Landscape Techniques with the Fujifilm X Series.

Over the coming months I will be writing a series of blogs for the Fuji X Aus site. The key to these blogs will be all about gathering the thoughts, opinions, insights, skills, workflows and tips directly from members of the Fuji X Aus Facebook group. These blogs will be about some of those key photography questions that we see discussed in the group on a fairly regular basis.  And in return it is my hope that these blogs will give back to the greater community a wealth of information. The members are approached by myself for a short interview to gain a little insight into who they, what they shoot and why they use Fujifilm X Series products.

Landscape photography has long held a high level of respect amongst society as it enables everyone to see a piece of the world that may have only been experienced by a few. Or seeing a scene of a remote and beautiful part of the planet may inspire the imagination and desire to travel and witness such beauty for ourselves. Or more simply, much like a beautiful landscape painting, we appreciate the art in rendering an image of such quality. And in this the photographer plays such a key role – just as cartographers and navigators once did – they document the landscape as points of reference and a moment in time. I think that there is something truly romantic in an art form such as this. 

Being a true romantic myself, I wanted to get to the heart of this style of photography. So I sought out a number of members from the Fuji X Aus group to gain a greater insight into how they do what they do. I was not disappointed as our group has an insane number of highly skilled and experienced landscape photographers that tell a story of the land in the blink of an eye. The responses were so strong that this will form the part one of two blogs on this topic. Let’s get started. 

Bernie Gibson

3 Rows
Chain Valley Bay – 18 images in 3 rows. Fujifilm X-T20 with Fujifilm XF60mm2.4 macro.

To start off, what can you tell us about yourself and your photography journey?

Sydney boy, that started in commercial photography at an early age. Started my own commercial photographic business in North Sydney, which I worked with staff for over 24 years. Then, as the digital age had well started I retired part time, brought a high end digital camera and started a new business servicing some old clients with new technology, this lasted till I retired. Now fully retired (72yrs) only doing photography as a enjoyable hobby. Today I am shooting landscape panorama format with the Fujifilm XE-1 and Fujifilm XT-20, with a 35mm prime lens and on a panorama tripod head.

Do you have a favourite location to capture landscape? A place that calls you back time and again?

My favourite location for landscapes would be all along the Central Coast just north of Sydney. From Woy Woy to Port Stevens. There are a lot of good locations and a lot I am yet to visit These few are favourites and easy to get a different look with each visit, Merewether Pool Newcastle, Newcastle Pool, Soldiers Point Central Coast, Terrigal Skillion, Avoca North,,,,,,,too many to add.

How do you prepare for the elements? What practical non-photographic equipment do you pack for a landscape shoot?

Part of my kit for a location shoot in winter and summer are rock boots and Kleenex in the pocket, you may need to wipe the lens on a cold morning along with a good bright torch for the walk to the location. Warm jacket and gloves for winter, and a good location for breakfast and hot coffee.

Do you do research and pick a specific destination to photograph or do you just go rogue into the wild and hope for the best?

Most of new locations, I like to do some re-search, before an early morning shoot which can be up to one hour before sunrise. Visit before, during daylight hours, along with some happy snaps done with my Fujifilm XE-1 and Fujifilm XF23mmF1.4 lens gives me good re-search material before the morning shoot. I always shoot with a small group or with a buddy. The daytime visit gives me lots of information which also shows if the area is good for panorama landscape photography. The number of panorama frames and rows exposed will depend on the location.

Which is your favourite Fujifilm body and lens combination when it comes to shooting landscape?

My favourite camera body the Fujifilm X-T20, coupled with Fujifilm XF35mmF1.4 lens for landscape panoramas. Also use my Fujifilm XE-1 with Fujifilm XF35mmF1.4 lens for shooting panorama format. Both camera bodies are set up on a panorama tripod head when shooting. The size of a landscape panorama is governed by the number of frames and rows exposed. If I was shooting hand held single images or 2 or 3 image panoramas I would use the Fuji XT20 with Fujifilm  XF16-55mmF2.8  lens.

If people wanted to view your work online where can they find you?

More of my work can be seen on my flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48603369@N02/

14ing2Row
Merewether Ocean Pool Newcastle – 14 images in 2 rows. Fujifilm XE-1 with XF35mmF1.4.

Dale Rogers

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Fujifilm XT10 Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8 – ISO200, f/8, 1/1000sec

Could you tell us a little about yourself and your photographic journey? 

