PEOPLE 311- GOING TO WORK 45

 

 


.

The early bus, and a single passenger, impassive, quite small within the frame, seen through a grimy bus window and surrounded by the steamy, colourful, half-seen world of the city commute.

To me there is something quite formal about this image, almost like a picture of someone in an identity parade – I think these feelings derive from the profile view, the completely conventional sitting pose (there’s something almost military here), the dark clothes, the impassive expression and the conventional haircut – almost Mr Everyman, en route (and maybe on autopilot too) for his workstation.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Union Street, central Bristol; 15 Dec 2017.
.
.
.

STANTON DREW 46 – VILLAGE LIFE 13

 

 


.
A frosty, misty, autumn morning on the outskirts of the village.  A path, made by farm animals, passes across the fields of Church Farm – which, logically enough, is the farm next to the church.  There is a livestock-proof gate into the next field in the hedge in the distance and, on the right, one of the farm’s outbuildings.

A calm, simple scene, shot against the light.  The path leads my eye towards the distant gate, and the wall and the outbuilding (including the shallow tilt of its roof) are also pointing in that general direction.

This might look alright in black and white, but here are the muted colours of the cold and the mist, made more so by the film simulation.

An introduction to this Village Life series can be found here: 1 .  Further images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12  .    Each will open in a new window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 84mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Pro Neg. Hi film simulation; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
.
.
.

PEOPLE 309 – GOING TO WORK 43

 

 


.

Early bus, near Temple Meads railway station.

When cropping this image, I’d thought about portraying only the woman on the left, but then there is the woman on the right, the thick, black window frame between them, and those luminous turquoise greens at upper right.  The white highlight towards upper right is an open newspaper.

Taken from some distance away, at 12,800 ISO and through steamy bus widows, this image has poor definition and much grain (although Lightroom has reduced the latter somewhat).  However, it gives an impression I like – I’d far rather have it like this than pin-sharp, grain-free and crystal clear >>> this is the morning bus – crowded, overwarm, steamy – a necessary means to an end that has few pretensions about offering an overly enjoyable travel experience in the process.

This image is cropped from less than half of the original, and I’m impressed by the results that this APS-C format camera has produced working in such poor conditions –  12,800 ISO,  and a long telephoto used wide open at 1/80th second.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 12,800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Temple Meads, central Bristol; 15 Dec 2017.
.
.
.

PEOPLE 308 – GOING TO WORK 42

 

 

.
This is a single, split-second, grab shot, presented in its original orientation, and I’m not sure if anything at all is in focus – but with this blog you gotta take the rough with the unfocused, know what I mean?  🙂

Anyway, here we are – or, rather, here she is – on a cold, dark, winter’s morning, huddled and cocooned, head slightly bowed, her bag on her back, weaving through the noise, the lights and the traffic. 

We’ve all been there.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open a  larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; the junction of Broad Street and High Street, central Bristol; 15 Dec 2017.

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 183 – AUTUMN 2

 

 


.
The leaf of a Horse Chestnut tree, on a frosty autumn morning.

Strange how things can move (or be moved) around, and strange too how we can take things for granted.  If you’d asked me about Horse Chestnut trees awhile back, I’d have characterised them as an essential and native part of “England” that has, for example, brought the “traditional” game of conkers to us, and which graces many a picturesque and “traditional” English village (I always deeply mistrust the word “traditional”, and especially so when its used in any type of marketing …).

Anyway, the fact is that these beautiful big trees were introduced to the UK from Turkey in the late 16th century so they’re not native at all – but they still are very beautiful.

Earlier autumn posts are here: 1 .

Click onto the image to open a version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 228mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 6 Nov 2017.
.
.
.

TALKING IMAGES 35 – THE FUJIFILM X-T2: FINAL THOUGHTS

 

 


.

HISTORY

I started using digital cameras in 2009, with the full frame Nikon D700 which, it seemed to me (and I was to be proved right), would deliver similar image quality to my Nikon F6 film camera.  Since then, most of my photography has been with full frame Nikons (I added a D800 later), and they have been – and they continue to be – simply excellent cameras.  And the incredible creative potential of digital photography hit me just as I was looking for increased photographic creativity, and I have never looked back.  I know that film photography still has many adherents and that it may even be becoming fashionable in some quarters, but the simple fact is that, for me, reverting to film is unthinkable.  I shot film for around 50 years, and used wet darkrooms too on occasion, but that was in the past.  For me all of that is over now.
.

