If you see it, shoot it!

If you see it, shoot it, has always been my motto!

Polo Cirencester – July 2021 – © Christopher G – Narrating Images.

If you see it, shoot it, has always been my motto! After all, photography is all about having fun, taking pictures and making memories.

(Image taken with an old Olympus Zoom 35mm, using Kodak Ultramax film.)

Colour Chrome Effect

The development of Colour Chrome Effect is derived from a reversal film: fortia.

My stunning XPro-3 and I think all ‘newer’ Fujifilm X-Trans IV sensor cameras, have a ‘Colour Chrome Effect’ feature. If you have had the chance to shoot with the XPro-3 or say GFX, then you already know the effect from your hands-on experience.

©Fujifilm

The Colour Chrome Effect was created from a reverse film: fortia. In 2004, the film was released with the slogan “Higher contrast and vivider colour than Velvia”. The film was limited in production, so while many people talked about it, very few actually got to see it.

Fortia was highly praised by the enthusiasts. Many people asked us questions such as “How can I adjust the setting to make it look like fortia?” and “If you set Colour +4 Velvia mode, will it become fortia?”

©Fujifilm

Despite all your efforts in Velvia mode it will not turn into fortia. To begin with, the ideal colour reproduction is different. Reversal colour film has one characteristic: the tonality is maintained even in high contrast areas. Fortia images are not saturated, and the colour still achieves depth even when the contrast is greater than Velvia.

Fortia had a very limited run. This was due to the perception that this film was only useful in specific situations. In the digital age, the low saturation and high contrast characteristics of fortia are essential. We had to attempt fortia to replicate Velvia, PROVIA and ASTIA.

©Fujifilm

High brightness is a way to express colours like yellow, orange, yellow or yellow-green with high contrast. Tonality is impossible when brightness and contrast reach their maximums. The image will become very flat as a result.

The sensor surface can be detected by analyzing the light and the information it receives. However, there is a slight gradation. Colour Chrome Effect creates tonality and high contrast using this technique. This allows for images to be created without losing their depth.

This effect is universal. The difference is visible in both sRGB and Adobe RGB users. However, there is a side effect. You will need to have processing power. The X-Processor Pro takes about 1.0 seconds to process. To process the Colour Chrome Effect. This is fine if you only use the Colour Chrome Effect for a single shot. You can’t shoot continuously, or set the camera to AF-C.

Fujifilm suggests that you disable the feature when shooting and turn it back on when you are processing raw files in-camera. The XPro-3 has the ability to output Super Fine JPEG and TIFF. The XPro-3 can convert raw files directly from the camera and then use your Mac or computer to edit the final image.

Fujifilm asked the Colour Chrome Effect creator to show Fujifilm how he replicated the Colour Chrome Effect using image processing software. He replied, “Yes, but it would take an hour for me to complete each image.” I need to be able to identify the sensor characteristics for each image.

©Fujifilm

The film simulation is not the final touch to the colour, according to the image design team. Every photographer wants a different color. If a few clicks with the camera can save you an hour of labor, you may as well take advantage.

Fujifilm hopes to make film simulations perfect so that editing is not necessary. However, if that means only a starting point it is perfectly acceptable.

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images.

Shooting Sports Events

As someone who has worked as a photographer for over ten years, I have a particular way of working when I attend an event.

As a photographer for over ten years, I have a particular way of working when I attend an event, whether it is at my local football club or local Equestrian events.

Much has been said about what camera and lenses to use, but, for me, preparation is a key factor in getting better shots. The better prepared you are, the better your images will turn out, and this doesn’t just apply to sports photography; it is right for all genres. Below are my top ten tips for shooting fast action sport.

  1. Know Your Sport

Before you can shoot something well, you need to know your subject. If you know how an event is run, then you have a better chance of anticipating the action unfolding in front of you.

If you are shooting a sport for the first time, do some research online – YouTube is an excellent resource for sports videos. Watch the sport, but also make a note of where the photographers are standing.

© Narrating Images – Cirencester Horse Trails
  1. Contact the Team or Event

If you are attending an event where you have to pay an entry fee, such as a football stadium, then it is best to check in advance that cameras with interchangeable lenses are allowed in. There is nothing worse than turning up at the gate to be stopped from going into the stadium because you have a ‘professional’ camera.

Horse Jumping is one sport where you are actively encouraged to bring a camera, and your local football club at the local park will probably also have no issues. But as a rule of thumb, if you are going into a stadium and paying for a ticket, its best to give them a ring first, to make sure you are allowed to take your camera.

