Swapping over to the Fuji X-T2

Back in early September I borrowed my friends Fuji X-T2 and a few lens to see what all the fuss was about. I knew how nice the colour came through in their images as I had got myself an X30 for a family holiday in 2015, so I had been keeping a careful eye on what they were manufacturing since then.

Having shot Canon since 2009 and all my equipment being set up for that I did not think that after a weekend of playing with the XT2  I would find myself putting all the Canon gear up for sale just a few weeks later. I even had a 5d MK4 sat there waiting for me to buy and collect from Wex Photographic where I work, but to be honest I think after seeing how well the Auto focus and ISO performed and let’s not forget how much less the weight of the Fuji is in comparison to the Canon that order got cancelled and I found myself parting with my money for a whole new experience with the Fuji system.

2 days after it arrived and I had only had time to mess about with it in the house due to work and UNI commitments, but on the Friday I was running a workshop with the model Bernadette Lemon taking centre stage and managed to find time to take a few handheld shots with various lens. One thing I found easy to use was the Wifi and the fact that all the dials are just in the right place to allow quick use, just like they are with the Canon I had been using.

From this I instantly realised that the A/F on the camera is reliable and also not a problem to be using either .

Shot with the Fuji 14mm

Shot with the Fuji 14mm and a Bowens Light and beauty dish off frame to the left

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Shot handheld with the Fuji 14mm and lit using the Westcott Icelight 2

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Shot on a tripod with the Fuji 56mm @f/1.2 and lit with the Westcott Icelight 2

Next stop with the Camera was a Full Day Landscape workshop I was running with my 2 good photography mates on the Norfolk Coast with Through the lens workshops. I will hold my hand up here and say when I like to shoot landscapes I am probably like the rest of you all and like to spend plenty of time composing and thinking about the shots I am taking, quality over quantity and all that…..

We had paying customers on the session so the time aspect was not going to happen and since that session time nor the weather has been on my side to get out and have a real play about and shoot my favourite style of photography. All the shots I took were with the Fuji 10-24mm and using a selection of different Formatt Hitech filters.

The thing I really struggled with on these shots was getting the focus pin sharp so that when I go into the shots in Photoshop and zoom into 100% the focus is bang on. Some were really good and I was happy with, some were just ok and below what I would be happy to print off. But hey I have just changed camera system completely and I reckon it will just take a bit of getting used to.

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters 3.0 firecrest nd to slow down the water and a .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters 3.0 firecrest nd to slow down the clouds .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters 3.0 firecrest nd to slow down the clouds .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters .6 resin grad

If I am honest I will say when I got home I was a little worried about how well the focusing had performed, I was having a few doubts about what I had done buy moving over to Fuji. But in for a penny and in for a pound as they say. The fact that I had got images as sharp as I like did reassure me a little that the camera is going to do what I wanted it to do, so all I needed was a little more time to go out and shoot some more and get up to scratch with how I want the images to look.

I  just purchased the fully manual Samyang 12mm f/2 lens for shooting astronomy images over the winter and landscapes and I am a bit of a wide angle junky so this lens will sit well in the kit bag. I look after my gear so the fact that it is not weather sealed is not an issue for me in the slightest. So what is the 1st thing you do after 12 hrs at work, you take the lens and photograph anything that will let you. In this case it was the dog that I had just woken up. I used the Icelight2 in my left hand to illuminate her and held the camera and focused the shot with my right hand and captured this.

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Samyang 12mm, @f/2, 1/200th sec, iso 400 and handheld

My next trip out was scuppered by even more rain so I opted for a day of photographing church interiors instead of some nice landscapes with the autumn colours. This time round rather than just relying on my eye for the focus being spot on I used focus peaking, I highly recommend this to anybody that uses manual focus a lot. I set it to red high and away I went with photos just how I like them.

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Shot with the Samyang 12mm at f/8 on a tripod

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Shot with the Samyang 12mm at f/8 on a tripod

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Shot with the Samyang 12mm at f/11 on a tripod

So for me did I make the right choice…….. Well, one week after the camera getting delivered I could not be happier. You just have to remember….Like any new bit of equipment or software we use for work, you have to get used to it and this camera is no exception to that. You can’t just expect to pick it up and get the results in an instant. Reading the manual (something I have never done before) was a great help to me even though I am dyslexic.

Customising the Q menu is so straightforward.

Using the wifi is easy and as I shoot a lot of events over the year and I can see this will be very handy for myself and my clients with social media.

