramatic.
Tim works internationally with many high clients across the globe such as Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes and Morgan as well as shooting some of the worlds most iconic brands such as Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Ferrari in the UK and Europe to shooting Dodge, Chevrolet and Mustangs in the US.
His work has been published globally and he was recently named by as one of the UK’s most creative photographers whilst in the US Scott Kelby described Tim recently as one of the Ten most influential photographers in the World today, Tim’s view is a little more straight forward, a man who’s known for his down to earth attitude, his feet are firmly on the ground and his desire to produce creative work is one that he has been driven to from a very young age when he first picked up a camera.
“Photography is for me simply a creative passion, the ability to use light and form to
capture in a single image what I see in my own imagination”
Tim is the humble recipient of many awards over recent years including, International Commercial Advertising Photographer of the Year, UK Motor Industry Professional Car Photographer of the Year and a few months ago was awarded International Travel Photographer of the Year.
“I plan to live forever, so far so good…
I’m 40 but apparently 40 is the new 30 so things are always good and I have never felt better!, I don’t sleep much because I’m always thinking about what I can do to create something new, on a morning I often wake up excited for the day like a kid at Christmas just wanting to get out on the road and get on with it. People say I have a wicked sense of humour, not sure on that one, maybe its just a defence mechanism for the fact I’m always trying to lose weight but enjoy good food too much…!
I love the whole creative visual voodoo, the journey from A to B and the chance of arriving at C.
My work is often regarded as conceptual and dramatic and to me photography is a process, you’ll never hear me mutter ‘it’ll be fine’ as that’s simply not enough for me. Life is short and I aim to make mine worth while and interesting with work that I hope reflects this.
My goal in life is to be myself always, be creative, be true and most of all improve just a little part of peoples lives with images that both entertain and sometimes invoke the feelings that I had when I shot them. I’ve won awards and I’m always of the thought that maybe they got the wrong Tim Wallace, hey I’m grateful always but never take myself or any achievements too seriously, life’s too short and people will forget you quickly.
I jumped off a cliff in Norway a few years ago in a BASE jump, why?, well because it felt right for me to do that for myself at that time, I truly believe that anything in life is possible, work hard, be an honest person, tell the people that you love just what they mean to you as often as you can, and most of all be out there shooting because sometimes that’s where amazing things can happen.”
Tim may be known for his carefully crafted and beautifully lit images of prestige cars, however a recent trip to the USA saw him shooting something less glossy and more on the gritty side - an old mining town in Death Valley.
We found ourselves moving through the Valley from South to North. Death Valley has always held a fascination for me in its sheer scale and beauty and this week I shot some ‘personal work’ there, focusing on a project about the abandoned town of Darwin. 6 miles off the main road quite literally in the middle of absolutely nowhere we came across the town of Darwin sat in the base of the mountains, shrouded in dust and sand and abandoned in the sheer deafening silence that you experience only in places like Death Valley.
Darwin itself is a truly amazing place and we really didn’t know what to expect as we pulled onto the dirt track that carried us into this sleepy little abandoned area in the middle of the valley with a reported population today of under 40 even though the sign brags a few more that have since packed up and moved on away from the town.
The town was first established by American explorer Dr Darwin French in 1874 after he discovered silver ore deposits in the mountains, just south of Death Valley but the mining area is now closed off and out of limits to people with many signs warning of the dangers of open mines still being there and potential death traps to those that wander into the area. Just a year later, 700 people were found living in the town where around 20 mines were discovered – the population peaked in 1877 at several thousand people. In its heyday, Darwin was buzzing with saloon bars, miners, busy general stores and even brothels.
As with many ghost towns across the U.S., once the industry has died, life in the town becomes lost and soon after years just simply disappears. However in Darwin, a small community of artists and those preferring life in the wilderness, has remained in settlements further down the valley from the ‘original’ settlements. The population is made up of mainly couples and with no one under the age of 18, so no children at all exist there. There are no stores to buy anything and nowhere to stay – the nearest supermarket is well over 90 miles away and the tiny community that remains in the dust had only a local post office where residents could gather to pass the time of day and even this now is shut and abandoned forever.
Just further down the hill we started to come across the houses of those both past and recently present, many just left abandoned and with the contents still in place, refrigerators, clocks and books still on the shelves.
We shot there for over an hour, being respectful to those that still call this dusty town home and exchanged a few hearty hello’s to those few that we met along the way walking through the small town.
Darwin is in many ways a place of both sadness and wonder and it remains sat in the middle of Death Valley and the days and nights pass like a ticking clock with no impact or change on anything that remains, a modern day time capsule sat baking in the desert sun.
I¹ve heard that when you turn professional, you lose the love for photography as a hobby. I very much disagree this type of diverse personal work allows me to still enjoy shooting stuff for myself.
My tool of choice for these images was the excellent lightweight Fujifilm X-Pro1 and a 14mm lens, the 14mm is perfect for the type of off the cuff documentary shooting that I want to do and is a very impressive lens in its own right, especially when used wide open on the aperture as I often like to shoot…
I love this little mighty camera it’s a favourite of mine to travel with. It¹s easy to use and the quality of what such a little camera can produce is amazing.
I enjoy using black & white I love to indulge in this style whenever I can.
X-series users from across the globe share their finest images and the stories behind them
Here’s another selection of users’ images published in our Fujifilm X Magazine. If you would like to see your images in our magazine, and if you’re an X-series user, we’d love to see your shots. Email your images, along with details of the story behind them and some information about you and your photography to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Hart – Whitby Pier
“Whitby in north east England is a timeless place. So far, it has been left untouched by developers so it is largely unspoilt and has real charm. I think it’s a place you can walk around all day and all night with a camera in a very relaxing environment.”
“The image was taken one evening using my X-Pro1 hand held – I just love its ease of use and the stunning sensor. I have just sold all my Nikon equipment because of this camera – people think I am mad going from a D3s to the X-Pro1, but I fell in love with the X100 and once I had used the X-Pro1 for a few days I was completely hooked.”
Rex Adams – Birling Gap
“I love black & white photography as I feel the results are less cluttered than in colour. A black & white photograph draws your attention to the subject without the distraction of colours which may or may not be an intentional part of the image.”
“I took this image with the X-Pro1, which I chose as I wanted a camera to carry around without having to lug a heavy DSLR. The X-Pro1 is the most versatile camera I have used, and the images produced are as good if not better than my Canon DSLR.”
“Personally, I am excited with the direction Fujifilm is going at the moment and am particularly interested in the Fujifilm X-E2 which may end up in my bag before too long! I like the way Fujifilm listens to users’ suggestions, and many of these have been incorporated into firmware updates. This demonstrates that it’s a forward-thinking company that puts its customers first.”
Gerald Robinson – Dead Calm
“I was after a sunrise, but it wasn’t going to happen so I decided to shoot an alternative image using a long exposure. I don’t usually shoot landscapes in black & white, but in this situation it wouldn’t have worked in colour.”
“I used my X-Pro1, but I also shoot with an X10 and X20 as they are ideal pocket cameras for any occasion. I recently changed all my gear from the Nikon DSLRs with a selection of lenses to the Fujifilm X-series and various lenses, and for me it was the right move. I just love the full manual control the X-Pro1 gives me.”