Teryn & Chris's wedding

The last couple of months were busy with travel and work, so it is time to blog again. Last year I was asked to photograph a wedding for Teryn and Chris, which I agreed to do happily. And so in March I took my cameras (two XT2 bodies with grips) with 35mm f2 and f1.4, 50mm f2 and 56mm f1.2 (and Samyang 12mm f2 - teriffic small lens) and had a wonderful time photographing the day. I had the X-Pro2 with me as well (it lives in my bag) and it pretty much went through the day with me with the 35mm f1.4 stuck to it. I did not (and do not) use 23mm (35 FF) lenses, as I find them too wide for my liking when I photograph people. All my gear with spare batteries and chargers was nicely packed into Billingham 307 bag.
Here is a small selection of images, which reflect the story. I tried to capture those unstaged and unplanned moments as much as I could, which can build up the emotional memory of the day. Most of the shots were made with available light and manual focusing, using f2 lenses during the day and switching to f1.2 and f1.4 lenses in the evening. I used flash later on (Nisin i40) when the light was dead and the dancing floor had those purple/magenta beams swinging about... I do not need to write here again how good Fujifilm X cameras are for documentary wedding style, so I will leave the images to speak for themselves.  As for myself - I had an emotional day behind the lens with every minute of it being fantastic, making new memories and friends. Thank you Allison and Graham and Teryn and Chris for trusting me with your big day!  Sadly Allison passed away last summer from very fast and aggressive cancer. The last few weeks of her life were made as happy as humanly possible by the great staff and care at Salisbury Hospice. Not having her at the wedding made it a lot more emotional... Ohana.

Andro  
P.S.  Click on any image to adjust it to your screen size.

Milano's reflections

This is retrospective post for my visit to Milano in May. As it was a short visit, I decided to travel light and take X-Pro2 (my favourite) with three compact "Fujicron" lenses - 23, 35 and 50mm - all f2, and XT-2 with 10-24mm f4 zoom and 8mm f2 Samyang fisheye for architectural shots. All nicely packed into the new 20l Peak-Design backpack. The latter was improved by taking out couple of lower intersections and putting in a Billingham Hadley Small insert, facing the side of the backpack, instead. The abundancy of photo opportunities in Milano is overwhelming (street, architecture, reflections) therefore shooting something that has not been photographed before is almost impossible. But then a rain fall comes and it changes everything... as the saying goes: "bad weather makes good pictures" - or least provides for some great photo opportunites. So here is my small selection of shots, indoors and outdoors, street and reflections of Milano as I saw it.
As for lens usage - 35mm f2 was my clear favourite, 8mm lens was used most for indoors as 10-24 is often not wide and not bright enough. I used it more often on a tripod (Gitzo 1542T) with RRS BH-30LR II ball head outdoors. My biggest surprise was to find out how good the 23mm f2 lens is. It is a gem and although it is not my favourite focal length I will use it more often from now.

Post-editing was done in Lightroom 6 using Fujifilm Classic Chrome profile with some further adjustments. BW conversion - with Nik's SilverEfex. Click on any image to adjust it to your screen size.

Winter lights with X-Pro2

Winter is over and the spring light is back in force, so here is a mixture of London's winter low light or rather night shots which were done mostly (except for Kew Gardens' Christmas lights) on my way back home from work. Most of the shots were made with Fujifilm X-Pro2 combined with 35mm (f1.4 or f2) and 16-55mm f2.8 lenses, the latter using a Gitzo tripod. The X-Pro2 sensor has a great dynamic range and all lenses handle tricky light very well. Despite having X-T2s bodies, which come in handy for architecture shots and landscape shots, I find myself having the X-Pro2 in my bag every day with the 35mm f1.4 attached and the 35mm f2 lens as a spare for rain shots. The new 35mm f2 WR is a great versatile lens, but the old original f1.4 glass is still my favourite by far. As usual post-editing was done in Iridient Developer and Lightroom 6. Click or tap on any image to adjust it to your screen size.

