When I still worked with analog film, Fuji was my go-to film brand. It turns out that now that we have entered the digital world, Fuji is still very good at capturing all colours of the rainbow in bright and lively shades. I took my photogroup to Graffiti Alley in Toronto the other day. And I am very happy with the results that were, again, sometimes surprising.

I worked mostly with my wide-angle 10-24mm zoom lens. Not ideal when you want to do a candid tele-shot but interesting when photographing buildings and city scenes. I just really like the wide-angle effect. It can create images that you cannot truly see with the naked eye.

To give you a for instance, have a look at the image below. This is one of the feature walls in Graffiti Alley.




It is a festival of colour and it is worth going up close and capture details as much as it is to get an overview shot. But it is still a wall with murals and nothing else. One of the girls participating in the shoot was willing to play the model. We helped her up onto the "window" sill and I went for a vertical capture that gives no hint as to how big the building really is and, more importantly, how high up she was. I like this shot a lot better than the one above. The Fuji's wide-angle allowed me to exaggerate the proportions. I did not mind having some lens glare either (despite the lens hood), because it is as if she is looking at the source of the light. There is also a camera on the wall, so who knows, she might not even have been posing for just me!




As an afterthought: I usually ask people who go on shoots with me to not wear black clothes; light outfits allow us to use flash and bounce it off of group members when we have no reflectors with us. But in this case the black outfit actually works perfectly and draws attention as well as accentuates the colour in the shot. I did not have to make any colour adjustment. Well done, Fuji!

When there is this much colour in the scene, panning is another way of giving your capture some extra "pop". Of course, you need to find something interesting that you can follow with the camera. In this case, I asked a group of students if they would be willing to run past the camera. They did! Panning, in the Fuji much like with any other camera, is a matter of hit and miss. In my previous post I spoke about the fact that the human eye wants to find at least 1 sharp spot in a picture in order to find it attractive. This is true about panning as well, unless the unsharpness is so explicit that it is clear that it was meant to be. But anything in between is usually not perceived as a nice picture. So when you try to do panning, know beforehand that there might just be one single lucky shot in a long series of captures. Have a look at the picture below:



The camera was on continious focus - it was adjusting sharpness to the objects in the main focal area. The shutter mode was on continuous-high which means the camera tries for 8 frames per second. Typically some of the shots in that series will be out of focus in most camera. The Fuji is no different there. To keep this to a minimum, do not keep your shutter pressed down the whole time. Go for short bursts as you follow your subjects. To maximise the chance of sharpness, you can use an added light source like a small flash on the hot shoe. We did not need it for the light. But using flash during panning tends to freeze *something* in the capture. In this case the girl who was taking the lead is in focus and it adds to the dynamics in the shot. Thanks to the wonderful background of the signature wall of Graffiti Alley we have colour, motion and focus in one image.

One thing that strikes me about the lens I used is that background blurring is not as extensive as with my Canon gear. Wide-angles typically have more depth of field than a telephoto lens or a lens with a fixed focal length. But it seems to me that with the regular F4/F5.6 lenses we need a bit more distance between our main subjects (the running group) and the background wall if we wanted more blurring. Which was not possible in this case because the Alley is pretty narrow.