Rumor: Fujifilm Neopan Acros To Be Discontinued

 

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Ilford Technology – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – Acros Film Simulation

According to Casual Photophile, Fujifilm plans to discontinue Neopan Acros film in the near future. That’s really too bad, because Neopan Acros is a great black-and-white film. I didn’t use it all the time, and I haven’t shot it in at least a decade, but I appreciated using Neaopan 100 Acros and Neopan 400 Acros (which was discontinued a number of years ago) in my old Canon A-E1 back when I shot a lot of film. I mostly used Ilford Delta films.

Interestingly, film sales have been up over the last few years. Several previously discontinued film stocks have been brought back from the dead lately, and rumors of others have surfaced. Even brand-new films have been developed. But, perhaps, Neopan Acros still isn’t selling enough rolls to justify its existence. For those who shoot black-and-white film, this is significant news, and it might have a big impact on your photography.

Fujifilm X-Trans III cameras, such as the X100F, have an Acros Film Simulation, which is quite accurate and faithful to Neopan Acros film. It’s not 100% spot on, but it’s darn close and definitely has a film-like quality. I’m sad that Neopan Acros is coming to an end, but I’m happy that the soul of it still exists in digital fashion in Fujifilm cameras.

Road Trip: Grand Canyon National Park, Part 1: Color

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Grand Canyon From Desert View – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

A couple of weeks ago my family and I jumped in the car and made the long drive to Grand Canyon National Park. From my house to the hotel we booked in Williams, Arizona, was nine hours of driving, not including stops. We left early and arrived late, weary from the road. Really, it was too many hours in the car for one day, but we only had a short time for this adventure, so we pushed through to our destination.

The next day we got back in the car and drove 45 minutes to Tusayan, the tiny town right outside the entrance of the national park, and had some breakfast. After our bellies were full, and with cups of hot coffee, we continued the short trek to Grand Canyon Village and to the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

I’ve been to the Grand Canyon several times before, and the reaction for first-time visitors, as well as those who haven’t been in awhile, is the same: “Whoa!” That first look is always awe-inspiring and breathtaking. It just appears so impossibly grand! Everything seems so small and insignificant in comparison. It really is the magic of this incredible place.

We walked along the Rim Trail for awhile, stepping into some of the historic lodges and buildings along the way. We encountered the Bright Angel Trail and headed down, but only to the tunnel, which is probably about a mile trek round-trip. Someday I’d like to hike all the way to the bottom, but this wasn’t the trip for that.

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Grand Sight – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

Lunch was at the Harvey House Cafe. Then we headed to the car to drive around and see more sights. Heading east on Highway 64, we made it to Desert View and saw the Watchtower, which is at the eastern end of the park. On the way back towards the village we stopped at a few overlooks. It was approaching dinner, so we said goodbye to Grand Canyon National Park and traveled back to Williams.

I cannot say enough how amazingly beautiful Grand Canyon National Park is! If I had more time I would have made sure to be there for sunrise and sunset. This was just a quick visit, so I missed both golden hours. Early the next morning we left for home, which is near Salt Lake City, Utah. We encountered some winter weather, so the drive back ended up being longer than the drive out. To say that we were happy to be home when we arrived close to midnight would be a huge understatement. It was two full days of being crammed in the car just to be at the Grand Canyon for one day, but it was completely worth it!

For these photographs I used a Fujifilm X100F and a Fujifilm X-A3 with a Jupiter 21M lens. The X100F was great because it fit into my jacket pocket and captured wonderful pictures with ease. The X-A3 with the Jupiter lens was bulky and heavy and became tiresome carrying around my neck, but it allowed me to capture some images that I simply couldn’t with the other camera. When you travel, smaller and lighter is almost always better, but sometimes something more is needed.

