Another three points for PNE Ladies

I don’t recall covering a night match for PNE Ladies before so the game against Burscough Dynamo was a first for me. This presented challenges from a photographic point of view. The low levels of lighting on the Sport Arena pitch meant that ISO levels were maxing out at ISO12800 and I still wasn’t really getting the shutter speeds I needed. The added misery of cold and driving rain was lifted slightly by the fact that PNE Ladies impressed again and secured a 3-0 win.

Well done to both teams for playing some good football in difficult conditions.  Here are the pictures…

Click on any picture to enter slideshow view.

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Magazine shoots with the Fuji X-T2

I thought I’d share a photograph from three different magazine shoots from the last couple of weeks. You never know quite what you are going to get when you turn up for a shoot but I’m always confident that my Fuji X-T2 can handle it. And, to be on the safe side, I usually have a Fuji X-T1 along as a back up, though I’ve never needed to use it.

Here we have a photos from a Deli, an opticians and a beauty parlour.

The photos are all ‘out-takes’ from the shoot or very similar ‘duplicates’ to the photos I eventually submitted. On each of these shoots I was using off-camera flash, a mix of Godox units being my preferred choice of lighting.

 

 

 

Fuji XF50mm F2 WR – first impressions

The latest lens from Fuji for the X-Series of cameras is the XF50mF2 R WR. It has been described by some as a slightly strange focal length. In 35mm terms, it is a short telephoto lens which falls a bit short of what is generally thought to be the ideal for portraits.

I’m not sure who Fuji had in mind as the target audience for this lens but I thought I’d share with you my reasons for buying it, together with a few photos and first impressions.

I already own two lenses that cover this focal length (18-55mm and 50-140mm) plus I also have the 60mm macro lens. So, let me explain my reasons for adding the 50mm f2.

In the last 12 months I have been taking quite a lot of photos of my grandchildren. Quite a number of these photos have been taken inside in low light conditions where space is limited. This is where I believe the new lens will offer some benefits over my existing kit.

The 50mm is small and light with a reasonably wide f2 aperture.  This for me beats the bulk and f2.8 aperture of the excellent 50-140mm lens, which I see more as a professional tool for events etc.

Another benefit is the autofocus speed. The 50mm lens acquires focus faster than any other Fuji lens I own and I hope it will be ideal for unpredictable children. I’ve used the 60mm lens to take portraits in the past and the results are excellent but it’s not the fastest lens when it comes to focussing, even after various software updates on the latest generation of cameras. My main camera these days is the Fuji X-T2.

As regards build quality, the lens feels extremely well made. The aperture clicks and manual focus ring are the smoothest I’ve come across on the Fuji lenses with just the right amount of resistance.

So that’s my rational for buying the lens together with a few first impressions. As I’ve only had the lens a couple of days I haven’t had chance to try it out on the grandchildren yet. Nor have I had time to take many photos with this lens but here are a few images I have taken with it in the last couple of days. I don’t get into pixel peeping but so far, I can say I’m happy with my latest purchase.

I’ll follow up this post with more pictures and impressions of the 50mm f2 in the near future.

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A visit to Samlesbury Hall

Samlesbury Hall is an impressive building dating back to around 1325. It is believed that the Hall itself replaced an earlier building on the site which has been destroyed by the Scots.

It’s located in between Preston and Blackburn in Lancashire and whilst it’s only a few short miles away from where I live, it’s been a few years since I last visited.  Today was a fairly bright sunny day and the Hall looked great. The house is supposed to be haunted by a number of ghosts including Lady Dorothy Southworth who’s family built the house.  The family supposedly killed her lover because they disapproved. The family also got involved in witchcraft – Jane Southworth went on trial and another member of the family was hanged, drawn and quartered as a Catholic martyr (John Southworth).

All in all an interesting day out.

