Through a Photographer’s Eye: Piyush Bedi

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 third featured photographer is Piyush Bedi.

 

Piyush please tell us about yourself, why you love photography and how you got started?

I love travelling and collecting things. I knew I needed to get a different kind of collectible, when the fridge was overcome with fridge magnets and I started sticking them onto the oven. I purchased my first DSLR impulsively. I was quickly overwhelmed with all the controls and carrying it everywhere became a chore. Before I knew it, the camera was gathering dust on my shelf. My photos never looked the way I wanted them to and I didn’t have the right lenses to make it happen. Then a friend told me a few things that stuck: Don’t take it for granted, I’m lucky to even have a camera and the first 10,000 photos I take will be rubbish. Maybe I listened to him. 230,000 photos later, I wish I had heard it earlier.

Photos became the new collectible for my travels. I love that operating a camera is a job that requires both sides of the brain, an understanding about the environment, planning to be at the right place at the right time and more than a few spare batteries. Travelling too often becomes a rush job of getting from place to place, but when I see a view that captivates me, I like to come back to it, with some planning, a coffee, tripod and my camera, early in the morning or late at night, when no one else is around and find ways to capture why I am so captivated by it. Those are my favourite photographs.

 

You mentioned on your social media you travelled with your FUJIFILM X-T1 to Iceland to capture the icebergs of Jökulsárlón. Did the camera survive and what was your best shot from the trip?

I travelled to Iceland with the hopes of seeing the Northern Lights. My research told me that the weather in Iceland would be diabolical: Cold, windy, icy, wet and during the month of October, also very dark, perfect for viewing the Northern Lights. While the clouds every night prevented me from seeing the Northern Lights, I made up for my disappointment with a visit to the amazing Vatnajökull glacier ice caves and the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon.

The ice cave was an amazing experience. Light came through the ice ceiling, but being a few metres thick and covered in snow, there wasn’t much. There was however a curved path on top of the cave entrance where the ice or snow was thinner, so it created a dazzling, shimmering light that stretched for the length of the cave. It was the part of the cave that captivated me most. It was approximately 2-3m high in height, so even with a wide angle lens I wouldn’t have been able to capture the entire length of that shimmering ceiling. I had to carefully position my camera on the wet ground and take a series of photos, carefully rotating the camera by a fixed angle between each shot. I would later stitch the photos together on my computer to form a panoramic image of the ceiling.

Later that day, I visited the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. It’s this magical area where a glacier meets a body of water. Blocks of ice fall off the glacier and very slowly drift through the lagoon, out to sea. You can walk up to huge blocks of ice sitting on a shore with black sand, glowing with refracted light. I spent the afternoon taking photos of these huge blocks of ice. While I captured many photos I liked, it was not until I was enjoying a celebratory coffee at a nearby cafe that the magic happened. The sun began to set and the sky turned to a fiery orange. The whole area began to glow. Promising the cafe owner I would pay him when I got back, I ran out the door to take photos along the enchanting sea shore.

The waves were a little rougher this time, so I set up the tripod and left the camera to take longer exposures, hoping to smooth out the water. After capturing this shot of an intricate block of ice, I set the shutter time to be a bit longer and stepped back to avoid shaking the tripod in any way. Unexpectedly, a powerful wave rushed in, and before I could rush to reach the camera, water hit the tripod. Miraculously, it didn’t topple, it just sunk further into the sand. I was so proud of my trusty, rusty tripod, “Go you good thing! when the going gets tough, you just ground yourself and keep at it!”. It was sitting in water that was ~50cm deep now. As I began to walk into the icy water to see what I had captured, a rogue chunk of glacial ice came straight for my trusty tripod. Riding a particularly strong wave, this glacial ice block hit the tripod and toppled my camera into the Atlantic ocean. While the camera never worked again, the SD card survived. While succumbing to the wild Atlantic ocean my X-T1 took one last photo which ended my being my best shot from the beach. I couldn’t be prouder of that last photo.

 

How do you feel FUJIFILM X Series equipment captures landscapes, is the quality okay from previous systems you may have used? Would you like to see any feature improvements on a future camera that might assist with capturing this genre?

My first camera was a Canon Rebel and it was great. It was durable, easy to use, budget-friendly and had a lightweight body. When travelling however, I found it hard to carry all day long (obviously I had tried ALL the cameras and lenses available). The debates around sensor noise were also a bigger issue back then. Not being able push the camera past ISO 800 without a lot of noticeable noise prompted me to begin searching for a better sensor, while retaining all the qualities that I liked about the Canon Rebel.

A few years later I was about to embark on a trip to Everest base camp in Nepal and at the same time started reading about the powerful X-Trans sensor in the X-E1. A lightweight mirrorless camera, with a sensor that not only provided exceptionally low noise, but also extreme sharpness. I bought the camera a day before my trip and read the manual on the flight. I wasn’t taking a laptop on this 3 week trip, so I would only be able to review the photos in detail on my return. I was nervous about my choice, but the feel of the lenses, electronic viewfinder and listening to my friends complain about the weight of their full frame DSLRs with telephoto lenses put a smile on my face. The only trouble was battery life. In the Himalayas there aren’t many charging points and the freezing cold temperatures drain the life out of the batteries. I had to ensure the electronic viewfinder was on strict power management as well as sleep with the batteries at night to keep them warm. The photos I got in the end could not have delighted me more. The sky looked as blue as I remembered it, noise free and boy were they SHARP! Taking a photo, looking back at the path I had walked across, I could see all the little towns underneath the mountain, many kilometres away. If you zoom into the photo of Mount Ama Dablam, you’ll be able to see the green and red roofs of the buildings.

When taking travel and landscapes, sharpness, dynamic range and low noise are incredibly important for image quality. The FUJIFILM X Series delivers all three in spades. Sharpness helps capture the fine details and textures of the environment. Dynamic range helps capture the varying tones of light, especially in unpredictable lighting conditions. Finally, the low sensor noise assists with keeping shutter speeds short, which both, help in avoiding camera shake and in capturing multiple sharp images to later stitch into panoramas.

Having a lightweight camera with weather resistance helps a great deal as well. After my X-E1 was damaged in a torrential rainfall, I immediately bought an X-T1 to replace it. It’s weather resistance helped it survive much longer on my travels in unpredictable environments.

Battery life hasn’t improved much over the FUJIFILM camera generations and is an area in which improvements would help travel and landscape photographers. Carrying fewer batteries would help lighten the load and require fewer pit stops for charging. While it counters the previous feature by being an energy drain, having an onboard GPS that geotags photos would be helpful for cataloging locations.

 

Can you take us through the process you use to stitch your photos together?

I love the effect of a good panoramic photograph. Sometimes one is lucky enough to witness a breath-taking vista and restricting the frame to only a small width just does not do the vista the justice it deserves. I take panoramic photos by taking multiple photos, each slightly apart from the other and then later stitching them together on a computer using the merge feature in Adobe Lightroom.

The first step of taking a panoramic photo begins with composition. Panoramic photos have to be stitched on a computer, so it’s difficult to visualise what the final composition will look like until you’re back on your computer. Fortunately, most smartphones have a pano photo mode on their camera these days, so I begin with taking a quick pano on my smartphone to work out the composition.

Next up, take a series of photos, where each photo has approximately a 30-50% overlap with the previous photo. Stitching software needs this overlap in order to know how to put the images together.

There are a few tips:

  • Don’t be too close to your subject otherwise it’ll result in unnatural distortion.
  • If you want a horizontal pano, shoot in portrait orientation. If you want a vertical pano, shoot in landscape orientation.
  • Ensure camera exposure and white balance settings are constant for all the photos otherwise you will have to spend time adjusting those settings in image editing software.
  • Stitching software is usually able to blend the photos together at the seams, but if the exposure settings are too far apart, you’ll see banding in your pano. X Series cameras come with an exposure lock button that helps with this.
  • Finally, ensure the focus doesn’t change between photos otherwise there will be very obvious differences across your pano. It’s best to switch to manual focus for the series of photos.

