Through a Photographer’s Eye: Felix Mooneeram

Welcome to the Fourth Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this latest series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers (or in this case a visiting photographer) and how they use FUJIFILM X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our second featured photographer is Felix Mooneeram.

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what drives you as a photographer to capture images?

I am a professional photographer from the UK, but these images were captured for FUJIFILM Australia whilst on holiday there at the start of 2018. I mostly shoot architecture back at home, but making travel images is one of my favourite things to do whilst I’m away. I find that experiencing a new place with my camera opens my eyes to it makes me take it in more than if I didn’t have my camera.

I think quite differently when shooting on holiday compared to my professional work. It’s a lot freer; a lot looser. Sometimes I shoot blind; sometimes I go to higher ISOs that I wouldn’t in my regular work. I don’t worry much about getting perfect exposures – the images are more about the moment or the feeling at the time, and I find that liberating.

 

You visited Australia to document the country, where did you travel within Australia and what gear did you decide to take with you?

We stayed in Melbourne, spent four nights on the Great Ocean Road in a van, and had a long weekend in Sydney. I took my full set minus one lens. This kit consists of the FUJIFILM X-T2, XF50-140mmF2.8, XF35mmF1.4, XF10-24mmF4 (listed in order of which I like to use most for anyone wondering). I often look ahead or try to isolate elements in my frame, so I love the F2.8 zoom. The range is so versatile for this kind of photography, but the size of the lens can be a little cumbersome for travelling, it has to be said. For me, it’s totally worth it, and if ever leave it at home, I always wish I’d bought it. These three lenses give me a vast range of focal lengths to work with and cover most situations that I want to shoot in.

 

Your photos look unique, what was your workflow? Did you use any advanced techniques like HDR to overcome Australia’s harsh light?

Thank you! I found the light in Australia an absolute joy to work with. In the UK it often feels like you are struggling to get enough light onto the sensor because the weather is usually pretty poor. In Australia, I was shooting at speeds my dial doesn’t get anywhere near back home which was fun. It meant I could quickly capture things that caught my eye, all handheld, and at the lowest ISOs. Because of the amount of editing, I do through my professional work [link to my https://felixmooneeram.co.uk/Recent-Commissions], I hardly shot any bracketed exposures. I wanted to keep the editing down to a minimum, so I created a preset in Lightroom that brought out the vibrant colours and the warm, sunny tones from the Australian summer and applied it to most of my edits. That usually involved dropping the highlights, bumping shadows, and a bit more yellow and green in the temperature/tint.

What was the story behind the photo featuring the Koalas?

For four days we had a van kindly lent to us by Awesome Campers to travel from Melbourne down the Great Ocean Road. This was probably our favourite part of the trip. I was so amazed by how you can be on beautiful beaches one minute and 15 – 20 minutes later in thick, super tall woodlands that felt like you’d be several hours inland.

We had always hoped to see some koalas in the wild, and as you drive down the Great Ocean Road, you can often tell where they are because other campervanners were parked up ahead aiming their cameras into the trees high above. With this shot, we got so so lucky as not only did we see some, but we saw them at ground level and up close.

My girlfriend spotted them out of the window on the roadside one morning, and we parked ahead so as not to disturb them. We got out of the van and walked back towards them and were so pleased when we saw it was actually a mother and her baby. It was a fantastic experience to see them like this in their natural habitat and was a real high point of the trip. They stayed by us for a few minutes as I made some images of them with the XF50-140mmF2.8 zoom lens (we didn’t want to cramp their style), and then they climbed away up a tree. We had smiles on our faces the entire day after that.

 

Do you have any tips for anyone who is thinking about visiting Australia to photograph Sydney and the surrounding suburbs?

We only had one weekend in Sydney, but we had a great time there. The Botanical Gardens are a must see. When you get through them to the viewpoint on the coastline and look back on the city in the background and beautiful, lush, gardens in the foreground – it’s hard to believe that it’s a real city.

That whole area around the harbour and the opera house is really photogenic. The city/business district itself is quite oppressive, and the architecture isn’t all that interesting. Stick near the water, and you’ll see the best of the views. The walk from Bondi to Coogee past all the small coves and beaches is a must do.

 

Can you share some insight into what you look for when photographing architectural design?

I love to play with geometry, symmetry and leading lines when shooting architecture. This is why I’m often drawn to more modern architecture. I sometimes like to use people in the frame to not only give a sense of scale to a building but to show how people interact with it. If you’d like to know more about how I shoot architecture, I have another FUJIFILM blog post here.

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

Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. Shoot as much as possible. Take your camera everywhere. This is the beauty of FUJIFILM and their mirrorless systems. They’re small enough and light enough to carry around, and the rangefinder style design means you make really strong connections between the functions of the camera and what results come from changing them. This is one of the main reasons I switched to FUJIFILM in the first place. I feel that using these cameras deepens your understanding of aperture, shutter speed and ISO like no DSLR could.

Swapping my Canon gear for FUJIFILM also opened up a new world of focal ranges for me. I was able to afford three lenses for the price of one Canon lens, and this changed my photography for the better. I could start to capture spaces from the details right back to the wider, covering shots. It helps to tell comprehensive and rich stories of a place.

