My Fuji-less week

I’m always slight amused, perhaps even bemused, by the brand loyalty of the various brand-fanboys; and yes it normally is one of us boys!  Someone I know has just asked if I’ve still got my Fujis as I’ve not blogged about them for a few posts now and all of my Skye pictures were taken with Nikons.

So, yes I still have my Fuji cameras. Yes I did use Nikons (almost) exclusively last week. No I’m not ditching my Fujis. Yes I’m keeping both kits.

And why not? They fulfil different needs for me and most importantly I enjoy using them BOTH and am very pleased with the image quality of BOTH kits. One consideration for taking the Nikons last week was that I was in company with another Nikon user so we shared lenses and other bits of kit over the week. Another was that this was an exclusively photographic trip with carefully planned stops along the way and an itinerary over the week that flexed in response to changing weather and changing light.

©Dave Whenham

Nearing Talisker

As with the image above we stayed alert to opportunities that arose as we drove from location to location. This one was taken on Terrific Thursday as we drove from Glen Brittle to Talisker. It was a day when we decided to have faith in the forecast and have a lie-in. Ha! We woke up, looked out of the window and hurriedly got ourselves sorted and into the van. Sligachan was the nearest spot for such a morning and we arrived to find it swarming with photographers and tripods. Being familiar with the location though I knew that a five minute walk up the river would take me away from the hordes and give me a clean composition.

© Dave Whenham

Please form an orderly queue …

I hadn’t used the Nikons for landscape work for many months now preferring the Fujis for my local perambulation or for those days when photography was an adjunct to a family trip. It was like I’d never been away though and it only took me ten minutes to get back into the flow again. I do think that using a camera is a bit like that; working with a particular camera over time you develop and evolve a workflow that becomes instinctive rather than conscious. I have developed the skill with the Nikons and am well on the way to doing so with the Fujis too.

So, expect some more Fuji Moments in the coming months but also expect a few more Nikon interludes as I work through the files from last week, especially when I get around to Terrific Thursday!

Skye -the iPad edits

© Dave Whenham

Talisker Bay

its going to be a busy few days in our place but I wanted to get a few of the photos from last weeks trip up on the blog before it was too much of a distant memory.

©Dave Whenham

Quirraing

This was my sixth visit to Skye in as many years so we were of necessity revisiting several locations we’ve photographed before along with some that were new to us. However, no two visits are ever the same and this year was no exception with changeable weather and light throughout the week.  We even managed four stops at Sligachan Bridge over the week and created four completely different sets of images.

© Dave Whenham

Sligachan

All of these pictures were taken with either the Nikon D750 or Nikon D800E and have been edited on an iPad using the in-camera JPEGs as a starting point. For quick edits and a chance to look at images on the go I find the iPad an ideal substitute for the camera’s LCD screen. Partner that with the Snapseed App and I can very quickly produce image s that are more than acceptable for posting to Facebook so my family can see what I’ve been doing whilst I’m away from them. They are also handy for the occasional blog post such as this which I’m preparing sat in a local cafe . The wonders of technology!

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Talisker Bay

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Glen Totternish

 

It’s in the Edit

In recent months I have got into the habit of watching a couple of YouTube videos of an evening before bed. I’m not a big TV watcher, preferring music, but as I’ve got a little older I have found I’ve enjoyed the visual experience more, especially since I discovered all the photography Vlogs and channels. They didn’t have these when I were a lad!

© Dave Whenham

Please form an orderly queue …

Now, if we are honest, there is some real dross out there. There’s also some good content that is lost in poor production values; usually I can’t wade through it to the end which is a shame. Equally there’s some slick presentation that tries, unsuccessfully for me, to dress up poor content. But, there are some gems which make the lottery of searching for them worthwhile.

Some of the best come, unsurprisingly, from working photographers, often with workshops to sell or premium video content they want you to purchase. Here you see better production values and also if you have the patience to watch a series of them chronologically you can often see the quality of the videos improving – the presentation, narration, camera work, editing and overall feel evolving in front of you.

