Sports Photography as a Spectator – Horse Racing

By Jeff Carter

In a series of articles X Photographer Jeff Carter will be shooting at sports events in the UK and showing how to capture great images with the Fujifilm X Series without the need for a media pass. Continue reading Sports Photography as a Spectator – Horse Racing

IN FOCUS: 12 unusual images and how they were taken

IN FOCUS is a series of articles where we ask some of the UK X-Photographers to give us advice, provide insight into their photography and share some of their favourite images of all time. In this blog post, they share some of their most unusual images and explain how they were shot.


Continue reading IN FOCUS: 12 unusual images and how they were taken

IN FOCUS: 13 things you should do to improve your photography

IN FOCUS is a new series of articles where we will be asking some of the UK X-Photographers to give us advice, provide insight into their photography and share some of their favourite images of all time. In this blog post, they tell us what we should be doing to help improve our photography.


Continue reading IN FOCUS: 13 things you should do to improve your photography

Sports Photography as a Spectator – Mountain Bike Racing

By Jeff Carter

In a series of articles X Photographer Jeff Carter will be shooting at sports events in the UK and showing how to capture great images with the Fujifilm X Series without the need for a media pass. Continue reading Sports Photography as a Spectator – Mountain Bike Racing

X-Photographer’s Spotlight – Greg Whitton

Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography?

Profile1Well, I’m married to Lisa and as we don’t have any children, it leaves us plenty of free time to enjoy stuff outside of the home. We met through our walking group as we both have a love for the outdoors and it is that which helped me discover a love for photography. Initially I started heading to the hills with mates and just enjoyed climbing hills and mountains, but over time I came to appreciate the landscape and I was ended up trying to capture more than just snapshots of our hiking activities. This then developed into a strong affinity with photography.

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How did you develop your style in photography?

I don’t think I really have a style, although just the other day someone said they could single out a “Greg Whitton shot” from others. I wasn’t sure how to take that but they assured me it was a good thing. I’m not sure I really believe it. I’m very much a photographer who strives to capture epic landscapes, typically made that way due to the pattern of weather in them. They tend to be very moody. I’m not a heavy user of post-processing, although I would say that I think I use most of the tools that Lightroom offers. Typically my images follow the same processing workflow which takes two or three minutes. It’s perhaps why they are easier to single out, they exhibit the same characteristics. I’m using colour a lot more these days. By that I mean I’m playing with individual colour channels to achieve a ‘mood’ that I want. It’s surprising just how effective this is, a minor nudge of the blue primary colour channel for example can do wonders.

Why did you choose Fujifilm cameras?

A friend of mine introduced me to them. He was searching for his ‘perfect camera’ and seemed to have a new camera every week, Nikon, Sony, Ricoh, etc. I was using Canon, a 5DmkII. Eventually he got a Fujifilm X-E1 and was raving about the image quality. It was small and lightweight, and it wasn’t full frame. Naturally I didn’t really believe him. However, I started to notice I wasn’t using my own set up very effectively. I was hiking a lot and it was just too heavy. I wasn’t carrying it around my neck and was leaving it in my rucksack. As a result I was missing a lot of shots (I very much tend to shoot handheld on the fly as things happen quickly in the mountains). He showed me some of his RAF files and I have to say, I was impressed. I decided to experiment and bought an X-Pro1 and a bunch of lenses in a cashback deal. I took it on one dual shoot with the Canon. The Canon was on the tripod the whole time for ‘the big shot’ while I ran around the summit of a mountain with the X-Pro1 shooting handheld. When I got home to check the results, I had more useable images from the Fuji than I did from the Canon. When comparing images that were shot side by side, the Fuji had better clarity, less noise and were sharper. That was it, that one shoot persuaded me to ditch the Canon and go full Fuji. I don’t regret it a single bit.

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Do you have a photographic philosophy you live by?

Simply shoot what you love and don’t listen to others.

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Key inspirations – What & who inspires you?

Colin Prior is one of my photographic heroes. My photographic eye has certainly been influenced by his amazing body of panoramic work. In recent years I’ve followed Julian Calverley because his use of mood in landscape photography is almost second to none. I’ve also become a bit of a fan of David Ward. Every image I see from him fills me with wonder. He can make the most benign foreground subject so incredibly intriguing and unique. It blows my mind sometimes.

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Do you have any tips or tricks you could share with us?

Oh crikey, not really. If I told you how I got most of my images you’d realise just how un-professional I am! My few words of wisdom would extend to, if you enjoy shooting the outdoors, then you must do it because you love the outdoors. Try to appreciate them for what they are and don’t get hung up on ‘the shot’. I go out to enjoy the outdoors first. A good photograph is a bonus.

