Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Fabulous X100s, Candids, and Lightroom 5

I've been trying to write this for a few days now, but just too busy with having to go back to work after holidays, uploading and sorting about 1200 pictures, while trying to learn Lightroom 5 that I'm trialing and already pretty sure I'm going to buy.

First, the Fuji X100s is nothing short of fabulous, almost perfect, with the only flaw being the person wielding the camera. Inside, outside, bright sunshine, low indoor light, nothing seemed to phase it. Oh, occasionally I would forget to look at the settings in the viewfinder and take a shot in bright sunlight with the aperture still at f2 and end up with a blown out picture, but, like I said, I'm pretty much the only flaw.

Of course, I took tons of pictures of grandkids and family, something I haven't done much of the last couple of years. But the handiness of the small, fixed lens camera was awesome. I grabbed it off the shelf all the time and got lots of memories from our visit.

I have an interest in candid photography (I don't think I can call it street photography yet) so I practiced "shooting from the hip" at a couple of malls and the Vernon Farm Market (BC interior). I manually focused the camera at about 10 feet and just shot with it located around chest level. Got a few good ones and a great story moment.

Here's a shot I took that is part of the story.
I had just taken this and was chimping (looking at the picture on the back of the camera) when the girl on the right said "Excuse me." I looked up thinking, uh oh, she saw me take her picture and didn't like it. (For those of you who think this is "sneaky" photography, maybe, but it is a long and legitimate form of photography, one that interests me very much and one that I'm trying to learn how to do with more skill and courage.) Anyway, I'm thinking this might be an issue when she asked, "Is that the Fuji X100s?" Or words to that effect, referring to the camera. She had seen it and recognized it because a friend of hers had been looking at one. So we chatted a bit, her name was Riley. I told her the camera was great, asked if I could take her picture and took a black and white and then a color one so she could see the quality. I should have talked to her longer but I did find out she loves her camera, an Olympus OM-D I think. It was a nice, although all too brief, encounter and I look forward to that kind of interaction in the future. What I read of some street photographers is that often the interaction after taking a picture is one of the great things about this type of photography.

And here's a picture that she "posed" for. This was actually taken in color (in camera jpeg conversion) but I converted it to black and white in Lightroom. I kind of like it, plus it's my first "street" portrait of a total stranger although she approached me as opposed to the other way around.

Oh, and just an interesting aside, the two women and baby in the background on the right of the picture happen to be my wife, Rena, daughter-in-law, Amanda and granddaughter, Eden. Don't think I realized they were there until I looked at the picture later.

Now, a bit about Lightroom 5. I have been shooting in RAW only on my Canon but I never moved into Lightroom, being comfortable with Photoshop, and it's Bridge program and Camera Raw program that is kind of integrated into Photoshop. I had trialed earlier versions of Lightroom but just never got the hang of it. The problem with a new camera is that the version of Adobe Camera Raw that came with CS5 doesn't and won't ever support the RAW files from the Fuji. So, I could upgrade to CS6 (although that's the final non-subscription version of Photoshop) or jump on the Lightroom bandwagon. Since the newest version of Lightroom just came out it's a bit of a no-brainer to go that route. So, I bought Scott Kelby's new book and have been learning the program the last few days. Even though I'm shooting in RAW plus jpeg on the Fuji and the jpegs are awesome and the in-camera conversion is great, I still need something that will allow me to work with the RAW files if I want. Plus, Lightroom is also a great photo sorting and management program designed for photographers so it's time (and a bit cheaper to buy than to upgrade Photoshop again.)

Long blog post that nobody is reading but it's good for me.