I feel I am finally getting to grips with my transition from my Nikon d7100 to my mirrorless Fujifilm xt2 and decided to take a walk to the financial district in the city centre of Glasgow. There are some pretty modern buildings in this area however most is probably between twenty and thirty years old and there are no such things as a sky scraper (New York or London it is not!) but it is definitely checking out this area. It is always worth shooting the reflections and exteriors of these buildings. The lines, shapes, and reflections on these buildings can make for some interesting images and the area is well worth checking out.
Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (CCCP) may best be described as a passion project. Over a remarkably short period of seven years (2003-2010) Frédéric Chaubin travelled to and photographed many of the crumbling architectural remnants of the former USSR. The book is a magnificent collection of images which highlight the political, economic, and cultural power of architecture in these former Eastern Block countries.
Chaubin’s photographs successfully show the enormous scale of many of these buildings. Most of which are vast brutalist concrete structures which impose themselves on the populous. Some sit like cathedrals and invite the population to come together, others display political might and demand obedience. Many of these structures are clear historical reminders of the USSR and their importance in the ‘space race’.
Shot in both colour and black and white Chaubin’s photographs work beautifully. He has successfully captured the beauty of these buildings; the size and scale, the gorgeous ageing concrete, and how they occupy their place in the landscape. Chaubin also provides a peek inside some of these buildings and he effectively displays the glamorous interiors which often sit at odds to their austere shell.
Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed is a book all architecture photographers should definitely investigate. Highly recommended.
DETAILS: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed, Frédéric Chaubin, Hardcover, 26 x 34 cm, 312 pages, ISBN 978-3-8365-2519-0, Multilingual Edition: English, French, German, Taschen, 2015
One of my favourite functions on the Fuji x-t2 is the ability to change image size on the fly. In most circumstances I shoot the standard 3:2 ratio but the ability to quickly jump between 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1 is a great little function.
I decided to get out and test myself by using only the square format (1:1) setting on my x-t2 and see what images I could come up with. Forcing myself to shoot in this way is a great way to keep the creative juices flowing - by sticking to one crop ratio it challenges me to find new shapes and compositions that I would never look for if I stuck to the default 3:2 crop.
The images above were shot using the 1:1 square format - I have actually set up a shortcut in my Q (quick menu) button meaning I can flick between these ratios while I’m preparing a shot, then flick back to 3:2 when I 'm done. In recent months I have found myself cropping a lot of images to 5:4 format in Lightroom so if Fuji could furnish their next firmware update with a 5:4 crop that would make me a very happy man. I am sure you will notice a lot more square format images as I continue to get to experiment.
What do you think, do you use these crop sizes or challenge yourself in a similar way? Leave your comments below.
I don't often venture to the Southside of the city but I decided to take down Tradeston way, just across the Clyde. For urban and urbex photographers there i=are same great locations on offer.
Much of the area runs parallel to the rail line which runs in to Central Station and there are many derelict buildings adorned in some fantastic graffiti. There are also many small businesses which occupy the 'arches' which lie under the rail line. It's pretty easy to saunter around this area as there are lots of opportunities for photographs.
I had read a lot of good things about Fuji's collections of lenses before I made the plunge and bought the X-T2. And I've got to admit I am very impressed by the 23mm f2. It's small, light, tactile and fantastically sharp. To be clear though, this is not a complete lens review, only a sharpness test at apertures from f2 to f16
All of the shots were below were taken the Fujinon 23mm f2 lens, with the x-t2 mounted on a tripod. All I did was adjust the aperture and shutter speed to get an exposure. The images shown are out of camera JPEG’s using the Classic Chrome film simulation. No retouching or noise reduction has been applied.
It should be fairly obvious from the test shots above that the 23mm f2 is damn sharp between f2 and f3.2 the edges lack focus but from f4 on the entire frame is gorgeously sharp. To be honest I could happily use the lens wide open at f2 If was intending to blur the background anyway.
You can download a zip file containing all these JPEG's at 100% size by downloading them here. You can also see how the x-t2 noise fairs with my ISO test here or see how Fujifilm's different film simulations affect a photographs look here. Want to see more Fuji blog posts? Leave a comment below,
When I buy a new camera I always like to do a quick test checking out the ISO of the camera. I had researched the X-T2 and from what I had it read it performed pretty well at higher ISO settings but I always like to check these things for myself – that when I take a shot at these settings I know I am comfortable with it.
Just so you know. I photographed all shots at an aperture of f5.6 using the Fujinon 23mm f2 lens. The images shown are out of camera JPEG’s using the Classic Chrome film simulation. No retouching or noise reduction has been applied.
For me, shooting at any ISO between the 200 to 1600 range would be a no brainer. Even at ISO 1600 there is only minimal digital noise. Of course these shots were taken in day light so I may need to do a test in more severe, darker settings.
Even at ISO 3200 the images are pretty good and more than useable - this may depend on your style of photography though. I normally shoot urban photography or architecture and at this level of ISO the noise would be perfectly useable, particularly if buildings are concrete - noise may be more noticeable on glass elements.