Finally, back on the computer, use the merge photos function in Adobe Lightroom (link). It does a great job of stitching photographs together while retaining editing abilities for post processing.

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

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

The advice of this great photographer still holds true. So in order to quickly move towards taking photos you’re happy with, you want to make it as easy as possible to take photos.

There are a lot of camera and lens options out there. Don’t worry too much about which lens to take because, a little secret, most of them are fantastic. Just have one or two and go for it. I kept my collection to two lenses for five years and only worried myself about how many batteries to carry so I wouldn’t have to return home.

Buy what you can afford, make sure you like how it feels and most importantly make sure it is so convenient that you never have to think twice about taking it somewhere. The easier a camera is to carry, the more likely you will take photos with it.

One final thing, once you start taking a lot of photos, you’ll realise it’s much harder to pick the few that you like best. Always make the effort to pick a small subset of the photos that you have taken and think about why you like them. This will help you develop your style.

How would you best describe what it’s like to be on top of a mountain taking photos? Does a camera really capture what you feel or is there something more to the scene that we just can’t experience in a photo?

When I travelled to the Himalayas in Nepal, I was awed. The mountains reached a few kilometres straight up and were right in front of me. I had trouble capturing that feeling with a single shot. I thought stitching panoramas from multiple shots would help, but being up in the mountains without a computer I had no idea if the final result would capture that feeling. I trusted the camera and it’s sharpness enough to give it a go. When I returned to Sydney and stitched the photos, the results were better than I could’ve hoped. I was in love with taking stitched panos and obsessed with capturing the sense of awe that comes from nature. Cliched as it is, nothing captures the feeling of being there, but that won’t stop me from trying.

Maybe one day soon, with virtual reality headsets, we’ll be able to capture and enjoy the depth and awe of mountain photography.

What FUJINON X Series lens would you recommend people use if they were getting started with landscape photography? Do you have a photo taken with the lens and the story behind the image you can share with us?

I have used the XF18mmF2 R for almost all my landscape work. It’s small, light and sharp – great factors for getting started with landscape and travel photography. While not a landscape photo, I recently used the XF18mmF2 R in Kyoto, Japan. It was peak cherry blossom season in Kyoto, so there were thousands of people on these streets. Many were dressed in traditional garb and looking forward to taking traditional photos in this beautiful part of town.

Here’s a photo of what it looked like during normal hours. Much like taking landscape photos, I had to wait for the right time to take photos of the area. For this particular one, that time happened to be around 6am, which meant I was up and out of my accommodation at 4:30am. I had the cold weather and whole area to myself. I patiently waited for the sun to rise – with my can of hot BOSS coffee from the vending machine – and was able to take my time composing and capturing this photo. By 6:15am, the area was filled with tripods, models and even a young married couple having their wedding photos taken. Sometimes it’s those quiet work hours with you and your camera that are the best.

Thanks for reading this far.

To see more of Piyush’s photography visit his Instagram profile.

The Difference Between Lens Focal Lengths

You may notice camera lenses are described by one or two numbers, most often in millimetres, like 14mm or 18-55mm. As a new photographer, you may have no idea what these figures mean because photo websites and product descriptions often list them without explanation. These numbers are essential to know. Once you understand what they are and what they mean for your shots, you can better choose the right lens for the variety of scenes you tend to shoot.

 

These numbers you see on every lens represent that lens’ focal length. It is the measurement between your lens and your camera’s image sensor. If your lens is fixed-length, or prime, then it always rests at the same distance from your sensor, so its length is just one number. If your lens has the capacity to zoom, then it has two stats for both the minimum and maximum distance it sits from your camera’s sensor.

This distance tells you not only about the physical attributes of the lens but also the type of shots it creates. A lower focal length means a wider field of view, or a greater angle of what the lens can perceive in focus. The Fujifilm XF14mmF2.8, for example, is a prime lens that shoots at an 89-degree angle, with high resolution from the centre to the periphery of the frame. Compare that with the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6, a super telephoto lens that ranges from 16 to 4 degrees in its field of view. With that latter type of lens, you abandon the wide angle to highlight a closer, more specific segment of what the unaided eye can see.

If you are a new photographer, then you are likely shooting with just one or two lenses. There are great mid-range lenses that work for several situations, including personal use moments, like candid shots of family or friends. The XF18-55mmF2.8-4 is one such option with a broad focal range that spans 79 to 28 degrees, depending on the zoom. That type of mid-length lens with zoom is a great choice for starting your creative endeavour and for shooting as you travel with light cargo.

As you develop your craft, you may wish to utilise lenses designed for specific photo opportunities. If you shoot landscape and architecture photos, then you want a lens with a low focal length, between 14 and 18mm, for its wide angle. For your full-body portraits, you should look at a lens with a mid-range focal length between 23mm and 50mm. When dealing with moving or distant photo subjects, you should choose a zoom lens with a focal length of 200mm or more.

By knowing the difference between lens focal lengths, you can experiment with more lenses and be confident that you know which lens to grab in every situation.

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Athol Hill

Welcome to the Second Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our ninth interview in Series Two is with Melbourne based photographer, Athol Hill.

 

Athol, you go by the name of ‘The Overrated Photographer’ online, can you tell us why and how you got started in photography?

 

I picked the name because of the keyboard warriors on the internet. I wanted a website where I could document my photographic journey and calling myself “The Overrated Photographer” seemed like a humorous way to eliminate the trolls.

 

Photography was a lazy start for me. I did most people did; I bought a DSLR and left it on auto or used the scene modes. I thought that photography was a talent you were born with. I’d hear people say a photographer had a good eye and I assumed I didn’t have it.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR – 1/1400 second – F4 – ISO 200

 

My real introduction to photography came when I was kitesurfing regularly, and there weren’t many people taking photos of kitesurfers. I went through the process of learning the manual settings of my camera and over time, I started to realise that the “photography eye” was something you developed through experience and skill.

With the arrival of my children, my extreme sports photography opportunities dried up. This forced me to extend out to unfamiliar genres to keep myself taking photos, namely environmental portraits, family and street/abstract.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF35mmF2 R WR – 1/4700 second – F2 – ISO 200

 

 

What do you most enjoy about photography and how have Fujifilm X Series cameras impacted the way you shoot?

 

Photography is my artistic and creative release. I’ve used to feel I had the artistic capacity of a brick because I lacked the ability to do the conventional arts (painting, drawing and sculpting). When I discovered photography it was the realisation that I found my creative art.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR – 1/5800 second – F2.8 – ISO 200

 

Prior to moving to Fujifilm, I had bought into the propaganda machine that told us we “need” full frame cameras to create good photos. Fujifilm has given me an appreciation for how small my gear is and yet, I have lost absolutely nothing from an image quality perspective. My photographs look better than they did before and my bag weighs half of what it did.

 

I also think that photography is an ongoing learning process and EVF’s offer more opportunity for improvement because we’ve gone from imagining the photo to seeing them immediately.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF35mmF2 R WR – 1/250 second – F8 – ISO 200

 

 

If we were to look into your camera bag what Fujifilm X Series equipment would we find?

 

I have a broad set of gear that I choose from depending on type of photography I am doing. That includes:

X-T2

X-E2S

X100T

XF23mmF2

XF35mmF2

XF60mmF2.4

XF90mmF2

XF16-55mmF2.8

XF50-140mmF2.8

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/250 second – F3.6 – ISO 400

 

What’s your favourite photo you’ve captured using the XF90mmF2, can you tell us the story behind the image?

 

My favourites will always come out of family due to the emotional attachment. My favourite is the one of my youngest daughter in a superhero mask, not because of the technical merit of the photograph or the composition, but simply because it epitomises the way children are. They’re about imagination, having fun and enjoying the moment. We forget that as adults and children help remind us.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR – 1/900 second – F2.8 – ISO 1600

 

 

What photography genre do you prefer to shoot and why do you enjoy it?

 

Some people find a single genre and stay with it. I found this challenging because I appreciate different sides from each genres.

