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

Greenland with Fuji X-T1

This year I could not travel far, so this is a retrospective blog - two years ago I took my then brand new X-T1 and X-E1 (as a backup) paired with 55-200, 14, 18-55 and 35mm lenses and went trekking in Greenland and Iceland for three weeks on tour organised by Icelandic Mountain Guides. At that point I had little experience in landscape photography and did not know Fuji X series cameras very well. But they were light, compact with great quality sensors and importantly all this gear could fit into one Lowepro 102 AW sling pack withND filters, SD cards and 12 extra batteries. Long distance hiking for days puts certain demands on weight and size and for that Fuji X cameras were ideal. I had X-T1 with vertical grip and 55-200 attached in the main compartment of the pack and X-E1 with 18-55 in the smaller top compartment. The sling pack was always slung on my front, over the rucksak shoulder straps (38l Osprey Kestrel) on my back with my day gear. The combo was very comfortable and well balanced, so I had no restrictions in movement and could get either of the cameras out quickly to take a shot.
Post-editing was done in Iridient Developer and Lightroom 6. Click on any image to adjust it to your screen size.

Karale fjord

Our first camp was at the Karale fjord, a few hours motoboat ride from Kulusuk. The day we arrived the weather was rather grey, but gradually changed to sunny with blue skies and stayed so for more than a week. The granite mountain peaks of East Greenland are about 1000-1500m high and though they look deceptively young they are actually very old having been protected from erosion by an ice cap that is retreating from the coast line now.

first camp, Karale fjord

Karale fjord

Karale fjord

Karale fjord

Karale fjord

Karale fjord

Knud Rasmussen glacier, the magnificent glacier flows into icy waters of Karale fjord, East Greenland. The glacier is named after a similarly magnificent man, Danish polar explorer Knud Rasmussen

Karale fjord

the turtle-like granite rock comes out of the glacier like a giant prehistoric animal awaken after an ice-age. Image taken at Karale fjord, East Greenland.

Karale fjord, view from the first camp

fjord patrol, arctic fox in summer coat, Karale fjord area, East Greenland

leaving Karale fjord

small icebergs on the way to Kuummiut, the intense blue once were flipped over recently

Our second camp was set in the fjord near the Kuummiut village about 50 miles down south. And the final third stop for a few days was at Tasiilaq -  the biggest town (1,800 inhabitants) of East Greenland and has some spectacular views of the fjord with icebergs near by.

Kuummiut village and the fjord

second camp, Kuummiut area

cotton grass (Eriophorum)

I see you -  arctic fox was resting in the shadow of a boulder when I found her/him

icebergs on the way to Tasiilaq

Tasiilaq and fjords from above

icebergs on the way to Tasiilaq

mountain lakes in Tasiilaq area

iceberg near Tasiilaq. the fishing boat gives you an idea of scale

granite mountains near Tasiilaq

sunset at Tasiilaq

The trip was fantastic and using X-series cameras was a joy. This year the new X-T2 is coming, so I will have even better cameras on my future trips paired with new fantastic weather proof and super sharp 50-140 and 16-55 lenses. Finally, I would also like to stress two points that rarely come up in Fuji promotions and advertising. First - that apart from being amazing in quality, well priced and drop dead gorgeously looking, and supplying endless fun whilst shooting - Fujifilm cameras, especially X-T1/2 and X-Pro1/2 are fantastic for learning photography. They certainly taught me a lot in a very short period time. In fact I learnt on the go whilst trekking. Having everything being done via dials combined with the fact that EVF gives you a live view of any changes is a brilliant interactive educational tool. The second point is that although it is important to showcase work of professional photographers who uses x-series for weddings, events, fashion etc, it is also important to show what one can do with these gems of cameras on travel. Combining travel with learning photography results in the never ending fun during and after the journey e.g. this blog entry.

