10 Tips for Better Wildlife Pictures

Struggling to catch the near-perfect wildlife shots you have seen in top magazines and exhibits? Now that camera technology has become more accessible, many people are branching out into nature. Wildlife photography isn’t for the faint of heart, however, and plenty of professionals and enthusiasts alike encounter challenges.

Photo by Ben Cherry (@benji_cherry), Fujifilm X-T2 with XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens

Fortunately, with the right equipment, research and mindset — and of course, plenty of practice — you can make major improvements. The following are 10 tips you can use to take better wildlife pictures today.

 

Study Your Subject

 

What kinds of environments do your local fauna love most? Which animals live within driving distance, and what are their migratory patterns and schedules? Will your subjects even be awake when you go to shoot? Wildlife photography is all about catching those fleeting moments that most people never get to see, and being there at the right time and place is a numbers game. Study your subject matter to give yourself the best chance of being in position for a great shot.

 

Stand Back, Zoom In

 

Animals are tough enough to shoot in urban environments; in nature, they can seem impossible to catch up close. To capture wildlife acting as naturally and unafraid as possible, you may need to rely on a long telephoto lens. When dealing with the most skittish creatures, the longer the focal length, the better.

Photo by Vincent Yuhiko, Fujifilm X-T1 with XF18-135mm R LM OIS WR lens

Broaden Your Horizons

 

As helpful as a long, narrow focus can be, you don’t always need to catch creatures up close — nor do you need to isolate them from their environments. Some shots are actually more powerful when taken with a wide angle that gives the viewer context. Experiment with both broad and narrow focuses to see which suits your tastes and subject matter. You’ll probably find that different shots are best for different situations.

 

Practice Patience

 

Nature is unpredictable. Even if you rigorously study the animal you want to shoot, you’ll probably have to play the waiting game once you get into position. In fact, patience is one of the defining factors of a great wildlife photographer, and some of the most iconic shots have only been possible after hours or even days of waiting and returning to the same spot.

Photo by Vinh Le (@mylittledistraktions), Fujifilm X-M1

Don’t Wait for Every Opportunity

 

At the same time, patience isn’t everything. You can’t always wait for great shots to materialise, especially when you only have a small window of decent lighting and weather. If your only goal is to capture a specific animal in a specific moment, then yes, you’ll need to wait. But if you just want to capture interesting shots within an environment, make the most of your time and seek out opportunities for great shots.

 

Simplify Your Backgrounds

 

Photography is all about using depth and contrast to highlight your subject, and wildlife photography is no exception. While some photos will be inherently “busy,” you can often create a dramatic effect by simply capturing an animal against a non-distracting background.

Photo by Daniel Bradford (@dbrad1992), Fujifilm X-T1

 

Keep Both Eyes Open

 

When you control neither your environment nor your subject matter, you’ve got to be ready for anything. To stay aware of your surroundings, keep both eyes open as you look through the viewfinder. If you’re only focused on what’s in the frame, you’ll miss far more opportunities than you see.

 

Focus and Exposure

 

A few setting tweaks can make all the difference between a clear shot and an indecipherable photo. If your camera allows, set your focus mode to “continuous” and your focus area to “zone.” Use a larger grid setting for larger animals and a smaller setting for small subjects. As for exposure, you’ll want to choose a small area for a shot that emphasises the subject and de-emphasizes the background.

Photo by Nina Dos Santos, Fujifilm X-T1 with XF27mmF2.8 R

Know Your Equipment

 

During a daylong shoot, you’ll encounter — at best — mere minutes of photo-worthy material. What’s more, each moment of interest may only last a few seconds. If you’re not familiar with the capabilities and settings of your camera and lens, you could miss once-in-a-lifetime shots. Know your equipment’s shutter speeds, memory card speeds and focal lengths, as well as all the options you have for toggling focus points and modes.

 

(Perfect) Practice Makes Perfect!

 

Last but not least, practice, practice, practice! Analyse the shots you take, and consult experienced photographers for advice on how you can improve. The more hours you can spend, the better you’ll become, but you can fast-track your progress by seeking feedback and making the most of each shot you take.

7 Tips For Macro Photography With Fujifilm X Series

Some images are larger than life. Macro photography, at its most technical definition, involves capturing something bigger in your frame than it appears in reality. Think of a tiny bug filling a large print, for instance. But used loosely, macro photography describes anything close to a 1:1 ratio of reproduction.

To get into macro photography with your Fujifilm X Series camera, keep in mind these seven tips.

Purchase a macro lens for larger reproduction.

The easiest way to take macro photos is with a macro lens, which is designed to have a short minimum focus distance. Macro lenses come in different focal lengths, from 50mm to 200mm, and magnify at a large reproduction ratio, though not always 1:1. For the Fujifilm X Series, there is the XF60mmF2.4 R macro lens, which mounts onto each camera in the series.

Experiment with an extension tube.

If you do not feel ready to invest in a macro lens, work with your current lens and add an extension tube, a light-tight accessory that fits between the mount and the lens. By shifting your lens farther from your body, the extension tube allows you to increase magnification. The Fujifilm MCEX-11 and MCEX-16 are built specifically for X Series cameras and attach sturdily to their bodies.

Photo by Ivar Fjeldheim (@ivar_fjeldheim), Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF90mmF2 R LM WR + MCEX-16

Use ring flash or a softbox.

Flash lighting can be too harsh for many macro photography shots. Instead, shoot with a ring flash or a softbox. If you must use flash lighting, set up a reflector to help you fill light evenly throughout your frame.

Be adventurous with unconventional angles.

Getting your small subject to fill the frame is nice, but don’t let that be the only intriguing element to your shot. Work from different angles. Try filling the frame diagonally with your subject. Shoot with front lighting to emphasise the subject’s colour and with side lighting to emphasise its detail.

Photo by Leigh Diprose, Fujifilm X-A1 with XF60mmF2.4 R Macro – F5.6 – 1/150 second – ISO800

Hold frail photo subjects in place with a clamp.

For macro pics of flowers or other outdoor objects, you may want a way to steady your subject from wind gusts. A plant clamp sometimes called a “plamp,” keeps them in position while you take your shots.

Steady your shot with a remote release.

Great macro photography shows intricate detail on its subject. To get minuscule attributes to appear clearly in the image, you want to avoid camera shake. Use a remote release to reduce the possibility of blur.

Photo by Leigh Diprose, Fujifilm X-T1 with XF60mmF2.4 R Macro – F2.4 – 1/1000 second – ISO200

Stack images to bring focal points into one shot.

Some of the fun in macro photography happens in post-production. Take many pictures of your subject, with the composition maintained in each photo but with slightly different focal points. Then, using software such as Adobe Photoshop, “focus stack” the images to see all of the focal points present in one image.

Photo by Leigh Diprose, Fujifilm X-A1 with XF60mmF2.4 R Macro – F5.6 – 1/170 second – ISO1000

Macro photography takes practise, but with effort and with the right accessories for your X Series system, you will soon have some great big images of the tiniest things.

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer Janice Kho

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Our final X-Thusiast photographer of 2016 is Janice Kho. Born in Malaysia, Janice now calls Perth her home, using her X-T10 to capture landscapes, food and nature.

Tell us a little about yourself, Janice. Where are you from? What are your hobbies? What inspires you from day to day?

My name is Janice Kho and I live in the beautiful coastal city of Perth in Western Australia. I was born in Malaysia and spent some of my childhood there before I migrated to Perth. For as long as I can remember, I always had a passion for the arts and creative pursuits. While I ended up pursuing a career in health care, photography has become my passion and creative outlet. Besides photography, I love travelling to new places, sharing food with friends and family and curling up with a good book.
Exploring new places, meeting interesting people and gaining new experiences is what inspires my photography. I’m also inspired by people who pursue their passions while contributing to the world in a positive way.

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“A view of Mt. Cook at the end of Hooker Valley walk, New Zealand,” by Janice Kho, Fujifilm X-T10 + XF18-55mmF2.8-4.

 

How did you develop an interest in Fujifilm photography? How would you describe your photographic style?

Before jumping into the Fujifilm X-Series, I was using a Canon DSLR. While I loved shooting with that camera, I found the weight and size of it was stopping me from taking it everywhere I went in my day-to-day life. It was also harder to blend into the crowd when I was travelling. Since the first Fujifilm X-Series camera came out several years ago, I was instantly attracted to the retro look and have been looking for the perfect mirrorless system to switch to. When the X-T10 came out, that sealed the deal. I was attracted to the inconspicuous look and the small size. It was perfect for everyday use and for longer trips.
I think my photography has evolved over the years and I’m still trying to find my photographic style. I enjoy shooting a variety of subjects but landscapes, nature, urban life and food dominate what I shoot. With that in mind, I would say I’m driven to document life and experiences through my eyes in an unobtrusive way.

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“Urban reflections,” by Janice Kho, Fujifilm X-T10 + XF18-55mmF2.8-4

What constitutes a good photograph for you? Could you describe your shooting strategy?

I think a good photograph is definitely in the eye of the beholder. Personally, though, I’m attracted to photos with really strong composition, especially when I’m viewing landscapes, portraits and architecture photos. I’m not sure if I have a shooting strategy as such, but I try to take my camera with me when I head out of the house on the weekends and will think about the sorts of photo opportunities that will be there so that I’m prepared with the right camera/lens combination. I’ll also do the same when I’m packing for a longer trip away.

Why did you choose the Fujifilm X-T10? Why do you prefer the X-T10 model and what is your favourite aspect?

When I was looking to get a smaller, nimbler camera, I spent some time researching the various mirrorless systems available on the market but I kept coming back to the Fujifilm X Series cameras. At the time, the Fujifilm X-T1 was the closest to what I was looking for but the price point and weight put me off a little. When the X-T10 came out, I knew that was the camera I was looking for. It was the right price point for me to swap from my DSLR and it had a familiar DSLR feel to it in my hands. It’s also smaller and lighter while still maintaining the same excellent image quality of the X-T1. My favourite aspect is definitely the small weight and size. It means I take out my camera more often and I have the freedom to shoot unhindered.

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“Beautiful Perth city at twilight,” by Janice Kho, Fujifilm X-T10 + XF35mmF1.4

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer to use with your Fujifilm X-T10 camera? Tell us why.

I currently have three Fujinon lenses, the XF27mmF2.8, XF35mmF1.4 and XF18-55mmF2.8-4. It’s a tough choice to state which is my favourite lens of the three as they are all such high-quality lenses, each with a specific purpose in my kit. I found the XF18-55mmF2.8-4 to be the perfect lens for travelling because it’s versatile and can cover a variety of subjects, but it’s probably the lens I use the least because of its heavier weight compared to my other two lenses. The XF35mm F1.4 creates beautiful images with amazing bokeh, and it’s the lens I use whenever I’m photographing people or night scenes. The XF27mm F2.8 is by far the most used lens of the three. It’s super light and small. It’s a great focal length for everyday shooting. It’s the lens I have sitting on my camera by default. With all that being said, I’m itching to get my hands on a fourth lens to shoot some wide, sweeping landscapes!

Could you describe your photo processing? Do you prefer any editing tools, social networks or camera accessories to enhance your work?

My post-processing is pretty simple and I don’t tend to spend a lot of time on editing. I use Lightroom for photo editing on the computer. Given how good the Fujifilm jpegs are, I will generally only do some small adjustments before it’s ready to be shared on my blog or social media. My more recent photos tend to have a subtle, faded look, but I’ll mix it up and create something with more saturation and colour when I feel like it. If I want to share a photo fairly quickly on social media, I will upload the photo directly from the camera via Wi-Fi to my phone using the Fujifilm Camera App. I’ll then use VSCO to edit the photo on my phone before sharing it on Instagram and Facebook.

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“Coffee stop at Hylin Café after a hike,” by Janice Kho, Fujifilm X-T10 + XF35mmF1.4

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

Don’t worry so much about the gear you have, just get out there, shoot and experiment. Eventually, you’ll find what you like and dislike shooting. If you’re new, focus on learning the basic principles of the exposure triangle (ISO, aperture and shutter speed). I think it’s also important to slow down when you’re shooting and focus more on composition. I find a lot of inspiration following photography blogs and looking at photos on places like Instagram.

Any final thoughts or tips?

Keep shooting what you love and eventually, your passion will be noticed. But most importantly—have fun shooting!

If you would like to see more of Janice’s work follow her on Instagram, Twitter or visit her blog.

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.

Fuji Guys: Using the Fujifilm EF-X500 Flash for Portait Photography

In the latest video by the Fuji Guys Australia, Will Anlezark and Warrewyk Williams show some portrait results you can obtain when using the new Fujifilm EF-X500 flash as either a master or remote flash.

Fuji Guys: External Shoe Mount Flash Settings – EF-X500 

For more information about this and other Fujifilm products, please visit these websites.

Australia

U.S.A.

Canada

UK

 

Portrait Photography – Take Your Photography to the Next Level

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Taking portraits?
Need some advice?

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One of the reasons why people choose to buy a camera is for portraiture, or more specifically, so one can take photos of friends and family. This may be the reason why you purchased an X Series camera or even why you might be considering one.

Let’s assume you have an X Series camera in your hand for the first time and wanted to capture a portrait. Looking down at the dials on top of the camera may leave you feeling quite lost about the settings you should use to capture the perfect portrait. It is a common ‘freak out’ moment among many first time users, so don’t worry.

In this article we will explain how to capture a portrait if you are just starting out using automatic mode and if you wish to grow in your photography level 2 explains a more professional approach to portraiture using aperture priority.

Level 1 – Beginner: Automatic Mode

Fujifilm X Series cameras are built from the ground up to enable anyone to capture a perfect photo no matter what their experience. The balance of intelligent design, research and development combined with incredible image quality boasts itself in all modes of the camera, including the automatic mode.

Sometimes just picking up a camera and turning it on to capture the moment is all you need to do. It can be a great starting place to invigorate your creative spark and really get you into photography.

To start operating your X Series in Automatic mode change the following settings pictured below to the red ‘A’.

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Depending on the Fujinon lens, you may also find the ‘A’ setting on the aperture ring.

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The settings we will explore in this article (and pictured above) include shutter speed, aperture and ISO. These three corner store settings will form the base of your photography skill over the years and understanding them will take time so don’t worry if it doesn’t all sink in to begin with.

Basically, by setting the camera to auto you tell it to automatically calculate how much light should be let into the camera, how much of the subject should be in focus and how light sensitive you want the camera to be. These three settings are shutter speed, aperture and ISO respectively.

The second step when photographing in automatic mode is to ensure you select automatic focus or ‘S’ on your camera. Selecting this mode will ensure whenever you half-press the shutter button to take a photo of a stationary object (in this case a person) the camera will autofocus on the subject automatically.

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Tip: If you are photographing children, turning the focus mode to ‘C’ for Continuous as this is the best option for moving subjects.

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So you see, this mode isn’t all that hard to use. You will be surprised what success you can generate when photographing in automatic mode.

Tip: Did you know the Fujifilm X-T10 has an automatic switch that overrides all of the cameras settings? This feature makes the Fujifilm X-T10 a perfect choice for entry level photographers.

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If you want to take your photography to the next level it’s important to learn a few things about aperture priority and F-stops.

Level 2 – Professional: Changing your aperture (F-stop)

Changing the what?

F-stop is a term that refers to the amount or value of light coming in through the lens and it’s commonly referred to as aperture, something we briefly talked about when describing automatic mode.

Aperture, put simply is an adjustable sized hole in the lens you can change. The aperture is measured by numbers (F-stop), and selecting one of these numbers will determine how much of the subject is in focus. We will explain the numbers that appear on the lenses further through images for a clearer comparison, but first, do you remember when we talked about the corner stone settings that will form a basis of your photography?

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Aperture is one of those corner stone settings, so this means whenever you manually choose a priority setting, like shutter speed; aperture; or ISO, the camera will automatically take care of the remaining two modes. In this case, we would be changing the aperture by manually selecting the F-stop found on the lens, the shutter speed and ISO would then be set to automatic ‘A’. The jargon for this would be to say we are shooting in ‘Aperture Priority mode’.

Many portrait photographers photograph in Aperture Priority to ensure they utilise the best depth of field their lens can offer. The resulting picture is a subject in focus separated from the background by blur. If you are to take one thing away from this article, remember the following as it will make a huge difference to your portrait photography:

 

To obtain a shallow depth of field change the aperture to the smallest number (ie F2.8)
Think small F-stop = small amount in focus
Image result: The person will be in focus and the background will be very blurred.

 

To obtain a large depth of field change the aperture to the largest number (ie F22)
Think large F-stop = lots in focus.
Image result: The person will be in focus and the background will also be in focus.

 

Another important thing to keep in mind when manually photographing in Aperture Priority is to ensure you have a knowledge of the numbers on the front of your lens. Let’s use the popular kit lens, the Fujinon XF18-55mmF2.8-4 lens as an example.

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Breaking down the numbers the 18-55mm describes the focal length of the lens. 18mm describes the widest angle of the lens, whereas if you were to zoom in the maximum focal length it would be 55mm. This makes sense when written, but what about the accompanying numbers, the F-stop values?

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The listed F-stops of F2.8-4 describes the limits of the aperture (remember that hole in the lens). It is also true to say that the F-stop values on the front of the lens correspond to the focal length of the lens.

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For instance, if you zoom out to the widest point of the lens you will be able to select F2.8 as the maximum aperture ensuring you get the maximum depth of field the lens can offer.

However, if you zoom in to 55mm (to get closer) the maximum aperture decreases to F4, or in real world terms the hole in the lens gets smaller, therefore letting in less light.

Understanding these numbers will provide a greater insight into lens pricing and the amount of depth of field the lens offers. The easiest way to remember this is if the lens has a fixed aperture, for example the XF50-140mmF2.8 then no matter if you zoom in or out the size of the aperture is the same value – F2.8. In other words there will be no light loss. Whereas in our example of the XF18-55mmF2.8-4 there will be some light loss at the longer focal length.

So what does this mean? Can you still take great portraits at a focal length of 55mm at F4 using the standard kit lens found on most X Series cameras?

Yes, of course, you can! The only difference is the amount of subject matter that will be out of focus when compared to a photograph at F2.8. Remember when we said, “To obtain a shallow depth of field change the aperture to the smallest number (ie F2.8)”.

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Tip: To take the best photo using the XF18-55mm at 55mm we would encourage you to increase your distance away from your subject and zoom in while photographing in aperture priority at F4.

The other alternative, if depth of field is important to you, is to consider a specific portrait lens that has a small aperture. This may help explain why there are so many lenses available for X Series cameras. For instance, did you know there is an excellent portrait lens available in the form of the XF56mmF1.2 lens?

Can you guess what the photo will look like if you were to photograph in aperture priority at F1.2? We leave you to answer that in the comments below…

Hopefully, by reading this article and coming back to every now and again, these explanations may help you in the future. Remember, it’s not important to remember everything noted here when you start out, that’s not the point, rather what we want you to learn is just one thing at a time.

Learn ‘that’ one thing so it becomes second nature, and over time you can increase your learning. Other ways you can learn photography may include joining a photography club, attending a photography meetup, workshop or photowalk and lastly, when it comes time to purchasing a lens, we encourage you to visit an expert at a retail store – their knowledge on specific lenses could save you all the Googling!

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer Josh Delany: Melbourne Views

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 ‘Moody Icebergs’ Fujifilm X-T1 ISO 200, 31.5mm, f/22, 5.3 seconds

Fujifilm Australia are happy to announce Josh Delany as our X-Thusiast Featured Photographer for November 2016. In our Q&A, Josh relays his interest in photography and how his Fujifilm X Series kit enables him to capture the natural beauty of the world around him.

 

Tell us about yourself. Where is home? What inspires you from day to day?

Home at the moment is Maribyrnong, in the northwest of the greatest city in the world, Melbourne. Hobbies include kayaking, cycling and of course photography. I’ve found photography my main focus lately as I can get a bit of exercise done whilst out exploring for a great photo opportunity. Daily inspiration is trying to make each day better than the last. In terms of photography, my inspiration mainly comes from the beauty of nature. It continues to amaze me. There is so much beauty in this world, I like to try and capture it from its best angle.

 

How did you develop an interest in photography? How did you learn and develop your craft?

While I was studying to be a building designer, I remember going to an architecture exhibition and being amazed by the architectural photography on display.