 

I’ve always loved extreme sports because the athletes inspire me. I enjoy watching people push their boundaries further and when people see a camera out, the “show off” side of their ego makes an appearance. The challenge with a family is finding the time to get out regularly, so more recently my preference now is environmental/child portraits and street/abstract, simply because of the accessibility.

Environmental/child portraits offer more opportunity to convey emotion whilst street, offers a broad variety of subjects and forces you to think outside the box.

 

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF90mmF2 R LM WR – 1/1000 second – F2 – ISO 1250

 

 

Can you mention where you might find your inspiration on any given day before you go out and shoot?

 

Finding inspiration with extreme sports is easier (when you have time) because I actively participate. I can look out the window and if there is wind, I’ll head to the beach for kitesurfing and take some photos before or after the session.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF90mmF2 R LM WR – 1/110 second – F2 – ISO 200

 

For other genres it’s a little harder, and you have to push yourself outside your comfort zone. I try to carry a camera everywhere with me. That was part of the reason for getting the X100T, it offers accessibility and small size without compromising quality.

 

 

How do you find the Fujifilm X-T2 performs when reacting to something happening quickly before you? Does it get the job done and what’s the image quality like?

 

Pre-children, I used to think photographing sports was the peak of AF challenges, but I’d say photographing kids is far more challenging to AF system. With most sports, you have a defined path the object or person is moving in so that makes it predictable to large degree. A skater goes up in the air, does a trick and you know where he is going to go and when he will do it. Kids on the other hand will do what they want, when they want, and how they want, and there is no warning. The challenge becomes two-fold, keeping the lens on them and having the AF keep up. For these scenarios, I find the AF system in the X-T2 is remarkable. There are very few photos where the AF hasn’t done its job, it’s normally my inability to move the camera quickly enough that’s the problem.

 

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF90mmF2 R LM WR – 1/320 second – F2.8 – ISO 2000

 

I also think having full AF capability on the rear tilt screen is an advantage because it allows you to get low without having to lie down. There are no DSLR’s that offer comparable AF in liveview and in some situations, like a skate park, you can’t lie down or you are in the path of skaters. You must be on the move, getting out of the way quickly.

 

 

If you could see Fujifilm develop a future XF lens that doesn’t exist what would it be and what would you photograph with it?

 

A part of me that is still tied to extreme sports and for that reason, it happens to be one of lenses on the roadmap for 2018, namely the wide angle zoom. The wide angle zoom is something I’ve been waiting for. It’s not because I don’t like the 10-24mmF4, but primarily for weather resistance. When you shoot wide in water sports, you are generally close enough to be hit by the spray. I typically use a rain hood, but if something does happen, you want the environmental sealing for peace of mind.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/1250 second – F2.8 – ISO 6400

 

 

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

 

Don’t become despondent about the number of good photographs you get when you start out. Novices often have a flawed perception about photography because they’ll see the 50 perfect wedding photographs in an album, not the 400 that didn’t make the cut. They aren’t aware that a studio photographer might take 100 photographs to get that one perfect shot. There are very few perfect first shot photographs, that is reality of photography. In time, your success rates will improve and you’ll have a higher percentage of keepers, but it’s a journey fraught with learnings and failure.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF35mmF2 R WR – 1/250 second – F8 – ISO 200

 

It’s also important to find a medium that allows you to get constructive criticism. It’s great to post a photo on Facebook or Instagram and get 50 likes, and don’t stop that because the endorphins help keep your enthusiasm going. The challenge is 50 likes on Facebook won’t teach you how to make a good photo into a great photo, or a great photo into a spectacular photo and that’s the key to your progression. Don’t be scared of constructive criticism; we all started somewhere and making mistakes is a natural part of learning. Every mistake is an opportunity to do it better next time.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF35mmF2 R WR – 1/350 second – F16 – ISO 200

 

To view more Athol’s work visit his website or follow him on Instagram, Twitter or Flickr.

Other interviews in this series

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Rhys Tattersall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Jared Morgan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Tony Gardiner

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Greg Cromie

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Clèment Breuille

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Bhagiraj Sivagnanasundaram

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Joe Allam

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Chelsey Elliott

 

 

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Joe Allam

Welcome to the Second Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our seventh interview in Series Two is with Melbourne based photographer, Joe Allam.

Joe, tell us about yourself and how you ended up with a camera in your hand travelling the world?

 

Hey, thanks for inviting me to the blog! I’m a mid-20s “independent creative” as I like to label it. Descending from a background in graphic design and a passion for photography from a young age, I’ve slowly been becoming more and more self-sufficient with my work and more remote with my clients, to allow extended travel around the world.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF23mmF2 R WR – 1/40 second – F4 – ISO 1000

 

It all started from a personal goal with my partner Elly, to pack everything up and go travelling for at least a year, with the intention of basing ourselves in Melbourne for the majority of that time. Throughout the past couple of years, I’ve been documenting my photography experiences to a growing audience on YouTube. In short, this has all helped to create a lifestyle that opens further opportunities for even more travel content creation!

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/140 second – F5.6 – ISO 200

 

 

What are your impressions on the Fujifilm X-T2?

 

I love the X-T2! In fact, I’ve been falling heavily for Fujifilm cameras ever since I recommended Elly get the X-T10 last year. They’ve easily been the most enjoyable cameras I’ve ever used. The X-T2, in particular, is just incredibly functional and usable, with everything I need fully accessible while shooting. I’ve been dabbling with various mirrorless setups over the past few years, but always took note of them not being DSLRs. With the X-T2, I have to remind myself that it is actually a mirrorless camera! There’s always been talk about when the DSLR will truly die off in favour of mirrorless, but I’ve never been so confident of that coming sooner until I used the X-T2.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/1600 second – F5 – ISO 200

 

One of the standout features I’ve loved about the X-T2 and other Fujifilm cameras is the viewfinder. I’ve never been much of a fan of electronic viewfinders in the past. I’ve always been very conscious of them, which can be quite distracting when taking photos. There’s just something extremely comfortable and enjoyable with the Fujifilm ones though. Coupled with just the right settings for customisation, I’ve been able to make them personal to me and my shooting style very easily.

 

For my travel lifestyle, using the X-T2 has been an extremely welcome change regarding the size and weight of my equipment. It’s been able to replace almost all needs that I had for a photography camera, in a body that’s about half the weight and size of my previous cameras.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF23mmF2 R WR – 1/30 second – F10 – ISO 200

 

 

Recently you travelled to New Zealand, in your opinion what was the best photo you captured using the X-T2 during the trip? Can you tell us the story behind the image?

 

An image that really stands out for me was taken in Arthur’s Pass overlooking “the viaduct”. It’s a viewpoint I’d seen visiting New Zealand for the first time last year and still amazes me having seen it a couple more times since.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/125 second – F9 – ISO 200

 

Previously I’d been unlucky with the light and time of day for travelling through Arthur’s Pass, as it’s always been during a day of 5+ hours of driving, which doesn’t give much flexibility for an itinerary. This year was much the same, driving through Arthur’s Pass slap bang in the middle of the day with flat cloud cover and drizzling rain. However, just as I reached the viewpoint for the shot, some cloud cover broke, and the rain stopped to add some extra variation to the lighting which was very welcome!

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/125 second – F9 – ISO 200

 

I wanted to display the landscape’s diversity with the foreground grass interest, to show how varied the terrain is; rather than it just looking like a drone shot; which is why I got low for the shot poking the lens through the metal railings. With the coach driving through the middle, I was also able to show a sense of scale for the bridge, and hopefully, with this shot, I’ve been able to inspire other people to visit New Zealand.

 

 

What Fujinon lens did you reach for most when you were travelling? Why was this your favourite lens?

 

I found myself using the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 throughout most of the trip, which actually surprised me. I honestly thought I was going to have the XF23mmF2 almost permanently fixed, but I think the convenience of the wide to telephoto focal length really came into play while travelling.

 

The trip was very hectic, with multiple long distance driving routes, helicopters, 4-wheel driving and boat trips. All that added up to very tight opportunities for actually capturing a moment, which is why the versatility of going from 18mm to 135mm really helped. I especially enjoyed the longer end of the lens and ended up composing more images with telephoto styles than my original style would suggest.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/800 second – F5.6 – ISO 250

 

 

Throughout your travels, in Australia and New Zealand, you used the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X-T2. What did you find was the main advantage/disadvantage of one camera over the other?

 

Even though both cameras are very similar, they both still have their distinct features and use cases. This may sound a bit contradicting, but I find the X-T2 to be much more of an all-round camera, yet the X-Pro2 feels more like a camera that I would actually have with me everyday. I really enjoy the stealthy approach to the X-Pro2 when shooting in urban environments. The form factor felt ever so slightly more portable than the X-T2 as well. Overall it just felt like a camera I could pretty much always have in my bag or pocket, no matter where I was going in the city.

 

The X-T2 on the other hand felt a little more substantial as a camera. It felt like something that I would bring for a particular shooting intention. Of course, this is all relative to just my personal experience, as I know photographers who shoot weddings and such with an X-Pro2…

 

One aspect of the X-T2 that I found so much more comfortable however was the SLR-styled design, especially with the viewfinder inline with the lens. Not that I disliked the side orientation on the X-Pro2, it just took an extra bit of a conscious effort to hold the camera to my face in the right place. Again, it sounds silly, but when transitioning between so many different brands of cameras at the same time, sometimes my muscle memory just couldn’t keep up with itself!

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/60 second – F5.6 – ISO 2500

 

The dial locks and placements were somewhat better implemented on the X-T2, but in reality, it barely changed my shooting style between the two cameras. There is definitely a lot of crossover within the tech specs between the two cameras. Yet, I can still distinctly see a use case for either body.

 

 

When filming on the Fujifilm X-T2, are there any settings you would recommend using?

 

I pretty much always follow the cinematic style of shooting video with an 180º shutter angle. So I would mostly be using a shutter speed of 1/50th or 1/100th depending on whether I was shooting at 25fps or 50fps. Specific to Fujifilm, however, would be using the film simulation “Pro Neg Hi.” I found it to be the most neutral and pleasing to use with regards to colour grading the footage in post production.

 

I did also shoot some F-Log footage into my Atomos Ninja Assassin via HDMI out, which worked very well. However, a setting I discovered I needed to disable was the auto-off feature. F-Log video is recorded externally rather than to the SD card, which means the camera is technically idle and would need some form of interaction to stop it from going to sleep.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF23mmF2 R WR – 1/30 second – F5 – ISO 200

 

 

If you were to design the next Fujifilm X Series camera what feature(s) would you include based on your vast experience with mirrorless cameras?

 

Although I very much enjoy the Fujifilm system for my work, there are still a few very specific features I feel are missing. Most notably would be an 180º flip-out touch screen so that I could consider using an X-T2 for vlogging. It would also be suitable for when filming in tight spaces when the back of the camera is up against a wall. Mix in some in-body image stabilisation to compliment a lens based image stabilisation, and there could be some serious video specs to tick all the boxes!

 

I switch between photo and video modes often when out shooting, yet I get frustrated having to adjust settings between the two every time I switch modes. A simple solution would be a setting that could enable a “last-used settings” for each mode, rather than carrying everything over each time. For example, when in video mode, I would set my shutter to 1/50th and film a scene for a cinematic frame rate. Yet in photo mode, I may want to use a higher shutter speed to freeze the motion rather than introduce blur. I’ve experimented with setting custom modes for each setup, but this still doesn’t fulfil the “remember last settings” for each particular mode. Along similar lines would be a dedicated video button similar to what is used on the X-Pro2, but is missing from the X-T2.

 

I’d also love to see the XF lenses have reduced friction on the lens barrel for smoother zooming and manual focus, along with a constant physical size using internal moving components — I’ve never been a fan of lenses that “grow” when zooming.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/680 second – F5 – ISO 200

 

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

 

The best advice I can give to anyone starting out is to always have a camera with you. Sometimes you never know when you may come across a shot, but more importantly, it’s about knowing your camera inside out, so that when you do come across the right shot, you’re prepared for it, with a camera you know how to use.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/180 second – F10 – ISO 200

 

On too many occasions I see beginner photographers get frustrated in a situation because they can’t get a look or style they have in mind, or the camera is “acting weird”. Take the time to truly get to know your equipment by shooting often, and you’ll soon find that your creative side will start to improve as you try to find better ways of shooting your everyday life!

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – 1/1000 second – F20 – ISO 3200

To view more Joe’s work visit his blog, watch him on YouTube or visit his Instagram account or Facebook page.

Other interviews in this series

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Rhys Tattersall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Jared Morgan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Tony Gardiner

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Greg Cromie

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Clèment Breuille

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Bhagiraj Sivagnanasundaram

 

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Clèment Breuille

Welcome to the Second Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our fifth interview in Series Two is with Sydney based photographer, Clèment Breuille.

Clément, what do you most like about Australian landscape photography and how did you end up shooting with a Fujifilm X-Pro2? 

I’ve grown up in France and never really got the chance to travel before I was twenty. During my master in design at l’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantiques, it was mandatory for us to do an internship abroad. And this is where everything started. I’ve found my internship in Sydney, which is the farthest destination possible from France (17000km).

I think this is what the internship was all about, getting out of your comfort zone: discovering a new way of living, new language, new perspective, etc…

It’s a great thing as a designer to do this exercise as it does open your vision on the world. People understand the role of the designer only from a graphic approach, someone who is creating something visually attractive. This is not entirely true. Design is a process, a way of approaching a problem and developing a solution. I think this is why I’ve started photography. Not only as a hobby but as an exercise with rules and processes.

Landscape photography is my favourite subject down under. First of all for the challenge, but also for the magnificence of it.

As a European growing up in France for pretty much my entire life, I’m always amazed by the diversity and richness of this country, and this is even after two years of living here. As a designer, a photographer requires the appropriate tools to succeed. This is why I’ve ended up shooting with a Fujifilm X-Pro2 after having been Canon user for the last four years.

The X-Pro2 is a compact and lightweight camera, which is exactly what I need when I have to endure a long hike to access my dream locations. Additionally, the great details and quality produced by the camera are perfect.

 

What do you like most about the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and what do you like the least? 

The capability of the Fujifilm X-PRO2 is just incredible for a camera of its size. I can literally bring it with me everywhere each day with the ability to shoot within a few seconds.
I think this is what I like the most after using the camera for the last year. The capability of knowing what you are doing at all time and being able to obtain the best possible shot straight out of the camera with its viewfinder is just incredible for a photographer like me.

For me, the weakness of the X-Pro2 is visible when you mount it on a tripod. When shooting landscapes you don’t always have the luxury to get the camera at your height and in front of you, and for this reason, I’d love to have a tilt screen. Managing your settings and especially your ISO could be challenging. You need to pull up the ISO selector on the top of the camera, which sometimes can create a little vibration creating blur in your image. These two points were solved on the Fujifilm X-T2, but I wish that the features will be considered in the next generation of the X-Pro2.

 

We noticed you photograph quite a few long exposures, can you show us one and tell us the story behind the image?

Recently, during the Vivid Festival 2017. Josselin Cornou and I were photographing at Circular Quay. We were quite surprised at just how clear was the sky was. We decided to check the position of the Milky Way by using the Photopills app, as we knew that it was the perfect time to observe and shoot the stars. Josselin tried it first using his Fujifilm GFX 50S, to have as much detail as possible and check if the shot was worth trying. We didn’t wait long as the first attempt was a success.

Following that shot, we had been shooting continuously for at least two hours before. At the festival, there were many lights moving around making it hard to get that “perfect shot”. After a long shoot and a long process in Photoshop, I finally was able to produce this one.

I never post-process my shots that much, as I tend to have the best possible image straight out of the camera. I was quite surprised at just how much detail I was able to get back from the X-Pro2 even when I pushed it to the limit.

Of course, we are now comparing an image from a medium format camera, against an APS-C Sized sensor. But seeing the two final shots and forgetting about the two post-processing styles, I do think that the Fujifilm X-Pro2 holds up against its bigger brother.

As an expat living in Australia what artistic, environmental or logistical challenges have you found when photographing ‘down under’ compared with your homeland?

Australia is a great country for a landscape photographer. There are many opportunities to shoot here all time of the year. To capitalise on this, you need to be ready.
In France, it is quite different as everything is ‘close’. Here in Australia, you need to plan where you are going, and when you are going to leave. You can be isolated and most of the time without mobile reception.

Taking the above image as an example, the plan was to go at Stockton just above Newcastle for sunset. After a long day driving and shooting at some spots on our way, @Adriano, @Josselin and I finally got to our location. After a quick one hour walk, we arrived in front of the dunes just on time.

We were there on time, but we didn’t take into consideration that we had to climb the massive dunes that were separating the track from the actual sand area where we wanted to shoot. It took us a good twenty minutes to climb the high dunes with all of our gear and equipment. In the end, we were only able to capture some of the last light due to the unexpected obstacle.
Looking back, the thought of driving, walking and climbing just for one shot was quite insane, but totally worth it.

Luckily enough, the conditions were perfect. During our stay in the dunes, we spotted a lot of nebulas and shooting stars that were clearly visible with our own eyes. When you arrive, you certainly feel small as Stockton is massive. You are surrounded by sand, and as we were walking, we started losing the notion of distance or time.

Around 3 am, we were all tired and cold. We weren’t sure exactly how far the was car, so we made the decision to sleep on the dunes. Without a tent, we used our camera bags as pillows and used the clothes on our backs to warm us up. That was certainly some of the longest hours I’ve experienced in my life! Waiting for the cold and the wind to dissipate before the sun warmed us up.

I remember us looking for another spot to ‘sleep’ as the first one ended up being too windy. We were walking like zombies in the dark hoping that this would end up soon. And that was the time the sun camera up, bringing with it a mysterious fog.

The journey to the dunes certainly was an amazing experience. Putting aside all the great moment and images it could have ended up turning for the worst. For example, running low on water, getting cold in the dunes without mobile reception, these things were avoidable if only we didn’t rush and instead equipped ourselves with all the information we needed to succeed in our trip.

Photography is a passion that requires a lot of time and effort, but you should never put yourself in a dangerous situation. Remember that at the end of the day (or night in our case) it’s only an image and it is not worth breaking your equipment for the shot, or worst losing your life.

In summary, my advice would be to know where you are going and what the weather will be, bring a lot of water and food, and let people know where you are.

 

How do you find the colours produced from Fujifilm X Series cameras compared with previous brands you may have used?

The colours straight out of the camera on the Fujifilm X-Pro2 are just amazingly correct! I used to shoot on a Canon EOS 60D for a long time, and I remember always having to change the white balance to get the shot looking natural in camera. With the X-Pro2, I may sometimes just increase the saturation and that’s it.

As a landscape photographer, it’s a great thing to be able to trust your camera as you are not always able to post process on the go. The Fujifilm cameras have an excellent advantage; they boast a broad range of film simulation, which makes your shot ready for social media or printing SOOC (straight out of the camera).

 

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

The great thing about photography is that you have a lot of different genres to explore. For example, someone who is an excellent portrait photographer might find a new challenge in landscape photography. That’s why I love photography. You always have news technique and things to learn, it never stops.

My first piece of advice would be to not invest too much money in your gear. The most important aspect of your gear is to understand how it works. For that, you should bring it with you daily, take it to work for instance. Shoot as many different subjects as possible, until you learn what settings are best. There’s no need to have a professional camera body to start off with. I’ve seen a lot of people investing in professional cameras without even understanding it.

My second piece of advice would be not to limit yourself and your creativity. Recently I’ve participated in a creative meetup at the Vivid festival in Sydney. The purpose of the event was to produce an image based on the particular brief. By participating in meetups like this, you will find your creativity. As a designer, I’ll never be able to produce something if I didn’t have direction from the client. The same should be said when it comes to your photography. Try and push your ideas so that they develop into photos.

My final advice would be to stay aware and connected. With the chance to live in a connected world, where it’s easy to share and learn from other people it’s a great place to learn. I have watched a lot of tutorials on YouTube and other social media platforms to understand how to achieve things in my photography journey.

Share your work and ask for feedback. Even if the feedback is negative, remember people are judging an image not you. By listening and exploring your creativity, you will only improve your work.

If you could give Fujifilm any advice on future camera models what would it be and why?

Fujifilm designs their product very well and understands their end user. You can feel it when you have one of their cameras in your hand. However as I’ve mentioned, I’d love to understand why some of the features of the X-T2 such as the dedicated ISO selector and the tilt screen are not available for the X-PRO2. I’m also disappointed to see a particular range of L-Brackets and battery grips for the X-T2, whereas the X-Pro2 is lacking in the accessories arena. Reading this, you might be thinking why didn’t I purchased a Fujifilm X-T2? The reason is simple, at the time of buying my X-PRO2 nothing was communicated about the release of the X-T2.

I know that Fujifilm love to keep their product secret, but maybe a better communication for the next generation might be necessary.

Can you share any insight into any post processing techniques other Fujifilm users should explore?

When it comes to post processing, everybody has their preferences, the most popular programs I hear about are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.
As a personal choice, I only use Photoshop and Camera RAW which is part of Photoshop.

The important thing for me to remember is to keep the final image ‘natural’. It is good to think about this sometimes when you work on a picture. I find taking a break and returning to the edit later can be beneficial. The reason is when you process you might make a mistake. Having a fresh eye on your workflow will give you the ability to notice and improve your way of working.

For my editing process, I’ve followed some tutorials produced by Jimmy Mcintyre. I must say they have helped me on this difficult photographic journey. I will not get into details as I don’t want to steal the credit and effort that he put into his techniques, all I will say is you should check out his YouTube channel.

I’ll use this image shown below to explain how I best process an image.

The basic idea I like to use when processing one or multiple images is to use luminosity masks. The great thing about Fujifilm RAW files is they have a lot of image detail information in them. This gives you the ability to recover shadow or highlight details in a picture easily without affecting the final image. I must say though if you want to use multiple images, remember to use a tripod when shooting.

For this particular image, I used two photos: the RAW above and another image slightly more exposed for the fence. After the blending here is the results:

Once you have all blending completed and have one final image, move onto enhancing the image. This is a subjective step, and you can go as creative as you want, but I recommend for landscape photographers always to remember to be conservative and keep it ‘natural’. For this image, I enhanced the contrast and colours and finished with a soft vignette to lead the eyes to the subject.

 

To view more Clèment’s work visit his website or follow him on Instagram or Facebook.

Other interviews in this series

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Rhys Tattersall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Jared Morgan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Tony Gardiner

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Greg Cromie

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Tony Gardiner

Welcome to the Second Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our third interview in Series Two is with Sydney based photographer, Tony Gardiner.

Tony, cinematography has been a big part of your life and runs in your family, can you tell us why you decided to use the Fujifilm X-Pro2 to capture on set still images and how did your relationship with Fujifilm originally start?

 

I have been very fortunate to grow up around image-makers. Cinematography is the family business! My father and grandfather ran a film lab in Sydney Australia. Because of my long association with image making, I have always been familiar with Fujifilm & Fujinon products and have always held the lenses especially in high regard.

 

I was looking for a lightweight easy to use mirrorless camera to capture both on set stills and for my art projects because I have always liked the look of Fujifilm products.

 

 

Did you face any challenges while using the X-Pro2, XF50-140mmF2.8 or XF35mmF1.4? Can you tell us how you overcame them?

 

There were no significant challenges that would be specific to the X Series. I enjoyed the size and power of the camera. The main challenge was the size of the long lens. However, this is just the physics of glass elements and lens as a whole. The XF50-140mmF2.8 is a beautiful lens, but I just found it a bit too big to shoot from the hip on set.

 

 

You may have seen that Fujifilm released the new MK18-55mm T2.9 lens for E-Mount cameras, tell us in your professional opinion, based on what you have seen, how do you see Fujinon lenses changing the game for independent cinematographers?