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

CitizenM hotel staircase with X-T1

A stonesthrow away from the Tate Modern there is a small hidden gem of London's spiral staircases. CitizenM hotel has a modern wooden staircase, which will blow your mind. Fortunately the helpful staff have placed a couple of swivel chairs at its foot so you can either zen meditate or comfortably take a few shots of this masterpiece. As usual for architectural shots I used three lenses - Fujinon 14mm f2.8, Samyang 8mm f2.8 and Fujinon 10-24mm f4, all with the Fujifilm X-T1. The latter has a tilting LCD screen which is perfect for shooting this kind of photography. The space of the staircase is rather tight so the best shots to my liking were made with 8mm and 14mm f2.8 lenses. The 10-24mm f4 zoom was used close to its its widest ~12mm but this lens does not impress me in a low light conditions. The X-T1 combo with 8mm or 14mm lens is light, even with the vertical grip attached, which I have most of the time, and great to shoot handheld. Post-editing was done with Iridient Developer, Photomatix and Lightroom 6. Click on any image to adjust it to your screen size.

 

Wellcome Collection staircase with X-T1

The Wellcome Collection is full of wonders, but the new spiral staircase by Stirling Prize winning architects Wilkinson Eyre completed in spring 2015 is a masterpiece. The steel staircase spans three floors and is a visual feast. Unlike other stairs it feels like a living form with its irregular shapes and changes in width and direction. I used three lenses - Fujinon 14mm f2.8, Samyang 8mm f2.8 and Fujinon 10-24mm f4, all with the Fujifilm X-T1. The latter has a tilting LCD screen which is perfect for shooting this kind of photography. The best shots to my liking were made with 8mm f2.8 and 14mm f2.8 lenses. The 10-24mm f4 zoom was used pretty much at its widest - 10mm. This is an emerging pattern after a few months of shooting with all three and I feel that 10-24 zoom will get swapped for a 10mm or 12mm prime in the nearest future. The X-T1 combo with 8mm or 14mm lens is small and light, and great to shoot handheld, try to hold DSLR with similar focal length lens in outstreched hand and shoot 1/30. Post-editing was done with Iridient Developer, Photomatix and Lightroom 6. Click on any image to adjust it to your screen size.

 

The Brewer staircase with X-T1

The Brewer staircase is the beautiful spiral staircase at Heals department store, Tottenham Court Road, London (map attached). Designed by Ambrose Heal’s cousin Cecil Brewer, the stairs were completed in 1916. Despite a large amount of people passing through the store not many are aware of its existence. All you need to do is to enter the store, walk about 20 steps and turn left, walk straight for another 30-40 steps and the entry to the staircase is in front of you. The store staff are very friendly and as long as you are not obstructing other people's activities you are welcome to take pictures. Some images were taken during the Christmas holidays, thus extra decorations along the stairs. Shooting this beauty is challenging and gives anyone a good run for their wide-angle glass collection. Getting the right exposure is tricky and sometimes shooting upwards into the light I used an ND4 filter. I used three lenses- Fujinon 14mm f2.8, Samyang 8mm f2.8 and Fujinon 10-24mm f4, all with the Fujifilm X-T1. The latter has a tilting LCD screen which is perfect for shooting this kind of photography. Post-editing in Iridient Developer, Photomatix and Lightroom. Click on any image to adjust it to your screen size.

10mm f5 1/60 ISO 1600

10mm f7.1 1/15 ISO 1600

10mm f5 1/60 ISO 1600

8mm f5.6 1/125 ISO 1600

11.5mm f4.5 1/30 ISO 1250

10mm f7.1 1/15 ISO 1600

8mm f8 1/3 ISO 200

10mm f7.1 1/15 ISO 1600

8mm f8 1/60 ISO 800

10mm f5 1/30 ISO 640

8mm f5.6 1/30 ISO 3200

8mm f5.6 1/125 ISO 1600

8mm f5.6 1/60 ISO 1600

8mm f8 1/60 ISO 1600

8mm f5.6 1/60 ISO 1600

8mm f8 1/60 ISO 2500

8mm f5.6 1/125 ISO 3200

8mm f5.6 1/10 ISO 3200

14mm f5.6 1/25 ISO 1600

8mm f11 1/9 ISO 3200

8mm f8 1/60 ISO 1600