David Cleland

The Essential Landscape Photography Kit | David Cleland

I often receive emails querying the suitability of a particular camera body or lens for landscape photography. To be honest my landscape photography set up is pretty simple and hasn’t changed very much over the last few years. I was going to name this article ’8 Essential items for Landscape Photography’ but considered the days I go out just with the X100s in its leather case. Therefore the following list are the things I normally take with me and my advice is to keep your gear simple and as light as possible. Heading out for a ten kilometre trek over rough ground means is challenging enough so I tend to keep things as minimal as I can……

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Low light Photography with the X-E2 | David Cleland

Exploring the Tyrella area of County Down is generally an activity confined to daylight hours. I felt it was time to venture out at the extremes of the day in attempt to see it differently. Developing my low light technique is something I want to focus on (excuse the pun) in 2014. It is a completely different approach and considerably more unforgiving than I expected.

The Mournes

I ventured out with the Fujifilm X-E2, 23mm and 14mm lenses. Read my review of the Fuji X-E2. Shooting at night is a different type of long exposure photography where you need to have the shutter open long enough for the landscape that is in total darkness to impact on the sensor. The problem, at the same time, is there can be very bright sources of light that have a major impact on the image when the shutter is open for so long……..

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The Rig: Fixelpix | Ledesma Photography

Who are you and what’s your profession?

I am an educator by profession and teach film and animation to the next generation of budding filmmakers. Photography is a hobby that is not only a great way to relax but really works well alongside this area of education.

What’s your rig?

 
I am a Fujifilm X fan, I love them. A few years ago I started to notice how often I left my DSLR at home because of the size and weight. It is hard enough to trek the Mourne Mountains and you aim to travel as light as possible. The Fujifilm X range has come on leaps and bounds since my first X100 back in 2011. I am mainly shooting with the X100s and the new X-E2. Lens wise I tend to stick to 14mm, 23mm, 35mm and 60mm. The image quality is superb and you can effortlessly carry them around everywhere. I actually only bring out a digital slr for music photography where I need the reach…..

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Review : Fujifilm X-E2 and XF Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 R Lens |
David Cleland

My first outing with the X-E2 involved packing the camera with the 23mm f/1.4 lens, the 14mm and 35mm lenses into my Millican ‘Christopher’ bag and heading for the stunning County Down coastline.
 
The Fujifilm X-E2
 
The X-E2 offers something special. I am constantly amazed by each generation of Fujifilm X camera. The X100 remains an amazing camera yet the X100s still manages to add considerable value. The X-E2 works on the same principle, the X-E1 remains a trustworthy and reliable workhorse yet the X-E2 adds a little extra magic. I packed the X-E2, the 23mm and the Fujinon 14mm wide angle lens…..

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The Fujifilm X100s a One Year on Review | David Cleland

In December 2012 I received my first X100s, a pre-production camera and was tasked to capture some images of Northern Ireland in advance of the world launch in February. As a big Fujifilm X100 fan I was obviously excited to see how the latest release performed and boy did it perform!  I posted my first “Hands on the X100s” post in January and since then little camera has gone literally everywhere with me……
 
Conclusion:
The X100s is a powerhouse of portability and style. It is capable of capturing images that are sharp with magnetically appealing colour rendition and dynamic range. My X100s goes everywhere, it has captured plenty of images I would have missed  if I was reliant on having a digital SLR system packed. In a split second the camera is ready and capturing images whether it be live music, detailed long exposures, panoramas or just everyday documentary. I pack a second battery, the lens hood and the Lee system but rarely have I had to call on the second battery when on a day shoot. I love the X100s and after a year of shooting it still holds the same excitement it offered on day one. I can’t recommend it enough.

