I have been shooting with Fuji X series cameras for two years now. You can read about how I came to chose these cameras for my work here:
I often receive comments or questions related to the photos I blog about, and thought it would be fun to take 20 of my favourite Fuji X photos from the last 2 years and do a little write up on each, complete with a photography tip.
Let’s get started, shall we?
The image above shows Granville Island (in Vancouver, BC) at blue hour, that magical time shortly after sunset when the building lights balance with the falling ambient light. This photo was taken about 20 minutes post sunset.
Tip: What really makes this photograph, in my opinion, are the dramatic storm clouds in the sky. Don’t let dark skies deter you from going out and shooting. Embrace them, they often add a brilliant element to an image.
San Francisco. OMG. San Francisco! I cannot describe how much I love this city. It has a soul, and I try to get there at least once per year. Here is a blog post about my most recent trip there.
This photo was taken from a walkway at one of the local hotels, obviously at dusk (immediately after sunset). To my mind it provides the quintessential view of San Francisco: The Pyramid building, Coit Tower, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, the fog, etc.
Tip: You can research your photographic opportunities online before you travel, the same way you research your hotels, flights, etc. I made contact with the manager of this hotel months before the trip where I took this picture. I knew exactly where I wanted to stand, when sunset would be (and therefore where I needed to go for the right light), etc.
I shot this sunset on the last evening of my most recent trip to Hawaii. For days before this night there were low level clouds that would provide great light in the sky during sunset, but that would obscure the sun dipping down behind the horizon line. Finally they cleared, and I got to sit by myself in total silence watching this majestic sunset. It was a wonderful moment.
Tip: I have always agreed with the saying “you don’t take a photograph, you make a photograph”. I needed to go back to this site multiple times to get the photograph I was after. Photography is so much more than clicking the shutter: It is a verb, it is a process.
Portraiture will always be my first love. This photo was from a sweet sixteen shoot I did for a close friend’s relative. She is an elegant dancer, who was enthralled with the opportunity to work with a hair stylist, a make up artist, a wardrobe consultant, etc.
Tip: Sometimes it takes a village, and it is totally worth the effort. In a photograph like this the hair and make up are just as important as the lighting and the photography. Seek out opportunities to collaborate with other creatives, it expands your horizons and helps you grow as an artist.
As much as I love to travel, I never forget that I live in a world class city that is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 best cities in the world. This is Vancouver’s False Creek, shot as a stitched panorama with the Fuji X100s on a small travel tripod.
Tip: You don’t need a lot of gear to make photographs you love. I shot this with the Fuji X100s on a small travel tripod, and stitched together several frames to make this final image.
More than anything else street photography feeds my soul. It is often the complete antithesis of the whole “collaborate and thoroughly plan out your shoot” methodology I was just talking about. It is raw, honest, and so rewarding when you capture a great image.
Tip: Some say that there are four basic elements to a great photograph: Subject. Moment. Lighting. Background. When I found this background and light in San Francisco’s Chinatown last year I spent about 15 minutes waiting for the right person, and the right moment, to happen. Be patient!
This is the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. It is often the forgotten bridge, dwarfed in stature by its more glamorous sibling, the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
Tip: This was another stitched panorama with the Fuji X100s. The biggest take home from this photo is to reinforce the concept of researching your picture. I knew exactly when sunrise would be, and planned my morning accordingly to be on deck at the right time. The light you see in this photograph was only present for 20 minutes.
Athletes are amazing people to work with, and I especially love working with dancers. They are so in tune with their physicality, take direction well, and love collaboration. This was from a shoot I did at Crescent Beach in White Rock with a close friend.
Tip: Juxtaposition is a wonderful thing at times. I usually shoot dance in a studio, but shooting it against this beautiful sunset adds another element to the photograph.
They say in the acting profession never to work with children or animals. What can I say here though: A beautiful field. A beautiful sky. A beautiful girl in a summer dress…. How could you not click the shutter?
Tip: Always watch for great backgrounds when you are out and about, you never know when you may use them in the future. This field is only in bloom like this for about a month each year, and I always make a point of shooting in it when it looks like this!
This is the USS Bowfin, a submarine at berth in Pearl Harbor. Here is a blog post about my most recent trip there.
