The name Light Traveler is very simple ! A photographer travels to find the best light, to make the perfect image. I decided to use the American spelling of the word traveler, just because it looked a lot better on the page ! The blog is to keep you updated with changes and events as well as keep you informed about our Travels around the Uk and the rest of the world. Photography is my passion and a way of life. My real passion in photography has and always will be the black and white image. If you have any questions you want to ask me please e mail me or send me a message, if you want an image that is not on the site just let me know and I will see what I can do for you.
What can I say! Street shooting and Fuji go hand in hand, I lost my confidence shooting street years ago when digital first came out, everyone looks at you when you have a DSLR and even worse when you have a D3s hanging round your neck or any pro body DSLR ! I used to get asked quite a lot was I press and what was I shooting! I just got fed up with trying to explain myself. I like to shoot up close with short and wide primes, but in the end to get a more candid shot with a DSLR I had to start shooting with 300mm Prime or 70-200mm Zoom and it was driving me mad.
The DSLR and 300mm Prime worked very well for my event work, shooting up from the pit to the stage or walking around fields or events I could just pick my shots, it all works very well in the event environment but I was never very happy shooting street shots with a 300mm lens.
I have watched a few YouTube clips on different styles of Street Photography and I think mine is somewhere in the middle. I like to talk to some people and engage with them, sometimes we swap details and I send them a few images or give them a business card. Other times I like to include them in the shot but without them knowing what I am up to, the XF14mm Fuji lens is great for that, you can just pretend to shoot a wall and capture a person or people in the very wide view.
Using a DSLR for years I have never realized how great the rear screen in live view for composing street shots is on these little cameras!
As soon as you put your eye to a camera everyone knows you are about to shoot! But looking at the rear screen people take no notice of you! I noticed this with my i phone you can use your phone all the time and no one takes any notice, you are not a photographer with a phone, it’s just a phone, I am quite sure half the time people don’t even realize people are taking shots with a phone, most of the time you can pretend you are texting and shoot what you like.
I was very unhappy with one aspect of the XE2 when it first came out, I am hoping Fuji will correct with the first firmware update, that is the fact you can’t view and review with the EVF only. But yesterday it made me use the rear monitor by accident. I was struggling to get the angles on the shots I wanted due to the amount of people in the city so in the end I was using the rear screen and the fantastic zoom feature found by pressing the scroll wheel! I could check focus and shoot without lifting the camera to my eye, not something I thought about with a DSLR but it’s great to have this feature on a camera.
I was watching another guy walking around with his camera resting over his arm and trying to work out what he was up to, in the end I walked up to him to be nosey ! He had a tilt screen and was using his arm to steady his camera as he shot candid portraits from waist level. I have to admit I did think that was great.
I did take my XPro1 with me and have included an image at the bottom of this post with a shot through the XF35mm lens, I love both cameras it’s very hard for me to say what one I like the most they both have little features that make me smile, the XPro1 feels more like a camera than the XE2 and I do prefer the XPro1 in my hands, but the XE2 is growing on me.
I have had a few messages from people moving over from a DSLR to one of the Fuji cameras and one of the biggest problems they have is how the camera feels and looks in their hands. I fully understand this problem, I went from a Nikon D3s to the XPro1 and that is one hell of a size jump. But once you realize that size does not matter it’s what you do with it !!! (Sorry had to be said ) Then you can move forward and to be honest the Fuji sensor is so good, who cares if the camera feels a bit like a toy.
I had a great time at the Liverpool Christmas Market, it was very busy so will have to have a return trip. It’s the famous Santa Dash this weekend So 10,000 Santa’s shopping and staying in the city over night does not help. I can’t shoot the Santa’s this year as black and white won’t work with blue and red Santa’s and all the other colours I have seen , so going to give it a miss this year. Next year I will hopefully be shooting it with the XPro2 so will have some brightly coloured Santa images for you.
One last thought for every one shooting Christmas Markets, the feedback I got from the stall holders was that they have never seen any images that get shot of them, they say they have thousands of photographers pointing cameras in their faces every day and although very nice they would love to see some of the images! So drop them a card or even a print if you have time. We might think we are the only ones taking a shot but some days they have more Photographers than they do customers! Have fun…
I was going to wait for the XPro2 to arrive at some point next year, but just could not wait! I needed a back up camera for my XPro1 and when the XE2 came out, it just looked so good. I hear a rumor the XPro2 will be weather sealed, this is great news. I know everyone else would like a full frame model but this would impact on my investment in Fujinon lenses, so hope the XPro2 is still a crop sensor.
