Fujifilm X-M1 (X-Trans I) Film Simulation Recipe: Monochrome

Broken View – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1

Fujifilm introduced the world to the X-Trans sensor in January of 2012 with the announcement of the X-Pro1 camera. Later that same year the X-E1 became the second camera with this new sensor, and a year later the X-M1 became the third and final camera to have the original X-Trans sensor. Even before the X-M1 was released, Fujifilm had begun selling cameras with the X-Trans II sensor, so the original sensor was already old news by the time the camera was released. It seems that, more-or-less, Fujifilm had some spare X-Trans I sensors laying around, so they put them inside of the X-A1, a Bayer sensor camera, and renamed it X-M1. There never was an X-M2.

Even though only three cameras have an X-Trans I sensor, I’ve had many requests for film simulation recipes that are compatible with the X-Pro1, X-E1 and X-M1. I used to own an X-E1 (two, actually), but I mostly shot RAW with it and never developed any film simulation recipes for it. Some X-Trans II and Bayer recipes are technically compatible, but produce slightly different results. I purchased a cheap, gently used X-M1 to create some recipes with, and this is the very first one!

White Trees – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1

The X-M1 only has one black-and-white option. There’s no B+Y, B+R and B+G. There’s just standard B, which is the abbreviation for the Monochrome film simulation. I wanted to create a B&W recipe that produces dramatic results, but the JPEG options are limited on this camera compared to the newer models, so I had to get creative with the white balance to get the look that I wanted. This recipe is intended for X-Trans I cameras, but those with Bayer and X-Trans II cameras can use it, too, but the results will be slightly different.

Monochrome
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +2 (Hard)
Shadow: +2 (Hard)
Sharpness: +1 (Medium-Hard)
Noise Reduction: -2 (Low)
White Balance: Incandescent, -5 Red & +9 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 3200
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs made using this Monochrome film simulation recipe on a Fujifilm X-M1:

Old Phone – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Dark Chocolate – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Ice Cream Bowl – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Countertop – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Steel Deck – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Good Sam – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Tool Ghosts – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Timesaver – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Saw Table – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Abandoned Workshop – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Buy American – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Anchor Screw Drawer – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Open Drawers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Indoor Hoop – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Window with Broken Glass – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Abandoned Garage – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

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Help Fuji X Weekly

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Fujifilm Noir

Photographer Omar Gonzales made a video about turning your Fujifilm X camera into the Fujifilm Noir, a dedicated black-and-white camera. This post will make much more sense if you watch the video first, so take a moment to do that right now if you haven’t already done so.

Did you watch it? Don’t read anything below until the video is finished!

Done? Okay, let’s move on.

I made my own Fujifilm Noir camera using my X-T30. I have the silver version, so gaffer tape didn’t make a whole lot of sense for the new label that I wanted to attach to the front. I asked my daughter to create something using paper and pencils that might better match the camera. For those wondering, these labels are available for $25 each (only kidding, of course). And, yes, gluing a paper label to a camera is much less heart-stopping than sandpapering a camera.

The Fujifilm Noir camera.

My Fujifilm Noir is an X-T30 with an Asahi Super-Takumar 55mm f/2 attached to the front. I screwed an 1/2 Black Pro Mist filter to the lens (not pictured, sorry) to further enhance the film-like aesthetic. I shot the camera in manual mode using a black-and-white film simulation recipe that I created just for this project. What’s the film simulation recipe? Well, you’ll find it below!

Acros+G
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: +1
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Toning: 0
Sharpening: -4
Noise Reduction: -4

White Balance: 2500K, +9 Red & +9 Blue
Exposure Compensation: -2/3 to +2/3 (typically)
ISO 3200

This film simulation recipe was actually an experiment (from when I was creating my B&W IR recipe) that I didn’t love, but I thought it was good enough to use here. I won’t make it an official recipe, this is simply a bonus for you. Feel free to use it in your own photography, as it’s compatible with all X-Trans III and IV cameras. It reminds me of Kodak BW400CN, a black-and-white film that used the C-41 (color) development process. These settings weren’t intended to look like that film, but that’s what it reminds me of.

Kodak BW400CN was not likely ever a popular choice for Noir photography. Noir is French for Black, and Noir photographs are often dark and moody, inspired by 1940’s through 1960’s monochrome crime movies. This recipe isn’t especially Noir, but I used it anyway. There are probably ten different film simulation recipes that are more appropriate for Noir than this one.

I didn’t follow all of Omar’s rules. I shot RAW+JPEG, but only because I used a 2GB memory card, which has enough space for 27 exposures. On a 24-exposure roll of film, you could typically get 25 or 26 frames on it if you were careful. 27 exposures was possible but not commonly achieved (outside of disposable cameras). To make this more of a film-like experience, I used the 2GB SD Card to limit myself to a maximum of 27 exposures, and I refused to change the “film” (recipe) until I had exposed the card. I deleted the RAW files and just used the out-of-camera JPEGs. I got the memory card idea from Fuji X Weekly reader Josh Gagnon.

All of the pictures below were from the first 27-exposure “roll” of “Kodak BW400CN” that I captured using my “Fujifilm Noir” camera. Yes, they’re all camera-made JPEGs, unedited except for some minor cropping here and there.

