Some nine years ago, when I decided to pursue photography as a career, it soon became clear to me that I needed a good base level in my work. An amateur photographer gets judged by his best images, a professional gets judged by his worst. I realised that I had to learn how to make my worst pictures good enough. I’ve spent lots of time and energy to raise that base level and over the years I’ve became capable of returning with at least usable images from pretty much any assignment, even when things go wrong. I still believe that this is a good thing and an essential skill for a professional photographer but we all know that playing it safe isn’t creativity’s best friend. About two years ago, I embarked on a long term personal documentary project about hunting in Belgium. I’m hoping to turn it into a book and an exhibition in 2015 but even if it turns out to be a success, I probably won’t make any money on it. The topic of hunting is rather controversial here in Belgium, so I don’t expect the project to become a showcase towards potential clients either. But it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time: use my camera as a passport to satisfy my curiosity and the fact that I had a hard time understanding why anyone would hunt in this country. And even more importantly: no assignment, no client, no pressure, only … the luxury of failure……..
Worcestershire is a very cool and stunning part of the UK its also my home. It’s also full of heritage, Sir Richard Elgar, Worcestershire Sauce,and the civil war which started in 1642 had it’s first full battle at Powick bridge between Malvern and Worcester. There is also the fact that Britain’s only privately owned car company is based in the ‘shire. Morgan Cars history is long and renowned among true car enthusiasts, started in 1909 for the first part of the company’s life the made three wheeled cars, from racing cars to hill climb even lorries and vans. Then in 1936 the four wheel Morgan debuted and the design has kind stayed true. The pursuit of quality coach building and engineering is in every corner of this magic place, and the Morgan family still run the company so all of the tradition and heritage continues…….
Every time before I pack my travel photo bag, I try to envision what kind of photos I expect to take on location for the job or portfolio work. In my early days of photography I was prepared for every possible photo situation by bringing most of my gear. I recall one time where I lugged 20 kg (40 lb) of DSLR gear in a backpack through Paris. That was an awful experience! Since my switch to Fuji X cameras 3.5 years ago, thankfully my travel photo bag has become a lot lighter. The night before this trip to Paris I decided on the following gear to bring:
- Fuji X100S
- WCL-X100 (wide conversion lens) for the X100S
- Fuji X-Pro 1
- Samyang 8mm f2.8 fisheye lens
- Fuji XF 14mm f2.8
That’s 2 camera bodies plus 4 fast prime wide angle focal length weighing around 1.6kg (3.5 lb)!!! Add spare batteries and ND filters and you’re still well below 2 kg (4lb) in your bag. That is only 10% of the weight of the gear that I took along a few years ago…….
British Columbia has a lot to offer – stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, a high quality of life and friendly people. Despite its many attributes, it wasn’t natural beauty and certainly not the quality of life that brought early settlers to this part of this world. It was gold! Kasia and I recently went on a trip to the Cariboo region, driving along Highway 97, also known as the Gold Rush Trail. Like the early miners, we were there for adventure and mining for … great imagery. We travelled equipped with the Fuji X-T1 paired with the XF 14mm F2.8, XF 56mm F1.2 and X100S. The trip took us from Vancouver to Hope, small but charming Ashcroft and Cache Creek. From there we drove north along Highway 97 through Clinton, 70 Mile House, 100 Mile House and 150 Mile House. Then we travelled further north to Williams Lake and Quesnel, from which we headed east toward the funky town of Wells and historic Barkerville…..
