Photoessay: An Arizona Spring in Color

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Colorful Cactus Blooms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

When most people think of Arizona, they picture dry dusty deserts and sprawling cities. It’s hot. It’s brown. It’s inhospitable. There are endless rows of look-alike stucco homes. Many people might be unaware that the desert bursts with color in the spring. Arizona isn’t just brown, there are vibrant greens, blues, reds, yellows, purples and other colors, especially in the spring, which is my favorite season in the state.

Arizona isn’t all desert, either. While it may be best known for the Grand Canyon, you might be surprised to learn that the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world is in Arizona. There are tall mountains and even winter skiing. The state is full of surprises. It’s one reason why I love Arizona and appreciate visiting whenever I can.

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Yellow Palo Verde – Black Canyon, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

I used to live in Arizona. Back when I was barely an adult, the Air Force sent me to live in Arizona. I met my wife there. My first two kids were born there. I have a deep fondness for the state. I would love to live there again someday. It’s a wonderful place for photography. I highly recommend grabbing a subscription to Arizona Highways magazine to see many wonderful pictures of the state. A fact that you might be surprised to learn is that Ansel Adams was frequently published in that magazine back in the day. Many great photographers were, and still are.

The photographs in this article were captured a few weeks ago. I used my Fujifilm X-T30 camera with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens and a Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens, which are both excellent examples of Fujifilm’s great glass that they’ve become renown for. I hope that you enjoy this variety of photographs that demonstrate there’s more color in Arizona than one might initially think.

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Pine In The Sky – Flagstaff, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Green Leaves – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Agave Green – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Cactus & Blue Sky – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Palo Verde In The Windy Blue – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Palm – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Vultures In A Tree – Wickenburg, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Wildflowers & Stone – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Impatient? Stop & Smell – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Yellow Rose of Arizona – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Little Bloom Design – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Yellow Blossom Flowers – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Splash of Red Among Green – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Bougainvillea Bloom – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Bloom In The Rocks – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Blooming Cactus Landscape – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Red Prickly Pears – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Beginning To Blossom Red – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Desert Landscape – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Spring Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Yucca Bloom – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Cactus Blooming Red – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Red Ball Fruit – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Barrel Cactus – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Cactiscape – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Prickled – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Pops of Yellow – Black Canyon, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Yellow Desert – Black Canyon, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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One Barrel Cactus Bloom – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Red Spiky Blooms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Red & Purple Desert Blossoms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Street & Urban Photography – Downtown Boise, ID, with a Fujifilm X-T30

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Bicycles Exempt – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

I found myself last week in Boise, Idaho. I’d passed through Boise a couple of times before, staying overnight in a hotel traveling between Salt Lake City and Seattle. I’d seen very little of the city. This visit to Boise included a little longer stay and a chance to actually see the place, at least a little.

One thing I discovered is that downtown Boise is a very nice place! I had no idea. It’s colorful, clean and lively. It’s not as large as Salt Lake City’s downtown, which is no surprise as Boise is a smaller city, yet it feels large enough. There are interesting structures, green spaces, restaurants and local stores. It has plenty of character. It feels a little like a miniature Portland, minus some of the weirdness. It’s probably safer than Portland, too. This is to say that downtown Boise is much more interesting than I expected, and it was a pleasant visit.

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Principal Property Pinnacle – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Unfortunately, I only had the opportunity to walk around a few blocks. I wanted to explore more, but I just didn’t have the time. Downtown Boise seems like a place where one could come to over and over for street and urban photographs. There seems to be plenty of photographic opportunities. Who would have thought? Not me. Even though it was a short visit, I’m glad that I discovered this unexpected gem. I hope to return soon for more photography.

I used a Fujifilm X-T30 and Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens for these photographs. Some people might say that the 50mm-equivalent focal length of the 35mm lens is not good for this type of photography, that a wide-angle lens is a much better choice. While I do like wide-angle lenses for street photography, the nifty-fifty can still be used effectively. Use what you have to the best of your abilities and you’ll be surprised at what you create.

B&W:

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We Recycle – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Steunenburg Statue – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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The Hart of Downtown – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Divergent Textures – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Aloft Windows – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Color:

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Hidden Dome – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Capital Dome – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Colorful Alley – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Alley Trash – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Strolling Alone – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Boise Idaho – Boise, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

My Fujifilm X-T30 Ilford HP5 Plus 400 Push-Process Film Simulation Recipe

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It’s better to be lucky than good.

This film simulation recipe was a mistake. I discovered it when I accidentally chose ISO 51200 instead of Auto-3 ISO. In my hurry, I scrolled down one too far, which took me from the bottom to the top, and I didn’t notice that I had inadvertently selected the highest possible ISO. I wouldn’t normally, or really ever, use ISO 51200. Even on most full-frame cameras, that high of an ISO is pushing the capabilities of the camera. It’s beyond what most would ever think of using on an APS-C camera. I’ve often wondered why Fujifilm even made it an option. Yet on Memorial Day I made a few exposures with it, not even realizing it.

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Memorials – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – ISO 51200

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Little Flags – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – ISO 51200

When I reviewed the images that I had captured, I was reminded of some photographs I made four years ago when I pushed a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400 film by one stop. Push-processing is a technique where you underexpose film and increase the development time to make up for it. You are essentially increasing the exposure in the lab using chemicals. The result is a higher-contrast image with more pronounced grain. Sometimes you would do this because the ISO of the film wasn’t high enough to make a good exposure, and sometimes you’d do this just for the aesthetics of it. Different films respond differently to push-processing, and different films have different tolerances to how much they can be pushed. While HP5 Plus is a good film, it’s not typically considered one of the best for push-processing, but the results can still be good, especially if you don’t push it too much.

Here are some push-processed Ilford HP5 Plus 400 pictures that I captured several years back:

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Whiskey Pete’s – Primm, NV – FED 5c – Ilford HP5 Plus 400 Pushed 1 Stop

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Grand View – Las Vegas, NV – FED 5c – Ilford HP5 Plus 400 Pushed 1 Stop

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I-15 Travelers – Las Vegas, NV – Ilford HP5 Plus 400 Pushed 1 Stop

After seeing the ISO 51200 results from my Fujifilm X-T30, I decided to make some more ultra-high ISO black-and-white pictures. What I discovered is that for contrasty and grainy B&W pictures, ISO 51200 on the X-T30 is not only usable, but it can produce film-like results that are similar to push-processed Ilford HP5 Plus 400 film. A negative aspect of ISO 51200 is that it can sometimes produce “smudgy” results, especially in grass. It doesn’t always do that, but it sometimes does, so I would say that this maximum ISO should be used with care. Taking the ISO down one stop to 25600 seems to remedy this, and delivers similar results to the higher ISO images. ISO 12800 is almost not grainy or contrasty enough, but it’s very close and is also usable for this recipe should you need to drop the ISO.

You might notice that this recipe is quite similar to my Tri-X Push Process recipe, mostly just a higher ISO and added grain. I like that recipe a lot and I think it also delivers analog-like results. Even though it’s based on the same film, there are several differences between this recipe and my original Ilford HP5 Plus recipe. This one is much less “clean” and is fun to pair with vintage lenses. Also, this recipe can be used on X-Trans III cameras, except (obviously) you ignore Color Chrome Effect. I tried it on an X-T20 and it looked good, even at ISO 51200 (see the very top picture in this article).

Acros (Acros+Y, Acros+R, Acros+G)
Dynamic Range: N/A
Highlight: +3
Shadow: +4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: -2
Grain Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Toning: 0 (off)
ISO: 25600 or 51200
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using my Ilford HP5 Plus 400 Push-Process Film Simulation recipe:

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Home Builder – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Crop from the above ISO 51200 image.

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Exchanging Money – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Crop from the above ISO 51200 image.