These are all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs, and I used Velvia, Classic Chrome, PRO Neg. Std, and PRO Neg. Hi film simulations. Not editing the pictures saved me tons of time, and both cameras did an excellent job thanks to Fujifilm’s fine JPEG engine, which I rely heavily on. If I had post-processed RAW files instead, the results wouldn’t be much different to what you see here, except that I’d still be sitting in front of the computer editing them. Instead, they were finished before I even got home, and you’re able to enjoy them today.

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Kids At The Canyon – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Amanda, Johanna & I – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F – captured by Joy Roesch

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Kids On Bright Angel Trail – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Evergreen Tree & Red Canyon – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Canyon Behind The Pines – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Grand Canyon Railway – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Lamp In The Lodge – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Hopi Art – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Unforgiving Environment – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Colorado River of Green – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Red Canyon Walls – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Trees, Rocks & Cliffs – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Light Over A Barren Landscape – Valle, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Get Your Gifts On Route 66 – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Neon Gifts – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Cheap Room – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Neon Bistro – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Drink Coke – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Steaks & BBQ – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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BBQ & Coke – Williams, AZ – X100F

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Fire In The Sky – Flagstaff, AZ – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Spiked Cactus – Kanab, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Kids At Moqui Cave – Kanab, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Anderson Mountain – Paragonah, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

Part 2 – B&W

Travel: Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

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Endless Canyons – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

The day after visiting Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah, I checked out Dead Horse Point State Park. It is located very close to the Island In The Sky district of Canyonlands and offers stunning views of the national park. It’s essentially a smaller Island In The Sky with some good views of the Colorado River.

The story behind the name is tragic. Early settlers used these “sky islands” as natural pens for livestock and other animals. Even the local Native Americans did this to an extent. Some early American settlers trapped a group of wild horses on the mesa that’s now the state park. They picked the mustangs that they wanted to tame, then left the others on the mesa to die of thirst. That’s why it’s called Dead Horse Point. My 10-year-old daughter loves horses, and she was particularly appalled at the story. That, of course, is just a brief dark period for this land, but the name stuck, even though it is a little grim.

Dead Horse Point State Park is breathtakingly beautiful! The views are stunning. For the most part, what you see is Canyonlands National Park, just from a little different angle. You actually get better views of the Colorado River here than on Island In The Sky. It’s surprising to me that this section isn’t included in the national park system.

If you have the choice between the two, definitely go for Canyonlands. If you have time for a little more, visit Dead Horse Point. On the way out from Moab on the way home, my family and I detoured to see the state park. It took us, from the time we left U.S. 191 to the time we returned, a total of three hours. We could have stayed much longer, but we were a little strapped for time.

Lighting was terrible for photography when I was at the state park. There was a thin high overcast layer of clouds that did just enough to make the light ugly. Also, I was there mid-morning, well past the golden hour. I used a Fujifilm X100F and Fujifilm X-A3 with a Jupiter 21M lens attached to capture these images. I edited the camera-made JPEGs using Nik Color Efex and Nik Silver Efex software, with the exception of two, which are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. I would have preferred to rely just on the JPEGs unedited, but the light was just so ugly for photography while I was there that they needed some work to make them look decent.

I didn’t capture any great photographs while at Dead Horse Point State Park, but I definitely saw the potential. At the right time under the right light, the opportunity to capture some portfolio worthy images certainly exists at this place. I hope to return sometime in the near future to capture better photographs.

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The Dead Tree – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Erode Down – Dead Horse Point State Park, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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La Sal From Dead Horse Point – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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South Vista – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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The River Bend – Dead Horse SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rock Temple – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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A River Runs Through It – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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River Island – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Cliff Above The Canyon – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Hanging On – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Long Ways – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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It’s Not Easy Being Green – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Desert West – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Red Desert Cliffs – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

Travel: Canyonlands National Park, Part 2: Monochrome

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Subtlety – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

Part 1

I surprised myself with how few images I captured in monochrome of Canyonlands National Park. During that visit I most often chose color, as the lighting made for wonderful color photographs, and I only went with black-and-white here and there. This is the opposite of what happened at Arches National Park earlier in the day, in which I chose monochrome more often because of the poor light. In general, I’m more drawn towards black-and-white photography, and so it was very unusual for me to focus so much on color.

