Monday, July 14, 2014

Spain and Portugal in platinum - using the Fuji X-T1 and Leica M 240

Throughout my career I always tried to keep a mental line between what I shoot commercially and what I shot for my fine art portfolio. Even so this division has often been difficult to maintain. As an aid during the film era I used to used two different camera systems, an SLR, usually Nikon, for commercial, and a Leica rangefinder for my art, with the Hasselblad spanning both. As I explained in my previous post, today the Fuji X-T1 camera makes the mental separation between commercial and art a much simpler process. By keeping the Fuji always set to record both RAW and jpg at the same time, I have an immediate visual reference of what I was trying to accomplish in the jpg, but a complete, 16-bit image with full detail for processing later. When you shoot as much as I do, you need all the help you can get.  

The compositions I seek for my platinum portfolio are very specific and must fit a set aesthetic criteria I have set.  This results in far fewer selects, and over time, not  even all of these will make the final cut. 

Below is a selection of some images I am considering for the portfolio. 

Harsh light from the setting sun glistens off the Mediterranean Sea silhouetting the small triangular rock island that echoes the triangular shape on the distant mountain.

Passing clouds form a composition with the partial facade of a late 19th century building in Barcelona, Spain. A polarizing filter darkened the deep blue overhead sky.

This little shrine built entirely of local stones is in Mijas, Spain, a tiny town outside of Malaga.

The ancient Moorish castle in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sintra sits on a hill overlooking the surrounding area all the way to the sea. This shot was framed using the Fuji 10-24mm zoom, which is the only lens I used the whole time I visited this site. That zoom, despite its slow f'4 aperture, is a perfect workhorse for travel and scenic photography.

My Fuji 10-24mm zoom was set to 12mm and positioned close to the foreground boulders to create a sweeping composition that leads to the Moorish castle on the hill top in the distance. 

Here I used the Fuji 10-24mm lens to look past the Moorish castle walls in the foreground to the Palace of Pena on the hilltop behind. The lens was placed just a few inches from the wall on the right.

The Moorish fortress is surrounded by lush forests. Fortunately, the day of my visit was overcast, exactly what I needed to eliminate the harsh light when shooting in the woods. 

Fountain in a square in Lisbon taken with the most used lens in my arsenal, the Fuji 18-55mm zoom.

Looking out into the Atlantic Ocean from Cadiz, Spain. This is probably similar to what Columbus saw when he first set sail in 1492 not far from this spot.

This is exactly the same scene as photo above it except here it was done as a time lapse of 50 seconds using -12 stop ND filters and f/16.  I also re-positioned the crop to center the cloud and horizon line.

The port city of Cadiz, Spain is know for the many lookout towers that sit on the tops of buildings enabling the shippers to look out to sea in anticipation of their returning vessels. This photo, taken with the X-T1 fit with the 18-55mm Fuji zoom at its widest focal length, shows the city and ocean from one of the lookout towers 

A surprise earthquake followed by a devastating sunami and fires almost totally destroyed the city of Lisbon on the holiday of All Saints Day in 1755. The Carmo Convent, its roof totally collapsed, now remains as a reminder of the even and as an archaeological site with weeds growing out of the crevices of the remaining stones. The convent roof collapsed during the quake and now remains open to the sky. On bright sunny days shadows form interesting patterns with the remaining arches. The photo above and those below were taken   

The sun is constantly changing position during the day forming new compositions of light and shadow with the interior walls.

I found this intriguing pattern of criss-crossing light and shadows in a museum at one of the sites I visited. While it doesn't fit with the travel theme, it does fit into the more inclusive visual compositional theme of the platinum portfolio.

This scene of steps and the one below in the Castelo Jorge on a hill above Lisbon were both taken with the Leica M 240 and Summilux 35mm lens. Both scenes were show in their color version in my previous blog post.  

Taken from the farthest land point in Europe, the color version of this photo was show in the prior blog post. 

A layer of fog covered the sea one morning at dawn. Here it is seen just lifting off the surface of the water before it dissipated into the atmosphere. This image and the one of the triangular rock out-crop in the first photo are two of my favorites from the trip. The top image shot was into a harsh setting sun with the Leica M and 135mm APO-Telyt, and this one taken into a softer rising sun with the Fuji 55-200mm zoom on the X-T1.

1 comment :

  1. Wow, Tom, the last image, Fog & Sea is just wonderful. What a great study in tonality and composition. I can see this selection of images editing themselves into a very cohesive body. Great stuff.