Smile – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Lamp Top – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Girl, Drawing – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Tortilla Flour – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Drink – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Top Ten – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Building Stack – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Building Tree – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
The Nature of Structure – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Campus Skateboarder – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
One of You – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
$5 Pizza Bus – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Fallen Tree at the Capital – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Fallen Tree – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Tree & Stormy Mountain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir

Not bad for one “roll” of “film” on my “Noir” camera, right?

Now the ball is in your court! Turn your Fujifilm X camera into a Fujifilm Noir camera and shoot some black-and-white pictures with it! I don’t have any specific rules, but try to give yourself some limitations because limitations improve art. I enjoyed the 2GB card thing. Share with me your Noir pictures using #fujixweekly on Instagram. Let me know in the comments if you like this project and what you think of this “Kodak BW400CN” film simulation recipe!

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Film Simulation Review: Light & Shadow with Ilford Delta Push-Process

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Chair & Pillow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Photography is about light. Without light there are no photographs. Great photographs require great light. What “great light” is depends on the picture and circumstance, and what’s great for one image might not be for another. Great light can be found anytime of the day or night if one looks hard enough for it.

This series of pictures demonstrate the play of light and shadow in an image. It features instances of bright highlights and deep shadows together. It’s the contrast between illumination and the absence of it. I needed a dramatic film simulation recipe to capture these pictures. I knew that it would need to be black-and-white because these pictures aren’t about color, but light and shadow. Color would only be a distraction to the point. But which black-and-white film simulation recipe should I choose?

There are several options for dramatic black-and-white that I could have chosen, including Dramatic Monochrome, Monochrome Kodachrome, Agfa Scala, Ilford HP5 Plus, Ilford HP5 Push-Process, X100F Acros, X-T30 Acros, Acros Push-Process, and Tri-X Push-Process. Any of those recipes would have worked, but each would have produced a different result. Some have more contrast, some less. Some have a greater dynamic range and others a more narrow. Some are brighter, some darker. Some have more grain and other less. I could have picked any of them and gotten interesting results, but I went with Ilford Delta Push-Process instead, partially because I had been using it for other pictures during this time. It turns out it was a good choice, because it seems to have the right contrast, tones and grain for this series. Sometimes luck plays a role. What I know now is that the Ilford Delta Push-Process recipe is a great option for dramatic light situations like these, and I will choose it again for similar situations in the future. I captured these pictures on a Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it.

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Suburban Shadows – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Seat Back Shadow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Chair Details – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Girl Ghost – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Sunlight on the Kitchen Floor – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Don’t Step Into Darkness – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

See also: Film Simulation Reviews

[Not] My Fujifilm X-T30 Ilford Delta Push-Process Film Simulation Recipe

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Boy in a Chair with a Phone – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Ilford Delta Push-Process”

When I shot film, Ilford Delta was my go-to for black-and-white photography. Sure, I used other films, but Ilford Delta was what I most often loaded into my camera. For fine-grain, I used Delta 100. For situations other than bright daylight, or if I wanted more contrast and grittiness, I would choose Delta 400. For dim light, I would on a rare occasion use Delta 3200. Sometimes I would push-process the Delta 100 and Delta 400 a stop or two. I actually still have a couple rolls of Delta film sitting around, although I haven’t shot much film in the last few years. The last roll of Ilford Delta that I shot was Delta 3200.

Something that people might not be aware of is that Delta 3200 is actually not an ISO 3200 film, it’s actually rated at ISO 1000, but has “built-in” push-processing to ISO 3200 (labs know to increase the development time unless you specify otherwise). Ilford Delta films have a lot of latitude and flexibility. There’s a lot that one can do in the lab with any of the Ilford Delta films to customize the contrast and grain.

Fuji X Weekly reader K. Adam Christensen shared with me his film simulation recipe for Ilford Delta 3200, and I really like the way that his recipe looks. It’s a great black-and-white recipe! I made a couple of small tweaks to it, nothing big. Adam uses this recipe on his X100V, and he sets Grain to Large, which is an option on that camera, as well as the X-Pro3 and X-T4, but not on my X-T30. If I could set Grain to Large I would, as that would better mimic Delta 3200. Without it, perhaps these settings more resemble Delta 3200 shot and developed at ISO 1600. It reminds me of Delta 400 pushed one stop or maybe a stop and a half.

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White House Beyond the Thistle – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Ilford Delta Push-Process”

I have the ISO on this recipe set at 12800, which makes it difficult (but not impossible) to use in daylight situations. It’s a little easier on X100 cameras that have a built-in neutral density filter. If you need to drop the ISO, you can go as low as ISO 3200 and still get good results, but for best results keep the ISO at 12800 as much as possible. All of the pictures in this article were shot at ISO 12800.

