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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Night Bunkers. Norfolk-2015

My Uni project for the start of year 3 started off with a rather chilled out walk around Orford Ness in Suffolk back in September… I have always had a fascination with the remains of war and in Particular WW2.  3 months into a project I have loved shooting and I am now going to carry on further. You know you are enjoying what you are doing when you have spent many nights out in the cold  seeing some great sights and very moody skies with good mates who have helped me out and kept me company. If the weather looked calm then I would head out after 8pm armed with the camera and a map of approximate locations of the buildings I have photographed and would ask on social media if people were up for keeping me company and helping to carry photo equipment.

So thank you  Phil, David, Amanda, Ben, Davy and Faryal

The idea of this project was to just go around and document the structures in a way they have not normally been seen before…. Normally because sensible people are at home keeping warm and sleeping. But I decided to have a go at this and illuminate as many structures as I could.. I made myself a map and would just drive for 4-6 hours each night and stop at each location. All together I have driven all around Norfolk looking for the nicest looking buildings. I have even managed to upset a few landowners late at night who in the end turned out to be fine with what I was doing and even confused a few police officers who thought I was rather odd until I showed them the images and then they had to go and have a look at the Pillbox for themselves.

All the images were lit using the Westcott Icelight 2 that I would to say has become a good friend of mine now and also the Elinchrom rx2 lights and a powerpack. So a nice variety of lighting for a lot of the shots. So roll on after the christmas holidays when I will be ready for the next load of bunkers to go and shoot.

And thanks to Richard at UK Airfields for his help in identifying some of the buildings too

Happisburgh Battery 1
Happisburgh Pillbox 1
Happisburgh Battery 2
Happisburgh Pillbox 2
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RAF Ludham Airfield Watch Office
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RAF Ludham Airfield Watch Tower
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Hulver Pillbox
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Guist Pillbox
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Lenwade ROC Post
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Bawburgh Pillbox
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Bawburgh Buildings 1
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Bawburgh Buildings 2
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Corton Pillbox 1
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Corton Pillbox 2
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Cley Next The Sea Pillbox
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Corton Pillbox 3

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1A8A1688-EditWeybourne Pillbox to the right of the carpark

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RAF Sculthorpe. Norfolk. 2012-2015

Thought I would post up all my images from this site I have taken over the years, you will then see why It is one of my favorite sites to jolly around. Nothing like a nice relaxed explore where you don’t have to worry about getting busted. For me the main attraction is the tell tale signs of both the UK and American services sitting side by side and you can still see some of that in a lot of the images.

History Thanks wiki

World War Two

RAF Sculthorpe was built as the second satellite airfield of RAF West Raynham a few miles to the south, the first being RAF Great Massingham. Work was begun in the spring of 1942 and the airfield was laid out as a standard RAF heavy bomber airfield with concrete runways, dispersals site, mess facilities and accommodation. Much of the construction work was completed by Irish labour working for the construction company Bovis.

As work was drawing to a close in May 1943 the first squadrons started to arrive, the first being 342 (Lorraine) Squadron of the Free French Air Force within 2 Group from RAF West Raynham. This squadron operated two flights of the Douglas Boston aircraft along with some Douglas Havoc aircraft for training, 342 Squadron stayed until 19 July 1943 when they moved to RAF Great Massingham.

On 20 July 1943 the Royal New Zealand Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force moved in with No. 487 Squadron RNZAF and No. 464 Squadron RAAF taking up residence with their Lockheed Ventura aircraft having moved from RAF Methwold before converting at Sculthorpe onto the De Havilland Mosquito. On 20 September 1943 21 Squadron moved in from RAF Oulton, also with Mosquitos to form the Sculthorpe Wing (140 Wing). The Wing stayed at Sculthorpe completing more than 100 missions before departing for RAF Hunsdon on 31 December 1943.

In January 1944 100 Group Royal Air Force No. 214 Squadron RAF moved in with Boeing Fortress aircraft for use in electronic warfare support of Bomber Command to be joined by crews from the USAAF 96th Bomb Group from RAF Snetterton Heath, known at Sculthorpe and thereafter as the 803rd Bomb Squadron of the USAAF. In April 1944 the 803rd and 214 Squadron departed for RAF Oulton leaving Sculthorpe empty for its redevelopment as a Very Heavy Bomber Base with the work not being completed until the spring of 1946.

Cold War[edit]

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North American B-45A-1-NA Tornado Serial 48-010 of 86th Bomb Squadron at RAF Alconbury. This aircraft is now on display at the Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

Douglas B-66B-DL Destroyer Serial 55-0309 of the 84th Bomb Squadron.

KB-50J of the 420th Air Refueling Squadron refueling 2 Republic F-105D’s from the 36th TFW, Bitburg ABWest Germany.

Sculthorpe was refurbished for USAF use during the Berlin Crisis in 1949 and then later, in 1952, it became home for the 49th Air Division (Operational) and the 47th Bombardment Wing, who were to stay for a decade. The 49th Air Division maintained operational control of the 47th Bomb WG and the 20th Fighter-Bomber Wing which provided tactical nuclear weapons support to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). Later the 81st Fighter-Bomber Wing was provided a nuclear capability and assigned to the operational control of the 49th Air Division.

