Using Fujifilm JPEG Film Simulations

The delights of using Fujifilm cameras include the film simulations that Fujifilm includes for application to JPEG images. I’m a big fan of Classic Chrome for color images and Acros for black and white images.

UK wedding photographer Kevin Mullins has just posted a blog post and accompanying video describing how he uses these film simulations in his wedding photography. He sets up his favorite setting using the Custom Settings feature of his Fujifilm cameras.

Into the Light in San Francisco

Spear Steet - San Francisco - 2016

Earlier this week I was in San Francisco for meetings – and I went in a bit early to do some street photography.

Here’s one of the first images I captured after just coming up from the Embarcadero BART station.

I was shooting with my Fujifilm X-E2 with the new v4.0 firmware. An amazing upgrade by Fuji to this great little camera!

Looking into the light is one of my favorite scenes – taught to me by looking at the amazing work of Fan Ho!

Scooter

Scooter - San Francisco - 2016

Yesterday was my first time on the streets of San Francisco after upgrading my Fujifilm X-E2 to the latest firmware update (V 4.0). One of the best things about using Fujifilm cameras is how they have regularly provided significant firmware updates to older cameras – and this update to the X-E2 is a significant one – especially to the autofocus capabilities of the camera.

This is an example – shot into the morning light using the camera’s zone focusing mode.

That Glance

Glance - San Francisco - 2016

Today I joined a group of friends to visit the current exhibition of Paul Graham’s work at Pier 24 in San Francisco. Pier 24 is a beautiful gallery for the display of photography – with large neutral spaces in many different rooms – and controlled reservation-based entry to minimize any feeling of crowding the in the space. It’s a joy.

Graham’s work was organized into three bodies of work: American Night (1998–2002), a shimmer of possibility (2004–06), and The Present (2009–11). In his video, Graham talked about how each body of work was based on one aspect of the camera. American Night was based upon aperture – overexposing the images to create the soft white images. A shimmer was based upon time – snapping multiple images in a sequence to tell the story of something in a series of images. The Present was based upon the use of selective focus – or very shallow depth of field – to shift the viewer’s attention to a different point of interest in each image.

After watching Graham’s video explanation of each – and walking the exhibitions, I came away really liking his American Night collection best of all. These images at first look like nothing – you glance and them and want to move on. But when you stop and spend time with each image, your eye begins to see details that you originally overlooked. As you move closer to the image, the effect is enhanced – you start seeing more. A lovely treatment – and something I want to play with in the future.

Meanwhile, as we departed Pier 24, I came across this man walking toward me in the shadows under the pier’s overhang. I grabbed a quick shot and then he sat down. I continued walked toward him – and asked him – with a quick motion of my hand with my camera asking if it was OK to take his picture. He said yes – and then I captured him in this pose glancing off to his left. One of those great moments when it all comes together in street photography!

San Francisco Streets – January 2016

Doug Kaye - San Francisco - 2016

My photo buddy Doug Kaye and I met up yesterday in San Francisco for our first walk together of 2016. As usual we met at the Ferry Building – and immediately got immersed in the setup activities for Super Bowl City which is opening tomorrow. It was very cool to see the scope of this event – as lots of craftsmen, stage hands, and security staff did their work in Justin Herman Plaza and up Market Street.

Doug was shooting with a new – used but mint – Rolleiflex film camera. It was fun watching him look down to capture shots – Vivian Maier style. Meanwhile, I was shooting with my first Fujifilm X camera – the Fujifilm X-E2. I had a new lens – the 35mm f/2 prime – and put the X-E2 into black and white (with yellow filter) mode – and had a great time shooting. This camera really does work wonders in your hands – and the Fujifilm monochrome film treatment just looks superb right out of the camera.

Some examples follow. It was a very good day.