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What’s next for you?

Winning Outdoor Photographer of the Year has given me a massive boost in self confidence and opened one or two doors. But I’m learning that it still doesn’t mean people are knocking down your door for stuff. You still have to be pro-active to make the most of it. I’ve been really busy since then, but it’s not all photography, I have a full time job to do too. So, you’d be surprised how little I’ve been able to capitalise on the accolade. I do have a book coming out in August, ‘Mountainscape’ published by Triplekite. It is a book that contains many of my favourite mountain images from the UK, from vistas to more personal work. It’s available to pre-order from www.triplekite.co.uk. Beyond that I’m hoping to launch workshops later in the year (folks can sign up for news on them by contacting me through the website). Mind you, if anyone wants to commission me for anything else, I’m all ears!

I’m looking forward to the next generation of cameras from Fuji, I think we are going to be treated to something special. Recently we’ve seen huge advances in resolution & technology in the digital photography world, mind you, we don’t seem to have been held back by lower resolution, I won a major competition with only 16 megapixels to play with, it was the overall image that won, not how detailed it was. Others have achieved much more with much less. It is an exciting time for digital photography and it’s great to be involved.

Contact info

Website
Twitter

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X-Photographer’s Spotlight – Chris Weston

Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography?

chris westonWhen I was about 15 years old, I lived in Boston. Unfortunately, not the colourful, vibrant city in the United States but the quiet market town in Lincolnshire, England – historically linked to its American namesake but a place best known for its Dutch-like landscape and the agricultural prowess of its inhabitants. What I am trying to say is, I grew up in a part of England that required much of one’s imagination.

At school one day, I was asked to select my preferred employer for a 2-week work placement. The options weren’t good. Potato planting, bulb cleaning or strawberry picking were three of the more attractive options, as I recall. Seeing my inner turmoil, in a way only dads can, my father asked me what I wanted to do for a career. Without hesitation I replied, “I want to be a photojournalist”.

From where that statement came, I have no idea. Not a clue. I mean, I remember wanting to be (at various stages and in no particular order) a fireman, a policeman, a jet pilot, a train driver, a ski jumper and, of all things, an accountant … but a photojournalist? That was a new one. Even so, at my father’s behest and with the blessing of a somewhat perplexed headmaster, I began my first ever assignment.

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How did you develop your style in photography?

While I was on an assignment, about a year after I turned professional, I had a light bulb moment. I was in Tanzania photographing the annual wildebeest migration, as it passed across the Grumeti River. It was a slow day and photographic opportunities were few and far between. I don’t know if you’ve ever paid a lot of attention to wildebeest but they’re not Africa’s most alluring creatures. African’s describe them as, “The animal God created out of the leftover parts of other animals”. Don’t get me wrong, I like wildebeest but they don’t do much. Their day consists of walking in a wide circle eating grass. And that’s about it. Two days into a three-week long project, I was struggling for ideas. How do you continually photograph what amounts to a large brown antelope grazing in a big brown field?

And then it struck me. I started to think about migration and what it really is. Migration is the movement of animals from point A to point B. Movement. Migration is movement and that not wildebeest was the real story. I started to make photographs that captured the story of the migration – wildebeest moving, individually, in a line, in large herds. Suddenly, my photography had purpose and it has been guided by the light from that bulb ever since. We’re not just photographers we’re storytellers. In place of a pen we have a camera but irrespective of the tool our aim is the same: to amuse, emote, inform, educate, and entertain. I believe that inside all of us is a story that is aching to be told, tales that make photography a unique and intensely personal experience.

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Why did you choose Fujifilm cameras?

For the past couple of years, I have been advocating that the next major shift in camera design will be the exit of the mirror. The mirror is perhaps the single most-limiting factor in an SLR camera, which is rather surprising given that it has been the mainstay of camera design for nearly 80 years.

First of all, the mirror causes cameras to be far bigger and heavier than necessary. Secondly, to accommodate the mirror, the lens needs to be pushed further forward, increasing the distance between the rear lens element and the sensor (or film) plane, which diminishes the quality of the light transmitted by the lens.

Thirdly, the mirror slapping up against the chamber introduces vibration that, when combined with relatively slow shutter speeds, softens edge detail, reducing image quality further. This is particularly true when using ultra-high resolution DSLR cameras. Finally, mirrors are noisy. The constant slap-slap-slap cuts through the silence of dawn and dusk, echoing across open savannahs and bouncing off woodland trees, startling anxious wildlife into panic.

