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! ……
Since May of 2013, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Fujifilm X-Series Cameras and XF lenses, and during that time I’ve managed to shoot with them in more than 20 different countries, spanning nearly every possible photography condition. In the process, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting many Fujifilm shooters from around the world and what I’ve discovered is that people love their Fujifilm cameras and, like me, they’re excited to talk about them. There have been quite a few times, where I was completely immersed in a sea of tripods, riddled with shooters toting every type of camera brand known to man. People with Canons, Nikons, Pentax, and Hasselblads, all sizing each other’s gear up—in typical photographer fashion—while never exchanging a word. Fujifilm shooters on the other hand, just seem to smile at each other, as if they have a shared secret that no one else knows. It’s the strangest thing, but even during photo walks, Fujifilm shooters seem to congregate; proud to be carrying their cameras and excited to talk about their favorite lenses and what is to come. There’s a sense of community and shared love for these cameras that I find absolutely delightful…….
In my last post I talked about what photo gear I brought to Italy for one month and the reasons behind those plans. So how did reality compare to expectations? Which gear earned another trip and what won’t make the cut next time? The good news is that the planning paid off and most things worked very well. There were a couple exceptions though and an uncertainty that might seem familiar/tiresome to some Fuji fans. Let’s take a look……..
Back in the Spring I visited Italy with the family. It was my first big trip DSLR-free, traveling just with the Fuji X-T1 and X100s. It was so pleasant not lugging around heavy gear all trip. I didn’t get hardly any dedicated photography time this trip, with most images taken quickly on the go. A lot of the street photography images were even shot “from the hip”. We visited Venice, Montepulciano (and some nearby Tuscan countryside), and Rome. The trip was too short by half, but it whet the appetite and I anxiously await visiting the country again in the future…….
Chettinad, the name reminds one of tasty spicy south Indian food loaded with chilly and peppers guaranteed to set your mouth on fire. Ask most people and they will be hard pressed to point out Chettinad on a map. It does not exist. Chettinad is the name of a `group of villiages sourrounding the town of Karaikudi in the south Indian State of Tamil Nadu. Villages such as Athangudi, Devakottai, and Kanadukathan located in the heart of Chettinad have a large number of traditional homes. The Chettiar community who inhabit this region are a wealthy group of businessmen who made their money in banking, trade and business. Starting around the late 1800’s and early 1900’s their prosperity and fame grew and over time they moved out of Chettinad to larger cities such as Chennai and overseas to Singapore and Malyasia with the aim of expanding their business. Having hear so much about the lifestyle and the homes of the Chettiar community, I decided it was worth a trip to see for myself and make some photographs of a dying lifestyle. Armed with a X Pro1 and a 18~55mm Fuji f2.8 lens I set off. The Fuji X Pro has been with me a short while but I hadn’t really found my way around the various controls. Most pictures were are ISO 400 and for the dark interiors pushed to ISO 1600. I could not hav dreamed of using such high ISO on my now ancient Nikon D100…..
… more pictures by Ashok:
I thought I would share some of my experiences with using the X-T1 for 12 days in Iceland. I come from a full frame Nikon background and all the big heavy f/2.8 lenses, etc. I always shot in raw, adjusted in Capture NX and never used live view. The X-T1 has changed the way I work. I’ll outline some of the things I liked and disliked about the X-T1 and point out a few mistakes I made on the way. Hopefully this will be of interest to new X-T1 owners…….
At last count I had visited Iceland a total of three times, the first I was an amature photographer and went with a Nikon D60 + 18-105 lens, the second I had got better and went with a D90 +24/50/135 lenses, the last time was after I fell for Fuji and went with 2 XE1’s; 8mm, 18mm, 35mm, 60mm and 50-230mm lenses. I’ve blogged about my time in Iceland before but have decided to put this post together to keep it all in one place and show you some photography of this awesome place! One thing that keeps me coming back to Iceland is the quick changing nature of the weather and the raw unspoilt landscapes that greet you around every bend, as this was my third time out I was very much ready for what would be in store and some very good ideas of places I wanted to visit. All the photos here were shot on 2 Fuji XE-1’s the size and weight of these cameras make them great for travel and the image quality is just incredible, at no point did I feel the need for anything more that the gear I had and would be happy to travel anywhere in the world with just this small bag of gear…….
I haven’t blogged for a while now, but loads of things happened in the last couple of months. Couple of photo shoots, weddings, holiday, new website and a new camera… What, new camera? Oh, yeah. I finally said good bye to my Canon kit and got an X-T1 with a 56mm lens to accompany my X-Pro1 and X100s. Wasn’t an easy decision, but time will tell. So far I’m loving it, but because I have plenty of editing to do, I haven’t spent huge amount of time with it. My lovely wife and I spent a week in Tokyo in the middle of July and it was amazing. It wasn’t hard to fall in love with the city and the people in it. The following images are just a little preview from our trip. All photos were taken with the Fuji X100s and the new X-T1……
What’s a visit in India without visiting a palace? Right after the Charminar we went to see the Chowmahalla Palace which is located almost next door. There is a restriction you should be aware of: no professional cameras and tripods allowed! Good thing is that I neither had a tripod nor a professional camera with me. Just my Fuji X Pro-1. I was entitled to enter but I got a tag for my camera for whatever reason. It seems that though India is a paradise for photographers it is not the most photographer friendly country I can think of. But the people are great. I talked with this gentleman who restored the furniture of the palace. Before I walked on I asked if I could take his portrait. He agreed and luckily he did not smile into the camera but just got back to his work. A true craftsman! …..