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Can Money Buy Happiness? – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Girl Playing A Game – South Weber, Utah

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Chance Taker – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Thinker – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Birds In The Kitchen – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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River Tree – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Riverbank – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Grey Flowers – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Hiding Grey Flowers – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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White Bloom – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Dark Cloud Over The Dark Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Bulldog – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Oil Change – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: My Film Simulation Recipes

Weekly Photo Project, Week 41

Another week of pictures complete! There were a few days where I only made a couple of exposures. As summer approaches, it seems that my schedule has become more full, and squeezing in photography has become more difficult. Thankfully, the hill behind the house has given me a good show, transforming from a snow-capped winter mountain to a grand green grade, sometimes with dramatic clouds. Still, my attempt on Thursday was less than stellar, and I only captured a couple of uninspiring images. Coming down the home stretch of this project, I need to focus my energy on ensuring that I’m actually making a good picture each day, and not lazy attempts just to have something to show.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

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Yellow Palo Verde – Black Canyon, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm – 1/950, f/10, ISO 320

Monday, May 13, 2019

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Colorful Grand Staircase – Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm – 1/2000, f/7.1, ISO 320

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

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Winter Gives Way To Spring – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm – 1/4700, f/6.4, ISO 320

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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Shadow of Winter, Light of Spring – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm – 1/900, f/8 ISO 320

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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Overcast Spring Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm – 1/900, f/8. ISO 320

Friday, May 17, 2019

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Fresh Snow On The Green Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 50-230mm @80mm – 1/1700, f/8, ISO 320

Saturday, May 18, 2019

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Apple Blooms to Apple Blooms – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm – 1/950, f/7.1, ISO 320

Week 40  Week 42

Travel: Sedona, Arizona, in Color

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Warm Rock & Blue Sky – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

A couple of weeks ago I passed through Sedona, which is an incredibly beautiful town in northern Arizona. Sedona is surrounded by amazing red rock formations. The place feels like it should be a national park, but it isn’t. It’s a tourist town, and people come to see the rocks. It’s the subject of many photographers’ attention. You’ve likely seen pictures of Sedona in magazines and calendars. I had the chance to stop in Sedona in the early afternoon for lunch while travelling between Phoenix and Flagstaff. I didn’t stay for nearly long enough, only to eat and capture a handful of pictures. Sedona is one of those places you want to see over and over, and I wish that I lived closer to it so that I could photograph it more often.

Some would say that the middle of the day, when the sun is high in the sky, is a terrible time for landscape photography. The golden hour is when you should be out with your camera. While it’s true that around sunrise and sunset is a great time for photography, anytime can be a good time. Just because the sun is high, drenching the scene in harsh light, doesn’t mean that one can’t capture a decent picture. Today’s cameras, such as the Fujifilm X-T30 that I used for these photographs, have a great dynamic range latitude, and can handle the bright highlights and deep shadows surprisingly well. While it’s best to attempt to capture a subject in the best light possible, if that’s not practical you do the best you can with the light you have.

Something that I did have going for me were clouds. I prefer a partly-cloudy sky over an endless blue sky for landscape photography. Even an overcast sky can sometimes be more interesting than a cloudless one. Clouds add interest to the scene and can sometimes have a positive effect on the light.

I hope that you enjoy these color photographs of Sedona, Arizona!

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Dead Tree & Red Rock – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Hint of Red on a Green Hill – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Green Shadow & Highlights – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Illuminated Rock – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Red Rock Behind The Treetops – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Red Rocks of Sedona – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Red Rock Formations – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Clouds Behind Red Rocks – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Light Red & Dark Green – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

New: Fujifilm GFX100

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Fujifilm just officially announced the highly anticipated 100-megapixel medium-format GFX100. This camera is most certainly a beast designed for professional photographers who need a beast camera. It has it all, including ridiculous resolution that’s far beyond what the majority of people need. It’s an all-around amazing camera, as it should be for the $10,000 price tag. While that price might seem high, it’s actually not when you consider that a 100-megapixel Hasselblad costs nearly 50 thousand dollars and a 100-megapixel Phase One costs around 30 thousand. The Fujifilm GFX100 undercuts those by a significant amount, an understatement if there ever was one. Heck, I remember when the 40-megapixel Pentax 645D was introduced, and it was celebrated as the cheapest medium-format digital camera ever made, with an MSRP of “only” $10,000. While the GFX100 is by far the most expensive camera in Fujifilm’s lineup, it’s actually quite a bargain for those who can afford it.