So, when Fuji announced the launch of the X-T1 mirror-less camera, I was intrigued enough to contact Fujifilm UK. My main question to Fuji was: Is the X-T1 up to the rigors of professional wildlife photography? They answered my question with a question: loaning me an X-T1 body and a couple of lenses they said, “You tell us!” I’ve been using the X-T1 ever since and my investment in Fujifilm products continues to grow.

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Do you have a photographic philosophy you live by?

For me, a photograph begins with a caption. That may sound a little back-to-front but if you think about it, really it isn’t. For example, imagine trying to build a house with no architectural drawings. Where would you start? How would you even know what materials you needed? Nobody would approach house building this way, yet the idea that fully formed, well-composed photographs just happen seems to be accepted as the exception to the rule. It’s not. Photographs are designed and crafting an image begins with having something interesting you want to say.

Knowing what to say comes from knowing your subject. The better you know your subject, the more stories you have to tell. I became a wildlife photographer because I’m fascinated by the natural world. How it works, how it fits together and how everything is connected. I often find myself intrigued by inane questions like,  “Why are zebras black-and-white striped when they live in a yellow savannah?”

It’s by asking questions and finding answers that I’m able to hit upon new ideas for images, find ways of making interesting photographs of ordinary subjects or different ways to photograph the same subject over and over. It’s how I learn about the natural world and develop a better understanding of wildlife and nature and, to some extent, my part in it all. And knowing yourself, how you feel about things and how things move you is as important a part of the process as the technical aspects of photography.

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Key inspirations – What & who inspires you?

Perhaps intriguingly, I’m more inspired by people and events outside of photography. In photographic circles, I admire the work of Michael Nichols, particularly, and, in the very early days, I learned a lot of the basics from Art Wolfe. However, today, science (especially quantum mechanics) and extraordinary people and thinkers, such as astronaut Chris Hadfield, author Yuval Noah Harari and physicist Brian Cox inspire me.

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Do you have any tips or tricks you could share with us?

There are so many thoughts, ideas and techniques that have led me to where I am that it’s hard to narrow them down to a few. So, instead, how about I offer Fujifilm readers a completely free e-book titled Nature Photography: Insider Secrets. To get a free copy simply click on this link: Top Wildlife Tips

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What’s next for you?

I’m on an amazing personal journey of discovery, looking at how creativity through photography can inspire how we live, as individuals and within communities and society as a whole. It’s a story that I want to share with the world and I’m currently talking to Fujifilm about how we can make that happen. Watch this space!

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Contact info

Website
Facebook

Fujifilm at Photokina 2014!

Last week we were at photokina, the world’s largest imaging fair, from Tuesday 16th to Sunday 21st September. It’s been a complete blast and this post will hopefully highlight the bits you missed if you couldn’t make it to Cologne this year.

Our booth was big. It was made up with lots of different sections covering many different areas of our business, all with the same common goal – helping people with photography.

The X-Photographers Gallery

We had images from many different photographers displayed how they were always meant to be seen – printed.

Some were printed on FUJIFLEX Crystal Archive Printing Material and others on Fujicolor Crystal Archive Digital Paper but they were all amazingly good to look at. We’ve combined our X series cameras with many years’ experience of printing and finally the creativity of real users of our cameras to create a truly awe inspiring array of beautiful prints. Many visitors to the stand told us that they thought these were the best prints on display at the show.

The X-Photographers Stage

For me the stage was the real star of the show.

We had 23 photographers from all over the world talking about a wide range of subjects. Some were very inspirational, other educational, but all were very interesting. We will post another blog post shortly with more detail on each of the photographers and what their talk was like. Sign up at the top-right of the page to receive notifications when it is published.

“Touch and Try” section

On the stand we had the new X100T and X30 cameras and the new XF50-140mm F2.8  and XF56mm APD lenses available in our “Touch and Try” section for people to use. We also made sure there was something beautiful to shoot in the way of a BMW i8 and some lovely models so everyone had something to shoot.

The X100T is an evolution from the X100 and X100S with the main upgrades being a 1/32000th electronic shutter, digital rangefinder and new Classic Chrome film simulation.

Shot by Kevin Mullins at f/2 and 1/32000th in bright sunlight using Classic Chrome film simulation
Image by Kevin Mullins using the X100T at f/2 and 1/32000th using Classic Chrome film simulation

The X30 takes the popular X20 and gives it a new high-resolution Electronic Viewfinder, tilting LCD, new control ring, lots of new customisable Function buttons and the same awesome Classic Chrome Film Simulation as sported by the X100T.

