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!

 

Inspired Coastlines with X Series

X-Photographer strip BLACKBy Bryan Minear

At the beginning of December, I was on my way to California for a part-work, part-fun gig in SoCal.  Being that this was only my 2nd trip to California and my first to the coast, I wanted to take everything that I thought I might need. One of the perks of the FUJIFILM X Series system is that I’m able to bring a lot of gear without having to worry about my bag being too heavy, on account of everything being so small and light compared to a DSLR system.ona_bryanminearblog_4Gear List:

  • FUJIFILM X-T2
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro2
  • FUJIFILM XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
  • FUJIFILM XF16mmF1.4 R WR
  • FUJIFILM XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
  • FUJIFILM XF35mmF1.4 R
  • FUJIFILM XF56mmF1.2 R
  • FUJIFILM XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
  • FUJIFILM XF1.4x TC & XF2.0x TC
  • Formatt-HItech Firecrest Holder
  • Formatt-HItech Firecrest 10-stop ND & 3-stop ND Grad
  • 13” Macbook Pro
  • 1TB SSD Hard Drive
  • Anker PowerCore 20000
  • The Camps Bay ONA Camera Bag in Smoke

ONA_BryanMinearBlog_6.jpgI’ve always had a love/hate relationship with shooting out of airplane windows. I’ve taken some beautiful shots, and some terrible ones, but regardless I always give it a shot and hope for the right combination of clouds and terrain to come away with something cool. For the first time in the sky I gave the X-T2 with XF50-140mm and XF1.4X Teleconverter a shot and it ended up being really awesome. Typically I have always tried shooting wide and always seemed to get the wing of the plane, reflections, or window scratches that made my shots unusable. But zooming in that far, and having the crazy good image stabilization of the 50-140 gave me some spectacular results.ONA_BryanMinearBlog_8.jpgWhen I finally landed in San Diego, I only had a few hours to get checked into my hotel and find a good spot to shoot the sunset before I had to shoot the event I was in town for. I grabbed my ONA bag and ran out the door to see what I could find. I just made my way toward the west-facing beach of Coronado.  This was my first “true” California coastal sunset, and it was a colorful cloudless sky. I took a few shots but mostly just took it in and enjoyed the moment.dscf5272Day 2 started when a friend picked me up and we drove out to Anza Borrego. It was an unbelievable experience for this midwestern boy; in just 2 hours, we went from beautiful rolling hills and coastline to mountainous desert. We spent some time shooting from Font’s Point which gave a breathtaking view of the terrain spread out in front of us. This was everything I always expected from California: palm trees and vast expansive desert spread out in front of me. We spent a few hours shooting the beautiful textures and colors of the desert before moving on.fxp23658Heading back towards the coast, we decided that the next stop would be the rocks of Corona Del Mar. Despite slipping multiple times and having extremely soggy shoes, I was thankful to have experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets of my entire life. Having 2 camera bodies is absolutely essential for the kind of work that I like to do. I split my time between my X-Pro2 with XF10-24mm set up on a tripod shooting long exposures, and my X-T2 with XF50-140mm combo in hand snapping away at boats, water and really fine-tuning my compositions with the compressed field of view. Having the 50-140 lens has turned me from a 100% wide shooter to a 60/40 tele/wide shooter and it has made such a huge impact on the work that I create.dscf5758The next day was spent shooting around the picturesque Laguna beach area. It was a semi-low tide so we climbed to an area along the coast that has a sinkhole with beautiful swirling water, and set up our gear. After a bit of droning and waiting to see what we would get in terms of a sunset burn, we all got a bit ambitious and ventured further out on the rocks that were exposed by the low tide. While setting up on a tripod to get some water movement shots, a rogue wave came out of nowhere and completely soaked me and my camera. There has never been a time that I was more thankful to have weather-resistant gear. I spent the rest of the night soaking wet from head to toe, but was able to continue to shoot the rest of the sunset.dscf5947After drying off at my hotel and grabbing a couple hours of sleep, I decided that my final morning before flying home was going spent in Long Beach shooting the sun coming up behind The Queen Mary. I arrived to a beautiful star-filled sky, giving me enough time to nitpick and get the composition that I really wanted. As I sat there on the rocks with my X-T2 on-tripod in front of me just waiting for the perfect moment, I thought about all I was able to experience on such a short trip, and how there is so much more of the world to see and explore. I couldn’t ask for anything better than being constantly inspired to create by my surroundings, and the gear that helps me capture it all. ona_bryanminearblog_12

