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I've been intrigued with infrared (IR) photography for some time and have begun to experiment with it. I don't like colored IR images as they appear too surreal for my taste. Instead, I love the look of black and white IR images which I find to have a nice calming look to them. When it comes to IR photography there are many options to choose from in regard to filters. This includes filters that screw onto the front of a lens or a filter integrated into a camera in order to convert it to a dedicated IR camera. Check out Lifepixel.com which has a wealth of information about IR photography and their services. I started out on the cheap end and purchased a Hoya Infrared R72 filter. I purchased this filter in a 77mm size and with the use of two step-up rings, I'm able to use this filter on my 18-135mm, 10-24mm, and 100-400mm lenses. I've been having a lot of fun with this filter and am quite pleased with the results, although I have a lot more to learn concerning post processing. The one thing I have discovered in post processing these images is that there is no right or wrong way; it's all based on personal preference. The image of the St. Sebastion River was taken with the Fuji 18-135mm lens set at f8 for 4 seconds at ISO 200. IR photography has opened up a new and exciting door.
Any time I'm walking around my eyes are constantly drawn to lines, whether they be actual or implied lines. That's probably why I'm so attracted to architectural images whether it be an abandoned dilapidated house with overgrown windows, staircases, or alike. As powerful as these types of images are, I find images that have implied lines just as powerful. This simple image of reeds sticking out of the water was taken at Viera Wetlands in Brevard County, Florida. Viera Wetland is very popular among birders, but birds just aren't my thing. How many more images of osprey with a fish in it's talons do we need? While walking around for several hours (most photographers are in their cars), I came across these reeds which spoke to me. The other photographers must have thought I was crazy because there was no bird in site. I love how the implied horizontal line creates a calmness and tranquility to the image. I find the image to be very soothing.
After waiting 4 months, I finally took delivery of the 18-135mm lens this past weekend. This lens will definitely be my go to lens based on the focal range, close focusing ability for close-up up work, weather sealed construction, and its incredible image stabilization. In the short time that I've had the X-T2, I've come to really like the film simulations that Fuji has built into their firmware. Fuji offers 9 different film simulations and in addition, color filter (red, green, and yellow) effects with Acros and monochrome film simulations. Not only am I able to preview the look of any film simulation in the electronic viewfinder, but I'm also able to bracket an image using three different film simulations. If bracketing, I press the shutter once and get three images based on what film simulations I have selected.
While traveling through the Atlanta airport earlier this month, I came across a section of exposed ceiling that caught my eye. Due to the lighting and monochrome subject matter, I set the X-T2 film simulation to Acros with a red filter and begin shooting. I was blown away with the results.
Although I had ordered Fuji's 18-135mm lens at the same time as the X-T2 body, the lens is still on back order which is extremely frustrating. Apparently, Fuji relocated the manufacturing plant for this and other lenses to the Philippines which is causing the back log. Fortunately, I have been able to secure a used 10-24mm and 100-400mm lens which I am very impressed with. They are extremely sharp and the image stabilization works much better than any Nikon lens I've owned. More on these lenses in future blog posts. During a recent trip to New England, I rented a 18-135mm lens and was blown away. Not only is the lens sharp, but the image stabilization is out of this world. The image of the leaf and shell was taken at 1/27th of a second at F16 hand held. I never did any hand held close up photography with my Nikon equipment. Due to the fact that this lens focuses to within 1.5 feet, I don't see myself having to purchase a macro lens. This lens is built like a tank and is weather sealed.
There is still a lot to learn and experiment with this camera. I'm really enjoying the film simulations, the exterior control knobs, and of course the electronic view finder. More later ...
I spent the first week becoming familiar with the menus integrated into camera since I had no lens. Like most cameras, the menus are extensive and it will take some time to become comfortable with them after shooting Nikon for 27 years. By the end of the Memorial Day holiday, I had customized the camera to some extent and felt as though I had a basic understanding of the camera's functions/menus. The 18-135mm lens is still on back order after 2.5 months and there is no end in sight. Fortunately, I was able to purchase a used 10-24mm lens which I received on May 31st. I did some shooting this past weekend where I used a lot of AE and film simulation bracketing. As expected, the batteries will not last as long and I will always be sure to have a least spare on hand. The AE bracketing worked like a charm which will come in handy for HDR images. I've never had the opportunity to shoot images using a specific film simulation which I think will be nice in some circumstances, especially the black and white film simulations. The image stabilization integrated into the 10-24mm works great. So far I like the smaller and lighter package, and the fact that the body is weather sealed. Ever since I received the camera it has been raining here in Florida. That said, not all of Fuji's lenses are weathered sealed including the 10-24mm. On the other hand, the 18-135mm lens is weather sealed which will be nice since I suspect it will be my go to lens. The only con so far is the button that I reset as my back focus button. The button is not as pronounced compared to my Nikons, so I find myself feeling around for it. I suspect with more time it will become second nature.
That's it for now. I'll continue to keep you posted as I continue to play with the camera. Next time I'll try to post an image.