I'm not an "equipment" guy so much - I like to have good gear, but I'm not obsessed with always having the "latest and greatest." Usually, when I do buy a new camera or lens, the purpose is less about filling a specific need, but rather it's a way to generate some "creative inertia." Sometimes, just having a new camera or lens makes me want to do more photography. For the past several years, I've used exclusively a Canon 5DII and 3 prime lenses. But, I found myself less and less interested in shooting with it. The Canon is big, heavy, and conspicuous. It's not a "fun" camera. It's a great camera, but it doesn't make me want to pick it up. It's functional, but not emotional.
As such, I found myself photographing less and less. I found myself often without my camera, and my "eye" was not being exercised. So, I needed a change. Enter the Fujifilm X-Pro1. I was interested in this camera right from the first announcement. It has helped me produce some of my favorite images in the past year, and more importantly, it has re-sparked my creative side and love of photography, primarily because: it's small; fun to use; allows me to see "out of the box" (literally, via the OVF); produces amazing quality (at least on par with my 5DII); and is beautiful - a joy to look at and hold (and accessorize - case, strap, etc.). Yes, it has quirks that make it a challenge sometime (AF, parralax error), but the quirks challenge me as photographer, in a good way. It's like a fantastic sports car that's a little hard to drive - learn how to do so, and the rewards are fantastic.
Here are images I recently made with the X-Pro1, and a quick story behind them. Please let me know (comment function below and/or email) if these types of "blog" posts are of interest, and I'll do more "behind the picture" type entries. Same goes if you have any questions.):
This image was taken with the X-Pro1 + 35mm lens. Exposure was 1/50s at f/2.2, ISO 1000. I shot in Aperture priority mode. Processed in Lightroom. I wish I had more time to work this subject, but there were too many cars driving around! This is one of favorite images in a while - it conveys a sense of emptiness, but also the a common theme of many of my images - the effects of human beings on the environment. This parking structure, in Downtown Los Angeles, is one I visit at least once a week, and is a constant source of images. (Note to self: is there a new project here? Perhaps a "portrait" of a parking structure...why do parking structures fascinate me so much?). This image is nice complement to this image, as well.
This image was taken with the X-Pro1 + 18mm lens. Exposure was 1/30s at f/6.4, ISO 1600. I shot in Aperture priority mode. Processed in Lightroom. This is not the first time I've been to this location (it's at a mall very close to me). But, the wall was recently painted white, and a phone booth was removed that used to be right next to that bike rack. So, it was time to re-visit the scene. What maks the image for me are the strong primary colors of red, yellow, and black, along with the juxstaposition of the horizontal lines and the shape of the bike rack. As with many of my images, there's no people, but sings of human presence.
This image was taken with the X-Pro1 + 35mm lens. It was the first image I took in which I "discovered" a little trick with the X-Pro1 - quickly switching between OVF and EVF, which helps me understand and accommodate for parallax error. I don't have exposure settings for this one. This is an image I would never have captured without my X-Pro1. Why? Because "the best camera is the one you have with you" and the X-Pro1 is a camera I take with me everyone thanks to its size. This is near the Metro stop in North Hollywood. I loved the quirky position of the tree to the right. I also was struck by the colors (green, blue, yellow). But, most of all, it was just beautiful light. This image reflects my mood at the time - happy and bright (which is most often not the case). I just like it.
Here's another image of the parking structure I use in Downtown, Los Angeles - I really do think there's a project here with this structure, stay tuned. Another case of just always having my X-Pro1 with me. The dynamic range of the RAW files is really impressive, and the metering is outstanding. The file took less processing in Lightoom than a similar photo taken with my 5DII. Taken with 18mm, I have no other EXIF information (a result of processing in Silkypix before Lightroom support was available). This image combines, once again, strong colors with a stark composition that accurately reflects my mood at the time - lonely. I also like the texture of the pavement from the water. I could have stayed up on this roof top photographing all day.
Okay, I don't *only* take pictures of urban scenes. I love photographing my family, especially my older daughter Gretha (who loves be photographed...at least now she does). This was an image taken only a few days after I had my X-Pro1, and all I wanted to do was shoot. I said, "Gretha, go out on the balcony" and just fired off a couple of shots (we were on vacation in Maui). This was with the 35mm at f/1.4. Processed in Lightroom, where I cooled down the WB just a bit. Yes, my 5DII could have probably captured this image just fine, but the only reason I have this image was because I just couldn't put down the X-Pro1 - it's a camera that just makes you want to shoot. Some of my favorite shots with the X-Pro1 are of my girls. If you ware interested in more, let me know (email or post a comment on this blog entry). Perhaps my next set of "5 I love" will be all portraits.