I am a native Texan and have been in Oz for about 20 years. My love of photography started when I was a kid. My Dad shot with a Canon AE1 camera and would carry it around anytime we went on an adventure. I learned to use that camera and have had a camera near me ever since. I have always had a love and respect for the environment and for nature and turned to my camera to help document and tell stories so others could experience some of the awe and appreciation I had. Growing up I wanted to be an archaeologist (a la Indiana Jones), palaeontologist, wildlife/eco-documentary maker or photographer. My career path didn’t exactly follow one of these professions and with a degree in physical anthropology, psychology and an executive masters in public administration, I now manage a government program.

However, from my childhood yearnings to be adventurer, eco-warrior and photographer, I created Photo Rangers about 5 years ago. Photo Rangers conducts adventure based photography workshops and includes ecological, environmental and wildlife information specific to the area in each workshop. When people complete a Photo Rangers workshop not only do they have a better understanding of their camera and technique but they also have a unique understanding of the environment they just photographed. I want people to look back at their images taken and tell people “I used x camera and settings for this shot but did you know that giant rock formation is actually cooled magma from an ancient volcano” or “here’s a shot I took on Phillip Island, that little bird is an endangered species and ….” Photo Rangers is a part-time endeavour and we offer scheduled workshops most Saturdays and one to one workshops on Sundays.

Do you have a favourite location to capture landscape? A place that calls you back time and again?

My favourite location is the landscape under my foot. I love intimate landscapes. An intimate landscape is rarely noticed by passers-by. They are not marked on a map, hiked to, driven past, camped at or explored. They just exist. They exist right under our feet or right in front of our eyes. They are there for the finding if one slows down and really looks. I love intimate landscapes because they encompass the viewer and pulls them into a special secret moment of time, place and space. The viewer is not outside of, but rather, included within the intimate landscape.

I return to some epic landscape locations each week on our workshops around Phillip Island. I love them all because Mother Nature is never the same and the scene you have one day will be dramatically different to the next. Every day, no matter the location, I look for the unique and different perspective. This keeps me always looking and ‘seeing’ the differences in the landscape and pushes me to be creative and innovative with each outing.

How do you prepare for the elements? What practical non-photographic equipment do you pack for a landscape shoot?

I really enjoy shooting in inclement weather. I find that I get shoots that are unique and different because few people are crazy enough to head out in the rain or wind or heat or cold. I wear waterproof gear if I expect rain including pants, boots, Drizabone and of course, my cowboy hat. I trust the Fujifilm weather sealing.   My Fujifilm X-T1, Fujifilm X-T10 and Fujifilm X-T2 have all been exposed to severe weather with and without WR lenses. They have taken an absolute beating in all weather and have yet to damage anything, yet. I always pack several lens clothes, a microfiber towel, multi-tool, extra batteries and a flashlight and candle lanterns if I expect to be out after dark.

Do you do research and pick a specific destination to photograph or do you just go rogue into the wild and hope for the best?

I always research locations. I use TPE (The Photographers Ephemeris) app to determine exactly where and when the Sun, Moon and Milky Way will rise and set. This helps me determine if the location will work and what time I would need to be there for the shots I have in mind. This is especially helpful when planning astrophotography shots because the Milky Way moves through the night.

Which is your favourite Fujifilm body and lens combination when it comes to shooting landscape?

My favourite by a longshot is the Fujifilm X-T2 and the Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8. I love this combo and anytime I go out I have this combo as well as the Fujifilm X-T10 or Fujifilm X-T1 with a wide angle to complement. I use the Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8 for wildlife, intimate landscapes, tele landscapes and every Saturday I shoot my daughter horse riding with this combo.

As far as a traditional landscape set-up, it’s typically the Fujifilm X-T10 and the Fujifilm XF10-24mm F4. I like the extra wide field of view. I look for interesting angles and foregrounds to complete a shot with this extra wide view.

If people wanted to view your work online where can they find you? 

You can find me and Photo Rangers schedule of events and workshops at:

@photo_rangers (Instagram)

https://facebook.com/photorangers (Facebook)

http://photorangers.com.au (Web)

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Fujifilm XT2 Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8, f/2.8, 1/1000sec

 

Chris Magnay

_DSF5711-Edit
This image was shot on the Fujifilm X-T2 and the Fujifilm XF14mmF2.8, F9.0 ISO 200 and 8 seconds. I was just out for an evening drive when i noticed heaps of dust from a local motocross track drifting over the river. Luckily I had a camera and tripod in the car and raced down to try and use the soft light from the dust with the long exposure texture of the water.