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The Fujifilm Millican Collaboration | David Cleland

During a cold yet dry weekend in September I had the privilege of exploring the stunning English Lake District in conjunction with Fujifilm and Millican bags. It was a remarkable experience and two months on Millican has released the first of three short films documenting the experiences of three photographers in the Lake District. The photographers Derek Clark, Andrew James and myself embarked on a packed weekend adventure into the breathtaking Lake District landscape each exploring the concept of “Freedom Through Photography“. Paradoxically it is amazing just how relaxing a 4am start can be when it is a exploration of the hills and mountains of Newlands Hause. Packing my Millican Christopher bag with a Fujifilm X range camera allowed me to travel light yet still pack the the power of a camera capable of capturing remarkably sharp images in very low light…….

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Fair Head with the Fujifilm X-M1 | David Cleland

Suncream was the last thing anyone expected to need on the 5th of October but as we made our way from Ballycastle and over Fair Head (Bhinn Mhór) the weather displayed an uncharacteristically summer feel. In an aim to travel light I packed the Fujifilm X-M1, Fujinon 14mm and 27mm lenses into my Millican bag and ventured out. This was my first outing with the recently released Fujinon 27mm pancake lens. It is an ultra compact lens that equates to 40mm on a full frame camera and in my opinion the size is perfect alongside the Fujifilm X-M1 camera. Most the day I was shooting with the 27mm but switched to 14mm at the top of the cliff when I knew the camera would face less abuse as the terrain levelled out. Note : click any of the photographs to view large on flickr…..

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In Photo : Avalon Guitars | David Cleland

Learning to play guitar is road travelled by many but mastered by only a select few. It is an enduring journey where an obsession with the fine detail is the only route to success. Like mastering playing the guitar the actual construction of an acoustic guitar is an art form in its own right. Unlike playing the instrument few learn how to make a guitar and fewer still master the craft. Avalon Guitars in Newtownards is home to some of the finest guitar luthiers in the world, this bold statement isn’t mine but the endorsement of a number of the world’s best guitar players. I have been visiting the Avalon guitar factory for over twenty years and the same faces remain, masters of the fine detail they are the unseen artists behind many of the best guitarists and singer songwriters…..

Camera wise I started jumping between the X-Pro1 with 35mm lens and the X-E1 equipped with the 60mm macro. I was shooting wide open (f/1.4 and f/2.4 respectively) in an attempt to create focal points to each image. I was shooting RAW and converting each image to mono to draw out the detail of the woodgrain.

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Backstage at Belfast IF with the X100s | David Cleland

During Belfast’s BigIF event the serenity and relative dry of the backstage area was my only safe haven from the weather. There was a remarkably relaxed atmosphere given the scale of the project and this sheltered spot was an opportunity to grab some candid portraits with the Fujifilm X100s. You can read more about the Enough Food If event here.

I gave myself the challenge of only being able to press the shutter once with no set up or direction, literally one single image of those artists who were enjoying the buzz before making their way onto the main stage. Without exception the X100s performed and this wasn’t the brightest of areas by any means…..

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Lightroom 5 arrives, is it worth it? | David Cleland

Well it is here, Adobe have released version 5 of their brilliant Photoshop Lightroom photo management and editing software.

I have been using Lightroom from the initial beta and have watched it grow from strength to strength. Just over a year ago I celebrated the release of Lightroom 4 which brought with it considerable improvement in image quality, especially when it comes down to image noise.

Lightroom 5 brings a strong focus on the photographer’s workflow and some of the new tools really are brilliant, I suspect even less time in Photoshop as a result of the ‘advanced healing brush’ alone.

It is now possible to paint out larger areas of an image for correction but the big bonus is the fact you can be much more accurate. For example in this image I had to use a large circle to remove a bird yet the new brush means I can create a smaller circle and heal only the pixels necessary.

The vertical straightening tool is particularly intelligent in auto mode. This image was taken at the bottom of a waterfall at a slightly skewed angle to ensure all of the fall is in the shot. Lightroom was able to bring the wall forward to correct the vertical perspective…..

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