I decided to have a look around at some of the early images posted by Kevin Mullins and some of the other Fuji guys and decided I had to have one, so put my order in to Cambrian Photography in Wales, so a big thank you to Sarah, only a three day wait for a new camera was well worth it. If you live in the North West or North Wales I can recommend a trip to Cambrian Photography! The place is just full of great camera gear and they have a great coffee shop across the road and fish and chip shop close by! But be warned they have most of what you want on the shelf and in stock so take your credit card!!
I decided to give the XE2 a day out at Chester Zoo, a little strange you might think for a mirror less camera that is supposed to be slow! You could be right, but I am going to be shooting events in some low light situations in 2014 and need to see what this little camera can do. I opted to try the Fujinon 55-200mm 3.5-4.8 lens, the main reason for this was my preferred set up in 2013 was a 300mm 2.8 Sigma on a Nikon D3s so I wanted to see what I would be missing and how well the XE2 would cope !
I was not putting the XE2 up against the D3s just wanted to know how differently I will have to work next year, I did however get a good feel of the XE2 as compared to the XPro1 and now know how I will have to set myself up for my first event.
The XE2 has lost the View Mode button in to the menu. This is the only annoying thing I found about the XE2 over the Xpro1. You can’t shoot and review the images on the rear screen using the EVF only! You can review the images in the EVF but the main reason I use the rear screen is to check focus, so this is very annoying, hopefully Fuji will fix this in a future update. One thing I do like is the fact you can now Zoom in to the image on the rear screen and the EVF to check focus and you can assign this to a function button, this is a welcome update.
I can tell you all that the focus is faster and the time lag on the shutter button is so much better than the Xpro1, I can’t compare it to the XE1 as I have not owned one.
I was shooing in the Zoo on an overcast cloudy day in very low fading light, so I set the XE2 to Auto ISO letting the camera sort out the ISO whilst I sorted out the Aperture and Shutter Speed.
I have got to say I was very impressed with the XE2 and the 55-200mm lens, it’s a strange combination, the lens is quite big for the body so it’s all out of balance but it does not take too long to get used to the set up, you can shoot with this set up all day without getting arm and shoulder ache, for me that’s a bonus. It’s not a D3s with a huge fast prime but in low light my D3s used to struggle to focus. The XE2 is not as fast as the D3s but its only fractions of a second off the focus and in some cases it might find focus when the Nikon cant, so that will be interesting at an event ! It’s a lot faster than the XPro1, so that’s a positive step in the right direction. The image stabilization on the 55-200mm is amazing! When I first put the lens on the XE2 with OIS turned off I thought I had made a big mistake and wasted my money on this lens, but when you turn on the OIS, the lens is a different beast! I would say the OIS is stunning! I was shocked at how quiet and stable it made the lens, so much so that you can shoot at quite low shutter speeds and still have sharp images from this set up.
I have to say the light faded very quickly so the XE2 was put under a lot of pressure for its first time out of the box, I was not expecting a lot and due to the fact I set it up to EVF only, I did not have a chance to review my shots until I got home. When I did see the results I was happy! More than happy!
Last year in Applecross, Scotland I had an Otter follow me along the shore line and only having my X100 with me I could not get the shot, I was annoyed with myself for not bringing my D3s out that day, but at the same time I was happy not to have to carry all that gear with me! That day and my event work was the reason I decided to buy this 55-200mm lens, it’s not as good as a fast prime but I am quite sure that when Fuji do bring out some fast prime telephotos or zooms they will be very impressive.
I am not going to go in to the technical side of the Fuji XE2 or the XPro1, there are plenty of places for that on the web, but I will say I am so glad I sold all my Nikon Pro gear and went over to Fuji. Size and weight alone is a big reason, the Fuji crop sensors are stunning, I have used most of the Nikon crop sensor cameras and I can tell you they do not come close to the sensor in the Fuji X series! You can crop the hell out of the Fuji image and even at 100% crop have a great image. I don’t often, if at all, crop my images, but for the people that do this is the sensor for cropping.
The day Fuji bring out a Full frame sensor if they do, I think they will cause quite a stir in the photography world, to be honest I am happy with the crop sensor and not sure I need to go back to full frame, I did say to myself that if I needed to go full frame after selling all my Nikon gear I would just hire it for the job, but so far I have just shot everything slightly differently.
I have some spare time next Friday to get back to Chester Zoo, so will give the XE2 a bit more of a test and try to get some movement for you, I always find the winter is a good time, as the Cats are a lot more active in the cold than lazing around in the summer sun.
The one surprise of the day was the tiger cub image at the top of this post, it was shot at 200mm (300mm 35mm EQ) ISO 6400 1/100 sec. f/4.8 I have got to say I was not expecting that !
I am definitely looking forward to my next year’s project now using only a couple of Fuji cameras and can’t wait to what they can do at events.
I have had so many e mails and requests to know the AF trick on the Xpro1, I thought I had better do a quick update!
I must just point out it works great for me and has been very accurate so far, but it does take a little getting used to !
First you need to go in to your menus and change a couple of settings, you go in to Menu 4 and make the following changes AE/AF-LOCK MODE-SWITCH AE/AF-LOCK BUTTON –BOTH AE+AF
Then you switch the AF switch to the front of the body to Manual!
You then use the AE/AF rear button to focus and the shutter button to shoot only, you will notice the EVF changes to show you it’s in Manual but as soon as you press the back button you get focus !
It works very well give it a go.
I was asked also why there is not base setting in the AUTO ISO Menu ! I did think this myself but you just set the shutter speed to say 125 if you are inside and AUTO1600 and shoot away if you want to make small changes use the jog wheel or change the speed, try its very good to be honest !
I will get around to a post on Venice in a few days.
I am getting lots and lots of e mails and questions about my switch from Nikon to Fuji!
To be honest it could have been Canon to Fuji, it’s a change that needed to be made and the main reason was size and weight, following my fall on Skye last year I have been getting fed up carrying 20-30 Kilos of camera gear around, and also I want to change the way I work, for my future projects.
It’s strange but if you go back through my blog, I have been having this dilemma for a long time, and way before all the big names in the industry made the switch! I just had to wait to finish a few projects before I could part with my D3s, and I wanted a camera system that has some great lenses! I was thinking Sony a while back but their lenses were just not up to it. When I got an X100 I was so stunned by the images and the lens Quality it was a no brainer!
So before I went to Venice I sold all my Nikon Pro gear! I have to be honest here and say the only parts of the system I will miss are the D3s and the Sigma 300mm 2.8! I sold everything DSLR related, tripods and filters etc So am now completely DSLR free and will never buy another.
I will just say this, I was Nikon for 40+ years but feel over the last four years Nikon have been all about profit and are forgetting the end user! The last 18 months they have just been clutching at straws and bringing out one camera after another! The D800 is fine but the image sensor is to big, the D4 is not tht much of an improvement on the D3s and in some respects the D3s is better ! The best camera Nikon have at the moment is the D7100. It’s a shame people with the D3 and D700 and D300 were all looking for a great camera when there model was worn out. But it’s just not happening. In my honest opinion a second hand D200 is still a stunning camera and back in my blog the cheep early Nikon VR lenses are still stunning. I see Nikon are now going to follow Fuji and try and make a Nikon FM2 style retro copy ! Let me tell you the Nikon FM2 was an amazing film camera and came from the days Nikon were top of there game ! The image sensors in Nikon cameras are good but just go out for a day with a Fuji X series and think again! The X Series sensors are stunning and the dynamic range and lack of noise is also stunning. The rumor is Nikon are going to put a full frame sensor in this retro camera! Give me strength! Please Nikon get a grip, no one will be able to keep the sensor clean it will be a nightmare for any one that cant clean their own sensor and they are going to keep the same lens mount! I think someone at Nikon needs to get there head out of the sand and look to the future!
I will just say that in the last 18 months I have never had so many faults with Nikon gear, and it was driving me mad having to send it back to Nikon for repair! Its not great when a company forgets how it got to where it is, let’s hope they sort it out before its to late.
Nokia are going to shake things up over the next few months with their camera phones and tablets so the future of the consumer camera market is going to be a mess for a while, the phone companies have taken over that market!
Fuji has got it right in my opinion, using the X100 and the Xpro1 to me were like going back to my Nikon FM2. It slowed me down and made me think, and this I like. I also want to be ready for the future and the future is not in DSLR’s I can tell you that for a fact, Mirrorless are not quite there yet but they will be and I want to learn how to use them now and know them inside out.
I decided to get the Xpro1 and a few lenses, with the hope they bring out an Xpo2 next year so I can use the Xpro1 as a back up to the Xrpo2. I sold my X100 and do miss it, so I might buy an X100s but we shall see.
So what do I think so far! I am in love with Fuji; I have seen every one trying to jump on their bandwagon Olympus etc and good luck to them. But for me Fuji is where it is and I hope Fuji stick to their amazing customer focused business! When you buy a Fuji and you open the box you know you have just made the right decision, even the box is stunning! (Take note Nikon and Canon)
The X100 and the Xpro1 are quirky to use just like film cameras used to be and I love that, but some of the things you can do with a mirrorless rangefinder are just amazing. Filters work like a dream and the camera even has a built in Bulb Timer! How cool is that for long exposures! Talking of long exposures you can focus the Xpro1 in the dark using the scale in the monitor to set the focus and depth of field and its spot on. It’s not as fast AF wise as a DSLR but there is a trick in the menus to speed things up and if anyone wants to know how its done message me and I will send you details. There are so many great things about these little cameras I just don’t have time to write it all down for you, but I walked around Venice for 5 days 10 hours a day with a camera body and 6 lenses and a tripod and my shoulder did not ache once!
No one looks at you with the Fuji, so you can shoot where you like and no one bats an eyelid.
You can put a huge amount of Fuji gear in a flight bag and carry it all on and off a flight, so perfect for travel.
I will only miss my DSLR for Wildlife and high ISO and I might miss a few shots when I shoot gigs or events due to AF speed but I just don’t care to be honest.
I have a few ideas up my sleeve and a few projects for the next few years that will make me fit the system.
So that’s it for now, if you want to know more about the Xpro1 and lenses feel free to come find me on Facebook or any of my other social media links and have a chat.
I will write more on the camera and lenses when I get the chance so bare with me.
Face Behind The Keyboard is my 2014 personal project, it’s all about taking me out of my comfort zone and also quite a lot of my subjects to !
I have been thinking about this project for a while, it’s been quite hard for me to decide which way to go with my portrait project in 2014 but in the end I was inspired by a very very close friend who I did not meet in the flesh ! Her name was Lynette, we became friends on the internet on Dontstayin.com and then on facbook, we spoke nearly every day for many years and had a very close friendship. Unfortunately Lyn died in tragic circumstances, this was a huge shock for me and even though I was welcomed with open arms to her funeral by her family, I could not go! Having a virtual best friend you had never met who died was quite hard to deal with. I think about her all the time, and always wish we could have met just once!
Also every one that does not know I met Jane on what was Face-Pic, Jane was one of the only people on Face-Pic without a profile photo! Long story.
The internet is a strange place, it’s amazing how we can think and feel and fall in love without meeting any one in person! Some people remain faceless even to this day on facebook. This is my inspiration for the 2014 project as it will help me to meet some of you guys just once in the flesh and put a person to a profile !
I know a lot of Photographers myself included that hate having their photo taken and there are quite a few shy people around, believe it or not, myself included! But I feel quite safe behind the camera!
My project with commence on the 1st of January 2014 and finish on the 31st December 2014, I think it will follow on very nicely from my 2013 project, my year of black and white.
I aim to shoot the whole project with Fuji X camera systems, I have a few ideas for a few of my friends, but don’t worry nothing too radical!
If you want to join in and take part you can, if you are one of my social media friends on any platform and you want to meet up and have your portrait shot then get in touch by e mail email@example.com or through one of the social media platforms. I can’t include you all and I can’t travel the world, but if you are visiting the UK in 2014 then get in touch and I will see what I can do.
This project is no doubt going to be a very emotional one on so many levels, one life live it, capture it !
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