I have been doggedly plodding on with the Fuji in the past two weeks and my focus has been on long exposure and spontaneous street captures. All of this to find out what I can get away with, where the limits are. I also talked to a guy at Fuji's about operating the camera via remote control.

It turns out that the Fuji cannot be used with Pocket Wizard devices (TTL1 and TTL5). At least not those I bought for my Canon gear years ago. It is a bit of a disappointment. Apparently the Nikon varieties of this brand will actually work with it, but I don't have those. So I have decided to go with Fuji's phone app that will allow taking shots via wifi remote control in bulb mode up to a maximum speed of 30 seconds. I am eagerly awaiting two other-brand radio remote controls that are said to work with the Fuji so that I can see what happens with noise levels at shutter speeds longer than 30 seconds.

I love to play with daylight long-exposures because the results can be a total surprise. A quasi uninteresting scene can suddenly become intriguing when the camera is allowed more time to register details. In my gallery you can find a bigger version of this shot, taken some years ago in Bermuda.



I still take pride in this capture, taken with my trusted Canon 5D mkII. It depicts a bronze statue some 30 yards out of the coastline at the location of an old now unused resort in the archipel. I photographed it so many times I have lost count but none of those daylight shots brought me any surprises. I did it at low tide, at high tide, with and without interesting cloud. it just never came out the way I envisioned. Until the day that I was there without real photographic objectives. It was a bland day, I was taking a walk and seas were restless and skies largely covered. I decided to play with the new set of black-out filters that I had not had for long. I had used them for the hour after sunset: most people walk away when the sun has disappeared beneath the horizon, but one of my mentors has taught me to stay on for at least 30 minutes more since the sky then often offers beautiful shades of colour.

But this time I used the filters during the day. And look what happened to the colour in the waves! I have a long series of shots of this day; I came back many times after but never did I get the same results and this confirms what I often declare: each photograph is a capture of one particular second in time that will never return. Put two photographers next to each other, and still the image will be different. It makes photography an artistic expression that equals a personal, individual experience.

So... how about my new companion? Is Fuji able to give me similar surprises?

I started out this week under wonderfully clear skies. Not much cloud, medium winds and ideal circumstances to play with settings without being afraid of missing super interesting scenes because the camera did not perform. See below for the scene at Oakville Outer Harbour Marina, one of my favorite spots at Lake Ontario.


At the end of one of the piers is a nice focal point: a small light beacon. It does not often take long before a boat will appear and that always adds to the scene. When I took the same shot (on a tripod) at 30 seconds, it looked like this. The wake of the approaching boat is changed into a charming white streak.



So far, so good. The camera is set to RAW but is also produced a jpg, which is slightly surprising, until you realise that the jpg format is needed for the camera to be able to display the shot on the LCD, respectively in the EVF.  Having to use the wifi-connection with the phone app was a bit more work, since you have to compose the shot (with preview of the shot turned off so that you can compose even with the black-out filter installed) and set the camera to B for bulb first. Then engage the wifi signal, start up the app and go to remote control.

Daytime shots with a 10-step exposure reduction like LEE's Big Stopper will usually give you a good exposure at 30 seconds. If there still is too much light, you can add a second ND filter to cover the lightest area of the scene. This is what I did to get a slightly darker result. You have to keep in mind that adding the filters has consequences: the camera now does not just "look" through the lens with a UV filter. It also looks through your filters. So make sure they are spotless and undamaged before you head out with your gear! When you take the shot at the smallest lens aperture (highest F stop value) - for instance F22, every spot or speck of dust will show up on your capture. Of course you can correct this in post processing, but why not start as clean as you can...

Stopping down is necessary to prevent over-exposure during daytime and will also give you maximum depth of field and focus. Each camera has their own so-called sweet spot: the aperture/time combination that will give you the crispest result. I do not know yet what the Fuji's is, but I am content with these daytime results.

Of course, I also had to visit some other locations. Anywhere that there is water in motion (blustery days are great for that) you will get nice results at long exposures. Add a lot of cloud to that and you have an additional charming factor in your image. On my test day, cloud was limited so my main objective was getting a sharp picture with low noise. All shots were taken at ISO 200 (the lowest the camera can go in RAW according to the manual) and at 30 seconds.

See below what the result is when you go for a scene that has moving subjects, such as seagulls...




I have always been told that the human eye wants at least SOME sharpness in a picture. Obviously, this will not work with the seagulls. But the rest of the scene is in focus and I kind of like the atmosphere. Below is a final shot. The rocks provide a series of objects that stay in focus, no matter how much motion there is from the birds and in the water. I like the atmosphere even if the scene itself is not super special. It does show that the Fuji performs well under these circumstances.



Go to the Gallery to see larger version of the pictures of this blog post.