 

I’ve always appreciated photography and honestly, it was through getting Instagram a few years ago that I started taking photos on my phone and playing around with editing. It wasn’t until about 18 months ago I decided to take it more seriously and purchase a camera. The research I did was thorough and I eventually decided on the Fujifilm X-T1.

 

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“Porsche Exposure” – Fujifilm X-T10, ISO 100, 18mm, F9.0, 30 seconds

 

Do you have a particular photographic style? If so, what would you consider that to be? We noticed you like landscape photography; can you tell us what you look for in an ideal landscape shot?

I am still very much a novice, so I am still trying to develop a style and intend to spread my wings a little and try my hand at portrait and architectural photography. For the moment, I really enjoy landscape photography. There’s a great feeling of adventure going away for a weekend, exploring, not knowing what exactly you’ll see but knowing it will be beautiful along the way.

 

I love water and sunsets. Long-exposure photos of running water is a particular favourite, so waterfalls are very appealing. I also love when the sky turns pink during a sunset and the hues bounce off everything around. An amazing landscape shot would be a combination of a waterfall and a beautiful pink sun setting sky.

 

What’s your favourite location to shoot in Australia? What’s your favourite subject to shoot in general?

Living in Melbourne, I’m often out and about so I regularly shoot in St. Kilda and Williamstown. They are on opposite sides of Port Phillip Bay and have great views of the city. I plan to do a lot more exploring of Australia with my camera in the future, so would love to be asked that question again in a few years. I like shooting nature in general, sunsets, water of any kind—including bays, oceans, rivers and waterfalls. I also like to include some man-made subjects in my photos like buildings, cars, boats—you name it.

 

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“Never Say Never” – Fujifilm X-T10, ISO 100, 18mm, F2.8, 2.3 seconds

 

What’s your favourite (or recommended) X Series camera? Why do you prefer that particular model?

The first serious camera I purchased was the Fujifilm X-T1, around 18 months ago. I loved the style, size and functionality of it. I picked up the basic skills quite easily on that body with the external dials and loved the feel. Unfortunately, on one of my adventures road tripping back to Melbourne from Sydney, I tried to get a sunrise photo of Horse Head Rock in Bermagui, NSW at high tide and was knocked over by a wave as I was climbing around the rocks into the water. The camera was damaged beyond repair with the salt water. I decided not to buy another X-T1 as I wanted to wait for the X-T2. So in the interim, I purchased the smaller Fujifilm X-T10. I find that it has all the features I require and has been just as good as the X-T1. When I do pull the trigger on purchasing the X-T2, I’ll keep the smaller, lighter X-T10 for the more adventurous shots where there is a risk of the camera being damaged.

 

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer or recommend?

I’ve only ever used the Fujinon XF18-55mmF2.8-4 on both Fujifilm camera bodies I’ve owned and subsequently all of my photos. I’ve found the lens to be very sharp with no issues at all. This has been a great lens for my learning over the last 18 months. I intend to purchase the XF10-24mmF4 when I upgrade camera bodies, from what I have seen it is an amazing lens for landscapes and suits my current needs.

 

Do you have a particularly favourite image in mind that you feel strongly about? Can you share the story behind this image?

All of the images I share publicly I appreciate. They were often enjoyed with amazing people who were with me exploring with many laughs along the way. One particular photo that stands out for me is of a beautiful sunset at Pennington Bay on Kangaroo Island, which is off mainland Australia. The water was an amazingly clear aqua colour, the sky was a mix of purples and pinks, and the rocky landscape was still being lit up by the sun. It was an amazing moment with great company and I was really happy I captured a photo to remember it by.

 

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“Stunning Pennington” – Fujifilm X-T10, ISO 100, 19.6mm, F11, 14 seconds

 

Could you describe your photographic workflow? How do you share your images with your audience (Facebook/Instagram?)

Once the photo is taken, I try to edit the photo that day as soon as I’m home, so the excitement and environment is still fresh in the mind. I simply remove the memory card and insert it into my MacBook Pro. I upload the photos directly to Lightroom. From there, I like to enhance the presence of the photo by adjusting the clarity, vibrance and saturation. This is a delicate task as it is easy to overedit. I’ll then make minor adjustments to the tone of the image with exposure, contrast, blacks, whites and shadows. Lastly, I might make some changes to colours, only if I think it is required. I mainly use Instagram (@josh_delany) to share my images, as that is where my main interest in photography started. I do have a Facebook page (Josh Delany Photography) but I’m not as active on that platform.

Do you prefer any third-party, post-processing software, camera accessories to further develop your work?

As mentioned in the previous question, the only post-processing I use at the moment is Adobe Lightroom. I’m still learning my way through the program but feel I know the basics. Next step for me is to learn how to use Photoshop effectively.

 

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“Lucy Liu Bar & Restaurant, Melbourne” – Fujifilm X-T1 + XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS

 

Do you have any final thoughts regarding Fujifilm X Series? Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to share for other photographers out there pursuing their craft?

