Ah, the simple pleasures of life. They invigorate the soul! Changes and new experiences are great but it’s nice to do what you enjoy. It gives us you a lift. Genesis, my favourite band of all time, summed it up nicely when Peter Gabriel lent his unmistakable voice to, “I know what I like” and I am, sure many of you reading this will feel the same.
We are all ‘routined’ to a point and I suppose I fall into that bracket. Whilst I may be laid back I am never complacent. I regularly slip out of the ‘comfort zone’ and push myself, but if there is one thing I do not like to disrupt, it is enjoying a good night’s kip! A comfy bed with clean sheets, bit of a read, lights out and I am off.
I awake, have an invigorating hot shower, get dressed and breakfast. Then it is time to attack the day. I definitely know what I like and I approach my photography in exactly the same way. I love the mountains and great views. I will never tire of them but it would be easy to keep going along to regular haunts never being bored with them and marveling at what they give me. That won’t change. After 40 odd years of shooting professionally, I am still learning my craft and I enjoy exploring new ways to enrich my skillset. It was on one of my, “what can I do now?” days that I thought about wild camping. Continue reading A Quest to Capture the Golden Hour: Wild Camping in the Lake District
By now its common knowledge that Fujifilm are famous for bringing the best functionality to X Series equipment through firmware updates.
Today is a day you most likely have been waiting for – a huge release of updates to a range of X Series cameras and lenses. Online right now, you will find a total of 18 different updates, which have been released for a line up of current and older camera bodies and lenses. These products range from the older X-Pro1 to the newly released XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens.
In order to get the most from your Fujifilm X Series camera body or lens it is recommend you update the firmware as soon as possible. Below you will find a short summary of what you can expect when you perform the firmware update on the relevant piece of gear. If you are unsure on how to perform a firmware upgrade read this article here.
Summary of updated change to X Series Cameras
If you own a X-E1, X-E2, X-E2S, X-Pro1, X-T10, X-T1 or X-Pro2 and you update the camera body firmware (see firmware link section below) to the newest version plus you update the firmware for the listed lens (see firmware link section below) you can expect the following changes…
XF35mmF2 R WR & XF90mmF2 R LM WR- The accuracy of the manual focus adjustment to be enhanced when photographing using manual focus.
XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
XC16-50mmF3.5-5.6 OIS II
XC50-230mmF4.5-6.7 OIS II- The accuracy of the manual focus adjustment to be enhanced when photographing using manual focus.
– Tracking performance of AF will be enhance when zooming
– The accuracy of the image stabilization will be enhanced on various shooting scenes.
XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR- The accuracy of the manual focus adjustment to be enhanced when photographing using manual focus.
XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR- The lenses will deliver superior performance in combination with FUJINON Tele Converter XF 2X TC WR.
– The accuracy of the manual focus adjustment to be enhanced when photographing using manual focus.
Please note all improvements will only work if you update the camera body firmware as well as the lens firmware (see firmware links below).
Not many people realise it, but before I started travelling and shooting Motorsport, photographing pets was a major part of my business. I would shoot a lot of equine and dog portraits with the odd cat, snake or rat thrown in now and then. I still run Pawfolio, but it’s now more a project of love, or reserved for when people who know me as ‘the pet photographer’ really want me to shoot their most beloved….. not the kids, yep it’s always the dog!
I see a lot of people posting photos of their pets on instagram lately, with some pets even having their own pages. So I thought I would put a few tips together that might be fun to try out if you want to get a great shot of your own pooch…. some of the tips might even work on pictures of the kids too!
For my doggy model, I’m going to use Bria aka ‘The Beast’, my beautiful Sprocker Spaniel. These shots all involve natural light as I wanted this article to be of use to everyone. As long as you have a camera and a lens you can get stunning shots of your beast without expensive lighting.
