The Forth Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the world, not just in the UK. I took advantage of a clear but cold day to head over to South Queensferry to try and get a good photo of the famous structure.
Rather than take hundreds of images I set off with one image in mind. I wanted a long exposure of the bridge with the morning sun casting it’s glow on the red painted steel and brickwork. The skies were clear as expected but soon after sunrise the sun was shrouded by a rogue cloud. Damn. After 15 minutes the sunlight returned and I got the image I was after.
During the wait I took the opportunity to fire up the drone and take some alternative shots. My video wasn’t great – lack of practise and preparation, but I did get a couple of images that I was pleased with. I got warnings while flying of low temperatures and also over stressing the motor which was a bit disconcerting as the drone was about a mile out from me over water. Between that, batteries running low and me starting to freeze I didn’t get as much out of the drone as I should have.
My biggest fail of the day was I got cold. It was 0, feels like -4 and I was on a bit of sand/riverbank so very quickly I started to get cold. I needed more layers and better footwear. After 90 minutes I had to move on as I was that cold I was getting pains. A brisk walk to get another view of the bridge helped but it really was too late and I spent the rest of the day feeling cold and sore.
This trip was my first using the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. I love the design and flexibility that the bag offers but need to think how best to configure the flex fold dividers as one collapsed as soon as I removed the camera due to load but thats easily fixed by altering the layout. I loved all the expandability that the bag had as well and it meant I could use one 20L bag to carry all my gear. However it’s not watertight. This didn’t effect me yesterday but I wouldn’t trust it on a day out with variable weather. Its water resistant but the top pocket doesn’t seal so you run the risk of water getting into the main compartment. Overall I’m pleased with the purchase but not convinced I’ll be able to use it 100% of the time unless I also carry a rain cover for the unpredictable Scottish weather.
Next on the shopping list is probably a set of Lee filters. They aren’t cheap but will help with a lot of the photo’s I like to take. Before I buy I’m going to get out and use the camera more. I upgraded to a Fuji X-T2 towards the end of 2016 and I love it but need to use it more not just to understand it fully but also to improve my photography. There’s only so much a book or manual can teach.
I wasn’t in the market for a new camera. Honest. The Canon DSLR I had was mostly unused but picking up the drone had relit the passion. Coincidently I was doing some work with the photography team at work and got to see a Fuji X-T1 in action. Shak then borrowed one for a couple of days and the images out of the camera were superb. Deal done – I wanted one which is quite bizarre. I’ve looked at mirrorless camera’s for a while as I liked the size and flexibility and the results they produced, especially the new Sony camera’s but they were so expensive. I’d ruled out the Fuji as it wasn’t a brand I really knew and the X-T1 was launched in April 2014 so felt that a new one was probably due.
However I decided quickly on the black X-T1 leaving the tricky decision of what lens (or lenses) to buy. I wanted a wide lens for landscapes but also wanted a zoom lens to cover a variety of situations. Looking at the various reviews of Fuji lenses quality is almost guaranteed so it was a difficult decision. A last minute push from Shak (who also picked up an X-T1 but in silver) led me to picking up the XF16mmF1.4 R WR and the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR.
The camera and lenses arrived and I was immediately impressed with the packaging and the fit and finish of the Fuji products. They all felt really high end. Lenses felt solid and the image quality from a few test images was top notch. Instead of doing a full review of the camera, here’s some points of interest from my first 4 weeks with the X-T1.
The controls are quite different from a Canon/Nikon DSLRs so take a little getting use to.
With built in wifi it’s easy to fire up an iOS app to take remote photos.
I’ve settled on taking RAW+JPG images. The out of the camera JPG’s are pretty amazing and save a lot on editing time.
The two lenses and the fact I went for the X-T1 means it’s a fully weather resistant system – great for Scottish winters (and summers).
Battery life is a bit short so you will need extra batteries if you are out for the day.
I love the speed and sharpness of the 16mm lens…the flexibility of it and the images it produces are fantastic.
The electronic viewfinder is a revelation.
High ISO image quality is surprisingly good
Firmware updates have added considerably to camera functionality since launch
Video is average – I think the iPhone may be better!
Lot’s of buttons – almost too many at first
So what about some sample images?
If you can’t tell already, I love the X-T1. I picked up a Thinktank Retrospective 5 which is a great little camera bag which holds everything I need without being a rucksack and it doesn’t get in the way. I’d love a lighter tripod but my current one will do for now and I’m already thinking about another lens but the two I’ve got just now are fantastic and more than meet my needs.
Could I have done all this with the Canon 550d and a better lens? Probably. But the size and quality of the Fuji equipment has lit a fire again which was in danger of going out with the Canon. I just love using the X-T1.
Great autumn nights last week in Glasgow so armed with the new camera I tried a timelapse from the Clyde Arc.
That was the second attempt as the first 400 photo’s didn’t come out quite as expected. Thankfully the night wasn’t wasted and I managed to get something out of it. The video above is composed of just over 300 images and some tweaking in Lightroom and then a long wait exporting it to video but all straightforward and the result was pretty good.