Image by Alex Lambrechts using the X30 with new Classic Chrome film simulation
Image by Alex Lambrechts using the X30 with new Classic Chrome film simulation

The XF50-140mm is our first weather resistant constant aperture lens. It boasts f/2.8 throughout its focal length range and contains a lot of amazing technology to make sure the results are comparable to prime lens quality

The XF56mm APD is a fast, sharp prime lens that contains an Apodisation filter that helps produce an even smoother bokeh affect than the standard XF56mm.

The final new product people could get their hands on was the new X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition pictured below.

The full X line-up

Additionally, behind a glass cabinet we had the entire range lined up (click the image below for a larger display)

Full X series lineup. Click to enlarge
Full X series lineup. Click to enlarge

Notable products were:

The XF16mmF1.4 has the same focus ring as the XF14 and XF23 with focus distance and depth of field guide on the barrel itself.

The XF16-55mmF2.8 appears to have OIS dropped from its name suggesting that the final lens will not have OIS, but instead aim for absolute optimal image quality. This is still to be confirmed though.

The XF90mmF2 looks like it’s going to be a big bit of glass. Similar in length to the XF56mm but a bit thicker.

Finally, previously known as the Super Tele-Photo Zoom Lens on the roadmap, a lens with no label underneath. However, it had an inscription bearing the specifications “XF 140-400mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR”. I’d like to point out that these are not 100% final specifications. They just needed to put something on the front of the mock-up lens to give a better idea of what the final lens would look like. Either way this gives us a guide as to what sort of spec the final lens is likely to be, and also how big it will be.

Free maintenance and camera loan service

maintenance

We offered a FREE maintenance service and a FREE camera loan service for the six days of photokina, In total we were able to service 510 cameras and loaned 433 cameras and lenses combined.

Technologies

We showcased a few of our technologies – some current and some in development

Film simulation
Fujifilm Film Simulations
Film is our heritage and therefore we spend a lot of time developing (pun not intended) our film simulation modes for our digital cameras. The latest film simulation mode we have released is Classic Chrome and it is available on the new X100T, X30 and will be made available via a firmware update for the X-T1 later this year.

Electronic rangefinder
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Here’s what the Hybrid Viewfinder in the X100T looks like. Learn more about the X100T Electronic Rangefinder here.

Lens coating demo
Nano GI comparison demoAlthough it’s pretty hard to see in this photo, here we demonstrate the lens coating on the new XF50-140. It has a special coating applied to reduce the amount of light that is reflected away.
Learn more about the technology that goes into the XF50-140mm lens, including Nano GI technology, here.

Remote “Multi-shooting” application
tech-multi-shoot Here’s a new app we’re currently working on that allows you to wirelessly control and shoot up to three cameras at one time using the same tablet computer.

Applications for this could be for recording video, creating 3D imagery or shooting event photography.

Since the launch of the X-T1 we have seen some amazingly creative uses people have found for the existing remote shooting app so we hope that this will allow people to be even more creative with their photography.

 

The Cologne photokina Photowalk

photowalk

On Saturday night we held a photowalk with X-Photographers Elia Locardi and Ken Kaminesky. 213 people showed up, despite the threat for heavy rain beforehand. Most people brought their own equipment to shoot with and Fujifilm X-T1s and lenses were available for people to borrow if they wished.

We met at the Dom and then walked as a very large group around the cathedral and then across the river to watch the sunset from the East bank. It was a great event and we’re sure everyone enjoyed themselves and made a few new friends that share their love of photography.

These guys even won some prizes by having their names drawn at random:photowalk-prize-winners

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Fabiano Dallmeyer , Richard Powazynski, Jens Fricke, Ken Kaminesky, Carl Nasman, Patrick Mayon, Elia Locardi, Florin Lucian Patras and Michael Magner

Participants soohting the padlocks on the bridge (image by Naomi Locardi)
Participants shooting padlocks on the bridge (image by Naomi Locardi)
An after-dark image by Naomi Locardi
After-dark (image by Naomi Locardi)
Me, being mocked by Justin from Fujifilm USA... (image also by Naomi Locardi)
And finally me, being unwittingly mocked by Justin from Fujifilm USA… (image also by Naomi Locardi)

Many more photos from participants of the event have uploaded and will continue to be added to the Google Plus public event here: https://plus.google.com/events/chu5ri84smk6smt9ags8inu36l4

Fujifilm X Live

For more photos from the whole photokina event, and to keep up to date in real time with future events like this, please check out our Social Media accounts:

– http://www.facebook.com/FujifilmXLive
– http://twitter.com/FujifilmXLive
– http://instagram.com/FujifilmXLive