To see more of Felix’s photography visit him over on Instagram and his website.

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Jane Sheers

Welcome to the Fourth Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this latest series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use FUJIFILM X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our first featured photographer is Jane Sheers.

I have been shooting with FUJIFILM cameras for the last four years. When I am travelling, I usually take my two FUJIFILM X-T2 bodies and the FUJINON XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR, and one of the telephoto zooms. This time, as I was flying back to Cambodia for the 5th time, I wanted to challenge myself by taking prime lenses only. This decision lead to quite high levels of “but what if I miss a shot” and “which primes to take” anxiety. The former I told myself to forget as no matter what gear you have there will always be shots you miss, but the latter was a bit more of a dilemma. Should I go with the FUJINON XF90mmF2 LM WR R or the FUJINON XF56mmF1.2 R, or how about the FUJINON XF23mmFf1.2 R or the FUJINON XF35mmF2 R WR?

Every time I thought I had made my decision a siren named the FUJIFILM X100F called me day or night. She tempted and tormented me convincing me that all the things I preferred about the X-T2 over the rangefinders did not matter. She told me I needed her. I resisted the call with all my might. However, there was a universal conspiracy against my resistance in the form of the FUJIFILM Australia Cash Back, a timely ‘not to be missed sale’ and Tourist Refund Scheme. Being astute, I could read the signs, so off I went into the heat of early monsoon to Cambodia with the FUJIFILM X-T2 coupled with the FUJINON XF56mmF1.2 R lens and my very new sexy silver FUJIFILM X100F.

In Cambodia, I spent most of my time in Siem Reap. Siem Reap is the town well and indeed on the world tourist map due to the magnificent Angkor Wat Temple, the tree (way more famous than the Wanaka Tree) at Ta Phrom made famous by Lara Croft, and the 216 huge stone faces of the Bayon. Each temple is excellent in its way and presents different challenges when it comes to photography. Angkor Wat is vast and on the first visit can be overwhelming for no other reason than it is just that – huge. I would recommend anyone going for their first-ever trip to leave your camera in your bag and walk around the place to get a feel for it (unless of course, the light is just perfect at that very moment). Then come again and start working it photographically.

I’ve been in there at least 20 times over the years and always see something new or different. I prefer details over the whole scene, and my real love is the Apsaras (celestial dancers or musicians). While there are many throughout the temple it is up in the top of the central shrines you will find the best ones. When in the labyrinth of Angkor Wat there is every likelihood you will see a monk in their bright orange robes making a nice contrast against the dark stone.

The Bayon is famous for its much-photographed faces supposedly of the Avalokiteshvara (the Buddha of Compassion), yet they reportedly bear a close resemblance to King Jayavarman VII who built this temple. As big and vast as Angkor Wat is the Bayon is tight and somewhat compact. It offers photo opportunities galore with the most popular being one of the faces through a window frame. The selfie opportunities: it almost resembles taking a number and waiting in line. Despite the hordes that visit, it is effortless to get away and find your quiet little spot for reflection, like the main shrine in the central tower. It is in the quiet places that I am happiest.

If you want to get away from the crowds, head to some of the other temples such as Banteay Kdei or Preah Khan. Aside from not being as busy as the main three, the additional advantage is they are not tightly controlled meaning you can scramble around more and get in touch with your inner Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. I love both of these temples, but of the two, I find there something special about Banteay Kdei. Maybe it is the fabulous Apsaras that are covered in orange lichen or the main gate into the temple that is a smaller version of the very popular southern gate at Angkor Thom. I suspect these temples will become more popular as people want to get away from the crowds; in fact, this is now happening with Preah Khan.

One of the beauties of Siem Reap is that the countryside is readily accessible in a remork (the Cambodia version of a tuk-tuk: a quaint carriage attached to the back of a motorbike). In just a short time you can leave behind the hustle and bustle of the town or temples to catch a glimpse of rural Cambodian life. Between the small villages, you will come across rice fields. At the beginning of the monsoon, the hard work of ploughing and planting rice begins, and rain doesn’t mean down time. In the late afternoon on a bright day, you can catch a gorgeous late afternoon golden glow in one of the surrounding villages.

There is more to Cambodia than Siem Reap and its ancient temples. I arranged to spend a couple of days with a local photographer (Eric d Vries who incidentally happens to use a FUJIFILM X-Pro1 or the X100T), around the Battambang area. This offered an opportunity to visit places I wouldn’t have otherwise seen and also for some mentoring in ‘the art of seeing’. My creative flow changed, and I even experimented with in-camera double exposures. This added something extra to creating images, but the one thing I wish we could do is to use more than two images with the multiple exposure mode. It would be great not to have to shoot the photos consecutively too. Can we have this in a Kaizen firmware update, please?

It was out on this trip I was able to meet some of the people of Cambodia and take their portraits. Cambodia is not called the Land of Smiles for no reason. Nobody seemed to have an issue with us taking their pictures, instead, they would call out “Barang” (Khmer for foreigner), and they would laugh at us. Let’s say we were not hard to spot being the only three westerners in places where westerners seldom visit and even more so given Eric is well over six foot and very fair. But what beautiful, friendly people. And some of the kids LOVE having their photo taken.

