Through a Photographer’s Eye: 9 Photographers Share Their Advice

Over the last two and a half months, you would have seen a series of interviews which formed Series One of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In each interview, we heard from a handful of Australian photographers and how they use Fujifilm X Series cameras to photograph the world around them.

Before Series Two of Through a Photographer’s Eye begins next week, let us take a look back at what advice was shared when each photographer was asked the question:

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

 

Drew Hopper

Just get out there and shoot! It is not about becoming famous or having all the gear available on the market. It is about enjoying yourself and finding your own style. Shoot what you like shooting, and avoid copying the work of others with the belief that it will make you a ‘better’ photographer. It’s totally fine to follow other photographer’s work, that’s how you find inspiration, but don’t compare yourself to other people’s success. Make your own success. Most importantly, save your money for a flight somewhere, not camera gear. Memories are worth more, and great photos wait for no one.

Fujifilm X100S – 23mm – F4 – 1/100 second – ISO 200

 

Alamby Leung

Social media is a great place for inspiration and to receive feedback, but developing your personal style and be creative with your ideas are important too.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF18mmF2 R – 18mm – ISO 400 – F2.8 – 1/6000 second

 

Ian Tan

Advice for new photographers? Don’t get hung up on the gear. I go a bit nuts about gear myself but at the end of the day, they are just tools. You use the right one for the job, and everyone has their preference for which tools they like to use. Cameras and lenses from any major brand these days are all very capable – heck, even the iPhone takes awesome images – provided you use them properly. So learning how to use your chosen camera (and editing software) well to translate the creative vision that you see in your mind into beautiful images is more important than staying up to date with the latest and greatest gear.

Get out and shoot more. Learn to connect with others and draw inspiration from them, not intimidation. Having said that, I love Fujifilm, the way the cameras handle, the image quality, and the company’s philosophy in how they make cameras and support them through continuous firmware improvements (gotta love kaizen!).

Ice Patterns: X-T2, XF14mmF2.8 – ISO 500 – F4 – 1/125 second

 

Dale Rogers

If you are just starting out in photography, I recommend you follow and watch other photographers on social media especially those who are shooting similar things to yourself. By watching others, you see perspectives or ideas for shooting that you would not have thought of or you start analysing the images trying to determine how the shot was achieved.

Have a look at some of the old masters (or current masters) of photography and see their images. My inspiration for intimate landscapes came from Eliot Porter, one of the first professionals to use colour film, and Jai Maisel who currently shoots street photography in New York City. Have a look at their work and see if you can see the connection I made between them.

I also encourage photographers to try one of the 52-week challenges that exist. On our Photo Rangers Community Facebook page, we host a 52-week challenge. This is a personal challenge and not a contest or competitive event. The purpose is to get photographers creating photos and shooting subjects they would not have done otherwise. If you want to join along in this supportive community, come on over to http://facebook.com/groups/photorangerscommunity.

Fujifilm X-T10 – XF18mmF2 R – ISO 200 – F9 – 1/30 second

Josselin Cornou

Buy a camera with a fixed manual lens. In a day of automation, it is easy to go into the classic auto mode. It works really well in most cases, but this also means that the user will hardly learn any photographic concept. Having a limited focal length will help the user reframe the shot, avoiding any bad practices like constantly zooming. My first camera was a Panasonic GH2 + Voigtlander 25mmF0.95. That setup really helped me step up my game.

If you want to do landscape, then get an ultra wide angled lens. These lenses are expensive, but they will help you frame those ultra wide shots – making it totally worth it.

Fujifilm X100F – ISO 200 – F7.1 – 4.3 seconds

Anirban Chatterjee

Have fun and enjoy. You can be the most technically gifted photographer, but if you are not having fun or enjoying the process, your images will be boring.

And if you are starting to do photography on the street, please be respectful to others. In Australia, it is perfectly legal to do photography in public places, but that doesn’t give you a licence to be a nuisance. As much as we have the right to take photographs in public places, the other person also has a right to walk on the street minding their own business. We live in a community, and respect must be mutual. An image is not worth it if it ruins someone’s day. So please be respectful.

Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 6400 – F16 – 1/210 second

 

Harmeet Gabha

Don’t be scared, just do it (as the Nike ad says). There are so many free resources available online that you will be able to learn and pick up any area of photography very quickly and easily. Google is your best friend; just type in what you are looking for and you’ll find the answer within minutes.

I’m also focusing more on my blog (photoinsomnia.com), by creating content for people just starting out in photography. It’s a resource where they can learn some techniques quickly that will make them more confident and inspired.

“Casa Balto, Barcelona” – Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18-135mmF3.5-4.8 – ISO 400 – F3.5 – 1/180 second

Benjamin Lee

⁃ Shoot everything and as often as possible

⁃ Explore all types of photography, take note of the genre’s aesthetic of photography that really motivates you and hones in on it.

