Creative Collective 040: FXW Zine — Issue 15 — February 2023

Here is the 15th issue of FXW Zine! If you are a Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective subscriber, you can download it today!

In the February issue, we take a look at 10 different Film Simulation Recipes for use on dreary, overcast days. If you aren’t sure which recipe to use when the sky is grey, this issue is intended to be helpful. Also, my wife, Amanda, contributed six pictures to this publication, including the cover image.

If you haven’t joined the Creative Collective, consider subscribing today to get access to bonus articles and the FXW Zine—not just this issue, but the first thirteen issues, too!

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Creative Collective 039: Modifying Film Simulation Recipes to Suit Your Personal Style

Above-Left: Kodak Portra 400 v2 recipe — Above-right: same recipe, but slightly modified.

Film Simulation Recipes are one way to replicate the look and feel of traditional film on your Fujifilm camera. You can do something like this by editing RAW files and applying Alien Akin, VSCO, RNI, etc., presets during post-processing; however, using recipes cuts out this step, saving you a lot of time and hassle. One-step photography (as discussed by Ansel Adams in his book about Polaroid photography, which he was fascinated with) is an easier approach. Some advantages of using recipes on Fujifilm cameras are simplicity (quickly and easily achieve a desired aesthetic with little or no editing), authenticity (film-like quality that doesn’t appear heavily manipulated), consistency (a single recipe over a series of pictures produces a cohesive visual style), and productivity (not editing pictures saves a lot of time). There are over 250 Film Simulation Recipes published on Fuji X Weekly, which are also available on the Fuji X Weekly App.

Even though there are a lot of recipes to choose from, you may not always find one that’s the perfect fit for your personal style, subject matter, or lighting condition. I’ve often said that it is fine to “season to taste” any recipe to make it work for you, because making it work for you is preferable to rigidly adhering to a recipe and being dissatisfied with the results (the notes section in the App underneath a recipe is an excellent place to keep track of your modifications). In this post, we will discuss some reasons why someone might choose to modify a Film Simulation Recipe to suit their personal style.

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Creative Collective 038: FXW Zine — Issue 14 — January 2023

It’s 2023! That means the 14th issue of FXW Zine is out now, and if you are a Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective subscriber, you can download today!

What’s in the January issue? My top 50 favorite photographs of 2022. There are 50 pictures, including the cover, across 32 pages.

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Creative Collective 037: Tilted Filter for Flare

I made a really interesting discovery: if you tilt a diffusion filter and spin it, you can control the lens flare and bloom. For example, in the pictures above, I twisted the tilted filter, and the flare and bloom around the street lamp go from sideways to diagonal. There are several creative applications of this!

Below, I’ll explain how I made this filter (it’s simple!), and what you can do with it.

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Creative Collective 036: Film Simulation Bracket, Part 2

Classic Chrome
Eterna
Astia

There’s a feature on Fujifilm cameras that I don’t utilize often enough: Film Simulation Bracket. This processes one exposure as three different images, each with a different film simulation applied. You cannot change any other parameters—only the film sim—so you cannot use three different Film Simulation Recipes, only one recipe, but with three film simulations. It would be great if Fujifilm made a Custom Preset Bracket where you could choose three C1-C7 presets to process the exposure with, but that unfortunately doesn’t exist. Another limitation worth noting is that on newer cameras, Film Simulation Bracket disables Clarity, which is a shame.

I already discussed Film Simulation Bracket in a previous Creative Collective article, so I’ll try to take a slightly different approach with this one, and not rehash everything that’s already been said. When is Film Simulation Bracket a useful tool? Read on to find out!

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Creative Collective 035: FXW Zine — Issue 13 — December 2022

The 13th issue of FXW Zine is out, and if you are a Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective subscriber, you can download it now!

What’s in the December issue? The cover story is about nighttime street and urban photography in Phoenix, Arizona, with a Fujifilm X100V. There are 29 pictures, including the cover, across 20 page.

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Creative Collective 034: Add Lens Flare by Reflecting

Vailed Bougainvillea – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 – “Classic Kodak Chrome

I love using vintage lenses because they often have character. Modern lenses are often technically perfect (or close to it), but they usually lack the character that is a hallmark of analog photography—perhaps the precision engineering makes them too good. The imperfections of old glass is what gives them their unique qualities. One of those qualities is sometimes interesting lens flare. Some people love lens flare and some people hate it—if you are one of those who loves it, I discovered a trick that you might appreciate. It is simple (yet can be tricky), and you probably already have what you need to do it.