During my travels, both cameras served me well. I must admit that it was difficult jumping between the two bodies due to the different ergonomics. Both had their benefits, and I was surprised that I used my X100F more than I thought I would. I have near equal numbers of images from each camera and maybe balance tips more to the X100F. If I was going for a walk, I intentionally pick up the X100F. Where I think the X100F shone was in markets as it was so unobtrusive. Obviously, the siren was calling me, and I did need her after all. I have no regrets in heeding that call.

As for travelling with primes rather than zooms, after a few hours, I was no longer trying to twist the barrel of the lens to get my shot. Instead, I thought about the shot more before taking it or moved around more to get what I wanted. Remember, one of my original dilemmas was missing the shot if I didn’t have my zooms? Yes, there were a few times where I did miss the image that was going to make me famous, but I quickly forgot about that lost opportunity as I was presented with an alternative one almost immediately.

FUJIFILM continues to allow my muse to create. The FUJIFILM X-T2 will always be my special love. However the X100F has turned out to be a great little mistress to have on the side as she offers me different opportunities, and in fact, she is sitting beside my left hand as I write. I know we will continue to have more adventures together in the future and I have reserved a place for her in my bag as she is coming on my next overseas trip later in the year to Hong Kong. I’m counting the sleeps!

To see more of Jane’s photography visit her Instagram, blog or gallery.

Capturing the Magic of Morocco

By Sathya Parthasarathi

London based photographer Sathya Parthasarathi is aspiring to travel to every corner of the world and wants to inspire others to do the same. Having been taking pictures since the age of 9 but last year travel photography became his passion. He recently visited Morocco, and we wanted to find out more about his trip and the photos he captured. Continue reading Capturing the Magic of Morocco

X-T2: Engaging with the Beauty of the Natural World

By Oliver Wheeldon

Photographer Oliver Wheeldon normally shoots adventurous landscapes with the X-T1. In this article he tries the FUJIFILM X-T2 on location in Cornwall, and gives us his feedback, along with his top tips on how to engage with the beauty of the natural world. Continue reading X-T2: Engaging with the Beauty of the Natural World

Exploring Lake Como with the X-T2

By Darren Brogan

Headshot-DarrenBrogan

Darren is a keen traveler and photography enthusiast from the town of Dunfermline in Fife, Scotland. For Darren, photography has always been a bit of a hobby and is closely intertwined with his passion for travel. As often as he can, Darren likes to get out and explore the world around him. Whether he is hiking the rural highlands of Scotland or roaming the sprawling cities of Asia, he will undoubtedly have his camera at his side. The goal of his photography has always been to visually document his adventures and to share them with others in attempt to inspire. Instagram is his preferred platform to share his work and to engage with fellow travelers from around the world, you can follow him at instagram.com/poetic_mouse.

He has been shooting with the Fujifilm X Series since late 2015.


Continue reading Exploring Lake Como with the X-T2

Light and Land: A Tour of Scotland’s West Coast

By Ben Osborne

My Fujifilm adventure began six months ago when I borrowed a FUJIFILM X-T2 and a couple of lenses for an expedition to Antarctica. This was an introduction to an unfamiliar camera system that I had never used before but which I immediately had to use under some of the most challenging conditions on earth. It was a baptism by fire but it was also love at first sight. Continue reading Light and Land: A Tour of Scotland’s West Coast

A Prince, a Princess, a Pauper and a Camera

By Sebastian Rich

As a long in the tooth war, conflict and humanitarian photographer, a camera, to my belief, is no more than a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. But, and there is always a but, it has to be a very very good tool indeed! Continue reading A Prince, a Princess, a Pauper and a Camera

Wildlife Photography: Creating a Sense of Place

By Chris Weston

Wildlife photography isn’t just about frantic action shots and animal portraits. An important area of the genre is capturing a sense of place – images that show the subject in the landscape.

Photographing animals in their environment is a critical area of my work because such images serve to further the cause of environmental conservation, which is a driving force behind my work. The primary cause of decreasing wildlife populations is habitat loss, so revealing the beauty of the land in which animals make their homes is, for me, an important aspect of my storytelling. Continue reading Wildlife Photography: Creating a Sense of Place

Secrets Behind Seascapes: 6 Ways to Improve your Photographs

By Steven Hanna

I’m extremely fortunate to only live a short 30 or 40 minute drive from the beautiful Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland. A photographer’s paradise, the northern section of coastline in particular is full of stunning sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and secluded bays waiting to be explored.

I seem to spend most of my time shooting by the sea. There’s something exciting yet fulfilling that keeps drawing me back. One of the things I love doing when shooting seascapes is shooting long exposures, as I love the effect this has on the movement of the water and the clouds. In this blog, I’m going to share a few tips to help you get the best from your seascapes. My preferred kit for my landscape photography is currently the FUJIFILM XT2 and the XF10-24mmF4 lens. Continue reading Secrets Behind Seascapes: 6 Ways to Improve your Photographs