X100T Saves the Day

Since the arrival of the X-Pro1 I’ve rather neglected the X100T using the former for wandering about and the X-T10 for landscapes.  After breakfast on Tuesday morning we drove down to the Mumbles for a stroll and to give the wife a chance to play on the 2p machines at the arcade. I know – rock ‘n’ roll!   Upon leaving the car I grabbed the bag with the X-Pro1, a spare battery and a cleaning cloth. On an impulse I grabbed the X100T which was in the boot of the car and popped that in the bag too.

(c) Dave Whenham
Mumbles panorama

Midway through the afternoon we found ourselves at Mumbles Pier. Whilst the wife gambled her pennies I wandered down onto the beach with the X-Pro1 and my favourite 35mm f1.4 lens. It was not the best choice though as I found myself wanting a wider view. Remembering the X100T with its fixed 23mm lens I swapped cameras – and never swapped back.

As I wandered on the beach looking for compositions a few clouds scudded into view giving some interest to what had been a bland, hazy sky all day up until then.  Whilst switching Drive modes I spotted the Sweep Panorama feature, something I hadn’t used previously. It’s fair to say I gave it plenty of use!  The panorama above is straight from camera .

(c) Dave Whenham
Mumbles

The beauty of the X100T is how small it is. But I’d have to also say that the 23mm lens is extremely versatile for a landscaper like myself.

Two weeks ago I was confident that I’d try to upgrade to the XT2 early next year. Then I bought the X-Pro1 and “knew” that I’d prefer the X-Pro2 to the XT2. Now I’m confused – perhaps I will look at the X100F?  Who know!!

 

5.30am

I know – ridiculous right? Walking down a hotel corridor in my bare feet at 5.30 in the morning, boots and socks in one hand and camera bag and tripod in the other. Welcome to the balancing act that is a photographer on a family holiday!

(c) Dave Whenham
Swansea Bay

I was up earlier than yesterday because I planned to photograph further down the Bay and this would involve a short drive. As I sat on the wall outside the hotel in the dark at 5.35am  putting on socks and walking shoes I did wonder about my sanity. However, fast forward to 8.05am when I tiptoed back into the hotel room to find my wife still sleeping I remembered how sane the decision was but I digress. There was a bank of low-lying cloud along the horizon and it wasn’t looking good for a colourful sunrise but I’ve been doing this long enough to know to go with the flow. However, twenty minutes later stood on the promenade with the wind parting what little hair I have I accepted this wasn’t going to be a repeat of the previous day.

Being able to improvise is a key skill for a landscape photographer and I returned to base and took a walk along the opposite side of the tidal lagoon to see what opportunities that location would offer if the light was better tomorrow. I ended up walking a couple of miles and found myself amongst the sand dunes that border the beach.

(c) Dave Whenham
Waterfront and Dunes

By not giving up I managed to capture two or three decent “snaps” this morning whilst my other half slept. We now have the day ahead of us with a completely domestic agenda but I can rest easy knowing I’ve had my fix of “serious” photography for the day so anything else will clearly be a bonus.

Cold hands and warm colours

Six-fifteen am is not an unfamiliar time for me, although I’m usually sat on the settee with a cup of tea and the iPad and not tiptoeing down a hotel corridor with tripod in one hand and camera bag in the other.  But that is exactly where I was this morning.

(c) Dave Whenham
The evening view from the hotel room

We are staying in Swansea for a few days and our hotel is on the waterfront. I had already taken a couple of pleasing images the night before but retail therapy was planned for the new day and therefore serious photography would be confined to before breakfast and/or after dinner. It was chilly to say the  least at that time of the morning but as I stepped out into the morning darkness I noticed the sky to my left just starting to infuse with some lovely warm colours. Was my early start to be rewarded? It certainly looked as if it might.

We are away for a couple of weeks, visiting family mainly, and as part of my ongoing exploration of the Fuji system I have travelled very light. The Fuji X-T10 is joined on this trip by the newly acquired Fuji X-Pro1, the 35mm f1.4 and the manual Samyang 12mm lens. I have packed the two “kit lenses” along with the 8mm Samyang fisheye but these stayed in the hotel room this morning.

(c) Dave Whenham
I wasn’t tempted to take a dip!

This is the first time I’ve used the MeFOTO RoadTrip tripod when the sun hasn’t been shining and I have to say that whilst it’s an excellent piece of kit my ungloved fingers struggled slightly with the twist locks in the morning cold. Not a major issue but I will need to ensure I have gloves with me I think when I use it tomorrow morning. The tripod is smaller than my usual Manfrotto but considerably lighter. Fully extended it provides a very comfortable working height and in particular it was high enough to enable the camera to clear the railing around the tidal lagoon.

(c) Dave Whenha
Sunrise and silhouettes

The images here are all JPEGs with final tweaks done on an iPad using the Snapseed app. Both cameras handled well and I’m looking forward to getting the RAW files home in a couple of weeks.

(c) Dave Whenham
A promising start

The colours of the sunrise were largely confined to a strip along the horizon but were very intense, enhanced by the Velvia setting on the X-T10 which I had forgotten to reset to Classic Chrome when I put the camera away the previous day. The onboard RAW processing of the X-T10 however means that I can produce alternative JPEGs on the fly which is a very useful feature.

(c) Dave Whenham
I can never resist a monochrome

Post-sunrise however the light show was curtailed, the blank, featureless sky lacked the drama pre-sunrise and I therefore explored the area further. Walking back to the hotel I remembered the Little Stopper in its tin nestled in the bottom of the bag. I can never resist black and white for long and after thirty minutes of working with the  pre-sunrise colour I slipped easily into mono-mode. The light turned out to be very nice for black and white work and I returned to the hotel with very cold hands but a huge smile on my face.

(c) Dave Whenham
Swansea Marina

So, I am very happy with the image quality from this mornings exercise. The JPEGs looked fabulous and I have the pleasure of playing with the RAW files to come.  I mainly used the X-T10 and on the whole it handled very well. Focusing with a manual lens in low light was a challenge but the focus  definitely helped. I set the JPEG mode to B&W(yellow) which seems to provide better clarity and of course by shooting RAW+JPEG means I still have the colour information, which was vital for such a fiery sunrise.

All in all a positive experience, the first time I’ve shot with the Fuji’s in the dark and cold of an Autumn morning. I’m not quite ready to give up the big Nikons but I used my full-sized graduated filters with the Little Stopper very happily and as with the big DSLRs practice and familiarity will make things easier.