X100 to GFX Journey: The Evolution of the X Series

By Kevin Mullins

I’ve been using the Fujifilm system since its inception back in 2011. My very first Fujifilm camera was the Fujifilm FinePix X100 (remember when it was still called the FinePix?).

I’ve been honoured to be a part of the X-Photographer community since those early days and even after nine years or so find the X Series range of cameras the tools that I still use for all my work.

As the system has grown from the embryonic MLC that was the X100 to the high-resolution machine that is the GFX 50S, I’ve witnessed a system that has taken its first baby steps to winning platitudes and awards every year.

Going right back to the FinePix X100, this was one of the first images I took with the camera:

FinePix X100, 1/60 F2, ISO 25

I was smitten with the camera, but I think it’s fair to say that the original X100 definitely had some teething problems.

When I was shooting with the FinePix X100 I felt a deep assimilation with the JPEGs that the camera was producing.  However, trying to achieve focus, especially in low light situations, proved challenging.

And then something quite unheard of happened… a firmware update.  Not only did the firmware update fix small bugs, it made the whole camera more responsive and even added a feature or two.

This was the sign of things to come, of course, and I think one of the things that define Fujifilm’s success is their unwavering support for the photographic community via firmware updates.

Ironically, according to my Lightroom Catalog, the last personal photography I took with my FinePix X100 – which I still have (I never sell a classic camera!) is this shot of it’s successor, the X100S (note, FinePix no longer in the name):

FinePix X100, 1/480, F2, ISO 3200

This was the camera that I wrote my first book about, such was my love for it.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trawling through my archives of personal family snaps that I’ve taken with the X100, the X100S, X100T & X100F.

I had over 10,000 images that I considered good enough to keep.

Of course, these are family snaps, nothing particularly arty about them and absolutely the most important thing is the memories for me and my family.

Anyhow, here are the 100 family snaps, taken with my various Fujifilm X100 Cameras and in chronological order. I have a huge debt of gratitude to the original X100. It’s the camera that made me realise photography is fun rather than just for work.  Here is my little homage to the X100 and all its incarnations.

This was really when things started changing with the little X100 format cameras, but before the X100S came out, we were bamboozled by the X-Pro1.

Now, my introduction to this camera was somewhat forced.  I was writing a monthly business column for Professional Photography magazine when the editor asked me to review the camera;

Him:  “Would you like to review the new Fujifilm X-Pro1?”

Me:  “Well, not really, the reason I love the X100 is because it’s fixed lens and I don’t want to invest in another interchangeable lens system as I still have my Canon cameras”.

Him: “We’ll pay you £200 for the review”.

Me:  “Oh, go on then….”

Fast forward five weeks and I have to take the review copy back to Archant House in Cheltenham.  As I hand over the review packages to them, the editor asks me what I thought.  I showed him a copy of my order email from WEX where I’d just pre-ordered the X-Pro1 and the three launch lenses.

Not too long after I took delivery of my X-Pro1, XF35mm, XF60mm and XF18mm lenses I sold off all my Canon gear.

At this point, we were then beginning to see new sensors and later, new Film Simulations too but really, what everybody in the photographic world was realising was that these new breeds of mirrorless cameras from Fujifilm were: smaller, lighter, cheaper and crucially, performed very well compared to what we had been used to using.

Of course, there are still some rare situations where a DSLR might be a better option for a particular shooting style, but with the emergence of the X-H1 I think even that is becoming mitigated and the Fujifilm system is catering more and more for all types of photographers.  It’s not true that Fujifilm cameras are “only for Street Photographers”.

At some point in 2013, I was in Tokyo and I was using another new Fujifilm camera, the X-M1.  The X-M1 used the same X-Trans CMOS sensor as the X-Pro1 and X-E1 but didn’t have a viewfinder.  It had a tilt screen and was actually the first camera to have Wi-Fi too.

To be totally honest, I never really got on with this camera.  It was too fiddley, and I really missed the viewfinder.  I’ve never been a huge lover of tilt screens, and I’m pleased Fujifilm continue to pacify people in both camps with cameras that have tilt screens and cameras that don’t.

The camera did yield me an image on that trip to Tokyo which went on to win SWPP Landscape photographer of the Year award though.

X-M1, 23mm F1.4 lens @ F8, 1/200 ISO 200

When the X-T1 arrived, the game changed for many people.  The X-Pro1, X100S where good cameras, but they were perhaps not quite sharp enough for many to consider for professional work.