London from helicopter with Fuji X-T2 & X-Pro2

Time has come to upgrade my old trusty pair of X-T1s so what better place is to test new X-T2 than a doors off helicopter (link at the end of this blog) ride over London? After some thinking and web searching I opted for the X-T2 (with battery grip) and 50-140mm f2.8 lens combo, and X-Pro2 with 35mm f1.4 as a second camera, as I wanted to test a fast prime and was not sure how much light we would get at the end of the flight. The flight was planned for just after 3pm and the idea was that we would fly over the Tower Bridge about half an hour before sunset. With luck we would have good light and great scenery. In fact we (three photographers sharing the flight) were very lucky and the dull grey sky broke into clouds and gave us what we were hoping for.
To get the best quality shots and relative freedom of view one needs to take doors off. This requires a proper secure harness with several attachments points to the helicopter, plus safety belt, plus both camera straps having to be secured by carabins too. Despite all that, being strapped to a chair 1600 ft in the air still makes you being rather cautious when you lean out to take a shot. Having dual cards slots in both cameras and extra batteries in X-T2 comes handy as changing anything during the flight is not allowed, as no one wants anything to fly out of the cabin and hit the blades... for the same reason the lens hoods were removed too. Once in the air you get very strong vibrations, noise and wind so my cameras were set at 1/1000s shutter speed, auto ISO from 200 to 800 and I would only change aperture depending on the shot I was taking.  Saying that, and you can see from the shot info I attached to each image, most of the shots were made with large apertures. I stopped down both lenses ocassionaly and only once used f8 when light was hitting me too hard - EVFs on both cameras are great to see what you get, that is if you can hold camera to your face in that vibration.

Post-editing was done in Lightroom 6 using Fujifilm Classic Chrome profile with some further adjustments. Click on any image to adjust it to your screen size.

London's golden hour; X-T2 ISO640 50-140mm f2.8 1/1600s

I found myself using both X-Pro2 with 35mm f1.4 and X-T2 (with vertical grip) and 50-140mm f2.8 lens pretty much equally. I did not note any difference in quality of shots as both cameras (and lenses) did a superb job. Using joysticks for choosing focusing points was very easy, especially in a heavy vibration situation and both cameras were very comfortable to use. The only thing I would have liked differently is a tighter aperture ring on 35mm f1.4 - it is too soft, so it is too easy to move under helicopter flight conditions. And yes, here comes a small rant, Fuji - why still only three frames per bracket? And why put movie mode onto the left subdial where brackets used to be on X-T1? It would make more sense to place it with the other extras on the right side of that dial together with panorama, filters etc. Also it would make sense if info icons on EVF were to have the same locations on both X-Pro2 and X-T2, for the sake of clarity and simplicity ... and finally, how about an option of saving your camera body settings onto an SD card as a file so you can quickly set up another new one? Anyway, would I fly again - absolutely yes (see link below), would I take the same cameras - yes, may be swapping 35mm to 23mm f1.4 or 16-55 f2.8 lens.

St. Katharine Docks Marina; X-Pro2 ISO200 35mm f2.8 1/1000s

Wapping area; X-Pro2 ISO250 35mm f2.8 1/1000s

Canary Wharf; X-Pro2 ISO200 35mm f2.2 1/1000s

Waterloo Station; X-Pro2 ISO200 35mm f3.6 1/1000s

IMAX cinema, Waterloo Station; X-Pro2 ISO200 35mm f3.6 1/1000s

Over the Archbishop's Park, Lambeth area; X-Pro2 ISO540 35mm f3.6 1/1000s

Oval cricket ground X-Pro2 ISO320 35mm f3.6 1/1000s

Battersea power station being redeveloped; X-Pro2 ISO640 35mm f5.6 1/1000s

Battersea park; X-Pro2 ISO2800 35mm f5.6 1/1000s

Battersea park; X-Pro2 ISO400 35mm f2.0 1/1000s

X-Pro2 ISO320 35mm f4.5 1/1000s

Parsons Green, Hurlingham Park; X-T2 ISO800 50-140mmf5.0 1/1000s

Battersea area; X-Pro2 ISO800 35mm f4.5 1/1000s

Saint Mary's Church, Battersea Church Rd; X-Pro2 ISO400 35mm f4.5 1/1000s

Battersea area opposite Imperial Wharf, X-Pro2 ISO400 35mm f4.5 1/1000s

Battersea Park; X-T2 ISO800 50-140mm f5.0 1/1000s

Barnes Wetland Centre; X-T2 ISO640 50-140mm f5.0 1/1000s

Imperial Wharf, Chelsea; X-T2 ISO200 50-140mm f5.0 1/1000s

Lots Road Power Station, Chelsea Creek. Originally allowed to switch District line trains from steam to electricity. Being redeveloped now. X-T2 ISO800 50-140mm f5.0 1/1000s