In my ‘Pawfolio’ bag. Don’t panic! You don’t need all of this! this is just some of the equipment I use on various shoots… If you have only one lens and a camera you’ll be fine 🙂
Camera: XPro1, XT1, XT10
Lenses: 18mm F2, 35mm F1.4, 10-24 F4, 90mm F2, 50-140mm F2.8
Lighting: Ambient/Natural Light
Extras: Dog, lead, willing assistant (wife, kid, person you met on a dog walk?), dog treats / squeaky toy / bouncy ball / whistle, silly voice, insurance (if you want to shoot other peoples dogs!), mobile phone
Top Tip! Things become massively easy in life once a dog knows how to sit, stay, and look at food!! this is where all that training pays off! You will need a few basics such as;
Sit, Paw, Down/Sleep, Stay, Come…
(We had to learn some of these commands in polish once for a clients dog we photographed.)
A food-orientated dog is perfect, if this isn’t working then it’s down to the favourite toy, bouncy ball or failing that, making stupid noises…..dogs love this! The right noise will get a dog to tilt it’s head in a way that looks cute but whilst saying ‘what are you doing, human?’
Play with your beast first;
this builds a little trust between the dog and yourself.
It’s fun for both of you,
it burns off the dog’s energy reserve
A few minutes playing around the kit isn’t a bad thing either, it lets the dog know that the camera is nothing to be worried about and not something strange and dangerous…
Around the house – Your own dog
Ideal for practice and often the easiest of images to shoot are where the dog is relaxed in their own surroundings or favourite spot. I normally wait for ‘Beast’ to find somewhere nice to settle or I encourage her to sit roughly in the right place. Quite often I’ll pap her as she drifts off to sleep. These are candid based shots but can turn into gorgeous intimate photos.
I use any of the following 18mm f2, 35mm f1.4 and the 90mm F2 mostly to achieve the shallow depth of field for this type of shot. The XF35mm f2, XF16, XF23 and XF56mm would be amazing also. Any lens at F1.2 – F2 will make a stunning image. I often use the X-Pro1 and X-T1. The OVF on the X-Pro1 can be really useful in hybrid mode during low light if the EVF wont preview the shot.
#Tip – You can put the Fuji camera to silent mode if the dog is too distracted by the shutter sound. Beast used to hear the shutter then pounce on me because she thought the sound meant that the shoot was over.
The candid shots I usually try to get for every dog shoot are:
That big snuffler is amazing. Shot at 1.2 or on a Macro it makes a stunning detailed image.
The texture of the pads or the hairy paw is beautiful. If it’s your dog, hold the paw and capture a paw & hand selfie #TooCute
Like any face or portrait I shoot, I always focus on the eye closest to me. If you shoot the furthest one and the closer one is blurred, the image just looks wrong – please don’t do it!!
#Tip – Try shooting the dog from ‘a dogs view’ or from below the dog looking up. Crawling around in the dirt is just an everyday thing for me, but I think it’s really worth getting the unusual perspective. This is also now where the flip out screen is genius and the X-T1 or X-T10 becomes king.
That said, don’t rule out the standing up traditional viewpoint. Sometimes if you stand right over the dog looking down, you get that ‘puppy face’ beaming back up at you, and there is nothing cuter.
For outdoor shots, choose a nice spot your dog is going to love and that has some features or atmosphere about it. The beach is an awesome place for dogs, and one of our favourites, with lots of space, great light, and lots of zooming. For this a 90mm, 50-140 or the new 100-400 is ideal because the animal can move around freely but you can still fill the frame. This situation is ideal for the X-T1 or X-T10 because of their high frame rate. I would probably go for the X-T1 more to help keep the sand, salt and spray out of the camera. I would also recommend the weather resistant lenses for this type of shoot. A rogue wave splash or a shake down from the Beast can spray your gear from a surprising distance.
Rivers are great too, but always check the current is safe. Look for a spot on the bank with space and great moody lighting, perhaps between some trees. You should make sure your beast can get in and out easily, and I always have someone with me to throw a ball or something safe for the dog to chase, or I sometimes just sit and watch the animal play and have fun on their own.
My favourite lens for outdoor dog shoots has to be the 50-140 F2.8. With good flexibility and a shallow depth of field at F2.8 there’s always gorgeous bokeh in the background. I try to keep the shutter up between 2000th and 4000th of a second to keep the motion frozen. If the light is changing or the dog is running through light and dark patches, try ‘auto ISO’.