However, when the X-T1 came along with its continuous focus and high-speed shooting, this was when I first started seeing a big influx of shooters coming to the Fujifilm stable.

Some of my favourite images to date have come from the X-T1:

X-T1, 56mm F1.2 lens @ f1.2, 1/1,800 ISO 200
X-T1, 23mm F1.4 Lens @ f1.4, 1/2,700 ISO 400

And of course, later came the X-T2 and the X-Pro2 and little curve balls such as the X70.

The X70 remains one of my favourite cameras; despite what I said about the X-M1, the X70 is also an LCD only camera and it has ergonomic issues too, but that camera has so much character and is so small that it is still one of my most use cameras when shooting.  I shoot with my X70 at weddings as well as personally and I really hope there is a future for that line of camera.

X70, F2.8, 1/125, ISO400
X70, F2.8, 1/900, ISO 400

And, as we come to the end of this whistle stop tour of my time with the Fujifilm X Series of cameras, I can’t possibly leave out two of the new guys in the stable; the GFX 50S and the X-E3.

For me, the GFX is all about prints.  I use in mainly in my family photography business which is prints only and I find it incredible that I can shoot with a medium format camera, handheld, in a candid way.

It’s a big camera of course, and that’s why it’s not really suited, for me at least, for fast paced shooting, but anything where the pace is slower, and the images may end up in print, then the GFX is the way forward.  I can’t wait to see how this branch of the series matures.

Here is a little snapshot of my own summer, all shot hand held with the GFX 50S:


More from Kevin Mullins

Website: www.kevinmullinsphotography.co.uk

Blog: https://f16.click/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kevin_mullins

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GloucestershireWeddingPhotography/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kevinmullinsphotography/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/documentaryeye

IN FOCUS: 7 Fujifilm camera features loved by the professionals

IN FOCUS is a series of articles where we ask some of the UK X-Photographers to give us advice, provide insight into their photography and share some of their favourite images of all time. In this blog, we asked our photographers what their favourite Fujifilm camera features are and why.


Continue reading IN FOCUS: 7 Fujifilm camera features loved by the professionals

Why The X100F Is My Camera of Choice

by Mark Condon

As the founder of Shotkit, I’m in the fortunate position to have access to virtually any photography related product. Being a huge fan of the Fujifilm X Series cameras and lenses, I’ve handled every camera and lens in the line up.

Fujifilm X100F – 1/160 second – F4 – ISO 640

 

Herein lies the one thing that I actually dislike about the Fujifilm –series – there are just too many great cameras and lenses to choose from! With functionality which overlaps between camera models and excellent image quality across the board, choosing a Fujifilm X Series camera is a somewhat challenging process…

 

After almost a year of umming and ahing and reading countless online reviews (like this one on my own site!), I finally settled on one camera – the Fujifilm X100F.

Fujifilm X100F – 1/220 second – F4 – ISO 200

 

In this guest post, I’d like to go into the 3 main reasons why I decided upon this understated fixed lens camera as my camera of choice, and ultimately decided it was the best travel camera of 2017.

Fujifilm X100F – 1/2000 second – F2.5 – ISO 320

 

  1. Size

 

It’s no surprise that the number one reason for dSLR shooters to move to the mirrorless camera format is due to the smaller size of the camera and/or lenses.

 

All the camera bodies in the Fujifilm X Series line-up are smaller and lighter than dSLRs with equivalent APS-C sensors. This makes them very attractive to anyone who carries their gear for long periods of time, particularly professionals.

Fujifilm X100F – 1/160 second – F2 – ISO 640

 

In the Fujifilm X Series lineup, the Fujifilm X100F isn’t the smallest and lightest camera, but to me, its size and weight are perfect.

 

I have rather large hands, so anything smaller than this camera feels far too fiddly to use. In addition, I believe that a camera body needs to have a certain weight to it to be used effectively. The proportions of the X100F provide great balance in the hand, and its weight is reassuring – not too light to feel like a toy, but not too heavy to be cumbersome.

 

Another important factor that contributes to the compact size of the Fujifilm X100F is its fixed lens, which leads me on to point number 2.

 

  1. Lens

 

Having written extensively about the best Fujifilm lenses, I feel somewhat hypocritical choosing a camera which uses a fixed lens! With all that stellar Fujifilm glass on offer, why would I choose a camera with a fixed lens?!

