Friday, March 27, 2015

Working at f/2.8 with the Fuji 50-140mm lens in pre-dawn light

More than an hour to go before sunrise. A dreary day, dull blue cast to the cloudy sky, some lights still on in the city, reflections and shadows creating graphic compositions everywhere I looked. The day before I saw my Fuji 50-140mm zoom sitting on a shelf, unused for quite some time. I decided to give it a workout on my X-T1.

With the aperture opened at f/2.8 to provide selective focus between the light, shadows, and the city in the background, I set the ISO to 1600 and began shooting away, hand-held, at the forms emerging in the dim light. The high ISO produced a pleasing noise pattern similar to the look of film grain so I didn't attempt to eliminate it. Shooting through glass with reflections and using a long, hand-held lens resulted in a softness to the images that the grain effect seemed to counter-balance.

I usually keep my Fuji X-cameras set to record in both jpg and RAW and black and white. This allows me to judge the contrast with the monochrome image in the finder and provides a reference jpg for later processing of the RAW file. A blue cast to the dark, overcast light reminded me of some early gum bichromate prints I had seen so I kept a few of the images in color but muted them a bit in post to mimic the process.

At times the noise-grain effect coupled with the muted colors took on a look quite similar to Fresson prints. To my mind, Fuji X-cameras, prehaps due to the more random nature of their sensor pixels, produce an image look closer to that of  high grained film. 

One of the nice things about working with the Fuji 50-140mm lens is that, heavy at it is, it is still much more comfortable and manageable than a full frame DSLR equivalent zoom. I think I'll be using it a lot more now after this experience. 

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