Could you tell us a little about yourself and your personal photography journey?

Hi Greg, thanks for asking me to feature on the blog! I live in Kununurra in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. I moved up here 15 years ago from Melbourne looking for my first job as a commercial pilot. Since then I married a beautiful girl from Kununurra and have three adventurous kids, been a chief pilot, become a part own a caravan park and also finished my apprenticeship as a jeweller! All of those jobs revolve around tourism and thats what led me into photography a little more seriously. I’ve always loved photography starting with a Canon AE-1 program in high school, then a couple of Olympus Pen cameras and finally ending up with a Fujifilm X-T1 two years ago. The landscape up here draws me out to explore and try and capture it and to share that with people who haven’t experienced it before. The ancient rock formations and abundant water make me feel insignificant and humble. One of my goals is to promote the area through imagery, and I do a lot of photography for our businesses social media ‘selling the Kimberley dream’ but also do a couple of some outside commercial work too. These days I do some video, aerial, food, jewellery, property, portrait, basically give anything a go. And also try and find time for my own passion of landscape (luckily this also lends itself to prints and social media for the caravan park). I’m drawn to water and long exposure – I love being able to bring out what the eye might not be able to see.

Do you have a favourite location to capture landscape? A place that calls you back time and again? 

I’ve got lots of places I have loved shooting and the Kimberley is full of them. Mostly I end up shooting scenes with water, but this year I have made three trips to the Bungle Bungles to shoot. Its an amazing place and standing amongst the domes in the pre dawn light is quite a spiritual experience.

How do you prepare for the elements? What practical non-photographic equipment do you pack for a landscape shoot? 

We are lucky we live in a warm environment so mostly its carrying enough water, sunscreen and (i get hangry easily) food. The biggest issue would be dust or rain so grind mats, lens brushes and blowers, a spare microfibre cloth for general cleaning. Some of the places we go are pretty remote so its important to keep your car in good order, carry spare battery and two tyres, leave a SAR (search and rescue) time with someone and always pack mozzie repellant! And good footwear is a must so i always make sure my thongs are in tip top condition.

Do you do research and pick a specific destination to photograph or do you just go rogue into the wild and hope for the best? 

Depends what we are doing. In the wet season we go waterfall chasing and this can take a fair bit of planning. It’s often a fair hike in after a boat trip – roads can be impassable. If we are shooting storms theres a couple of reliable elevated places tat work well – so I’ll just check the weather radar and head to a spot that looks in the right direction. Otherwise I carry a camera all the time (and a full backpack in the wet, you never know when it will start a big lightening show. So I guess a fair bit of research or planning goes into it.

Which is your favourite Fujifilm body and lens combination when it comes to shooting landscape? 

For landscape you can’t beat the Fujifilm X-T2. Its rugged, has all external dials for everything i need and is weather sealed. My go to lens would be the Samyang 12mm, followed closely by the Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8 for tighter compositions. Having said that I also use the Fujifilm XF14mmF2.8, XF16mmF1.4 and the XF23mmF1.4 for landscape too! They all do things slightly different.

If people wanted to view your work online where can they find you? 

If you want to check out what I’ve been up to had over to www.instagram.com/magnay or my website www.magnay.photos

_DSF9522-Pano
My most used lens is the Fujifilm XF23mmF1.4. While its not a typical landscape lens it works fabulously for panoramic shots like this one. This a crop from 6 vertical panorama shots using an Fujifilm X-T1, XF23mmF1.4. Each shot was 20 seconds at ISO 200, f10. Again I just left work and looked up and literally ran down to the boat ramp with a camera and tripod in hand. Always be prepared! I will always start at ISO 200, f8-11 and adjust shutter speed as required. Some of my favourite images have been just before or just after the sun is up, and love long exposures.

That brings us to the end of the first of two blogs where I interview some truly talented and highly skilled landscape photographers – all of whom are members of the Fuji X Aus group. I want to thank Bernie, Dale and Chris for taking the time the work with me to put this blog together. Please stay tuned for future blogs where I get to discuss all manner of photography related topics. Oh and by the way…the cover photo of this blog is of Dale Rogers. Wave dancer, rock leaper and cliff climber.  I took that shot in early 2017 on an expedition to Cadillac Canyon with him – one of Dale’s favourite locations. He said he was just going to go up a little higher and disappeared. I was sure he was leaving me on that cold beach to die alone. Happy Shooting.

 

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