HOW TO: Set up for Action Photography

Following on from the last blog that covered what gear to use for wildlife photography, I’m going to explain how I set up my X-Series cameras for capturing action. Though some cameras are better than others for this type of photography, there are little ways to help yourself help improve your chances of capturing action.

High burst rate

Though using a high burst rate will eat through your memory cards space, shooting at a high frame rate will hopefully get a good selection of action shots.

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Auto focus

First of all make your focus point as large as possible: do this by pressing the AF button and zooming out as far as you can. With a moving subject it will be very difficult to keep the subject in a small selection zone, so give yourself the best chance possible. Continuous focus (This applies to the X-T1 and X-E2 as they have vastly improved continuous AF functionality) is really helpful with certain subjects, especially if they are coming towards you. For those of you with models that are best in single focus mode, fear not! Generally the Fujifilm lenses are quick to auto focus so if you’re following a subject you can focus, take a shot and then focus again or alternatively prefocus if you know where the subject it going to go. Some photographers use cameras in MF mode and use the AFL/AEL button to focus. This is helpful because you can then use the manual focus ring on the lens and see what is in focus via focus peaking. Experiment and see what method works best for you.

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This sequences was taken using the X-T1’s tilting screen and the XF56mm at F2.8.

ISO

My standard ISO setting is 800. To some this might seem high but the output from this is so clean that it isn’t a concern for me. If it’s a bit cloudy and I’m wanting to freeze the action I’ll push my ‘ready’ ISO to 1600. My philosophy is that it is better to have a sharp image that might be slightly noisy as you get up to than an image that might have some motion but has less or no noise.

Shark
A blue shark close up taken at ISO 1600

Shark close up100% close up – In my eyes the noise (or lack of it) is not a problem at ISO 1600

Aperture

For action photography you have to decide if you want to freeze a moment, capture the motion or something in the grey area. If you want to freeze the action you’ll generally want to use a wider aperture to get a sufficiently high shutter speed. The shutter speed required to freeze depends on the pace of the action, and your chosen aperture is determined by the light conditions and your ISO choice. The thing to remember is that shutter speed, aperture and ISO are all intertwined. If you want to read more on apertures then read this previous blog (it contains puppies!). If you want to focus on one, say a faster shutter speed, then this has an adverse affect on the other two factors. If you’re wanting to freeze the action with a fast shutter speed AND also have a large depth of field then you have to increase the ISO. It is also about prioritising the most important factor for you and then compromise with the others. When aiming to freeze the action I am generally in aperture priority mode, where I have set the ISO according to the conditions (usually over 800), and I then choose an aperture to obtain the shutter speed I want.

Frozen Kittiwake

Taken at 1/3800 sec, F5.6, ISO 800

If you want to capture motion blur, say through panning with your subject, then your shutter speed is having less of a constraint on your ISO and aperture so you can change these accordingly to reduce your shutter speed. One way to control this is through shutter speed priority, where you set shutter speed to what you want and then have the aperture in auto mode so it will change to keep the same low shutter speed (with the ISO previously set).

Panning moped

Taken at 1/13 sec, F16 ISO 200

Finally, another set up option for action is to set the aperture and shutter speed to what you want and then have the ISO in automatic mode. You could go fully manual but I find this can quickly lead to problems when trying to capture action, especially if there is a lot going on around you. This method can result in you missing fleeting moments.

Now that you know some action set ups go out and shoot! Let us know what your action set up is with the X-Series and share with us your action shots via our Fujifilm’s Facebook and Twitter. As ever, if you have any questions then please leave a comment below or contact me via:

Twitter – @benji_cherry

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BenCherryPhotography

Mobile capabilities

WiFi is becoming an increasingly common feature on cameras. It has the ability to open up lots of handy functions that would otherwise require wires, more equipment and often more time. Fujifilm has taken this function and made it possible to do a whole variety of functions without having to use any wires, stuff that you can do quickly and in any location.

Paul SchlemmerFirst and foremost, the WiFi function allows you to connect your camera with your phone or tablet and via the Fujifilm Camera Remote app you can download photos. This is really helpful if you enjoy using social media and want to upload photos while in the moment. A standout example of this is Paul Schlemmer, an X-Photographer who is constantly on the move, and often camping, but the lack of standard internet doesn’t stop him uploading photos to his brilliant Instagram account. This friendly digital nomad (and awesome beard wearer) is now uploading photos from his X100T to his phone and then to Instagram. This shows that the Fujifilm X-Series has the ability to keep your camera equipment size and weight down, it also has the ability to reduce your computer requirements to share your journey with others. As long as you’re happy with the JPEG presets available (you can’t download RAW files at the moment) then this is a lightweight travel solution. The bonus of only having the JPEGs available, is apart from the fact that the presets are wonderful, it prevents you from spending too long editing your photos, so you have more time to get out shooting.