I feel the Fujifilm X Series is the leader in the mirrorless range of cameras. I really love the style and practicality of the models they produce. As for tips and advice, I’m still a novice myself, constantly learning new things, with much more to learn. I’ve found the more you know about your camera, the better prepared you’ll be when on-site trying to shoot your subject. So study the camera, research any difficulties you may have found today, so you’re more prepared tomorrow. Get out and practice, practice, practice. The main thing is to have fun! Get out and explore, get creative, take chances. Enjoy the moment while it’s in front of you as well as taking a photo that will last forever.

 

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.

5 Tips for Low Light Photography

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As the sunsets and the moonrises, the approach for a good photo shifts. Low light photography requires you to think differently to compensate for the lack of available light and colour. But when you know how to use low light as an advantage, it opens up a new style, and a new time of day, for you to explore with your art.

Try the following five tips for low light photography.

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“Mel burns at night” taken by Kristoferus Andriono (@kristoferus) – Fujifilm X100S

Make use of your tripod.

 

With such little light available, you most often need to work with slow shutter speeds. The long lapse in the open shutter means you almost always need your tripod to stabilise your equipment, especially for exposures longer than a second. Tripods are especially useful when capturing star stacks or light trails from automotive traffic. Even when you use your tripod, you may decide to use an external remote release or the camera’s timer to begin your shot and limit detectable shake.

 

Explore your camera’s aperture priority mode.

 

Photographing in Aperture Priority (A) when the light is low will allow you to manually control the cameras aperture settings ensuring you get the best shot when photographing handheld. To obtain this result all you need to do is select Aperture Priority and change the lenses aperture to the largest F Stop – ie F1.2. The result of this will be a faster shutter speed that’s automatically selected, and in most cases, will leads to a shutter speed faster than 1/60 second allowing you to capture the photo without a tripod, handheld.

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“Sydney Celebrates” taken by Daniel Karjadi (dkarjadi) – Fujifilm X-E2 + 35mmF1.4

 

Play with light trails.

 

Rather than lament the lack of light, use what little luminosity you have and give it time to tell a story. Capture light trails, whether the course of stars over several hours using multiple shots or the path of car headlights over several seconds. You want to control your camera’s aperture and shutter speed for this type of shot.

 

Find stark skies with little light pollution.

 

Much of night time photography includes the outdoor sky in its grandeur. If it is a starlit sky you want, make sure you shoot from a rural area. An urban setting emanates too much light pollution because of skyscrapers, streetlights and other signs that remain bright through the night. Make the drive to shoot stars from a setting that shows their beauty.

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The Milky Way taken by Michael Davison (@michaeldavidsonphotography) – Fujifilm X-T1 + XF18-55mm

 

Climb high, explore your city and your ISO.

 

Not every night shot relies on a rural setting, though. You can take incredible shots of the city skyline or alleyways in the late-night hours. Most photographers rely on ground-level shots of city’s buildings and monuments, but you can think differently. Get up high and explore areas assessable to the public. See how the city appears from a balcony or rooftop and play with your ISO to obtain a suitable shutter speed for the lighting conditions.

 

With the right use of your photography equipment and a creative approach to limited light, you can take excellent photos no matter what the conditions.

 

Do you have any low light photographs captured using your X Series camera? Post a URL link of your online photo in the comments below and tell us a bit about the image – we would love to see them!

Announcement: Fujifilm X Series Cash Back (Australian Residents Only)

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We are excited to announce our latest X Series Cash Back.

Featuring one of Fujifilm’s flagship cameras, the X-Pro2 at $300 cash back, with up to $300 cash back on selected XF lenses, there is plenty on offer.

Could you see yourself selling your current Digital SLR kit and joining the Fujifilm community? Many photographers have before, and now is the perfect opportunity.

Or are you an existing X Series user after a specific lens, then we encourage you to take up this offer? Let’s explore a few scenarios…

You might have been photographing with a Digital SLR for many years and recently you have heard a lot of talk about the Fujifilm X Series image quality and colour reproduction. You may even know a photography friend who keeps raving about the size and weight of their X Series camera when compared to their previous camera? Does this sound familiar?

We hear this scenario all the time online, across stores and when we are out and about meeting people it is not uncommon to hear how many photographers love their X Series cameras and lenses and how it has reignited their passion for photography. It makes us proud to do what we do, so today we are hoping to ignite the passion for many more by offering this fantastic cash back promotion.

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Let’s explore a classic example of what we hear about:

A photographer switches from a Digital SLR Kit to a Fujifilm X Series Kit.

Typically, enthusiasts or professionals may have approximately 2 to 3 lenses. These lenses normally consist of a wide angle, prime and telephoto, and ‘changing over’ can be an expensive exercise. Taking the current Fujifilm Cash Back offer into account might make this exercise the perfect time right now.

Replacing your existing Digital SLR kit and purchasing a Fujifilm X-Pro2, XF16-55mm (wide), XF56mmF1.2 (prime) and XF50-140mm (telephoto), you could save over a thousand dollars. $1100 cash back to be exact – that’s not too bad at all!

Whatever you decide, whether it’s a single lens or full Fujifilm kit, this promotion is sure to be a winner amongst many Australian photographers, so we encourage you to get in early.

For a full list of Cash Back terms and conditions visit our website here, and remember if you end up purchasing some gear at an authorised local X Series stockist then we would love to hear about it and see it!

Be sure to tag #fujifilmcashback across social media with a photo of your new purchase.