⁃ Consume and view as much photography and art as you are producing (if not more). This will really help you refine your taste and personal aesthetic.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/100 – F2.8 – ISO2500

Joe Jongue

Don’t be caught up in the gear, just go out and shoot. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone; chances are, you may be good in a particular genre than you may think. Join a local photography community, be open to advice and more importantly, interact with other photographers.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/180 – F4 – ISO200

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Dale Rogers

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Through a photographer’s eye is the first in a series of interviews featuring Australian photographers. In each interview, we learn about the person behind the camera and how they use Fujifilm X Series cameras to photograph the world around them. Our fourth interview is with Phillip Island based photographer, Dale Rogers.

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Dale, having viewed your images via your website and Facebook page can you tell us more about yourself and why you started an adventure based photography business with your partner?

 

Cecilia, my wife, and I been using cameras since the old film days. I began when I was around 10 years old using my Dad’s Canon AE-1 Program camera. I have shot full frame digital until a couple of years ago when I bought my first Fujifilm as a ‘mirrorless experiment’. Since that time, I have sold all my full frame Canon gear and use the X-T1, X-T10 and X-T2 cameras and a wide selection of lenses.

We both work other jobs alongside Photo Rangers until the business model is more self-sustainable. Cecilia is an academic and teaches literature at Deacon University to students studying education and I manage a government human services program.

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Fujifilm X-T1 – XF18mmF2 R – ISO 200 – F2.8 – 1/4000 second

We are passionate about photography, educating others and the environment. We decided our passion could be combined in a unique mix. With our adventure based workshop business Photo Rangers we thought we could teach photography skills in the natural environment and not only teach camera skills, composition and photography techniques but we could also teach about the unique ecosystem on Phillip Island/Wilson’s Prom – the geology, flora, fauna and the delicate balance of sustainability required.

We believe that a person takes a better photo when they clearly identify the subject and understand the ‘story’ around that subject. This serves two purposes for us – workshop participants learn to use their gear and take better photos and they have a better understanding of the environment and eco-system. We call our mix of adventure based workshops and environmental education eco-photography.

Finally, we do what we do because we love to have fun. On all of our workshops, we ensure a supportive and fun approach allowing participants to easily remember the lessons from the adventure.

 

What sort of feeling do you get when you find yourself outdoors photographing with Fujifilm X Series equipment?

 

Easy. The equipment is not a burden to carry the 9 or 10 kilometres we sometimes travel on a trail. So I feel less burdened, more free with my Fujifilm gear. I’m able to enjoy the hike, the sight, sounds, smells and the experience of being outdoors. It allows me to enjoy the hike and focus on seeing the light and compositions that appear as I walk.

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Fujifilm X-T10 – XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – ISO 200 – F7.1 – 1/30 second

The Fujifilm viewfinder looks amazing and when I peer through the camera, I can quickly change my shutter speed or aperture to find just the right exposure instantly. That means I miss very few shots and I am not frequently chimping down on the back screen of the camera to see if I got it. I get more keepers with less effort with my Fujifilm cameras.

And finally, I know that the Fujifilm camera will take as good a shot as can be taken. I never worry about having a better camera because I am confident I have everything I need to get the perfect photo.

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Fujifilm X-T10 – XF18mmF2 R – ISO 200 – F9 – 1/30 second

Can you elaborate on how you use Fujifilm equipment out in the field to connect with the rest of world?

 

Since moving to Fujifilm, I have slowly moved away from the epic, ND filtered landscapes. Epic landscapes put you out of the picture as if you are viewing from a window or viewing a painting. They are epic in scale and the viewer feels small in comparison to the scene portrayed. Epic landscape photos are taken in breathtaking beautiful places. Places where cars pull over, people stop and marvel at the view and are destinations to visit.

An intimate landscape is rarely noticed by a passerby. They are not marked on a map, hiked to, driven past, camped at or explored. They just exist. They exist right under our feet or right in front of our eyes. They are there for the finding if one slows down and really looks.

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Fujifilm X-T2 – XC50-230mmF4.5-6.7 OIS – ISO 800 – F6.7 – 1/30 second

An intimate landscape encompasses the viewer and pulls them into a special secret moment of time, place and space. The viewer is not outside of, but rather, included within the intimate landscape. Using my Fujifilm equipment, I can slow down enough and find these intimate landscapes.

I push my gear pretty hard and frequently drop lenses, have tripods blow over, bang cameras along rocks or cliffsides and get the camera and myself very wet. My gear gets caked in salt grime, sand and mud regularly. I have not had any misfortune with the X Series so far!

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Fujifilm X-T2 – XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – ISO 200 – F9 – 1/1000 second

 

 

When you are out by yourself photographing the landscapes of Phillip Island and surrounds what do you tend to take with you in terms of camera equipment? For someone starting out in this field, what Fujifilm gear would you recommend?

 

I always carry two cameras at hand. I clip the Fujifilm X-T10 with a XF10-24mmF4 lens to my backpack strap with a Peak Capture Plate. I carry the Fujifilm X-T2 with a XF50-140mmF2.8 lens. This gives me the ability to get the intimate landscape and wildlife shots with the X-T2 and the wide beautiful landscapes with the X-T10 without having to change lenses or dig around in my pack.

