I’m ultra behind in the blogging but I wanted to do an update. A mirrorless update. I’ve been a Fuji fan for quite a number of years now, using my omnipresent X100s camera all the time. Always JPEG. It became my high volume camera, especially for family trips where I refuse to lug around all my huge Nikon gear. But I want more quality and control than my iPhone camera gives me. The X100s was always the perfect companion. I love the 35mm equivalent field of view, especially for travel. It’s fantastic!
But it can be quite limiting. Which is almost always a good thing. Except for when it’s not. I found that all my travel photos, being the same focal length, were, well, the same. So I hummed and hawed about it and ended up getting a smokin’ deal on a FujiFilm XE2. I was going to buy the XPRO2 but didn’t (another blog post about that later). I got the XE2 with the “kit lens” which is an amazing lens, the 18-55. It’s a stunner. It’s sharp, it’s fast and it’s made of metal. Using Fuji is an experience in quality to say the least. Anyways, I’ve since picked up the 35mm f2 it’s a dream. But all summer long, all I shot was the 18-55.
I wanted to showcase the versatility of this compact mirrorless setup. These photos are travel photos from our cross Canada tour this summer. Western Manitoba all the way to Tofino, BC and back again. 4 provinces, thousands and thousands of kilometres traveled, Ocean, Waterfalls, Mountains, Forests, Prairies, all with one camera, one lens. Not only was it a versatile combination but it made the editing workflow nearly non-existent. By that I mean the XE2 utilizes a WYSIWYG viewfinder. The exposures seen through the eye piece are what you get in camera. Literally 97% of the time, it’s bang on. Very little editing has gone into these photos. The X system allows you to get it right in camera the first time, let alone the colour tweaks available through the film simulations. Fuji colour is the best, bar none! Anyways, here’s some photos.
We’ve been in our own veritable Tornado Alley these past couple of weeks. Crazy summer storms have been unbelievably violent, but the clouds have been equally beautiful as well, in their own sinister way. I’m fortunate that our house borders open pasture land so I can get sweet views of the sky without having to travel very far. 😎
It was cold this morning, mercury was dipped to -22C. Cold enough even for the creepy crawly critters to seek out a warm sunny spot. 😎 I watched this coyote walk up the ridge opposite to our house. He slowly climbed down over a big snow bank and spun around a few times, making a cozy little spot to catch some rays. I was on breakfast detail so after I had finished my chores, I grabbed the camera and snuck out in our backyard to see if I could nab a shot. My trusty 70-300 has always been my goto wildlife lens, though it’s performance is sluggish. I barely made one frame of the coyote before he saw me and got nervous. The slow AF on the lens didn’t help much either as I wasted precious seconds trying to acquire focus. But I nabbed one while he was resting and a couple more as he began to flee.
The thing about coyotes is, they’re survivors. When World War III happens and nuclear armageddon is unleashed, the last thing walking around will be a coyote. This one looks like it will survive the winter just fine. 🙂 Unless it keeps hanging around my yard. Then it might have a little visit from Dr.223… 😈 I took a couple other shots of those cool winter patterns and textures too.
This post is not intended to be a mantra for hunting season. Ahem. 😎 It’s about seizing the moment before it’s gone. The “capture” aspect of photography is really of the essence. Event photographers and wedding folk know this well. But even landscapers or point and shooters can glean a lesson from it. If a picture is happening before you, go shoot it. Don’t wait and come back later. Chances are good it won’t be there. Take the 5 minutes to stop, get out and make the frame. Like time, you can never get it back. And personally, I hate living with that “Doh! I wish I would have stopped and got that photo!” It applies to all of life.
This shot was one of those times. I was on my way back from a shoot and saw these 3 combines and the grain cart tractor parked in a harvested field. All of them red. With a nice little moon overhead. I had to stop. I pulled the car over and walked out into the field. I didn’t have a tripod but I had a step ladder with me. So, I used it as a rest and was able to take some frames to make this HDR image. I’m pleased with how it turned out as it grabs what harvest time on the prairies is all about. I could have drove past, but I’m glad I seized the moment! 😎
The other morning was beautiful with “hooker frost” all over the place! 😎 Ok, Ok, it’s really hoarfrost, but I couldn’t resist! No matter how you slice it, it was better looking than Julia Roberts. I was out visiting some parishioners and stopped to nab a quick HDR of their barn, as well as a couple of other cool winter shots. Gotta love it! And of course, my favorite little snow bunny too. 🙂
Had to make a water run tonight to the supple bounty of Alameda. It was approaching golden light which is always exciting. It was also dusty as all get out. Dust, fog, mist – they are all the theme park of light. We lucked out and ran into much dust on the roads to let the sunset have the mucho fun. 😎
The storm itself wasn’t all that bad tonight but the cloud structures were awesome! Living next to a big valley is awesome for getting amazing thermals to make the clouds to pop-wheelies! 😉 And the best thing ever was the huge golden light that was coming from the West. It made this tremendous rainbow! It was raining still but I ran out into the backyard to nab the shots. I bracketed the rainbow for HDR to get the max amount of definition. Only bummer was it was hand held so there is some ghosting on the trees. But I don’t care, the rainbow was awesome. I wish I had an FX camera though and I probably could have got the whole thing in the frame! 😎
We ran out this afternoon for a quick photo shoot of the Fonstad’s new 4Runner. I love this truck! Ever since Toyota redesigned it, I’ve loved the new look. Manliest truck out there, bar none! So, when Jimmy wanted some shots for the truck forum, I jumped at the chance. Great way to practice your HDR stuff because vehicles look awesome, and they don’t move. Find the composition, tripod and boom! High Dynamic Range Toyota. 8) Automobile photography isn’t really all that hard, but it is tough trying to come up with interesting shots that haven’t been done before. Human subjects create a mood all there own, but with vehicles, you have to bring it out with camera angles and environment. Fortunately the 4Runner looks kick @$$ and mean! It’s easy to make this truck look pure awesome. 😆
It will never ever be August 1st, 2011 ever again. Savour each moment, every day! 8)
The last couple days have brought real humdinger storms to the prairies. Obscene amounts of rain. Crazy hurricane-esque winds! It’s been wild. I snapped a few shots during a 5 minute monsoon that dropped off a full inch of rain in my rain gauge. It was wild to say the least! Then it was gone again as quickly as it arrived. But last night took the cake. I was trying to get lighting pics off my back deck when you could see the wall o’ water coming straight for us. I went inside to avoid getting pummelled by the onslaught. Going to the north side of our house and sticking the camera through our open door, I was able to nab some shots of the water in our crescent. Unbelievable!!!! I’m guessing an inch an half based on my rain gauge. I was using extremely long shutter speeds to get the shots because the only light available was the street light and the neighbor’s outside lights. It made the water turn to silk, which was cool. Our street’s storm drain sounded like a bathtub drain as the water gurgled away. It couldn’t take it away fast enough! Probably not the last we’ll see of the heinous summer storms!
The hills are alive with singing! And crocuses! And also, regrettably, wood ticks. Be on your guard for the vampires if you go into the fields in search of the flower of the prairies! 🙂