Monday, April 7, 2014

"X" marks the spot - a weekend project with the Fuji X-E2

This past weekend I gave myself another project as a photo exercise. With the spring weather finally hitting the Big Apple I planned on doing extreme closeups of new growth buds in the plants along the High Line. Problem was the only buds I could find were barely nascent and hardly suitable for photography. So it was on to plan B.

On my way to the High Line I happened to take the abstract photo below composed on a simple grid pattern and decided to switch my project theme. The idea was to compose each image with a simple four-part grid by either juxtaposing unrelated forms to construct the grid, as in the shot below, or by using shadow and light, or both. I ruled out photographing any ready found grids. That would have been to easy. I had with me a Fuji X-E2 and three lenses, the Fuji 18-55mm zoom, the 55-200mm zoom, and the 56mm f/1.2, but used only the two zooms.

The X-E2 was set to record both RAW and jpg. I next set it to the 1:1 crop mode, and picked black & white as the profile. This would give me a square black & white jpg I could use as reference later while working on the RAW image in Photoshop. One thing I like about the X cameras is being able to set them up like this, particularly because I often use square compositions.

My completely arbitrary plan was to compose all the photos according to this simple grid plan. I placed the focus point (in green)  in the middle of the square frame to serve as a reference for the center. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, the High Line is an elevated strolling park built in 1999 on top of an abandoned rail line. It runs along 10th Avenue from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street. One side benefit of strolling north on the High Line for photographers is that it ends only a few blocks away from B&H Photo on 9th Avenue. So, if you are a photographer and a tourist in New York, you can hit two popular tourist spots at the same time. On this occasion I happened to be heading to B&H to take a look at some camera bags for a future blog post I am writing on bags for mirrorless camera systems.

Below are some of the results from the grid composition project. I took them either on or near the High Line. Initially I had intended to photograph only in monochrome, but some of the compositions worked better in color so I left them that way.

In this scene I liked the way the random shape of the tree branches was superimposed over the grid form of man-made structures behind it. I needed the color here to separate these two distinct planes.

The Post Office Building is in the foreground, Penn Station behind it, and the Empire State Building behind that.

OK, I know this compositions does not fulfill the grid criteria.  I couldn't quite make it fit but didn't want to waste the opportunity of juxtaposing the interesting building pattern on the left with the Empire State Building on the right. 


  1. Nice idea - I really like your projects - a very good exercise in creativity.

    Thanks for a really interesting and unusual blog.

  2. Tom, these are amazing, thank you for sharing.

  3. What a great self-assignment! I may have to steal it... Great pics.