Monochrome (+Y, +R, +G)
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: 0
Shadow: +3
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Toning: 0
Sharpening: -3
Noise Reduction: -4
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)
ISO 12800

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Ilford Delta Push-Process film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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FED 5C & Industar 69 – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Phone Numbers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Girl, Smile – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Broccoli – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Faux Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Glass Bottles with Stems – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Flowers Waiting to Pot – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Potted Tulip – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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White Tulips at Night – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Outdoor Shelf – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Dirty Feet – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Roller Skating – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Skates – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Girl Outdoor – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Two Feet – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Chair Shadow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Blackberry Vine on Concrete – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Watering Plant – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wet Handlebar – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Raindrops on a Window – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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My Fujifilm X-T30 Monochrome Kodachrome Film Simulation Recipe


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Light on the Wall – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Monochrome Kodachrome”

Kodachrome was a black-and-white film. No, really, it was! The color dyes were actually added during development. The process to develop Kodachrome color transparencies was complex and toxic. As demand for the film decreased and Kodak experienced financial troubles, both the film and the chemicals to develop it were discontinued. If you still have some undeveloped Kodachrome film sitting around, there’s absolutely no place in the world that can process it; that is, except as black-and-white negatives. It’s true: Kodachrome can be developed to this day as a black-and-white film!

While I think that this recipe does more-or-less mimic the look of Kodachrome developed as black-and-white, that’s not necessarily the intent of it. This recipe began as an experiment by Fuji X Weekly reader Thomas Schwab, who created the Urban Vintage Chrome recipe. He took my Vintage Kodachrome recipe and replaced the Classic Chrome film simulation with Acros, Monochrome and Sepia, and the results were quite interesting! I made a couple of minor adjustments to create this recipe. This is definitely a joint effort, and it wouldn’t exist without Thomas Schwab’s experiments and willingness to share the results. Thank you!

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Window & Blinds – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Monochrome Kodachrome”

What I like about this Monochrome Kodachrome film simulation recipe is that it has a great film-like quality to it. This recipe pairs especially well with vintage lenses (I used an Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm for about half of these pictures). Even though it says “Fujifilm X-T30” in the title, it can be used on any X-Trans III & IV camera. You can also use this same recipe with the Monocrome+R film simulation, for a slightly different result.

Acros+R
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: -2
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +1
Grain Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Toning: 0
White Balance: AWB, 0 Red & +9 Blue
ISO: Auto, ISO 3200 to ISO 12800
Exposure Compensation: -1/3 to +2/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Monochrome Kodachrome film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Roman – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Cleaning Cart – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Fake Potted Plant – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Tree Shadow on a Brick Wall – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Small Bridge – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Rural Road – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Monochrome Mountain Landscape – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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B&W Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Tennis Swing – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Engaged In Television – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Little Jo – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Hand Washing – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Faceless – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Muffins – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Pronto! – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Daylight Balanced – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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Fujifilm X-T1 (X-Trans II) Faded Monochrome Film Simulation Recipe


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Partially Illuminated – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 “Faded Monochrome”

This is my Faded Monochrome recipe adapted for my Fujifilm X-T1. It will work on all X-Trans I & II and Bayer sensor cameras, just so long as it has a double-exposure mode (I think they all do, but I’m not 100% certain). You have to put the camera into double-exposure mode, capture the scene with the first exposure, and use the second exposure to photograph a medium-grey piece of paper (I used an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of construction paper). I prefer the second exposure to be out of focus. The first exposure should be slightly overexposed, perhaps by 1/3 to 2/3 stop, because the second exposure will decrease the contrast. The second exposure should be underexposed by at least 1 stop, and as many as 3 stops. How bright or dark the second exposure is will determine just how faded the picture will be. It requires some experimentation, but thankfully you get a real-time display of what the picture will look like and the opportunity for a do-over (simply select “Retry”). The look you get is similar to using a low-contrast filter when making black-and-white prints in the darkroom.

Monochrome
Dynamic Range: DR100
Highlight: +2 (High)
Shadow: +2 (High)
Sharpness: 0 (Medium)
Noise Reduction: -2 (Low)
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 3200

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Faded Monochrome recipe on my Fujifilm X-T1:

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Thought – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Girl Shadow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Piano Hand – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Piano Fingers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Faded Lily – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Flowers Fading – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Bouquet – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Wheelbarrow Monochrome – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Gathering – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Window Blinds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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My Fujifilm X-T30 Dramatic Monochrome Film Simulation Recipe


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The Obscurity of Light – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Dramatic Monochrome”

A couple of weeks ago when I was discussing the possibility of Fujifilm creating a black-and-white only camera, something that I came to learn by accident is that the Monochrome film simulation is pretty darn good. On X-Trans III & IV cameras, I have always used the Acros film simulation because it is beautiful and has a film-like quality to it. But there’s something about the “old-fashioned” Monochrome film simulation that’s nice, as well. I had never made a Monochrome film simulation for X-Trans III & IV cameras, so I set out to do so.

At first I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted, so I decided that the best starting point was to revisit the iconic photographs of the great photographers from the 1930’s, ’40’s and ’50’s—people like Ansel Adams, Andre Kertesz, Robert Doisneau, Weegee, Pual Strand, Elliott Erwitt and others. I realized that I was drawn to the high-contrast pictures that these photographers had created. I wanted to create a recipe that mimics that look in-camera. These settings, which I call Dramatic Monochrome, are what resulted from that.

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Francis Peak – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Dramatic Monochrome”

For those with X-Trans III sensors, which don’t have the Color Chrome Effect, you’ll get similar results, but it won’t be quite as dramatic. The difference isn’t very big, so don’t worry about it. I would consider using +2 for Sharpness on X-Trans III instead of +3. On X-Trans IV cameras, you could give a +1 toning for a subtle warm look, such as what would happen if you gave a print a quick Sepia bath.

Monochrome (+Y, +R, +G)
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: +4
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Toning: 0
Sharpening: +3
Noise Reduction: -4
Exposure Compensation: 0 to +2/3 (typically)
ISO: Auto up to ISO 12800

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Dramatic Monochrome film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Chair Near a Window – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Shadow Ware – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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White Pillow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Santa Fe – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Young Piano Hands – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Clouds Above The Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wasatch Ridge Winter – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lines In The Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Clouds Over The Frosted Hill – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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White Beyond Dark – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Frosted – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Darkness & Light – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Help Fuji X Weekly

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Fujifilm Monochrome, Part 2

Monochrome Wasatch Mountain

Dramatic Silver Mountain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

In my last post I suggested that Fujifilm should make a monochrome camera like the Leica M10 Monochrom. I wasn’t planning to say anymore about it, but the response I received from that article compelled me to type out this one. The majority of those who replied, either in a comment under that post, via Instagram, or through email, said that they would consider buying a black-and-white-only camera if Fujifilm made one. Some of you had great ideas for it. There’s a chance that someone at Fujifilm reads Fuji X Weekly, so I’m writing this with that in mind.

I had suggested that, if Fujifilm did make a monochrome camera, it should either be in an X-Pro3 or X100V body, and they should call it “X-Pro3 Acros” or “X100V Acros” after their film and film simulation of the same name. It was pointed out to me that it doesn’t have to be in those bodies. It could be in a cheaper body, such as the X-T200, and since it doesn’t require any special sensor, just one without a color filter array, and would have a stripped down menu, the camera could potentially be made affordable. The less expensive the camera is, the more copies it will sell. Of all the body suggestions that I received, the X-E3 was the most popular choice for a monochrome camera by Fuji X Weekly readers.

Someone had an interesting idea for a feature on a monochrome camera: color filters. The X100F has a built-in neutral-density filter, so why couldn’t a monochrome camera have built-in yellow, red and green filters (and perhaps blue)? Click a button and the filter of choice is applied. That made me wonder: is it possible to have a color filter array that can be turned on and off? With the click of a button, perhaps the X-Pro4 can become a monochrome camera, and with another click it’s back to normal. That would be cool! It might be completely impossible, but I’m sure someone smarter than I can figure it out.

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Bountiful Peak – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

The second largest response that I got from my last post, not far behind the “I want that” replies, is, “would a monochrome camera even produce better results than what I can already get with the Acros film simulation?” My initial response was, heck yes! You get a big bump in resolution. But then I was shown two different YouTube videos that do blind tests between the Leica M10 Monochrom and the Fujifilm X-T3 (here and here), and it changed my mind. I did the blind test in both videos, and I was surprised by the results. In the first blind test, which compares the Leica with the Fujifilm and a Sony A7 III, the author uses the Monochrome film simulation, and not Acros, on the X-T3. Even so, the camera that I blindly picked as I looked at the pictures was the Fujifilm. I watched the blind test part twice before making up my mind and viewing the reveal. In the second video, which compares the Leica against another Leica monochrome camera and the Fujifilm and actual film, the author uses both the Monochrome and Acros film simulations. There were five pictures to choose from, and a few looked very close so it was more difficult to pick a favorite. I was surprised that the one I picked was the X-T3 with the Monochrome film simulation. Again, I watched the blind test part twice before deciding and viewing the reveal.

I’m not sure how much stock one can put into YouTube videos, where it’s difficult to really appreciate the pictures. Even so, I made two conclusions: Fujifilm cameras are especially great for black-and-white photography and I need to shoot more with the Monochrome film simulation. I use Acros on my X-T30, but it’s about time that I create a recipe using the Monochrome film simulation, which is apparently better than I gave it credit for.

Would a Fujifilm monochrome camera be awesome? Yes, it would! Would it be better at black-and-white than your current Fujifilm camera? Probably, but not by a big margin, that’s for sure. Perhaps if you print very large, that’s when the monochrome camera would be advantageous. I would still buy one if Fujifilm made one, but it’s good to reaffirm that Fujifilm is already superb at black-and-white photography, and I’m not missing much by not owning a monochrome-only camera.

In closing, I’m very curious what your results are with the blind tests. If you watched the videos, please let me know in the comments what your results were. Which camera made the best black-and-white pictures in your opinion? Thanks!

Photoessay: Passing Through Nevada, Part 2: Monochrome

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Terrible Ford – Boulder City, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

Part 1: Color

I’ve passed through Nevada many times, often only stopping for gas or lunch. It never seems to be my destination. I’m headed somewhere else, and I have to go through the Silver State to get to where I’m going. While I have stayed longer than a few hours, most of the time I’m through Nevada so quickly that it’s easy to forget that I was ever there. The photographs in this article were captured during those times where I just passed through, and didn’t stay. In fact, many of them were captured from inside my car. I hope that you enjoy this set!

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Plaza Hound – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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I-15 Overpass – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X100F

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Chance of Rain – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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Abstract Roof Lines – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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Empty Hoppers – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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Palm Shadow – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X100F

See also: November Arizona

Antelope Island State Park In B&W

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Brush Strokes Over The Great Salt Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

The Great Salt Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River, the largest salt water lake in the western hemisphere and the 33rd largest lake in the world. It’s massive! It can seem almost ocean-like, or perhaps more like a large ocean bay, but it is located far from any ocean. One difference between the Great Salt Lake and an ocean is that the lake is much saltier, and brine shrimp are the only thing alive in it. It is one of Utah’s natural wonders!