 

Tying in with the point above, whilst I do love the Fujifilm (interchangeable) lenses, they do add size and weight to any Fujifilm camera body. Even the smallest, lightest Fujifilm prime lens will add bulk on to the front of the camera. Whether or not this is relevant to you is questionable, but for me, I love the fact that the Fujifilm X100F is (and will always be)… compact!

Fujifilm X100F – 1/1900 second – F5.6 – ISO 200

 

Aside from the size benefit of using a compact camera with one fixed lens, there are 2 other less obvious advantages of the XF23mmF2 lens of the Fujifilm X100F.

 

The first is somewhat subjective, but I absolutely love the images that are produced by the combination of this lens and the camera. I’m sure the boffins at Fujifilm HQ can elaborate, but there’s something about this combination that seems to be greater than the sum of its parts.

Fujifilm X100F – 1/160 second – F4 – ISO 320

 

I’ve shot with the Fujifilm X-T2 with a Fujinon XF23mmF2 WR lens attached, and whilst it’s an excellent combo, the Fujifilm X100F still beats it for me.

 

The other advantage is also slightly subjective, but having a fixed lens helps you improve as a photographer faster than any other accessory. Anyone who shoots with prime lenses (as opposed to zooms) will tell you something similar, but having a fixed focal length really allows you to visualise your scene and composition much easier, even before lifting the viewfinder to your eye.

Fujifilm X100F – 1/500 second – F4 – ISO 200

 

By having a prime lens that’s literally fixed to your camera body forever, you’ll get really good at this, and start seeing the world in 35mm. Also, by limiting your options with only one lens, you’ll push yourself harder to innovate and experiment with your photography – after all, restrictions encourage creativity.

 

  1. The Design

 

In my opinion, the Fujifilm X100F is the best looking camera available today. I have to say that all the X Series cameras look good, but for me, the Fujifilm X100F stands head and shoulders above the rest.

 

I used to own a black and silver Fujifilm X100S and received compliments on it wherever I went. When I upgraded to the Fujifilm X100F, I chose the all black version, and absolutely love how it looks.

 

I don’t receive many compliments on it anymore, but perhaps this is due to the fact that it’s more inconspicuous in jet black, which makes it perfect for photographing unnoticed, helping to achieve candid and natural-looking shots.

Fujifilm X100F – 1/250 second – F3.5 – ISO 200

 

The way a camera looks may seem insignificant, but I believe it’s actually very important. Whilst it bears no correlation to the image produced, having a camera that gives you pleasure to see and hold will make you more likely to pick it up and use.

 

Out of all the cameras I own, the Fujifilm X100F is the only one I display proudly in the open, as opposed to keeping it stuffed away in a camera bag. I actually have it hanging on a hook in my living room (much to my wife’s dismay!) It’s always the first camera I reach for when I need to capture a moment, and I never grow tired of looking at it.

Fujifilm X100F – 1/160 second – F2 – ISO 250

 

The other reasons I love my Fujifilm X100F are the features shared with most of the other cameras in the X Series line-up, including the excellent JPEG and RAW image quality; impressive high ISO performance; fun film simulations; fast auto-focus; fast start-up time, and much more.

Fujifilm X100F – 1/280 second – F4 – ISO 200

Fujifilm X100F – 1/420 second – F7.1 – ISO 200

It’s been a long process to find the one camera to document all my precious moments, but I’m confident I’ve chosen wisely with the Fujifilm X100F.

Fujifilm X100F – 1/1700 second – F6.4 – ISO 200

 

Guest review by Mark Condon, wedding photographer , author and founder of Shotkit.

IN FOCUS: Film Simulation modes used by the professionals

IN FOCUS is a series of articles where we ask some of the UK X-Photographers to give us advice, provide insight into their photography and share some of their favourite images of all time. In this blog, we asked our photographers what Film Simulation modes they use and why.


Continue reading IN FOCUS: Film Simulation modes used by the professionals

7 Ways to Maximise Your Landscape Photography

The natural world provides photographers with some of their most stunning subjects, from mountains and canyons to rolling hills and fields of flowers. Landscape photography is rewarding, but that does not mean the style is easy. You may think that, because the subjects are immobile, the composition is effortless. But this genre requires plenty of premeditation and attention to detail.

 

Bring mindfulness to your landscape photography by practising a few clever tips.

 

Go small with aperture.

