I thought I’d post a few memorable ( for me ) portraits from recent work.

Here is one of Emily, this was on a model fashion shoot.  Taken with the Fuji X-T1 and 56mm 1.2, which is my favourite lens for portraits.  I was using natural light and a reflector.


My next portrait is again shot on the 56 mm 1.2, but this time at f11 in the studio, on one of my lighting courses.  This was a modified clamshell lighting setup with four softboxes.  The model is Jemma Funge ( great model! ).


Next up is a portrait of Ayla, whom I shot a few months ago.  this was using a standard clamshell set up, but continous lights, which allowed me to shoot at 1.2 ( on the 56 mm lens again ).  ISO was around 400.


And lastly, a shot of my daughter Ellie.  I caught her completely by surprise here but I quite like the expression.  This was shot using the Fuji X100s, at f2, ISO 1250.




Shooting football with the D750 and the X-T1.

I haven’t shot one of my son’s matches for ages, mostly due to sheer laziness.  I decided to break out the X-T1 and the 55-200 lens again and took along the Nikon D750 just to get the hang of some of its autofocus settings.  First..the X-T1 images.  As usual, it did ok, but not great.  I got enough keepers to make me happy but its no DSLR.  Quite useable though and I didn’t find it frustrating to use at all.  These were shot using Velvia film simulation, 1/500, f4, AF-C mode and high speed burst on the X-T1 ( with high performance enabled ).DSCF7673 DSCF7783 DSCF7791 DSCF7799 DSCF7836 DSCF7940 DSCF7986 DSCF7993 DSCF8034

Now for the D750 shots..as expected it nailed focus amazingly well.  I didn’t really like group AF mode, although I’m sure its amazing in the hands of someone more capable than me.  I still prefer using a single focus point.  I used AF-S on the Nikon, and a 50mm 1.8G l prime lens ( as thats all I have for this body).  Obviously  some sort of zoom lens would have been preferable, but I didn’t buy the D750 to shoot football matches, and its not my main camera, hence I only have one lens for it.  Clearly I didn’t hit the well documented lens flare issue, hopefully that means my camera has avoided it, that or I just didn’t hit the right conditions for it to show up.

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Reading Photography Christmas Social ( Nikon D750 and Fuji X-T1 )

These socials seem to be going from strength to strength and this was the best one yet, 40+ people all in the photography business in one way or another gathered together to socialise, network and drink beer.

The first set of shots are shot with the D750.

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And the rest on the X-T1 with the 56mm 1.2.  As always I found the Fuji less intrusive in a social situation.  Even though the D750 is quite small and light for a full frame DSLR, its a lot noisier and people seem to take a lot more notice when you point it in their direction ( great camera though, more to come on it soon ).  What is incredible also about the D750 is the dynamic range and how good shots look even at ISO 12800.

Here are the Fuji shots.

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Family time with the 10-24 and x100s

We had a lot of family time this weekend, involving a trip to Basildon Park and also the Reading Christmas Fair.  I’m finding the combination of the 10-24 on the X-T1 and the X100s to be a good combination when I want to shoot some landscapes and also some family shots.  Of course I could just carry a spare lens for the X-T1 but I enjoy shooting with the X100s too much to leave it behind.  I keep reading on various websites that the dynamic range on the Fuji X system is quite poor, but I don’t find this to be the case at all.  In the shot below the background behind my son was blown out and I didn’t have the time or inclination to shoot multiple exposures.  But I was able to pull all the details back in Camera Raw no problem.


Another family shot below..

DSCF7037And then some exterior shots of Basildon Park with the 10-24.

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Fuji 10-24 and the x100s on a trip to London

I really should go to London a lot more.  I’m always envious of landscape photographers who live near amazing places, but London is an amazing place to take photographs, especially as I’ve recently gotten hold of the truly excellent 10-24 mm lens for my X-T1.  This is the rough equivalent of a 16-36mm on a full frame camera and I’m still getting used to its capabilities, but it is great for sweeping, epic shots with a lot of context.  It’s also great for warping tall buildings if you point the camera upwards.  I took the x100s to try and get some street photography done, like the buildings shots, this is way out of my normal comfort zone, but I got a couple of results I was happy with and no one noticed me or was bothered by the stealthy x100s.

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A few more shots from Marwell Zoo ( Fuji X-T1 and 55-200mm )

Just a few more images I’ve finally got around to posting from our trip to the zoo with the family for my daughters 6th birthday.  Sure I’d have loved to have a 7d2 and 100-400mm lens to take these shots, but I’m glad I didn’t have to lug it around all day with the kids.