This trip is something of an important chapter in my timeline as a travel photographer, as it’ll be the first time that I leave my heavyweight DSLRs home. I’ve traveled before with just a Leica M9 and the Fuji X Pro-1 (as to Guatemala last month), but this is the first photo expedition-workshop that sees me DSLR-less. I’ve tested the Fuji X-T1, the new addition to this group of non DSLR tools, in the streets of New York City and over the past two weeks, found it reliable and responsive, and I believe it’ll perform well in replacing my aging Canon 5 Mark II. The Fuji X-T1 has its drawbacks and quirks, but from my past experience with the X Pro-1, these are mostly caused by my being unfamiliar with its minor idiosyncrasies……
We left Singapore and boarded the relatively short flight to Bali. We have both wanted to visit Bali for a long time after hearing so many great things about it from friends. We were certainly not disappointed! We started our 10 days there with a 7 night stay on the south east coast in an area called Nusa Dua. This small bay is lined with luxury hotels and white sandy beaches. It was the perfect place to relax and unwind after the madness of the wedding planning. Whilst staying in Nusa Dua we took a couple of trips up to the west coast of the island visiting Kuta and Seminyak. Kuta was very lively and is a big hit with backpackers. There was plenty of bars and the big waves offer great surfing conditions. We saw an incredible sunset whilst there, which we enjoyed with many others from the beautiful sandy beach…….
I am back in Beijing. It is funny how comforting it is to be back in this massively overcrowded city with its choking traffic, near lethal pedestrian crossings and aloof hospitality industry! It has been just about 5 weeks of traveling to very remote places, meeting the warmest people ever and living in all manner of lodgings. but coming back to Beijing is something familiar and something predictable. The past few days been spent on a train. 33 hours from Xiamen in south China on the sea. The “soft sleeper” is a small cubical about 7 feet wide, and tall enough for two bunks arranged on each side. The lower bunks cost a little more and have a tray-sized shared table between them under the window. The upper bunks have no such furnishings, but do have two folding seats out in the common hallway looking out the window on the other side of the train, also a big bonus… an electrical outlet! Small pleasures! ……
I was out shooting some street photography earlier today with my trusty little Fuji X-E1 and I noticed that I had taken a lot of portrait orientation shots. As I was sorting through the shots I noticed that all the vertical images paired up nicely, so I thought I’d do a set of paired images, just for the fun of it. All of these were taken around the streets of Dublin city, using a Fujifilm X-E1 with a combination of the Fuji 35mm and the 18–55XF lenses. It was a lovely fresh Autumn morning and I was there early so the city was coming to life with the fresh energy of a new day, and for some reason I just had a really good time shooting. While these aren’t award winning images by any stretch, I did catch a few quirky sights around the city. I’ll post some more shots from this shoot over on my Photoblog. Processing was done in Lightroom, using various presets as the starting point. There’s a combination of VSCO Film 01, 02 and 04 in there. The VSCO presets work really well with the Fuji sensor, especially if you want to create an authentic film look. I’ve started using VSCO 2 a bit more lately, and I’m really liking the look of the Fuji Superia film presets. I don’t think that I’ve ever shot with that in actual film……
The Fujifilm X100S is no slouch. It doesn’t have the pedigree or the history of the Leica M series cameras but at $1300, you can buy nearly 7 of them for the price of the Leica M and the 28mm f2.8 Elmarit lens. I got to use both cameras at the same time last Friday on 6th Street. A couple of days ago, I wrote about my thoughts on the Leica M with plenty of examples. This time, I’ll do the same for Fuji X100S. All photos in this post are from the X100S. Keep in mind, this is not going to be a head to head comparison. That won’t be fair. I’ve only shot the Leica M for a couple of hours, with at most, several hundred frames. I’ve had the Fuji since March and have shot close to 20,000 pictures with it. It takes a while to get to know a camera and optimize its usage and image post-processing. That said, I’ve tried to include similar photos, when possible. You can compare these images to the ones I took with the Leica M.……..
This year I had the great pleasure of spending 3 weeks in China. Not sticking to one place, but travelling through this vast and beautiful country. As I wanted to travel light I opted for the Fuji X-E1 with the 18-55mm, backed-up by the Fuji X100s. Anyhow, I took a lot of pictures of the locals and here is a brief B&W selection. Some of them are shy, others are happy, some are young and some are old. Others are painfully poor…but does it mean it should not be recorded……