But what if you want to share the moment with someone in person? Giving them a hard copy of an image. Well Fujifilm have created the Instax SP-1, a printer that turns your mobile device and/or camera into a modern, adapted version of a classic “polaroid camera”. You can send photos wirelessly via your camera (check compatibility) or mobile device to the printer that will then produce a print in a matter of seconds. The great Kevin Mullins used this at a wedding he was photographing and the couple burst into tears when Kevin handed them a print as he was leaving. Check out his review of the SP-1 here.

Zack Arias uses the SP-1 on his travels and it is amazing how one little camera and a printer open so many doors and start conversations. Check out his very interesting view of this helpful accessory here. 

Awful modelThe Fujifilm Camera Remote app isn’t just about sending files to your mobile device. As the title suggests you can control your camera and effectively use your device as the camera’s viewfinder. To the more vain amongst us, this is brilliant for selfies.. Possibly the ultimate selfies?! I use this function a lot when testing out lighting for a portrait session before the subject turns up, cutting down the length of the shoot and the amount of their time I take up. It has also really helped me improve my understanding of lighting as I can experiment as much as I like without bothering the subject, as I’m the subject! I simply set the camera up on a tripod and use my phone to position myself correctly, as well as seeing the result and changing my lighting set up accordingly. The problem with this is you can often get carried away and pretend that you can pull off a good selfie!

Ben Fuji app At the other end of the vanity scale, I’ve used the wireless preview to photograph timid wildlife. By setting up the camera on a tripod in a location I know they will visit, I was able to retreat a bit to be less of a deterrent for the subject. In the adjacent picture I’m using the app with an X-T1 on a monopod to get closer to a puffin on a cliff edge (Photo courtesy of Duncan Jackson).

Zack Arias often takes advantage of the live preview on his phone for street photography. Check out this brilliant video of Zack exploring Marrakech and showing how he takes advantage of the app.

Finally, you can use the GPS tracking in your phone to automatically tag images with your geo-location. Great for helping you keep a record of where you’ve been. You simply connect the devices using the previously mentioned apps, syncronise the GPS location and then it will automatically update periodically as you move around.

Fujifilm has fully embraced WiFi technology to make wireless features and products that can really benefit a photographer, amateur and professional alike. With Fujifilm you can always expect improvements through firmware updates as well. The up and coming X-T1 upgrade has got some headline improvements already made public (check out my last blog on this). Who knows what Fujifilm will offer next to take advantage of mobile capabilities? What would you like to see?

My love affair with EVFs

When I first started using the Fujifilm X-Series last summer I didn’t realise how helpful electronic viewfinders (EVFs) can be. Being able to see a live view of the exposure and then adjusting this via the exposure compensation dial means that I am more efficient. When using SLRs it is often difficult to get exposure compensation exactly right the first time around, this often means you take a photograph multiple times to get it just right. With X-Series cameras you are able to see how an exposure adjustment will effect the exposure of the image before you take the photo. This is especially helpful for fleeting moments, especially in quickly changing light.

The exposure compensation can be adjusted in post-production but I feel the live view produced by EVFs has helped me improve my photography. This makes my editing workflow shorter, which is always an advantage.

I found this feature particularly helpful when taking silhouettes, such as the images of Chesterton windmill in the gallery below.

EVFs are also very helpful with non-Fujifilm lenses or using Fujifilm lenses in manual mode as they can accurately show when the focus is correct. Even with the X100s and X-Pro1, which have hybrid viewfinders, I use them almost exclusively in EVF mode instead of OVF mode because, for me, it offers more benefits.

Weather resistance in windy Wales

A friend and I decided to go camping in Wales, which perfectly coincided with the passing of the ex-hurricane Bertha! To many this is a bizarre time to choose to go camping, but from a landscape photography perspective, angry weather equals exciting weather.