 

I have always been a big fan of Fujinon Glass. Owning a set of Alura / Arri Studio zooms which unfortunately I no longer have, however, I have been able to get the Fujinon Cabrio range of zooms for the bigger “tent pole” episodes of the popular TV show, Home and Away. The size and quality of these lenses open up so many opportunities not just for independent but major productions alike.

 

Sony’s E- Mount series of cameras themselves have been wonderful assets to independent and small productions however the lens selection has been limited. The release of the lightweight E-Mount Fujinon lens is a significant step in taking a wonderful system from good to great.

 

 

 

Can you give us an insight into what it’s like working in a crew and how you depend on each other to create a scene?

 

I’m really lucky to have an amazing crew on Home on Away! We work 46 weeks a year together. Spending that much time together makes us kind of like family, and like family, there are ups and downs, but there is no way we could get our insane schedule completed without every single person on set. I have some of the best operators in the business who frame up what I want before I know I want it! My grip can build multiple lenses of track on the beach in no time. It’s because of their talent and ability to work in all conditions (sometimes in relatively harsh conditions) that we can produce excellent results day in day out.

 

 

 

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

 

Persistence, keep shooting. Shoot as often as you can and learn from every shot you take. I have been working on professional sets since I was 16 and almost every day I still learn new tricks or techniques that I can store in my bag of tricks.

 

 

As a cinematographer, do you do anything differently when capturing a scene on a stills camera compared to one that records video? Does composition and image ratio play an important part?

 

While photography and cinematography share a lot of the same skill sets, they both have very different sets of rules that you need to learn (so you can know when to stick by them and when to break them)! With photography, you are capturing a single moment in time, so the way you tell your story is very different. Cinematography allows you to tell a story with a moving image however it can have more restraints in framing and composition.

 

 

What was your favourite image captured using the Fujinon XF50-140mmF2.8? Can you tell us the story behind the picture?

 

My favourite image with the long lens is just a quick snapshot I took of a boat at sea while in-between setups on a “Home and Away” set at Palm Beach in Sydney. This was a lucky case of excellent timing with the seagull flying through shot. I love the ease of use of the X Series, while on set I was able to quickly pick up the camera and grab this image while shooting a scene.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR – 140mm – 1/32,000 – F2.8 – ISO 250

 

 

Considering you been in the industry for a while and used a lot of gear what would you like to see on a future X Series camera regarding settings and video features?

 

With the updates to the X-T2, I think Fujifilm has come a long way in making a very usable “B” camera for cinematography use. I would like to see 4K video capabilities included in the X-Pro2 camera. However, I understand this may change the ergonomics and size of the camera, so maybe I just have to man up and go for the X-T2!

 

To view more of Tony’s work visit his website or follow him on Instagram.

Other interviews in this series

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Rhys Tattersall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Jared Morgan

 

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Jared Morgan

Welcome to the Second Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our second interview in Series Two is with Cairns, Queensland-based photographer, Jared Morgan.

 

When you first started out pursuing photography did you consider Fujifilm equipment and can you let us know why you use the gear now?

 

My only real experience with Fujifilm before the Fujifilm X-T10 and Fujifilm X-T2 was probably around 2006. If I remember correctly I had a Fujifilm FinePix S5500 bridge camera. I think it was a 4 Megapixel camera. They were a pretty good travel camera for the time. This camera did some hard travelling through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam after I purchased it.

 

The camera was also pushed into service as the camera I took in 2011 when I rode my motorcycle on a three-month trip around Australia. However, that trip eventually saw its demise, and it retired from active service!

 

I then went down a somewhat traditional route many photographers have gone down. I decided I liked the ergonomics of Nikon DSLR cameras and have used a Nikon DSLR system for several years. My interest for re-entering the Fujifilm world was I was looking for a lightweight travel system. I purchased the Fujifilm X-T10, XF18-55mmF2.8-4, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 and rented the XF10-24mmF4 for a personal trip to Japan in late 2016.

 

On my last few days in Japan, I purchased the Fujifilm X-T2. This was when I seriously considered the Fujifilm system for everyday professional use. I have been slowly but surely building up my Fujifilm inventory of equipment and introducing it to my professional work as my Nikon gear slowly phased out.

One of my first efforts exploring the Fujifilm X-T10 before Japan. Looking back at Cairns (Australia) over Trinity Inlet.

Fujifilm X-T10 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 – 18mm – F13 – 20sec – ISO200

 

 

Do you have a favourite photo you have captured using Fujifilm equipment? Can you tell us the story behind the image?

 

I think my favourite photo so far with the Fujifilm system is a photograph I simply call “Takayama”. This photograph was taken with the Fujifilm X-T10 in Takayama, Japan. I had travelled to Japan in November of 2016 and was still getting to know the Fujifilm X-T10 on the fly a little bit.

 

I tend to walk a lot when I travel, I have always been a bit of a wanderer, (I think it’s a great way to get to know the places you visit). I had planned to walk to Hida Folk Village in Takayama in the morning which is located about 5 kilometres from the town. Well, as plans go, sometimes things don’t go as expected. I had been out quite late doing some night photography and ended up sleeping in. After getting organised, I walked outside to the most amazing mist or fog that had enveloped Takayama. I grabbed the nearest taxi and high-tailed it! It turned out to be great timing; I had still arrived early enough that the crowds were minimal and I had about twenty minutes of the mist rolling down off and surrounding the hills before the sun rose enough and the magic evaporated.

 

This is just one of many shots taken that morning in great haste! It may not be the most technically proficient photo, but I still smile when I think of that time in Takayama. Hopefully, I captured something of what it was like.

Takayama – Fujifilm X-T10 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 – 18mm – F8 – 1/200sec – ISO200

 

 

 

We noticed you enjoy night photography, what sort of settings do you mainly use when photographing with your Fujifilm X-T2?

 

Night photography is something I very much enjoy. I consider myself a generalist at this stage in my photography career, but if I had to choose something I would prefer to do it would be out exploring in the dark with a camera.

 

I have always gravitated to night photography. Partly that’s just who I am, I am quite happy alone and exploring, and partly the technical challenge of finding light when there appears to be none. I have always been fascinated by the fact that mundane places can be very different, even spectacular when viewed through the filter of the darkness.

 

As for settings, it is rare for me to do much over a 30-second exposure. I find with the style of night photography I do there is usually enough in a 30-second exposure to make an image. I recently completed a small series of local waterfalls at night time. Almost all were taken with 30-second exposures, and occasionally multiple exposures blended together.

 

I found both the Fujifilm X-T10 and X-T2 easily the best cameras I have used for their ease of night photography. The Electronic View Finder has changed the way I shoot at night. I can compose in almost complete darkness and not have to take several high ISO shots to check my composition. This has most definitely kept my time spent ‘fiddling in the dark’ around to a minimum.

Takayama Swan – Fujifilm X-T10 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 – 31mm – 1/100sec – ISO200

 

 

 

Jared, as a part time professional photographer what do you see being the biggest hurdle in establishing yourself as a full-time professional?

 

I think the main hurdle to becoming a full-time professional photographer for me is a somewhat complicated question! Firstly, the decision to become full-time must be examined.

 

I see advantages in not relying on photography as my main source of income. I have a reliable stream of income from my current employment and, I see the benefit in remaining a part-time photographer and reducing my hours spent in my ‘day job’.

 

By not constantly being under pressure to source income from my photography, I feel I have much more control and can be a bit pickier in what and when I shoot. I also feel this allows me more freedom to explore my interests in photography and allows me to be more creative. I have learnt that this journey as a photographer is somewhat out of my control at this time. I am happy and willing to some extent to let the fortunes of fate decide what is in store for my photographic career.

 

Just a short time ago I would never have dreamed of an opportunity like appearing in this series by Fujifilm, and am more curious than ever to see where and what I end up doing in photography be that in a full or part-time capacity.

Crystal Cascades Cairns – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 – 39mm – F11 – 30sec – ISO200

 

 

 

Recently you travelled to Japan with the Fujifilm X-T10 and three XF lenses. How did you find the Fujifilm X Series system when travelling?

 

The catalyst for looking at the Fujifilm system for me was largely an issue of weight. I had travelled to Europe in 2015, and like many photographers who travel, I suspect I tend to travel with a bit too much gear in fear of losing “the shot”!

 

I started looking at compact systems for travel but I also definitely did not want to sacrifice image quality and capability. This is how I ended up researching the Fujifilm cameras initially. I was going to Japan in November of 2016 for a solo photography trip and decided on the Fujifilm X-T10, XF18-55mmF2.8-4, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 and I rented the XF10-24mmF4. I weighed my gear that I took to Europe and Japan recently to compare the weight savings of now using Fujifilm. The Fujifilm gear I now travel with is about half that of my other equipment! So, safe to say that part of my requirements was achieved – absolutely!

 

As I do enjoy night photography, safety is always a concern as well. Although this is not really an issue in Japan, the smaller less obtrusive gear does allow me somewhat to be less conspicuous and not necessarily look like I am carrying lots of expensive camera gear around.

 

I have also discovered that people photography or street photography is much more enjoyable with the Fujifilm. People don’t seem to be as concerned when they notice they may be being photographed with a smaller camera than a traditional DSLR type camera, so definitely a good system for street photographers I think.

 

Overall, I have found I am much more likely to nearly always have a camera on me now, and the Fujifilm X-T2 is just such a pleasure to use. I found no drawbacks with the Fujifilm system when it comes to travelling, and am looking forward to returning to Japan with my Fujifilm X-T2 in December.

Shibuya Crossing – Tokyo Japan – Fujifilm X-T10 with XF10-24mmF4 – 10mm – F4 – 1/5sec – ISO200

 

 

While you were in Japan, you purchased the Fujifilm X-T2. Tell us in a few sentences what you are most excited about exploring on this camera?

 

The Fujifilm X-T2 was a turning point for me. This camera made me realise the potential of the Fujifilm cameras to be used professionally and was largely responsible for me to start switching to Fujifilm full time and not just as a travel camera.

 

The latest features to be introduced via the recent firmware update that were of most interest to me were the ability to change ISO on the front dial, longer exposure times when in bulb mode and smaller focus points available. I have also been making use of the voice memo function to make a few notes on location while shooting. I am slowly starting to explore video as well so I will be spending a fair amount of time exploring the Fujifilm X-T2’s video capabilities in the coming months.

Old Man Kyoto – Fujifilm X-T10 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 – 55mm – F5.6 – 1/500sec – ISO800

Kyoto Reflections – Fujifilm X-T10 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 – 55mm – F5.6 – 1/500 – ISO800

 

 

When photographing in your hometown of Cairns, Australia how do you find people react to you using Fujifilm equipment? Do you notice any differences from changing over from a Digital SLR?

 

 

It has been very interesting seeing people’s reactions to the Fujifilm cameras. There are the people who are fascinated by the manual dials and many older people comment on the similarity of the Fujifilm cameras to the old film cameras they grew up with.

 

There is something special about the look of the cameras. They are a very tactile camera, and you just want to touch them! Then there are the “photographers” who can’t possibly even begin to understand that it’s not a Nikon or Canon, and will explain at length why brand x is better. I usually am happy to explain the benefits of the Fujifilm as I see them. I am more and more happy just to nod and smile and let the results speak for themselves!

 

The main differences I have noticed is obviously the reduction in weight. Also, I just want to use the camera more. I sometimes just pick the camera up so I can enjoy holding it…the X factor perhaps.

Trinity Inlet (Cairns Australia) – Fujifilm X-T10 – XF18-55mmF2.8-4 – 35mm – F14 – 13sec – ISO200

 

 

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

 

My advice for someone starting out in photography would be to really learn the basic stuff like composition, colour, exposure, etc. Once you have the basics really sorted, you will be able to make the creative ideas you have in your head.

 

Vision and creativity are of course important, but if you don’t understand how to make it happen, it’s not of much use. I think being good at one will often make you better at the other. Secondly, don’t try and force a particular style. Your own style will develop naturally over time. Don’t follow the latest trends just because something may be popular right now. Develop YOUR photography style.

 

Don’t think the journey ends, never stop learning. Study other photographers, try new techniques and explore your ideas. Remember you will fail, learn from your failures. Lastly, always remember you make your images not the latest gadget!

Kyoto Gion District – Fujifilm X-T10 with XF10-24mmF4 – 10mm – F22 – 45sec – ISO200

 

To view more of Jared’s work visit his website or follow him on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Other interviews in this series

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Rhys Tattersall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Joe Jongue

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

Joe, can you tell us about yourself and what sparks your creativity and gets you out shooting?

 

Like some people, my hobbies and passion for things always change with the wind. However, photography was never on that list, even though my grandfather was a professional photographer in his time (I still have his vintage C.P. Goerz Berlin Dagor lens).

 

The first camera I purchased was the (then stylish) Sony Cybershot T1 back in 2001 when compact ‘happy-snaps’ were in. Fast forward to 2013 which was when my interest and passion for photography began. After briefly using a friend’s Canon 650D, I went out the next week and purchased my own, and the rest was history.

 

It took two years for me to identify and develop my shooting style, it was around this time when I also developed an interest in Street Photography. What sparks my creativity when I’m out shooting is my gut instinct, I go with the flow, if I feel it, then I’ll shoot it, if I only manage one keeper at the end of the day, it’s a good day.

 

What do you photograph with and what gear do you like to take with you when you’re out photographing? 

 

I enjoy shooting Street Photography, anything that is candid and raw. So when I’m out and about, I carry my Fujifilm X-T20 mounted with the XF35mmF2 everywhere I go. It’s a perfect little lens when combined with the smaller body of the X-T20 and the Auto-Focus speed on it is fast enough to capture candid moments while producing tack sharp images in the process. I never leave home without it.

 

 

Can you tell us about the Facebook community you orchestrate and explain why the community is important in the field of photography? 

 

After my transition from DSLR to Fujifilm Mirrorless, there weren’t many support communities around, many of the group’s on Facebook posed as a dumping ground for unboxing photos of other people’s gear, there was little interaction between members of the group. So my good friend, Antonio Colaiacovo (whom I shared the journey of transitioning from DSLR to Fujifilm with), decided to start our own community group, Fujifilm X Australia Photographers Facebook Group.

 

 

What do you look for in a photo and do you worry about composition, lighting or focus? 

 

I enjoy black & white photos, I’m a big fan of leading lines and will always try and incorporate these into my images as I compose for a shot. I find that having a leading line in the scene can sometimes help frame and compose the shot for you than not having one. In terms of lighting, as opposed to most photographers who will try and seek out the ‘Golden’ hour for natural lighting and avoid the harsh 12 o’clock sun, I, on the other hand, prefer this, it creates more defined shadows and can often help create leading lines in situations that would not normally allow.

 

 

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

 

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

 

How did you find out about Fujifilm X Series cameras and what made you choose the model you shoot with? 

 

I first came across the Fujifilm X Series when I was searching for an alternative solution to my encumbering DSLR set up. Before making the full transition, I purchased the compact Fujifilm X30 as it had the same sensor and processor as the X-T1. I immediately fell in love with the colours and clarity of its JPEG quality; the film simulation was also a bonus; however, I was still on the fence and needed a little more convincing. About two years ago I participated in the Global 500px Photo Walk hosted by Fujifilm Australia, it was my opportunity to ask some questions around areas of concern, but more so I had the chance to try the X-T1.

The very next week I sold all my DSLR gear and made a full transition over to Fujifilm and am now fully invested. I now shoot with the X-T20, I chose this over the more popular X-T2 because of the small size and light weight body but mainly because it was almost identical to the X-T2, I was happy without the extra features offered by X-T2, and it suited my style of shooting.

 

Can you tell us the story behind your favourite photo you have captured using an X Series camera? 

 

One of my favourite photos was the one taken of a man walking in the middle of the tram tracks; the shot was taken on Bourke St Mall, Melbourne using the Fujifilm X30 during the busy afternoon rush hour. What makes this special is that this particular street is usually busy with pedestrians crossing from all directions while trams run up and down the street at regular intervals.

