X-T2 vs X-Pro2 for Wedding Photography

By Marianne Chua

Fujifilm offers a range of mirrorless APS-C cameras and deciding which is right for you can sometimes be difficult. In this article, I compare the FUJIFILM X-T2  and the X-Pro2 for what I know and love… wedding photography.


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Y Not Festival 2017: How Weather Resistant is the X-Pro2?

By Tony Woolliscroft

The ‘Great British Summer’… We all remember it, don’t we?

As a photographer, who makes a living from shooting music events, the summer time means swapping my cameras and lenses, from my rolling camera case, to a heavy rucksack that I carry on my back. ‘Why?’ you may ask. I think you’ll understand as you read on.

From June until mid September I’m often asked to shoot at different festivals up and down the UK. A dream job in most peoples’ eyes and, yes, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had amazing times and memories at festivals all over the world.

I must admit though, over the past few years the thought of shooting a festival for 3-4 days, as Y Not Festival is, does bring me out in a cold sweat. The great British summer time, we all know, is very unpredictable to the extreme, and I usually end up photographing these events in bad weather. Take this year’s Nottingham Splendour festival for example, an outdoor one day event where the weather was fine until 4pm, when the Buzzcocks came on, and the heavens opened up. The rain did not stop pouring all evening and in to the night it became torrential – even as I drove along the A52 home.

The first thing I do before I go to ANY festival is to swap my Fujifilm kit over from a rolling case to a rucksack because, quite simply, you cannot roll through all the mud and rain where the grass used to be!

I have learned over the past few years, and this is a tip for those reading this, that if you shoot mirrorless Fujifilm cameras, chose what lenses you use the most at a festival, and only take those. To cut down the amount of time spent changing lenses, I now carry three Fujifilm camera bodies with me at festivals. I always take my two X-T1 bodies with my XF16-55mmF2.8 (which is my go to lens) and my XF50-140mmF2.8. On my FUJIFILM X-Pro2 camera I take an XF14mmF2.8 as this is a really wide lens, perfect for close ups and backstage pictures.

Due to the amount of dust, mud and rain at festivals, I never take these lenses off. This helps keep my sensors in top-notch condition against whatever the summer weather throws at them.

Y Not Festival 2017

This year’s Y Not festival opened on the Thursday night with Feeder playing in the evening summer sun. I managed to grab some portraits with Grant and the lads before they went on stage and played a great set to the early bird festival goers, who had arrived on the Thursday afternoon to set up camp.

Did I mention the summer sun on the Thursday evening? Well, that was the last we saw of it! Come midday on Friday, due to a few hours of a very heavy, torrential downpour, the whole festival site had changed completely.

What was green grass had now turned into a muddy swamp. Maybe these are the perils of holding a festival on the Derbyshire moorlands, but I think the conditions on the Friday took everyone by surprise. The main stage was particularly badly affected, driving rain had soaked the stage and there were fears of the bands getting electrocuted if they plugged in and played. A few acts were cancelled as the rain did not relent, until someone had the idea to put up four gazebo type marquees on the stage for the bands to try and play under.

This did help provide some shelter and two bands powered on through, performing in the height of the driving rain. I was at the festival to photograph one of these two bands; Nothing But Thieves. While the band had temporary cover, I, however was not so lucky. As a photographer, I, and my kit, needed to be at the front of the stage.

When I’m shooting at festivals, I’m always being asked about how weathered my Fujifilm X Series cameras are. I will admit that I’d never pushed my equipment as much as I had before experiencing the conditions at Y Not Festival. The rain was just horrendous. For the first three songs (around 17 to 20 minutes) I was photographing the band at the front of the stage. I was then side of stage to shot another two songs from there – once again I was exposed to the elements and continued to get soaked.

I can honestly say that my cameras passed their weathering ordeal with flying colours! I had no problem with the bodies and lenses in this heavy rain.

The rain continued throughout the evening and the main headline act, The Vaccines, was cancelled as the weather became so extreme. Therefore, it was time to go home and give my equipment a good clean up.
Although Saturday was blue sky, the night brought more torrential and a decision was made to call off the last day of the festival due to health and safety issues.

The ‘Great British Summer’, as I said, I get the cold sweats just thinking about it!

Please note: Not all of the X Series cameras feature Weather Resistance. Please check the specification of each model before purchase.


More from Tony Woolliscroft

Website: http://tonywoolliscroft.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tony.woolliscroft.9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tonyredmen1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/redmen1

How to Capture the Beauty of Nature in Flatlay Photography

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By Ja Soon Kim

I was a graphic designer and an art director in advertising for many years.

I hold a BFA in fine art. Photography is my passion.

Photography is an art form in that you are able to create or captures images that are uniquely your own vision. But first, you have to have the right equipment that is perfect for what you envision.

I used to shoot with an iPhone camera until I saw the color quality in the images shot with Fujifilm cameras. I knew I had to switch in order to achieve the subtle tones, colors, textures and depth that would enrich my images.

I had been considering several cameras. When a friend showed me his Fujifilm XT100, I knew this was it.

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You don’t have to go somewhere special to find things to shoot. If you take a closer look, there are things you never noticed before that are beautiful. These are leaves I found while walking my dog.

I have been shooting with Fujifilm cameras for over a year. I started with a borrowed X100T and now I shoot with an X-T1. It is the perfect camera for me, just the right size and surface texture, not too heavy, great retro look, and it fits perfectly in my hands. It’s fun to shoot with. It didn’t take me long to learn the basics but there are endless possibilities with this camera. It has given me exactly what I was looking for in a camera.

One of the handy features I love about X-T1 is that I can transfer pictures directly, via WI-FI, from the camera to my iPhone. This is perfect for Instagram users.

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I found all this beautiful spring growth on a walk in the countryside. I arranged them with a sense of movement using a variety of plants. Against a black background, they look elegant with their vibrant green stems.

 

Flatlay, or tabletop photography, is different from landscapes or portraits in that you are creating your own subject to shoot rather than shooting what is already there. It provides a totally different experience, creative control and it shows in the resulting images. This process has been deeply meditative for me. I work alone, without a crew, as I used to as an art director.

Shooting flatlay gives us total control over the subject and allows us to be creative in our own unique way.  You can use any material you find interesting. I work mostly with found or foraged props from nature that we all see every day and are readily available all around us. I don’t purchase props for shooting.

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These fallen leaves were collected under an old cottonwood tree. I was fascinated with bug-eaten holes and the varying stages of fall colors. I used a simple arrangement for these. 

Light is everything in photography. I almost always set up my shots near a big window in my house. My typical background is a piece of plywood painted black on one side and white on the other or foam core boards in black or white. A very simple set up.  I use a tripod whenever necessary.

When I travel, I shoot on what is readily available: sandy beaches, beautiful rock, etc.

The lighting is the most important component of photography. I don’t use artificial lighting. I’ve tried them but it doesn’t have the depth and subtle variations that natural light offers. I love the shadows that appear with natural light. Shadows give depth and dimension to images.

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These wilting flowers were found in my neighborhood and in my garden. Some are wildflowers.

This is a simple grid with various stages of fresh to wilting late summer blooms. I frequently save and reuse props as they dry, mixing them with other things to make new and different images. Nothing is wasted and ultimately all goes to compost.

 

Often they are more beautiful when they dry, so be playful and experiment.

My subjects are almost always found or foraged. The process of collecting, imagining how they might look together in my mind is part of my creative process. Ultimately, they do need to be selected and arranged in your own creative way that makes the picture beautiful and compelling.

Cultivate Your Own Style

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These varieties of wild sunflowers bloom everywhere in the Southwest in late summer. All of them are collected from the sides of the road and arranged while still fresh in a very simple vertical design. I use reusable plastic containers to keep them fresh until I get home. Shot on silver PMS paper. 

Most of my pictures are shot with the XF35mmF1.4 R lens, a great everyday lens. I shoot with other lenses but I love the honesty and zero distortion of this lens.

I love shooting with wide angle lenses XF16mmF1.4 R WR or XF18mmF2 R when I am out shooting landscapes. I also shoot with the XF60mmF2.4 R Macro when I want to play with close ups or create different affects.

More recently, I’ve began shooting with the X-T2 and look forward to the types of images I can create with this beautiful camera.

Discover more of these images created with FUJIFILM X Series in my instagram feed!

 

Exploring Panama with the X-T1

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By Braden Gunem

I like to travel alone.  Partners and friends are great, but they can also hold you back from really experiencing a culture deeply.  Solo travel allows you a freedom and adventure rarely achievable for those rushing back home for dinner.  So when a group of friends and I booked a house in a rather touristy area of Panama, I didn’t plan to spend much time shooting.  I grabbed my trusted X-T1 and my favorite lens – the XF23mmF1.4 R.dscf3684One of the local attractions in this area is a beach only accessible by boat or a long muddy trail through the jungle.  After attempting the trail, we opted for the boat and were dropped at a small dock in a lagoon filled with mangrove trees.  A short walk across the island towards the sound of surf led us to a beautiful beach. dscf3736We were walking along the beach when a foreign couple approached saying that a man with a machete had tried to rob them, but they were able to run away.  Suddenly. I regretted bringing my camera.  We stopped walking for some time. We swam, did hand stands, and drank beer.  Eventually, the allure of discovery won over and we continued along the deserted beach.