Canyonlands was a  joy to photograph and I felt like I came away with some print-worthy exposures. The pictures in this post were mostly captured using my Fujifilm X-A3 with a Jupiter 21M lens attached, which is a good telephoto combination. I used the Monochrome+R film simulation, which isn’t as good as Acros, but the X-A3 doesn’t have Acros and so I couldn’t use it (the lone Fujifilm X100F image was captured using Acros). All of these photographs are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs, which I prefer because it saves me tons of time. A couple of them could have been slightly improved if I had edited the RAW exposure, but the JPEGs are certainly good enough in this case.

If I ever have the chance, I’d love to spend a week at Canyonlands National Park. I feel like I barely touched the surface of the potential photo opportunities there. It seems like a place that could provide plenty of portfolio material. It was just so breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful. I just can’t say enough about Canyonlands! If you ever have the chance to go, definitely go, you won’t be disappointed.

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La Sal Moon – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fuji X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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La Sal From Island In The Sky – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Mountains Through Mesa Arch – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Tree at Grand View Overlook – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Oh, Deer – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Monochrome Mesas – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

See also: Dead Horse Point State Park

Travel: Canyonlands National Park, Part 1: Color

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Canyon Pinion – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

On the same day that I visited Arches National Park in Utah, I also made it to Canyonlands National Park, which is right around the corner. Even though these two national parks are quite close, they are very much different places. Arches is known for unusual and seemingly impossible rock formations, while Canyonlands, which also has some unusual rock formations, is more known for amazing vistas and seemingly endless canyons.

My visit to Arches was marked by poor midday light. On the other hand, since I arrived at the park entrance about 90 minutes before sunset, I managed to catch Canyonlands under much better late-evening light. Even though I spent twice as much time at Arches National Park, I felt that my best pictures on this trip were captured inside Canyonlands National Park.

Another difference between Arches and Canyonlands is that one park had many tourists and the other had only a few. Canyonlands seemed more open and peaceful, and I felt a deeper connection with this place. I enjoyed Canyonlands immensely, and my biggest regret was not spending more time there.

Canyonlands National Park is huge, and I only did the Island In The Sky tour, which is a small portion of the park. Because my time was limited, I missed out on some great locations within the Island In The Sky quadrant. I imagine that one could spend a few weeks at Canyonlands and not see and experience everything.

My gear was a Fujifilm X100F and Fujifilm X-A3 with a Jupiter 21M lens attached. I used many different film simulations, including Velvia, PRO Neg. StdPRO Neg. Hi, Astia, and Classic Chrome, but mostly Velvia. All of these are camera-made JPEGs. I think a few of them are worth printing.

I love America’s national parks, and one of my favorites is Canyonlands National Park. It has a peaceful yet draw-dropping beauty that begs you to explore and experience. I’ve never been to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, but I image it to be a similar experience. It’s a place where you can relax, reflect and restore. It’s a great place to photograph. I will return, camera in hand.

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Rural Fork – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fuji X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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No – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Young Explorers – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Feeling Blue – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Green Tree – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Mesa Arch – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Family At Mesa Arch – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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La Sal Through Mesa Arch – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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La Sal Behind Mesa Arch – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Mesa Arch View – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Plateau & Mesa – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Canyonlands View – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Hoodoos – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Canyons – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Full Moon Over Grand View – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Juniper – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Orange Canyons – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Canyonlands Evening – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Canyonlands Sunset – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

Part 2 – Monochrome

Travel: Arches National Park – Part 2: Monochrome

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Arch & La Sal – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

Part 1

As I mentioned in part one, the lighting for photography was pretty terrible during the few hours that I was at Arches National Park. Still, the place was nothing short of amazing! I wanted to capture it all, and found that black-and-white was often a better choice than color. I think if I had been there closer to sunrise or sunset, color would have been the way to go. Because I was up against the harsh midday sun, monochrome seemed to better express the abnormally stunning landscape.