 

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Easter Egg Rolling in Preston

Avenham Park in Preston is the location for a tradition that has been going on for hundreds of years. Easter egg rolling down the grassy slopes of the park is dominated these days by chocolate eggs but you still get a few decorated hard-boiled eggs flying down the slopes too.  It’s a tradition that is still going strong and today (Easter Monday) thousands turned out on what was one of the sunniest Easter Days that I can remember.

From a photographic point of view there was lots to see – apart from the masses of people there was bouncy castles, fairground rides and street performers (non of which I got to see in my short visit to the park).  Another notable fact about Avenham Park is that it is the place where the first Mormon converts outside of the US were baptised on the banks of the River Ribble and a plaque to commemorate this historical fact is located in the park.

This shot has been given a retro feel in Lightroom – for me this photo could just as easily have been taken in the 1970’s when I was growing up in the City. The camera was the X-Pro1with 55-200mm lens and I’d also taken out the X-E1 with 18mm lens fitted for the wider shots. It shows the children preparing for a mass Easter Egg roll.

 

 

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This Preston photographer thinks the Fuji X100 is a classic…

I remember getting my Fuji X100 – everything about those first impressions screamed quality. The packaging was a work of art, the precision built box, magnetic flap and black interior presented the camera beautifully. And then there was the camera itself. It’s got to be most tactile camera I’ve ever owned. Everyone who saw it wanted to hold it. It f    eels solid and as I am sure other  X100 owners will testify there’s something really nice about the X100 lens cap – not the practicality (it can be easily lost) but the felt lining on the inside of the cap that means when you push it onto the lens it silently glides into place, pushing out the air as it goes. So you get the picture – I sort of fell in love with the little X100 from day one and it soon became the go-to camera for any casual trip out.  Yes the camera has it’s little quirks and autofocus particularly in low light was a problem but that has been vastly improved through a number of firmware updates. Even now it would probably be the one camera I’d keep if I had to choose just one. (but then again I do love the X-Pro 1 too!).

Many photographers have mentioned how the X100 has reawakened their interest in photography.  I remember reading Damien Lovegrove’s review of the camera and thinking, I want one.  His superb images helped to sell it as well I have to say.

I’ve used the X100 for all sorts of photography. At one time I used to go on holiday or vacation as they say in the States with a full bag of Nikon gear but there’s something really liberating about travelling with just the X100. You don’t get noticed in the same way as you do with a big SLR around your neck but at the same time you can be confident that you will be getting some top quality images. The jpegs produced by the camera are superb. I’ve thought about upgrading to the news X100s but to be honest I am still happy with the X100. In fact I bet there are some really good second hand bargains out there for anyone who needs an excuse to get into the Fuji X-Series on the cheap.  Here are a few X100 pics as examples.

 

India Manchester Airport Urban Portrait Art in the Park

Fuji 55-200mm – a few thoughts and pictures.

Here are my views on the Fuji 55-200mm lens – still a firm favourite on my X-E1 and X-Pro1.
My entry into the Fuji X Series was via the superb X100 camera and that will be the subject of another blog at a later date. I was so impressed with the quality of the x100 that the X-E1 soon followed with the added benefit of the 18-55mm kit lens. Again, I was blown away by the quality of the image files and what a lens, far superior to what you might expect from a kit lens.
So that brings me to the topic of this blog because it wasn’t too long after that Fuji announced the launch of the 55-200mm lens and I had to have one. I pre-ordered mine from Wex Photographic and patiently waited. I was rewarded with what must have been one of the first lenses to be delivered in the UK.
Now almost 5,000 images later with this lens and numerous subjects covered, from travel photography to weddings I can report that it is a mighty fine lens.  Sure it’s quite a large lens when compared to the compact nature of the cameras but it’s still a lot smaller than the Nikon or Canon alternatives.  The only area I’ve really struggled is with moving subjects when the focus just doesn’t latch on quick enough and you get a higher than expected number of missed shots.
Here is a sample of some images taken with the 55-200mm. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Spanish Guitar Lakeland Bride Red Telephone Boxes Malaga Sunset St Ives Walk in the Park Wedding Guest