UNTETHERED: 2880

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It’s our last night in Broken Hill and the heavens have opened up with severe weather conditions including floods and thunderstorms that ended a day of gale force winds. For a long time I’ve wanted to travel on an adventure, out into the Australian Outback, with my trusted camera in hand, for opportunities of the ‘not so ordinary’ photographs.

 

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As a professional photographer, I began my career as a Nikon user, and I still am on one hand (excuse the pun), however I like being untethered. So taking my DSLR out on the road for trips like this one, felt like a burden – not because of its ability to take beautiful photographs, but because of the size and weight of it, and also because of how much it draws attention. It wasn’t until last year when I did Project 23 with Fujifilm Australia using the X100S, that the seed was planted; that’s when I realised the potential of the Fujifilm mirrorless camera. I always wanted to have a camera that was small enough in my hand, yet capable and rugged enough to handle all shooting situations, especially when I’m on the road. So began my journey to find the right ‘partner’ in the perfect camera world.

 

We had planned a four-day road trip in early October from Melbourne to Broken Hill and the NSW Outback Desert. When Fujifilm announced the release of the X-Pro2 at the beginning of this year, I had my keen eyes set on it. However timing wise, the X-T2 was just released at the same time I was ready to buy a new camera, and right before I was leaving for the Outback Road Trip. So my decision was very hard. Weighing up the latest X-T2 against the X-Pro2 was an extremely difficult and time-consuming exercise for me. I did a lot of research online, talked to photographers who use the X-T1 and even rented the X-Pro2 for one day to see how I felt with it. But on D-Day, it mostly came down to personal preference: durability; the hybrid viewfinder on the X-Pro2 vs. EVF only on the X-T2; and just how good the Fujifilm X-Pro2 felt ergonomically in my hands. So X-Pro2 it was.

 

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We stayed in Broken Hill for 4 days (inclusive of our 2 x 11 hour drives from/to Melbourne each way). There’s so much to see along the way, a 9-hour drive that became 11-12 hours because of the amount of times we stopped to take photographs. Conditions wise, just in those four days, we went through flash floodings, mini cyclones, thunderstorms and gale force winds including red dust storms. I couldn’t just sit inside the car and feel protective or scared of ruining my new X-Pro2, as much as instinctively I wanted to. There will be battle scars that my camera will earn and I’m ok with that.

 

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Whilst walking along a road outside of Broken Hill, during what they say is a normal windy Spring day, I was shooting in an actual red dust storm – with fine little pieces of dirt and dust blowing straight towards me, and my X-Pro2 was completely exposed. I spent the evening blowing the dirt out of the grooves of my Polarizing Filter, lens and buttons.

 

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On other shoots, we were standing on top of a mine, exposed without protection, in pouring rain and gale force winds – on the day where we planned to do our long exposure night photography shoot. It’s about the adventure for me; so making the most of the opportunities, and capturing moments when they happen, is what I live for. So I have to get out there.

 

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Fujifilm advertise their X-Pro2 and the XF35mm F2 R WR lens (which I also bought with my X-Pro2) as being Weather Resistant. Based on my experience, I can honestly say that the ‘army-like machine’s’ durability of the camera casing is definitely weather resistant, and no matter what I put it through on this ‘field test’ trip, it is exactly the sort of camera I can rely on, and take with me on all my adventures!

 

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Our goal for the trip was to really see and experience the environment of the Aussie Outback – after all, it’s all about the journey, not the destination. A constant reminder our GPS announced throughout the trip was to ‘proceed to the route’. But we didn’t care because stopping along the way and going off the beaten track WAS the journey.

 

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Broken Hill and Silverton (30-minute drive North West of Broken Hill) both have so many opportunities for photography, including the 270km stretch of uninhabited desert that lies between the drive from Wentworth to Broken Hill. It’s a pretty awesome landscape for all photographers. What I know from my own experience, in most cases, the best photographs come out of spontaneity. I am willing to admit that I am a huge planner – I like to make lists and plan my shots ahead of time and it always served me well. But on journeys such as this, I had to put my inner control freak aside, and just be in the moment.

 

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These are some of the places we shot at whilst on this Outback Road Trip:

 

  1. Silver City Hwy – this is the Hwy you have to travel on when driving to Broken Hill from Wentworth. The terrain is barren, vast and rugged. Red earth, lots of lizards and nature along the road, and carcases of animals long gone. We saw the remains of what seemed to be a Dingo, with just the tail and claws, and the skeleton half buried in the red dust, just a little way off the side of the road.

 

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  1. Palace Hotel – this is where Priscilla Queen of the Desert was filmed, and made famous in Broken Hill City Centre. They have an event in September called Broken Heel where they have a performing Drag Queen and re-enact the movie. The inside of the hotel has huge murals that are apparently great to see.

 

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  1. Line of Lode Miners Memorial – this is literally just 5 minutes out of Broken Hill City Centre and has great views of Broken Hill City. We used this location for our long exposure night photography and storm photography. The altitude here and the front of views of the city make it a great place to take some amazing shots.

 

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  1. Silverton Hotel – is in Silverton, which is a 30-minute drive North West of Broken Hill. The hotel is famous for being the film set of movies such as Mad Max and Razorback just to name a few.

