St Gilgen

I was lucky enough to visit the town of St Gilgen in Austria.

I captured these scenes by Lake Wolfgangsee at dawn. I like the way that the passing swan it returning the look of the swimmer. Shortly afterwards she was joined by a friend. I can tell you that the glacial waters in Lake Wolfgansee are very cold.

I converted the Fuji RAW images to black and white using NIK Silver Efex Pro

Greeting
Fuji X-T2

Come on in
Fuji X-T2

Fuji X-T2 Firmware Rollback

Fuji has announced a roll-back to its recent X-T2 Firmware 4.0.  Firmware 4.1 effectively restores the camera to Firmware 3.0 features (and stability)

I have not experienced any of the defects listed by Fuji and am debating keeping 4.0 installed but as I have a shoot coming up I will plan to keep a spare SD card with 4.1 ready to go should I need it... 

https://www.dpreview.com/news/2279621669/fujifilm-retracts-firmware-4-0-for-the-fuji-x-t2-due-to-malfunctions

Fuji X-T2 - Firmware 4.0 Focus Stacking Example (Landscape)

I updated the firmware on the X-T2 to Firmware 4.0 which includes the addition of a focus stacking function. The Manual is a little obscure on how to use this feature but a bit of trial and error results in good results.

I set up with the Fuji X-T2 and 10-24mm @ f8 - I focused on a foreground subject at about 1 foot from from the camera and focused on this.

 Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 10-24mm @f8 Focus Stacking Example with Firmware 4.0

Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 10-24mm @f8
Focus Stacking Example with Firmware 4.0

I set the Focus Stacking settings to 99 frames and 3 steps with a 0s interval. The camera took 5 frames to step from the focus on the foreground to infinity. I blended the 5 frames in Photoshop using Auto Blend Layers.

Fuji X-T2 Focus Stacked Landscape Example

Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 10-24mm @f8
Focus Stacking Example with Firmware 4.0 - Click on Image for Larger Version

I have taken a 100% crop of the wooden shed in the background of the image. This shed is appx. 60 feet from the foreground subject and in the un-blended shot (on the right) the focus is very soft due to focus point being 1 foot in front of the camera. It would be possible to get a better spread of focus with hyperfocal distance techniques but not the level of sharpness that can be achieved with a blend.

100% crop example of X-T2 Focus Stacking with Firmware 4.0

Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 10-24mm @f8
Focus Stacking Example with Firmware 4.0 - 100% crop

Fuji X-T2 - Rome

I recently made a short trip to the beautiful city of Rome in Italy. The weather did not exactly play ball but I was able to get out with the Fuji X-T2. I decided to travel light and took just the 16mm f1.4 and 23mm f2.0

 Trevi Fountain, Rome - Fuji X-T2 16mm f1.4

Trevi Fountain, Rome - Fuji X-T2 16mm f1.4

 Trevi Fountain juxtaposition - iPhone X

Trevi Fountain juxtaposition - iPhone X

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is always worth a visit. It seems to be perpetually surrounded by flocks of tourists night and day but it is possible to elbow your way to the waters edge.

The fountain is lit up at night and worth visiting after dark. The Fountain has been photographed many times and you might like to try something different. If you don't feel like battling the crowds why not make them part of your photo with some candids of the selfie takers.. or perhaps look for an angle to juxtapose the tacky stalls with the beauty of the marble fountain.

 The Pantheon

Rome has more than it's fair share of ancient buildings and the Pantheon is a great example. There is a hole in the ceiling that lets in sunlight (and rain) which can make for interesting photographs. There is usually a queue to get in but it moves fast and it's worth the wait.

 Fuji X-T2 16mm f1.4 The Pantheon

Fuji X-T2 16mm f1.4
The Pantheon

River Tiber

The River Tiber is very picturesque, especially near to the Vatican City area of Rome. You should plan to take a long lens to compress the perspective of the sant'angelo bridge with St. Peter's Basilica in the background. This is a classic view. You can also point your camera in the other direction.