On the X100F I used my Acros and Acros Push-Process film simulations, except that I had the dynamic range set to DR400. I often chose Acros+R to simulate the use of a red filter (making the blue sky darker), although the results are closer to what one would get with an orange filter in real black-and-white film photography and not a red filter. On the X-A3 I primarily used the B&W+R film simulation with the highlights and shadows set to +2, which seems to give the right amount of contrast in most situations.

All of the photographs in this article are camera-made JPEGs. If I had relied on RAW and used Lightroom or some other software on my computer, I’d probably still be editing the pictures. Instead, I saved a ton of time and relied on the camera’s great JPEG processor. I’m happy with the results. I didn’t capture any portfolio worthy pictures, but all things considered, I managed at least a few decent photographs that I’m proud to show here. I just hope for the opportunity to return and photograph Arches National Park in better light.

If you ever have the chance to go, I highly recommend this place. It’s so unusual, filled with seemingly impossible formations and brilliant colors. It’s a landscape photographer’s playground. Or just a great place to wander in the wonder of nature. I enjoyed my short visit to Arches National Park, and I cannot wait to return, hopefully sooner than later.

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Park Avenue – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Queen Nefertiti – Arches NP, UT – Fuji X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Beanpole – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Mt. Peale In The Distance – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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La Sal Range – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Monochrome Rocks – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Gossip – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Balanced Rock – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Balance – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Graboid – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Monument – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Window Arch & La Sal – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Bird Flew – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Monochrome Arch – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rock Window – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Mt Peale – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Tree In Rocky Terrain – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Window Arch In Monochrome – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Cairn & Arch – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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The Desert Is Unforgiving – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Three Stone Peaks – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Monochrome Layers – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Over The Desert Ridge – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Hidden Human Head – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

Travel: Arches National Park – Part 1: Color

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North Windows Arch – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

I moved from California to Utah almost two years ago. One reason that my wife and I chose Utah was its proximity to many great National Parks. So far we’ve made it to a few, but not nearly as many as I would like. Last week the opportunity came to take my family to Moab, Utah, to see Arches National Park, and so we went.

When I was a kid my family visited Arches National Park, but it had been nearly three decades since I was last there. In fact, I was near the age of my two oldest children. Even though it had been a long time, the park seemed familiar, and I was constantly saying, “Oh, I remember this!” It was really good to return, and to share the experience with my family.

The weather was quite pleasant. It was sunny with blue skies. The temperature was little cool but not cold, far from scorching hot like it gets in the summer and not freezing cold like it was that same day at my house near Salt Lake City. We were there midday, so the lighting was about as awful for photography as one could find. The shadows were deep and the light-colored rocks were reflecting the brilliant sunlight. Trying to balance the exposures was a tricky task, because it was easy to have blocked-up shadows or blown highlights or both.

Arches National Park is simply amazing! The odd red rock formations seem like something from another planet. The place looks fragile and even sometimes impossible. It’s a grand landscape in a harsh and barren desert. It’s worth seeing, if you ever find yourself in southern Utah. If you do go, make sure you download onto your phone the GyPSy automated tour guide app. It’s the best few dollars I’ve spent on an app ever.

I brought along a Fujifilm X100F, which is the camera I most enjoy using, and a Fujifilm X-A3 with a Jupiter 21M lens attached, which is my telephoto option. I used DR400 on both cameras because of the harsh light conditions. I used Velvia, PRO Neg. HiClassic Chrome and Eterna film simulations for these images. All of these pictures are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs.

I don’t believe that I captured any great color images at Arches National Park, but I do think I got a few decent exposures. It just wasn’t a good lighting, and photography is about light perhaps more than anything else. I do hope to return sometime in the near future, and maybe I’ll be able to photograph the place under better conditions.