 

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  1. Silverton and its surrounds – if you want Ghost Town kind of Outback, then Silverton is an amazing place to get some arid photographs of the desert, along with a whole range of abandoned cars and buildings. It’s called a Ghost Town because of all the empty relics. We found it a bit spooky to be honest, but it had a real Aussie Outback feel, and the fact that it is used so often as movies sets, says it all about the opportunities it has for photographers too.

 

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  1. Mundi Mundi Lookout – is just 10-minute out of Silverton, and has amazing views of the flat plains and desert-facing sunset, all the way to the horizon. We stayed out there and did our night and star photography from there because we could see all the way to the horizon. Amazing sunsets too. Word of warning, it can get crowded because tour buses come out there for sunset too, as well as many other people to watch the sunset. So if you like solitude, don’t go on weekends or school holidays. Also take insect repellent – the mosquitos out there bite really hard!

 

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  1. Dirt Roads – there’s many dirt roads, and dried out river beds, outside of Broken Hill, and in particular just out of Silverton as well as the Living Sculptures turnoff, that are amazing opportunities to walk along, explore and take photographs.

 

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  1. Living Desert Sculptures and Flora & Fauna Sanctuary – about 20-minute drive out of Broken Hill, this is yet another location where you get amazing views of the terrain and desert all the way to the horizon. Word of warning, don’t go out there when it’s windy, and make sure you purchase entrance fees ($6 pp as of October 2016) because the Rangers do come and check apparently.

 

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  1. Brownes Shaft Mine & Lookout – is another location where you can get great night sky and star photography. It’s elevated on top of an old mine and the structure is great as a landmark around the night sky for some pretty great shots. The stars are awesome out there, the Milky Way so bright, especially when there is a no moon, which is what we had when we were on this trip.

 

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  1. Tyrell Lake / Salt Lake – this is somewhere you can take a short detour off on your way to / from Broken Hill. Unfortunately, we had heavy rain and floods so the road was closed, and the photo we did get to take was out in pouring rain, so the salt wasn’t so colourful or visible. I think it would be a great place to visit in the dryer months.

 

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  1. Brim Silos – again another place you can plan on your trip up / from Broken Hill, where an artist has painted portraits of farmers on one side of the silos in the wheat producing strip of Henty Hwy in Victoria. Their sheer size is just breathtaking.

 

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And when you need to feed after a very long day out in the desert, we highly recommend Thyme On Argent for their pizzas (say hi to Jodie) and Bells Milk Bar for their heavenly milkshakes and sweets.

 

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I pride myself of shooting RAW all the time but with Fujifilm cameras I shoot FINE (JPEG FINE that is). For some reason the JPEG that comes out of any Fujifilm camera that I’ve own (X-Pro2 and X100S) come out really nice and creamy. I don’t know what ‘spices’ and ‘ingredients’ they put in producing their JPEGs, but the colours come out really nice and just right.

 

My favourite would be Provia, Classic Chrome and of course Monochrome Film Simulation. You can view different JPEG Film Simulations of the Fujifilm X–Pro2 here for comparison.

 

Full disclaimer: I own these two cameras and this isn’t a technical review of the cameras on behalf of Fujifilm. But I’d like to share my first-hand experience of taking both my X-Pro2 and X100S on my ‘field test’ trip. Any locations I mentioned on this blog are purely my own recommendations – obviously you’ll need to do your own research and see whether it’s suitable for your own journey.

 

I’m so in love with my new Fujifilm X-Pro2, and know that I made the right decision. I’m wrapped and satisfied with how it withstood so much from this trip. We love travelling light, on adventures and road trips, and most of our luggage is usually photography or gadgetry equipment. These cameras will stay with me for a very long time.

 

See you all on our next Untethered Adventure!

 

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The gear we used on this field test trip:

 

  1. Fujifilm X-Pro2 (Firmware 1.02)
  2. Fujifilm XF35mm F2 R WR (Firmware 1.01)
  3. Fujifilm X100S (Firmware 1.21)
  4. Peak Design Slide Lite Camera Strap
  5. Peak Design Cuff
  6. Peak Design Field Pouch
  7. Benro Tripod GC168TB1 (used with the X-Pro2)
  8. 3 Legged Thing Brian X1.1 with Evolution 1 with AirHed 1 (used with the X100S)
  9. Hahnel Combi TF with Cable release (used with the X-Pro2)
  10. HOYA Fusion UV Filter 43mm Thread (used on the XF35mm F2 R WR)
  11. HOYA Fusion Circular Polarizer Filter 43mm Thread (used on the XF35mm F2 R WR)
  12. Lexar Pro – 32GB SDXC Card – UHS 1 – 95MB/s – 633x – Class 10 (used on the X-Pro2)
  13. Lexar Platinum II – 16GB – SDHC Card – 100x – Class 6/10 (used on the X100S)
  14. iPhone 7
  15. Apple Macbook Pro 15” Retina Display
  16. Western Digital Passport Hard Drive 1TB
  17. Inmarsat Satellite Phone (yep, you’ve gotta be prepared!)

 

 

 

About the authors

 

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

Maya Sugiharto – @mayasugihartophotography

Avia Minc – @photographersassistant