Perfecting Food Photography with FUJINON Lenses

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By Nicole S. Young

One of the most common questions I receive from new photographers is which lens to use when photographing food. When choosing gear there is never a correct choice; it all boils down to the type and size of the food, your workspace and setup, the style you hope to achieve, along with how you want your final image will look. Each lens will have advantages, and even disadvantages, depending on your setup. Here is a list of a variety of lenses, along with why you might choose each type of lens for food photography.

Macro

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FUJIFILM X-T2 with XF60mmF2.4 R MACRO Lens at 1/7 sec at F4, ISO 200

A macro lens is an obvious choice for photographing food. You can get really close to the food to highlight certain elements, and also easily photograph and fill the frame with small items, like berries or tiny bites of food. Depending on the camera you use, macro lenses come in different ranges of focal lengths.

Keep in mind that a macro lens is not always necessary to photograph food. With full-frame cameras it is sometimes necessary to use a macro-capable lens in order to get close enough and fill the frame. And, in some cases, getting too close to your dish may not be the best way to photograph it. With crop-frame cameras, such as with the FUJIFILM X-T2 used for this photo, a macro lens is not always a requirement. Because of the crop factor there is the perception that the camera is closer to the subject, and so a macro lens is only a real necessity when you want to get really close and fill the frame with small items.

Wide-Angle (12–24mm)

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FUJIFILM X-T2 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens at 1/4 sec at F6.4, ISO 200

In most cases a wide lens will be best for overhead setups. The space I use to photograph food in my home is too small for a wide-angle lens to be used without including other elements, such as the window or reflectors. Instead I reserve the wider focal lengths for overhead shots.

Mid-Range (35–75mm)

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FUJIFILM X-T2 with XF35mmF1.4 R Lens at 1/20 sec at F2.8, ISO 200

A mid-range lens, especially one that has a close focusing distance, can be a good option for food in any environment. I like to use this type of lens when I know I will want to photograph my dinner while traveling (for example). It is long enough to compress and blur the background, but narrow enough to not include too wide of an angle of view. I can also still sit quite close to the food; with a longer lens I need to move back a few feet, which can be difficult when sitting at a dinner table.

Medium Telephoto (90–120mm)

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FUJIFILM X-T2 with XF90mmF2 R LM WR Lens at 1/9 sec at F4, ISO 200

The medium telephoto lens, also known as a good range for portraits, is also a great focal length range for food photographs. One of my favorites is the FUJINON XF90mmF2 R LM WR; I can get in close to the subject, and also compress and blur the background quite well.

Telephoto (140mm+)

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FUJIFILM X-T2 with XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Lens at 1/10 sec at F4, ISO 200

When you have a lot of space to work in and really want to compress and blur your background, then a telephoto lens might be a good option for you.  This type of lens will typically work well with crop-frame cameras, which is great news for Fujifilm users! On full-frame cameras, however, you may find that the focal length will not allow you to get close enough to the subject to get it in focus. However even with this setup (a small item of food) I was unable to get a tight shot of the bruschetta with my FUJIFILM X-T2 because of the limited focusing distance, but with a larger dish this lens might work well.

A journey to Marrakesh

9. DSCF5376 mercato medina - sitoby Jesper Storgaard Jensen

About me

Jesper Storgaard Jensen bwI’m Danish, born in 1964, and have been living in Rome since 1997. I have always loved writing and at a certain point, after my arrival in Rome, I started to collaborate with magazines producing travel articles. It was from this that the Danish Daily wanted to publish a travel article of mine from an Italian island. Unfortunately the PR-photos were of a too poor quality. In other words, I had to do the photos myself. This is when I purchased my first ever 5-mega-pixel camera. That was back in 2003, and since then, my interest in photography has been steadily increasing. I had been working for the Danish Embassy in Rome for ten years, but in 2009 I took the jump to become a full time freelance journalist and photographer shooting travel, culture, food & wine and interviews. Everything with my own imagery.