You may find the occasional landscape shot that, because of textures in the near distance, warrants narrow depth of field. But most landscape photography works best with a small aperture setting and a large depth of field. Because a small aperture number brings less light into your camera, you may need to boost your ISO setting slightly to adequately balance the shot.

 

Get back to basics with the rule of thirds.

As you stare out at the landscape and wonder where to start with framing your shot, remember a basic principle of photography. The rule of thirds calls for you to imagine the frame as nine smaller squares, or vertical and horizontal thirds. Place your subject at an intersection of these envisioned lines. Be careful to make each of the nine squares contribute purpose to the artistry of your shot.

Image by Christopher Kirby – Captured using the X100

 

Find a focal point.

Most photos are best served by a specific and easily identifiable subject in the frame. Landscape shots are no exception to that rule. Even if you are photographing something grandiose, like a mountain or glacier, select a specific point of focus. Use light and shadows as your guide for picking a particular place.

 

Look for people, or their footprint, in the environment.

One way a landscape photo communicates a story is depicting people and their interaction with the natural world. Look for the roadway that weaves through the hillside. Include the section of the forest where trees were chopped for logging. Find the hiker climbing in the distance. Human influence is one of many facets you can use to communicate through landscape photography.

 

Frame your shot with a foreground object.

Your attention may be on subjects in the distance, but do not let that limit your creativity for framing. Nearby branches, bridges and foliage can fill your frame and distinguish your shot from many others.

Image by Greg Virgona – Captured using the X100

 

Schedule your shot for lively light.

All photography is the art of capturing light, so with landscape shots, like any others, the quality and quantity of light will separate tremendous photos from the mediocre. Golden hour is an ideal time for most landscape shots, as the warm hue creates both contrast and depth against your subject.

 

Invest time and patience in challenging pics.

Because we want to think of landscape photography as easy, you might feel dejected if a full day of shooting does not lead to the perfect shot. The natural world can be a fickle source of light, so remain patient. Invest hours, if not days, in capturing subjects in their optimal light.

Image by Clèment Breuille – Captured using the Fujifilm GFX 50S

 

With your settings, composition and outlook at their best, you maximise your potential to take landscape shots that tell stories and stand out among the masses.

 

Fujifilm offers a wide range of cameras to help you achieve the perfect landscape photo. Our eBook, Which X Series Should I Buy?, can help you learn more about the X Series and determine which one will help you with your landscape shots.

IN FOCUS: 12 unusual images and how they were taken

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


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

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Marc Busoli

Welcome to the Third 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 tenth interview in Series Three is with Queensland based photographer, Marc Busoli.

Marc, can you tell us about yourself and why you enjoy photographing people on the street?

 

I started photography in 1992 when I obtained a camera from my sister. I did a three-year diploma in photography five years after that and since then have shot images for commercial use, weddings, portraits and several blogs. I moved to my Fujifilm system after years of shooting with a full frame camera when I bought the original X100 and was blown away by the image quality and design of the camera. I loved it. I enjoy street style photography as it gives me an opportunity to observe and record the interaction of society in a shared space. I particularly like the idea of solitude in a crowded environment, people being on their own when surrounded by a crowd. I try to hide the faces of the people I photograph to accentuate the feeling of solitude and aloneness in a crowded city. I also enjoy the simplicity of simple designs in architecture, so I publish a few photos on my Instagram to mix it up a bit!

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF35mmF1.4 R – 1/500 second – F9 – ISO 400

 

 

You mentioned you use the Fujifilm X-T1 with two primary lenses. What made you choose this camera over other mirrorless bodies and how do you find Fujinon optics for general everyday shooting?

 

I love the design of this camera, I’ve used a ton of cameras after working at Digital Camera Warehouse for seven years, and I can say that this is by far the best camera I’ve used. It just disappears when I’m using it, that’s really important to me as I don’t want the camera slowing me down due to bad design and the Fujifilm just is so natural to use for me.

 

The lenses themselves are just so sharp and not too big to be in the way when the camera is swinging around. The results are very sharp with a lovely bokeh. The two I use are the XF14mmF2.8 and the XF35mmF1.4. The XF35mmF1.4 just lives on the body, and I must admit I hardly ever pull the wide one out. The 35mm perfectly suits my eye and the results are faultless for my style.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF35mmF1.4 – 1/18 second – F1.4 – ISO 800

 

 

Why do you shoot mainly in black and white? Do you use a Fujifilm Film Simulation to recreate a particular look or do you edit your RAW files in post-processing?

 

I love black and white. I started a hashtag #52weeksofblackandwhite to challenge myself to shoot an entire year of just black and white. That was over two years ago, and I haven’t stopped! I shoot in RAW before converting the photo using the Fujifilm Monochrome+R film simulation in camera. I send it to my iPad and do final edits in Snapseed and/or Lightroom mobile. Then it goes to social media. For more control, I import the RAW straight to my MacBook Pro and edit with Lightroom/Photoshop.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF35mmF1.4 – 1/420 second – F1.4 – ISO 1250

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF35mmF1.4 R – 1/55 second – F1.4 – ISO 1250

 

 

When using the Fujifilm X-T1 do you ever use the flip out LCD screen for street shooting or do you prefer to use the large electronic viewfinder? Can you explain why you shoot like this?

 

I use either the viewfinder (which is great, beautiful and big) or shoot from the hip without looking at the viewfinder or the LCD. Kind of Lomo style, it can produce some interesting shots, but it is very hit and miss, as you can imagine. Most times it’s using the viewfinder though, less distracting although you need to keep your non-shooting eye open, so you don’t miss any opportunities, this can be hard at the beginning.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF35mmF1.4 R – 1/60 second – F1.4 – ISO 800

 

 

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

 

Shoot as much and as often as you can. Do workshops and join photo walks, there are plenty of free options around the place, I think that’s a great path to education around photography. Be open to other styles and ideas. Take feedback well from people whose photography you admire, but always remember that you should only ever shoot to make yourself happy, that is what matters.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF35mmF1.4 R – 1/140 second – F3.2 – ISO 400

 

 

Do you have a favourite photo you have recently captured using the Fujifilm X-T1? Can you tell us the story about how you shot the photo and why you chose to compose the shot like you did?

 

This picture of a massive cloud formation off the Queensland coast is one of my favourite images. I used the XF14mmF2.8 to get as much in the frame as I could at the time. It was just massive in reality and when I cropped the image I pretty much just removed the top and bottom, but the width stayed the same. I tried to compose the shot to get a sense of the scale of the formation, and I really like how it turned out. I even managed to capture a little cloud-to-cloud lightning!

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF14mmF2.8 R – 2.5 seconds – F5.6 – ISO 200

 

 

In your opinion, what’s the best time of day to photography on the street and can you recommend any camera settings for someone who might wish to shoot similar photos?

 

Shooting street is such a reflection of the society that you’re recording that the ‘best’ time to shoot is any time that there are people around! I do prefer the drama of a late afternoon with some direct sunlight streaming in at a shallow angle. People in Melbourne CBD will know what I mean! I love to shoot directly into the light in those situations as I think it adds a sense of the dramatic to the scene, long shadows, silhouettes, bursts of light. It does tend to expose any limitations of your glass, but I’ve found the Fujifilm glass handles harsh direct light superbly.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF14mmF2.8 R – 1/60 second – F22 – ISO 320

 

What methods do you use when trying to photograph people on the street? For example is there a best way to approach people if you see someone interesting or are there any ‘don’t do this’ for street photographers?

 

One of my favourite techniques is finding a spot with some awesome lighting, like under a street light at night or a late sunset, and staking the place out waiting for the perfect person to come onto my ‘stage.’ You need to be aware and ready to fire as soon as an opportunity presents itself, I’ve missed a few great shots when I was starting out simply by not recognising an upcoming opportunity. People are more open to being approached these days I think, mainly due to the ubiquitous of images and social media, I think they like the idea of potentially going a bit viral!

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF14mmF2.8 R – 1/340 second – F5.6 – ISO 320

 

To see more of Marc’s photography visit him on Instagram – @themadbusdi.

Previous interviews from Series Three of Through a Photographer’s Eye:

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Johny Spencer

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Gavin Host

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Mike Bell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ryan Cantwell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Sarp Soysal

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Harrison Candlin

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Geoff Marshall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Myles Kalus

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Matt Murray

Untethered: 7000 – Adventure to another world with the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X100S

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

Maya Sugiharto –@mayasugihartophotography  and Aviva Minc –@photographersassistant.


Untethered: 7000 – Adventure to another world with the Fujifilm X-Pro2

Photography Road Trip Fact Sheet:

– 1,449km travelled
– 7 days
– Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF35mmF2 R WR + XF23mmF2 R WR
– Fujifilm X100S


Part 1: City Forest Cave

From the sand storms in the isolated deserts in Broken Hill Northern Territory, to the ice blizzards in the most southern state of the nation, Tasmania, we are putting ourselves, and our Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X100S cameras to the test.

We set ourselves the goal of seeing and photographing the circumference of Tasmania over a seven-day period, by road in winter – to document the landscape and to test how well our Fujifilm digital appendages would cope in the extreme conditions.

We jumped on a plane from Melbourne to Hobart – first stop our Hotel – top recommendation Ibis Styles (only a few month old) for views as we stayed on Level 9, great photography ops and clean, modern facilities.

As soon as we landed and had our car hire sorted, our first day goals were to get as far South as we could drive in Australia. We travelled down to Kettering, Middleton, Charlotte Cove, Huonville, Southport and all the way down to the most southern point in Australia – Cockle Creek.

The best way to describe this part of Tasmania would be quant and serene. There were fishing villages dotted along the journey, a wooden boat shed and builder, apple cider cellars and caves with thermal springs (Hastings) which we didn’t get time to see. There are heaps of photo opportunities as you can see below are just a few.

On our second day, our goal was to scout and find the filming locations of the Kettering Incident created by Vicky Madden and staring Elizabeth Debicki (Porchlight and Sweet Potato Films). The show was filmed at various locations around Kettering and Bruny Island itself, however it was apparently also filmed around Myrtle Forest – where you get the awesome green, mossy lush forest scenes. The film is about two women who go missing – not necessarily the best premise to head into the woods on our own, but we really wanted those beautiful lush photographs that many of us know Tasmania to show off.

We collected all of our gear and were about to head off onto the Myrtle Forest trail up to the waterfall, which was dark, wet and slippery. However were greeted by an odd man and his barking pit bull who seemed to appear again at various parts of the track. We had flashbacks to Wolf Creek crossed with the Kettering Incident itself, and to be honest were actually a little concerned about our safety.

In retrospect, we probably should’ve turned around – however the determination to get what we came for, out won our logic and we headed up the track. It was spooky, but beautiful.

After surviving the forest and its inhabitants, we drove east towards Dunalley, where you find a fish and chip shop that is on Tasmania’s top eats, and then we drove down to the Tessellated Pavement where our plan was to get some shots at sunset but things don’t always go to plan – however when we arrived, two guys told us about three whales that were playing in the bay at Remarkable Cave; so we took their word, jumped in the car and headed down there pronto! We didn’t have the zoom lens to be able to capture the whales but we certainly heard them talking all the way past sunset, which was pretty amazing.

Next up: to the mountains.

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.” Arthur C Clarke


Part 2: Mountain[s]

Otherworldly.

It was time to go north. We were heading to Cradle Mountain to photograph, hopefully, a snowstorm that was due to arrive overnight and possibly the Southern Aurora if the clouds/snow passed.

There’s two ways to get to Cradle Mountain from Hobart – via the West or straight up. The more picturesque route is via Georgetown to the West, where you go through some pretty amazing terrain, however because of an incoming storm warning for snow thunderstorms that night, we decided to play this one safe.

You pass by some beautiful jagged mountains, such as Mount Roland, on the way. So Jurassic, other worldly, and powerful. As we were driving, our GPS announced “ turn right, and you will arrive in Paradise (photograph below) – that it certainly was. To top it off we were driving through this whole area during golden hour! As you’re approaching Cradle, the landscape changes significantly. It is surreal, and ethereal – eerie and another dimension perhaps.

We arrived safely after a long 5 hours drive to our lodge at Cradle Mountain. The closest supermarket is 45 minutes away, so be prepared – bring supplies! You have limited choices for places to eat, and those available are pricey, so be ready for that. Once we re-fueled our body, charged our cameras, it was time to rest our souls and get ready for the next adventure the following day.

The next morning, sure enough we woke up to -1 degree temperatures and a covering of snow and continuous snowfalls and blizzards – beautiful and breathtaking! Now we had the day to explore Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair with a big dose of snow, and an opportunity to really test the Fujifilm X-Pro2 (which is promoted as being weather resistant) and the Fujifilm X100S!

The mountain pass costs $20 per adult for the day, but in fact is for 24hrs, so if you enter at 1pm as we did, it lasts until 1pm the following day, which is fantastic. We were fortunate to be there whilst it was snowing very heavily, and got the chance to throw the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the WR lenses into the snow, to test them for their durability. We can honestly say that they live up to our expectation and their reputation. Even the X100S performed awesomely in the snow. Fujifilm does not recommend using it in a snowstorm, but we found the casing and the design made it really easy to use in those conditions.