Worlds end estate, Chelsea; X-T2 ISO800 50-140mm f5.0 1/1000s

X-T2 ISO800 50-140mm f2.8 1/1000s

South Kensington; X-T2 ISO800 50-140mm f5.0 1/1000s

Palace of Westminster - House of Parliament, Bridge and London Eye; ; X-T2 ISO200 50-140mm f3.6 1/1000s

Westminster Cathedral, Victoria; ; X-T2 ISO250 50-140mm f3.6 1/1000s

Palace of Westminster - House of Parliament; X-T2 ISO200 50-140mm f3.6 1/1000s

HM Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs (left) and Foreign & Commonwealth Office (right). Grey building on the right - 10 Downing Street.  X-T2 ISO200 50-140mm f3.6 1/1000s

Buckingham Palace and St. JAmes Park; X-T2 ISO3200 50-140mm f3.6 1/1000s

Centre Point (left) and Central Saint Giles (colourful buildings) ; X-T2 ISO200 50-140mm f3.6 1/1000s

British Museum; X-T2 ISO200 50-140mm f3.6 1/1000s

Aldwych, Strand meets Kingsway; X-T2 ISO200 50-140mm f3.6 1/1000s

St. Paul's cathedral; X-T2 ISO320 50-140mm f3.6 1/1000s

Looking north between Bank and Moorgate. Guildhall bottom left,  Finsbury Circus (right)X-T2 ISO200 50-140mm f3.6 1/1000s

walkie talkie - not the prettiest skyscraper in London even from above .. X-T2 ISO320 50-140mm f3.6 1/1000s

London City; X-T2 ISO800 50-140mm f3.6 1/1250s

London Shard and renovated London Bridge Station; X-T2 ISO800 50-140mm f2.8 1/1600s

London City; X-T2 ISO800 50-140mm f3.6 1/1250s

X-T2 ISO500 50-140mm f2.8 1/1250s

Limehouse area; X-T2 ISO800 50-140mm f3.6 1/1250s

Canary Wharf; X-T2 ISO800 50-140mm f3.6 1/1250s

Millenium Dome (The O2 arena), North Greenwich; X-T2 ISO250 50-140mm f2.8 1/1000s

London City Hall, X-T2 ISO800 50-140mm f2.8 1/1600s

London City Hall; X-T2 ISO800 50-140mmf2.8 1/1600s

Grand Finale - every cloud has a golden lining in London :) X-Pro2 ISO200 35mm f8.0 1/1000s

Photo-impressionism with X-Pro2

Four years ago I bought Fujifilm X-Pro1 and my photographic journey began. Much has changed in my photography since but I still learn both technically and creatively. During the last two years I was doing plenty of street shooting trying to find my way of seeing this very dynamic and ever changing scenery. As I have a natural leaning to b/w images I wanted to explore colour more and whilst doing so I wondered (just like many others) how much of a subject and colour is needed to communicate a vision and/or a scene. So the "waterworld" project was started. The project was shot during this summer and is a series of photographs taken through the waterfall window of a London office building, where I was kindly permitted to shoot. I loved the photo-impressionistic effect created by shooting through running water that removes the precise focus and subject matter leaving it up to the viewer to envisage and complete the picture. Most of the shots were made with X-Pro2 combined with 16-55mm f2.8 or on a few occasions with 14mm f2.8 lenses. The project is still ongoing so this is pretty much the first part of it, with a selection of shots taken during day time and which I think reflect what I had in my mind when I started it. Post-editing was done in Iridient Developer and Lightroom 6. Click or tap on any image to adjust it to your screen size.

