We took a little afternoon walk in Grünwald – a forest near Munich which really lives up to its name “Green Wood”. I started playing around with panning and zooming quickly while opening the shutter a long as possible, and created some abstract paintings that I quite like. Nature really is a work of art!
The Munich Botanical Garden is the perfect place to try out some new lenses (unrelated observation: my lens dealer has ordered a new Porsche) – at least that’s what we thought. We, that’s my friend Michael and me, the world’s smallest Fuji X-T1 owners club. So we headed to Nymphenburg Castle to shoot some flowers in the said garden near the castle grounds. The garden is truly wonderful. Sadly, a strong wind was blowing and the flowers just wouldn’t keep still. After briefly considering ripping some of them out in order to take them home to the studio, we headed for the greenhouse, where, in theory, there should be no wind. That wasn’t true either, there was an annoying draft, annoyingly little light, and a lot of annoying Austrian tourists. The space between the tourists was filled by very loud Kindergarden groups with their Kindergarden teachers, who clearly had taken their flock to the greenhouse in the hope that the kids would grow faster there. Well, when we finally gave up and headed for the pub, we had managed to take a few nice pictures and I noticed that I had also used all my new lenses – the Fujinon XF 10-24mm f4.0 super wide angle zoom, the Fujinon XF 55-200mm f3.5-4.8 tele zoom, and the Zeiss Touit 50mm f2.8 macro – all while shooting flowers. That has to count for something. Next time I’ll even look at the little signs with the Latin names so I know what all those colourful blossoms are called. Thankfully, most of them were tulips anyway. If anyone knows the correct names for the “Cactus Flower” and the “Red Flower”, please leave a comment – all you Austrian tourists, where are you?
After listening to my friend Michael gushing about the new Fujifilm X-T1 for weeks on end while refreshing the Fuji Rumors page every 5 seconds, I could not resist and ordered one, too. It arrived just before we left for our family skiing holiday in the Engadin valley, Switzerland. So naturally, skiing was not on the cards for me! While my family was having fun on the ski slopes, I spent some time in the beautiful villages of Guarda and Scoul, testing my new gear.
So what’s the verdict? For once, the hype is justified. The Fuji camera is serious fun – I just love the manual controls and the compact size. Most important – the results are great: the APS-C sensor and those Fujinon XF lenses really are quite impressive. And it’s so much easier to carry around. I have become a Fuji fanboy!
Before you order that new X-T1 for yourself and head off to Switzerland, here’s one warning: Taking pictures in those slippery, snow-covered cobblestone alleys can be as dangerous to your health as competitive downhill skiing. Wear a helmet and practice hitting the ground goalkeeper-style without smashing your camera. On second thought, go for the boring option and get insurance for your gear…
Some time ago, I watched the excellent macro photography tutorial on Lynda.com where the instructor used stuff from his kitchen for a tabletop photo shoot. I always wanted to do this myself, and finally, one grey Saturday morning when the weather was awful and the house was empty, I grabbed my camera, some spoons, forks and other stuff and started playing around. In the afternoon, I fired up Lightroom and did the postprocessing in Silver Efex Pro 2. I love those NIK tools so much… reminds me of the days long gone when I developed black and white prints in the darkroom at my school.
Most of the photos were taken using my Sony Alpha 65 and the Sony 50mm 2.8 macro lens, but for two of my favourite pictures in this series I actually used my small Sony RX-100 point-and-shoot, which, it turns out, has excellent macro capabilities. Can you spot these images?