Antelope Island State Park – Two Cameras, Two Photographers

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Rainbow over Antelope Island. Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

One of my favorite places in northern Utah is Antelope Island State Park. It’s such a strange land! Antelope Island, which sits in the Great Salt Lake, seems like a world away from the Salt Lake City metro area, even though it is located very close to the city. Wildlife abounds, 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!

Antelope Island is 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. It is indeed an odd place, and one has to purposefully look beyond the negative aspects to truly appreciate it. I feel like it is a secret treasure that is easily overlooked.

My wife, Amanda, and I visited Antelope Island earlier this week. I brought my Fujifilm X100V, while she had her X-T20 with a Fujinon 10-24mm f/4 lens attached to it. For my pictures, I used my Kodak Tri-X 400 film simulation recipe for black-and-white and my Fujicolor Reala 100 film simulation recipe for color. I reprocessed in-camera a couple of the rainbow pictures using Velvia. Amanda had PRO Neg. Hi loaded into her camera, but she reprocessed most of her pictures using either Acros or Velvia.

Even though we used different cameras with different generation sensors, I thought that our pictures worked well together. I wanted to share them with you as a set. I found it interesting that for some images our vision was nearly identical, and for others we captured our pictures differently. Amanda did a great job, and it was a fun experience to go out and photograph with her. Antelope Island once again proved to be a great location for photography. Enjoy!

B&W

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

Color

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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

Fujifilm X100V Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X100V Silver   Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-T20   Amazon   B&H
Fujinon 10-24mm f/4   Amazon   B&H

New Video Series: #fujixweekly

 

I posted a new video on the Fuji X Weekly YouTube channel today! It’s the first in a new series that I hope to do once or twice a month, maybe weekly if I can manage my time better. It’s a short yet very important video because it features your pictures!

If you didn’t know, Fuji X Weekly is on Instagram. When I created that account I also created the hashtag #fujixweekly. I’ve noticed that many of you are also using that hashtag, and since I follow it, whenever you post using #fujixweekly your pictures show up in my feed. You guys are creating some wonderful images! It’s very inspiring to me, so I wanted share that with everyone.

Please keep using #fujixweekly on Instagram. I’ll pick some of the pictures to showcase in the next video. Obviously I can’t use all of them, but I’ll pick some that I find interesting. If you used one of my film simulation recipes, include which one you used in the description if you don’t mind. I’d love to know what you guys are using!

I appreciate every one of you! Keep up the great work! Below I’ve included a link to everyone’s Instagram accounts who had pictures in the video above. Be sure to check out there work!

@vincent.images
@jamiechancetravels
@damlandberg.photography
@guyfromtor
@drjkgas
@camandcoffee
@sampl_images
@raphvikkivoyages
@rolandfelberphotography
@leoncinialain
@effzwo.thommy

Also, I want to give a big “Thank You” to my wife, Amanda, who put this video together. Really, this was her work, not mine. She did such a fantastic job with all of the editing! Amanda is an important behind-the-scenes member of the Fuji X Weekly team, and the YouTube channel especially is much better because of her talents. Thank you, Amanda!

Film Simulation Review: Dreary Day with Fujicolor Superia 800

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Gone Fishin’ – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

I get asked frequently what film simulation recipes are good for which situations. It can be hard to know when to use each one. When faced with a scene, which recipe should you choose? I hope that this Film Simulation Review series helps to bring clarity to this.

On grey-sky days there’s one film simulation recipe that I love to use: Fujicolor Superia 800. When I invented this recipe, I had no idea how good it was for dreary days. Fuji X Weekly reader Luis Costa shared his use of this recipe on a grey day, and it blew me away! Ever since, when there’s overcast sky and a little rain, for color pictures, my Fujicolor Superia 800 film simulation recipe is what I use.

This series of pictures were captured on a recent dreary day using the Superia 800 recipe. I used a Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens attached to it. This 90mm lens can be difficult to use just because of its focal length, which is full-frame equivalent to 135mm, but it delivers excellent results. It’s super sharp and nearly flawless. It’s such a great lens!

