Landscapes and Exercise with the Fuji X100 - Lightenupandshoot Style!
I've been trekking all over Water Island, just a 15 minute ferry ride from St. Thomas, the past week with my Fuji X100. I've moaned in the past about the X100 is too small to spark my creativity; but I'm not going to moan about it in this post. I've discovered I love shooting landscapes with it. CLICK READ MORE to get my skinny on how the Virgin Islands has inspired me to get into shooting landscapes ... Lightenupandshoot Style!!!!
My parents rent a small house in the Caribbean every year on Water Island. It's small island south of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands with about 175 people that actually reside on the island. There are two restaurants and bars that cater to cruise ship passengers that get dumped off at the beach for the afternoon. But the real beauty lies deep within the island. Home to endangered wildlife and bizarre plants that somehow ended up on this little gem of an island. If you want to escape the tourist crap and enjoy the islands in their natural beauty this might be the most unique place on earth.
Let me get back to the Fuji, I realize this is a photography blog. First, another image taken while roaming the island:
Water Island isn't exactly crawling with hot babes in bikinis...in fact you rarely see anyone, and when you do they are cruising by on their golf cart. In the mornings my parents do a 3 mile hike on the mountainous island for a bit of exercise before breakfast mimosas and rum drinks. I elected not to take my clunker Nikon on this week long vacation to save space. A small rucksack packed with 3 shirts/shorts, toothbrush, computer and my Fuji X100. Now that's what I call traveling!
The nitty gritty. The X100's little secret are the film simulation or what I prefer to call "stimulation." The Black and White "Red" film setting is my favorite. The Jpeg looks gorgeous on the back of the viewfinder and I get all excited and start shooting some more! Slow start up when you turn the damn thing on distracts the hell out of me...luckily there aren't any people on this island and I don't need to "engage" with anyone. The clouds and islands in the distance patiently wait for me while I fiddle for a few minutes before "nailing" the "shot."
Okay...I can't resist...here's another before I unleash my secrets:
Let me discuss some geeky camera setting situations that I tend to favor. There is no right or wrong...I don't always shoot with these settings. But, I just want to discuss briefly a few things based on my experience while traveling the globe the past few months with the X100. For landscapes I'm not too concerned with depth of field. Normally I have the camera set at F2 all the time. Landscapes I'm usually somewhere between F4-F16. I program my function button for ND (neutral density). Press the ND and you can shoot wide open in almost full sun. It's awesome. To adjust exposure I will use with the aperture ring or the exposure compensation dial. I also want to note that I put the shutter speed to "A" (auto) and program the shutter to shoot no slower than 1/50. The ISO is also pre-programmed to not go above ISO 1600. I'm not worried about noise with the Fuji, she can handle it.
I'll list out the pre-settings before I shoot after this glorious photo (just so you get a better idea):
My camer's pre-settings:
-Black and White Film "stimulation" Hahaha "Red"
-Auto shutter speed
-ISO programmed at max 1600
-Shutter speed to go no slower than 1/50
-Function button set to ND (neutral density)
-Aperture is adjusted based on exposure needed or depth of field needed
-Exposure compensation button is my fine tune exposure
Sschweeeeeeee!! That's a lot to take in. I might need to do a video. The point is there a several variables that control exposure. I prefer to rely on only aperture when thinking about the shot. I don't need to be bothered with all the other exposures when I can have the camera pre-programmed to do what I need it to do. Get it? Lightenupandshoot Style! The less I have to think...the more creative I can be. Bingo!!!
Another glorius image before I talk further about landscapes, the Lightenupandshoot Style:
I haven't done much in the way of landscapes. I can't be bothered with tripods and HDR non-sense (post production). The Fuji does high dynamic range or what I call "contrast" well; I'm quite certain it lies within the presets. Fuji got it right. I wonder if I will get tired of my images looking like everyone else's images black and whites shot with the Fuji (images of Instagram filters flash before my eyes). I do a bit of post production in lightroom and use saved presets with my favorite small adjustments I use on almost every file. I'll end each image with a selective dodge and burn for a final "contrasty" touch. That's it! I hate processing flat RAW files out of the box; the Fuji presets make the images look beautiful before my creative manipulation. That bit of Jpeg goodness gets my creative juices flowing for my own creative spin on the final outcome...not some flat horrible looking image that needs a lot of work to get in the ball park. I'm sure there are some non-creative nerds that are cringing while reading this.
Another image before I drop another hint/secret:
Shot above: long exposure shot ... gettin' creative! There may have been rum involved.
Contrast: The Fuji X100 does a great job producing some contrasty images. I take full advantage in this arena and look for contrast while shooting. I literally look for extreme contrast (hilights and shadows). It's the basis of my creative "landscape" shots (the contrast within the landscape). I'm digging the whole landscape thing after shooting primarily people the past several years. My suggestion is to look for what stimulates you. Get stimulated!!! Let your eye wander over the luscious curves of moutains (if you live in the mountains).
Exercising: The X100 is the perfect camera campanion while trying to get some exercise and photography in at the same time. I bring a small plastic baggy and a canvas bag. The plastic and canvas keeps the sweat off my camera. I'm tired of over-weight photographers...now that's a reason to buy a camera if your beer belly is getting a tad too big. Jog in your beautiful area that you live in...shoot while staying in shape. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it makes sense. Enjoy!
P.S. My next tag alongs are: * Havana, Cuba * Nepal * New York * Panama * Colombia *