Set the the auto ISO range function to work between ISO 200 and 6400. To control the aperture, try to stay in the range of F2.8 – F4/5.6 or if you want some amazing textural shots and there is loads of light, dial in F8 – F11. Again get low… I have the tilt screen for this, or just get in the dirt and sand and the shots will be amazing.
You could also try the 16-55 F2.8 if you want the shot to be a little more environmental, shoot wide and get more of the landscape in your photos. When you print this type of shot they look great printed large.
If you want to get really creative try ‘panning’ the dog. This is a technique we use on the track to shoot cars at the races. Select a shutter speed between 1/8th (very creative) up to 1/200th (suggest you start there and work your way down to 1/8th), and rotate your body at the hips following and tracking your dog as it runs past. You want to work your shots at slower and slower shutter speeds to create a wonderful action arty shot…
More about the author
John Rourke has been shooting professionally for 15 years and is the owner of Adrenal Media, the Official Photography Agency for the FIA WEC (World Endurance Championship), and the ELMS (European Le Mans Series) including the world famous ‘Le Mans 24hr’. He shoots all of his professional and personal work on Fujifilm X series cameras.
A friend and I decided to go camping in Wales, which perfectly coincided with the passing of the ex-hurricane Bertha! To many this is a bizarre time to choose to go camping, but from a landscape photography perspective, angry weather equals exciting weather.
At the moment I am trying to train myself to only use prime lenses as Fujifilm offers such a wide variety covering lots of helpful focal lengths (the announcement of the XF90mm f2 R and XF16mm f1.4 R being added to the lens roadmap is very exciting). The reason for this is that to me they inspire creativity, using the fixed focal length makes me think more about composition and simply take more time with each picture. However, the thought of changing lenses in high winds and heavy rain atop a cliff wasn’t particularly appealing so the ever-camera-bag-present XF18-135mm came into its own. Having previously used a prototype version of the lens on the Farne Islands (see my initial impressions here) this was the first time I had really put the production version through its paces and I have to say it passed with flying colours.
Because I was generally taking landscape photographs I didn’t miss the wonderful wide aperture capabilities of prime lenses. The other bonus of using the XF18-135mm was the fast auto focus and probably, more importantly, the weather sealing. Once mounted to the X-T1 the weather resistance system left me with one less thing to think about while battling the hazardous conditions.
I wasn’t the only thing out enjoying the powerful winds though, a few fulmar were flying around the cliffs, putting on a very impressive aerial display. This was a great opportunity to try the continuous focus in mirky conditions with a very fast moving subject. Once locked on the keeper rate was very high.
Enjoying the conditions
Fulmar in the scene
The other very helpful feature of the XF18-135mm lens is the 5-stop image stabilisation which proved very helpful in countering the blustery and often dark conditions.
Setting Welsh sun
Going further against my plan to use only prime lenses, the other lens used extensively was the XF10-24mm R OIS on the X-Pro1. Again I went with the practicality and versatility offered by this wide angle zoom lens. Despite this being a zoom, I loved using it at the ultra wide 10mm end to capture as much of the impressive scenes in front of me as possible.
Overall it was a great few days for photography, but before you go off camping in inclement weather, make sure you check with others you drag along, as the X-T1 – XF18-135mm set up is weather resistant and ready for anything, but they might not be so obliging.
Hi there, my name is Ben Cherry and I am a guest blogger for Fujifilm. My primary interests are wildlife and travel photography but I’ve previously covered events from motorsport and snowboarding films to fashion shoots and weddings.
I have been a Fujifilm X-Series user for a year now, ever since I used an X-Pro1 for a trip Malaysian Borneo.
What I look for in a photograph is a moment, from a smile to unusual animal behaviour, I try to capture a photograph that encompasses a situation and can tell a story. To me, photography is a form of story telling, like writing and painting it is how the content is perceived by the viewer that is important. If someone experiences an image, feeling and/or viewing the subject the way the photographer did at the moment of clicking the shutter, then to me that is the ultimate prize in expressing your experience of a moment.