While I was framing this shot, the intention was to capture the tram tracks leading up the hill to the horizon. However, while standing in the middle of the tram tracks, I could hear a tram approaching from behind, I wanted to move out the way but my gut instinct convinced me otherwise, and that’s when I noticed a man walking into my frame. I paused a moment even though the tram behind was honking for me to move, once the man was in the centre of the frame I took the shot and moved out the way for the oncoming tram. The end result would not have been possible if I had moved and not listened to my gut instinct.

 

What’s one photography tip you have learned from someone else that you would like to pass on to the greater audience?

 

Just because you have a fast prime i.e. F1.2 doesn’t mean you must shoot wide open, each lens has a sweet spot, understanding the aperture range can mean the difference between a tack sharp image and a blurry one.

To view more of Joe’s work visit his site or visit any of his profile on Facebook or Instagram.

Editors Note: Fujifilm Australia does not endorse photographing while standing on train or tram tracks.

Other interviews in this series

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Drew Hopper

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Alamby Leung

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ian Tan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Dale Rogers

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Josselin Cornou

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Chris Hopkins

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Anirban Chatterjee

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Harmeet Gabha

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Benjamin Lee

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Anirban Chatterjee

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

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Anirban, can you tell us about your journey of becoming a visual storyteller and how you became involved in photography?

 

I was very curious about photography in childhood. Both my dad and granddad were amateur photographers. As far as I remember, we always had a camera or two in our house. But in India in the 80s and 90s, the time when I was growing up, owning a camera was not very common. The camera was more of a family treasure than a tool of the trade. So, my time with the camera was very limited. The norm was I got to take one frame during an entire family vacation. I don’t think my dad could have handled his anxiety more than that. So, yes, I was curious more in a forbidden fruit kind of way than anything else.

Actual photography happened a bit late in my life. My first camera was a Kodak point and shoot which I bought in 2005 when I was living in London. It was my first time outside India, and I wanted to preserve my memories. Then in 2007, I moved to Thailand. This was the time when prosumer DSLRs were getting more mainstream. All my friends had a DSLR. They were all talking about stuff my simple point and shoot could never do. So, one day I went and bought a Pentax K10D. Yes, in a way, I bought my first DSLR because of peer pressure. And that’s pretty much how I got started in photography.

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Between 2005 and 2012, I was living a nomadic life. Especially between 2007 and 2012, I lived in five countries and visited two more. When I started, my images were mostly of these new places, its culture, and people. I wanted to share stories about these new experiences with my parent back in India. I like to think of my Mom as my first editorial client. That’s how I started telling stories through my photography.

During this time, I was also fortunate to get published in a few global publications and was featured in the Pentax artist gallery. This led to a few actual client assignments which further pushed me to learn more about the craft, and to improve my skills.

In 2013 I moved to Australia. Soon after I became a dad, life took over, and photography moved to the bottom of the priority list. In hindsight, I think the time off was a great thing to happen. I got the time to think about where I wanted to be with my life, reset my priorities and what photography meant to me as a person.

My passion continues to be a visual storyteller and photography will always be my chosen medium. I think with time, and from experience, I have finally found the way.

Though I started doing photography almost 10 years back, it has only been a year or so that I feel I have become a photographer.

 

Having shot exclusively on the Fujifilm X-T1 and X100T since 2013, can you explain how X Series equipment has helped your photography style?

 

It may sound a bit odd, but I want my camera to do most of the heavy lifting for me. For me, that’s the reason technology exists. Carl Mydans once said that sophisticated equipment simply “frees all of us from the tyranny of technique and enables us to turn to what photography is all about – creating a picture”. And X Series cameras allow me to do just that.

The beauty of X-Series camera is the common design principles they all share. My main gear for my client work is X-T1, but I also use my X100T when required. For me, it is another body with XF23mmF2 lens. This is where the common design principle helps. Both the cameras work the same way, the menu options which I use are common, the dials and knobs are almost at the same place. I set up both the cameras in the same way, and the entire process feels very seamless.

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Not only are the cameras are similar, but the files they produce are also identical. I rely heavily on automation and like to trust my camera. I am always on Aperture Priority; I set WB to auto, the meter is set to Multi, ISO is always set to 6400, and I use the Chrome Film Simulation almost all the time. That’s what I meant by a camera doing the heavy lifting for me. They also react to post processing the same way and even looks the same when I convert them to monochrome. This makes the entire post-processing workflow very simple and fast.

I think to put it in simple terms; it has made my photographic process very simple and intuitive.

 

You recently travelled to Jakarta with Fujifilm X Series equipment, did you have a particular lens setup you preferred to photography with?

 

I prefer the 23mm focal length on a crop sensor. It gives a 35mm equivalent field of view which suits my street/documentary style of shooting. Being a wide angle lens, it also adds a sense of depth in the images, which I love.

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X100T gives all these in a very small form factor. Add to that a leaf shutter with an inbuilt ND filter. Though I have not used flash on my recent trip, but I have done it before. And it eliminates the need to carry multiple ND filters as well as the limitations of sync speed.
It checks all the boxes for me, and it is my go-to setup for travelling.

 

Did you find photographing in a foreign country to be different to photographing in Australia? If so, how?

 

Definitely. There is a huge difference.

The biggest difference is the way you compose. Photography is an art of elimination. You are always looking for elements to eliminate from the frame to make a stronger image. In places like India, China, Indonesia, and Japan it is very difficult to do that especially when you are used to photographing in a place like Australia.

In Australia, when you are on the streets you are dealing with limited variables. You focus on one or two things. You know the way people interact and behave so it is easier for you to predict and you can pre-visualise things, but in places like Tokyo, Shanghai or Jakarta, with a higher population density, it is very easy to get overwhelmed.

The population of greater Jakarta region itself is more than that of entire Australia. The first time I went out on the streets, I was simply overwhelmed. There were so many people within the frame. Add to that you have other visual elements to deal with. There are more colours on the street, the quality of light is different, just too many variables to consider which takes some time to get used to.

 

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I grew up in India and lived in the South East and East Asia region for almost 5 years. I knew what to expect but still got overwhelmed when I went. It takes a huge shift in the way you react to all those visual cues, to process the information, and make the image.

 

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

 

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

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

 

In a recent project featured on your website you explored the concept of identity among humans, can you explain the settings you used on your X100T to help portray the subject?

 

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F4 and ISO 6400. Shutter speed was between 1/6th and 1/10th of a second. I used aperture priority mode, so shutter speed was pretty much what the camera decided. Since, I was shooting at the exact same location, standing almost near the same spot and at about the same time of the day, I knew the shutter speed wouldn’t vary that much. Also, I wanted the camera to adjust to the random changes in light from vehicles passing by. Like I said, I want my cameras to do the heavy lifting for me.

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Overall based on your experience, how did you find travelling exclusively with the Fujifilm X100T to document all your travels? Were there any advantages or disadvantages?

 

For my style of shooting, I think it is as good as it can get. To me, the versatility of a 35mm equivalent lens in a small form factor is its biggest advantage.

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I don’t think there are any disadvantages as such. In the end, it comes down to individual preferences and style of shooting. For travelling, landscape photographers only having a fixed prime can be limiting. Also, different people see the world in a different way. If one sees things in ‘telephoto way’ i.e. prefers to isolate subjects or to include minimal elements within the frame, this camera may create some creative constraints. For beginners and people who are a generalist, I feel a camera with XF18-135mm lens is a much better option.

 

 

Do you have any more projects you are planning that we should look out for and where should people go to see more of your work?

 

I am very passionate about the concept of Human identity. So far, I feel I have just scratched the surface, so I will definitely be exploring the theme more in depth. I am also planning to do a few more projects specific to Australia. I think there are many stories in this country still being untold. It is my way of learning more about my adopted country and fellow people.

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I try to update my Instagram and Facebook feed regularly with my latest work and projects. And to see my current work, you can go to my website.

Other interviews in this series

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Drew Hopper

Through A Photographer’s Eye: Alamby Leung

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ian Tan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Dale Rogers

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Josselin Cornou

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Chris Hopkins