The Soviet Union‘s enormous conventional force in eastern Europe posed a major problem for NATO due to the Soviets maintaining high personnel levels after World War II when most of the American and British forces had demobilized.

To counter this Soviet threat to western Europe, NATO decided to expand their tactical nuclear force by introducing the North American B-45 Tornado to the UK. The US Tactical Air Command had about 100 of these four-engined jet bombers, each capable of dropping five tactical nuclear bombs. In the summer of 1952, the Pentagon decided to deploy the 47th Bomb Wing to Sculthorpe from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. The movement of the 49th AD, 47 Bomb Wg and the 20th FB WG was the first unit deployment since World War II.

The squadrons of the 47th Bomb WG were:

Due to a shortage of space at Sculthorpe, the 86th BS operated from RAF Alconbury as a detachment of the 47th. In addition to the B-45 squadrons at Sculthorpe, the 47th’s sister wing, the 20th Fighter-Bomber Wing with the nuclear capable North American F-84G “Thunderjet” were transferred to RAF Wethersfield in Essex.

From 1954 to 1958, the 19th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron also flew the reconnaissance version of the B-45 known as the RB-45. The 19th TRS was assigned to the 47th Bomb Wing from May 1954 to December 1958. When the 19th began to re-equip with RB-66’s during 1957, its RB-45’s were transferred to other squadrons of the 47th Bomb Wing.

By 1957, carrying 10,000 personnel it was the biggest USAFE base in Europe. In May 1958, the re-equipment of the 47th Bombardment Wing began and Douglas B-66 Destroyers began to replace the B-45s. With this equipment change, the 47th’s squadrons was redesignated Bombardment Squadron (Tactical).

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During 1960–1962 the 47th also performed air refueling missions assigning KB-50J tankers to the 420th Air Refueling Squadron from 15 March 1960 to 22 June 1962. The KB-50s were specially equipped with two General Electric J47 turbojet engines that enabled the tankers to match the speed of the faster jet fighters during refueling; however most of the KB-50s were more than fifteen years old and were too slow to refuel the faster tactical jets of USAFE. The 420th ARS was inactivated on 25 March 1964.

In 1962 Project Clearwater halted large scale rotational bomber deployments to Britain with Sculthorpe, along with RAF Fairford, RAF Chelveston, and RAF Greenham Common, being turned over to USAFE for tactical air use. As a result, the 47th Bomb Wing was inactivated on 22 June 1962. A number of the aircraft were reassigned to the 42nd TRS, 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at RAF Chelveston and modified with the Electronic Counter-Measures tail system. With the inactivation of the 47th, Sculthorpe was put under the command of the 7375th Combat Support Group, the 7375th was later replaced by the Detachment 1, 48th Tactical Fighter Wing .

In spring 1982 units from RAF Coltishall moved to Sculthorpe while the runway was resurfaced

During the spring and summer of 1983, units of the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing deployed to RAF Sculthorpe because their home station, RAF Lakenheath was having its runway resurfaced.

During the summer of 1984 the F-4E and F-4G squadrons from Spangdahlem AB,West Germany operated from RAF Sculthorpe to allow runway re-surfacing at Spangdahlen to take place.

During most of 1988 and part of 1989, deploying C-130 units from the 463rd TAW (Dyess AFB, TX), the 314th TAW (Little Rock AFB, AR), and the 317th TAW (Pope AFB, NC) were forced to operate from RAF Sculthorpe due to runway resurfacing at RAF Mildenhall.

In August 1989 the TR-1A squadron from RAF Alconbury operated from RAF Sculthorpe whilst Alconbury runway was resurfaced.

Present day

The airfield became inactive at the end of the Cold War. During the mid 1990s the entire technical and domestic site was sold to The Welbeck Estate Group by Defence Estates. The domestic married quarter site comprised a sizeable number of single storey ‘tobacco houses’. The housing estate was renamed ‘Wicken Village’ and following refurbishment the houses were sold. The remaining technical site including barrack blocks, PX, church, guardroom, gymnasium, community centres and extensive storage and industrial units were sold to a single purchaser and there is now a fledgling industrial park. The Welbeck Estate Group went on to acquire the nearby technical and married quarter estate at RAF West Raynham which formed just part of 36 estates acquired from Defence Estates.

The airstrip area remains in military hands, officially as an army helicopter training area, and there are exercises about twice a year. Demolition work on the hangars began in March 2009.

The only buildings that remain are: The Control Tower, The Fire Station buildings (Next to the Control Tower) & a small half moon concrete shelter (Now used by a farmer for machinery & equipment storage – there are up to 2000 cows on the grass areas)

2015

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My wife_MG_9829

Me, my wife and daughter_MG_9862

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Me_MG_9692

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2 year old explorerIMG_9195

and againIMG_9196 IMG_9201 IMG_9205 IMG_9206 IMG_9207 IMG_9208 IMG_9214

Our escort of the site from this tripIMG_9215

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