Urban & Architecture Photography


Posts in Fujifilm
Using Fujifilm's Classic Chrome film simulation on your video - 1080p x-t2 Video Test

I have been tinkering a bit more with video in the last month or two and I am pretty sure you be seeing more of these sample videos that use Fujifilm’s film simulations here. Sometimes, it is just not feasible to shoot in 4K so I thought I would conduct a few tests to see which film simulation would be a good alternative to Fujifilm’s F-Log 4K video.

The video above is shown as per camera output with no colour grading, sharpening or any other ‘improvements’ that can be made in post.

The video was shot using the following in camera settings:

1.      Classic Chrome 1080p, 60fps

2.      Shadows -2

3.      Highlights -2

4.      Sharpening -4

5.      Saturation -2

I will create another test video so I can compare how the Classic Chrome profile compares to the others.


How do Fujifilm's film simulations affect the look and feel of your photographs?

I wrote a blog post a while back about this very topic but I was never really happy with it. Perhaps it was because the image I selected did not really emphasise how Fujifilm's fantastic film simulations can affect the look and feel of your photographs.  Sometimes this is dramatic while others can be more subtle.

Personally, I am huge fan of Acros and Velvia simulations but whatever your favourite they make a fantastic starting point in post processing if you are a RAW shooter like myself.

Testing out vintage camera lenses on the Fujifilm X-T2: hands-on with the Soligor 28mm 2.8

I’ve tried out few vintage lenses now and the results have always been interesting.  Vintage lenses are a fabulous way of experimenting with different focal lengths and trying new ways of shooting so I was as keen as ever to hit the streets to see what sort of images I could create.

The Soligor 28mm 2.8 is well constructed lens.  My copy had a few age related marks but nothing that affected its operation.   The focus ring was smooth to turn with a hint of resistance.  The lens also had two aperture rings one of which was a fluid ring.  Aperture range for the lens is f2.8 to f16.  Focus distance ranged from 0.45m to infinity.  Finally, the Soligor weighed in at 273g.

Partick Bridge Pipe Sto Dreaming

Throughout my test I (generally) set my camera’s ISO to 800 and worked the fluid aperture to suit each shot.  I normally shoot between f5.6 and f11 anyway so I found this set up convenient when trying out vintage lenses

Images rendered nicely with good colour but lacked contrast.  This may have been because I was shooting RAW but when I edited my shots in Lightroom after applying the Fujifilm simulations I was able to get nice results by increasing the contrast or dehaze sliders.

Rover Repair The Gorbals.jpg

The Soligor 28mm is actually quite a nice walk around lens although I have to be honest and say that I was not entirely comfortable using the 28mm focal length.  Ideally, I would prefer to shoot at 23mm and the 5mm difference really impacted how I shot.  However, this is why I enjoy testing out vintage lenses.  I can experiment with a new lens and get out of my comfort zone…  without breaking the bank.  Honestly though, I still felt 28mm was a focal length I could do without for my style of shooting.

Church Door The Gorbals.jpg

If you have used this lens or have any questions regarding it feel free to leave a comment below.

Click here for for more information on the Soligor 28mm 2.8

Are all photographers terrible travel companions? How I balanced family time and photography in New York

Family holidays can be a minefield for any photographer.  We all know that we should be switching off and relaxing with our loved ones but it is not that easy is it?  Whether we set off on a summer holiday, a weekend jaunt, or a mid-week city break, the family holiday is a balancing act I struggle to reconcile.  As such you can imagine the dreadful combination of joy and terror that overcame me when my wife, my daughter and I finally plumped for a weeklong trip to New York.

The Met Museum New York

I know from previous trips together that I am a terrible travel companion.  I constantly find myself distracted, tense and wandering off to search for possible photo opportunities.  Unfortunately, my photography brain makes relaxation very difficult because I always seem to find something to shoot and it is impossible to watch any potential opportunity slide by.  I knew it would be especially difficult on this trip, how could any photographer with a love of the urban environment resist the allure of New York?

I know that I cannot go on like this and in the weeks leading up to our trip I decided to put a plan in place to help ease my stress.  This began when I narrowed down my kit to a minimum, taking only my Fujifilm x-t2 and two prime lenses – the 23mm f2 and my 50mm f2.  I also decided to sacrifice my tripod and shoot everything handheld.  I genuinely considered ditching all of my photography gear and taking only a smartphone thinking it would eliminate my anxiety about ‘doing photography' but I could not do it.  New York was too great a location to miss.

New York is so vast that an itinerary is essential for most visitors.  Creating an itinerary was a great way to help me plan my shots and discover locations nearby.  Iconic New York sites such as the Empire State or the Chrysler Building are obvious starting points and it was a simple task to research the surrounding area using Google Maps’ Street View feature.  This was a great way to walk the streets of New York and see what was close by before we even departed the UK.  Simple steps like this helped to control any urge to wander off and snap away unprompted.  I even went so far as creating a ‘New York locations’ map on Google Maps containing over seventy possible points of interest.  So whenever I had some spare time I could nip off and back again with minimal fuss.

Architecture Ney York Reflections

Limiting my photo gear and planning our locations meant I was able to ease my anxiety about missing any shots I had in mind.  It also meant I had to accept my limitations and work within them.  I knew night and long exposure photography would be difficult without a tripod and I could hardly expect my wife and daughter to visit the sites at sunset or sunrise solely so I could get the best light.  The vast majority of my photography was actually shot in the harsh midday sun and I had to adapt to these conditions as best as I could.  This often meant I would try out a contrasty black and white shot, seek out spots in the shade, or head indoors and make what I could there.

Reacting to weather and light is essential in photography and it is the main reason I took such limited kit. Reducing the options I had enabled me to react to my surroundings, compose my image, and shoot quickly.  It is one of the main reasons I prefer primes when travelling.  I find the limitation of using a prime lens can actually be liberating as I have less options to consider when shooting.

One World Trade Centre.jpg

I don’t know if I will ever truly manage the delicate balancing act of the family holiday. There is a constant battle between my photography brain and my rational brain.  The rational side tells me to relax, slow down, and enjoy the experience.  Unfortunately, it often loses out to my photography side which always compels me to seek that one last shot.  Perhaps one day my rational brain will stand tall and overpower the selfishness of my photography brain and my much longed for stress free holiday will finally happen. Perhaps.