 Fuji X-T2, 16mm f1.4 sant'angelo bridge

Fuji X-T2, 16mm f1.4
sant'angelo bridge

 Fuji X-T2, 16mm f1.4 River Tiber, Rome

Fuji X-T2, 16mm f1.4
River Tiber, Rome

 River Tiber

River Tiber

The Colosseum

A visit to Rome would not be complete without taking in the Colosseum. It's an iconic landmark and well worth a visit. I took a photo of the view from the Altare Della Patria at sunset. The Colosseum can be seen in the distance.

 Fuji X-T2, 16mm f1.4 Sunset view of the Colosseum from the Altare Della Patria

Fuji X-T2, 16mm f1.4
Sunset view of the Colosseum from the Altare Della Patria

iPhone X vs Fuji X-T2

I thought I'd post a quick comparison set of photos taken with the new iPhone X and 'portrait' mode vs Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 35mm f2 lens.

I was on my way in to the office and as I had both the iPhone X and the Fuji with me I decided to take a shot of the same sign on the side of the Thames on London's Southbank

Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 35mm f2 lens
London, Southbank

This is a slightly tongue in cheek comparison. Obviously the iPhone X cannot match the image quality of a DSLR or Mirrorless camera with a fast lens. I think that the technology is interesting though and the phone has done a good job of working out the foreground object and blurring the rest of the shot in a not totally un-pleasant way.

iPhone X using 'Portrait' Mode
London, Southbank

 iPhone X JPG

iPhone X JPG

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS - Spitalfields Market

I work in Brick Lane, London which is conveniently close to Spitalfields Market. The Market has been around since the time of the Great Fire of London and is always an interesting place to visit.

I dropped in for 30 minutes on my lunch breaks on Thursday and Friday. On these days the Market is full of stalls selling antiques and records respectively. There are no shortage of interesting people to photograph.

I shot with the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 56mm and Fuii 23mm and used the ACROS Fuji Film Simulation.

Spitalfields Market - Antique and Vintage

Fuji X-T2 56mm - ACROS Film Simulaton
Spitalfields Market - 'Finding Love'

I waited patiently for a candid photograph of this trader bartering with a customer. Eventually he spotted me and asked if I needed anything. I don't always approach the subjects but on the occasions that I have in the market the stallholders have been very happy to allow photographs and even pose.

I tend to hold the X-T2 at waist height and use the articulating LCD screen to frame and focus. The 23mm and 56mm are failry subtle lenses and after a shot time people seem to stop noticing me.

Fuji X-T2 56mm - ACROS Film Simulaton
Spitalfields Market Trader

Fuji X-T2 56mm - ACROS Film Simulation
Spitalfields Market - 'Mirrors'

Fuji X-T2 56mm - ACROS Film Simulaton
Spitalfields Market Trader

Fuji X-T2 56mm - ACROS Film Simulation
Spitalfields Market - 'Looking for a treasure'

Spitalfields Market - At Night

The Market is open from 9-5pm and in the winter it takes on a different feel as it gets dark.

Fuji X-T2 56mm - ACROS Film Simulation
Spitalfields Market after dark

Fuji X-T2 56mm - ACROS Film Simulation
Spitalfields Market at night - 'Lamps and Lights'

 

Spitalfields Market - Music

Spitalfields Market has a large number of stalls selling music in all formats from vinyl to CDs it is very popular with crowds of people thumbing through the stacks of records. Stalls usually have record players and all genres of music can be enjoyed as you wander through the Market.

 Fuji X-T2 56mm - ACROS Film Simulaton Spitalfields Market

Fuji X-T2 56mm - ACROS Film Simulaton
Spitalfields Market

Fuji X-T2 23mm - ACROS Film Simulation
Spitalfields Market - 'Browsing'

Fuji X-T2 23mm - ACROS Film Simulation
Spitalfields Market - 'Browsing'

Fuji X-T2 23mm - ACROS Film Simulation
Spitalfields Market - 'Browsing'

 

 

MacPhun Luminar 2018

MacPhun soon to be Skylum have just launched an update to their excellent Luminar software. MacPhun are giving Adobe some sleepless nights recently and are promising to add Digital Asset Management capability in the comming months.