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Creative Collective 033: FXW Zine — Issue 12 — November 2022

The 12th (yes, 12th!) issue of FXW Zine is out, and if you are a Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective subscriber, you can download it now!

What’s in the November issue? The cover story is about embracing blur! Have you noticed the recent blurry picture trend? In this issue we dive into the what, how, and why of it all. There are 22 pictures, including the cover, across 16 page.

If you haven’t joined the Creative Collective, consider subscribing today to get access to bonus articles and the FXW Zine—not just this issue, but the first eleven issues, too!

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Creative Collective 032: Understanding Light, Color & Mood

Horseplay – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Cinematic Negative

This Creative Collective article is a followup to Comparing 10 Recipes For Indoor Photography and Fujifilm X-T30 & X-T3 Film Simulation Recipe: Cinematic Negative. Specifically, I’m going to discuss light rendering in a practical sense, color casts, and mood; how all of that relates to Film Simulation Recipes and photography, and how you can use it to your advantage to better control your images, and the emotions that they convey to those viewing them.

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Creative Collective 031: Comparing 10 Recipes For Indoor Photography — Part 1

Sunlit Table Corner – Avondale, AZ – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Royal Gold 400”

You might have a favorite Film Simulation Recipe, but when the light changes you’re disappointed with the results. This is a pretty common problem, and not unique to Fujifilm or even a new issue to photography. This happens because many of my recipes are modeled after or are inspired by analog film, and this is a long-time film problem.

With a few rare exceptions, film is either daylight balanced (usually around 5500K) or tungsten balanced (typically 3200K)—one for use in daylight, and the other for use in artificial light. If you encountered light outside of the temperature that the film was intended to be shot in, you would either accept the results or use a color correction filter (described in this article) to fix the imbalance. Many Film Simulation Recipes have this same issue: they’re intended to be used in a specific light condition, and outside of that they might not produce the best results.

CocoLove – Jackson Hole, WY – Fujifilm X100V – “Serr’s 500T”

When shooting film, your best option is to use the correct film for the situation; with recipes, I think this is also the best solution. Sometimes this isn’t practical, and so you could use color correction filters (both with film and film simulations), although carrying around a bag full of filters isn’t an especially convenient option. With digital, you have an added solution: adjust the white balance, which is essentially the digital equivalent of using color correction filters. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on the first option, which is selecting a Film Simulation Recipe that does well in the light situation that you find yourself shooting in.

With over 250 Film Simulation Recipes on this website (and the Fuji X Weekly App), it can be hard to know which ones perform best in which light. In this article (and hopefully additional articles in the future), we’re going to compare how 10 recipes perform in various light conditions. It should be enlightening, and hopefully you’ll have a better understanding of when to use which recipes.

Same picture, different recipes

Before we jump into it, I think it’s important to briefly discuss Kelvin. The measurement of the temperature (warm or cold) of light is called Kelvin, and the scale is pretty large, ranging from 0 to 20000—the lower the number, the warmer the light, and the higher the number, the cooler the light. The typical temperature of a candle flame is 1900K. Artificial light (incandescent lights, halogen bulbs, fluorescent tubes, etc.) is usually between 2800K and 4300K, depending on the specific bulbs being used. “Golden Hour” light (sunrise and sunset) is around 3500K. Morning and afternoon sunlight (outside of golden hour) is typically between 4500K and 5000K, while midday sunlight is typically 5600K. Overcast sky often ranges from 6000K to 9000K, and shade can be 8000K to 10000K. Your camera’s white balance is designed to “balance” these temperatures so that white is white—a warm light will need a cool white balance, and a cool light will need a warm white balance.

With that prerequisite understanding, let’s take a look at how 10 different Film Simulation Recipes handle various Kelvin temperature light conditions.

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Creative Collective 030: FXW Zine — Issue 11 — October 2022

The 11th issue of FXW Zine is out, and if you are a Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective subscriber, you can download it now!

What’s in the October issue? The cover story is an ode to the Classic Chrome film simulation, perhaps the most beloved film simulation created by Fujifilm. There are 20 pictures, including the cover, across 16 page.

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Creative Collective 029: Cheap LoFi Pancake For Digital Lomo Photography

Fujifilm X-E4 with Xuan Focus Free 30mm F/10 Body Cap Lens

With film photography, there are more-or-less two groups: those who used rangefinders, SLRs, TLRs, etc., and those who used cheap point-and-shoots and disposable cameras. Generally speaking, pros and hobbyists used SLRs, while novices who didn’t have much interest in photography primary used point-and-shoots (my parents’ and grandparents’ photo albums are full of these pictures). Of course, there are always exceptions, such as the novice who insisted on using their SLR despite not understanding how it worked, or the artist who used cheap gear for artistic effect.

As you probably know, I like to create approximations of classic analog looks on Fujifilm cameras with Film Simulation Recipes. Much of the time, the facsimile aesthetic is based on film shot on SLRs, etc., but occasionally I like to replicate the look of cheaper gear, such as disposable cameras, Holga, pinhole, 126, light leaks, etc.. I do crazy things occasionally—like when I distressed a camera or when I used tiny lenses—so I’m not afraid to try something that’s a bit unconventional. In the case of this article, it’s the Xuan Focus Free 30mm f/10 Body Cap Lens.

Rain, Not Rhein – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 + Xuan 30mm – “Nostalgia Color

What is the Xuan Focus Free 30mm f/10 Body Cap Lens, you ask? Well, someone took a cheap third-party Fujifilm body cap, drilled a hole in it, and attached (via glue) a recycled 30mm f/10 lens from a Kodak Funsaver disposable camera. They’re selling them for $26 each. You can actually do this yourself without too much trouble, but for such a cheap price (and with free next-day delivery), it made sense to go the easy route.

The reason why it’s called a “focus free” lens is because it’s pre-focused, and you cannot adjust it (nor can the aperture be changed). I don’t think the distance from the lens to the sensor on my Fujifilm X-E4 is exactly the same as the lens to the film on a disposable camera, so the focus point is slightly different. Xuan claims that from roughly 5′ to infinity is in focus, but that’s not my experience. I believe the focus point is set to about 11′, and the depth-of-field is more like 6.5′ to 37′, and 8′ to 15′ seems to be the sharpest zone.

Bougainvillea Day – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 + Xuan 30mm – “Nostalgia Color”

If you want to shoot with a pancake lens on your Fujifilm X camera, your options are limited. You have options—some excellent options, in fact—but only a handful in total. The Xuan Focus Free 30mm F/10 Body Cap Lens is another pancake choice, but is it good? Is it even worth $26? I used this lens recently on my X-E4, attempting to capture beautiful LoFi pictures—more resembling those found in picture albums, and less like those printing in magazines and hanging on gallery walls. How was my experience? What do I think of the Xuan 30mm lens? Read on to find out!

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Xuan 30mm Amazon

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Creative Collective 028: How To Save 8 Custom Presets on Fujifilm Cameras (+ No Need To Adjust WB Shift)

Friendly Neighborhood Bougainvillea – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X70 – “Ektachrome 100SW”

For those with Fujifilm X-Trans cameras that are older than the X-Pro3, you cannot save a White Balance Shift within the C1-C7 Custom Presets. This means that you have to remember to adjust the WB Shift whenever you switch Custom Presets, which is inconvenient to say the least. However, I discovered a method (which I’ve shared before) that allows you to switch between your C1-C7 Custom Presets without having to adjust the WB Shift, and most of you can even have eight presets instead of seven!

Those with an X-Pro3 or newer model don’t have to worry about this, but for those with “older” cameras (X-Trans I, X-Trans II, and X-Trans III, plus the X-T3 & X-T30… Bayer models don’t have Custom Presets), this method can dramatically improve the shooting experience. In this article I will explain in a practical way how to do this on your X-Trans camera. This will be a “game-changer” for some of you!

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Creative Collective 025: FXW Zine — Issue 10 — September 2022

The 10th issue of FXW Zine is out, and if you are a Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective subscriber, you can download it now!

What’s in the September issue? It’s actually a very special edition, celebrating my first six years shooting Fujifilm cameras. There are 74 pictures, including the cover, across 48 pages—this is by far the biggest issue of FXW Zine yet!

If you haven’t joined the Creative Collective, consider subscribing today to get access to bonus articles and the FXW Zine—not just this issue, but the first nine issues, too!

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Creative Collective 026: Simple Hack for Dreamy Lens Flare

I like using vintage lenses because they often have character, and sometimes that character is pronounced in the lens flare. When light is scattered within the lens system, such as reflected between the elements, you get lens flare. Some people love it and some people don’t. Modern lenses are precision engineered and coated to avoid lens flare as much as possible. If you’re one of those who like it and try to incorporate it within your photography, you might be disappointed that newer glass just doesn’t produce very much lens flare; however, there’s a cheap and simple hack for increasing the flare in your photographs.

If you are using a lens that’s not especially prone to lens flare and you want a little more of it in your pictures, it’s very easy to do.

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Creative Collective 027: FXW Zine — Issue 09 — August 2022

The ninth issue of FXW Zine is out, and if you are a Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective subscriber, you can download it now!

What’s in the August issue? The cover story is a visit to the Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus in Mesa, Arizona, captured with my Fujifilm X-E4. There are a total of 24 photographs this month, including the cover image (above). I hope that you find it enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring!

If you haven’t joined the Creative Collective, consider subscribing today to get access to bonus articles and the FXW Zine—not just this issue, but the first eight issues, too!

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Creative Collective 024: Going Long

Fujifilm X-H1 + Fujinon 100-400mm @400mm + “Acros Push Process

I recently visited a vista in Arizona that overlooks The Valley of the Sun, which is the nickname given to the Phoenix metropolitan area (beginning back in the 1930’s); the official name is The Salt River Valley. I brought along my Fujifilm X-H1, plus my Fujinon 90mm f/2, Vivitar 135mm f/2.8, and Fujinon 100-400mm lenses. Programmed into the X-H1 was my Acros Push Process Film Simulation Recipe. I thought it would be interesting to use these longer lenses to capture the views of the vast valley, plus the desert bluff behind me—never forget to check behind you when photographing, because it can be easy to miss something great when you’re not focused on it.

When I was a kid, my friends and I often played “catch” with a football. Sometimes whoever the quarterback was would shout, “Go long!” You’d run as fast as you could for a good distance, turn around to see the ball wizzing through the air—maybe you’d catch it and it would be amazing, maybe you ran too far or not far enough and the ball hit the ground.

Let’s see what happens when you “go long” with your lenses.

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Creative Collective 023: Comparing Kodak Color Recipes

Great American Fish – Morro Bay, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 400 v2”

I thought it would be interesting to compare Kodak-inspired Film Simulation Recipes on my Fujifilm X-E4. So I pulled out my phone, opened the Fuji X Weekly App, and selected Filter by Sensor (choosing both X-Trans III & X-Trans IV) and Filter by Color. Then I used the Search feature to find all of the recipes with “Koda” in the name—I didn’t search for “Kodak” because Kodachrome would have been excluded. The App displayed 36 recipes. Some recipes, like Reggie’s Portra, Old Ektachrome, and Elite Chrome 200, didn’t show up because “Koda” isn’t found anywhere in the recipe title, despite the Kodak-inspired aesthetic, so I had to search those out separately. Then I reprocessed an exposure (captured in Morro Bay, California) on my X-E4 with all of these recipes.

Let’s take a look at how these 41 Kodak-inspired Film Simulation Recipes compare to each other!

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Creative Collective 022: FXW Zine — Issue 08 — July 2022

The eighth issue of FXW Zine is out, and if you are a Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective subscriber, you can download it now!

What’s in the July issue? The cover story is A Whale of a Tale, which is a photoessay of a recent whale-watching boat excursion, as captured with a Fujifilm X100V using the Kodak Tri-X 400 Film Simulation Recipe. There are a total of 28 photographs this month, including the cover image (above). I hope that you find it enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring!

If you haven’t joined the Creative Collective, consider subscribing today to get access to bonus articles and the FXW Zine—not just this issue, but the first seven issues, too!

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Creative Collective 026: Using Color for Dramatic Pictures

The Big Ocean Fort Stevens SP, ORFujifilm X-E4 – “Fujicolor Super HG

Want the subject in your picture to stand out? There are a few tricks: leading lines, composition, contrast, and color theory (an underutilized tool that seems to be used more often by accident than on purpose). Of course, the problem with color theory is that it can get complex and there are varying schools of thought. There are entire classes in college dedicated to this subject. I prefer simplicity, so we’ll take the easy route as we dive into color theory for photography.

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