Well it has been a long time coming but I am finally making the move from Nikon to Fujifilm. Honestly, I have become so sick of lugging around a heavy dslr and lenses around the city that it was really starting to grind me down so moving to a lighter system was something I had been considering for a long time. For me, the move to mirroless was almost entirely based on the smaller weight and size of the body size and lenses.
That being said I thought I might blog about any issues, ideas or tips I have as I begin dipping my toes in the Fujifilm mirrorless world.
First up, I thought it may be useful to view samples of Fujifilm's renowned film simulations.
Just so you know. All of these images were shot on a Fujifilm x-t2 in RAW. I imported images in to Lightroom, applied White Balance and the Fujifilm profile - no other editing was applied, no sharpening, noise reduction, nothing.
Click on images to see a larger version.
... And there you have it. What do you think? Are the Fujifilm simulations all they are cracked up to be? Do you a particlar favourite? Feel free to comment below.
During my recent scouting trips around the city I have become more and more interest in brutalist or modernist architecture to photograph. I don'y know what it is but there is something about great slabs of concrete that is photographable to me.
I discovered the Wlfon Building as I was walking around the Strathclyde University area on and around Cathedral Street and immediately loved the contrast between the huge concrete triangular columns that adorn the exterior and the window frames and cladding.
These images were all taken handheld but I have this building to my 'must return' list in order to photograph it properly.
I have to be honest and say I am pretty new to this brutalism thing. I’ve visited a few websites and read the occasional article but expert I am not. What should be fairly obvious however is that my interest in architecture comes from a photographic standpoint and it is as a photographer that I offer my thoughts.
There are a number of brutalist buildings dotted round Glasgow and I am finding myself investigating these more often as I scout potential photography locations. For me, brutalist architecture offers endless photographic possibilities; bold graphic shapes and line, a gorgeous interplay between light and shadow, a contrast due to buildings that often sit at odds to others in the area, and there is something beautiful concrete as it ages and weathers. All these elements lend themselves perfectly to photography, particularly black and white photography, and I was extremely hopeful of finding images within the book which would fire the imagination as I continue to photograph architecture and the urban realm.
The collection of photography contained within this book is vast. At 224 pages with 230 photographs, Chadwick’s curated collection here is of fantastic quality. Most images are full page and all are black and white. Chadwick has done a fine job in highlighting the universal nature of the brutalist movement and the beauty of ‘raw concrete’ with a collection of images from across the globe.
This Brutal World is a gorgeous collection of photographs that anyone with more than a passing interest in architecture would no doubt enjoy. However, for urban and architecture photographers the book is invaluable. Chadwick’s choice of images emphasises the sheer breadth of style within the brutalist movement and as such provides photographers with a knowledge that can be used as a jump off point when photographing this type of structure. To be put it bluntly, you know where and what to look for in order to make a great image and that can only be a good thing.
More information and further sample images can be found here. Thanks to Nat Foreman (Phaidon) for supplying images used in review.
DETAILS: This Brutal World, Author: Peter Chadwick, Format: Hardback, Size: 290mm x 250mm (11 3/8 x 9 7/8 in), Pages: 224pp, Illustrations: 320 illustrations, ISBN: 9780714871080, Publisher: Phaidon
Every time a new smartphone is released it is inevitable there is going to be some sort of hullaballoo about the quality of camera attached to it. I recently bought the new Huawei P20, not the top of the range three lensed P20 Pro, but it’s slightly cheaper, two lensed sibling.
We’ve all seen the marketing, the inevitable iPhone shot cover – funnily enough forgetting to mention the highly skilled photographer, the impeccable studio space, the photographers assistants and the thousand pounds of lighting – apparently it’s just the phone that does the work, but there you go.
All that being said, I wanted to try out the Huawei P20 for myself and see how it measured up for use for scouting my urban / architectural style shots. So I thought I would give it a try on one of many aimless ambles. Maybe this will be better option for me than a dslr with a 50mm I normally use when scouting locations?
It is amazing how different the experience is using a smartphone compared to using my traditional styled cameras. There is no denying the convenience factor but I still find handling a bit fiddly when photographing with a smartphone.
On the plus side smartphone design but default nudges you towards framing vertically instead of horizontally, so it is good to see things a bit differently. It can be all too easy to fall in to habit of landscape framing when using a dslr or mirrorless camera.
So is it better than my previous option of scouting possible locations with my dslr and a 50mm lens? Well, yes and no. It is definitely much more convenient and being able to whip out a smartphone to take images in situations where using a camera would be frowned at is a definite plus. Focussing is pretty quick and the Pro mode allows shooting in RAW (although, for my needs I am not sure how I often I will need/use this. Time will tell). Also, having the extra width (the lens on the Huawei is 27mm focal length) is useful for urban and architecture scouting. The only downside is that smartphones (for me) are still a bit fiddly to use and can take a good while to set up to what I want in a given situation when using any of the advanced modes– perhaps I just need to use the phone more often?
What do you think? How often do use your phone to photograph? Do you find it a useful too? Feel free to comment below.