WEC in Japan
  1. Know Your Camera

I liken using a camera to driving a car. Experienced drivers don’t think about changing gear or turning the steering wheel; it’s second nature when you drive regularly. It should be the same with your camera and lenses. If you are fiddling with the controls at a critical moment, then you might miss the shot.

I also have all my cameras set the same way so I can move quickly and smoothly from one camera to the other, which reduces the need to swap lenses.

  1. Dress for the Conditions

Billy Connolly is quoted as saying “There is no such thing as bad weather – only the wrong clothes.” Never a more accurate word has been spoken when it comes to sports photography as you have to be out in all weathers and conditions.

You could be indoors, but you’ll still need to wrap up warm if you are shooting, say an ice hockey match. In the summer, wear clothes that will keep you cool and protected, especially if you are out in the sun.

Always check the weather forecast 24 hours in advance and plan accordingly, and that means planning for the worst-case scenario – because you never know with British weather!

  1. Get into Position

Choose your shooting positions carefully and always look at the backgrounds for distractions. It could be some parked cars or a steward in a bright yellow jacket or something else that will take the viewer’s eye from the subject.

For most sports, make sure you stay behind the barriers and you never stand in what are classed as Red Zones (danger areas). If you are attending as a spectator try to get a position where you can shoot over the fences to get a clear shot, or get up close and shoot through a linked fence using a wide aperture to blur out the links.

If you are shooting team sports at your local club, you should be able to move around. Try and shoot head on to the players but make sure you don’t cause a distraction. I also like to get down low to give a better angle. At the big games, we usually sit on stools behind the goal or try line so we are shooting lower than if we were standing up. This is actually a good perspective to shoot.

Eventing – Forgandenny
  1. Choosing the Right Camera and Lens

Now, this obviously depends on the sport you are shooting. To be honest, any X Series camera with interchangeable lenses is capable of shooting sport but, obviously, the top end bodies like the new Fujifilm X-Pro3 or GFX cameras offer certain advantages, especially when it comes to autofocus speed and accuracy.

It is the lenses that makes the difference, and you should always buy the best you can afford. The good news is all XF lenses offer great optical quality. The focal length of the lens is an important consideration. There is no point trying to get a frame-filling action shot at a motorsport event with an XF18-55mm zoom, but you can still get great shots with that lens if you shoot to show the environment around the subject.

© Narrating Images – Cirencester Horse Trails

The best choice for sports photography is either the XF 200mmF2 and 1.4x converter or the XF 70-300mm F4-5.6. If you don’t need such a long focal length, then consider the brilliant XF50-140mmF2.8 (with or without converters) or the highly capable XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8. Don’t ignore standard and wide-angle lenses for sport; just choose your subjects wisely.

© Narrating Images – Cirencester Horse Trails
  1. Capturing the Action

For team sports freezing the action usually means setting a fast shutter speed (1/1000s or faster). However, it depends on your subject. For example, a horse rider on the course doing 30mph will be frozen if you shoot at 1/2000s, which doesn’t convey the sense of speed you get while watching the race. With static legs, the horse can look like it stopped on the course rather than moving at high speed.

© Narrating Images – Cirencester Horse Trails

You can use high shutter speeds for Equestrian events, but it is usually used for horse racing, when they are battling for a position or for head-on shots, such as the start shot. If you drop the shutter down to 1/125s or slower and follow the subject as you press the shutter release (a technique known as ‘panning’) you can inject a real sense of speed into the image.

This technique can also be used in other sports to give a different image from the norm. Don’t be afraid to experiment with shutter speeds.

Musselburgh horse racing
  1. Think Out of the Box

When attending a sports event, it is very easy just to concentrate on the action on the field or on the track. Look around you and try to capture a flavour of the whole event. It could be fans enjoying the event, the celebrations of the winning team or the dejected look of the losers. Look beyond the obvious photo opportunities.

Pictures that give a flavour of the event. This is a spectator on a rainy day.
  1. Automatic or Manual Exposure?

This really depends on what you are shooting. I shoot in manual exposure and control the shutter speed on the rear dial of my X-Pro3, the ISO on the front dial and the aperture on the lens.

Some photographers prefer to use shutter priority with the aperture left on its widest setting, the shutter set to the speed needed to capture the action and the ISO left on auto. However, when shooting sport where sunlight hits the water or headlights on a car, it could cause the image to be underexposed. Conversely, capturing skiing or ice skating could mean the predominantly white background means the images are underexposed. In these situations, you need to override the automatic setting by dialling in some exposure compensation.

This is the main reason I choose to shoot in manual exposure and use my experience, and what I see in the EVF, to judge the exposure.

© Narrating Images – Cirencester Horse Trails
  1. Bumping Up the ISO

Don’t be afraid to bump the ISO up to 6400 or even 12800 if you can’t maintain an action freezing shutter speed with the maximum aperture of the lens you are using. The latest X-Trans sensors can handle high ISO settings really well.

It is far better to have a noisy image rather than a blurred image due to the shutter speed not being high enough. You can always add a bit of noise reduction in post.

I have also underexposed an image when shooting RAW files and then adjusting the exposure in post-production. Be careful, however, if you are using this method as this can introduce noise into the final image.

©Fujifilm

Spontaneous

I grabbed this shot on the evening before the end of the second Covid lockdown. It was taken with an old Olympus 35mm film camera

I grabbed this shot on the evening before the end of the second Covid lockdown. It was taken with an old Olympus 35mm film camera, loaded with Kodak Gold film – I then used a ‘little’ post-production to remove some of the grain, giving the image more clarity and structure.

© Narrating Images – Lockdown

Depth of field

The X-Pro range of cameras I use has two options for ‘Depth of Field Scale’: Pixel basis and Film format basis. This will enable you to adjust the camera setting to suit your need and style.

Where do you set the focus? This is a question we should always consider. How accurately do you want to focus? That is another critical question is on what basis are you adjusting the focus? Does it suit your needs and style?


The X-Pro range of cameras I use has two options for ‘Depth of Field Scale‘: Pixel basis and Film format basis. This will enable you to adjust the camera setting to suit your need and style.

Technically, the only region that is in focus is one particular plane parallel to the optical axis. All other areas will be out of focus, even when moved by 1mm. All other planes are in ‘bokeh‘; theoretically that is. The reality is that the amount of bokeh is so tiny that it appears to be sharp. You can basically ignore it. ‘Depth of Field‘ is about the plane in focus and areas in front and back of the plane that appear to be in focus (although it is defocused in theory).

The bokeh in the defocused area is referred to as ‘circle of confusion’. The ‘permissible circle of confusion‘ is the bokeh that is almost indistinguishable. Bigger the maximum permissible circle of confusion, the deeper the depth of field it gets. They are proportionally related.

©Fujifilm

The problem is this ‘permissible circle of confusion‘ changes depending on the image sensor resolution and the viewing condition.

The resolution of the image sensor is much higher than that of the silver-halide films, and the circle of confusion is therefore smaller. In addition, pixel-peeping has gotten popular, so the ‘permissible‘ circle of confusion is much more restricted—the ‘shallower‘ depth of field demands for much more accurate focus position and area. The depth of field scale on a pixel basis is optimised for such needs.

However, for some people, the depth of field becomes useful only when it is deep. Snap shooting, for example, takes advantages of the deepness of the depth of field and does not demand a more accurate and strict scale.

Go out in the street. Set the aperture to f/8. Search for the light. Find the composition. Predict the subject movement. Set the focus position based on the prediction. Do not get overly concerned about the accuracy; the ‘depth of field‘ will cover the error…. You can see that in such a style of photography, one benefits from the greater permissible area.

This is something that is inherited from the silver-halide film days. And to match this sense of feeling, we have the ‘Film format basis’. (*The value is based on the 4P print viewed at a standard distance.)

©Fujifilm

There is no correct answer. You should make the selection based on your style and needs. If the viewing size is already determined, then you can make your choice based on it. You do not have to stick to one basis either; you can always go back and forth.

For your information, the XF14mm, XF16mm, and XF23mm has a depth of field scale on the lens barrel based on the film format. If your style is to grab a shot by eye measurement or manual focus, these three lenses can help you.

©Fujifilm

Perfecting On-location Portraits

Rain doesn’t stop me from shooting. My Fujifilm XPro-3 and lenses are weather proof.

Choose the right location

Good locations are safe places to shoot that, in some cases, are close to amenities like a coffee shop and a toilet. They have a variety of interesting backgrounds to work with and have some top cover, too. Good locations include country parks and urban areas in need of regeneration.

Plan for the weather
Rain doesn’t stop me from shooting. My Fujifilm XPro-3 and lenses are all weatherproof. Choose styling items and accessories like hats and gloves for the person you are shooting to keep them warm if required. I find that, even on a sunny day when I’m working in the shade near tall buildings, the wind can be pretty chilling, so bear this in mind.

An underpass in Manchester in the rain is a perfectly good shoot location. I just used the light that was available for this shot of Zara. FUJIFILM X-T1 | XF16mmF1.4 | F1.4 | 1/125th | ISO 400

Travel light
The less kit you take, the fewer decisions there are to make. I often shoot with just one lens on one camera body. It simplifies the shoot and keeps the picture style consistent.

Practice, practice, practice
I find that I need about three shoots a week to keep my photography evolving and improving. It is a practice that delivers the experience necessary to be relaxed and confident. This air of confidence relaxes sitters, and it shows in the pictures.

Even a hedge can be a location with the right forethought. I bought the yellow dress from Primark, and the red bag was Mischkah’s. Strong colours can work well together. It’s not often I use a central subject placement but it works here. FUJIFILM X-T1 | XF35mmF1.4 | F4 | 1/180th second | ISO 200

Purpose
Understand precisely who the audience will be. Are the pictures for you or the person in the picture? Perhaps you are shooting for someone else entirely; a magazine picture editor or a company website designer. Have the user of the images in your mind throughout the shoot, and you will find yourself tweaking the mood, expression and poses to suit their needs.

Prepare your camera
Adjust your camera’s JPEG settings to give you as close to the final look of the shot you want. Don’t say, “Oh, I’ll fix that in post later”. If you are planning to present the images in monochrome but want to shoot colour too, switch the camera to a monochrome Film Simulation but shoot RAW and JPEG so you can have the best of both worlds. With the correct settings for the look you want set in the camera, you can control the shadow detail, highlights and exposure.

We were sheltering from the rain when I took this portrait on a railway platform. The coat acts as a sort of protection and evokes a vulnerability that is met by the full-on confident look. FUJIFILM X-Pro2 | XF35mmF1.4 | F1.4 | 1/500th second | ISO 200

Start with the end in mind
If the shot is going to be published as part of an editorial, leave space for text. If it might make the cover, shoot in portrait orientation and leave room for the title. If it is for social media, think square. If it is to be printed on art paper, give the shadows an extra stop of exposure etc.

Keep the shoot fun
Even if you are shooting serious portraits, have fun between the setups. For a lot of people, being photographed is like going to the dentist. Give your subject something to laugh about, and the whole experience can become fun. A better rapport will express itself in the depth of the pictures.

Once you have a ‘banker’ it’s time for some creative fun. FUJIFILM X-T1 | XF18-55mmF2.8-4 | F4 | 1/125th second | ISO 800

Connection is everything

If you have eye contact in the photograph, make the expression engaging. Pull the character from the sitter into the lens. If you don’t have eye contact in the shot (many of my portraits are profiles), consider using an extended cable release or the Fujifilm Remote App to trigger the camera. Set the camera on a tripod, focused and framed correctly, then move into the eye line of your subject, create the moments you want to capture and take the shots remotely.

Work together
Share the images you shoot with your model as you go, so you can both have input into the creative process.

I love profile portraits like this one of Alicia as they draw the viewer in. We shot this in the entrance foyer to a museum as it was really windy outside. FUJIFILM X-T1 | XF56mmF1.2 | F2.8 | 1/500th | ISO 400

© Fujifilm – All copyrights respected.

X-Pro2 was probably the ultimate camera in 2016

The X-Pro2 was probably the ultimate camera in the X Series lineup, back in 2016.

The X-Pro2 was probably the ultimate camera in the X Series lineup back in 2016. Some may disagree, but it was packed with the newest features, including the latest X-Trans CMOS sensor and the processor. Which model is the most lovable X? This may be a more challenging question to answer. For me, it is currently the X-Pro3. And perhaps there is no end to the discussion, but FujiFilm feels that one of the four X100 models perhaps is the most loved X of all.

© Fujifilm

Fujifilm often set up meetings with the X-Photographers to get feedback on the products. I’d love to be involved. I did send Fujifilm a detailed list of suggestions, and feedback, but didn’t get a reply. Fujifilm prepares a proposal of improvements, but the demand from the X-Photographers is always one step ahead of their proposal.

But a strange things happen with the X100 series. The photographers all demand to “keep the camera the same and not change a thing.” This is not to say that Fujifilm should not change it at all; they are also expecting something new to the camera. To make the successor, Fujifilm had to be careful about picking parts for improvement and parts to keep unchanged. Thankfully, features such as electronic rangefinder and CLASSIC CHROME were positively received, probably because the things that they loved about the camera remained unchanged.