Mykonos with Fuji X-Pro2

Mykonos (Μύκονος) was the second island i visited during my trip around Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. The island met me with heat, humidity, noise and the smell of a busy sea town and an abundance of colour. The mazed streets of the old town (Chora) gave me a chance to dive into street life. Most of the shots were made with my X-Pro2 combined with 35mm f2, 14mm f2.8, 18-55mm zoom and 50-140mm f2.8 lenses. My old and trusty X-T1 served as a backup. Here is a selection of shots that recall the atmosphere of this wonderful island. Post-editing was done in Iridient Developer and Lightroom 6. Click on any image to adjust it to your screen size.

Petros (Peter) was a great white pelican, who is the official mascot of Mykonos. In 1958 a wounded pelican was found off the coast of Mykonos by a local fisherman. The pelican was nursed to health and remained on the island supported by locals. It soon adopted the name “Petros”, as a joke between the locals, as "petra" in Greek means rock, but metaphorically old and grumpy. Subsequently, three new pelicans reside around the main town of Mykonos. One, was given the name Petros, the second.

Petros (the second)

Windmills of Mykonos. Built by Venetians in 16th century to mill wheat; there are 16 windmills on Mykonos, seven of which are on the hill in Chora.

The Church of Panagia Paraportiani, (Εκκλησία της Παναγίας της Παραπορτιανής) - Our Lady of the Side Gate - a beautiful church, or rather five churches joined together, at the entrance to the old town, Kastro neighbourhood. The church construction was started in 1425 and was only completed in the 17th Century.

Sunset paints the Church of Panagia Paraportiani pink

The Church of Panagia Paraportiani

find the cat...

The Church of Panagia Paraportiani

The Church of Panagia Paraportiani

Petros stops by to check on his fish snack...

"Let's go home my love" she said (in Greek) and off they went...

Chora old town, Mykonos

Tall ships visiting harbour of Alefkandra, Mykonos

Small island of Delos (Δήλος) located very close to Mykonos and cannot be missed. Delos was a holy sanctuary even before it became the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. The island is now one of the most important historical and archeological sites in Greece.

Delos, the terrace of the Lions

Delos

Delos

Delos

Fragment of a mosaic, Delos

Delos

Church of St George, Mpaos (Μπάος) island

Church of St George, Mpaos (Μπάος) island

Mykonos, tall ship in the harbour of Alefkandra

Mykonos, tall ships visiting the harbour of Alefkandra

Santorini with Fuji X-Pro2

Last spring took me to the beautiful Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, to Santorini and Mykonos, which are probably the most travelled and photo-documented by armies of photographers with every kind of camera and glass. So not worring too much that I would I miss a classic shot from a sunset lit photo-hotspot (thousands are on internet anyway) I opted for some travel "photonotes" instead. Most of the shots were made with my new best friend - X-Pro2 combined with 18-55mm, 14mm f2.8, 35mm f2 and 50-140mm f2.8 lenses with the old and trusty X-T1 as a backup. Here is a selection of shots that recall the atmosphere of these beautiful islands in my mind. Post-editing was done in Iridient Developer and Lightroom 6. Click on any image to adjust it to your screen size.

Oia

Oia

Nea Kameni from Fira

Fira

Fira

Fira

Sunset from Fira

Oia

Church in Oia and view towards Imerovigli and Fira

Monastery of Agios Nikolaos, between Firostefani and Imerovigli

Ammoudi beach - best sea food on island :)

Path to Oia from Ammoudi

Church of Anastasi, Imerovigli

Church of Anastasi, Imerovigli

Imerovigli

Imerovigli

Imerovigli

Bell Tower, Firostefani

Fira

Saint Gerasimos Church, Firostefani

Fira from Akrotiri

Agios Theodori Church, Firostefani

Fira

Saint Stylianos Church, between Fira and Firostefani

Fira

Abandoned village (after an earthquake)

Church of St. George, Oia

Santorini vineyard near Akrotiri

Oia

Oia

Oia

Donkey train from Oia to Ammoudi

View towards Oia from Akrotiri

London from an air balloon with Fuji X-T1 and X-Pro2.

