Land of the Dumnonii

These three images were part of a set that I took whilst Mrs M and I were on a short break down in Devon. Neither of us had been down there for a good many years. The last time was probably when our daughter who is now 27, was a toddler. I think the impression that we carried home with us was how many of the smaller villages are still quite isolated with roads (they’re called roads but at times I did question that) that seemed to meander for miles until they arrived at the destination required. But there is no denying it is a beautiful part of the country. Devon is so-called from the name that the Romans gave the Celtic tribe that lived there, the Dumnonii.

APPROACHING RAIN
Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon XF18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS

This landscape shows just how beautiful the countryside is in Devon even if it’s just rolling pastures and fields. We took shelter as the rain that threatened came down ten minutes or so after I took the photograph. Just like the previous couple of days, it wasn’t torrential, but enough to ensure you had waterproofs on.

BOUQUET
Fujifilm X-E2, Fujinon XF35mm F/2 R WR

This shot is a close-up of a pot of blooms that were sitting in a Devon garden. The lens I used was the rather excellent Fujinon 35mm F/2.0, my favourite, on my oldest Fuji camera the also excellent X-E2.

EVENING MIST
Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon XF18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS

This image was taken from the cabin in which we were staying. Looking up the hill past the next cabin to the woods, just after the sun went down, we saw a bank of mist starting to roll down the slope towards our cabin. It was all very eerie. It was quiet, no birdsong and a chill descended as the mist got closer. I am sure that if we watched carefully we may have seen hazy figures carrying oval shields move up the hill into the woods.

 

 

In praise of the all-rounder

Fujinon XF18-55mm F/2.8-4 R LM OIS

 

WARRANTED PURE
Fujifilm X-E2.Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS

All three of the pictures this week were taken with the amazingly versatile Fujinon XF18-55mm F/2.8-4 R LM OIS zoom. Called sometimes a “kit” lens because of its versatility, in my opinion, this is one of the best lenses you can get for your Fuji camera. It’s an excellent all-rounder of a lens.

 

HIGH LIGHT
Fujifilm X-E2.Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS

 

It has a maximum aperture of 2.8 when used wide open and the focal length takes it from a 27mm wide angle to an 84mm telephoto in 35mm format terms. The zoom operation is smooth and the focusing with all my Fuji cameras is quick and accurate. It is smaller and cheaper than its older brother the XF16-55mm F/2.8 R LM WR. But then the XF16-55 is F/2.8 across all zoom ranges and it is water resistant.

 

DISREPAIR
Fujifilm X-E2.Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS

The XF18-55 has the addition of OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) which can give up to four stops of extra functionality at low shutter speeds, operated by a switch on the lens barrel.
The lens is superb as a walk around optic and when you don’t want to carry too much equipment around with you on holiday, it can be a blessing. It’s pretty tough too, I had an accident with my X-E2 which caused it to fall on the ground on to the front of the lens. Luckily the lens hood (one reason to always have one on your lenses) took the brunt of it and smashed, but the lens was fine. A tough, good all-rounder.

 

Warts and all.

This week I have three colour photographs for you, although the third has been processed using two different split tints.

The first image is a found still-life of some warty pumpkins that were sitting on a ledge in a National Trust garden. I liked the colours which stood out against the dark background of the wooden shelf. The choice of photographing three of the pumpkins (there were much more on the ledge) was a nod to the “rule of odds” which states that framing your main subject with 2 surrounding objects can suggest balance and harmony. Whilst this can be true, in this instance I moved the left-most small pumpkin to the extreme edge and left a gap between it and the other two. This caused an implied tension in the structure of the image which was balanced by the size of the other two pumpkins acting as one object on the opposite side of the frame.

WAITING FOR HALLOWEEN
Fujifilm X-E2, Fujinon XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 R LM OIS

 

 

The second photograph was taken in a field that had just been harvested. I was drawn to the single large tree in the distance and the lines of crop stalks in the field. I moved around the field until I got the lines lining through to the tree and took the image.

CONVERGENCE
Fujifilm X-E2, Fujinon XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 R LM OIS

 

 

The final image is a split-tinted photograph. Shot in woods near my home, there was a slight mist and the sun was trying to get through. I shot up into the light ensuring that the bottom third of the image was left darker and the thin branches of the trees were backlit by the weak sun.  In Lightroom, during the processing, I gave the image a split tint with the light tones receiving a very weak yellow tint and the dark tones a “dirty” green tone. This gave me the slightly ominous air I wanted and together with selective sharpening in NIK, helped enhance the depth of the photograph. The eye is drawn into the image near the bottom of the frame then the light area at the top pulls the viewer up to the branches near the edge. The whole image has a mysterious air to it and to me, those branches at the top of the frame can almost be seen gently moving.

MYSTERIOUS TOO
Fujifilm X-E2, Fujinon XF 35mm F/2 R WR

 

Out and About: Earlswood Lakes

Today I was at Earlswood Lakes, Solihull with the Fuji X-E2 and the Fujinon 18-55 zoom lens.

Although in the very early morning, the weather looked quite promising, by the time I got to the lakes, there was a chill wind and a sometimes moody sky that promised but did not give rain.  There were not many people at the lakes, one or two walking the ubiquitous family dog and three or four fishermen waiting for a catch.

Although there are houses around the lakes, the quietness, sombre light and plaintiff cries of gulls and geese gave an isolated air to the area.

I was shooting in manual exposure mode as usual, and I still missed not having the EV dial working in this mode.  I don’t intend use this camera too often (I bought it for holidays abroad so I don’t have to lug my Nikon kit around), so I’m still getting used to it and its taking time.  It’s a great camera that gives superb results, but I just don’t find it so intuitive as my Nikons, but then again I don’t use it as much as them.  I’ll get there I’m sure.

The shot below was taken looking down the length of the Engine Pool.

 

earlswood_lakes-32194

 

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Out and About: Stratford on Avon

I was out and about in Stratford today, expressly for the purpose of testing the new 18-55 lens I had just got for my Fujifilm X-E2.  It was a dreadfully dark monotone day.  The kind of grey, lifeless and chilly day that Britain seems to do very well at times.  As a result, camera shutter speeds were slow, apertures wide and ISO’s high.

I’m still getting used to the controls of the X-E2 and like every camera it has its little idiosyncrasies.  I always shoot exposure fully manual and on my Nikon’s I can use the EV compensation button to just tip exposure up and down when I need to.

Yes, I do know that I can just alter the shutter or aperture settings to do the same thing, but after years on aperture priority using the EV compensation is virtually a muscle memory for me now and I just wish I could do that on the X-E2.  But I can’t.  The rather lovely looking retro EV dial doesn’t work in manual exposure mode.  There are rumours of a software update to the X-E2 at the end of the year, I hope that they look at the use of the EV dial in manual mode.

So the picture below was taken on the X-E2 with the 18-55  f/2.8-4 zoom lens.

outandabout-32004

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