Timing is everything, and again, we were at Lake St Clair during the golden hour for sunset, which was gorgeous. Highly recommend, especially when it’s snowing. The park gate counts the cars and only allows a certain amount of cars in at once, mainly due to the road only being a single lane but also to stop it getting too crowded there. A brilliant idea because we really got to experience it without the huge crowds you might see at the Twelve Apostles for example. Although it might have been because it was snowing so much too, that the traffic was low.

The next morning, we went back into Cradle Mountain Park to see the Waldheims Cabins – there was talk from the locals of wombats hanging around the area, so we were very keen to get up close and personal with them.

We only had a few hours before we needed to begin our long drive back to Hobart, but our wish did come true and we got to meet a wonderful friendly wombat whom was very willing to have their photograph taken.

Sadly, we had to leave Cradle Mountain without any opportunity to see or photograph the Southern Aurora and her dancing lights. The cloud cover just never passed, as we had snow the whole time we were there, but according to the readings and reports we had, if the clouds had passed, there was meant to be some pretty amazing lights.

We have to say, it was pretty difficult to leave Cradle Mountain, and a definite highlight to the trip. Such a surreal and majestic place to spend time in, and the snow just added to the whole mystique. We wished we had planned a longer visit there, a chance to go on the many walk trails around Lake St Clair in the park that would have been beautiful with the snow covering (and very cold!).

We were meant to spend the last two days of the road trip driving down the east coast, but fell ill with the flu, and had to skip it and headed to Hobart instead.

Hobart is a great base to work from, especially when travelling to the lower parts of Tasmania. We decided to go back to the Tessellated Pavement at Eaglehawk Neck (because we had missed it when we went chasing the whales on our second day) and get some shots of the gorgeous rocks on the beach.

That was followed by a drive up to snow covered Mt Wellington, with the plan of getting some great shots of Hobart, and some footage of more snow. Whilst driving up the mountain, we came to a Whippet that was running scared on its own on the road in front of our car, and instead spent the rest of our day helping a local couple find that same dog that ran into the forest in the cold past sunset. So we never reached the top, or got any photographs, and as it turns out, the road to the top of Mt Wellington was blocked (which can happen on the spur of the moment) due to ice and snow. So it’s best to call the City of Hobart and the rangers to get updates before you go!

This was an incredible trip. Definitely not enough time in many of the places we visited, and not enough time to get to all the places we had hoped to see. We missed a lot. In researching the places to visit, other people had said that a week was not enough to drive around and see all of Tasmania. And we have to agree. You can rush it, but you’d be doing yourself an injustice because Tasmania is a good-looking place to photograph and you deserve to see it all. One way to do that would be to break the trip into three parts: the east coast; the south and the west.

Our heart breaks that we missed the Aurora Australis. However there are awesome opportunities to get some incredible shots from what I’ve heard and seen from others, in fact just a few days after we left, there was a peak in activity and a beautiful show in the sky, that could even be seen over Hobart. As they say, next time, in Tasmania, with our Fujifilm cameras!

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Henry Miller

 

 

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Geoff Marshall

Welcome to the Third 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 Three is with hobbyist photographer, Geoff Marshall.

Geoff, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in photography?

 

I am a hobbyist photographer and have been since 1979, back in the days of 35mm film and before digital. I enjoy photography very much and rather than shooting one genre I tend to shoot anything and everything. I started out with a Zenit 35mm film SLR but quickly moved onto the Olympus OM system. In 2000, I ditched all the Olympus gear to get into digital and purchased, of all things, a Sony Cybershot. I fortunately saw the error of my ways and in 2005 bought into the Nikon DSLR system. I always hankered after a smaller camera and tried out a number of compact cameras but none really did it for me. In January 2012 I purchased a Fujifilm X- E1 with the XF18-55mmF2.8-4 kit lens to see if this system was a viable option for me. I was blown away by the output of the files and that little kit lens attached to such a small body.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS – 1/60 – F4.8 – ISO 320

 

On your website, you showcase a selection of images taken from a range of Fujinon lenses. What’s your favourite photo you have taken and can you tell us the story behind the image?

 

That’s not a fair question! With getting on for 40K images shot with the Fujifilm X Series how can one choose a favourite photo?

 

Fujifilm X-E1 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS – 1/60 – F5 – ISO 800

 

I guess this image, it was taken during a trip back home to the UK. The photo has meaning for me as it was a great holiday albeit in mid-winter, and includes my youngest daughter (foreground) doing ‘touristy’ things in the big smoke of London.

 

What is it that you most like about Fujifilm X Series equipment?

 

I enjoy everything about the Fujifilm X Series equipment. It suits me very well because of its compact size and of course the file output. I have invested heavily into the X Series and my go-to combination is the X-T1 and the wonderful XF56mmF1.2, my most often used lens. Since switching to the Fujifilm X Series 4 years ago, I am primarily a prime lens shooter, my zooms seldom see the light of day but they should be shown more love for they perform very well.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF56mmF1.2 R – 1/850 – F2.5 – ISO 400

 

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

 

Learn the basics of exposure such as aperture, shutter, ISO and how to use them in combination to achieve desired outcomes. Consider your composition and just get out there and shoot. Analyse your photos, be self-critical and learn from your mistakes (we all make them) and develop a technique that you are happy with and produces results that you like. Don’t try and please everybody with your photographs, that’s an impossible task to achieve, we are all different, what one person likes the next will not.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF90mmF2 R LM WR – 1/75 – F8 – ISO 200

Fujifilm X-Pro1 with XF35mmF1.4 R – 1/900 – F5.6 – ISO 800

 

 

You unfortunately recently experienced an issue with your Fujifilm X- T1. How did you find the repair process in Australia and do you have any thoughts on how Fujifilm can improve this process?

 

The fault with my X -T1 was frustrating, isn’t it always the same with any product we may purchase be it a camera or a car? The fault with the X- T1 occurred while under warranty and was dealt with promptly and professionally by Fujifilm Australia. From my initial enquiry to report the fault with the service team, to the safe return of my camera, the service was second to none. That said I hope I never need to use the service again.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF23mmF1.4 R – 1/80 – F11 – ISO 200

 

Not many photographers may have used the XF60mmF2.4 with an Extension Tube to take macro photos of insects. Do you have any tips you could share that would help someone getting started with Fujifilm equipment for macro photography?

 

I purchased the MCEX 11 extension tube so that I could get closer to 1:1 reproduction with my macro work. Although this can be achieved, the depth of field is reduced significantly and therefore you need to be careful with your point of focus or the impact of the shot will be lost. When photographing insects (crawling or flying bugs) I don’t use a tripod as they move too quickly (apart from snails, but they aren’t insects!). However, I do use a tripod for static subjects such as fungi. The number one attribute needed for macro photography, in my opinion, is patience. You also need to learn to slow down, a bush walk that would normally take an hour to complete could easily take me 4 hours as I’m looking for the small details. Oh yeah, one last thing, be prepared to get dirty and to have passers-by look at you strangely as you crawl around on the floor to get the shot!

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF60mmF2.4 R Macro – 1/125 – F4 – ISO 200

Have you ever experience a lull in your creative passion? How did you overcome it to keep taking photos?

I think all photographers go through a creativity block from time to time. It’s a challenge to make your images different, to stand out from the plethora of other images being produced by other photographers, after all most people have a convenient camera with them at all times due to the mobile phone technology we have available to us, collectively we must be taking millions of images on a daily basis. Recently I have purchased two books for moments when I get a creativity block, both provide challenges and ideas to kick start the creativity process, ‘The Photographers Play book’ (Fulford & Halpern) and ‘Use This If You Want To Take Great Photographs, A photo journal’ (Carroll).

Fujifilm X-E1 with XF27mmF2.8 – 1/60 – F8 – ISO3200

 

What sort of processing workflow do your photos experience and do you prefer to shoot in RAW or Jpeg?

 

I shoot exclusively in RAW, legacy from DSLR days I suppose. Many users of the Fujifilm X system rave about the JPEG output and I have used JPEG + RAW settings but I always gravitate toward the RAW files. I use Adobe Lightroom CC for all my processing needs (and cataloguing) and occasionally use the NIK Silver Effex program for processing to monochrome.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF56mmF1.2 R – 1/550 – F8 – ISO 200

 

To see more of Geoff’s photography visit his blog and website.

Previous interviews from Series Three of Through a Photographer’s Eye:

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Johny Spencer

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Gavin Host

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Mike Bell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ryan Cantwell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Sarp Soysal

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Harrison Candlin