I waited for this flight for a year but it was absolutely worth the wait! The air balloon flights in London are restricted to weather, early mornings, wind directions and speed. The link to the air balloon company site and more information on air ballooning is at the end of this blog. So after seven or eight cancellations, we finaly flew over London from Hyde Park to Wanstead Flats. Starting at about 5:30am the flight lasted for just under an hour. I took my usual trusty Fujifilm X-T1 paired with Fujinon 50-140mm f2.8 and my new best friend - X-Pro2 paired with 16-55mm f2.8. The images below more or less reflect the flight path and have area and building annotations. The general direction with a south westerly wind was from Hyde Park - Marble Arch, Marylebone towards Fitzrovia and Kings Cross, flying further towards Angel and Islington, then swinging towards the east over Hackney and Victoria Park, over the Olympic Park at Stratford and landing at Wanstead Flats, between Forest Gate and Manor Park. I found myself using both X-Pro2 with 16-55 f2.8 and X-T1 (with vertical grip) and 50-140mm f2.8 lens, with slight preference to X-T1 once in the air. Post-editing was done in Lightroom 6. Click on any image to adjust it to your screen size.

Pilot checks the air balloon. ISO800 16-55mm f5.6 1/60s

Time to fly. ISO200 50-140mm f2.8 1/640s

Hyde Park, looking towards South Kensington. ISO500 16-55mm f8 1/100s

London towards city and Canary Wharf. ISO200 16-55mm f8 1/100s

Mayfair. ISO500 16-55 f2.8 1/100s

London towards city and Canary Wharf. ISO200 50-140mm f2.8 1/320s

London towards city and Canary Wharf. ISO200 50-140mm f5.6 1/60s

London towards Westminster. ISO500 16-55mm f5.6 1/250s

Regent Street from Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus. ISO200 16-55mm f2.8 1/75s

London towards city and Canary Wharf. ISO200 50-140mm f2.8 1/200s

Cruciform Building (old UCLH now WIBR, UCL) and UCL. ISO200 50-140mm f2.8 1/80s

Cruciform Building (old UCLH now WIBR, UCL). ISO200 50-140mm f2.8 1/25Cruciform Building (old UCLH now WIBR, UCL) and UCL. ISO200 50-140mm f2.8 1/80s

University College London (UCL). ISO200 50-140mm f2.8 1/300s

Cartwright Gardens, St Pancras. ISO200 50-140mm f2.8 1/80s

Foreign & Commonwealth Office, HM Treasury and HM revenue & Customs, Westminster Abbey and Palace of Wetsminster. ISO200 50-140mm f2.8 1/220s

British Library, St Pancras and Kings Cross stations. ISO200 50-140mm f2.8 1/180s

St Pancras and Kings Cross stations. ISO200 50-140mm f2.8 1/180s

Essex Road, Islington. ISO500 50-140mm f5.6 1/250s

Mount Pleasant Mail Centre. ISO200 50-140mm f2.8 1/110s

Mount Pleasant Mail Centre. ISO250 50-140mm f3.2 1/250s

Angel (at the top),  Islington. ISO640 16-55mm f5.6 1/250s

St Pancras station and Brish Library. Top right- new Francis Crick Institute. ISO800 16-55mm f2.8 1/250s

St. Paul's Cathedral and The Shard.  ISO200 50-140mm f3.2 1/250s

London City, ISO200 50-140mm f3.2 1/250s

London Eye and Westminster, ISO400 50-140mm f5.6 1/250s

St Paul's Cathedral and Tate Modern. ISO500 50-140mm f5.6 1/250s

Packington Sq and Arlington Square Garden, Islington. ISO640 16-55mm f5.6 1/250s

Victoria Park, South Hackney. ISO400 16-55mm f5.6 1/250s

London City, London Bridge and The Shard. ISO640 50-140mm f5.6 1/250s

West Ham Cemetery. ISO640 50-140mm f7.1 1/250s

Canary Wharf and Greenwich. ISO320 50-140mm f5.6 1/250s

Banbury Rd. South Hackney. ISO320 16-55mm f5.6 1/250s

Docklands - Canary Wharf and North Greenwich. ISO200 16-55mm f5.6 1/250s

White Chapel Hospital (blue) and The Shard. ISO640 50-140mm f7.1 1/250s

The Olympic Park - Stratford. The stadium is now home to West Ham FC. ISO640 16-55mm f9 1/250s