Playing With the Fuji X100s
For years I’ve taken photos primarily as material and inspiration for painting in watercolor or pastel. Or so I’ve told myself.
But I’ve noticed that I have become more interested in photography itself as a medium.
It’s an odd medium in that everybody can do it well. Everybody can push a button and take a snapshot. And there’s software galore, such as the apps on iPhones and iPads which do wonders with the photos those gadgets take, for instance. The world is overwhelmed with images.
So why would I want to take more? Part of it is that I look at older photographs, say by Fred Herzog, and see how some humble moment is captured that looms larger just because we see it now, and it carries a patina of its time. (It’s funny for me in the present moment to try to take such a photo when the patina always seems invisible. Humble and spontaneous seem to be the best guides.)
Perhaps I can take a photograph or two like that.
Another thought is about documentation of one’s life, unique yet unexceptional. No matter how mundane, it’s still a life and a camera can be a companion in rooting out its nooks and crannies. It’s like stories otherwise forever untold, although photos are more like fragments than narratives.
But beyond any serious notion, I like to play around with images.
Over the years I’ve had modest cameras. The only SLR cameras I ever used were in my days as a reporter/photographer for a variety of publications. At one newspaper I remember I was supplied with a utilitarian Pentax, a 50mm lens and a wide angle, and that was certainly adequate.
The latter little camera set me up for wondering about “wouldn’t it be nice to have a professional level camera.” Although I couldn’t really afford, or justify, the many thousands required for such a high quality machine, I have shelled out a lesser amount for what some professionals apparently consider a good back-up camera, the Fujifilm X100s.
It’s an unusual camera, while appearing to the casual observer like nothing much. It imitates the rangefinder style of the extremely expensive Leica digital cameras.
The X100s has only one lens, 23 mm which when multiplied by 1.5 due to its digitalness, corresponds to a 35mm film camera. This one f/2 capable lens takes dynamite photos as can be seen at many sites on the web such as The Verge, Mike Kobal’s blog and especially Zackarias.com.
It seems to be the ideal street photography camera: silent, fast, and attaining good images at high ISO. (Although I sometimes wish it had the rotating LCD display on the back that my FZ50 has which allows photos taken without seeming to point the camera at the subject. But the X100s is certainly less aggressive in appearance than a big-bodied, big barrelled SLR.)
It has many options including auto bracketing with different exposures, 3-stops worth of ND filter, manual focus, and various film simulation modes which give JPEGs of that type without affecting the base RAW file. Many find the JPEGs to be of such good quality they often don’t bother with processing the RAW.
Since I purchased the camera, we’ve travelled by ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island here in British Columbia, and I’ve taken a few photos in Richmond, Greater Vancouver.
This particular blog format is not really conducive to displaying photos – besides being more designed for text, it favors the vertically oriented over horizontal. However, here are a few from my new toy… (you can click on them to get a slightly better view sometimes).
JPEGs Just Cropped and Resized
Lightly (Usually) Processed from RAW
This last photo appeals to me greatly, which my wife for instance, who is actually more of a photographer than I am, doesn’t like at all. I like the overabundance of detail, as if the perceptual screens that edit reality into more manageable bits have slid away for a moment. The trees lean over the water below.
f/4.5, 1/60, ISO 200
Note: The photo of the Fujifilm X100s comes from: http://www.techradar.com/news/photography-video-capture/cameras/best-compact-camera-2013-34-reviewed-963985
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