 

For astro photography, I use the X-T2 with the XF18mmF2 lens and set up the X-T10 with a XF14mmF2.8 lens some distance away. I use the X-T10’s built in intervalometer to take consecutive shots to build star trails or a time-lapse sequence.

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Fujifilm X-T2 – XF14mmF2.8 R – ISO 320 – F2.8 – 25 seconds

For the beginning photographer, I recommend buying to your budget. If the budget fits the X-T2 and XF16-55mmF2.8 then I recommend that as the initial setup. However, often I see photographers just starting on their discovery of the craft and not able to invest in the top end gear. I recommend the X-T10/X-T20 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 combo as a starting kit.

 

 

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

 

If you are just starting out in photography, I recommend you follow and watch other photographers on social media especially those who are shooting similar things to yourself. By watching others, you see perspectives or ideas for shooting that you would not have thought of or you start analysing the images trying to determine how the shot was achieved.

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Fujifilm X-T1 – XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – ISO 400 – F7.1 – 1/250 second

Have a look at some of the old masters (or current masters) of photography and see their images. My inspiration for intimate landscapes came from Eliot Porter, one of the first professionals to use colour film, and Jai Maisel who currently shoots street photography in New York City. Have a look at their work and see if you can see the connection I made between them.

I also encourage photographers to try one of the 52-week challenges that exist. On our Photo Rangers Community Facebook page, we host a 52-week challenge. This is a personal challenge and not a contest or competitive event. The purpose is to get photographers creating photos and shooting subjects they would not have done otherwise. If you want to join along in this supportive community, come on over to http://facebook.com/groups/photorangerscommunity

 

 

Do you have a favourite setting or film simulation you use when photographing in outdoor locations, and what about editing, does this form a part of your workflow?

 

I sometimes enjoy shooting with the Acros film simulation. By looking through the viewfinder at a black and white image, light is seen differently and my composition and exposure will be slightly different than if I were not using Acros.

I customise and change up my camera’s Q Menu to shoot in several different film simulations and styles on a regular basis.

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Fujifilm X-T10 – XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – ISO 200 – F9 – 1/1000 second

I import both the JPG and RAW files into Lightroom CC. There are times where the JPG files look great and no real editing is required. But, if there are big differences in the dynamic range of light, I’ll do a thorough edit of the RAW file. The only time I will use Photoshop is to create star trails for multiple images.

I export completed images in a 2048px longest edge JPG with a water mark and a full resolution JPG without. The 2048px file is used for social media and the full resolution to be used for print.

 

 

What sort of wildlife do you photograph and is there a particular time of year when someone should visit Phillip Island?

 

There are seasonal changes to the wildlife on Phillip Island and I adjust my shooting based on what’s available as well as the position of the sun and Milky Way relevant to my favourite shooting locations.

Summer is my favourite time of year because, on the narrow Cape Woolamai Peninsula, wallabies move from the forested East side to the rugged cliffs of the West near sunset each day. I can always count on finding a few wallabies grazing on a cliff side with the ocean and setting sun as backgrounds creating a perfect shot.

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Fujifilm X-T2 – XC50-230mmF4.5-6.7 OIS – ISO 200 – F4.5 – 1/125 second

Summer is also when Cape Woolamai is home to almost two million Short Tailed Shearwater birds. They venture out before sunrise each morning to feed on ocean krill and return just after sunset each night in a massive flock to their burrows. The return of the Shearwaters each evening is a magical experience and I’m out there on a regular basis with our adventure based workshops to see and photograph them.

The Shearwaters leave the island in the fall but we experience the migration of Humpback and Southern Right whales to warmer waters in the winter.

The Milky Way is also very prominent in the night sky during winter and conditions for astrophotography are perfect.

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Fujifilm X-T2 – XF18mmF2 R – ISO 1600 – F2 – 20 seconds

 

Based on your experience, what advice can you give to someone thinking about upgrading their current digital SLR to a Fujifilm mirrorless system?

 

What are you waiting for? Having shot both full frame DSLR and Fujifilm mirrorless simultaneously, I saw no reason to maintain the heavy DSLRs and inferior lenses. Seriously, I recommend people to go hold the Fujifilm or try one out. That’s usually all it takes. Once a photographer spends a few minutes with the Fujifilm, they are hooked. Just the ability to shoot off the histogram makes getting the right shot much easier than you can ever do with the exposure meter on a DSLR.

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Fujifilm X-T1 – XC50-230mmF4.5-6.7 OIS – ISO 200 – F7.1 – 1/2000 second

I do recommend that photographers seriously look at the X-T2, XF10-24mmF4, XF16-55mmF2.8 and XF50-140mmF2.8 as the basic starter kit covering most focal lengths. From there they can pick up a few primes to suit their shooting style or preference.

To see more photos from Dale follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or visit the Photo Rangers website.

Other interviews in this series

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Drew Hopper

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Alamby Leung

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ian Tan