Monday, October 29, 2012

Fuji X-Pro1: Three different kinds of shots

As I mentioned in my previous post, after the Photo Expo on Saturday I spent some time sitting at a spot in the Meatpacking district of Manhattan. That gave me a chance to play with my new flash and flash bender, and because of a few mistakes, some new settings. 

I took a bus down Ninth Avenue and as I was getting ready to leave this gentleman asked me about my photographer's vest. While I chatted with him I grabbed a few shots, from the hip, raw, no flash, camera set at auto ISO (5000), 1/250th second, f4, 18mm lens. To be honest, I cropped the image to about 1/3 of it's original size. I did a fair amount of post processing on it - I mention this because even at it's reduced size the image held up really well with quite a bit of pixel bending. I'm attracted to shooting men with beards because I love the way the XP1 renders them so crisply.

This shot was with a flash. When I set up the flash on the XP1 I have to make adjustments in my camera settings. The shutter speed must be 1/160th or less, silent mode turned off (the flash won't fire if silent mode is on), and auto ISO reset to 200. I forgot to reset the auto ISO, so this shot turned out interesting for me. The ISO was 320, shutter at 1/125th, f2.8, with the flash and flash bender. A word about the aperture setting - the EF20 has a guide number of 20, it's not really powerful, but I don't need a killer flash, so keeping the aperture open wide is necessary to give the flash as much help as possible. I really haven't put the flash through its paces at night shooting yet - waiting for the Halloween parade to do that, hoping it's not rained out. As I said for the previous photo, I'm attracted to men (in this case a beast) with a beard. Oh, OK - it wasn't the dog that attracted me to this shot. But the look on that guy's face told the whole story: 'Oh the price I pay for being a hot hunk!'

 I took this shot with the flash and flash bender. I had reset the ISO to 200, the shutter speed was 1/160th, and aperture f2.8. But, my thumb inadvertently hit the 'Q' button and I mistakenly reset the image quality to 'jpeg fine'. I've read in a number of places about the great image quality the XP1 produces in its jpeg conversion. That's all well and good, but I avoid shooting jpegs because I don't see the point in throwing away one third of the pixel information and then doing the post processing on a compressed image. So I thought processing this image would be a challenge. To be sure, there were some issues of image degradation (the skin on his neck) but for the most part I think the image held up quite well. Yes, that is a flashlight in his earlobe!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A New Spot

When I walk around New York doing my flậneur thing, sometimes I come across an interesting spot or intersection back to which I'm drawn. I love these spots because they give me a chance to sit and work the street environment with some depth while I enjoy a good cigar. I experiment with different prime lenses by waiting for a subject to reach a particular spot where I know the composition that a particular focal length will give me. 

This past Saturday, after visiting the Photo Expo show at the Javitz center (for the second time) I went back to the Meatpacking district at the intersection of Chelsea and the West Village. I discovered a spot last week that I thought was bursting with possibilities, so I wanted to do a reality check. It was better than I had remembered.

I've been planning to get to the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village this coming Wednesday evening. In preparation for it, I purchased a flash for my X-Pro1 camera, and at the photo show found a diffuser to fit over the flash. I took the whole rig with me to experiment with, and the results were very pleasant. Using a flash for street photography, unless you are Bruce Gilden, is contradictory. It's like shouting at people, 'Hey, I just took your picture!' That's not my usual style, so at first I was a bit uncomfortable. Surprisingly I found that quite a few people responded nicely to me, and I became engaged in several conversations with people who had questions about the XP1. Jon, the person on the left, talked at some length about his experience as a press photographer. Turns out that he knew my photography mentor, Mario Cabrera. But just like everyone else, hasn't a clue as to where he his or what he's doing. 

Mario, please call home!

Jon and Tim