On my extensive travels, I often have a specific image in my mind when I’m shooting.  Sometimes, the search for this image blinds me from all the other potential shots present.  It’s refreshing to go out with no expectations and see what organically appears.  When I saw locals on horseback approaching, I sank into the jungle looking for a frame to contain them as they passed.  They had ridden the muddy trail, and were headed to the far end of the island to go hunting.Beach HorsesThis long strip of sand is interrupted occasionally by large trees overhanging into the ocean.   They are a natural jungle gym, and soon we were climbing all over them.  From the trunk of a tree,I realized there was a good shot and picked up the camera again.  I tilted the LCD to get super low to the ground and avoided wallowing around myself.MonkeyAs my friend Laura was working on a new route for this particular tree, I switch on the Cinematic Mode; it’s accessible on your camera by turning the mode dial to CH and holding down the shutter release button.  As it’s clicking away, I’m able to make  slight adjustments to the composition.  But, I’m mostly waiting on the subject to look at their best.  Yes, it fills a memory card really fast.  That’s why I use Lexar 128s, so I don’t have to worry about changing cards very often.TarzanBeyond the beach, we came across some boys walking around with machetes.  They seemed to be out honing their skills with these essential jungle tools.  One boy was carefully opening a coconut to drink the water.  I sat my X-T1 on the ground near his feet, using the tilting LCD to compose.  It must be great to grow up in a land where snacks fall readily from the trees.Snack TimeIn the evening, we returned home to discover the hunt had been successful. DinnerIt’s rare that I do a trip with no photographic objective.  It’s refreshing to travel light and go with the flow – and it’s authentic and easy to capture with FUJIFILM X Series. On to the next adventure!

 

 

 

