You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Mumblings’ category.

So last week I bit the bullet and purchased a Fujifilm X-Pro2. It was always a toss-up between that and the X-T2 but the ergonomics of the XP2 won me over in the end.

As I have said on this blog before, I am left eye dominant and wear glasses and as a result, I find some of the buttons and controls on the X-t1, which I own, difficult to reach and operate, without sticking stubby thumbs over glasses and smearing them.

I already have the X-E2, which is also a rangefinder format Fuji and I love it, so I was relatively comfortable in making the decision in favour of the XP2. Now that does not so say I don’t like the XT1 – I love it. It is a magnificent camera and the new XT2 even more so. I have had a go with the latter and it is a great upgrade to the former. But, I want to be able to use the joystick on the XP2 to move the focal point around, and I couldn’t reach it on the XT2 with my fat face held up against it. With the XP2 I can reach all the controls I need to.

After a couple of days of owning the XP2 and after setting up back button shooting, I did what I have done to my other two Fuji cameras, I added sugru to the AE-L button so I can feel it properly with my thumb with the camera held up to my eye.

ae-l-sugru-6365

ae-l-sugru2-6372

Sugru AE-L button

 

I also received a free leather half case with the camera, as a deal that Wex currently have on. I wasn’t sure that I would need a grip on the XP2, but if I did I thought that the case may alleviate the need for it. To a certain extent it did, but I just don’t like the case on the camera. So I looked at grips for the XP2 and obviously, there is the MHG-XPRO2 by Fujifilm at £99 but I thought I would look around to see what third party versions there are. I have a Fuji grip on my X-T1 which cost £99 and a third party grip on my X-E2 which cost £17 and which is excellent.

I trawled through various style and grips until I happened to spot this one made by Mcoplus available through Amazon, looking very similar to the Fuji grip and only costing £39. So I ordered it and it is excellent. It actually feels of the same quality as the official Fuji X-T1 grip and it fits the x-Pro2 perfectly.

mcoplus-grip

Mcoplus Grip

fuji-grip

Fuji Grip

 

I have also attached a soft release button to the X-Pro2. I started using these on my X-E2 and found that it really helped when hand-holding the camera at slow shutter speeds.

I can’t wait to get out and about with the X-Pro2, as soon as this appalling, freezing cold, grey, dismal and damp weather we are having in the UK breaks I shall be out there.

 

clive_sig2

I have always been a huge fan of Michael Kenna’s photography. I think I have been inspired to do many of my black and white photographs in square mode because of him and his use of Hasselblad cameras. I have however never aspired to taking long exposures like him but his minimalist, beautifully visualized photographs have always made me wish I had his talent for seeing a scene.

My daughter recently gave me his book “Forms of Japan” for my birthday and it is an awesome volume. It is a coffee table format book designed by Yvonne Meyer-Lohr with 300 pages that are organized into chapters titled Sea, Land, Trees, Spirit and Sky. The reproduction of Kenna’s images are superb and although they obviously cannot emulate the luminosity and depth of the original silver gelatin prints they are nevertheless excellent. The full page photographs in the book are faced with haiku poems that complement the photographs perfectly. It is a book which will inspire and make me return to it time and time again.

forms-of-japan

 

clive_sig2

I’m really enjoying the electronic viewfinder in my Fuji cameras. Being able to adjust the image to approximate how you see the final version after processing is such a time-saver. My colour processing (albeit the smaller portion of my processing – I do far more monochrome images) has speeded up because I now have to do very little in Lightroom and Photoshop.I still use RAW but once imported into Lightroom I normally apply a camera calibration in the form of Classic Chrome. White and black points are checked and adjusted if necessary and then I export the image out to Photoshop CC for sharpening with NIK Sharpener.

The two images below are the same image but processed to a different final image. Both were taken in the ice-house at Calke Abbey. As its use implies, the structure is below the ground. There was light coming in from the window high in front of me and some soft light to my rear from the open door.

I always use manual mode and auto ISO on my cameras and so taking a picture with matrix metering will mean the camera will use the ISO it deems suitable for a correctly exposed picture with the shutter speed and F stop I have set on the camera. In my case this could be 6400 and it will use the ISO to try to raise the dark areas of the picture tonally to an 18% grey reflectance. This will result in a blown out window and very noisy shadows. So I used spot metering and took the exposure reading from part of the window and the wall. I then altered the aperture and shutter speed to get the ISO down to 1250. Back-button focussing means I can focus and then take my time over the exposure without worrying about holding the shutter button down to retain focus.

This enables me to obtain a RAW image which allowed me to process it as I saw fit. The first image below is a more tonally open image allowing some detail of the ice-house to come through. The second image is meant to be more mysterious and could perhaps even be an old prison cell.

Metering carefully with a visualization of how you want the final image to look will always produce more effective RAW files than shooting and hoping for the best.

 

ice_house-35865

 

ice_house_2-35865

 

clive_sig2

For once the sun is shining and its nice and warm. Time to catch those rays and get rid of the ubiquitous British pallor.  So, it’s the sunbed out in the garden. Hold on, I’ve forgot the cold drink. Back inside and then cold coke poured, its back into the garden.

The problem is Lily the cat has decided in my short absence that the sunbed looks nice and comfortable and she is going to make the most of it. Annoyed I approach her and and as usual she she takes no notice of my imposing presence, in fact she doesn’t even deign to open her eyes, So I go back inside to grab a camera. I’ll need proof for Mrs M of the sheer audacity of the undisputed boss of the family.

Camera in hand, I once again quietly approach Lily and once again she doesn’t open her eyes – but her claws extend. Of course she knows I’m there and she’s sending me a quiet yet firm message.

“Back off mate, this bed’s mine”.

I retreat to the garden chairs, once again strangely content in knowing my place in the Marshall household pecking order.

 

Taken with my Fujifilm X-E2 and 35, F2.0 lens.

turnyourback-35182

clive_sig2

Well, I have tried the last weeks to use my right eye for photography (Eye, Eye!) but I have to give up on it. I thought for a couple of days it was going to be OK but I just couldn’t get used to it over-time. My right eye started to ache after a short while and whilst it was good to be able to keep both eyes open at times and to be able to reach all the buttons without smearing my glasses, it just wasn’t worth the hassle and pain. Using the camera in portrait mode with the right eye was almost virtually impossible, I just couldn’t get the camera viewfinder lined up with the correct part of my varifocals to get the scene in focus.

So, it’s back to the old left eye and smudged glasses.

clive_sig2

%d bloggers like this: