When I purchased my first Fuji camera (an XT1 which has since been sold), I bought a used 18-135 Fuji lens to accompany it. At the time, I was apprehensive because a lot of the lens reviews said the lens was poor and not of the usual Fuji quality. Despite this I pushed ahead and bought the lens, largely based on the excellent user reviews and the fact 18-135 is such a useful focal range. I reasoned that the results from lens test charts are often quite different to real world experience, so it was worth the risk.
Following the purchase, I ran into a number of other problems. Some were relating the lens whilst others were probably due to Adobe RAW processing problems (now largely resolved). Ultimately, I ended up returning the lens because the performance was quite poor, just as many of the lens charts had predicted.
Following this incident, I purchased the XT-2 which is a lovely camera to use. It came with an 18-55 lens which is good. I also purchased the 10-24mm, 16-55mm and 50-140mm lenses which are excellent. The problem with the 50-140 is that whilst the image quality is exceptional, it’s a big and heavy lens. I did for a while own a used 55-200mm lens which is smaller but I traded for the 50-140mm lens following image quality issues.
What I found myself wanting was a single lens that I could use most of the time unless I was looking for optimal quality. I was back to wondering about the 18-135 and if it was worth buying a new one, especially when someone I knew bought one and loved it.
I’m sure you have guessed by now that I purchased a new 18-135. So far, the results seem very promising. I have only used it for one outing but it’s a lovely lens to use. The results are also better than the original used lens I had purchased. The colour and contrast from the lens are nice whilst the image sharpness across the frame is good. The only slight deficiency is that I don’t think it has quite the capability to resolve distant detail that I would like, but then I’m comparing it to a much more expensive lens.
Hopefully I will be able to share more images from this lens in the future.
If you have been watching my You Tube channel, you may have seen this image already. It’s 3 images shot with the Fuji X-T2 which were stitched together in Lightroom. I then processed them using Nik Silver Efex Pro and a Film Noire preset. The results looked a little too strong for my taste so I backed off a little and opened some of the rock detail in the foreground a little.
The results were OK but I felt the image processing was a little forced, as though I were searching for something without having a clear starting vision. Then something odd happened. I returned to the image the following day and I really liked it. Now the more I look at it, the more I’m drawn into it.
I must start this post by wishing everyone a belated Happy New Year and by apologising. My last post was on the 23rd December and I haven’t been able to publish anything since due to illness. I came down with a very nasty bug on Christmas Day and have spent much of the time since in bed asleep. Hopefully I’m now on the mend and can begin to post a little more. But please forgive me if I’m not back to full speed for a while.
I did manage to upload a short video on YouTube whilst I was ill. I had already done most of the post production work but you will notice it finishes rather abruptly. I have lost my voice so won’t be able to do the editing part until I can speak again. Hopefully that won’t be long but some might disagree.
Anyway, here’s to a productive 2017 with some great photography for everyone.
Christmas is almost here and I’m going to take a break. I will be back in the New Year with lots more information and videos. I would like to leave you with the image above which I captured the other morning in the Peak District.
Here’s to a great 2017’s photography for everyone.
For this week’s Friday image, I thought I would show another shot that’s more heavily processed than my usual style. I shot this a couple of months back when the heather was in flower. The light was quite poor being high in the sky and blue from the presence of all the cloud. Here is the before and after comparison in case you’re wondering what it looked like.
The conversion was performed totally in Lightroom. I’m sure this image won’t appeal to a large audience but if anyone would like to know more about the conversion, let me know and I will record and share a video.
I mentioned on Friday’s blog post that I was heading out for an early morning shoot the following day. At the time the weather forecast appeared to be little hit or miss. The intention was to shoot Winnats Pass in the Peak District. I was meeting a couple of friends there and to be honest the weather conditions on the drive over had me feeling hopeful. Unfortunately, within 2 miles of my destination I hit a fog bank but I wasn’t to be deterred.
Meeting up we decided to press on as the pass is high and the Hope Valley often fills with fog at this time of year. This can give rise to a cloud inversion where you find yourself looking out across a sea of cloud. The first challenge though was finding our way. I had never been to this location and my friends had only been once before. If you add to this the dark and thick fog, you should be able to guess that we got lost trying to cross a field. Eventually we did find the path and emerged onto the head of the pass. The view that greeted us was dull and foggy.
Rather than share one of my images with you, here’s a link to another photographer’s website. This is what it should have looked like.
If the sun did come up on that morning, we missed it.
Eventually we cut our losses. Regrouping we gathered our thoughts with a cup a tea and cooked breakfast. This is when we decided to try Padley Gorge in the Peaks. The water and trees might prove quite evocative in the mist. Again, luck was against us as the fog cleared by the time we arrived, leaving us with a dull and overcast sky.
The image you see at the top of the post was taken in the gorge where there’s an old quarry. For those of you who don’t know, the round stones in the image are millstones. The gritstone in the area was perfect for making these and you can find millstones in many locations throughout the Peak District. They are a sort of icon of the area. My intention had been to shoot the image for B&W conversion given it was still too early for autumn colour. Having now seen the colour and B&W together, I do prefer the colour image, I think. Here’s the B&W version in case you’re interested.
In the end we gave up at around 13:00 and by the time I had driven home (about 50 minutes), the weather was glorious. As I said, landscape photography is frustrating.
Although I love a good sunrise or sunset, it’s not my favourite light to photograph. I actually much prefer a low warm sun that provides a lovely warm side light. If you couple that with flowering heather and vibrant green ferns blowing in a breeze you have my perfect scene. Whilst I struggled a little for composition with this image I loved being on location.
Have great weekend and watch out for more on the RAW processing/Fuji problems. I have some interesting findings to share.