The Western Digital My Passport Wireless SSD is the latest iteration of a portable back up hard drive that WD started with the Ultra a few years ago, and for me is an absolutely essential piece of kit for any travelling photographer.
Kicked off 2018 with my first workshop of the year the other week. It’s going to be an exciting year with workshops in Tuscany, Iceland and Italy, as well as trips to Lofoton, and possibly more, planned so far. I always enjoy meeting new people and sharing locations and photography tips with workshop participants is one of the best parts of the job. This time it was a local workshop with some time spent shooting on the west coast, a sunrise at Vasco da Gama bridge and then some street shooting around the old neighbourhood.
Back in the autumn Teresa and I spent two weeks in the Dolomite mountains amongst some of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe. The gateway airport is Venice, a 2 hour drive away from Cortina d’Ampezzo, and it seemed silly to pass through the airport and not spend any time in the city. I’d never actually spent any time there, and Teresa had been there back when she was inter-railing in her 20s, so we booked a few nights in a hotel there after we returned from shooting in the mountains.
Composition is one of the most important aspects of creating good photographs...and because of it’s abstract nature perhaps one of the trickiest to understand. Just what is the best way to arrange the various separate elements of a three dimensional scene into an effective and cleanly composed two dimensional image?
Back in the autumn I spent a couple of weeks travelling in the Italian Dolomites, some of the most beautiful mountains in Europe. I’d planned the trip at this time of year as late September/early October is when the trees are starting to turn golden and when the tourist season has passed leaving the trails and many of the more popular locations empty.
After months of work we've finally launched the new Light Explorers Workshop website. Light Explorers is a landscape photography workshop company I run with my two fellow landscape photographers Konstantinos Vasilakis and Kostas Petrakis, and this year we've been putting together four workshops to some truly locations in Italy and Iceland which we'll be running in 2018.
My first Fuji camera back in 2015 was the X-T10 which I bought at the time with the intention of using as a back up camera to my Nikon D800E. I was immediately impressed with what a pleasure it was to use and how good the image quality was. It also struck me that it was laudable of Fuji to give exactly the same sensor and image quality from their flagship cameras to a lower end model.
Street photography is for me one of the most trickiest aspects of photography to do well. It’s one of those things that seems so simple until you try to do it. The best street images create curiosity in the viewer, there’s the suggestion of a narrative; who is this person, what are they doing, etc, and also there’s a clarity and simplicity of composition that’s incredibly difficult to achieve when photographing complicated and dynamic city streets.
In a country of truly beautiful landscapes, the interior highlands of Iceland offers perhaps the most stunning scenery in the country. Surrounded by glaciers penned in between mountains, it’s a constantly changing alien landscape of black deserts, colourful rhyolite hills, snow-capped mountains, moss covered peaks, crater lakes and plunging waterfalls. After my first trip there 5 years ago whet my appetite I’ve always wanted to go back and explore it more.
Iceland is one of those countries that must be near the top of most Photographer’s bucket list, it has such a diverse range of incredible landscapes that it’s just a pleasure to go there to shoot. On my first visit about 5 years ago I tried to get around as much of the country as possible, spending a couple of days in the highlands, in the southeast, in the north and in the westfjords. It was a great trip, but Iceland has incredible changeable weather and for large parts of the trip I never saw the sun or had any decent light.
Tuscany is one of those iconic landscape locations I’d longed to photograph since I first saw pictures of it in the first photography books I ever bought. It was one of the first photography trips I ever made back in 2009 and I immediately fell in love with the area. It’s a beautiful rural landscape, all gentle rolling hills, vineyards and medieval hilltop towns, and so I was excited to be heading back there again this spring with two good friends and fantastic photographers Konstantinos Vasilakis and Kostas Petrakis. We’ll be running a workshop there next year, so our plan for this trip was to finalise all the practicalities and ensure that everything we needed was in place, but of course we also intended to do plenty of photography.
The Fujifilm GFX 50S really is a game changer for Fuji. A medium format mirrorless camera, it combines the company’s heritage of classic medium format film cameras like the G690, GS645 and G617 with their retro mirrorless digitalX Series. It’s a fascinating combination and makes sense for a company like Fuji to fuse their decades of experience of medium format film systems with their brilliant mirrorless digital cameras to create a large mirrorless medium camera system that targets users of professional full frame systems like the Nikon D810, the Canon 5DR and the Sony A7R2.
I've been playing around with the Mavic Pro for about 3 months now, getting more confident with flying it and trying to get the best out of the drone. I've experimented with both the camera and gimbal settings to try to get the footage looking as smooth as possible, and last week headed out to the forests of Sintra at sunrise to make a short video about what I've found works best.
The camera is sensitive to sharpening. Reduce it too much and the Mavics noise reduction turns shadows into mush, removing detail that's impossible to put back in editing, but have the sharpening too high and it produces a lot of artefacts and moiré in repeated detail.
Back in February, Hugo and Mauricio from Fuji X Passion joined me for a day of street photography in Lisbon. The plan was to spend a day, from sunrise to sunset recording a film while exploring and photographing in this beautiful city.
I wanted the film to show what an amazing place Lisbon is with its atmospheric neighbourhoods, winding streets, steeps hills and views across the river, so I planned out a day where we would see as much as possible, starting with sunrise looking out across the rooftops towards the river, and finishing with a sunset, again above the river, but this time next to the beautiful modern architecture of MAAT.
First off, this isn’t really a review, it’s more an overview of how I feel about the camera after using it since it arrived in November. After 4 months I feel I’ve got to know the camera pretty well, but like my blogs about the X-T1 and X-T10 when I first switched to Fuji, this is in no way meant to be a technical review or a full look at every one of it’s features. There are plenty of those already on the internet, DPreview has probably the best in depth technical review of the camera and all it’s features. Instead I’ll focus on the improvements over the X-T2 that I’ve found particularly useful, and how the camera feels to use for landscape and travel photography.
A little background to start: It’s been about a year an a half since my switch from Nikon to Fuji, and over those 18 months I’ve been constantly impressed by pretty much everything about the Fuji X System and Fujifilms approach to their cameras and lenses.
Since I got hold of the DJI Mavic Pro last month I've been slowly trying to get to grips with flying and filming with drones, as well as filming and editing in general. While I principally bought the drone for shooting video I am also interesting in it's capabilities for still photography, particularly as I'll be in Iceland later this year and I'd like to have a go at some abstract aerial images of glaciers and rivers. So I decided to experiment with the RAW images on the Mavic and create a video review for my Youtube channel while I was doing it.
I headed out to shoot a sunrise at Portinho da Arrabida, but it was really windy which limited how much drone flying I could do...still, I did manage to get a few photographs that I could experiment with in Lightroom.
I've been fascinated by drones for a number of years and tempted to get one. The thing that has always put me off is how big and bulky they are. Even a smaller drone like the DJI Phantom is a cumbersome object that fills it's own backpack. There's no way I could see being able to incorporate a drone like that into my shooting kit, which I like to keep as small and lightweight as possible. I knew that what would happen with a drone like that would be that it would get left behind more often than not as taking it with me would mean leaving other things behind or carrying very large and bulky bag.
So when DJI announced the Mavic Pro back in October I was really intrigued. After reading the first reviews, I ordered one and then waited for it to arrive. And waited...