The largest island in the Great Salt Lake is Antelope Island, which is 15 miles long and five miles wide. The highest point, Frary Peak, is 6,594′, and is often snow-capped in the winter. It’s accessible by road via a causeway. Antelope Island is managed by the Utah State Park system.

Kit Carson and John C. Fremont, who visited Antelope Island in 1845, gave it its name after hunting pronghorn antelope on the island. Daddy Stump and Fielding Garr would build homes on Antelope Island over the next few years. This is a place that people have been coming to for a long time. In fact, there is evidence that native people have spent time on the island since at least the time of Christ.

Antelope Island seems like a world away from the Salt Lake City metro area, even though it is located very close to the city. It looks remote, and it must have been very remote before the road was built and the city grew. Interestingly enough, the oldest non-Native American structure in Utah is located on the island: an adobe ranch house built in 1848. The Fielding Garr Ranch was a working ranch from 1848 to 1981, and now the old ranch is open to the public for self-guided tours.

Wildlife abounds on Antelope Island, including buffalo, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, big horn sheep and many other animals. At one time the bison herd on Antelope Island was the largest in America. There are a huge variety of birds that migrate across the area.

The water is often calm and the reflections can be incredible. There are sandy beaches. There are trails that curve across the rugged landscape. There is a unique beauty to Antelope Island that draws me back. It’s one of my favorite places to photograph. But it’s also disgusting! There’s a certain “rotten egg” smell that can be found near the shores. There are tons and tons of bugs, including biting no-see-ums, brine flies (that cover the shore like a thick cloud), mosquitoes, tons of spiders (venomous and non-venomous), among other things. It’s pretty common to see dead birds. There’s plenty to love and hate about this place. I try to look beyond the gross to see the beauty.

Something interesting that I’ve discovered since moving to the Salt Lake City area almost three years ago is that most people who grew up in Utah don’t visit Antelope Island. Maybe they went on a school field trip as a kid, but they haven’t been back since. The majority of people you find on the island are from out-of-town. The locals who do visit are often those that moved to the area from someplace else. It’s too bad for those who don’t make the short trip to the island, because they’re really missing out!

Antelope Island is incredibly beautiful and tranquil. It is indeed odd, and one has to purposefully look beyond the negative aspects of the place to truly appreciate it. I feel like it is a secret treasure that is easily overlooked, and I feel honored to have found it and photographed it.

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Frary Fence – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Coming Storm – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Island Beach View – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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White Rock Bay Vista – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Bush In The Crag – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Clouds Over The Great Salt Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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White Rock Bay – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Land & Lake Layers – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Promontory Peninsula – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Sunlight Falling On The Salty Water – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Light Streaming Over Antelope Island – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Wasatch Mountains From The Causeway – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Frary Peak Reflected – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Deer Statue – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Old Salty Stump – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Frozen Stump – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Ice, Lake & Mountains – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Cracked Earth – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Buffalo Snow – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Bison In The Road – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Area Closed For Bison – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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One Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Pulling Hard – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Park Patrol – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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On The Fence – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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State Park Workday – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Waiting Game – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Leather Gloves – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Circle Hashtag – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Fielding Garr Ranch Fence – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Empty Marina – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Boys Playing In The Great Salt Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Pollution – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Photoessay: Antelope Island State Park Buffalo Corral

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Buffalo Corral – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. It’s home to about 700 wild buffalo. Every year Antelope Island State Park rounds up the buffalo herd so that they can be counted, examined, and vaccinated. This event, which is open to the public, happens every autumn and takes place over a seven day period.

I had the opportunity to photograph a portion of this year’s buffalo roundup, which I was very excited about. I missed the actual roundup, where a bunch of cowboys on horseback traverse the island to guide the bison to the corral, but I did get to witness the second phase, where the animals are seen one at a time by a veterinarian. This operation takes a team of about 40 people several days to complete. It’s fascinating to watch, but it’s also a slow process and there is a lot of downtime where very little is happening.

I used my Fujifilm X100F to capture these photographs, which are all unedited camera-made JPEGs. For the camera settings I used the [Not] My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Tri-X Cross Process Film Simulation Recipe, utilizing the X100F’s built-in neutral density filter so that I could use high ISOs even in bright midday light. I took a photojournalist approach, and I think these settings worked particularly well for it. I’m pleased with how this series turned out and I hope that you enjoy the pictures!

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White Rock Bay – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Park Patrol – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Time To Watch Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Waiting For A Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Buffalo Corral Workers – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Buffalo Head – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Cautious Buffalo – Antelope Island, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Running Bison Calf – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Roundup Downtime – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rope On The Gate – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Leather Gloves – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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A Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Workers Waiting – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Between Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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On The Fence – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Utah Cowboys – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Park Ranger – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Bison Barriers – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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From The Holding Pen – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Mother & Calf – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Buffalo Track – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Three Bison – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Tractor Ride – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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State Park Workday – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujfilm X100F

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Circular Gate Operator – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rope Preparation  – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Bison Spying – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rope Pull – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Pulling Hard – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rope Runner – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Waiting Games – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Waiting Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Bison Skull – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Island Shore View – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Tri-X Push Process On The Fujifilm X100F

I have been using the [Not] My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Tri-X Push Process Film Simulation Recipe on my Fujifilm X100F, and I realized that the X100F is actually a better camera to use these settings on. Why? I will explain that in just a moment.