Discovering Cuba with X Series

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By Daniel Malikyar

Wandering the streets of Havana felt like I had hopped in a time machine and turned the dial back 50 years. Avoiding tourist areas at all costs always provides an interesting experience, and we did all we could to experience the real side of the city each day.dscf1567My favorite part about Havana was the wide variety of subjects scattered throughout the city. It seemed as if every corner I turned there was something new, whether it was a Dalmatian contently sitting on a gritty front porch or a bike taxi that seemed to ride by just in time for perfect light, it seemed as if there was always something that caught my eye.dscf1810I particularly enjoyed shooting the neighborhoods that surrounded the capitol building, Capitolio. I did just about everything in my power to capture the lifestyle of the locals with this interesting structure in the background. From persuading locals two stories above to give us permission to shoot from their balconies, to running behind cars, to playing soccer with local kids to get their approval, I took all measures to capture various perspectives of the Capitolio with fresh subjects in the foreground on each occasion. Thankfully I had a wide variety of range of FUJINON glass to pair with my X-Pro2 and X-T1; the XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS and XF10-24mmF4 R OIS were my go-to lenses for these photos.dscf8130Another one of my favorite locations in Cuba was Barrio Chino, or China Town. This area was very unique and boasted what I called the Cuban version of New York’s iconic Flat Iron building. I immediately loved this spot after catching an incredible golden hour that saw the sun light up the surrounding area of the building with a warm, glowing light that made for some of the best shots on my X-Pro2 XF10-24mmF4 combo from the trip.dscf1644One of the most noteworthy elements of Havana are the many random puddles that form throughout alleys that provided mirror-like reflections of the colorful cityscapes, classic cars, and great city vibes. The locals would stare at me in confusion when I would stop traffic to kneel down and use the tilt-screen on the X-T1 XF10-24mmF4 combo to capture perfect angles of the glassy puddle reflections.dscf1990As I was composing a reflection shot with my X-T1 on an overcast afternoon among a vibrant alleyway, my cousin called for me and told me I had to stop whatever I was doing and see how beautiful a baby was down the street. My first instinct was to continue to try and get my shot as that sounded a little off, but I got up and quickly walked around the block to catch the little girl and her father just before they were going to enter a home. The young dad had his daughter in his arms, and we she turned around she looked like something out of a National Geographic cover. I had never seen eyes like hers. They had a bright aqua tint of blue that could be seen from a block away. He kindly let me snap a few photographs, and I every time I looked into my electronic viewfinder of my X-Pro2 and I couldn’t believe how stunning this little girl’s features were. Cuba is full of surprises… this experience was a sure reminder of that.dscf1186I’ve never really been an advocate of guided tours under any circumstances. Cuba is one of those destinations that only has so much information that can be found online. In order to experience and capture it properly, you can’t really have a comfort zone. You have to be willing to put yourself out there with a positive and friendly vibe and hope for the best in most instances. We were even invited into a family gathering for drinks in a broken down backyard after approaching a couple locals in hopes of entering their compound to find something interesting to shoot. I lost count of the amount of complexes, homes, and lots we entered (all after asking what seemed like owners or tenants). These were the best memories, and provided some of the best perspectives that will be extremely difficult to replicate.dscf1189One hot afternoon the sunset was quickly approaching, and we were determined to find a rooftop vantage point to capture the moment the light brought warmth to the tattered cityscape of old Havana. After entering a building and passing by locals on each story, all with wide smiles of confusion but acceptance on their faces, we made it towards the top floor. When I looked down, there was the unique spiral staircase I had ever seen. I captured an organic image of the staircase with my X-Pro2 XF10-24mmF4 combo and we made for the roof. Unfortunately there are not very many tall buildings in Cuba; making it a bit difficult to get a great view of the sun setting on the water with the cityscape in the foreground. I completely forgot about the shot I had anticipated when several kids entered through the roof and showed us their pigeon traps, introducing us to some of their birds. I had never seen anything like this, and it really made me appreciate how a simple lifestyle brought joy to these kids. There were no iPads, no PlayStations, it was all about going out and having fun with the neighborhood kids like the old days.dscf1582Growing up, I’ve always loved the game of soccer. I’ve played my entire life, and jumped in on just about every pick up game we came across. Towards the later end of the afternoon we decided to check out a neighborhood called Citio just outside of Havana. Apparently this neighborhood was extremely dangerous for tourists, and upon entering all eyes were on us. After passing by a few young kids playing soccer, I hopped in passed the ball around with them. The ball they had might as well have been a rag… it was completely trashed and lopsided. I offered to buy the kids a new ball, and the look on these kids’ faces was something I’ll never forget… we walked almost 2 miles looking for a store that was open. Along the way, the kids seemed to know all the other youngsters in the area, and our group grew with every few blocks we walked. When we finally found a store with someone inside, we begged the tenant to open her store for us to buy the ball for the kids. My friend Joon and I each bought them a ball that were less than $20 USD each, but it may as well have been a brand new MacBook Pro for these kids. They couldn’t believe it and were so excited to get out and play with one another. Even though we skipped shooting for a couple hours, that was one of the best memories from our trip.dscf1381In conclusion, I highly recommend giving Cuba a visit before it becomes increasingly commercialized. Your experience in the country is up to you. I spent the majority of my time in Old Havana in hopes of capturing an unseen photo, and there are tons of interesting places to see. I was lucky enough to capture my experiences behind my FUJIFILM X Series gear, which never disappointed once. With all the impromptu moments, seconds of good light, and organic situations the X-Pro2 and X-T1 paired with a wide variety of FUJINON glass executed everything I could have asked for.

Meet X-Photographer: Victoria Wright

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Victoria Wright moved to Seattle from eastern Washington in 2007 to finish her degree and finally be in the city she loved. Inspired by her grandfather’s ability to create and share a beautiful moment with brushes on canvas, Victoria took an interest in photography early in life; however, she did not pursue it seriously until moving to Seattle and did not transition this passion into a profession until 2013, when social media began opening doors which allowed her to share with a larger audience.

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Victoria Wright, captured by Kelly Victoria