The 23mmF2 prime lens is one of the main reasons I love the camera so much – that at the 16mm F2.8. The lens remained unchanged in all X100 models. It renders soft images at maximum aperture and in close-up, but the photos get really sharp once stopped down. The lens is a hybrid. You can enjoy both sharp and soft images. The 35mm equivalent angle of view also makes it really easy to use the camera. There are photographers who take all their photos with this camera alone.

Per-Anders Jörgensen from Sweden created a book called “Eating with the Chefs”, with the X100 only. When you look at the pictures, you will be surprised how eclectic the images are and that they are, in fact, taken by a single fixed lens camera. “Mastering the camera” is not a thing they say often. But when you read the book, you can sense that the camera has become an eye and a hand of the photographer. It is as if the photographer has liberated himself from the typical use of a camera.

© Per-Anders Jörgensen

Another reason why so many professional love the camera is the lens shutter.
Zack Arias, a street photography master and a lighting pioneer, quickly saw the benefit of it, and created numerous works that only lens shutter can create with the high-speed sync flash.

© Per-Anders Jörgensen

There is more reasons to love the lens shutter: it’s so quiet. There is no focal plane shutter that can get as quiet as the X100. X100 makes minimal noise when releasing the shutter. Many appreciate this quietness, especially in reportage, documentary and family events photography. X-Photographer Gianluca Colla from Italy often talks about the importance of “Getting close”. He says the distance is the deciding factor in making the photos good or bad. There are things that cannot be captured from a distance away. To get close with the inner side of the subject, camera needs to be unassuming, and you need to act natural.

© Per-Anders Jörgensen

There are countless other reasons why people love about the X100 series. With 100 photographers, we would have 100 different reasons. But in the beginning, the camera was criticized as much as it was praised. “Why APS?”, “Why prime lens?”, “Why rangefinder style?” So many critics question the significance. However, as it turned out, the product planner was not so concerned about the negative response that the camera was getting back then. Because much more heated discussions had already taken place repeatedly within Fujifilm. His name is Hiroshi Kawahara. He is the person who gave birth to the X100 Series. He departed to a different path, away from the product planning of the X Series. His last word was, “Love the camera that you are involved with.” The camera he loved is still loved by so many still today.

© Fujifilm

Using a Fujifilm X-Pro3

The Fujifilm X-Series have a stunning range of lenses, giving me high-quality images that can be printed without concern.

MY FIRST FUJIFILM CAMERA WAS the X-Pro1, which I purchased back in 2012. Until then, I’d been a Canon user. However, I never felt a connection with my Canon’s; it was like holding just another electronic device. Don’t get me wrong, they are great cameras, but the X-Pro range instantly felt like an extension of my hand. The X-Pro range has a soul and a great analogue classic design too. Another advantage is the X-Pro3, and most of my lenses, is they are weather-resistant, avoiding extra stress when working!

Fujifilm X-Pro3 – © Narrating Images

I usually, when we’re not in lock-down due to Coronavirus, travel a lot for work. My Fujifilm cameras, touch wood, have never let me down. They are some light and small; I don’t need to lug a heavy backpack around.

The Fujifilm X-Series have a stunning range of lenses, giving me high-quality images that can be printed without concern. While most of my work is in black and white, I do love with colours my X-Pro3 can produce. The ability to create different colour recipes and simulate the look of the traditional film is indispensable.

Fujifilm X-Pro3 – © Narrating Images

I’ve also recently purchased the tiny Fujifilm XF10, its a camera packed with amazing functionality. It is my everyday camera that I take everywhere, as it fits unnoticed in my pocket. People never look at me when I’m photographing them with my XF10. However, my X-Pro3 does sometimes gain attention – despite it being small. When people don’t think they are being photographed, they act more relaxed and natural.

Fujifilm X-Pro3 – © Narrating Images

Using Fujifilm equipment really enhances the joy of photography. When I was in Miami a couple of months ago, I had so many people spot my X-Pro3 when I was relaxing in a cafe or restaurant and ask me questions about it. I felt almost like a sale representative, the way I was reeling off details about it. Just in case you’re wondering, nope, I’m not a Fujifilm salesperson, and nope they don’t pay me to say nice things!

Fujifilm X-Pro3 – © Narrating Images

Don’t get me wrong; there are always things that can be improved. The more I use it, the more features I’d like added or design features I’d change. I have written to Fujifum with a list; I’ll write them up and post them here soon.