Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Onward and Upwards with the Fuji X series

Hello, it's me again holding a Fuji X-Pro 1 with a 18mm F/2 lens. Oh it's nice!

I have a head

So it's just been over a year since my first book came out And I reckon the sequel will come out by the end of this year. And damn it, I'm working on another, a coffee table size book project, with exhibitions and a live show too,

All my shots are shot on the X-Pro 1 and X-T1 with mainly the 56mm F/1.2 and 18mm F/2 lenses. A lot of words have been written on why they are so fantastic but here's a few of my words about why I particularly like them for what I'm trying to shoot.

The 56mm F/1.2 is a very fast lens. The 18mm F/2 is sprinting very close behind. I don't use flash and try and use the available light. So backstage I tend to use the lens open with the ISO up, often quite high. On occasion up to 6400 (never over that). Once I have set the ISO so that my shutter speed doesn't drop below 1/80 sec (occasionally a little lower) I kind of let the camera do most of the technical stuff. It's cleverer than me!

(X-T1 with 56mm lens 1/160 sec at F1.6 ISO-4000)

(X-Pro1 with 35mm lens 1/150 sec F/2.2 ISO-6400)

(BEN VAN DER VELDE in the mirror)
(X-Pro1 with 18mm lens 1/50 sec F/2 ISO-3200)

DOMINIC HOLLAND (nearest to the mirror)
(X-Pro1 with 18mm lens 1/150 sec at F/5 ISO-2500)

Backstage I'm trying to get a non-posed shot, and because being a stand-up comedian myself, I know most of these jokers and so am trusted (and hopefully liked). Their guards are down, although I make sure there is no reason for their guards to be up. Sometimes their guitars are up! 

(X-Pro1 with 18mm lens 1/140 sec at F/2.2 ISO 2000)

(X-T1 with 56mm lens 1/105 sec at F/1.2 ISO-5000)

Technically, shooting on stage is a little different. The light is usually pretty bright. I nearly always shoot with the 56mm F/1.2 lens, and I pretty much always stop down and under expose, often all the way to where the camera will let me go.

Being in the comedy club, physically and metaphorically, when the comedians are onstage I often feel where and when the punchline, the facial funny or the reaction from and to the audience is coming from.

(X-T1 with 56mm lens 1/125 sec at F/2.8 ISO-2000 -2.7 step)

(X-T1 with 56mm lens 1/125 sec at F/2.8 ISO-3200 -2.3 step)

(X-T1 with 56mm lens 1/200 sec at F/5.6 ISO-2000 -3 step)

My only tip when shooting is don't go for the obvious. I search for different angles. I squat where I can, from the side of the stage, from behind and below the stage. In the gods. Anywhere I'm allowed to be, or for that matter, not allowed to be.

Here's another tip - Get a shot in... We all want to get the perfect shot, but make sure you get a shot. You're never going to get the opportunity again. For me, it doesn't matter too much if the shot is a little under/over exposed, or if something is in the background/foreground, or even if its a little out of focus. Sometimes this adds to the picture. Sometimes it doesn't. You can always muck around a little later and crop, sharpen, edit in or out an incoming bottle of beer or an exploding monkey ( I wouldn't do that!).

(X-T1 with 56mm lens 1/150 sec F/2.0 ISO-2500 -3 step)

(X-Pro1 with 18mm lens 1/150 sec F/4.5 ISO-3200 -2 step)

(X-T1 with 56mm lens 1/140 sec at F/2.5 ISO-2500 -3 step)

To be continued...