The Tri-X Push Process recipe is my favorite black and white option. It creates stunning results that are so film-like that you could easily convince people that it is film you used and not digital capture. The “problem” with it is that it requires a high ISO, the higher the better, in fact. It looks best at ISO 12800, which is a practical setting for dark situations but not for anything else. The recipe can’t be used all of the time because often it’s just too bright to use an ultra-high ISO.

Bumble Bee – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Tri-X Push Process”

The Fujifilm X100F has a 3-stop neutral density filter built in. That means on the X100F the Tri-X Push Process recipe can be used anytime if you activate the neutral density filter in bright light situations. This is one reason, albeit an unexpected reason, why the X100F is such a great camera!

I do find it funny that I’m using the neutral density filter to increase the ISO. I doubt anyone at Fujifilm expected that to be a use of this feature. It was intended to allow a slower shutter speed or a wider aperture. I’m using it for an unorthodox reason. It’s a great feature on the camera that is often overlooked.

My Fujifilm XF10 Film Simulation Recipes


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I have created many wonderful film simulation recipes for X-Trans III cameras, but none of those can be used on my Fujifilm XF10. I had to create brand-new film simulation recipes for this camera. I used my experience with other Fujifilm cameras to create different straight-out-of-camera looks that I would appreciate.

You can only have one custom setting saved on the XF10. The default settings that I have programmed for the camera are my Classic Chrome recipe. If I want a look with more saturation I’ll adjust the settings to my Velvia recipe. If I want black-and-white I’ll adjust the settings to my Monochrome recipe. It’s a little bit of a pain to be constantly switching, so I try to not go back-and-forth any more than I need to.

While I use these recipes on my XF10, they’re compatible with the X-T100, X-A5, X-A3 and any X-Trans I or X-Trans II camera. The rendition might vary slightly from model-to-model, but the overall look should be fairly consistent. These settings won’t translate to X-Trans III or X-Trans IV.

Aside from some minor cropping, the photographs in this article are all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. I like to keep my workflow as simple as possible, and Fujifilm’s different film simulation options allow me to rely on camera-made JPEGs. Using JPEGs instead of RAW saves me a ton of time. I appreciate being in front of a computer less and behind a camera more.

Below are my Fujifilm XF10 film simulation recipes!

Classic Chrome

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Ghosts of the Past – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm XF10

This is my go-to film simulation option. I use it significantly more often than the other recipes. It has a classic Kodak film look, although not exactly like any one in particular. I think it most closely resembles 1960’s era Ektachrome, but it’s not an exact match. Even so, it looks great and is quite versatile. It has a lot of contrast, just vibrant enough colors and a warm tone.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR-Auto
Highlight: +1 (0 sometimes in high-contrast situations)
Shadow: +2
Color: +1
Noise Reduction: -2
Sharpening: -1
White Balance: Auto, +3 Red & -4 Blue

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Kids At The Lake – East Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Bolsey 100 – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Terminal Windows – SLC, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Flag On A Pole – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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FED 5c Window – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Velvia

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Vibrant Bloom – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Velvia was one of my favorite films. It produced incredibly vibrant colors. Apparently Fujifilm didn’t intend to make such a wild film, it was more of an accident than anything else, but it quickly become the standard film for color landscape photography. Something interesting that I recently learned is one of the people who helped develop Velvia for Fujifilm also helped develop the Velvia Film Simulation. The film simulation isn’t a 100% match to Velvia 50, but perhaps closer to Velvia 100F. My recipe is intended to produce a look that is closer to Velvia 50.

Velvia
Dynamic Range: DR-Auto
Highlight: 0 (+1 in low-contrast situations, -1 in high-contrast situations)
Shadow: +1
Color: +2
Noise Reduction: -2
Sharpening: -1
White Balance: Auto, +1 Red & -3 Blue

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Historic Dragon – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Scattering of Red – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Sunlight Through The Forest – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Green Leaves – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Yellow Amid Red – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Monochrome

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Shy Horse – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

The XF10 lacks Fujifilm’s greatest film simulation: Acros. Instead it has the old Monochrome option, which is alright but not nearly as good as Acros. Despite this, it is possible to get nice black-and-white camera-made JPEGs from the XF10. There are four different options, and to understand what each does one must understand what different colored filters do to black-and-white film, as +Y simulates using a yellow filter, +R simulates a red filter and +G simulates a green filter. If you know how to use color filters on black-and-white film then you know when to pick which option on the XF10.

Monochrome (Monochrome+Y, Monochrome+R, Monochrome+G)
Dynamic Range: DR-Auto
Highlight: +1 (+2 in low-contrast situations)
Shadow: +2 (+1 in high-contrast situations)
Noise Reduction: -2
Sharpening: -1

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Wishes Waiting – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Plastic Fingers – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Hat Abstract – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Dream – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Tilted Pier – East Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Taos Pueblo, New Mexico – Part 2: Monochrome

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Storm Over Pueblo – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Part 1 – Color

One thing I found particularly fascinating about the Taos Pueblo is that this historic site is still inhabited. This is a real home to many people. The doors and windows belong to someone. Inside there are living spaces, bedrooms and kitchens. Surrounding the two large pueblos are even more houses. There’s a church. This is a community.