The Beard - San Francisco - 2016

Plugged In - San Francisco - 2016

Love to Sign - San Francisco - 2016

Plans - San Francisco - 2016

Philz - San Francisco - 2016

Light, Gesture and Color

Peppers - San Francisco - 2014

This a quick grab shot from one of my Friday photowalks in San Francisco with Doug Kaye. Shot with my Fujifilm X-E2, we were walking across an overhead walkway looking down at this food truck selling pizzas. These two women caught my eye – the first sprinkling red peppers on her pizza and the second frizzy blond with her 49’ers jacket on.

Combine them with the red shirt and finger gesture from the guy in the food truck and things get interesting!

The Power and Beauty of Monochrome

Arise - Klamath Overlook - 2014

2014 has been an amazing photographic journey for me. For example, my Lightroom catalog currently has almost 68,000 images in it – spanning the years 2000-2014 – with over 25,000 of those (37%) shot just in 2014. It’s almost crazy how many images I’ve taken this year!

Something I regularly revisit is the split between my earlier work on landscape photography and my more recent interest in street photography. They’re very different – but, in some sense, both deliver very satisfying feelings as I look back on my work.

Another always interesting insight is the color vs monochrome difference – how color can really enhance an image and how monochrome can to – by reducing the distractions of color. It’s a dichotomy – one that’s always fun to explore.

I recently watched a brief series of videos by John Sexton – and he inspired me to look back and explore more fully some of the landscape shots I’ve taken this year. This is one example – an image shot with my Fujifilm X-E2 at early morning at the Klamath River Overlook in far northern California as part of Michael Frye‘s Mystic Forest workshop. The color image is quite beautiful – shot as the sun was rising in early June. But I think this monochrome treatment is especially good – with its drama, composition and mood. This is an image I need to print and frame – I think it’s one of those special ones!

Playing with Sepia Toning of Highlights in Monochrome Images

Moody #2 - San Francisco - 2014

I recently got reacquainted with the beautiful monochrome work of Michael Kenna. His images have a number of striking qualities – mostly long exposure, his use of grain, and the square (and small 8×8 inch) print size. But for me it’s the light in his images that grab me.

Doing a bit of reading of interviews of Kenna, he has spoken about his he uses a light sepia toning in the highlights of his images – and how, by doing so, the mind’s eye sees the highlights as a bit forward in space while the shadows are pushed back – adding a sense of dimensionality to an image.

This is an image of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge shot from San Francisco’s Embarcadero with my Fujifilm X-E2 on a particularly moody February morning. I used it as an example for applying this kind of technique – sepia toning of the highlights. To do so, it’s an easy process in Photoshop CC. Select the RGB channel to create a selection, then add a gradient map adjustment layer – the selection will automatically be loaded into the adjustment layer’s layer mask. Then select the photographic toning Sepia 1 tone – and you’re done with the highlights.

I took it a bit further, duplicating that process but inverting the layer mask to add a Selenium 2 tone to the shadows – pushing them further back in the mind’s eye.

Below is the original monochrome version of this image – you can see the difference. Click on either to see a larger version.

Moody - San Francisco - 2014

Silent at Damnation Trail

Silent - Damnation Creek - 2014

When you walk among the redwoods on a foggy morning, life slows down.

You start to see things you might otherwise just walk by. It’s a beautiful switch – your mind goes from busy, busy left brain into the much more creative right brain. Your eyes see new things. You hear the sounds of the forest. You hear your own breathing.

And life slows down…

A Different Look: White Seamless

Ferries - San Francisco - 2014

Earlier this week, Scott Kelby posted a new portfolio of images that he described as looking like they had been shot against a background of white seamless. He described the technique he used in Lightroom to create this look – based loosely on blowing out the sky, increasing contrast and clarity and reducing vibrance.

I gave the technique a try on a couple of my images from a bright New Years Day 2014 in San Francisco. This is perhaps the best of what I tried – the Hornblower cruise boats tied up at Pier 3 in San Francisco.

Shot with my Fujifilm X-E2 and post-processed in Lightroom 5.