Around the World with a Deck of Cards and The Fuji X-100T
My photographic journey began in 2009 when I purchased my first camera, the classic D90 from Nikon. I loved that camera as it was my first entry into learning this wonderful craft. I have since graduated to the Nikon D7100 and the D750 in the last few years along with a museum worthy collection of fine lenses. I must be honest and say that I love these cameras and still get a lot of joy from using them.I mention this Nikon element to my photography now because as a traveling magician performing, lecturing and hosting workshops around the world, carrying heavy magician props plus Nikon Cameras and lens is beyond back breaking - it can be soul destroying. How I managed in the last few years is nothing short of miraculous.
Enter Fuji.Two years ago, I purchased the wonderful X100T.
I resisted Fuji for a long time due to the Battery life. I was sold on the image quality due to my research - the short battery life was however, a deal breaker. When I took the leap of faith, purchased the X100T and started using it, I was sold lock stock and barrel. I overcame my aversion to the battery life by purchasing more batteries. I have at least 8, each one numbered so that I can ensure each battery gets full usage. The X100T has become my take everywhere camera along with a few decks of cards when leaving the house for a session of street shooting and impromptu street magic for my subjects - I love shooting street portraits. I have just returned home from South Korea with this camera and its big brother the XT1. The lightness of these cameras and lens along with my additional props have been a god send. I also traveled with my iPad so that I could keep up to date with my 365 - Shot of the Day. The Jpegs straight out of camera from the X100T can be uploaded onto my iPad and I normally do some light editing adjustments using Snapseed and Lightroom Mobile. Images are then shared either to my website, Instagram or Facebook. These cameras are my companions of choice now for travel.
My trip to South Korea took in the city of Seoul. I was invited to host some workshops and lectures plus a few public performances as part of a convention celebrating the life of magician Alexander, who did a lot to inspire many generations of magicians in South Korea. This was my first visit and I loved it - I started shooting right away with my X100T. This was one of my very first shots, taken right outside of my hotel. This lady had set up her stall early morning and was there all day, till very late. One thing I added to my X100T was the WCL. This extra wide angle agrees with me perfectly - I feel my images have a little more breathing space.
Walking around Seoul was quite easy. My friend Ed, a wonderful magician, took me to a cool place where the young crowd hanged out. It was fascinating experiencing the Underground Metro System. My only confusion was I don't speak the language. Nevertheless, I caught few stealth mode shots, this is where the WCL came in handy.
One thing I found interesting was the culture of mobile kitchens selling "Street Food". They are everywhere and the food was very good indeed. This lady was keen for us to sample her cuisine - she made a great subject, happy and full of presence.
Along with the Street Kitchens, I also experienced crafts men at there stalls doing book binding and engravings. I asked them if I could take their photograph, they were most gracious. My friend Anna purchased one of the crafted note books for me as a gift.
My X100T has become an extension of my hand, eye and mind, just like my deck of cards. It feels natural and intuitive. On some days, I was happy to shoot in Aperture Priority and other days I let the technology take over as I shot in full program mode with Auto ISO set to 200/3200 with a minimum Shutter Speed of 1/125. On these days, I just wanted to be at peace in the moment, with the environment and just shoot with no thought of camera settings. I am delighted that this "Fuji Gem" allows me the freedom to express myself. I am not a photographer who always feels the need to be in complete control.
There is a time and place for this; for example, my friends took me to The Han River where we had a Picnic. As the light levels dropped, I set up my Manfrotto Mini Tripod on top of a cardboard box, secured my camera. I set my ISO to 200, Shutter Speed to Letter T, Aperture to F11, adjusted the front dial to a Shutter Speed of 8 seconds, image quality set to Fine + Raw, Film Simulation to Velvia and took this long exposure of The Seongsan Bridge.
I love long exposure twilight shooting of Bridges and Cityscapes, I find the colours enchanting. In fact, I am building up a portfolio of images of famous Bridges from around the world, I am pleased I have this one for my collection. The XT1 with the 16-55mm was used for this image along with the image below for the light trails.
I don't know enough about the technology to review the inner workings. That stuff doesn't interest me, all I care about is my response time between being pulled by a great moment, my emotions feeling the essence of the moment and my eye and mind ready to compose and shoot. The camera in my hand is an assistant to the greatest camera ever made, my brain and my eyes the lens.There must be no conflict in my response time between feeling the moment and getting the shot. My Fuji Travel Kit has all the power I need for all of the shooting subjects I am attracted to; People, Places, Culture, Street Photography and Faces.While my bags are still heavy due to my professional working props, the Fuji equipment has lightened the load considerably.Big thanks to Fuji for allowing me to share the wonder of our world through 35mm and the magic of The Fuji X System.
Finally, if there is one area of photography I love it is Portraits. The Fuji X100T and XT1 are both superb for Street Portrait work. The fixed 23mm lens is a perfect Environmental Portrait Lens. At 35mm FF EQ, it functions beautifully.I find the human face absolutely fascinating, more so with a camera in my hand. These final images were caught using the XT1 paired with the 16-55mm at 55 mm in most case and the 56mm.