This new camera is clearly intended for a small number of photographers. For the vast majority of people, the GFX100 is extreme overkill. There are people that do need this tool, and those people know who they are. Fujifilm hopes to entice them to buy into their system. My guess is that Fujifilm won’t make much, if any, money from this camera, but they’re hoping to sell some lenses, which is where the real profit margin is. The question is whether or not this camera is worth the extra price over the GFX50R or GFX50S, which can be had for much less and are nearly as good. I personally would love to have any one of them, but they’re well outside of my budget.

Something interesting that I wanted to share (that’s remotely relating to all this) is this last weekend I saw some beautiful large prints of amazing landscapes, such as the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier. Many of these prints were 2′ x 3′, some were a little larger. They looked great! When I stepped close to examine the pictures, say within 18″ of the prints, they were noticeably soft. From three feet away they looked amazing. Most people wouldn’t take the close look that I did and they’d never notice the softness. I have no idea what gear was used to capture those pictures. What I do know is that images captured from cameras like the Fujifilm X-T30 wouldn’t even be soft at those print sizes, unless I used a lesser lens or poor techniques. It makes me wonder how many people really need 50-megapixels of resolution, let alone 100-megapixels. Surely there are some who make wall-sized prints that will be viewed closely and they need a camera like the GFX100, but by far most do not. Most photographers would get pretty much the same exact results from the Fujifilm X-H1, since they’ll never print large enough to take advantage of the extremely high resolution sensor. Still, different people have different wants and needs, and this camera will fulfill that nicely for that small group. If you are one of those in that group, June 27th, which is when the GFX100 will be released, will be a great day for you.

Pre-order the Fujifilm GFX100 from Amazon here.

Current Fujifilm Deals

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I’ve searched Amazon, and the X-T20 is the current best bargain for Fujifilm X cameras. It can be had for as little as $700, which is an incredible deal for what is an excellent camera! Currently the best discounts are with Fujinon lenses and the GFX system. If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a new lens, now might be a good time. If you have a bunch of spare money sitting around, you could get started with the GFX system for only five grand, which is an incredibly low price for digital medium format photography.

Fujifilm X Cameras:

Fujifilm X-T3 (Body Only) $1,400
Fujifilm X-T3 w/18-55mm lens $1,700
Fujifilm X-T20 (Body Only) $700
Fujifilm X-T20 w/16-50mm lens $800
Fujifilm X-T20 w/18-55mm lens $1,000
Fujifilm X-T100 w/15-45mm lens $500
Fujifilm X-Pro2 (Body Only) $1,500
Fujifilm X-H1 (Body Only) w/power grip $1,300
Fujifilm X100F $1,200
Fujifilm XF10 $450

Fujifilm X Lenses:

Fujinon 8-16mm f/2.8 $1,900
Fujinon 10-24mm f/4 $900
Fujifilm 14mm f/2.8 $650
Fujinon 16mm f/1.4 $900
Fujinon 16-55mm f/2.8 $1,100
Fujinon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 $800
Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 $650
Fujinon 23mm f/2 $400
Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 $400
Fujinon 50mm f/2 $345
Fujinon 50-140mm f/2.8 $1,500
Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 $500
Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 $900
Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 $400
Fujinon 80mm f/2.8 $950
Fujinon 90mm f/2 $850
Fujinon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 $1,700

Fujifilm GFX Cameras:

Fujifilm GFX 50R (Body Only) $4,000
Fujifilm GFX 50R w/63mm lens $5,000
Fujifilm GFX 50R w/45mm lens $5,200
Fujifilm GFX 50R w/32-64mm lens $5,800

Fujifilm GFX Lenses:

Fujinon GFX 23mm f/4 $2,100
Fujinon GFX 32-64mm f/4 $1,800
Fujinon GFX 45mm f/2.8 $1,200
Fujinon GFX 63mm f/2.8 $1,000
Fujinon GFX 100-200mm f/5.6 $1,500
Fujinon GFX 110mm f/2 $2,300
Fujinon GFX 120mm f/4 $2,200
Fujinon GFX 250mm f/4 $2,800

As always, nobody pays me to write the articles that you find on Fuji X Weekly, so using my affiliate links is pretty much the only way to financially support this website. I would never ask you to buy something that you didn’t want, but if you were already planning to purchase something, it’s greatly appreciated if you did so using my links. It definitely helps. I want to give a special thank you to those who have done this already. You have made several improvements to the Fuji X Weekly experience a reality, and more improvements are in the works. Thank you!

