Toy Boy

Yes, this boy has a new toy. Give boy Fuji toy. After wavering for several weeks I finally capitulated yesterday and bought a Fuji X100s camera. This may seen like a rather frivolous purchase as I already have the original X100. In fairness to both Fuji and me the two are some way apart. It is like upgrading from a Toyota to a Lexus, or a VW to an Audi (only hopefully with better service in the case of the latter but that rant is for another day).

The biggest improvements in my eyes are those revolving around manual focus. The speed is now super slick and Fuji has given us a choice of focus peaking or split image.  The former means that you get little fairy light effects around the elements of the image that are in focus. With the latter you see the image in three parts and when they come together you are focussed – very similar to a rangefinder or  old SLRs. But this can be done very quickly and just for good measure you can programme the camera to give you a focus check. This enlarges the area you are focussing on in the viewfinder or on the LCD and makes your job even easier.

Any road up, I have been slowly recovering after the adrenaline rush of the wedding stopped. It feels like resurfacing from a deep SCUBA dive, not that I have ever done so. Life is now more or less back to normal. We ventured onto the Island yesterday and did some chores and curiously I found myself in a camera shop and Mrs. Ha found herself in a  clothes boutique. And guess what I WON!!! I spent more than Mrs. Ha. Not by much I hasten to add but enough to give me the warm inner glow of triumph. And of course she looks better in her new outfit than I do in my camera.

This morning I simply had to take the X100s out for a spin. I only had an hour and a half and I wanted to practice the manual focussing. I set the camera to shoot RAW files with a monochrome jpeg on the side (B&W with red filter to be precise). This was not about finding great subjects, although that would have been rewarding, I simply wanted to familiarise myself with the camera. Most of the shots you see below have been taken from the jpegs, Some modest cropping to straighten a few and generally I felt I wanted to add a little punch. That meant boosting contrast and clarity. No additional sharpening was applied. The colour images are converted from RAW and simply saved for web.

I hope its the real thing – you can never tell in China.Coke ClearanceWorking The Chinese Opera House going upUnder-Construction2

Under-Construction Local House – one of my favouritesSK-House I’m in charge – but I may not be sharp!Shrine-God The local catPuss Park pathway – ring my bellPathway OtisOtis G’day sport Gday-sport Follow the leaderFollow-my-leader World’s ApartBench Under the banyan treeBanyan-Roots


Just to be clear I would not post a single on of these to any forum. Not even close. And that brings me on to my second point today. I mentioned a while ago that I was doing less on FB and migrating my photos to Google +. And I am doing so. If you don’t believe me, go and check! I even joined a few ‘Communities’. They are certainly active and I have seen some very nice images indeed. Looking at them I have drawn a few learnings.

Most of the images are effectively reworks of things I have seen before. I am not talking about montages or composites but just plain ordinary photographs. Even though they may be of high technical quality, there is remarkably little that I would consider creative. It may well be tough to find a new angle on “a rose” but if so, don’t post.

The ones that do work for me tend to be minimalist – simple, uncluttered, with a clear focal point / subject. “Busy” photos leave me wondering what it is I am supposed to focus on – no pun intended.

Light and colour are vital components of colour images, whereas monochromes can work more through mood. I have been pleasantly surprised how many people prefer to end up with a monochrome image. On balance I see more quality images (again, a personal interpretation) in the B&W galleries than I do in the colour ones. I especially like the Nature in Monochrome community.

I have also decided that I have overdosed on shallow DoF. Why did I use a F0.95 or F1.2 aperture? Because I can! Oooooh, lovely bokeh! My own conclusion is that in many instances the selective focus (deliberately creating what Rough Seas would call the blurred or out of focus bits) does not add to the aesthetics of the image. I need to think more about why I am choosing the F-stop I am.

I have some other thoughts but I shall save those for when I am feeling more combative. And anyway I am tired now. I have to work tomorrow and must do some prep. So that’s it for another thrilling instalment of “All Downhill”. Do come back for more because if you don’t I’ve wasted a lot of time. TTFN.