.

In 2016, having read good reviews in Amateur Photographer, magazine (which, as always, I warmly recommend to you), I started using a Compact System Camera (CSC), the mirrorless Fujifilm X-T1, which was certainly not up to the standards of the Nikons, but which was distinctly smaller, and very capable and handy.  I’m currently posting a series of images called Going To Work, which pictures people and scenes during Bristol’s morning rush hour.  This series is a direct result on the X-T1’s small size, portability and capabilities – walking around the city for hours on end would be rather arduous with the far bulkier Nikons, and increasingly so for someone of my advancing years, but the X-T1 and one or two lenses are relatively compact and very portable indeed – in the way that my Olympus OM-1 and OM-2 film cameras and Zuiko lenses were all those decades ago.
.

.

And so to the X-T1’s successor, the X-T2.  It arrived to rave reviews, and I splashed out one about a year ago.  As digital cameras go these days, its already ageing a bit, and for all I know an X-T3 is already on the launch pad.  And so, after a year’s use alongside the Nikons, a few last, overall thoughts on the X-T2.  All of the images here have been taken with this camera, and most (if not all) of them with the excellent Fujinon 55-200 zoom lens: as usual click onto them to enlarge them in separate windows – clicking onto the enlarged images may enlarge them yet again.
.

.

THE X-T2: THE POSITIVES

OK, well, let’s just take 10 things I really like about this camera.  I’m not covering all aspects of the camera here, just things that are important to me:

  1. Small size and easy portability; excellent build quality

  2. Simply gorgeous images with vibrant colour rendition, and with eminently useful Film Simulations both in-camera and in Lightroom; I always shoot Raw

  3. The camera body is covered in dials and buttons that remove most of the need for delving into the menus; there are numerous customisation options, and favourite items can be grouped under a My Menu setting

  4. A very handy 24MP APS-C sensor – enough to give plenty of detail and scope for cropping; but not sufficient MP to cause handling problems or to clog up hard drives

  5. An extremely useful Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), packed with information, that in all but a few scenarios leaves the Nikons’ optical viewfinders standing

  6. Accurate light metering: 4 modes

  7. Good high ISO performance, which partners well with effective lens-based image stabilisation – I never worry about low light photography, and never carry a tripod

  8. Good autofocus performance that covers most situations

  9. Dual memory card slots: there’s no worry about available space

  10. An ingenious tilting screen – which I have to admit to not using much.

So, do I have any regrets about the buying the camera?  None at all.
.

.

THE X-T2: THE NEGATIVES

  1. The X-T2 can eat batteries, especially when in its Boost (= high performance) mode.  I gather that this is currently an issue with mirrorless cameras.  So I always carry one or two spare batteries with me – no problem. I have started always using the X-T2 in Boost mode

  2. The autofocus is good, but in extreme situations – poor light; frenetic movement – its not quite up with the Nikons, and I suppose that I didn’t really expect it to be

  3. The positioning of AE-L and AF-L buttons is certainly not as good as the truly superb positioning of the  AE-L/AF-L and AF-ON buttons on the D700 and D800, where these two buttons fall so very readily beneath my right thumb when my forefinger is in the shutter release

  4. As with the autofocus, the Electronic Viewfinder is not as good as the Nikons’ optical viewfinders in situations with frenetic movement eg birds taking flight and in flight.

But, once again, do I have any regrets about buying the X-T2?  None whatsoever.  It is a wonderful, high quality and very portable camera that can be put to many, many uses, and which will have a go at tackling any sort of photographic scenario.  It is my current go-to camera, my current camera of choice.  But if I know in advance that conditions are going to be particularly demanding, then I’ll use one of the Nikons instead: this does not occur very frequently.
.

.
WAYS OF WORKING

The X-T2 is my go-to camera and, on many occasions – and especially if long walks around Bristol are likely – I’ll just carry it with the excellent 55-200 Fujinon lens, which equates to around 84mm-305mm in full-frame (ie 35mm) terms.  I found that my photography received a boost when I first used Nikon’s 70-300 lens and it became apparent that, photographically, I “see” at 300mm, ie at x6 magnification – and this image stabilised, APS-C Fujinon lens mirrors the Nikon’s focal lengths almost exactly.  I could of course take additional lenses to cover more photographic scenarios, but I adopt a philosophical approach – if I miss shots by not having the required lenses with me, well that’s Life, that’s how it is – and there will always be other photographic opportunities around later on.  Having one lens also means carrying less weight, and not being distracted by thinking about which lens I’m going to use.  Many of my shots are set up very quickly – moving people or vehicles, the momentary flicker of sunlight across a scene – and switching the camera on while extending the zoom are often achieved in one, fluid movement >>> although since the Nikons have optical viewfinders that do not need to be switched on, I’m forever raising the X-T2 to my eye, forgetting to switch it on >>> and seeing blackness!
.

