100 years ago Sikh warriors stood side by side with British troops during the First World War and the sacrifice made by those brave people should never be forgotten. That was the premise behind an event in Preston city centre last weekend when the local Sikh community came together for a remembrance parade. It was a colourful and respectful event which celebrated Sikh traditions and it was a privilege to be there to capture a few pictures of the day.
While the Sikhs were armed with traditional swords and daggers, I was armed with my Fuji X-E1 with 55-200mm lens attached and my X-Pro1 with 10-24mm lens but the pictures here are mostly from the 55-200mm lens – a firm favourite of mine.
Here are a few photos from the event.
Just for clarity I think I should point out that all the photographs taken in this post were taken on my Nikon D700 and not my Fuji gear.
These days that’s quite unusual. Since I bought my first Fuji (the x100) the Nikon gear has hardly had a look in and I’ve even sold a couple of Nikon lenses to fund further Fuji purchases.
There are however occasions when I still feel the need to turn to the big Nikon and this pet portraits shoot was one such occasion where I felt the auto focus speed of the D700 would be better suited. After all, trying to capture half a dozen dogs running around the countryside was going to be a challenge for any camera – not to mention the photographer!
My Fuji cameras are currently the X-E1 and X-Pro1, not the fastest focussing cameras in the Fuji series. Oh how I wished I’d bought the XT-1 – it would certainly have been my camera of choice for this job had I had it.
Instead, I used the D700 and the 80-200mm f2.8 lens for most of my shots and boy did I notice the weight difference. It’s a great camera and lens combination but my back pain is only just subsiding after a number of days.
It’s certainly got me thinking about whether the X-T1 is as good as people say. Is it time to off load my Nikon gear altogether? Do I wait to see what the X-Pro2 might bring? Decisions, decisions!
Here are a selection of shots from the Nikon then. There were plenty of missed shots and the continuous focus capabilities in the low light were not as good as I’d remembered but it was an interesting day out with a nice bunch of dog owners and their pets. Let’s hope they like the pics!
Astley Hall in Lancashire is the type of location that Fuji’s 10-24mm lens and X-Pro1 were made to cover. Astley Hall is a Jacobean mansion on the edge of Chorley and it has bags of character.
There’s no doubt it’s a great building to photograph. I spent a little while walking around the outside waiting for the sun to break through the clouds. I’m not keen on boring skies so was aiming for a bit of sun on the building with plenty of detail in the sky. Thinks changed quickly and the sun was sometimes only out for only seconds. Some of the pictures taken close to the house gave the images impact with the converging verticals as I tilted the camera up, while on other pictures I tried to keep things straight and used a bit of correction in Lightroom.
Inside the house, you are free to wander around and take pictures. The light levels were quite low in some rooms and it was a good test for the image stabilisation capabilities on this lens. No need to worry because even with the lens wide-open at 1/15 second the images are sharp.
Another advantage of this lens is the fact that it is a zoom lens rather than fixed focal length. In these houses there is often a rope barrier from where you can view the room. The zoom allows you some flexibility with the composition and that’s a bonus when you can’t reposition yourself.
So any niggles from my day out with the 10-24mm? Only one and that relates to the lens hood which I find to be a bit loose. If it is not quite fitted right you get vignetting in the corner of the picture and I found it moved too easily.
Astley Hall is a 17th century house with plenty of history and some striking architectural features. What’s more it’s open to the public and it’s free to look around. The house is situated on a huge park with good gardens and a cafe too. It’s also only about 30 minutes drive from home, yet it’s years since I last visited. Funny how you often neglect the gems that are closest to you.