16 thoughts on “Toy Boy

  1. Firstly, awesome photos. I particularly love ‘g’day sport’. I struggled through the second half of your post because I am not very camera-literate, despite having a Canon 500d I have never taken a class or done any research, so anything I know is simply stuff I have taught myself by trial and error. Reading your post, I want to know more!

    • I confess that I did actually resort to reading the manual this time. Generally I refuse but this is a stretch for me. I am 99% self taught and more error than trial. If you have specific questions I’ll try to answer them.

  2. While Mrs. Ha may shop a bit more often than you, Andrew, I daresay that when you do you must smell the scent of triumph more often. Ours is an expensive sport.

    I will join you on G+ one of these days. Probably after my trip. Speaking of combative….I do not feel quite so negative toward the selective focus folks but don’t feel drawn toward that art form either. It seems to be quite popular and there are many many people creating those images…no need for my drop to be added to that ocean, especially since it is not my vision. I generally am much happier getting the maximum detail to allow the viewer to appreciate the complexities of nature in her completeness……although not always showing the complete subject. Each individual is challenge enough to capture at its best. Now, separating a subject from its background is another topic and I feel a tad more positive toward that. 🙂

    • Steve, I too like separating the subject from its background and I have nothing against selective focus. It is the misuse, abuse or overuse of the technique that I feel alienates me. Are you packed yet with your moose lures at the ready?

      • Probably the best moose lure is to not shower for the next two weeks. 🙂

        I think we agree about the selective focus issue. It’s just not my way of seeing things. Many people do it quite well…see Sandra Schaenzer :-)…but, yes, it is overused and often without any specific vision in mind, IMO.

        My new toy is a simple Photo Safe. Two lenses (Zeiss 18 & 85) on rental for the trip though.

  3. Any road up, Andrew, I haven’ heard that term for ages. but it made me smile.. 🙂 ,… Loving the sound of ‘little fairy light effect’ .. and the thought of you spending more than Mrs Ha brought another smile, then a laugh,… I’m on Google+ too, trying to sort out what does what, and who’s where. but slowly getting there too.. so I’ll look out for you as I wander about ….lost!! xPenx

  4. Mrs Ha ( A stunningly beautiful lady) may have spent less money than you today, and Lulu of course (gorgeous Pomeranian) not a bean(nor a dog biscuit) but they will always out smart/do you with looks and style. I’m sorry, but somebody had to say it, regardless of how long ‘yer lens is………BMB.
    The Local house picture. It captured my imagination, it had a story. That was definitely my favourite.
    Have fun with your new toy! You are already making fabulous photographs with it 🙂

    • Lottie, I know I can’t compete with any of the women in the family and that includes Lulu.

      I have photographed the house many times with film as well as digital cameras. What it really needs is a good backdrop, something other than a blah grey sky. One day, maybe.

  5. I read this with great interest Andrew not only because I enjoy your writing but I too have on order(backorder that is), a X100s. Interesting that you can record RAW+B&W jpeg. I look forward to seeing and reading more from your experiences with this new instrument.

  6. I liked G’day sport and the cat, I loved his/her pose. Poised in fact. Looks ready to pounce on the target.

    Thank you for the credit – if that’s what it was 😀 The problem with working in PR and journalism is that it is second nature to dumb everything down. That’s being a bit rude I suppose, but we are trained to translate tech speak so that everyone can understand it, whether that’s photography, clinical services, or even just how the local rates (as were although still are here in Gib) were set.

    Your point about what to post re photos is interesting though. Two main points come to mind for me. One is that not everyone is as far ahead in terms of photographic development (ha neat little pun there eh?) so what may be boring and nothing special to you may be something great to whoever has finally managed to get a decent photo of a rose. Two, that’s also why I am not a fan of photography blogs per se that say (nice rhyming there) nothing to add any value to a photo. I am usually left thinking – So what? I know you were talking about G+ but the same principle applies. A photo has to be exceptional to manage without words. But I would say that.

    Which leaves me feeling glad I don’t aspire to be a photographer. Too many good ones out there, too much to learn and as far as I am concerned my pix are there to illustrate my words, no more no less. I shall however, ensure that my next post contains a vast array of mediocre flower shots 🙂

I'd be delighted to hear what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s