Here is my recent feature in the wonderful virtual magazine.
I thought that now and again it won’t hurt to talk about gear.
Everyone should have a good walk around prime lens and I heard good things about the fujinon 23mm f2. (35mm equiv)
It’s quite excellent. This quick low light snap looks good. So this is my personal choice.
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The surprise blizzard here yesterday brought an opportunity to dash out for an our. Here are some local shots during the snow storm.
So can you guess what I’ve been up to today? Let’s just say I have a back log of these.
once done I’m going to let you all know about an app I’m testing that scans negatives. It’s really exciting guys so stay tuned.
A Series of images under the theme of 'structure' all captured during my recent trip to Spain.
I shot this in Spain, it is a distant peak in the Sierra Nevada surrounded by the smothering clouds. I just love the mood it stirs within.
This bathing Flamingo gave me the opportunity for some interesting images. This one is my personal favourite.
A shameless plug to this wonderful magazine which maybe you should go subscribe to particularly if you are a Fujifilm X series user.
Yours truly has contributed to this addition. Including the cover image.
So we have a few days here on this lovely Island. I am particularly excited because I have heard that the mountains are snow covered which hasn’t happened here for a very long time. If you don’t know, this Island is just off the Coast of Saharan Africa so snow isn’t s common thing. So it’s off to get a hire car and go shoot some history.
I have travelled light with only one camera and 3 lenses. No tripod so the OIS will need to be on its game. I have with me; Fujifilm XT-2, 10-24mm f4, 18-55 f2.8-4, XC 50-230 (I cant afford a better tele)
For now though I will share my favourite snaps each day until I get up to the centre of the Island (Highlands).
Well it seems my intel was a little off, OK a lot off. We drove to the mountain range but unfortunately it was 17 degrees C and very dry. To add to my woes the hire car parking brake failed which is scary when you are driving through narrow mountain roads with 100ft steep drops off the road side. So I very carefully drove the car back to the hotel with more than one or two scary moments.
So I grabbed just a few hand held snaps whilst Rebecca kept her foot on the foot brake. So in all a failed day but let’s put it all down to experience.
The things I put my family through
What an incredible animal.
Shot with Fujifilm XT-2 with 55-200mm lens - Click on Images to buy them.
Took a walk along this beaufltiful river on a pretty dreary day. I was pushing the OIS on my lens to its limit shooting hand held.
Fijifilm XT-2 with Fujinon 10-24mm f4
The lovely Devon Coast. Shot hand held with an APSC fixed lens compact.
Well I take back what sometimes I say about kit, that it's not all about your gear. Sometimes the odd item comes along which stands out, feels and works differently. Just feels special.
I recently sold much of my equipment and went back to basics. Mostly out of necessity, not choice. But this move was an ephifiny, a cleansing if you like. I was forced to revert to adaptors and legacy lenses firm the 60s onwards and a couple old mirrorless bodies that were too tatty to sell on.
So I entered A tough process of having to shop around for lenses of useful focal lengths but with a quality that can meet or even exceed that of what I am used to.
After much research, I bought these. Now note, not one lens cost me more than £65, some were £25 or less.
They are in order from left to right.
Helios 28mm f2.8
Meyer-optic Gorlitz Lydith 30mm f3.5
Jupiter 8 50mm f2
Pentacon 50mm f1.8
Mamiya Sekor 50mm f2
Ziess Jenna 50mm f2.8
Now I won't keep all the fifties they were just so cheap I could buy and try. As things look I'm torn between the Jupiter and the Mamiya. But there is a star of the show. The Meyer-Optik 30mm. Wow this lens is stunning in build and performance. I wasn't ware of the history and quality of Meyer-optik lenses before I did my research. They are East German and to many experts come second only to Lieca and Voightlander in quality, even before Ziess. The lens feels like a £1000 lens that should be on an M6. In fact the company is making this lens again, I note there is a kickstarter and I'm told the price will be in excess of £1500! This original copy in near mint condition cost me £65.
There are also a couple of 50mm lenses which boast incredible 'bubble' bokeh if that floats your boat. There is also a telephoto worth looking at, a 135mm I think that has legendary status in the old lens expert world.
My opinion however is if you find a Lydith, buy it as for the money you can't go wrong. If you are ok with manual focus and exposure you can benefit from superb colour rendition, sharpness and micro contrast with this 30mm lens.
A real discovery.
Continued. So I took a quick stroll along the river here and made a few more test snaps. JPEG straight from camera.
Mounted to my mirrorless APSC camera this was around 45mm which is actually a lovely focal length to use. Apologies for the mundane images.
and not forgetting skin tones.
A few samples from my recent revival of film. I love shooting film but more so the journey of developing and scanning at home.
A few family snaps for practice. I need a decent way to scan though.
Suggestions welcome ... please.
I recently returned and here are a few quick JPEG edits.
Now, I do a lot of reading online of Photography related subjects. I also watch a lot of YouTube. Over the last year or so I have been somewhat agasp at some of the 'statements' I read in the comments sections. So here are a few actual comments I have recently read, let's deal with 3 porkers right here that struck me this week.
1) 'No real landscape potographer shoots hand held'
Yes this was actually a statement. Let me assume the poster means one should always use a tripod if one is to be a 'real' landscaper. Well that's just plain wrong. The way I view the use of a tripod is like I view any other decision making process. I ask myself 'Will using [insert item here] improve this image or enable me to achieve what I hope to? If the answer is no, then I leave it out. In my case I would say that of 90%+ of published shots, the use of a tripod would not have added anything, in fact it's often a hinderence. By example, all of the shots in this post are hand held.
I personally mostly shoot handheld, heck I don't even use a camera strap. Why? I do not like the restriction of a tripod. This is just my MO. I use one when I need to drag the shutter at lower speeds than modern cameras and lenses allow but that isn't often. Moreover I like to move around, flow and merge with my surroundings. Get my feet into it, feel it. This brings me closer to the subject figuratively speaking, and I have more flexibility and speed with composing. It's not stiff and planted like tripod work is. Modern advancements like image stabilisation etc mean I can shoot as slow as 1/15th second hand held, and sharp! Maybe my past military trading in the use of a rifle helps, I can stand and shoot very steady but this can be learned by anyone.
I am not alone in this either. In 2014 I managed to become a finalist in U.K. Landscape Photographer of the Year and that years winner, Mark Littlejohn, shares this view and practice of avoiding the tripod. My image from that competition is below and was shot hand held, ISO 1600, f8 @ 1/125 sec helped by image stabilisation.
2) 'Good images need hours of post processing'
This is just silly. Of course one can spend as much time as you like editing but depending on the image five or ten minutes can be plenty. If the RAW image has potential the editing phase can be just about pulling out the beauty and making it pop. If you need much more time and assuming you aren't merging or blending then perhaps you are making changes that could have been considered during the making of the exposure? Remember editing should never replace good craft so try to perfect your camera craft maybe. Check out my YouTube channel for some examples of quick editing.
3) APSC (crop sensor) digital cameras are not suitable for Landscape work.
Hmmm. Of course they are. The sensor size has little effect on the image real terms. By real terms I mean the technical qualities of composition, moment and feel which are to me the 3 key elements of a great image. Crop sensors of today's quality can give us images which can be printed big enough and the greater depth of field that can be achieved with a crop sensor can in fact offer advantage.
As a reminder here are the sensor size relationships
And by means of example, the image below was taken with my iphone. Thats the smallest sensor shown above.
A few hand held made images taken on APSC cameras with just a few minutes post processing.