I watched one last night, it’s concept was simple yet effective. Photographer on location recording a narrative to a small handheld camera whilst exploring a location, setting up his main gear and then showing the finished images. It is a concept I’ve seen many times and done properly it works well, especially when the presenter is chatting through his thought process as if it were a real workshop rather than pontificating or being pretentious as often happens. On a beach, exploring the intimate landscapes (my phrase, not theirs) and creating some lovely images for our enjoyment. What came home to me quite forcibly though was the importance of the edit. He never spoke about editing, simply explained what he was doing and why, interspersing it with what he was thinking about at the time. No doubt there is a video for that aspect that I’ve not yet seen. But when you looked through the vlogging lens and then at the finished image it was clear that he gave as much thought and attention to processing his images as he did to capturing them in the first place.

Which is how it should be in my mind. Modern photography is not a one-shot process (no pun intended). It has always involved a minimum of two steps – creating the negative and then the print is perhaps an easy way to categorise it if slightly simplistic.

I spend a lot of time “getting it right in camera” simply because it appeals to the technician in me, the need to solve problems and think on your feet, using whatever tools where to hand. But, and its an important but, I rarely consider that I’m producing the finished article at that stage. I will often be thinking ahead to how I’m going to process the image which helps in the decision making process at the point of capture too. Even simple things like how I might crop the image can influence how I make the initial exposure. If I know it will be a square crop I will put the intended content in the middle of the frame so I can tweak the crop left or right as needed. It also uses the best part of the sensor, at least in theory, but that is less of a consideration than the practicality of having a bit of wiggle room when making the crop later.

Don’t misunderstand me though, I enjoy “straight out of camera” (SOOC) photography and have written before about the benefits of the Fuji JPEGs in this regard.

Wot – no wifi!

© Dave Whenham

River Snizort – a Sunday Sunrise

I had intended uploading a few blog posts whilst I was on Skye last week but the wifi in the cottage was, shall we say, pedestrian at best and totally deceased at worst.

Not that the world noticed my absence! In a world awash with communication a modest personal blog such as this is not going to be heard above the din and noise of countless online voices clamouring to be heard.

So why bother?

Well, I can’t answer for anyone other than myself of course but I do it for one simple reason – it ensures that I continue to communicate and think, particularly the latter. It’s far too easy to settle into a domestic routine and allow skills that took years to acquire to wither and die. Even if no one actually reads one of these posts I have still had to sit down and write it. I’ve had to carefully think about what I want to say and how I want to say it. I’m keeping the skills, modest as they are, alive and functioning.

© Dave Whenham

Light on Shade

The more “thoughtful” posts cause me to think about what I’m doing, why and how. In doing so I challenge myself to rationalise a course of action or artistic decision. But it’s not a heavy academic pressure, simply saying “because it pleased me” is acceptable in my world. Contextualising my art is not something I’ve ever felt the need to do. I enjoy the creative process and like many little boys who’ve never fully accepted they have to grow up I do enjoy tinkering with the gadgets and gizmos that surround photography. I have four grown up daughters and three grandsons, am nearing the end of my sixth decade and yet still cannot quite accept that I am not twelve years old.

Enjoy these couple of early edits from Skye, I will be back later in the week with a few more.

Swansea …

A few weeks back I spent a couple of days in Swansea visiting family. The best opportunities for photography were before breakfast and after dinner. Unusually for me I managed the pre-breakfast opportunities every morning for three days. The following images are simply a record of the few days. No story, no morals – just some photos.

© Dave Whenham

Swansea Waterfront Fuji X-T10 and Samyang 12mm

© Dave Whenham

© Dave Whenham

© Dave Whenham

© Dave Whenham

Swansea Bay

© Dave Whenham

© Dave Whenham

Mumbles Lighthouse – X100T

© Dave Whenham

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in-camera panorama

© Dave Whenham

Mumbles Lighthouse from Bracelet Bay – X-T10

I shall post a few more another day!