Wednesday, 24 January 2018

It's never black and white

It eventually stopped raining on Monday and rather than go fishing as it was blowing a gale I took my cameras for a run out in search of sheepy subjects. That was my excuse, I just wanted to cure my cabin fever really. Of course the closer I got to hill country the closer I got to rain. That meant I kept on driving rather than stopping to get wet. By the time I was in foreign lands the sun was trying to break out.

Motoring up the dale (what them foreigners call a valley...) I saw, but couldn't take, a good sheep picture. A line of ewes walking along a ridgeline with a buzzard holding on the wind in front of them. When I got to Bentham I saw and just missed another picture because the rain had returned and my camera was in my jacket pocket. I was a second or two too late to catch the disembodied phone taking a photograph of a for sale advert. It almost works as it is, but not quite.

I wandered around the village for a while snapping away taking touristy shots mainly to carry on the bonding process with the X100T. I think it performs a little better in terms of colour when the sun shines.

I took a new route back into and over the forest. A bleak old road in places. There was still snow and ice lying in places the sunshine hadn't reached. Up on the tops I braved the icy wind with a proper camera and an old duffer of a lens. Even a tripod would have been unsteady in the wind up there, so I'm content with my hand-held attempt at a landscape picture.

As is often the case I got sucked into looking at some photographer or other's landscape tutorial video last night. When I compared the footage of him at work with his final pictures it was pretty damned obvious that they were quite heavily manipulated. Increasing saturation and contrast seems to be what is required these days. Yet it's a look I fin hard to take. I'm not the only one - I'll stick with my 'documentary landscapes'.

Today I had some unexpected free time and after playing around with the X100T indoors I made the bold move of going out with it on its own. When stuck for ideas it has to be the beach.

More a case of playing with the camera than making pictures. Back home I found myself making black and white conversions again. What my day out had begun to hint at was that I still prefer the colours from my 'proper' cameras. I really can't put my finger on why, or what the differences are. But I do sense some. Particularly when the light level isn't great and the ISO goes up. Hence the removal of colour.

At the beach I tried to deliberately overexpose some shots to try and progress the idea which started with an accident. As all too often happens, trying to replicate a happy accident failed.

Every time I use the little Fuji it feels like using a film camera. As an experience it's enjoyable, which probably explains why a lot of old timers like these cameras. That's all well and good, but there are practical advantages to a 'proper' camera. They have evolved to be used quickly and fluidly. These imitation rangefinders aren't like that. I have my proper cameras set up so I can take a single frame or a slow burst without making any alterations to the controls. I can swap focus modes without diving into the menus. Things like that. Most of all the two custom setting modes are a really big advantage.

Still, the X100T is far less annoying to use than the toy cameras I swapped for it. Time will tell if I can live with the files. What I noticed with my previous venture into Fujiland was that when printed the colours were acceptable. It was on screen that they grated a bit. And print is where it counts. Hopefully I'll get a chance to use the thing for some people photography at the weekend. That will be the acid test as far as I'm concerned. It's small size and near silent operation should (in theory) be less attention grabbing than a proper camera with a mahoosive lens. We'll see...

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