Weekly Photo Project, Week 40

This week included a lot of travel. Early in the week saw a short trek to Wyoming followed by a much longer drive to Arizona. Some days were more photographically prolific than others, with Monday and Friday as the most productive. This week features all color photographs. I hope that you enjoy!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

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Red Shed, Green Tree – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/2200, f/8, ISO 640

Monday, May 6, 2019

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UP 4014 & UP 844 Racing West – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm f/2 – 1/950, f/10, ISO 400

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

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God Knows If You’re Prepared – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm f/2 – 1/5000, f/4.5, ISO 320

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

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Palm – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm f/2 – 1/1700, f/8, ISO 320

Thursday, May 9, 2019

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Closed Umbrella – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/2400, f/5, ISO 320

Friday, May 10, 2019

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Colorful Cactus Blooms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/450, f/10, ISO 320

Saturday, May 11, 2019

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Neon Pink – Glendale, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/200, f/5, ISO 1250

Week 39  Week 41

 

Chasing Steam: U.P. “Big Boy” #4014 & U.P. #844 in Wyoming, Part 2 – Evanston

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Big Boy – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

Part 1: Richardson Draw

After leaving Richardson Draw, we followed the line of cars to Evanston, Wyoming, to watch the big steam locomotives chug into town. This is where the Union Pacific “Big Boy” #4014 and U.P. #844 were going to park for the rest of the day. I had a couple of ideas where a good spot to watch and photograph the action might be, but ended up going with the crowd to the Walmart parking lot, which turned out to be a decent enough location. There was a large group already gathered when we arrived.

It didn’t take long for the steam train to appear and gradually crawl closer. It was moving much slower this time. The train soon came to a stop and the crew climbed down out of the locomotive cab. There were conversations among the railroad employees. Some of them began to move some large rocks out of a rock pile that was next to the tracks near the front of the Big Boy. Apparently, because the #4014 is so large and swings so wide on curves, they didn’t think it would clear the rocks. We watched a little while, then headed for some breakfast, as it was now late-morning and we had not eaten.

After breakfast, we found the train parked just a little ways down from the rock pile. This is where the railroad would park it overnight. A group of spectators were gathered around the train snapping pictures and taking in the sight. My kids enjoyed seeing the steam locomotives up close. They could feel the heat and see steam escaping from different places on the engines. There were members of the steam crew busily working, doing all sorts of different jobs. I imagine that it takes much effort to maintain a large steam engine. There’s a lot more to do than just park it and extinguish the fire. I was fascinated by this aspect of the operation and focused my photographic attention towards that. My favorite pictures are those of the crew doing their different jobs. I would love to spend more time and energy capturing those types of images. Soon it was time to drive home, and our Big Boy adventure came to a close.

I used a Fujifilm X-T20 (my wife’s, actually) with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens and a Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens to capture these pictures. It was a good call to avoid changing lenses as there was a lot of dust, especially at Richardson Draw. I’m pretty happy with the photographs that I captured. I felt like I did the best that I could with what I had. If there was more time available to me, perhaps I could have found the train in better light and in a more interesting location. Still, I think I managed to create at least a few interesting pictures that are different from those captured by others. I feel like my images tell a story. That was the point: to have a story to tell about this historic event. Not only do I have that story in pictures, but my kids have it in their minds, and they will carry it with them for many years to come.

Steam Crew (Color)

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Climbing Down From The Cab – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Discussing The Big Issue – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Three Railroaders & A Big Boy – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Discourse – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Moving Rocks – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Steam Maintainers – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Oil Containers – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Carrying Hoses – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Hose Work – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Tender Latch – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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It Takes Two – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Teamwork – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Greasework – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

Steam Crew (B&W)

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Thirsty – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Engineer Reaching – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Water Test – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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The Engineer – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Steam Conductor – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Shop Talk – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Climbing Aboard – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

Evanston Steam (Color)

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Safety First – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Big Boy X4014 – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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U.P. 844 Bucket – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

Evanston Steam (B&W)