I use Fujifilm cameras because for me this is the best system for my work, offering superb image quality, a small compact size for travelling and a wonderful enjoyment factor through the manual controls. From the X100s to the X-T1, all of the products I use offer something different to my photography, whether it’s the low light capabilities of the 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4 and 56mm f1.2 or the pocket-ability, go nowhere without it, design of the X100s.
The clear purpose and design of each product gives me the clarity needed to choose the right gear for the job at hand. In future posts I will be discussing what the Fujifilm X-Series offers me and also explain some helpful hints and tips for those who are new to photography and to those who are new to the X-Series.
Young Malaysian boy
Checking the catch
X100s for studio work
Silent shutter of X100s during intimate wedding
Snowboarder Jack Cornish with his daughters
Ismar Badzic snowboarding
Black Cullins, Isle of Skye
14mm – Foraging macaque
A beak full!
In the meantime you can check out some of my previous blogs here and check out my website and social media:
Why choose the X-Series? Read our guest blog by Martin Castein to find out.
Martin has achieved 18 gold awards at SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers) which is one of the largest international photography organizations in the world. Is the 2013 SWPP architectural photographer of the year and has also been nominated by the judges as the SWPP overall photographer of the year for 2013.
The Fuji X-series journey for me began with the excellent X-E1 and now the X-Pro1. The weight-saving advantage of the X series is obvious. But let’s look a little deeper than that.
EVF and Sensor
For the type of photography I do, I like to bring out a lot of detail, colour and contrast in my images.
So for me it is vital that I get my exposures absolutely perfect and that the sensor of the camera is truly capable when it comes to delivering detail, dynamic range and the tone the sensor produces, particularly skin tones.
Let me give you an example. This image was processed in Lightroom. The sensor can handle the complex lighting easily, in fact better than some current top end DSLRs I have owned.
I work mostly in colour. I love colour.
We live in the digital age where colour can be so expressive and powerful.
The Fuji X-series sensor can match and in most instances beat other manufacturers when it comes to these issues.
When the X-trans sensor is combined with the live exposure of the Fuji X-series EVF, we have the recipe for a very high hit-rate of usable images.
This next image was taken with a wall blocking half the image, the flare on the left is from a window, not post production. I could see this in viewfinder before I took the image, this aids creativity. Post production in Lightroom again, very simple with the brilliant colour of the X-trans sensor.
I really love the ability to use manual focus and then have the back button do autofocus should I require it. I use this all the time. It is like manual focus with auto focus override. With other systems we have auto focus with manual override.
This works because it is so easy to see what is in focus in the EVF.
I can see the focus peeking, working all the time. This way I can fire off shots freely, capturing moments and know immediately when it is time to change my focus. That’s the benefit of not needing to take the camera away from your eye. What you see is what you get.
Additionally, it is an advantage to have a rear LCD screen that can focus the same way as the viewfinder can. This allows me to get unusual angles and shoot from angles that wouldn’t be easy to manage with a DSLR. In the past I went through a lot of trial and error with a DSLR to get the same angles.
So for me the biggest advantage of the X-series is the combination of the incredible performance of the X-trans sensor with Fuji’s brilliant implementation of the electronic viewfinder and manual focusing. Of course coupled with the savings in size and weight.
We are artists. As photographers we rely on our equipment to allow us to fulfil our artistic vision. The urge that drives us to create, that is what we are all about as photographers. The tool we do that with, our camera, ultimately either enhances this ambition or it stifles it.
The fact is our choice of camera affects how we feel about photography.
Fuji made that t-shirt we all like to wear, they made the camera that speaks to the photographer in a way that is hard to verbalise other than it feels right.
Photographer Tim Wallace is the driving force and creative thinking behind Ambient Life. An award winning photographer his work is often described as both conceptual and dramatic.
Tim works internationally with many high clients across the globe such as Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes and Morgan as well as shooting some of the worlds most iconic brands such as Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Ferrari in the UK and Europe to shooting Dodge, Chevrolet and Mustangs in the US.