The fuji was just the right size to carry around on a day out like this and the shots are fine for their intended ( personal ) use.  Nice and sharp as always with this lens.

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Fuji 10-24 mm f4 lens

I got hold of this lens recently and have been having a play.  I’m not a landscape photographer really but I still wanted this lens for weddings and to dabble a bit with landscape.  I also think its a pretty useful range to carry around with you, despite the relatively large size of the lens.  At the long end its a 36mm equivalent focal length and can be used to shoot people, and at the wide end, it can turn the ordinary into something a bit special because of the crazy wide angle.  Anyway, here are some shots, so far I love the lens and its a keeper for me.

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Ellie’s Party and a trip to the Zoo

One of the benefits of being a photographer is that when those important family moments come along you are ( in theory ), better equipped than most to capture them on camera.  My daughters birthday was last week and I did manage to get a few nice shots, all take with the Fuji X-T1 and either the 35mm 1.4 or the 56 mm 1.2.   We went to Marwell Zoo for the day so I also got to have a play with the 55-200mm lens, which did a fantastic job.  The red panda in particular never stopped moving and was frustrating the iPhone brigade trying to capture him on camera, eventually I got a couple of shots on the fuji ( ISO 6400 as my shutter speed was pretty high and he was in a shady spot in the trees ).DSCF4926 DSCF5265 DSCF5036 DSCF5252 DSCF5261 DSCF5258 DSCF5078


What makes a great portrait?

I saw this on Scoop It today and had a peek…


I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed.  Some of them are pretty good but most of them didn’t spark any sort of reaction from me at all.  So I started thinking about what does make a great portrait…

– connection with the viewer – usually through the eyes and expression.

– telling a story.

This last one is whereI think some of the above worked, and a lot failed.  I felt quite a few of them would have been really moving if I’d known more about the context, but a great portrait should be self contained, it should not need an explanation.  Feel free to link any great portraits you’ve seen in the comments.


Getting started with the Fuji X System

A friend of mine is getting his first X series camera shortly and I started thinking about the advice I might give him from my experience using them over the last two years.  Then I thought, it might make a decent blog post and be of use to other people just getting started.  I love the fuji cameras but they certainly have their share of quirks and foibles that someone new to the system may not pick up on right away.  Feel free to add your own below in the comments section..

– Flash & studio strobes will not fire if the camera is in silent mode ( see the sound settings for this one, but it is not on by default ).

– X-T1 performs way better in High Performance mode, especially on autofocus, and the battery still lasts a decent amount of time.

– you will need spare batteries, but the third party ones are 25% of the cost of the Fuji ones and work just as well ( check reviews of them first obviously ).  Take 3-4 for a days shooting, up to 8 for a wedding ( although I’ve never gone through that many ).

– the biggest drain on battery life is chimping ( looking at your shots on the screen/evf ).

– when the battery gets to 2 bars, you have 10-20 shots before it dies completely.  This is apparently fixed in the December firmware update.

– X100S – if you have failed to read the manual, the little lever at the front top of the camera is the one that switches between OVF and EVF

– X100S – if you are shooting at f2.0, stay at least 3-4ft away from your subject or the image will not be as sharp as you would like.  Above f2.0 it seems ok, so this is a quirk of the sensor/lens combination I guess.

– X100S – the pop up flash is pretty good as a fill flash, much better than you might expect..

– when shooting jpeg in low light, put Noise Reduction to -2, or you will get mushy skin tones on the jpegs.  Even at this setting, I’d suggest shooting RAW for low light.

– when shooting moving objects, use the central 9 AF points, at their medium size ( i.e. not the smallest ) for better performance.  The large your AF box is, the quicker it will be, but also less accurate, 2 steps up from smallest is a great compromise between accuracy and speed.

– when in AFC mode ( continuous  focus ), the camera will hunt continuously until you press the trigger.  It won’t lock like a DSLR.  Have faith in it, once you push the button it generally locks pretty well, having said that, these cameras are not as good as high end DSLRs at tracking motion, and you certainly need to practice.

– when shooting in bright sunlight and wanting to review your images, put your eye to the viewfinder and view them through the EVF rather than attempting to look at the back of the screen.

– the first batch of X-T1s seem to have had 3 main build issues, the D pad buttons being too flush, the light leak issue, and peeling off off the cover of the camera skin ( the black textured skin ), all these are fixable under warranty and you should get that done ASAP while you can.

Thats it for now, I may add more later..