The journey to Marrakesh

We – a total of eight persons – were doing a 7 day on-the-road-trip round Morocco, two days of which were spent in Marrakesh. As I needed to travel light, I packed only my Fuji gear – Fuji X-E2, the 18-55mm kit lens and the 35 mm lens for portraits & food. I must say that I find this a excellent combination and the overall weight is significantly reduced compared to DSLR gear.

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Travelling in a country with a completely different culture to my own I wanted to play it safe. So I asked most people if I could take their photo, especially regarding portraits, which I guess is quite obvious. There were occasions where some scenes were too good to miss, and in these circumstances I fired from the hip, looking elsewhere.

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Generally speaking, Marrakesh is a very photogenic location. There are so many varied situations, so wonderfully exotic, with such incredible faces, emotions, the colours, the textures. Everything seems to be calling you to be immortalized.

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Future projects

Aside from my daily work, I like to have detailed, lengthy photographic projects and I’ll soon be leaving Rome for my summer holidays. I’ll be driving through the south of Italy to the island of Pantelleria, south of Sicily. During that month of holiday I’m planning on doing a project called “People I met”, taking portraits of people I’d casually meet during that month. On a long term basis, I’m working on a project where I’ll be photographing different kinds of Roman artisans in their working environments. This project will be continuing into 2016.

Contact

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That photographer friend…

As an amateur photographer like many of you, I’m always looking for an excuse to shoot. Whether it be a day out, a wedding (as a guest), birthday party and the list goes on..

Because of this, the people close to me are used to me carrying a camera everywhere and posting out of context, random images to my personal Facebook wall on a very regular basis. I think as a result of this I have made it a bit of a personal responsibility to document events in my life and for others close to me. Maybe it’s so in the future I can look back happily nostalgic, or even to review my own photography, but for whatever reason it means that if you invite me to a party, gathering, or day out, you will end up with some images to remember it.

I think everyone has someone like this in their family or their group of friends and when I think back, my Grandad was that person. He would film all the family occasions with his cine-camera and every now and again we would have an evening to enjoy the images & film he’d taken on his slide projector.

These images are demonstrating exactly the kind of documentary photography that I have come to love. The opportunity came about when I was kindly invited as a guest to a birthday party. I even remember saying to my better half whether I should take the camera and “Do you think they would mind if I took images for the evening?” but then I answered my own question with “Why wouldn’t they? It’s capturing a beautiful moment in their life.” So I packed as light as I could, as after all, I was a guest as well as the unofficial photographer.

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Once I arrived, I set up the basic camera settings that I would use for the night. In my case this meant classic chrome, ISO AUTO, shutter set to AUTO and aperture set to f/1.4 (to keep the ISO to a minimum in the low light environment).

I started by enjoying a snack or two (of course!) and then looking around the room for the best costumes (fancy dress theme was the letter ‘T’), best expressions and where the best lighting was in the room. As you may or may not know my favourite set up is the X-E2 with XF35mm lens, this night was no exception. I had only this gear with me and a spare battery just in case.

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After the initial ‘Venue set up shots’ I began to focus my attention to people, being people – looking for those little moments and expressions that may otherwise be missed. From the happy & silly to the indifferent, any moment that could portray emotional involvement with the event would be snapped.

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The evening was going well and mingling had just started to make good pace when something brilliant happened – a magician turned up! And what was even better? Simple, this guy was superb. He immediately had people huddled in small groups laughing and puzzling over his close-up magic wonderment. This was the perfect element for me to focus on, I wanted to capture the suspense, surprise and bemusement that followed after each and every trick.

My approach here was to keep an eye on where the ‘actual’ excitement was in each moment. For example it could be the expression of an individual, the trick itself, the movement in the image etc. These are some of my images hopefully showing just that.

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I did occasionally stray away from the automatic focus and automatic shutter to help capture this fast fingered magician in motion.

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What is the next essential part of any family party?…. Yes, you’re right, it’s dancing! 😉 And not just any old songs either, it had to be the ‘classic’ Macarena.

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It’s all about those little moments that create one collage of memories and emotions caught in time.

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And most importantly, trying to capture the single most significant moment that sums up the whole event. The shot below shows my best attempt at this. Here you can see the family coming together after a rousing speech and the DJ reflects perfectly how their emotion is shared outwards by others around them.