At the moment I am trying to train myself to only use prime lenses as Fujifilm offers such a wide variety covering lots of helpful focal lengths (the announcement of the XF90mm f2 R and XF16mm f1.4 R being added to the lens roadmap is very exciting). The reason for this is that to me they inspire creativity, using the fixed focal length makes me think more about composition and simply take more time with each picture. However, the thought of changing lenses in high winds and heavy rain atop a cliff wasn’t particularly appealing so the ever-camera-bag-present XF18-135mm came into its own. Having previously used a prototype version of the lens on the Farne Islands (see my initial impressions here) this was the first time I had really put the production version through its paces and I have to say it passed with flying colours.

Because I was generally taking landscape photographs I didn’t miss the wonderful wide aperture capabilities of prime lenses. The other bonus of using the XF18-135mm was the fast auto focus and probably, more importantly, the weather sealing. Once mounted to the X-T1 the weather resistance system left me with one less thing to think about while battling the hazardous conditions.

I wasn’t the only thing out enjoying the powerful winds though, a few fulmar were flying around the cliffs, putting on a very impressive aerial display. This was a great opportunity to try the continuous focus in mirky conditions with a very fast moving subject. Once locked on the keeper rate was very high.

Enjoying the conditions

Fulmar

Target ahead

Fulmar-3

Cliff flyby

Fulmar-2

Fulmar in the scene

Welsh cliffs

The other very helpful feature of the XF18-135mm lens is the 5-stop image stabilisation which proved very helpful in countering the blustery and often dark conditions.

Setting Welsh sun

Welsh sea

Going further against my plan to use only prime lenses, the other lens used extensively was the XF10-24mm R OIS on the X-Pro1. Again I went with the practicality and versatility offered by this wide angle zoom lens. Despite this being a zoom, I loved using it at the ultra wide 10mm end to capture as much of the impressive scenes in front of me as possible.

Incoming shower

Welsh coast

Boisterous waves

Welsh coast-2

Overall it was a great few days for photography, but before you go off camping in inclement weather, make sure you check with others you drag along, as the X-T1 – XF18-135mm set up is weather resistant and ready for anything, but they might not be so obliging.

Advantages of using a Compact System Camera over a DSLR

We made this little video outlining the benefits of a small mirrorless camera compared to a big bulky DSLR camera. Please leave your thoughts in the comments

Focusing with the X-Pro1 and X100S using the OVF

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By V. Opoku

I shoot fujifilm exclusively; I use two X-Pro 1’s and a X100s for my wedding work and travels. This set up works for me, however there was a learning curve involved, as the concept of these X-Series cameras were different from the D-SLR’s that I was used to.

The biggest challenge I faced was learning how these cameras acquired focus, I spent hours online seeking relevant information and even more time applying what I read and testing things out. YES, they actually do focus, they just do it differently to my old D700 and a friend’s 5D2 I had right next to it for comparison.

As a result of the information I gathered and my personal experience over the last 8 months, I decided to put this article together and I hope that fellow X-Series users out there and those considering buying one of these cameras might find it useful, especially in regards to focus accuracy.

Like ZACK ARIAS, I believe that the Optical Viewfinder is a big deal on these cameras. The hybrid viewfinder is innovative and each mode serves a purpose, i.e for close ups where the Electronic Viewfinder is the better option. Nevertheless, I find myself using the Optical Viewfinder 90% of the time, I truly love it. The focus on this article will be focusing with these cameras (X-Pro 1 & X100s) with the Optical Viewfinder.

PARALLAX:

“The effect whereby the position of a object appears to differ when viewed from different positions. In this case, the different positions are the lenswhich is at the centre of the camera and the viewfinder window which is to the left and above the  centre of the camera.

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-01

 

VIEWFINDER WINDOW:

We have established that the viewfinder window is positioned to the left and above the centre of the camera, thus being positioned to the left and above the lens.

The viewfinder window (when in optical mode) is designed to have a larger Field Of View than whatever lens you attach to the camera body. Because the Field Of View of the viewfinder is larger than the Field Of View of the lens, you are able to see things that are outside your frame and not just what is inside it – the OVF is under inclusive.

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-02

CORRECTED AF FRAME:

 

The different positioning of the viewfinder window and the lens means that we have to overcome parallax when it comes to nailing our focus. To aid us in doing so, these Fuji X-Series cameras have a brilliant tool called “Corrected AF Frame” ; this is optional but I strongly suggest that you turn it ON and leave it ON.

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-03

 

BOX 1 : Represents the focus frame at infinity – This is where the OVF will naturally perceives focus to be.

BOX 2 : Represents the focus frame at the OVF’s minimum focus distance – the closest the OVF can focus before it hits the macro range. (This is about 2.6ft for the X-Pro 1 and about 1.6ft for the X100s)

This is how I have the Optical Viewfinder (OVF) set up in all three of my cameras:

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-04

 

My custom OVF displays have quite a lot of information overlay which I have become used to, however for the rest of this article, I will “turn off” most of these information and only “leave on” those which I believe are relevant to acquiring focus with these X-Series  cameras.

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-05

 

We are now left with a much cleaner looking OVF, with just the Focus Frame at infinity (BOX 1) and Corrected AF Frame (BOX 2) as well as  theDistance indicator on.

The distance indicator is pretty useful since the distance of our subject is used to calculate the amount of parallax compensation that is needed between the viewfinder window and the lens. So having an idea of how far or close our subject is can help us to acquire our desired point of focus with greater accuracy.

 

THE ESSENTIALS:

1. Due to the different positioning of the OVF and the lens, they naturally see focus at different points.

2. However, the camera has ONLY ONE REAL FOCUS BOX, which shows up at different locations within the OVF.

3. When we turn Corrected AF Frame on, the two boxes (BOX 1 & BOX 2) that shows up in the OVF represents the RANGE within which the REAL FOCUS BOX could be.

4. The RANGE  within which the REAL FOCUS BOX can be is BETWEEN infinity (BOX 1) and the focus frame  at the OVF’s minimum focus distance (BOX 2)

5. The RANGE for the X-pro 1 is infinity and 2.6ft

6. The RANGE for the X100s is infinity and 1.6ft

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-06

 

 

7. When we press the shutter down halfway to auto focus, the camera calculates the distance of our subject and a GREEN BOX appears diagonally between the RANGE.

8. This GREEN BOX is the REAL FOCUS BOX.

9. Exactly where the REAL FOCUS BOX appears within this RANGE depends on the DISTANCE of our subject – in other words, where the REAL FOCUS BOX appears between BOX 1 and BOX 2 depends on how far or near our subject is.

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-07

 

The GREEN BOX is the REAL FOCUS BOX – this is the actual point where the camera focuses the lens, and it will be located slightly below and to the right of where the viewfinder window perceives focus to be.

Remember that the viewfinder window and the lens are positioned at different locations –  and even though we are seeing our subject through the viewfinder window, we want our final image to be how the lens sees our subject. 

We want the focus point of the image we capture be where the lens focuses – the GREEN BOX is our parallax compensated FOCUS BOX, it sees our subject how the lens sees it, hence why it is the REAL FOCUS BOX.

The RED BOX (RANGE BOX) is solely for the purpose of this article and it will not show up in the camera.

Here is the same image as above but without the range box:

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-08

The distance of our subject is what determines where the REAL FOCUS BOX appears within our RANGE ; the distance indicator tells us how far or near our subject is, therefore knowing our subject distance is useful.

 

 

Let’s assume with an X-Pro 1 + the 35mm lens, when we press the shutter halfway, the camera calculated that our subject was 5ft away, and where the REAL FOCUS BOX  has shown up in the illustrations of this article is a representation of that, so where the GREEN BOX has appeared between the RANGE so far is because our subject is 5ft away from us.

What if our subject was 3.6ft or 12ft away? Where between the RANGE will the GREEN BOX appear?

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-09

 

With our subject at 5ft away, the GREEN BOX appears relatively central between BOX 1 and BOX 2.

With our subject at 3.6ft away, the GREEN BOX appears down to the right, away from BOX 1 much closer to BOX 2.

With our subject at 12ft away, the GREEN BOX appears further up and to the left, away from BOX 2 and much closer to BOX 1.

This demonstrates that the GREEN BOX moves diagonally between BOX 1 & BOX 2 ; and exactly where it appears between these two boxes depends on the distance of our subject.

 

What happens if our subject is further than 12ft away or closer to us than 3.6ft?

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-10

 

With our subject at 30ft away, the REAL FOCUS BOX will show up within BOX 1.

At 2.6ft away, the REAL FOCUS BOX will show up within BOX 2.

Why does the REAL FOCUS BOX appear within BOX 1 & BOX 2 at these extreme distances? Beacause :

BOX 1 : Represents the focus frame at infinity.

BOX 2 : Represents the focus frame at the OVF’s minimum focus distance – which is is 2.6ft for the X-Pro 1.

Remember the RANGE BOX? let’s go back to it:

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-06

 

The REAL FOCUS BOX can appear anywhere within the RANGE BOX – the GREEN BOX can appear anywhere between BOX 1 & BOX 2.

When our subject is further way, i.e 30ft from us, parallax is not an issue and the couple of inches between where the viewfinder window naturally perceives focus to be and where the lens naturally perceives focus to be is meaningless.

So with subjects further away, the REAL FOCUS BOX is more or less identical to BOX 1; the viewfinder window and the lens perceives the same REAL FOCUS POINT at far distances,  that is why the GREEN BOX  appears within BOX 1.

 

If our subject is much closer i.e 3.6ftparallax becomes an issue and the couple of inches between where the viewfinder window naturally perceives focus to be and where the lens naturally perceives focus to be now matters; however at such a close distance, parallax is so great that you are better of switching to the Electronic Viewfinder.

If our subject was 2.6ft from us, the REAL FOCUS BOX is more or less identical to BOX 2, this is the closets the OVF can focus before it hits the macro range,  but parallax is great at this distance so use the EVF! The camera automatically switches to the EVF when one uses the macro function.

If our subject is at a midrange distance, i.e 5ft from us the REAL FOCUS BOX appears at the appropriate area between the RANGE BOX.

 

SUMMARY:

The camera’s viewfinder window and lens are positioned at different locations and as a result we have parallax.

The camera has only one real focus box, when you turn on Correct AF Frame, two boxes shows up in the OVF.

These two boxes represents focus at infinity and the OVF’s minimum focus distance – this gives us the range within which the real focus box can show up once the shutter is pressed halfway.

The distance of our subject determines  exactly where within the range that the real focus box appears.

When the shutter is pressed halfway, the camera calculates the distance of our subject, compensates for parallax and shows us where the REAL FOCUS is.

 

This same principle applies to any of the 25 different focus points that we can chose from in the middle 2/3rd of the OVF’s frame.

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-11

 

I used the middle focus point throughout this article for simplicity, however, this is how things should look when we select other focus points:

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-12

 

MOVING FRAMELINE:

When we press the shutter down halfway, the camera calculates the distance of our subject and compensates for parallax for both the focus frame and the frameline – this gives us an accurate representation of how the lens sees everything.

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-15

 

How much the frameline moves  down and to the right depends on the distance of our subject.

For a subject far away, i.e 20ft, the frameline moves very little, in fact if our subject is beyond 20ft, i.e 30ft, the frameline doesn’t move at all. The closer our subject is, the greater the movement of the frame line.

The closer our subject is to us, the greater the parallax, hence the greater movement of the frameline ; the further our subject is away from us, there minor the parallax, hence the little movement of the frameline.

 

DIFFERENT LENSES:

Each lens has a different Field Of View, however, the Field Of View of the Optical Viewfinder will always be larger than that of the lens attached to the camera. This is the same for the X100 and X100s albeit with a fixed 23mm lens.

 

FUJIFILM OVF FINAL-13

 

CAVEAT:

The Framelines, are an approximation and just like the Corrected AF Frame and the Distance indicator, it is a tool to aid us. It might take some time getting used to it, but it is totally worth it and will become second nature in due time. The OVF is pure joy to use!

Here is a small selection of images taken under various conditions using the OVF:

V.

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Why sensor size is more important than the sheer number of megapixels

This video explains the benefits of larger camera sensors such as the 2/3inch EXR-CMOS II in our compact X20 and XQ1 cameras and the APS-C sized sensor used in our X100S and Compact System Cameras.

The Fujifilm X100s One Year On

By David Cleland

x100s-flixelpix

Visit the official product page for the Fujifilm X100S

In December 2012 I received my first X100s, a pre-production camera and was tasked to capture some images of Northern Ireland in advance of the world launch in February.

As a big Fujifilm X100 fan I was obviously excited to see how the latest release performed and boy did it perform!  I posted my first “Hands on the X100s” post in January and since then little camera has gone literally everywhere with me.

I pack my X100s in the original X100 leather case and it rarely escapes compliments from people often when it is still in the stylish leather case. The leather case offers a great deal of protection yet manages to keep the whole package small and portable. I can carry the camera in my everyday bag without the fear of damage.

I love everything about the X100s, the 35mm focal length is perfect for documentary photography, it is a versatile camera capable of capturing stunning images in everyday situations without drawing the fear factor often associated with a DSLR.

