18 November 2011

X100: When Timing Goes Awry

I can't blame the Fuji for the problems here. The blue-tinted shot is SOOC - the lights on the building on the right of the picture were bright blue and the camera has captured them pretty accurately as far as I can remember. However, I wanted to warm things up a bit, lose some of the uninteresting foreground (only a tiny bit, mind), and at the same time thereby bring the focus of interest, the receding man in the hat, a little bit more to the fore (click through to see what I mean). Here, you can see how poor timing has played a part in losing some of the interest that would otherwise have been generated - a few seconds earlier and the man in the trench coat and hat would have been more visible and his 1940s look would have played more strongly in the alleyway. As it is, this only gets a C-; ten seconds earlier and a B might have been possible. IMAGINE A PARAGRAPH BREAK HERE. A bit of straightening, alongside the colour change, is the only other thing that I have done here.

X100: A Bit More of Note (though getting a little repetitive)

The colour image is SOOC. Again, the advantages of near silent operation are obvious, though I'd add that this was taken as a reflection - the camera was pointing out the train doors into the darkness at the moment of capture and the two men are virtually behind me. The b&w shot has been a bit mucked about with, but not a whole heap. And you know what? I'm beginning to like some of these.... :)

X100: Some Other Observations

1. Firstly, I am aware the face of the woman on the left is completely burnt out. I know, poor lighting choice - some fill flash might, paradoxically, have helped here, though I can't remember what metering pattern I had the camera set to. There is also a lot of shadowing on the face of the woman on the right, though her skin has come off well. The camera was set to black and white with a green filter I believe. So there you go, make of that what you will. 2. The photo probably wouldn't have happened at all had it not been for the Fuji (no bad thing you might think, given the quality). How so? Well, the X100 is, as you know, an appealingly designed little thing and people often comment on it if they notice it, as was the case here - the woman on the right immediately asked me about it when I walked into the bar and didn't care a jot when I asked if I could take a shot as it is so unthreatening. In fact, she was interested to see it in action and, like a lot of people, had at first assumed it was an old film camera. 3. I've added considerable vignetting to this image, as well as a bit of sharpening - the latter was probably not necessary but old habits die hard. Overall, another disappointing shot in my view. Sure, nice to get complete strangers showing an interest and posing without question, and that in itself is an advantage to the camera not to be sneezed at. But again, where is the bite, the excitement, the wow factor? I shall continue to work through these issues...

X100: Balancing Out the Yin and Yang

Lacking in the aforementioned snap and pizazz, this shot from the camera is all about the "meh". Of course, that is largely, or indeed possibly almost wholly, my fault, but I can't help thinking there is a blandness to the shots I'm getting that isn't wholly attributable to my own lack of cojones when it comes to creating more memorable images. On the plus side, even the woman inches from the camera here had no idea a picture had been taken, a positive factor that should definitely not be underplayed.

X100: Disadvantages - Getting Good Results is Hard Work

Here is a good example of a bad shot from the Fuji / from the Fuji's owner :) This picture is all over the place. Not sharp, muddy colours, unexciting point of view. Mostly down to me, I guess, but somehow there is always something missing, a bit of bite, a snappy feel. Nope, this is the sort of shot I end up with far too often. Nice car of course - gull wing Mercedes 300 SL - now it is snappy, sharp and exciting. PARAGRAPH BREAK - STILL NOT WORKING IN BLOGGER I am aware there are probably a dozen things I could have done to improve this shot - got something more contrasty behind the doors, for example, not handheld for 1/20th of a sec or whatever it happens to be, got a more interesting angle. I know all these things, but somehow the camera doesn't make any allowances whatsoever for my not having done so, if that makes sense. It is too literal, too WYSIWYG. Next!

X100: Advantages - You'll Always Have it With You

Wherever you are, you'll likely have your Fuji about your person somewhere. So, even if the shots lack interest, they will be ubiquitous. Not that the two factors are interchangeable of course.

X100: Advantage - It's Unobtrusive

On a train, in a car, in a library even, as long as you have it set up right people just won't notice you taking pictures.

14 November 2011

Something new...

I had hoped that the X100 might herald something new, something different, in my photography (outside of the paid work that I am slowly building up that is). However, so far, nada. Sure, I have it with me, and sure, it isn't intimidating, but I find the need to go in so close off putting from the POV that it encourages close proximity to the subject, a proximity I find difficult to manage on the street. I shall continue to try, but if no results worth putting online (or at least, in my view, worth putting online - you may feel nothing here is worthy of attention - that's your privilege), if no results worth putting online appear before New Year I may well be forced to sell the beautiful instrument. Sure, I will miss it, but not as much as I miss going through my memory cards in the evening and finding images I am half-way pleased with. UPDATE: OTHER ISSUES: Focus failure. Slow to align and set up for a shot - it somehow "looks" like it should be quick and easy but it isn't, in part, I think, because of the fiddly size of the controls, especially the OK button which is not only small but also curved meaning, at least in my case, that you have to place your finger / thumbnail carefully on it so as not to slide off and nudge the outer wheel control. All of which sounds pernickity but which also adds up to a frustrating experience. Anyway, I'll post a few pics from last night in a bit - there is no guarantee yet that the camera won't be sold.

Fern, Kew Gardens

Some older pics now - last one

Apologies if any of these are repeats... Gormley at the South Bank, an epic display of art.

Some older pics now (8)

Talinn - what appealed here, obviously, were the colours, the textures, the sense of aging.

Some older shots now (7): Talinn Hotel Room

The comfort of synthetics.

Some older shots now (6)

Not sure this is a keeper, though worth a look at the large size maybe. You know, looking back over old photos isn't such a hot idea in many ways - lord but some of them make me cringe at the amateurishness of their execution. Not this one necessarily, but the cr*p I had to wade through to get one or two worth revisiting.

Some older shots now (5)

OK it's a cliche. Nonetheless...

Some older shots now (4)

A different take - I like the more subtle tones of this one compared to the rather harsh version I put up some years ago. Could do with some work still, but not tonight.

Some older shots now (3)

Worth repeating for the drama in the sky, though the lack of detail in the trees and grass is disappointing. Dynamic range is more than a musical term.

Some older shots now (2)

Some older shots now (1)

M, Soho