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So the question is… are YOU that photography friend that everyone knows? Are you the one who makes it your passion to capture life as it happens for you and for your family? If so, I salute you! If your answer is no, why not give it a go? It will expand your skills, your confidence and very importantly it will develop your own style further. For me, if you haven’t noticed, I can’t help but shoot a lot of Dutch Angle style, rightly or wrongly, this is part of my style that has developed over time.

Please share your own experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

Happy Shooting! 🙂

Capturing Croyde and Lundy Island with the XF10-24mm & X-E2 combo

Follow Dale as he takes a journey round Devon’s beautiful Croyde Bay & Lundy Island.

As you may or may not know the XF35mm is my ‘everyday’ lens but when it comes to landscape photography the XF10-24mm is my next ‘must-have’ lens. I used to use the XF14mm lens – which by the way is superb, but I’ve realised that I just cannot get enough of that ultra-wide 10mm setting.

I have only been delving into the landscape photography world of late and am still very much finding my feet. When looking back through my landscapes I have noticed that I clearly love the slightly stranger viewpoints, mainly from a wide-angle, ground-up perspective. It may be that the world is just more interesting down there!?

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Focal Length: 10mm (XF10-24mm) – ISO200 – f/4.5 – 1/950 – Ilfracombe Harbour

I like trying to ‘add a little epic’ to my landscapes. The way I have found myself doing this is to locate a small object, whether it be a footprint, a rock etc and get it right up close to the lens. This distorts its perspective and makes it a real important part to the composition. It’s very easy to miss the small details in a beautiful view, so doing this can really shake-up the images and give a new feel to your photography.

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Focal Length: 10mm (XF10-24mm) – ISO200 – f/4 – 1/950 – Lundy Island

We’ve always been told practice makes perfect right? Well, I don’t know if it makes ‘perfect’ but it certainly helps with repetition. I find that the more I shoot, the more I know how a shot is going to turn out before I’ve even turned the camera on. It can give great insight as to whether I should get set up for a shot or move on to a new area / viewpoint.

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XF35mm – ISO200 – f/4 – 1/2900 – Lundy Island – Had to sneak my XF35mm lens into this blog somewhere! 😉

In an effort to create better landscape images I have been using the Rule of Thirds more and more consciously. Across the board this has rewarded me with more “That’s a keeper!” shots.

In addition to this, I’ve been thinking more carefully about where to ‘put’ the horizon line. I usually just ponder which is more interesting – the sky or the foreground? If the sky is more interesting it takes up two thirds of the image and vice versa. I thought the scene below had a more interesting foreground to shoot, so the foreground takes prominence.

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Focal Length: 10mm (XF10-24mm) – ISO200 – f/11 – 1/420 – Ilfracombe Harbour

On the opposite side of things, I found this sky (below) to be more dramatic and I loved how the church had an on-the-edge-of-the-world feel to it. So, I gave the sky two thirds of the frame and the church the lesser attention to increase this on-the-edge-of-the-world theme. I post-processed this one to give it a more matte-like / painted finish.

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XF35mm – ISO200 – f/11 – 1/420 – Lundy Island

The XF10-24mm isn’t just for landscape either, it worked perfectly inside the Lundy Island lighthouse to capture the whole winding staircase – which on a different note, was very steep!

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Focal Length: 10mm (XF10-24mm) – ISO6400 – f/4 – 1/56 – Lundy Island

Sunsets, anyone?

The next few images are some of the best I could get while shooting in the ‘golden hour‘. It’s not an area I have had great amounts of experience with, but, I wanted to share a few tips that could save you some stress as I found out the hard way.

Firstly, give yourself lots of time to get to the location you are going to shoot. Set up and relax way before the sun has started setting. Otherwise, you may find yourself fumbling with ND grad filters and tripods like I was.

I always thought a sunset was a peaceful, enjoyable thing, but when you are trying to shoot it the sun seems to set faster than you can say Usain Bolt!