It’s very difficult to capture anything remotely unique when visiting a heavily photographed location. Thousands of pictures are made inside Arches National Park every day. I always attempt at unique, knowing full well that I will probably fail. Are these pictures art? Maybe a couple of them. Mostly they’re snapshots, simple memory aids for my family. I hope you appreciate what I captured and that you enjoy these pictures.

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Close Knit Rock Family – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Cliff Dwelling – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Outdoor Kids – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Birds Allowed – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Green Tree, Red Rock – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Down The Steps – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Under The Arch – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Kids In The Window – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Looking Through Windows Arch – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Turret Arch – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Trail To Turret Arch – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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South Window Arch – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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A Harsh Dry Land – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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The Red Desert – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Reaching – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Hot & Cold – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Delicate Arch – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

Part 2: Arches National Park in Monochrome

Fujifilm X100F Ease of Use

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Love As Deep As The Canyon – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

It was a beautiful moment. The sun was preparing to set on what had been an adventure-filled day. The sight was breathtaking. My wife and I were enjoying the grandeur, breathing in the occasion, and appreciating the company. This slice of time was special, set apart from the rest, worthy of a lifetime remembrance.

I quickly set my Fujifilm X100F to be in auto-mode and handed it to my ten-year-old daughter, Joy, and I asked her to take a picture of us. The camera is small and lightweight and easy for a kid to handle. It’s perfect to hand over and get a decent picture from a non-photographer. My daughter captured Love As Deep As The Canyon at the top of this article, and it’s a cherished picture, one of my favorites from the trip.

My daughter has had a knack for making interesting photographs ever since she was a toddler. I’m not sure if it’s just her perspective (being little), her childhood creativity, or just the free spirit of not knowing the rules (or something else or a combination of things). I’m happy to let her use my camera occasionally, and watch her capture images that I couldn’t.

Sometimes strangers will offer to snap a group family picture for us. I’ll often say yes, and I’ll let them snap a photo with my camera. I’ve yet to have someone run away with my gear or break it, although I’m always a little concerned that might happen. The results are rarely anything good, but at least we have a visual record that we were all there together.

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Roesch Family At Mesa Arch – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F – captured by a stranger

What makes it possible is the X100F’s ease of use. In a matter of seconds I can have the camera set to auto, and then let the person, whether my kids, wife or a stranger, snap a picture. I just show them which button to press to make the exposure. Every once in awhile I get lucky and the picture is good (like the one my daughter captured). Most of the time the picture is very mediocre at best, but I’m not asking a stranger to create art with my camera, only to document a fraction of a second of time and space. And it seems like anyone can do that, because all it entails is holding the camera and pushing a button.

I don’t use the X100F in full auto myself. I like to control many different things, such as aperture, shutter, etc., etc., because I am trying to create art, or at least something other than a thoughtless snapshot. I like the layout of the controls, the retro-styled knobs and such, that allow me to make quick changes without jumping through menus. But another great aspect is the ease of use. When handing the camera to a novice, as long as I set it up well for them (take it out of manual), I can tell them to “push that button” and the camera will capture a correctly exposed, correctly focused image. Even in a tough situation with harsh lighting.

The picture above, Roesch Family At Mesa Arch, is a snapshot by a stranger who volunteered to take our picture. It’s not a great image, especially since we were looking directly into the low sun and have squinting eyes. But it’s a rare photograph with the whole family, because I’m usually not in the pictures (since I’m the one that’s capturing them), or if I am in the picture my wife isn’t (because she captured it). There aren’t a whole lot of pictures that feature all six of us, so this one is precious to us even though it’s not great.

A thoughtless snapshot by a novice will never be great. I could never expect something worthy of hanging on the wall from a stranger. I’m quite happy with what I did get, a so-so picture with all of us in it, and it’s thanks to the easy of use of the X100F. My daughter, on the other hand, did manage to capture something worthy of printing and hanging on the wall, and that, no doubt, is a true treasure.