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Union Pacific X4014 – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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844 Bell – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Steam Above Steel – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Big Boy Wheels – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Big Circles – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Steampunk – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Dripping Hot Water – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Big Steam Machine – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

Onlookers

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Waiting For The Steam Train – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Viewing The Giant – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

Chasing Steam: U.P. “Big Boy” #4014 & U.P. #844 in Wyoming, Part 1 – Richardson Draw

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Union Pacific 4014 & 844 – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

The sun had not yet risen when we left the house in the early morning hours of May 6, 2019. My family and I were on our way to witness a bit of history: the newly restored Union Pacific “Big Boy” steam locomotive #4014 on its way from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Ogden, Utah, for the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. This was a big deal because the restoration of the Big Boy, which was the largest steam locomotive ever built, had just finished a couple of days before. The locomotive had not run in 60 years! Up until five years ago it sat in a museum for decades in Los Angeles. Now it was finally operational and, along with the steam-powered Union Pacific #844, on the move westward. It had departed well before sunrise, and if we were going to witness the massive locomotive in action, we too had to depart before sunrise.

This was not going to be our first time witnessing the #4014 or the #844. My son, Jon, and I saw the Big Boy in Barstow, California, when they were moving it east for restoration. My whole family, minus the youngest who was not born yet, saw the #844 in Ogden when it was brought out for an excursion a couple of years ago. This was going to be our first time to witness both of these locomotives together, and also our first time to observe the #4014 under its own steam power. We were pretty excited for this adventure!

I did some research prior to the trip and had a good plan regarding where to catch the train in rural Wyoming. I noticed a place east of Evanston right off of I-80 where the tracks cross under the freeway, and a dirt road follows the rails for a little while. I figured this to be our best bet to set up and wait. This location, which is in the middle of nowhere, is called Richardson Draw. Despite its rural location, Richardson Draw had already drawn a large crowd when we arrived. In addition to all the cars, trucks and RVs, we spotted two buses. I picked what I felt would be the best spot at Richardson Draw to capture pictures and we waited for the train to arrive.

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American Steam & Steel – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

When attempting to capture a well-photographed subject, the struggle is to make something that’s different from all of the other thousands of pictures of it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a person, place, thing or idea, if it has been heavily photographed, capturing something unique is a difficult task, yet that is exactly the task at hand. For this location, I decided find something interesting in the scene to set my pictures apart from all the other similar images. I noticed a small pond that had a tiny amount of water in it, which would reflect the train, and decided to use that element in my pictures. I also decided to begin documenting the large number of photographers and train enthusiasts who were there to see the steam locomotives.

Train watching requires patience. We waited and waited. A freight train passed by. We waited and waited more. The crowd continued to grow larger and larger. A couple of nearby people were listening to radio scanners and informed us that the train had been delayed. Finally, more than an hour after I expected it to arrive, the #4014 and #844 came quickly chugged along. First I saw the smoke in the distance. Pretty soon the Big Boy locomotive appeared. Click, click, click. I captured a bunch of frames, and, just as quickly as the commotion of the train came, it went. We waited awhile for what was a very short event. As soon as the train disappeared, we jumped into the car and began heading to the next location, along with a large group of other vehicles. The kids were particularly excited that they had just seen two big steam locomotives in action, and they hoped for a chance to see them again.

Richardson Draw Steam (Color):

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UP 4014 & UP 844 Racing West – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Two Union Pacific Steam Locomotives – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Yellow Car Reflection – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Idaho – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

Richardson Draw Steam (B&W):

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Chugging Up The Grade – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Westbound Big Boy 4014 – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Full Steam Ahead – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

Richardson Draw Freight (Color)

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Three Flags Waving – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Eastbound Freight – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Helper Reflection – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Orange Autorack – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

Richardson Draw Freight (B&W)

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Eastbound Engines – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Tanks Among Hoppers – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Covered Hoppers – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

Richardson Draw Onlookers (Color)

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Crowd On A Hill – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & 50-230mm

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Waiting Ford – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Onward Chase – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

Richardson Draw Onlookers (B&W)

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Beginning To Gather – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Rear View Ford – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

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Goodyear – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20 & 35mm

Part 2: Evanston