His work has been published globally and he was recently named by as one of the UK’s most creative photographers whilst in the US Scott Kelby described Tim recently as one of the Ten most influential photographers in the World today, Tim’s view is a little more straight forward, a man who’s known for his down to earth attitude, his feet are firmly on the ground and his desire to produce creative work is one that he has been driven to from a very young age when he first picked up a camera.
“Photography is for me simply a creative passion, the ability to use light and form to
capture in a single image what I see in my own imagination”
Tim is the humble recipient of many awards over recent years including, International Commercial Advertising Photographer of the Year, UK Motor Industry Professional Car Photographer of the Year and a few months ago was awarded International Travel Photographer of the Year.
“I plan to live forever, so far so good…
I’m 40 but apparently 40 is the new 30 so things are always good and I have never felt better!, I don’t sleep much because I’m always thinking about what I can do to create something new, on a morning I often wake up excited for the day like a kid at Christmas just wanting to get out on the road and get on with it. People say I have a wicked sense of humour, not sure on that one, maybe its just a defence mechanism for the fact I’m always trying to lose weight but enjoy good food too much…!
I love the whole creative visual voodoo, the journey from A to B and the chance of arriving at C.
My work is often regarded as conceptual and dramatic and to me photography is a process, you’ll never hear me mutter ‘it’ll be fine’ as that’s simply not enough for me. Life is short and I aim to make mine worth while and interesting with work that I hope reflects this.
My goal in life is to be myself always, be creative, be true and most of all improve just a little part of peoples lives with images that both entertain and sometimes invoke the feelings that I had when I shot them. I’ve won awards and I’m always of the thought that maybe they got the wrong Tim Wallace, hey I’m grateful always but never take myself or any achievements too seriously, life’s too short and people will forget you quickly.
I jumped off a cliff in Norway a few years ago in a BASE jump, why?, well because it felt right for me to do that for myself at that time, I truly believe that anything in life is possible, work hard, be an honest person, tell the people that you love just what they mean to you as often as you can, and most of all be out there shooting because sometimes that’s where amazing things can happen.”
Project Darwin, the California Ghost Town
Tim may be known for his carefully crafted and beautifully lit images of prestige cars, however a recent trip to the USA saw him shooting something less glossy and more on the gritty side - an old mining town in Death Valley.
We found ourselves moving through the Valley from South to North. Death Valley has always held a fascination for me in its sheer scale and beauty and this week I shot some ‘personal work’ there, focusing on a project about the abandoned town of Darwin. 6 miles off the main road quite literally in the middle of absolutely nowhere we came across the town of Darwin sat in the base of the mountains, shrouded in dust and sand and abandoned in the sheer deafening silence that you experience only in places like Death Valley.
Darwin itself is a truly amazing place and we really didn’t know what to expect as we pulled onto the dirt track that carried us into this sleepy little abandoned area in the middle of the valley with a reported population today of under 40 even though the sign brags a few more that have since packed up and moved on away from the town.
The town was first established by American explorer Dr Darwin French in 1874 after he discovered silver ore deposits in the mountains, just south of Death Valley but the mining area is now closed off and out of limits to people with many signs warning of the dangers of open mines still being there and potential death traps to those that wander into the area. Just a year later, 700 people were found living in the town where around 20 mines were discovered – the population peaked in 1877 at several thousand people. In its heyday, Darwin was buzzing with saloon bars, miners, busy general stores and even brothels.
As with many ghost towns across the U.S., once the industry has died, life in the town becomes lost and soon after years just simply disappears. However in Darwin, a small community of artists and those preferring life in the wilderness, has remained in settlements further down the valley from the ‘original’ settlements. The population is made up of mainly couples and with no one under the age of 18, so no children at all exist there. There are no stores to buy anything and nowhere to stay – the nearest supermarket is well over 90 miles away and the tiny community that remains in the dust had only a local post office where residents could gather to pass the time of day and even this now is shut and abandoned forever.
Just further down the hill we started to come across the houses of those both past and recently present, many just left abandoned and with the contents still in place, refrigerators, clocks and books still on the shelves.