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Focal Length: 18mm (XF10-24mm) – ISO200 – f/9 – 1/38 – Croyde Bay

The second piece of advice is to know where the sun is going to set. One night I literally found myself running across a beach. I had the camera attached to a tripod while dangerously navigating slippery rocks pools and small sand holes that the kids had dug during the day! I must say though it was some of the most exciting photography I have done in a long time.

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Focal Length: 24mm (XF10-24mm) – ISO200 – f/8 – 1/60 – Croyde Bay

On the bright side, the running down the beach to capture the sunset actually made a picture in itself. Again, emphasising the foreground subject by getting on my hands and knees to put the lens right up close. DEVN0176

I hope you have enjoyed taking my very short tour of some truly photogenic places. Here are some other shots I captured from the trip away that you may like. Any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy Shooting

Dale

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‘Coming round the mountain’ with Dale and his X-E2.

Who doesn’t love a little adventure from time to time? 

My adventure begins with simplest of texts: “Fancy coming to Wales for a week, for free?” sent from my Mum on a weekday morning. Well who could pass on an opportunity like that? I hadn’t done a great deal of landscape photography and knew that this was a great chance to up my skills in this area.

I mentioned my trip to a few colleagues and they suggested I grab some ND Graduated filters to give me more control over the exposure of sky and land. I had never used an ND Filter before, but was excited to give them a go. I knew I couldn’t afford anything decent so I simply bought some £15 (delivered) ND filters with holders on Ebay.

So a few weeks later, fully prepared with all the bits and bobs (tripod, batteries, etc) we set off. I had only been to Wales once as a kid and didn’t remember it that well. All I knew was that I would see LOTS of sheep. Here was a little snap I caught and loved of one of the first sheep I saw there.

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Blowing raspberries?

After settling into our holiday home, we planned out the week ahead. This included going into the underground mines, climbing Snowdon, visiting Anglesey and other holiday-type locations.

Destination number one had to be Snowdon as the weather forecast was looking good and we wanted the best visability when we made it to the top. My Fiancée and I decided to take the Snowdon Ranger path as it was recommended as beautiful and not too difficult.

Here are some of the shots going up the mountainside.

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ISO 200 – f/7.1 – 1/105 – XF10-24mm
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ISO 200 – f/6.4 – 1/120 – XF10-24mm
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ISO 200 – f/11 – 1/100 – XF10-24mm

You may notice that the sky has that slight layered darkness to it, that is the ND grad filters. They help darken the sky area so the whole picture can be exposed correctly. Without them the sky would have been bright white and the colours would’ve been washed out. One problem I did face with the ND filters was that because they were cheap, they had a tendency to give a magenta colour cast on the image. To combat the issue, I used Photoshop to target problem areas using a Solid fill layer set to overlay and then picked a more suitable colour.

Once we made it to the top we saw the train that runs alongside the Llanberis path. A beautiful train though it was, I am glad we walked up for the sense of achievement and also the train did seem rather old and clunky! Made for a great snap though.

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ISO 200 – f/9 – 1/90 – XF10-24mm
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ISO 200 – f/6.4 – 1/750 – XF10-24mm

Here is the view from the very top. I boosted the colours a bit in Photoshop but it really was that clear and that beautiful. I highly recommend taking a visit if you can.
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Now I love visiting Castles, something about the history and the medieval era interest me somewhat. So it is not surprising that we had to take a trip to the recommended – Conwy Castle. Unfortunately I didn’t get many good shots of the castle itself as I would have wanted to take them from the sea as a landscape shot and we didn’t come in from that side. However, it did give me an excellent viewpoint to trial the ‘Miniature’ mode on the camera. Here are some of the shots taken from the top.

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ISO 200 – f/5.6 – 1/125 – XF56mm
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ISO 200 – f/2.5 – 1/750 – XF56mm
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ISO 200 – f/4 – 1/180 – XF56mm

One of my favourite days out had to be travelling round Anglesey. It was my turn to drive out of the family and I must say it was truly excellent. The roads were full of interest with their twists & turns, cliff edges and mountainous surroundings and the views were simply picturesque – everywhere. I remember I kept saying “We will get a picture here on the way back”, I said that about 20 times as pretty much every corner I turned there was another shot waiting to be taken.

One of the first places we stopped was a little place on the coast that I cannot remember the name due to it being “Oh that looks nice, let’s stop here for a minute and take some snaps”. A couple of hours later we were still there enjoying the views and wandering along the coastline.

Here are a few shots from this ‘unknown’ location using the ND grad filters again.

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ISO 200 – f/4 – 1/800 – XF10-24mm
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ISO 200 – f/4 – 1/1800 – XF10-24mm
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ISO 200 – f/9 – 1/120 – XF10-24mm
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ISO 200 – f/5 – 1/600 – XF10-24mm
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ISO 200 – f/6.4 – 1/90 – XF10-24mm

Once we had eaten some lunch here we knew it was time to move on to get the ‘necessary’ holiday ice-cream’ from a beach nearby, we chose the beautiful Beaumaris Pier in Anglesey (shot below).

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Pier at Beaumaris – Anglesey

We also visited some other piers and beaches on the day. Here are two shots that I was really lucky to find. The first image is of a pier, my feet/shoes were pretty soaked after this one as the sea water was coming up from under the wooden beams! I have post-processed this image firstly into black and white and then colourised it with a blue tone to add to the drama of the shot.

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ISO 200 – f/9 – 1/250 – XF10-24mm

The second image was shot on a pier that had this impressive looking building attached, I just loved the look in black and white with all the lines created in the flooring. Again using the ND grad filter to pull some contrast into the sky.

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ISO 200 – f/4 – 1/550 – XF10-24mm

The final part of the day was to track down a good lighthouse image. I found the best one near to us to be South Stack Lighthouse. It was pretty difficult to find and quite a walk to it but it was well worth the effort. As mentioned previously in this blog the ND grad filters gave a magenta cast to all my images. With this particular image I didn’t filter much of it out as I loved the colour with this composition.

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I have come to the end of my mini adventure and I hope you enjoyed being a part of it. Hopefully it will inspire you to go out and venture among these beautiful landscapes and just have fun.

Dale Young

 

The ‘Bear’ Necessities

1504372_10154010549280534_5836271885610257265_oEver wondered how the X-E2 performs in low-light? I took a trip to a local jam night to find out. 

So, what’s with the title? Well, it is the perfect combination of wanting to carry as little as possible to not hinder my evening and the fact the pub was called The Bear.

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ISO 6400 – f/2 – XF35mm

My aim was simple, have a great night and take some great shots. I really wanted to push the camera and give it a good run in low-light, and inside this pub it wasn’t hard as it was noticeably dark. This allowed me two options; shoot at high ISOs or use fill-in flash. I choose to have a little combination of the two.  When I first arrived, I just took some time to take in all areas of the bar, the lighting, the people, everything and anything that might be interesting as the night went on.

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Can you see why it’s called ‘The Bear’? ISO4000 – f/14 – XF35mm
My brother catching me at work

After taking in the environment, I knew I needed to get a good spot for the music. The best I could muster was a front row ‘stand’ as I couldn’t find a seat at the edge of the stage area.  The lighting in the stage area was still very dimly lit on one side, but quite bright on the other. This made for some excellent contrast, which if you didn’t guess already, I love a bit of contrast in my images.

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I took a break from the music and went outside with friends, aiding another perfect opportunity to catch some good candid shots. Here is a handy hint I discovered: For great candid shots without being noticed, bring a friend. You can aim the camera at them but focus beyond them to get the ‘actual’ subject you want to capture. Here is a shot that reflects this ‘technique’.

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As the evening went on I just kept snapping away trying to get a blend between abstract and street style. Generally I kept the aperture wide open to ensure the stunning bokeh you get from the 35mm lens, and also to keep the ISO down as much as possible.

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I love the simple, yet powerful message scribbled on a window pane in this shot below.

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After having such a great evening with the X-E2 and XF35mm combo, I thought my luck was all but spent for good photography, then, on the walk home I got just a couple more shots that I was pretty happy with. As it was getting dark and the shutter was very slow, I kept my elbows tight into my sides and always shot the image on my out-breath.

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I also caught some wedding dress makers working very late, maybe it was a short deadline? These are the kind of self generated questions I love when shooting street photography.

I hope you have enjoyed this little blog and it inspires you to keep your camera on you at all times. You really can push the camera and retain excellent quality images that can be enjoyed by all. Here are all the ‘keeper’ shots from the night.

 

 

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