When Instagram came to Android in 2012, Victoria experimented with mobile photography and began to connect with other users around the world. Her recognition on social media quickly grew and she helped build the Instagrammers Seattle community as a manager, organizing photo walks, charity events, exhibits, and more in the larger Pacific Northwest (PNW) region. She also began to have her mobile work shown in major exhibitions such as 100-50-1 in San Francisco as well as events and galleries in Seattle.fujifilmxt1_victoriawright-50Specializing in portrait, lifestyle and travel photography, Victoria’s goal has always been to create photographs that possess a thoughtful approachability, bringing the viewer into the moment rather than leaving them on the outside. She has worked with global brands including GAP, AMEX, Coach, and Airbnb, capturing people, places, and moments in time that others might overlook. In search of the next story worth telling, Victoria has traveled to and photographed many locations around the United States (including remote regions of Alaska), the mythical countrysides of Scotland (fairies and all), the endless landscapes of Iceland, and elsewhere, all while on assignment.ny-16This fall, she will be hitting the road and the skies again as she travels through New Mexico, Utah, Texas, and then back to California to finally visit Yosemite National Park for the first time. Next summer, she is planning to reconnect with her European roots on a trip to Lithuania — her first trip back since moving to Washington when she was only two — with her father, a man whose model of unquestioning generosity and inspiring drive to work hard have helped her find her own path.ny-14Victoria will of course be traveling with her Fujifilm camera in tow. After purchasing her first X Series camera — the X-T1 — Victoria knew she had found the perfect match. The ease, flexibility and photo quality of the X Series quickly won her over and she recently moved to the X-T2, though her T1 remains close by.fujifilmxt1_victoriawright-12-1Living in the PNW, Victoria never shies away from bad weather, especially while on the road, and the X Series allows her to brave the elements without worrying about her gear. The cameras are compact for easy travel, the lenses are sharp and fast, and the Wi-Fi capability makes remote uploading and shooting incredibly easy, including the ability to adjust exposure, aperture, ISO and other settings right from her phone.fujifilmxt1_victoriawright-36More than anything, Victoria admires how well Fujifilm listens to its photographers. Through both software and hardware updates, she has found that the X Series continues to improve in ways that truly benefit photographers. The X-T2, with updated 4K video capabilities, impressive Autofocus functions, and a Vertical Power Booster Grip that allows for brilliantly fast continuous shooting, is no exception. It is safe to say that Victoria is excited to see what lies ahead for Fujifilm and she can hardly wait to get her hands on the GFX 50S. The new G Format sensor is definitely going to shake up the world of medium format photography.ny-4

 

Flight of the Swans – X Series on expedition – Part 1

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By Ben Cherry – Environmental photojournalist & Fujifilm X-Photographer.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of the volunteer media team covering a project called Flight of the Swans. This is an ambitious conservation expedition, where Sacha Dench will paramotor from Arctic Russia back to the UK over 10 weeks following the flyway of Bewick’s swans.

This charismatic species was what encouraged Sir Peter Scott to set up Slimbridge and eventually the Wildfowl Wetlands Trust (WWT). Now though, the species is under threat having gone through a dramatic decline over the past twenty years. Between 1995 – 2010 the Europe population fell from 29,000 to just 18,000. The purpose of this expedition is to raise awareness of their plight, to confirm the key reasons for it, and hopefully create solutions.

This is the first of three blogs covering the project. Here we will focus on the lead up to the take off and the ground team reuniting with Sacha. Then there will be a blog during the expedition and one just as we all return to the UK.


How I got involved

Ambitious and ‘out there’ projects like this don’t come around very often so when I saw the advertisement online I jumped at the chance to get involved. I was lucky enough to be shortlisted alongside an amazing group of people and the next step was a selection weekend in Wales, where we were put through a series of exercises to see how well we can adapt and collaborate. This was a fantastic weekend, supervised by seasoned explorers and everyone came together, despite the competition and lack of sleep!

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Image courtesy of WWT/Jessica Mitchell

Once I was informed that WWT would like me to be a part of the media team, I became as available as possible to help where I could, leading up to the off. We have been put through a series of training exercises from remote first aid, to satellite phone tutorials, as well as covering some of Sacha’s specialist training, like having to jump into a simulation pool at RNLI College, Poole to see how well her flotation devices for the paramotor work! It does help that she used to be a professional free diver…

You can find out more about the selection process here – choosing our dream team  To read my personal reasons for joining the project you can see that here – Meet Ben Cherry, one of our media volunteers.

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Long road ahead! Autumn is about a month ahead of the UK in Russia, which is why the Bewick’s have started migrating. X100T

What kit I’m taking

I have two bag set ups for two different purposes:

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Shoulder bag/go bag

This is basically the first thing I grab when we arrive at a general location. It contains an X100T, X-Pro2, XF16mm F1.4, XF35mm F1.4, 56mm F1.2 and an SP-1 printer. The set up encourages me to be creative as well as being small and not intimidating when first encountering a new community.

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Backpack – Wildlife/assignment bag

When I know we are going out to find the swans or capture other aspects of nature, then this is the bag I grab. Inside is an X-T2, X-T1, XF10-24mm F4, XF16-55mm F2.8, XF50-140mm F2.8, XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6. As well as miscellaneous items like filters, cleaning kit and a flash set up.

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Having the two distinct bags means that I can keep my kit focused for particular types of photography, as well as not constantly overloading myself with gear. This particular project has so many interesting factors, from tracking the swans which are very timid in Russia and much of Europe, to engaging local schools, conservation and hunting groups. My kit has to be able to maximise each and every opportunity.

The rangefinder cameras are brilliant as they are particularly inconspicuous. I keep them together as I use my right eye with the rangefinder cameras, while I use my left eye with the SLR style cameras. The X-T range cameras are generally more flexible, particularly the X-T2. So from my perspective it makes sense to keep the most versatile lenses (zooms) and cameras together. Generally the X-T2 has the XF100-400mm attached inside the bag so it is ready in case we come across any wildlife suddenly or Sacha has to take off/land quickly. The advanced autofocus and 4K footage makes the X-T2 ideal for this kind of project.


How has it gone so far?

At the time of writing this (23rd September, now I will hopefully be running around the amazing tundra!) we the ground team have just arrived in Arkhangelsk, Russia. Referencing the map below, that is where the blue line from the UK has stopped, as well as the green line coming down from the tundra, that is Daisy Clarke, one of our satellite tagged Bewick’s! Sacha is the highest, turquoise line. To get the latest on our location be sure to regularly check our live satellite map – https://www.flightoftheswans.org/live-map/

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Sacha has made amazing progress so the ground team have had to work double time to make sure we join up and keep on schedule. We left on the 14th September, and have managed to cover over 2,500 miles during that time, along with a 32 hour stay at the Russian border.. We will hopefully reunite with Sacha tomorrow!

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Part of the ground team moving north in Russia

From there we will then steadily start heading back to the UK all together. Along the way we will be conducting lots of press, conservation and community events. Please be sure to follow our social media channels as we will be trying to make our presence known along route and could be passing nearby! I am in charge of the social media channels from the field team, so I will be sharing images straight to my phone via the FUJIFILM Camera Remote app and sharing them across our social media channels (see below).

Once we are back in the UK we will be visiting some of the fantastic WWT nature reserves as well as holding other exciting UK events. We will be running various live broadcasts too so be sure to stay up to date! You can find all the latest information via our social media channels:

Facebook – Flight of the Swans

Instagram – @wwt_swanflight

Twitter -@wwtswanflight

Next month I’ll be giving an update on the project, as well as offering a photo travel guide for the locations we have passed through. Our focus so far has been making as much time as possible, once we are all on the return leg then our media team can really get to work so I promise there will be plenty of photos to share in the next instalment.

Be sure to stay up to date! From Russia with love. 🙂

Ben Cherry

Twitter – @Benji_Cherry

Instagram – @Benji_Cherry

Facebook – Ben Cherry Photography

Fujifilm X-Photographer Page


 

Just how good is the XF50-140mm zoom lens?

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By Brian Rolfe

May this year I picked up a second-hand graphite silver edition X-T1 and wanted a good excuse to go out shooting with it.

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Shooting with the XF50-140mm

So.. I arranged to meet a model I’ve known for 5 or 6 years now, Imogen Leaver who’s with Nevs Models in London. We got chatting and I mentioned a friend of mine who’s a makeup artist that had just moved to Ibiza, well she’d been on my case to fly out and shoot on the island, it was something I’d been wanting to do for a long time.

To cut a long story short, we were both fairly quiet work-wise so we looked into flights and within a few days that was it, flights were booked and we were going to fly out the following week for 3 days!

The next thing to decide was what gear to take?

You see my switch to regular use of the Fuji X System was still pretty fresh, my Canon 5D MkIII was and still is part of my kit but I’d only used it once in about 4 or 5 weeks, even in the studio I’d been reaching for the X-T1.

Honestly, I thought I might have deliberated more over what kit to take but I wanted to travel light and I already knew how much I loved Fuji in natural light from past experience so that was that – I took the X-T1, the X100T, my 35mm and 56mm.

I’d also been hearing great things about the XF50-140mm zoom, but being a prime shooter I wasn’t too sure if it would work for me, but Fujifilm kindly loaned me one for the trip so I could try it out and see what all the fuss was about, I wasn’t expecting to use it much – how wrong I was!


The Shoot

First day out we drove to a beautiful beach, Sa Caleta the sun was shining & we were ready to get going, the rocks and cliffs were a beautiful golden colour I just knew would give amazing tones and colour to Imogen’s skin.

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We started with a bit of fashion on the water’s edge before heading up into the cliffs, at this point I pulled out the 50-140mm lens as I thought it would be good to stay fixed to one spot rather than moving around the rocky terrain with the camera to my eye and tripping.

Well, I really wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to fall in love with that lens, it performed like a prime, fast to focus, sharp and the Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) was a real plus. I’ve not got the steadiest hands so when I’m out in natural light it can be so easy to miss a shot due to camera shake, but with this lens every shot was in perfect focus.

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I was also surprised how balanced it felt in the hand for a large zoom, when you compare it to something tiny like the 35mm F2 you’d expect it to feel very heavy and just a bit odd on a small body, but I found it really easy to use and very comfortable.

Day one was the last time I used my primes, seriously.

The zoom did not leave my camera for the rest of the trip as after reviewing the images on my MacBook Pro every evening I noticed they appeared to have more depth to them, almost a 3D quality. Maybe it was the beautiful Ibiza light I don’t know, but there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on that’s different to the primes and whatever it is, I love it.

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I really did put it to the test on this trip as well, some strong winds on the second day really showed how the OIS helps. We shot alongside those famous Ibiza sunsets where Imogen modeled swimwear out upon a jetty with the sunset behind her – I experimented quite a bit here as it’s not something you get to shoot everyday!

I’d shot sunsets in the past but throwing a model into the mix really offered up a new challenge for me, and I knew Imogen really wanted some sunset shots too… no pressure!!

I exposed for the sunset initially leaving Imogen in silhouette but then found a good middle ground exposure to be able to have enough light on her while still capturing the beauty of the sunset, the colours and reflections on the water. I also tried exposing for the model and blowing out the sunset more and I have to say they all worked out very well.

You don’t get more than maybe 20 minutes to get those shots and yet I was still spoilt for choice with the results. I knew I could push things in post but I’m a bit of a stickler for getting things as close in camera as possible & having all the dials on top of the camera really helps to make those quick adjustments.

I think the ultimate test was as we were driving away from the beach on the cliff road, Lauren, our make up artist and host pointed out to the sun just about to disappear into the water behind us, I wound down the window grabbed the XT and with my upper body hanging out of the moving car I took a shot, as you can see it came out beautifully!Imogen - Ibiza 0928 web

I have to say that I truly missed that lens when it went back to Fuji and I think I’m very likely to get myself one in the near future. The whole trip was a great success and we’ve had great feedback from the images that were taken.

I’d like to thank Fuji for providing the lens for this trip as well as my friends Lauren Buckley make-up artist and Imogen Leaver for making the trip such a successful and memorable one.

To see more of Brian’s work, click here. 


 

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer William Solis: Familiar Can be New

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In continuation from last month, we are happy to announce William Solis as our new X-Thusiasts Featured Photographer for September 2016. In his recent interview, Solis relays his thrill for cinematography and travel through Fujifilm photography.

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“Starry Night”, Fujifilm X-T1 + Samyang 12mm F2 @ F2, 30 sec, ISO16000

Let’s start with the basics: Where is home? What are your hobbies? What inspires you from day to day?

Home is Newport in the Northern Beaches NSW. It’s a beautiful place, and I simply enjoy watching the ocean in my spare time. My hobbies other than photography are fitness, cinema and technology. Each hobby has some carryover to the other and ultimately gives me some variety.

My biggest daily inspiration is seeing the incredible shots in places that I’ve been to many times. There have been times where I haven’t gone out shooting because I felt I’ve covered every inch of that location, only to see someone else’s photograph from there; I’ve gained a perspective I had never considered as if I had never seen that place before. It’s really opened my eyes to continually try different shots, so I carry my camera with me everywhere. As I look for those shots, sometimes a great scene shows up, and I’m only able to capture it because I have my camera on me.

How did you develop an interest in photography? How did you learn and develop your craft?

Cinema has always been a big part of my life—even now it is a gigantic inspiration for my photography. I grew up watching movies and the cinematography was a very important aspect to me. The way the scenes were filmed, it was a perspective I had never seen in my day-to-day life. I wanted to capture my life like that. I also really appreciated my childhood photographs and they help me remember moments in my life that would otherwise be a fragment. I also felt they showed the moment better than I could explain it.

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“Fireworks in Darling Harbour”, Fujifilm X-T1 + XF23mmF1.4

My parents got me a compact camera when I was about 15. From there, I took photos of anything and everything—at first, I emulated the compositions I liked in the movies without really understanding what made them look so good. Over time, I researched composition guidelines, photography FAQs, beginner guides, etc. I joined photography websites and spent a lot of time analysing shots I liked, matching them up with the composition and post-processing posts I was reading. I would get some constructive criticism from other photographers, but most times I would come back to my earlier shots and see what didn’t work based on the experience I had gained since then. My goal was to understand the thought process and develop my eye in order to take better shots.

Over the years, I have met other photographers who have taught me a lot and I have attended workshops that have taught me things that would have otherwise taken me way longer to learn. I am still developing my vision through experimenting, mixing it up or looking at shots from people who have different viewpoints.

 

Do you have a particular photographic style? If so, what would you consider that to be?

Travel photography would be the best way I could describe it. I try to see the places I go to as if I was seeing it through the eyes of someone who’s been there for the first time and I like to think if after looking at their shots, how would they have photographed it differently? From the beginning, my goal has always been to photograph to remember the life I have lived.

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“Sunset at Barrenjoey Headland”, Fujifilm X-T1 + XF35mmF1.4, shutter 1/5000

What’s your favourite location to shoot in Australia?

Barrenjoey headland at Palm Beach; not only is it beautiful but there are so many ways that it can be photographed. I find it’s a playground, an open-air studio that I am free to enjoy.

 

Consider your favourite or most memorable Fujifilm photograph. Where was it taken, how was it shot and what does this photo mean to you?

That is not easy to answer! Most memorable for me would be a rain cloud I photographed from Newport beach in the morning. I went down to the beach despite it being a cloudy morning. I did not think I was going to get anything special but I went anyway. I just wanted to photograph.

I reached the beach and saw this wonderful view of a rain cloud over the ocean and the sun behind it. I wanted to give some context and sand wasn’t working so I walked past the ocean pool and onto the rocks. There was a rock that the waves kept crashing against and I saw a shot in my head. I squatted down, tilted the screen up on my X-T1 and composed the rock in the foreground and the rain cloud in the background. I simply waited for it to appear in front of my camera. I was listening to Simon and Garfunkel during the shoot and I know that influenced my shot.

The shot represents a couple of things to me: To go out even if it doesn’t look ideal and that you don’t always know what you’re going to get, so put yourself out there.

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“Good morning, Newport”, Fujifilm X-T1 + XF23mmF1.4

What’s your favourite X Series camera? Why do you prefer that particular model?

X-T1 without a doubt. Specifically the EVF, flip-up screen and design. I’ve used a variety of cameras in my life but there has always been something that has hindered me or been not as enjoyable to use. The X-T1 is easily the most enjoyable—it is just right in the places that I need and almost feels tailored to me. It’s like the makers had a wishlist for a camera that they would use themselves and made it. I’m just glad that it exists! I refer to my X-T1 as my electronic eye because it feels like an extension of me and the closest I can get to saving the moments I see with my own eyes.

 

Which Fujinon lens(es) do you prefer?

The 23mm F1.4 is my main lens. It enables me to get the shots I am after. I do not feel hindered by it, especially in low light. There are many shots I would not have been able to get if I did not have that lens. I also use the 35mm F1.4 for subjects farther away and the Samyang 12mm F2 if I want to go wider.

 

Could you describe your photographic workflow? Do you prefer any third-party, post-processing software, camera accessories or community networks to develop and share your work?

My in-camera settings are Pro Neg Std and Colour +2. I shoot in RAW but the look of that film simulation works for me as a base idea. I use Lightroom predominantly and Nik Collection for sharpening as I find it does a better job. I import my photos with VSCO 06 400H+1 + because it gives me a feel of what I’m after and starts the process of connecting the photograph I have in my head to the final image. Usually, I get the colours first then highlights/shadows/curves and then finish off with colour afterwards. Sometimes the missing piece is changing the colour hue, usually blue and yellow. Sometimes I edit a bunch of images and by the last one, I have found the look I am after and apply it to the previous shots.

I upload to Flickr and share it to Instagram. I also back up my exported images to an external hard drive. Sometimes I feel I don’t need to go to Lightroom and instead convert in-camera to the look I’m after and send it to my phone. I then edit in Snapseed and upload from there.

 

Do you have any additional final thoughts regarding Fujifilm X Series? Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to share with other photographers out there pursuing their craft?

Firstly, I am very interested in the X-T2—especially for the video and AF—so I will be checking that out when I can. I highly appreciate the firmware updates and Fujifilm listening to feedback (any video-centric firmware updates for the X-T1 would be greatly appreciated).

I often get asked what camera I recommend and I would love for Fujifilm to make a 1″ sensor successor to the X30. I have a feeling that it will fill a gap for many people and would be an excellent introduction to Fujifilm. On a similar note, I would really like Fujifilm to host more events because it would allow people to try out the gear in real-life scenarios. I would definitely like to be involved or attend such events.

My advice for photographers would be to never stop learning and be open to new ideas, different compositions and styles because it may open you up to take photographs that you would have never considered.

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“Sunset on St. Leonards, NSW”, Fujifilm X-T1 + XF23mmF1.4

To see more of Will’s work, you can follow him on Instagram at @willsolis1.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in joining our X-Thusiast community, check out the full X-Thusiast Gallery and Submission details here.