All of the following photographs were captured either on days when I wasn’t setting out with the aim of taking photos or in the case of the music photography images the X100s was acting as a second camera. I take the X100s literally everywhere, not just for the portability but for the fact I can rely on it to capture stunningly sharp and vibrant images. Click on any of the photos to view large on flickr.

Towards the Mournes
This image of the Mourne mountains was taken during the Easter break after one of the heaviest snow falls in a decade.
Early Morning
This mono image was captured on White Rocks Beach in County Antrim during a cold morning just after Christmas 2012. This photo was captured with the pre-production camera and I was struck my the sharpness and speed at which the camera performed.
The Duke of York
Stripes were definitely in last June. This lowlight image was captured during an evening out and a visit to the brilliant Duke of York in Belfast.

You can see more images on David’s blog here: http://www.flixelpix.com

About David

David Cleland is a documentary and landscape photography from Ireland. To see more of his work you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook or subscribe to his blog.

What to shoot in November – Longer wintry nights

Remember, remember, there’s plenty to shoot in November! Don’t put your camera into hibernation just when the nights are drawing in – try our pick of this month’s most photogenic events

The end of October saw the clocks shuffle backwards by an hour across the whole of Europe, giving early risers a little more daylight, and earlier sunsets at the end of the day. Don’t be disheartened by the encroaching dark or use it as an excuse to hang up your camera until the spring, though – there’s plenty to shoot in these shorter days. For starters, why not try your hand at some low-light photography? Before you even leave the building, do a little planning.

Think about where you’d like to shoot, and be sure to tell someone where you’re headed – or better still, convince an equally shutter-happy friend to come along for the ride.

Don’t let your quest for the perfect shot get in the way of personal safety, and be sensible about where you plan to stop and take pictures. Cities and remote landscapes alike can be beautiful once the sun’s gone down, but they can be scary and potentially dangerous as well – so be safe.

Low-light landscape pictures can be incredibly impressive, but getting a great shot when there’s little light around is a real challenge – longer shutter speeds are essential, so make sure you’ve got a tripod or other support on hand to ensure pin-sharp details. Keep your ISO setting low and set a shutter speed of around 15 seconds to capture as much light as you can. Set your lens as wide as possible and ensure your aperture’s also as wide as it can go, which will help to retain details and make the most of available light. Adjust your camera’s white-balance to change the mood of the image: you might find that cooler, bluer tones give you more of a midnight feel, so don’t forget to experiment while you have the chance.

Want to capture a lifelike scene at dusk? You could always test-drive the built-in HDR feature on most X-series cameras to layer exposures and achieve as much detail as possible in your final image. And if your dramatic sunset landscape has turned out cloudy, try using the X-series’ Film Simulation modes to shoot a moody black & white twilight scene with real drama in the skies above. Most importantly, don’t forget to take a torch, keep a spare camera battery cosy in your pocket and wrap up warm, because the more comfortable you are, the more you’ll enjoy your low-light shoot.

First frost

First FrostIf the month lives up to its reputation we’re in for chilly mornings – but this means beautiful images of finely-detailed frost for you. Get close to the fronds of plants in your garden, or seek out a frozen cobweb for a glorious late-autumn shimmer. Just head out around sunrise before any thaw and don’t forget your gloves!

Winter wildlife

Winter wildlifeWild creatures are readying themselves for the rigours of winter, so this time of year is an ideal opportunity to see beasts out and about collecting their food. If you’re a fan of feathered subjects, try setting up a feeding station in your garden and see what local birds you can lure in front of longer lenses like the XF 55-200mm.

Christmas lights

Christmas lightsThe big switch-on seems to happen earlier every year – but that just means more time for shooting the decorations! Larger towns and cities become a festive light show, but make sure you time your shooting for twilight so there’s still some blue in the sky – it’s this contrast of natural and man-made light that will make your shots sparkle.

Festive markets

Festive marketsWith Christmas just around the corner, you’ll find festive markets aplenty in your local towns and villages. Seasonal crafts, twinkling decorations, cheerful crowds and a variety of unusual foods present ideal subjects, and if you’re shooting handheld, remember to switch your Optical Image Stabilisation on for sharper shots.

Traffic trails

Traffic TrailsLong exposures change the way you see the world, and a great example is when shooting the rush hour. Using a shutter speed of around 10 seconds turns crawling cars into an amazing stream of light and with its shortened days November is the perfect time to try it out – you can even shoot a few on your way home from work.