The Noise Reduction High-ISO Curve

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Snowfall – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M with 2x teleconverter

The noise reduction that Fujifilm applies to their JPEGs increases in strength as the ISO increases. The idea is to get pleasing results at ridiculously high ISOs. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, and I think it is true of all camera brands. I call it the noise reduction high-ISO curve.

Even if you set Noise Reduction to the lowest setting (-4 on my X100F and -2 on my X-A3), the camera is still applying some noise reduction. There’s no way to turn it completely off. I believe even in RAW there is a small amount of noise reduction that’s automatically being applied. As ISO increases, the noise reduction is applied more aggressively.

Digital noise is the modern equivalent of film grain, except that film grain is aesthetically far superior to noise. Fujifilm has programmed their cameras in such a way that the digital noise looks less digital and more analog-esque, and so it is more visually pleasant than what you find with other camera brands. Still, you don’t see very many people purposefully including noise in their photographs because they like the look of it (which you might see with film grain). Instead, most people try to eliminate it as much as practical.

The problem with noise reduction, whether on the camera or via software on a computer, is that it softens the image as a whole. You lose a little crispness. Applying noise reduction becomes a balancing act. Too much noise reduction and the image will look clean but soft, too little and it will look very noisy but crisp.

I don’t mind some digital noise, especially if it’s from a Fujifilm camera because it looks a little more like film grain. I tend to lean more towards sharpness over cleanness. I’ll put up with more digital noise in a black-and-white image than a color image. For monochrome, I typically don’t mind going a stop higher in ISO.

The issue is that pesky noise reduction, which becomes stronger at higher ISOs, and it makes images softer, sometimes too soft. But I’ve found a simple workaround. The picture at the top, Snowfall, was purposefully underexposed by two-stops. I did this so that I could keep the ISO down to where noise reduction isn’t applied so heavily (in this case, ISO 3200). I used the camera’s built-in RAW editor to increase the exposure by two stops, and the results were superior to using the correct ISO (it would have been ISO 12800, which doesn’t look very good on the X-A3).

This isn’t a new idea. I used to do this same technique occasionally on my X-E1. Even on the X100F, it’s better to use ISO 6400 and underexpose one stop, converting the RAW file in-camera and increasing the exposure, than to use ISO 12800 and expose correctly. The difference isn’t dramatic, but there is a difference, as one image will be slightly softer than the other.

Understanding the noise reduction high-ISO curve allows you to make decisions to better achieve desired results when pushing the ISO envelope. It might be better to underexpose and then correct the exposure when converting the RAW file in-camera than to rely on the JPEG with the correct exposure. Perhaps you prefer the way the camera handles noise reduction. It’s all situation specific, and everyone has different tastes. Just know that you have options for handling noise reduction at high-ISO, including underexposure, so as to benefit from a less aggressive noise reduction algorithm.

Photoessay: Peoria, Arizona, In Color

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Date Palm – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

I traveled to Arizona twice a couple of months ago (late December and early January), and I just now finished clearing out the notebook from that trip. Even though I’ve posted several articles about that trip, these photographs were somehow overlooked.

Peoria, Arizona, is a large suburb of Phoenix. For many years it was a small and dusty town that was a little ways outside the city, but urban growth swallowed it up a long time ago. There are a few pockets here and there within Peoria that still resemble a small desert town, but mostly it looks and feels like a large city.

I didn’t spend all that much time in Peoria, but I did manage to capture quite a few pictures there. I used my Fujifilm X100F for these photographs. They’re a mix of Velvia, Classic Chrome and Pro Neg. Hi film simulations. They’re camera-made JPEGs, although I used X RAW Studio for a few. Enjoy!

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Cactus Fruit – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Reaching Cacti – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Desert Fruit – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Yellow Statue – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Bar Chair – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Fake Flowers – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Chicken Fly – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Classic Remnants – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Worn Tire – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X100F