Visiting Taos is like being invited into a stranger’s home. You have the opportunity to see a more intimate side of things, and perhaps come away with a different perspective. What I found in Taos was not what I had pictured in my mind prior to visiting, but something much more interesting. There’s a certain profoundness to this place that’s difficult to put into words.

I appreciate those in Taos for allowing me in, answering my questions and showing hospitality and kindness. Unfortunately, my stay was much too short. I had only a couple of hours to spend at the pueblo, and then it was time to continue down the highway to Santa Fe. I truly hope that the opportunity to return comes sooner than later.

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Taos Tourist – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X100F

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Jacob’s Ladder – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Dream Ladder – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X100F

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Tree & Shed – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Bells & Crosses – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Pueblo Sky – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X100F

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Taos & Sky – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Second Floor Pueblo – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Pueblo Roof – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Boxy – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Taos Pueblo Apartments – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Storm Approaching Taos – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X100F

Photoessay: Along The Highway, Part 6 – Oklahoma in Monochrome

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Stu – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

Colorado  New Mexico  West Texas  East Texas  Oklahoma (Color)  Wyoming

Pawhuska is a rural town in northeastern Oklahoma that once boomed. The 1920’s were especially roaring, but the 1930’s included an oil bust, the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, scars of which are clearly evident to this day. The Boy Scouts of America began in Pawhuska over 100 years ago. The town is also home to Drummond Ranch, which is one of the largest ranches in the country. Ree Drummond has a popular television cooking show and has authored a number of books. She also has a store and restaurant in town, and that’s why my wife and I were there.

The town is quite small, but photographic opportunities were numerous. In fact, I made more exposures in Pawhuska than any other place we visited on our road trip. There’s a lot of history, character and hospitality packed into the little town in the middle of nowhere. Pawhuska proved to be a great experience! I felt as though I left many potential pictures unphotographed, so perhaps another visit will be in store in the future.

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Double Flag – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Kitchen Window – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Bakery – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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County Courthouse – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Broken Glass Through The Glass – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Industrial Brick – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Industrial Design – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Star – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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The Other Mother – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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The Merc – Pawhuska, OK – X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Mercantile – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 60

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Cafe Flowers – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 60

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Wet Tables – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 60

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Unlikely – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Pawhuska Rain – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 60

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Osage County – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – OK HWY 99

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Thunder Sky – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – OK HWY 99

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Rural Cows – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Horse Gate – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Two Horses In The Grass – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Rural Mail – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado – Part 1: Monochrome

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Great Sand Dunes Sign – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

In July my family and I visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve near Alamosa, Colorado. This national park features the tallest sand dunes in North America. The towering Sangre de Cristo Mountains loom in the background. It’s an impressive and unusual landscape!

During wetter months the Medano Creek flows beneath the sand dunes, and in order to get to the dunes one must get their feet wet. We were there during a dry month and there was no water in the wide creek bed. Unsurprisingly, a visit to the sand dunes requires a significant amount of walking on sand, which means that it takes more effort and more time to get from one point to another. It’s no walk in the park, and it’s best to come prepared with plenty of water and ready for the hike.

While we were there, once on the dunes, the wind was blustery and it kicked up the sand quite fiercely. It pelted our legs and would occasionally blow in our faces and get into our eyes. It was more of an issue for the kids since they’re shorter. It was not a fun experience, so we did not stay on the dunes for very long.

The place offers amazing photographic opportunities. If you like working with shadows and highlights and abstract shapes, this is the place for you! The Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of those special landscapes where it’s difficult to come away with bad pictures. I had with me a Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 Macro lens attached to the front. The X-Pro2 is weather sealed, but the lens is not. Thankfully I did not get dust on the sensor. I would strongly recommend not changing lenses while at the dunes, as you’re just asking for trouble by doing so.

We were only at the sand dunes for a couple of hours. It would have been great if we could have stayed longer. I think that a sunrise hike to the top would have been epic, but time just didn’t allow for it. Even so, we were glad for the opportunity that we did have. I’m happy with the photographs and memories that I came away with.

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Great Sand Dunes – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Mountains & Sand Across The Valley – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Mountain of Sand – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Stroller Alone – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sand & Sangre de Cristo – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Running In The Sand – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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It’s A Long Ways To The Top – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Mountain, Sand & Sky – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sand & Sierra Sky – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Improbability – Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO

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Sand Walkers – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Passerby – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Silver Sand – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sandal In The Sand – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

Part 2 – Color

Road Trip: Grand Canyon National Park, Part 2: Monochrome

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Canyon Cliffs – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

Part 1 – Color

I’ve heard it said that at Grand Canyon National Park your widest lens isn’t wide enough and your longest lens isn’t long enough, no matter how wide-angle or telephoto those lenses might be. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon several times, and each time I’ve felt that way. The place is amazing, yet it seems difficult to do it justice with a camera.