We shot there for over an hour, being respectful to those that still call this dusty town home and exchanged a few hearty hello’s to those few that we met along the way walking through the small town.
Darwin is in many ways a place of both sadness and wonder and it remains sat in the middle of Death Valley and the days and nights pass like a ticking clock with no impact or change on anything that remains, a modern day time capsule sat baking in the desert sun.
Why the X-Pro1?
I¹ve heard that when you turn professional, you lose the love for photography as a hobby. I very much disagree this type of diverse personal work allows me to still enjoy shooting stuff for myself.
My tool of choice for these images was the excellent lightweight Fujifilm X-Pro1 and a 14mm lens, the 14mm is perfect for the type of off the cuff documentary shooting that I want to do and is a very impressive lens in its own right, especially when used wide open on the aperture as I often like to shoot…
I love this little mighty camera it’s a favourite of mine to travel with. It¹s easy to use and the quality of what such a little camera can produce is amazing.
I enjoy using black & white I love to indulge in this style whenever I can.
Fujifilm’s XF23mm has been hugely anticipated by X-series users, and after testing the optic, it’s easy to see why. With an effective focal length of 35mm, this is a ‘go anywhere, do anything’ lens. Suitable for street photography, landscapes and even portraits.
What most users will do when they unbox the lens, is flick the aperture ring straight to F1.4. I can’t blame them, the larger F-number gives beautiful bokeh, and amazing images, as well as the confidence to work in low light, without the worry of camera shake and blurry images. With most lenses that sport a fast aperture of F1.4 it feels like you’re attaching a dumb-bell to your camera. However, the XF23mm only weighs 300g, making it more than manageable on the X-Pro1 that I used here.
The aperture ring takes you through from F1.4 to the minimum aperture of F16. Instead of the typical AF/MF switch, the XF23mm features a push/pull ring that switches between manual and autofocus. There are also distance and depth-of-field scales on the barrel.
When using wider optics like this, there are usually two main areas of concern – barrel distortion and vignetting. However, the XF23mm aces both categories with virtually no distortion and vignetting is handled extremely well – even at F1.4.
The quick, sharp focusing that this lens offers is down to the internal focusing (IF) technology, which delivers speedy and discreet autofocus – let’s face it, you don’t want the lens to be buzzing away as you try to find focus during a candid street photography situation. Because of this internal focusing, the front of the lens doesn’t rotate. This benefits landscape photographers who use graduated filters.
When it comes to results, the XF23mm really delivers. The lens is sharpest at F8 and when I say sharp, I mean razor sharp – professional photographers looking to invest in a lens of this type will not be let down by the results.
Excellent build-quality, simple ease-of-use and results to die for; what more could you ask for?
Fujifilm X-series cameras have autofocusing systems that are among the fastest in the world, but there may well be a time when you want to switch over to manual focus. In such situations, it’s worth using the focus peaking function to help you get accurate focus on every shot. This very handy function allows you to see exactly what is in and out of focus either on the rear LCD or the viewfinder by superimposing a ‘halo’ over the in-focus part of the shot. It’s available as a standard feature on the X-E2, X-M1, X-A1, X100S, X20 and the XQ1, plus can be added to the X-Pro1, X-E1 and X100 via a firmware upgrade. Here’s how it works:
Step 1 For this demonstration, we’re using the X-Pro1. The first step is to switch over to manual focusing via the switch on the front of the camera body.
Step 2 On the back of the camera, press the ‘Menu’ button and then scroll down to the fifth menu of camera functions. From here, select the ‘MF Assist’ option.
Step 3 In the next menu, choose the Focus Peaking option and then choose either High or Low, which indicates the prominence of the halo around the in-focus object. We went for High.
Step 4 In the first instance, we chose to focus on the X100 in the foreground. As you can see the halo around the subject translates to a nice sharp camera (main image).
Step 5 With a twist of the focus ring, the halo moves to the X-S1 in the background, which is, in turn, sharply focused. Focus peaking also changes when you alter the lens aperture so not only can you check sharp focus, you can assess depth-of-field too.