Luminar makes editing intuitive and fun. They offer a number of excellent pre-sets that give a good starting off point before you get to go crazy with any of a huge number of filters.

MacPhun added a Sun ray filter with this release for example that can be used to generate some realistic light rays in a scene. I'm not saying I have done it justice here but you get the idea

MacPhun Luminar 2018 Sun ray example

It's interesting that the filter has identified areas of the photo to cast shadows. The radar on the boat and the cables on Tower Bridge. 

Luminar 2018 Sun Rays Example

 MacPhun Luminar 2018 - Sunrays Example

MacPhun Luminar 2018 - Sunrays Example

Side by side examples

You can alter a number of elements of the rays including number, opacity, warmth, length etc and as a filter you can reduce the effect or mask it out with either a brush or gradient.

 Original Image

Original Image

 Luminar 2018 Sunrays

Luminar 2018 Sunrays

Fuji X-T2 - A Face in the crowd

Digital Photography Challenge (DPC) 

DPChallenge (DPC) run regular photography competitions on-line. They have a good community of photographers and the photography challenges are not only good fun to enter but also add that extra incentive to go out and shoot. I highly recommend checking them out here

A Face in the crowd

One of the challenges last week was to shoot a photograph that represented a Tom Petty song title or lyric. This is quite an open brief but I decided on a photograph representing the Song 'A Face in the Crowd. I spent some time walking through Spitalfields Market looking for candid street style photo opportunities.

Click on images for a larger view

Fuji X-T2 - Fuji 56mm f1.2n - Candid Street Photography, London
A Face in the Crowd

Spitalfields Market

Fuji X-T2 Fuji 56mm f1.2
Candid Photograph, Browsing in Spitalfields Market

I work near to the famous Spitalfields Market in Brick Lane, London. I figured that I could head out during my lunch break and try and capture a face in the crowd for my entry.

Candid Photography

I had an idea of the type of photograph that I wanted but obviously it's a challenge open as much to luck as to technique to find and shoot a decent shot in a 30 minute window. I must admit that I felt a little creepy trying to find and candidly capture a suitable subject that fitted the song. 

Technique

The Fuji X-T2 is perfect for candid street photography in crowded places such as Spitalfields Market. The 56mm f1.2 is not the smallest lens in the Fuji range but taking off the lens hood helps to make the set up a little more subtle.

Shoot from the hip

I tend to flip the LCD screen and shoot from waist height when trying to capture candids in situations like these. I set the focus to central focusing point and frame using the LCD. I set the camera to continuous low to capture a sequence of frames. This gives a better chance of capturing the right look. 

Out-takes

I spent some of my break practicing and trying to capture images around the market. It really is a treasure trove of characters and there is seldom a shortage of subjects to capture.

Fuji X-T2 Fuji 56mm f1.2
Candid Photograph, Food Stall in Spitalfields Market

Fuji X-T2 Fuji 56mm f1.2
Candid Photograph, Making a sale in Spitalfields Market

Aurora HDR 2018 - Example HDR

I have been playing around with the excellent Aurora HDR 2018 and recently tried it out on a set of three bracketed photos of the classic Watchman view in Zion National Park.

Three Bracketed Exposures Blended into HDR image in Aurora HDR 2018
Click on Image for Larger View

The Photos were on a Nikon D3 with 1 stop exposure variations (-1,0,+1) - Click on the images in the gallery for larger view.

Aurora HDR 2018 - Settings

While I have enjoyed testing out the large selection of pre-sets supplied with Aurora HDR 2018 I find that I usually cycle back to the 'Basic' Presets collection and the 'Realistic' and Realistic Vivid' presets specifically. Aurora HDR 2018 (and 2017!) allows for the applied pre-sets to be toned down by dragging back a percentage slider. I find that the 'Realistic Vivid' preset at about 70-75% is a good starting point.

Aurora HDR 2018 is a full featured and powerful application and encourage you to take some time to view the various tutorial videos to help you get some idea of the functionality available.

https://aurorahdr.com/video-tutorials