Christmas in Poland

Christmas in Poland with The Fuji X-System & XF16-80mm F4

The month of December will forever be a reminder of my mother’s transition. She passed away on December 6th 2022 .

2023 has been a year of profound adjustments in my life. Two things kept me steady during my long dark night of the soul: magic and my passion for creating images.

My Career as a magician brought me back to Krakow, Poland last year. My client invited me to spend Christmas with him and his family.

I accepted his very kind offer.

Poland over the Christmas holiday meant a lot of Photography. I knew the X-System would be a perfect set up to document my trip; I always travel with two bodies - the X-T2 & The X-Pro 2.

My choice of Lens meant one Travel Lens and one fast Prime; I chose the XF16-80mm F4 & the XF35mm 1.4. I consider the XF 16-80mm F4 to be a fantastic Travel Lens.

The Wide end of 16mm is superb for my scenery shots; everything else up to 80mm covers a wide variety of moments and documentary.

This is a day time Lens; this means making the most of the light before it starts getting dark - around 4pm. By this time I switch to my fast Prime shooting at 1.4 exclusively - even during day light hours. Having two bodies meant an effortless switch no between the two different Lenses depending on my subject and intended vision.

Let’s talk about being in Poland.

I really love this country. It is full of great character, old buildings, fantastic scenery and interesting people willing to be documented by this strange traveler.

The City of Krakow presented me with many moments which I felt was Frame worthy. The weather became an issue with a wet snow blizzard, that didn’t stop me. My X-System is protected with great sealing for such conditions.

Traveling south to Nowy Saçz became an adventure; I experienced a beautiful White Christmas…..for one day.

The following the day, the snow had all gone due to a rise in tempreture. I got the images I wanted.

Celebrating Christmas here with my friends was a treat. Different rounds of food, soups, meat, salads and Christmas gifts all added to the joy I felt.

This allowed the sadness of my mother not being here any more to gently settle in my heart. My sadness is there but gently locked away while enjoying my friends.

I took some time to rest, go for some walks in the old town. I made some photographs during my walk. The weather was perfect, not cold, just nippy. Clear skies, beautiful warm light illuminating the buildings of the suburbs.

The XF16-80mm F4 is a beautiful Travel companion. I have no regrets with this purchase. I know exactly how to use it to render the images I desire. It’s easy to zoom away, I don’t. I set my focal length to the intended subject with the correct Aperture and Shutter Speed. The ISO needs be adjusted accordingly. I shoot Raw plus Jpeg Fine Quality to ensure accurate detail in my creations. This Lens also has an Aperture setting of F22. When shooting at 16mm, F22 with a manual focus of 1 meter will deliver the most epic sharpness for a storytelling composition - in good daylight.

The XF35mm 1.5 is a well documented and complimented Lens. I have nothing to add - it is a wonderful Lens that renders a perfect scene. I decided to use this exclusively wide open at 1.4. Why stop down? May as well use my zoom.

This Lens at 1.4 is where I find the magical character and rendering. Selective focus and composition is required to reveal the beauty in a moment of a candid scene.

Nowy Saçz is city of pure Polish character. I found the juxtaposition of old buildings, nature, suburban housing fascinating. The natural landscape was dotted by homes built on privately owned land. This spoke of great affluence to me particularly where I stated with my friend. His home is surrounded by a beautifull landscape, garden - we even found time to do some post winter gardening.

My stay here coincided with the end of year / new year celebrations and I know I made the right choice in spending Christmas here. I left completely happy and greatfull for my time here with my friends.

The FujiFilm X-System is the perfect set-up for Travel Documentary Storytelling.

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