The canyon is huge! The national park is almost 2,000 square miles. The Colorado River traverses 277 miles through it. At its deepest point (or, really, the highest part of the rim to the river) is 6,000′. The longest stretch across rim-to-rim is 18 miles. It’s hard to effectively portray this scale in a photograph.

The Grand Canyon is the most photographed landmark in Arizona and one of the most photographed places in America, with tens of thousands of images created within the park daily. The task of creating something that’s photographically unique is nearly impossible. I’m sure that there are hundreds of pictures that look almost identical to mine. One has to spend significant time within the park, as well as exercise the creative mind, in order to capture something different than what’s already been done before.

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Watchtower Sky – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

I was attempting art with some of the photographs that I captured at the Grand Canyon. Other images were family snapshots meant simply for memories. There’s a difference between interpreting and documenting. Both are valid and serve different purposes, and they each take a different approach to accomplish. In this article you’ll find both.

I used my Fujifilm X100F for most of these pictures, which are all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. The Acros Film Simulation makes for exceptional monochrome images, and I used my Acros and Acros Push-Process film simulations for these X100F images. I used my Fujifilm X-A3 with a Jupiter 21M lens for three of these pictures, which are also camera-made JPEGs. I used the Monochrome film simulation, which isn’t as good as Acros, but the X-A3 doesn’t have Acros so I couldn’t use it.

I love black-and-white photography, and Grand Canyon National Park is a wonderful place to create monochrome images. I look forward to returning. Grand Canyon is a special place, and it’s been much too long between visits. Maybe next time I can stay a little longer.

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Kids Approaching The Rim – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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

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Canyon Juniper – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Boy Riding Backwards – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Strapped In Her Stroller – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Joy of Window Shopping – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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From Behind Glass – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Two Young Explorers – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Tree Over Arch – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Of Light & Shadow – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Canyon Grand – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Scraggly Tree At Grand Canyon – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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

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The Watchtower – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Mary’s Watchtower – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Watchtower Sun – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Desert Watchtower – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Telescoping – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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

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Sky Above The Canyon Below – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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The Grand View – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Heavenly Sky – Valle, AZ – Fujifilm X-A3 & Jupiter 21M

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Passed By – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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: 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

For The Love of Fujifilm Acros Film Simulation

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Mount Nebo – Mona, UT – Fujifilm X100F

I really love the different film simulations available on my Fujifilm X100F. There is one that I like more than the others, and it’s Acros. The contrast, tonality and grain are simply beautiful, and Acros has a true film-like aesthetic.

I know, that’s been said so much that it’s almost cliche, and, besides, not everyone wants a film look. I appreciate the look of film and I like it much more than the digital aesthetic. I grew up on analog photography, I shot tons of 35mm and 120 film, and to me it’s how photography should look. Digital is far more convenient than film, so it can be hard to justify the hassle of film. The best of both worlds would be the convenience of digital with a film aesthetic.

I’ve been trying to get a film look from my digital files for awhile. I’ve used different software options, such as Alien Skin Exposure and Nik Silver Efex, which are both excellent, to achieve the look that I want. The Acros Film Simulation on my Fujifilm X100F is every bit as good (maybe better) as what I would get using either of those editing programs, and I get it straight out of the camera, no editing required.

One aspect of Acros that Fujifilm got especially right is the grain. Digital noise, which is the modern equivalent of film grain, doesn’t match the look of actual silver grain, and the aesthetic of it is far inferior (although X-Trans noise is better looking than most). Adding a layer of faux grain over top of an image can get you closer (and Alien Skin does a better job with this than anyone in my opinion), but it’s still not the same. The “grain” found in my Acros JPEGs more resembles actual film grain than anything else I’ve found in digital photography.

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Apache Sky – Mountain Green, UT – Fujifilm X100F

If you were to scan actual film and compare it side-by-side to images captured with the Acros Film Simulation, you’d have a tough time identifying which is film and which is digital. Same thing if you printed from the film and from the digital file, and asked people to identify which is which. The Acros Film Simulation doesn’t look all that digital as it more closely resembles analog.

Images captured with Acros look beautiful. They look nice viewed from a distance and up close, on a computer screen or printed and hung on a wall. Even though the film simulation produces a JPEG file and not RAW, the results are what one would expect to achieve if they post-processed a RAW file. This isn’t typical camera-made JPEG stuff.

Great black-and-white results without hassle is what the Acros Film Simulation delivers. That’s the convenience of digital photography merged with the quality of film photography. I have two different settings, a “standard” Acros and a “push-process” Acros, that I frequently use, and they’re very good. The photographs in this article are examples of both that I’ve captured over the last several weeks.

I remember the “old days” of film photography. It was a slow process. Loading the film, using the entire roll before you could change it, rewinding it by hand, then all of the darkroom work–winding it onto a reel in complete darkness, baths in chemicals and water, drying, printing a contact sheet, then making prints. One print could take hours of work to get right. It wasn’t easy, but that’s the way it was, and the results made it worthwhile. Now, thanks to the X100F and Acros, I can achieve similar results with ease.

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One Way Or Another – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Sanitary Sewer Surprise – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Palm Shadow – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X100F

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I-15 Overpass – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X100F

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Serious Coffee – Taylorsville, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Agave Drops – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Shelf Owls – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Hot Coffee – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Bird Bath – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Aunt & Niece – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X100F