.
But I’ve also long had the idea of carrying both the X-T1 and X-T2, the slower X-T1 with the 10-24 Fujinon zoom (full-frame 15mm-36mm equivalent), and the 55-200 on the snappier X-T2.  I did this recently walking around the nearby village of Stanton Drew and, with both cameras dangling around my neck, it worked very well indeed.  Firstly, carrying these two fairly compact, CSC cameras and lenses was fine – whereas carrying two of the big Nikons at once would not be fine!  And there was no thinking about changing lenses, I just had to raise the requisite camera to my eye.  My only note of caution here is that – especially if alone – carrying such a display of (relative) wealth around might not be such a good idea in places where opportunistic (and quite possibly violent) theft might be a concern …
.

.

And lastly, the software I use is reasonably basic.  Lightroom Classic, as its now called, works very well, although I have reservations both about the monthly subscriptions, and about the Catalogue method of working.  I still use Capture NX2 too, and have yet to find anything (and certainly not in Lightroom!) to compare with Nik’s Control (or U) Point technology.  My software is completed by what used to be the Google Nik Collection, where I go absolutely ape about generating black and white images with Silver Efex Pro 2, and am also extremely enthusiastic about Color Efex Pro4.  And I am also EXTREMELY interested in the fact that the Google Nik Collection has just been bought by the software company DxO, who are set on developing it and making the Control (U) Points more widely available – this link takes you to DxO..
.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

And so, Happy New Year to everyone!  Let’s hope that 2018 will be kind to us, and to those less fortunate than ourselves too.

And I hope that some parts at least of this post are useful, and enjoyable too.

All best wishes from The FATman!
.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.
.
.

PEOPLE 306 – GOING TO WORK 40

 

 


.
Three travellers on the upper deck of an early morning bus.

The woman beside the window is engrossed in a newspaper, her expression reacting – negatively, perhaps –  to the day’s news.  But the other two people – further into the shot and less clearly seen – appear more passive and preoccupied.  And the steaminess of the bus’s window is thick, almost opaque in places, and densely textured.

Those two people at the back get to me.  First, they can only be partly seen, its almost as if they are fading into the background – which brings thoughts about the dehumanising effects of some workplaces, and of the unnaturalness of lives spent commuting and working in cities.  And second, both of these people are staring fixedly ahead.  Are they somewhere far away in daydreams, or do they see something nearer at hand, closer ahead, in either the present time or in times soon to come?

Also, this blurred image is starting to look like some sort of painting or daub (more probably the latter), and when any photo does this I feel I’m getting somewhere.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open a  larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended >>> come on in, the grain is lovely!

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 12,800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Temple Meads, central Bristol; 15 Dec 2017.
.
.
.

STILL LIFE 181 – MEGALITH 3 (MONO)

 

 


.

Amongst the prehistoric ritual stones at Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol.

Other images of these ritual stones are here: 1  2  .

More info about this prehistoric site is here .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2; starting at the Film Noir 1 preset and adding a strong copper tone; Color Efex Pro 4; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
.
.
.

STILL LIFE 180 – ACCOMMODATION

 

 


.

Apartments beside the river.

Turning this image onto its side makes it more abstract, as do the reflections.  The combination of blue and orange gets to me.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; rotated 90 degrees clockwise; opposite Welsh Back, central Bristol; 15 Dec 2017.
.
.
.

STANTON DREW 45 – VILLAGE LIFE 12

 

 


.

Cooking apples (cookers!) being given away in a front garden beside the road along to the prehistoric site.

Again the honesty thing – takers can leave donations in the jam jar if they wish, and the money will then go to charity.  Looking at these apples makes me think of large, deep apple pies of the sort my mother used to make, cooked with lots of sugar to sweeten the apples and served with vast outpourings of hot – and not too thin! – custard!!!

An introduction to this Village Life series can be found here: 1 Further images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11   .    Each will open in a new window.

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T1 and wide angle (upper image) and X-T2 with the telezoom; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film preset; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
.

.
.
.

%d bloggers like this: