Timelapse

© Dave WhenhamThe GoPro Session (see previous post) also has a built in time-lapse function which I tried out this afternoon and found it a very easy process.

Setting the camera up for time-lapse is easiest done through the iPhone app and the GoPro Studio desktop software does a reasonable job of kludging everything together.

When I get a chance I am going to put the footage through Lightroom to see of the quality can be improved further but in the meantime here is the quick and dirty version straight out of GoPro Studio.

Footage captured with GoPro Session mounted on an Andoer 360 Degree Rotating mount (see pic above).

Rough Edit

I was going to title this POV-POC but thought that was too cryptic even for me.

So what have I been to to? Well, playing of course.

© Dave Whenham

Calder & Hebble

I recently acquired a GoPro Session video camera with the vague idea of complementing my blog posts periodically with some behind the scenes video or time-lapse footage as I go about capturing images on my camera.

I’ve been wondering how best to present the footage and one idea was to mount the GoPro on my camera’s hotshoe and film as I line up and take an image. So, what you have here is a proof of concept video for a point of view style photo slideshow.

I think I can develop this over time to include footage of the wider scene captured on a tripod and who knows even get around to trying the video capabilities of one of my digital cameras. Would you believe that I have not shot any video with either my Nikons or Fuji cameras? I dabbled with the Canon 5D Mark III before my move to Nikon making updates for my course work as a visual diary but nothing since then.

It was raining for quite a bit of the time yesterday when I went out so photography and videography is largely completed one handed as I had an umbrella in the other hand!  If you listen carefully you can hear me groan when I have to kneel for the final image.

I can already think of lots of things to improve upon this idea but considering this was the first time I’d used the GoPro and therefore the first time I’d used their editing software I am pleased with the start. If nothing else it gives me a good basis to move the idea forward.

Now, to find a narrator for the next masterpiece!!

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Update: Monday evening I added a short narration to the original video.

 

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Video footage shot with a GoPro session mounted in the camera hotshoe. Camera was a Fuji X-T10 with 18-55 lens. All images, moving and still © Dave Whenham.

Music: “Easy Lemon (60 second)” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

ISO 6400 anyone?

© Dave Whenham

During a short trip to London recently I used the Fuji X100T for some “street” photography. The camera handled brilliantly but some of the resultant images were a little hit and miss. With the benefit of looking through the files in Lightroom I realise that I could and should have used a far wider aperture. Probably as a result of using full frame cameras for so long I instinctively went for f8 or f11 and occasionally wandered to f5.6. But as the shot above shows even  f5.6 on a 23mm lens with a cropped-sensor camera gives far more depth of field than is needed especially when you consider I was not zone focusing but focusing each image separately.

More importantly it meant that the camera was regularly selecting ISO 6400 which is the maximum I have set in Auto-ISO mode.  Now that isn’t necessarily a problem as this camera handles ISO 6400 respectably well but I have found that it is vital to nail the exposure on your subject. The image above was underexposed by almost two stops, probably as a result of light bouncing back off the floor fooling the camera’s meter. I had turned the LCD screen off to avoid chimping and also to be more discrete on the streets. The JPEG was unusable to my taste but fortunately I was able to rescue the shot by careful processing of the RAW file.  A tick for my RAW+JPEG strategy.

The second image however, below, also shot at 6400 ISO, was properly exposed and as a result apart from a crop this is the JPEG as-shot. No noise issues and almost no post-processing time required.

© Dave Whenham

The third image here is not my finest hour by a long chalk but it illustrates the major knock-on problem of setting too small an aperture. I was stood by the top of the escalator in St Pancras and looking to capture an image which showed the hustle and bustle of such a busy location. This composition pulled together everything in one frame I thought; the traveller with his luggage, businessmen talking but clearly in a hurry to move along and the ubiquitous traveller on the phone as he rushes to his destination. It looked great on the back of the camera. If only I’d been watching all of the  information in the the Fuji’s viewfinder though.

© Dave Whenham

Hustle’n’ Bustle – St Pancras

The EXIF data for the image above tells everything that is needed. It was a stop underexposed so needed brightening (which at ISO 6400 increased noise). It was also shot at f11 which necessitated a shutter speed of 1/17th second!! Hand held!!!  So we have camera shake and a degraded image through under-exposing at such a high ISO.  As I say, not my finest hour but some good learning points.

And wider apertures are perfectly adequate for this type of candid imagery. Take the image below, ISO 6400 again but with an almost perfect histogram, 1/45th second which is on the border of what I would typically opt for in terms of shutter speed when handholding and an aperture of f4. The image is sharp front to back, from the edge of the table to the wall socket (which I will probably clone out for the finished image).

© Dave Whenham

So, all in all some useful learning points here and I have added to my personal experience of using the camera. My choice of setting a maximum ISO of 6400 is vindicated but with the important caveat that I need to ensure the shot is correctly exposed as pushing exposure in post production exacerbates the noise present in the file.

The next time I get the opportunity for street photography with the Fuji X100T I am going to try using f2.8 as my go-to aperture, leaving the Auto ISO at a maximum of 6400 and keeping an eye on both shutter speed and histogram.

Sidetracked – again!!

Someone commented on the OCA student group on Flickr some time ago that they often get side-tracked when researching and sometimes it’s a day later that they realise how much of a tangent they took. The same happens to me regularly – but the outcomes are often very welcome!

One such tangent a year or so back ended with me seriously researching the work of Bill Brandt for the first time.  I had purchased a copy of “Bill Brandt Photographs: 1928-1983” sometime earlier and for the first time sat down and read that in full. Before I knew it I’d ordered two more books (must cancel my amazon account – too easy to buy books) and spent several hours reading articles from the internet and watching videos on You Tube including the BBC’s Master Photographers programme broadcast in 1983, the year that he died.

I then became interested in the way his work was actually presented particularly in Lilliput magazine  and as well as looking at examples on the internet I found myself on eBay where I purchased a few Lilliput collections in book format so I could see them for myself in-situ and in context. Looking at one of these again  this morning I was taken by how often images were presented as contrasting or complementary pairs which is something that Brandt himself also did at times.

© Dave Whenham

An alternative view of “that” snicket (bottom right)

Many interesting facts were elicited and bit my bit I was able to build up a picture of the man to complement the photographs I was looking at. A small item on the BBC news website for example included a quote from David Hockney: “Brandt’s pictures survive and enter the memory because they were constructed by an artist.” Brandt was not averse to creating the right scene, often getting friends to pose for him and for him the initial exposure was only part of the story. The print itself was extremely important in realising Brandt’s artistic vision and he routinely made physical alterations to prints to achieve the desired effect.

I came away from all this extra-curricular research with a real appreciation for Brandt’s work and also the distinct impression that as Hockney says he was more than a photographer, he was an artist. His photographs seem to me to sit between social documentary and pictorial representations. Images such as The Snicket (yes, I’m back to that photograph) can be read as a comment on the social conditions of 1937 Halifax, an allegory for the uphill struggle of the poor or as a pictorial representation of an otherwise mundane scene.

© Dave Whenham

The Brandt connection is no doubt part of the reason why I revisit the Dean Clough area so regularly.

Why am I posting this so long after the first tangental diversion into Brandt’s world? Well, I’ve gone off-tangent again this morning revisiting Brandt’s work after spotting a chance reference to him on YouTube whilst looking for GoPro reviews!

To be honest I’m quite happy with that. He is a photographer whose work I really enjoy and I never tire of revisiting his work.  It doesn’t help with the backlog of images to process on my computer though, which is worse than usual because of my new-found interest in the Fuji-X series! At this rate my backlog of images will still be unprocessed in the year 2525 (to reference Zager and Evans … oh dear! I sense another Google-tangent into 1970’s music coming up!).

All images © Dave Whenham

All Quiet …

Or, some more thoughts on the Fuji X100T.

A whole eight days without a blog post, no wonder people are singing “it’s all gone quiet over there …”.  Or perhaps not, my reader probably assumed, rightly, that I was busy either with a camera or with looking after grandsons.

The Fuji X100T was the perfect choice for a walk along the local canal with twenty month old Ted in his pushchair (see above, all Fuji JPEGs). I remember when Zac was this age trying to push him along the canal with a Canon 5DII and 24-70 f2.8 lens attached in my hand trying to capture images for a college assignment. How I didn’t lose him into the canal is a minor miracle. This time around, with the X100T in hand, I found the whole experience far more manageable and enjoyable. I cannot check to be certain but I’d be pretty confident I took more images this time around and also have far more “keepers”.

I’m using every trip as a learning opportunity and what I learned on Saturday was that I find the Fuji Velvia preset too saturated for people-photography, it certainly did no favours to images of Ted and even seemed to block up the shadows somewhat, something the monochrome preset does not do. Changing presets on-the-fly is a doddle though and I shall remember to do so when out doing a mixture of subjects as I was at the weekend.

© Dave Whenham

Calder & Hebble Navigation – the Velvia preset proving its worth in this situation

It was the X100T that I dropped in my pocket a few days earlier on a shopping trip with my long-suffering wife. I’d parked close to a favourite haunt in Halifax and on getting back to the car noticed that a barrier that usually prevented access to what remains of the Dean Clough railway line had been removed.  Not wanting to miss the opportunity but conscious that my time was not totally my own I made a few compositions with the X100T (see above) this time using the monochrome preset. In such situations this camera is really proving its worth and whilst I also have the RAW files for later processing the out-of-camera JPEGs are once again very pleasing to my eye.

© Dave Whenham

Scammonden – the X100T is proving to be a very able and light weight companion

Whilst I am unlikely to abandon RAW shooting any time soon I have to say that I am really enjoying the convenience of having good quality JPEGs available for posting to social media or blogging. I would estimate that around 80% of my recent Facebook posts have been processed in-camera using one of the Fuji presets. A further 10-15% have had some minor tweaks via Snapseed either on my phone or if at home my iPad.  I had initially considered the onboard wi-fi a bit of a gimmick but have to say that I’ve used it a lot, even uploading to Facebook sat on a hillside with my phone. The Fuji App for iPad/iPhone is very simplistic and a little clumsy to connect but it gets the job done and one virtue of its simplicity is that it is also simple to use.

© Dave Whenham

Scammonden – this one from RAW.

When I do use the RAW files though I’m finding them full of detail even in high contrasts scenes such as the one above which was taken without the help of a graduated ND filter to retain detail in the sky. I basically “shot-to-the-right” to brighten the shadows as much as possible in the circumstances but without burning out the highlights. Large on my screen the result is very pleasing.

So, the ongoing review of the X100T shows that it continues to grow on me. Annoyances such as the cameras tendency to turn itself on when putting it into my pocket are becoming slightly less irritating as I adapt my behaviour to compensate for them. My liking for the JPEGs continues and I am becoming a fan of the simple yet effective wi-fi capability and the way the mobile App allows me to quickly upload images to my Facebook account.

 

A Weekend Spent Thinking

Well, this weekend has been characterised by thinking, reading and exchanging views with fellow photographers on the subject of how far am I presently prepared to go in my move towards Fuji. The launch of the X-T2 this weekend makes the Fuji bodies even more competitive to my mind and no doubt triggered the thought process that has occupied lots of the past two days for me.

© Dave Whenham

Pre-breakfast chilling in the garden

One of the biggest plus points of the Fuji system for me is the size and weight. My “first to hand” camera this morning was the Nikon D750 with the Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 attached. I wanted a camera to quickly snap some candids of the kids (grandchildren) in the garden prior to breakfast. The set up did a fabulous job, see above, but I really noticed how heavy it all was compared to the Fuji X-T10 I was using yesterday and indeed used this afternoon. Speed of operation is a complex mix of ergonomics, personal preferences and the amount of experience the user has with handling the gear. I can work very quickly with the Nikons and indeed can do so much more quickly than I can with the Fuji at present although I’m catching up fast.

© Dave Whenham

Fleece Inn (Fuji X100T)

As I’ve probably mentioned before I’ve been blown away by the image quality and the handling of the X100T and the X-T10. As net result of this weekend’s brain strain is that I’ve decided to rationalise my Nikon kit and leave myself with just the bodies, the “Holy Trinity” of lenses, my macro lens and the 300mm that I reviewed here not so long ago. The reality is that apart from one occasion, sorry, two counting this morning, when I grabbed the 70-200 and D750 (my “nearest camera” philosophy) I’ve only used the Fujis during the last couple of months. I’ve even invested in the Seven5 system to complement the full size Lee system.

This hasn’t always been a case of first-to-hand as I’ve been out several times specifically to take landscapes and chosen the Fuji X-T10 in preference to the Nikon D800E which is my usual landscape camera especially when teamed with the Nikkor 14-24 f2.8.  The simple truth is that the two Samyang lenses (8mm fisheye and 12mm f2.8) are excellent on the X-T10 as is the 35mm f1.4, so my everyday shooting is very nicely covered especially when you add the excellent 18-55 “kit” lens.

And the JPEGs are awesome!

© Dave Whenham

Scammonden Water (Fuji X-T10, Samyang 12mm, JPEG – Velvia preset)

© Dave Whenham

Ted (Nikon D750)

Until the Fuji system catches up in terms of a decent macro lens and something to rival the Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 (above) in terms of image quality then the  Nikon kit will continue to have a place in my kit bag.

In fact, when Fuji catches up (and I do thinks it’s when not if) then I will have a tough decision I think. In many ways it’s going to be an easier decision than switching from Canon to Nikon as I’ve not yet built up an emotional attachment to the NIkons.

All images © Dave Whenham

Morning Hair!

© Dave Whenham

Morning Ted!

Sometimes I think we take photography, and by extension ourselves, far too seriously.  This was unplanned yet really captures  the moment to my mind. Captured with the Fuji X-T10 and the Fujinon 35mm f1.4.  Or to put it another way, the first camera I laid my hands on at the time.

But unplanned doesn’t mean unthoughtful. It was a spur of the moment opportunity but its successful execution relied upon experience and understanding to not only grab the moment but to do so in a way that shows the subject to good advantage. This is perhaps the difference between a casual snap and a more polished image?  A rhetorical question but feel free to leave a comment below!

The technical details: f1.4 | 1/12th second | ISO 200 | available light | no tripod.

Seeing the opportunity I quickly set an off-centre focus point (I use a single point most of the time), flicked the aperture ring to f1.4 and moved the camera into position. I rested the camera on a handy stack of papers (what a good job I don’t tidy my workspace very often) and viewed the LCD screen obliquely – I was surprised at how much visibility I had when you consider I was at around 80° to the screen.  I could just see the focus point and was able to line it up with the nearest eye and take three frames before Ted moved. All of which took far less time than its taken me to type this or indeed you to read this.

I was sat at my desk so a few moments later I’d converted the file to mono and posted it to my Facebook account.

The lens incidentally is a new acquisition, purchased used from MPB and typically for them it’s in great condition. Based on this first experience with the lens I’m going to enjoy playing with it a lot. Who knows I may even post a review at some point.