Tag Archives: photography tutorials for beginners

Fujifilm XPro1 – my new favourite camera

How did I not buy this camera earlier? I love the organic output it produces, and paired with the Fuji 35mm f1.4 lens it produces incredible files – jpeg and processed raw files. For me output is the most more important factor in creating an image. The files from this camera and lens combination are sublime, easily edited (both raw and jpeg), and the camera is fun to use. The following images were all shot with the 35mm f1.4 lens which creates sharp images with great contrast. Click images for bigger. Enjoy.




Overcome G.A.S. and tell a story

Photography is not just about acquiring sharper lens, new bodies, the latest lighting and new gadgetry just to make yourself feel like a more complete photographer. Photography is really about composition and conveying an idea to whoever may be viewing a picture. It’s very easy to get caught up in the gear acquisition syndrome (GAS) and at the same time there is so little discussion about the art of photography.

Since the days of film, photography has evolved from a slow and decisive process to one of immediacy, available to everybody with a decent smartphone. This raises the question …. “is photography really changing and his photography now evolving to its true and normal state”? And has technology simply enabled photography to move into a world where even the most amateur photographer with a cell phone capable of good pictures and can title themselves a photographer?

Photography used to be a process of shooting with film developing film and presenting pictures in a printed format on paper. Today overwhelmingly the majority of photography is taken digitally and shared digitally around the world from one device to another device in almost an instant feed. The question is  “will this change should this change and does it really matter”?

Photography in essence is about communication. Yes it can be an art and yes it can be a profession, however at the end of the day images are some of the most powerful ways of communicating from one person to another. We all remember images in our minds and often we use complicated dialogue and text to do that, however the simplicity and beauty of an image is still the most powerful & memorable form of communication.

So forget being over technical and enjoy photography and think about what you’re trying to communicate rather than sharpness or buying a better gear. You’ll have more fun too.

Reflections and insights – Shot with XPro1 + 35mm f1.4 edited jpeg, had to manual focus as the AF wanted to keep focussing on the reflection. Using focus peaking was easy. Click for bigger view.

Springtime in Sydney

Fujifilm XT1 + Nikkor 50mm f2 processed in Iridient Developer

Voigtlander 58mm f1.4 – a stunning piece of glass that renders well on film and digital

I’ll let these pictures speak for themselves. All have had minor tweaks in Lightroom.

First the digital files with a Nikon D3 – click for bigger

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And now some files on Fujifilm Superior Xtra 400 – click for bigger

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What I learned shooting my first roll of film in over 20 years

Digital photography is ubiquitous. It’s everywhere. The rise of social media and phone photography is fuelling digital images at an ever increasing rate. New camera bodies and lenses are on a never ending quest of improvement, and gear war fans can be found on photography forums endlessly debating the pros and cons of sharpness, sensor resolution, the meaning of light, pixel pitch, micro contrast, color rendition, etc. Technical measurebating is tedious and rather boring. Don’t misunderstand me, I love my Nikon and Fuji gear, selling my Canon gear for different reasons, but the digital process of image capture and processing is now no longer a challenge. As technology increasingly develops the challenge will continue to erode. Personally I needed an escape from the notion of pixels and sharpness. Enter the great film challenge.

Film. Old technology. No chimping (constantly looking at the back of a camera’s LCD screen). A roll of 35mm film has 36 exposures. It makes you think. It makes you consider not just aperture and shutter speeds but composition. You don’t want to waste a shot. It’s a considered decision. You have to wait to see your results. You have to learn to trust your knowledge. Now that’s a challenge. Will this make me think and be a better photographer? A better observer? A better understanding of light? Am I mad? Is this a spiritual enlightenment or just some fad that will pass? Who knows, but I’ve started.

Step 1, acquire a camera. Luckily I found a Nikon FE2 on eBay from a great seller that will fit my Nikon 35mm & 50mm D lenses. Step 2, select film. Took a chance and acquired Ilford PanF 50 B&W thinking that the grain should be fine. Step 3, find something to shoot. These photos are OK, but nothing special or seminal. Just a first attempt.

So what did I learn?

  1. Take your time and find the subject you want to shoot
  2. Really understand the light you’re shooting
  3. Shutter speeds less than 1/100 will be less sharp – no vibration reduction etc – I was guilty of this a few times
  4. I probably won’t nail exposure properly until I’ve shot 5-10 rolls
  5. I probably need to shoot several rolls of different films to understand what I like best
  6. Its easy to over expose the skies and you have less latitude to recover this in Lightroom later

Here’s some examples (click for bigger version):

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