The flip out screen is well designed and handy, you dont have to get yourself into funny position to see the screen and that is a blessing.

The dual slot sd cover is nice and rigid and the rest of the camera feels like it is built like a tank.

But the 2 most important things I like the most about the camera are the Quality of the images you can produce if you put your mind to it and the weight of the camera system in comparison to my old 5dmk3.

And I would just like to say thank you to the few mates who I have pestered quite a bit over the last few weeks with some questions being very daft but needing to be asked and answered… So if anybody reading this has any questions you would like to know (remember it is just my opinion) then feel free to send me them over

 

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Sedlec Ossuary. Kutna Hora, in the Czech Republic. August 2016

This is another one of those sites that I have wanted to visit for a long time. So it would have been very rude not to have made this photo stop number one en route to slovakia. A mega tourist spot that meant you had to squeeze in and try and take pictures made it very fun to try and get some photos.

After here we headed across the road to the little cafe where we managed to score food for 3 people 2 rounds of drinks a extra milk shake and a extra coffee for under 20 notes so all in it was a great stop.

This is what the website has to say about the location and you can click here for more info

The Sedlec Ossuary also known as the Church of Bones is one of the most unusual chapels you will ever see.

If you think that you saw everything in your life, think again!

The Sedlec Ossuary is nothing spectacular in the outside. It is a small chapel located in Sedlec, in the suburbs of Kutna Hora, in the Czech Republic. You would think that it is just an average old medieval gothic church.

As you enter the Sedlec Ossuary though, you will soon realize why it is one of the most amazing and unique churches in the world.The Sedlec Ossuary is artistically decorated by more than 40.000 human skeletons.

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Norwich Cathedral

It was 3 years ago now when I picked up somebody in my taxi and he happened to mention he had just been to a meeting about scaff going up on the cathedral (and nearly every other church in Norfolk) in order to restore the roof and carry out essential maintenance. So me and my matey decided to go and have a look at it.. The 1st night we popped down mainly to recce it and nearly got up, but soon discovered we would need a sling to let us pull ourselves over the stupidly high fence. So we headed off into the dark of the night and on the way out ripped my trousers on the spiked fence :( So we popped back the next night, crept around the homeless person living under the blue tarp and made our way up, and as soon as we had got up we were rather happy that we had, but also disappointed that we had not taken out factor 50 suntan lotion and sunglasses, as it seemed every HPS light was trained directly onto us… We did not fancy getting spotted walking about so we kept to the shadows due to this having just been in the newspapers that week, and we figured if they thought we were interfering with it, it would be a lot of bother. So we made it up to the highest point of the scaffolding then packed up our camera gear and scooted of into the darkness of the night, just as they were locking up the gates for the grounds, so all in a great night with great company.

History
Norwich Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity was founded in 1096 by the first Bishop of Norwich, Bishop Herbert de Losinga, as penance for buying his Bishopric from the King five years earlier. In order to create his new cathedral, priory and precinct, Bishop Losinga acquired land at the centre of the ever growing town of Norwich. The land already contained the churches of St Michael Tombland and Christ or Holy Trinity church, and the homes of many Norwich townsfolk, but all were swept away to make way for the cathedral. Although the cathedral then took on the dedication of one of the demolished churches, the intrusive beginnings of cathedral and priory did not bode well for good relations with the citizens of Norwich.
Inside, the cathedral is much more impressive. The founder Herbert de Losinga had the cathedral church and cloisters designed as a whole. The first phase of building was begun at the eastern end of the church so that the essential ecclesiastical elements of the church were in place and it could be consecrated as soon as possible. This phase, up to the fifth bay of the nave and the tower to the top of the church roof, was built in Quarr stone from the Isle of Wight and was completed by 1119 when Losinga died, never seeing his design fully realised. The western portion of the nave, the remaining nine remaining bays and upper storeys of the tower, were completed by Bishop Eborard in Caen stone brought from France and Barnack stone from Cambridgeshire. The whole church was built in just fifty years.