My Superia 800 recipe is based on Fujicolor Superia X-tra 800 film. Fujifilm introduced this consumer grade high ISO color negative film in 1998 and discontinued it in 2016. It was a common film to find at the local store. It was an excellent choice for low-light situations, and it was commonly used by photojournalists. All of the pictures in this article are camera-made JPEGs using my Superia 800 film simulation recipe.

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Raining in the Alley – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Goodyear – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Drop in the Bucket – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Wet Slide – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Wish Maker – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Green – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Drop of Water on a Blackberry Leaf – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Green Tree Tops – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Trees – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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King – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Catching a Lost Float – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Geese – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Swimming Duck – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

Film Simulation Review: Walk in the Park, Part 1: Kodak Ektar 100

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April Forest – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Last week I went for a walk in a local park here in Utah. This park has trails that pass through forests. There’s a stream and a small lake. The snow-capped peaks are visible to the east. It’s a beautiful place, especially in the spring when the green is fresh and the flowers are blossomed. On this hike I brought along my Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it, which is one of my absolute favorite lenses. It’s sharp, small, and plenty fast, plus it’s a versatile focal length. On the way up the trail I used my Kodak Ektar 100 film simulation recipe, which are the pictures that you see here in Part 1, and on the way back down I used my Portra 160 recipe, which you’ll find in Part 2.

Ektar is a color negative film made by Kodak. It’s known for vibrant colors, high contrast and fine grain. It’s the closest negative film to reversal film. In fact, when Kodak discontinued Ektachrome 100VS, they recommended Ektar 100 as the best alternative. It’s a great film for landscape photography, which is why I chose it for this walk in the park.

Ektar film, and especially this Ektar film simulation, can be difficult to use because of the contrast. With the film, there are things that can be done in development and/or printing to reduce the contrast if it’s too much. With these settings, one could use +2 Shadow instead of +3, which is what the recipe calls for, if they wanted less contrast. These pictures are straight-out-of-camera (with the exception of some minor cropping) with the  settings exactly as the recipe states.

My opinion is that my Ektar recipe is best suited for low-contrast landscapes, where a boost in contrast and vibrancy is needed. But it can do well in other situations, as well. I thought it served this photographic outing well, although it was borderline too contrasty for the scene. Ektar was a good choice for a walk in the park, but was it the best choice? How does it compare to Portra 160? We’ll take a look at that in Part 2.

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Sunlight Through The Leaves – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Old Log – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Forest Stream – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Stream & Yellow Flower – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Single Tree Blossom – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Green Tree, White Tree – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Blossoming Branches – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Walk in the Park, Part 2: Portra 160
See also: Film Simulation Reviews

Film Simulation Review: Waiting With Fujicolor 100 Industrial

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Waiting Outside – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

My Fujicolor 100 Industrial film simulation recipe is very underrated. I don’t hear many people talk about it. This recipe doesn’t get nearly as many views as some of my other ones, perhaps because the film that it mimics isn’t especially well known. Make no mistake, this recipe is one of the best! If you’ve never tried it, I invite you to do so.

This particular film simulation recipe pairs well with urban scenes. It’s good for more than just that, but a downtown environment seems to be where this recipe does its best work. These photographs aren’t urban, but my Fujicolor 100 Industrial recipe was a good choice for this series.

Anytime can be a good time for photography. Take a camera with you wherever you go, and you’ll be surprised at the photographic opportunities that present themselves. This series of pictures was captured while waiting in line to get inside of Costco, and I was able to do this because I had my Fujifilm X-T30 with me, which had a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it. With what’s going on in the world, there’s a line to even get inside of the store to shop. I used the wait as an opportunity to create some pictures. This is no special event. The lighting wasn’t extraordinary. It was unremarkable. Despite that, there were pictures worth capturing, images worth creating, even in an ordinary moment. Use the ordinary moments in life as photographic opportunities.

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Architecture of Costco – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Green Tree & Roof – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Removing Gloves – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Pushing Baskets – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Distancing – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Guy in a Red Shirt – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Cart Man – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Red & Silver Carts – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

See also: Film Simulation Reviews

Monument Valley – A Monumental Landscape

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Evening at Monument Valley – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

I just got back from Monument Valley, which sits on the border between Arizona and Utah on Navajo land near Four Corners. Situated on the Colorado Plateau, Monument Valley features large rock formations and red desert sand. It’s a lonely place; there are only a few very small towns scattered nearby. Despite being in the middle of nowhere, it attracts many tourists from across the world. Monument Valley is the iconic American West landscape, and it is nothing short of stunning!

You’ve seen Monument Valley before, even if you didn’t know what you were looking at. Certainly you’ve seen pictures of it in calendars and magazines and on social media. Many different movies have had scenes filmed in Monument Valley. Forest Gump concluded his cross country run there. Marty McFly went back in time to the old west in Monument Valley. Clark Griswold drove his car off the road at this place. Many “westerns” were filmed in Monument Valley, including a few starring John Wayne. In many ways Monument Valley still looks and feels like the rugged and wild American West, so it’s easy to understand Hollywood’s draw to this location.

Monument Valley was on my photographic bucket list for a long time. I’ve wanted to visit and capture the iconic landscape for many years. I’d seen the black-and-white prints by Ansel Adams and the color pictures in Arizona Highways magazine that showcased this incredible landscape, which made me want to experience it for myself. I had to make my own images. I needed to get to Monument Valley. Honestly, though, I didn’t realize its exact location until recently. I knew it was in northern Arizona somewhere. Or maybe southern Utah. As it turns out, most of it is in far northeastern Arizona, and a little of it sits in far southeastern Utah, but all of it belongs to the Navajo Nation.

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Butte Between two Boulders – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

I was only able to stay in Monument Valley for one day. I had one day to capture the pictures that I wanted, or at least as many of them as I could. I planned the trip carefully, doing much research ahead of time so that I would know what to expect. It paid off because I believe I made the most of my short time there. I didn’t come away with every picture that I had hoped for, but I came away with a good group, and that means I had a good day. I’ll have to return, hopefully soon, for the rest.

Something that struck me about Monument Valley is how quiet and peaceful it was. You can set your own pace and take things slow. The wide open spaces allowed for moments of true serenity. You can find yourself alone. Monument Valley is sacred land to the Navajo, and you can feel that while there, permeating from the stone and sand. My visit was during the off season, and I’m sure the atmosphere during the summer months can be quite different.

All of the Navajo people that I met and spoke with were exceedingly friendly and helpful. They seemed quite proud of this place, eager to share its beauty with the world. One lady, who was selling jewelry along a dirt road, was happy to tell me about her favorite photograph, which had been on the cover of Arizona Highways, that featured a nearby tree, which has since died because it was struck by lightning. I felt like I was an invited guest, and the Navajo people were happy to have me there.

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Mitchell Mesa – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

But I could sense another side. This is private land. Among the rock formations are little houses. There are ranches scattered throughout Monument Valley. Visitors are allowed in only very specific places, which are clearly marked, unless you have an official guide. At one stop I overheard a guide telling his group that he was not allowed to take people to one particular spot because the occupant of a nearby house “doesn’t like white people.” I can certainly understand that past hurts might still sting. The Navajo haven’t always been treated well by America. This is their home. This is their sacred land where their ancestors lived and died. They don’t have to allow anyone in. They could keep Monument Valley to themselves, and not welcome visitors. I’m sure there are some who would prefer that. I was a stranger in a strange land. I was the outsider. Gratefully, I was welcomed in and treated kindly.

From what I could tell from my short visit, the Navajo way of life is slower, simpler, quieter, and more free than my own. There are no Walmarts or McDonalds or Starbucks within 100 miles, probably further than that. I didn’t see any signs of commercialism and consumerism. I’m sure life in the dry desert can be difficult, but to the Navajo it is worth dealing with those difficulties in order to live life their way; to be who they are. Their culture is preserved by living out their traditions.

The photographs in this article were captured with a Fujifilm X-T30 and Fujifilm X-T1. The lenses I used were a Fujinon 35mm f/2Fujinon 100-400mm and Rokinon 12mm f/2. On the X-T30 I used my Velvia (except color +4), Kodachrome 64, Dramatic Monochrome and Agfa Scala film simulation recipes, and on the X-T1 I used Velvia and Monochrome. The challenge when visiting a place like Monument Valley is creating something unique when it’s been photographed from every angle imaginable. That’s an extraordinarily difficult task, but not completely impossible. While most of my pictures have been done before by others, I think a few of them are fairly unique; at least I’ve never seen one identical. I hope that you enjoy them!

B&W:

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Monument Valley – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Mittens in Monochrome – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

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Mitchell Mesa in Monochrome – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Reflection on a Dirt Road – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Navajo Flag – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

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Four Flags – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Shrub on the Edge of the Wash – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

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Rocks & Mitten – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

Color:

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Forest Gump Was Here – Monument Valley, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Highway Through The Hole – Monument Valley, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Dying Tree in the Red Desert – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Yucca – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Red Ripples – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Puddle In The Sand – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Evening Mittens – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

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Last Light on the Mittens – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

Fujifilm X100F Review Blog

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Photoessay: Monochrome Sun Rays Over Willow Beach, Arizona

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Rays Over Colorado River – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Along U.S. Highway 93, about 12 miles south of the Hoover Dam, there’s a scenic view pullout, which offers tremendous views of desert mountains and canyons and a glimpse of the Colorado River at Willow Beach. This is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It’s easy to drive right on past this spot, as I have done many times before. Those who do stop here are rewarded with an incredible vista. It’s not the Grand Canyon, but it’s like a small glimpse of the Grand Canyon. It’s a quintessential Arizona landscape. Actually, you can see both Arizona and Nevada, as the river marks the boundary between the two states.

When I was at this scenic pullout last week, there was a storm passing through, which provided a dramatic sky with streaking light rays from the peeking sun. It was an amazing sight, yet short lived. I had my Fujifilm X-T30 with me, alternating between a Fujinon 35mm f/2 and a Fujinon 90mm f/2 attached to the front. A more wide-angle lens might have been nice, but these are the two lenses that I had with me. I captured a number of frames, then the great light disappeared as quickly as it had come.

Because I had a camera with me, and I decided to stop, I was able to witness and record this beautiful moment. Many cars zoomed down the highway, perhaps witnessing the scene quickly from behind their windows, or perhaps not noticing it at all, and only a few stopped. I’m thankful that I was one of the few who stopped, and what a great reward I was given for doing so. Sometimes the journey is the destination, especially if you are a photographer.

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Light Streaming – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Light & Mesa – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Shining Down – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Pouring Light Over Desert – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Dramatic Desert Sky – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Rays Over The Desert – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Rays Over Willow Beach – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Is Fujifilm’s Autofocus Any Good?

Captured with a Fujifilm X-T30.

Fujifilm’s autofocus is inferior, apparently. There’s been a buzz on the web lately about autofocus. There have been several tests recently comparing the autofocus capabilities of different camera brands and models, and Fujifilm hasn’t come out on top, and sometimes they’ve come in last place. There’s been a lot of negativity towards Fujifilm in response to these articles, and I want to talk about that.

I have no problem whatsoever with these articles. There’s always something, no matter how hard one tries, that someone points out as unfair in these type of tests. It’s the nature of it, and it’s nearly impossible to be completely fair and unbiased. There’s always something that you didn’t consider, there’s always an apples-to-oranges situation, and somebody will undoubtably point it out. I think it’s important to understand this, as taking these types of articles with a small grain of salt will alleviate some of the frustration that comes with them. In other words, don’t take them as gospel, even though they mean well and might contain useful information.

When I started out in photography, autofocus existed, but many cameras (mine included) didn’t have it, and autofocus wasn’t very good on those cameras that did have it. The best autofocus systems of 20 years ago are embarrassing when compared to those found today. That’s not surprising as technology advances quickly. The best autofocus systems of 10 years ago aren’t as good as the “worst” found in any of those cameras that were recently tested. Sony, Canon, Nikon or Fujifilm, it doesn’t matter which one “wins” and which one is rated last, as they are all great! No one could imagine 20 years ago that autofocus would become as good as it is today, and the autofocus found on “pro” cameras 10 years ago aren’t as good as some “entry level” cameras today. Context is key.

Fujifilm X100F

Captured with a Fujifilm X100F.

It’s easy to get caught up in the results of autofocus tests, but the reality is that it doesn’t matter in practical use. Just because one camera did slightly better than another doesn’t mean that you’ll “get the shot” with one camera and not another. You’ll either get it with both or you’ll miss it with both, because the skill and vision of the photographer is far more important than the technical capabilities of the camera in hand, especially when the differences are so narrow. Cameras are tools, and one tool might work a little better for you than another, but they’ll all capable of getting the job done just so long as the photographer is also capable. One camera over another won’t make you a better photographer.

I don’t doubt that Sony’s autofocus is superior to Fujifilm’s. They’ve been working at it a heck of a lot longer, so they should be. What I argue is that it doesn’t matter, or if it does matter, it matters very, very little. Those saying that Fujifilm desperately needs to “catch up” or else are speaking hyperbole. A lot of the reactions I have seen have been overreactions. Instead of celebrating just how far autofocus has improved, people seem to be far more concerned about being ranked number one. Trust me on this: it doesn’t matter one bit. Fujifilm has made significant progress, and they’re continuing to do so. Autofocus on X-Trans II cameras is plenty quick and capable for most people and circumstances, yet it doesn’t compare to X-Trans IV. There comes a point where the improvements are more “gee whiz” than anything practical. It’s great for the marketing department, but is it something you’ll even notice? Will it really make a difference to your photography?

To answer the question in the title of this article, Fujifilm’s autofocus is indeed good. Very good, in fact! It’s more than capable, just as long as you are as well. So don’t worry so much where Fujifilm (or any brand) ranks compared to another in some test. It’s not important. Creating art is important, and you can use any camera to do that.

Your Websites on Fuji X Weekly

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Phone Conversation – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

Last week I invited you to share your website in the comments of a post on Fuji X Weekly. I thought it would be great to see everyone else’s websites. The response was overwhelming, but in the best way possible! It was great fun to visit all the different pages that you shared. I hope you found it helpful, and perhaps you even found some new blogs to follow. I know I did!

To make things easier, I decided to put all of the links into a new post, so that you don’t have to dig through comments to find them. I hope that I didn’t miss any, and I apologize if I did. If you didn’t get a chance to take part in the previous opportunity, feel free to share your website in the comments of this post.

Here are the websites, in no particular order, that you all shared with Fuji X Weekly:

Best Light Photographic
Best Light Photo Blog
Visual Ohio
The Flying Kitty Monster
Island In The Net
Photo A Day
Find The Right Light Photography
Benoit Takes Photos
Fujitopraphy by Veijo Matikainen
Delatorre f/5.6
A Lens In The Landscape
Fragglerocking
Fraggle’s Other Place
Abijango Street Photography
Tintinburgh
Helen Fennell Photography
Earthponds
Ian Clavis Photography
The City Beautiful
Incrodato
James Posilero Photography
Doug & Abby Vinez
Sam and Steve Photography
Miro and Ira
Travelling Lens Blog
Joaquin Fernandez
Life, unintended
Moments & Moods
Nicolas Olonetzky Photography
Len Dobrucki Photographic Journeys
Dia Khalil Photography

Thank you once again to everyone who participated! Also, James Posilero published issue two of SOOC, and he invites you to check it out.

The 5 C’s of Photographic Vision

Fujifilm X-E1

Photographic vision is essential to successful photography. Many people will tell you that you need it, but very few will explain what it is. You can search the web endlessly, but you won’t find a whole lot that lays out photographic vision simply and coherently. It took me a long time to learn it, mostly from experience, and mostly from failures. And, really, I’m still learning it. In this post I will briefly explain this important concept.

“In order to be a successful photographer, you must possess both vision and focus, neither of which have anything to do with your eyes.” –Kevin Russo

“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” –Ansel Adams

My definition of photographic vision is “a vivid and imaginative conception.” There are five essential elements of photographic vision, all beginning with the letter C, and three of those essential elements are found within that definition: Clarity, Creativity and Conception. Capturing and Composing are the fourth and fifth elements. Let’s take a look at each.

1. Clarity

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Passerby – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2

In order to have photographic vision, you must have vivid clarity. You must see in your mind’s eye what it is that you want to create before opening the shutter, which means that you must pre-visualize the finished photograph. This might be a brief moment before the shutter opens or this might be something that you’ve thought about for days, weeks or even years in advance. It doesn’t necessarily matter how long that you pre-visualized, it just matters that you saw the finished picture prior to capturing it.

Great photographs are very rarely happy accidents. Almost all worthwhile pictures took some thought and planning to create, even if just for a moment before the shutter clicked open. The more clearly you can see in your mind what it is that you want to capture, the more likely you are to accomplish it. Clarity means vividly seeing the end while still at the beginning, which is the first key to capturing great pictures.

2. Creativity

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Ethos – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X100F

In addition to having clarity, you must be creative. Some people seem to be naturally creative. If that’s not you, don’t fret! I believe that creativity is something that can be learned and fostered. The more you allow yourself to think outside the box and look at things from different angles, the more creative you’ll become. Creativity takes practice.

You have to relax. You have to keep an open mind. You have to use your imagination. Try to channel your inner child. This all might sound cliché, but the only barrier to creativity is yourself–your rigid self–the self that says words like “no” and “can’t” and “shouldn’t” and other negative things. Think positive and throw all the so-called rules out the window. Take a deep breath; let yourself go.

3. Conception

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Barn By The Tetons – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

Your photograph begins as a concept. You have an idea. You begin to see that idea vividly in your mind’s eye. As the thought forms, you begin to consider other ways to look at it. Your creativeness takes the concept to new places. This is a vivid and imaginative conception.

Speak some message through your picture. Show your unique perspective. You have something important to say, so say it! Photographs are a form of nonverbal communication, and they all say something. The stronger the communication, the stronger the image. Use your strongest communication in your photos. Make your concept as clear as practical so the viewer isn’t left wondering what the point of the picture is.

4. Capturing

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

The next step in photographic vision is to capture the image on film or digital sensor. You’ve come up with a creative concept that you can clearly see in your mind. You’ve made a vivid and imaginative conception, so now is the time to make it a photographic reality. This is when you take what you saw in your head and make it happen photographically.

There is a lot to this, of course. You must consider gear and settings and lighting and composition and everything else. You have to know how to put what’s in your mind into something tangible. If you don’t know how, then perhaps you should learn. There are so many resources available on the internet and at the library–it’s all at your fingertips if you put in a little effort to learn. And oftentimes learning-by-doing is a good approach because, after all, practice makes perfect. The more you do, the better you’ll be. Because this step might be the most difficult, I cannot overemphasize the importance of understanding how your camera works at a deep level, and knowing fundamental photographic concepts. Capturing what’s in your mind is much easier said than done, but it can be done.

5. Composing

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

Composing probably reminds you of composition, but that’s not what I mean, as composition can be found in the previous principals. Instead, think of a symphony composer, putting everything together, placing consideration on even the smallest details. In the case of photographic vision, composing means taking account of all the little details, including editing. Especially editing.

Editing might mean post-processing your files if they require manipulation to fulfill your vision, knowing how much manipulation is enough, and knowing when no manipulation is better. Editing also means editing out the lesser exposures, deleting the bad ones and not including the mediocre ones with a body of work. Consider composing to be a synonym for curating. Additionally, it’s knowing when the vision or execution of the vision wasn’t good enough. Composing means knowing when to take it from the top and try again. It means being responsible for the finished image.

Conclusion

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Twisted Tree – Keystone, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2

It takes a lot of work, mostly mental work but also physical work, to create worthwhile pictures. You are creating pictures, not merely taking them. Your art requires your best craft. Understanding what photographic vision is goes a long ways towards this, but more important than understanding it is practicing it. Grab your camera and head out with a vivid and imaginative concept in your mind so that you will more successfully create great photographs.