Tip: I’m going to repeat myself a little: Embrace cloudy skies and don’t let them be a deterrent to going out and shooting. This photo would be much more boring, in my opinion, if the sky was bare.
The ruins of Sutro Baths in San Francisco.
Tip: Be patient, and be ready. When I set up for this shot on my last trip to San Francisco it was 100% classic San Francisco fog. I could barely see a thing. Looking above the rocks in this image you can just see the sun breaking through, casting this beautiful magenta light on the scene. Looking at the EXIF information for the images taken this night I realized that this break in the light lasted for 3 minutes, and then was gone. You need to be patient, and you need to be ready.
This was taken at a local lake near my house. It was early in the morning, I had the entire beach to myself, and a heavy fog had set in. It was amazing.
Tip: Look for colour, colour palettes, complimentary tones, etc. The early morning fog and water created this beautiful washed out background, and strong yellow draws the eye immediately to the focal point of the image.
A large part of my portrait work is with people in the fitness profession. This image was taken during an editorial shoot on location.
Tip: As much as we don’t like to admit it, sometimes the gear does matter. Stephanie was actually standing in front of a very busy background but, by using the Fuji 56mm f/1.2 lens I was able to create a shallow depth of field and bring the focus to Stephanie’s eyes, where it should be.
Speaking of colour palettes, I LOVE the gold on blue colouring of this image. This was one of the final images taken during a night shooting long exposures at North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay.
Tip: Don’t pack up and go home right away. I was in this location shooting a beautiful sunset, but there are always great opportunities for long exposures after the sun goes down. This turned out to be my favourite photograph from this evening, and was one of the last ones taken well after sunset.
Back on the street….
Tip: Henri Cartier-Bresson coined the phrase: “The Decisive Moment”. The picture above is not a breathtaking street photo by any means, but it can still serve as an example of waiting for the right moment. Just before this picture was taken the adult male was looking straight forward, as was the child. All of a sudden they both looked at something, in completely opposite directions. I love the dychotomy of each person looking at something completely unrelated, yet they are still holding hands.
This is actually one of my favourite “spur of the moment shots”. The spiral pattern created by this staircase is pretty cool all by itself, but a window at each landing allowed light to spill in, creating highlights and shadows that created shape and dimension.
Tip: Always carry your camera with you if it is feasible to do so, and always keep your eyes open. The Fuji X series make this easy because they are so small, and you never know what you are going to see.
This photograph was taken on Magic Island in Honolulu, Hawaii at sunset. I love the wide angle view that the Fuji 10-24mm lens provided.
Tip: I have two tips for this photograph actually. One is to use different lenses to help with different perspectives. To my eyes this photograph is more interesting because of the wide angle lens used. Once you have established that though, don’t just snap away. It is a little thing, but waiting for just the right moment where the two joggers are in front of the sun makes for a more interesting image in my opinion.
This was taken on Oahu in Hawaii. The clouds were thick, there was no sun, but you can always create an image with enough creativity.
Tip: David Allan Harvey said: “Don’t shoot how it looks, shoot how it feels”. To me this scene felt peaceful and quiet…. so I used a 10 stop ND filter on my Fuji X100t to blur the clouds and water, creating the dreamy, painterly feel seen in this image.
Someone once asked me: how are the Fuji cameras for portraiture? Well, they are awesome. Fuji has been making great glass for a long, long time after all.
Tip: The same as the previous portrait, depth of field is your friend. The vast majority of the time you want the focus on the eyes of your portrait subject.
If you haven’t already noticed, I LOVE shooting cityscapes, especially through the changing light at sunrise and sunset. The trick is to find new ways of showcasing the beauty of a heavily photographed location (in this case Vancouver as night was falling).
Tip: Sometimes the best thing to do is to find a new vantage point, and an elevated height often adds a fresh perspective on your subject.
I hope you enjoyed looking at these images as much as I enjoyed shooting them. I can say with absolute certainty that I wouldn’t have made all of them if it wasn’t for my Fuji X series cameras. It isn’t that other cameras couldn’t capture these images (of course they could), but there is something about these cameras that inspire me.
Whatever it is, I am doing my two favourite things: Shooting and traveling, and that is all kinds of awesome.