At its completion the cathedral was the largest building in East Anglia and measuring 141m (461ft) long and, with the transepts, 54m (177ft) wide. The church has the second longest nave and the largest and most beautifully decorated Norman tower in England. It also had more patrons than any other cathedral in England. Today the building still retains its almost entirely unaltered original Norman ground plan, despite the havoc wreaked on the building over the years by devastating gales, fires, riots and wars.
Just twenty-three years after the completion of the building, in 1169, the first disaster befell the cathedral. Lightning struck the tower and set fire to the building. The chapel of St Saviour at the eastern end of the cathedral was particularly badly damaged but repairs were soon made by Bishop de Turbe. Lightning struck again in 1271 but damage was minimal as a rain storm doused the fire. Such luck was short lived as one year later, during the riotous conflict between Norwich citizens and the priory that resulted in the building of the Ethelbert Gate, the citizens set fire to the cathedral precinct. The timber roofs and timber furnishings caught fire and the repair work meant that the cathedral could not be reconsecrated for six years. The remains of a consecration cross dating to the 1278 reconsecration can be found on the north wall of the nave in the fifth bay from the west.

Repair work continued well into the fourteenth century and several additions were also made to the cathedral and the buildings within the Close. One of these additions was a wooden spire, erected in 1297 on top of the Norman tower. Unfortunately the spire was to be the cause of yet another disaster when it was blown down by severe gales in January 1361 or 1362. The fallen spire badly damaged the presbytery and this allowed Bishop Percy to bring more light into the presbytery by rebuilding the upper half with the soaring windows that we see today. Unlike the west front of the cathedral, Percy thankfully ensured that the design of the new windows married easily with the earlier Norman architecture below. The spire was also rebuilt but this time in stone. The spire was rebuilt but in 1463 it was damaged by fire. Bishop Goldwell rebuilt it again, this time in brick with a stone facing, and it survives today as the second highest spire in all England. At 96m (315 ft), only the spire at Salisbury Cathedral is higher.

When lightning struck the spire in 1463, the nave was severely damaged when fire spread throughout the wooden roofs. Evidence of this and later fires that ravaged the cathedral can still be seen on some of the stonework in the walls, the stone having turned pink through the heat of the fires. In the 1460s Bishop Lyhart took substantial measures to stop such fires ever taking hold again and completely replaced the nave roof with a beautiful stone vault, adding the spectacular west window to light the beauty of his roof and its colourful bosses. It is astounding that having gone through such a turbulent history Norwich cathedral and its Close survives to this day, let alone in so much of its original Norman splendour. When marvelling at the cathedral buildings’ unique survival it is worth noting some of the more unusual features. In the nave there is a large brass font. This was once a boiling pan used at the Nestlé chocolate factory that stood on the site of what is now Chapelfield shopping mall. The font was given to the cathedral when Nestlé closed their factory and moved from Norwich in 1996, the 900th anniversary of the foundation of the cathedral. There are also two curious barley-sugar twist piers in the nave. These represent the original western extent of the first nave sanctuary and the location of the nave altar. The piers two bays east are also barley twist but they are now concealed by a later covering. On the north side of the sanctuary a small chapel to Norwich’s own saint would have stood. St William would have provided the cathedral with a source of revenue from visiting pilgrims.

And a little bit about why the Scaffolding has come to be there.
Repairs to the nave aisle roofs at Norwich Cathedral will commence in February following the award of a grant from the Cathedral Fabric Repair Fund, a partnership between the Wolfson Foundation, the Pilgrim Trust and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England.

The £20,000 grant, plus generous supplementary funding from the Friends of Norwich Cathedral, will enable lead work repair to the roofs to take place along with the installation of trace heating which will prevent the build-up of snow and ice which can lead to consequential flooding on an area of the roof above important parts of the Cathedral’s organ.

Speaking on the project, The Reverend Canon Jeremy Haselock, Precentor and Vice-Dean of Norwich Cathedral, said, “We are hugely grateful to the Cathedral Fabric Repair Fund and the Friends of Norwich Cathedral for enabling us to get on with this vital work. Major expenditure on the repair and rebuilding of the organ lies ahead in order to ensure the continuation of its important role in our daily offering of prayer and praise. These organ repairs would be foolish indeed without weatherproofing the gallery chambers where a major part of the instrument is located.”

Major projects planned at the Cathedral also include updating and replacing the Cathedral’s interior lighting. The lighting scheme, anticipated to cost £1.5 million, will involve replacing the current outdated system with new sustainable technology that will not only assure the Cathedral’s future as a place of prayer, a renowned centre for liturgy and worship and a flexible venue for major cultural events, but also reduce power consumption and annual running costs, which currently exceed £4,000 a day.

Norwich Cathedral’s organ is the fourth largest in the country and an integral part of the Cathedral’s fabric and daily work, used for worship, recitals and concerts. The refurbishment of the 60 year old organ will cost an estimated £1.5 million and will involve redesigning its layout and replacing poor quality and badly voiced pipework with new ranks.
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