Flower Power with the Fuji 60mm

The sun is out and the flowers too so what better way to spend a couple of hours than wondering about the garden with my 60mm Fujinon macro lens. It might not be a true macro but you can get in close and it,s good for picking out details.  Depth of field is very shallow with these lenses when you get in close and trying to capture a bee landing on a flower could have kept me busy all afternoon!

For some of these shots I stopped the Lens down and turned up the ISO to ensure I maintained a reasonable shutter speed as there was a slight breeze which added to the challenge. On other shots, such as the black and white shot I was wide open and I really like the softness that this lens gives to the out of focus areas.
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A Fuji wedding and why I still needed my Nikon

In my mind there is no doubt at all that the Fuji X-series cameras are more than capable for wedding coverage and as I set out last weekend as second shooter on a big local wedding, my intention was to go Fuji all the way. So what changed?

The day started well. As second shooter I was covering the shots of the groom who was preparing for the event at a local hotel. This groom was organised and I met him at the agreed time, two hours ahead of the wedding to find that he was already in his wedding suit and ready to go.  The remainder of the groomsmen were not so easy to track down but we still managed to get some informal family shots as they started to gather in one of the rooms for the obligatory pre-wedding tipple.
All was going well at this point and the Fuji X-Pro1 and X-E1 we’re coping admirably. I was using the 18-55mm and 60mm lenses at this point. My strobe was a Nikon SB-900 which was being triggered by a Flashwave III trigger.
Next it was off to the church and still the Nikon D700 remained in the car as I switched to the  55-200mm zoom so that I could pick up some candid shots from the rear of the ceremony.  By the end of the service the rain had started and that leads me to the first reason why I had to reach for the Nikon. As the bride and groom left the church in their pony and trap my little Fuji was getting a good shower and I started to feel decidedly uncomfortable with using it in the inclement weather. Not that there was any problem from the camera I hasten to add and I may even consider the weather proof X-T1 at some point in the future.
As we got to the reception the rain started to fall even harder and it was now that I stopped to Nikon but there was another reason apart from the rain.
The reception was taking place in a marquee and by now light levels were getting quite low.  This meant I was going to need to use flash quite extensively and the TTL capabilities of the Nikon gear would be better suited to the varying distances and light levels within the marquee. I could have gone for an average exposure and worked with the LCD on the Fuji to check things were correctly exposed but sometimes you have to go with what is best for a particular situation.
Later in the day the rain stopped and the sun made an appearance. It was at this point that I switched back to Fuji. The reason for the switchback – I just love the image quality that the Fuji cameras deliver.  Together with fellow photographer Gail Hilton I think we survived the day and I hope the bride and groom like their photos.
Here you can see some of the shots I took during the day. I’d love to know what you think.
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Family portraits with the Fuji x-Pro1

It’s been a busy few days which has included a family portrait session, a big wedding, where I was helping out as second shooter, and a trip to the Berlin Air Show where I photographed Defence Minister Philip Dunne in the cockpit of a Hawk advanced jet trainer.

I’ll provide a few pictures and details of how the Fuji cameras coped with the wedding in another post but here are a few pictures from the family portrait session which lasted about an hour on the sea front at Lytham St Anne’s in Lancashire.
From a photographic point of view the main challenge was keeping focus with a very mobile family group that didn’t stay still for long. Reviews suggest the Fuji XT-1 is fa real step forward when it comes to focussing and tracking movement but I’ve not tried it for myself yet and here I was shooting on my trusty X-Pro1. The method I adopted was to set the camera on manual focus and then use the rear focus button which I find to be reasonably fast compared to half pressing for focus confirmation,
The good news is the photographs have gone down well!
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Fuji does London

Normally when I do a city break it’s in one of the warmer European locations and London gets overlooked, but not this time. After all London is one of the World’s greatest cities and people flock to it from across the globe so time to chance to do a bit of sightseeing on home-soil.

My preferred camera for my few days away was my trusty Fuji x-pro1 complete with the 18-55mm and 55-200mm zooms plus the x100 as back-up.  A pretty good travel combination capable of covering all eventualities.
The pictures I’ve posted here were taken over three days in the Capital and they capture some of the attractions that make London special.
Most of the pictures we’re taken with Fuji 55-200mm. It’s such a great lens for compressing perspective and picking out detail from a busy scene. I found myself pulling out the x100 more than anticipated too. It’s very discreet and perfect for when you want to look like every other tourist but still capture top quality shots.
Without doubt, London is a very cosmopolitan city with a fantastic mix of nationalities, cultures and  historic sites. Wherever you go people are taking photographs and the range of cameras on show is mind blowing.  I particularly liked the trend for mobile phone cameras on the end of an extending pole for that selfie with a difference!
I hope you like the pics.
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New Sculpture

I’m always on the look out for things that are happening around my home town of Preston in the North West of England. This picture is a new sculpture that has been erected where two canals meet locally and I wandered down to take a picture. The sculpture was only erected yesterday but I’d known it was coming and wanted to get down there soon after erection on site.  So how did I come to choose such a stylised picture?  Well this is one occasion where I was probably too quick off the mark because there was still some construction fencing around the base of the sculpture and it was difficult to get a decent picture of it it in its environment.  I had to get in close to hide the fence and then ended up with this image after a bit of playing around in Lightroom.  Not what I’d hoped for but I will return!

 

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The X-Pro1, 55-200mm lens and an energetic boy

The great thing about a lens like the Fuji 55-200mm is that you can quickly zoom to re-frame your shot – essential when you are trying to capture a five-year old boy who never keeps still.  Most definitely not the easiest of subjects and a real challenge for the Fuji focus system.  No doubt about it, I struggled with both the single and continuous focus modes. The light was low and the ISO speed was up around the 2000 mark. Most camera and lens combination would have been struggling in these circumstances!

What I found worked best for me was to switch to Manual focus and then use the AF button on the back of the camera to get the focus.  This method with a bit of anticipation of where the little bundle of energy would move next meant that I was getting some shots and some of them were even sharp.  It also helped that like my camera, this little boy’s battery gradually started to run out and he got progressively slower and easier to nail. Oh the joys of photographing children.  In the end I was happy with the shots I got and as usual when the Fuji gets it right, it really does produce fantastic pictures.

 

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Juxtaposition

Sometimes it’s hard to resist that quirky photograph that just presents itself while you are out on a completely different photographic mission.  This photograph is one such picture.  I was making my way back to my car after covering a local event when I spotted this gent stood outside the Ann Summers lengarie store.  The picture in the background and the title Mollie Collection caught my attention. Couldn’t help wonder how long he’d been waiting there for Mollie to Collect him:)

The photograph itself was taken from across the street with the Fuji 55-200mm lens on the X-Pro1.

 

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