Fuji lets have a f16 kind of day


Jul 24, 2010
USA: CA and NY

f16 = bright sun with distinct shadows

I became interested in photography in my teens and have owned Nikon and Olympus SLR (film) systems and numerous compact rangefinder and scale-focus cameras. Kodachrome 64 was my film of choice, and its critical requirements (exposure latitude and dynamic range ) taught me to be my own lightmeter instead of relying on any camera's built-in meter. If I could set my X100 to ISO 64 or 80 I might out of familiarity, but I know that since the X100 has a native ISO 200 I want to use ISO 800 or 1600 so the camera has "headroom" for its Dynamic Range processing.

I'm most interested in anthropological photography, i.e. people, but I'm too cautious or shy to do much on my own. I've always been fascinated in how the presence of a camera, a photographer, changes people. My street photography style is to use a compact or pocket camera, usually at its widest angle setting, and get as close as I can without specifically taking a photo of a particular person. This is easy to do in a big city where tourists are pointing cameras at everything and anything, but much harder if not impossible in small towns. Back around 2000 I used to carry a Konica Hexar Classic to school everyday and took photos in almost all my classes. After a few weeks people would start ignoring my camera (having a silent shutter helped) and that's when I got the photos that meant the most to me. After many many years my family has come to appreciate the candid slice-of-life photos I took of older relatives because they help start narrative about that person's life far more than the typical posed family portraits.

My travel experiences taught me that sometimes the "best" camera is the one you can afford to lose. Unless you're invisible, you affect the subjects you photograph. If you telegraph fear because you're in a crime ridden area or you're too worried about your expensive equipment, your subjects will reflect those emotions. In some places making a small offering (gift, money, food) or giving away a polariod (or instax) photo will help differentiate you from the grab and run style photographer. Disposable cameras were a comfortable way to take photos of tough kids on a subway train, and the best shots that day came from handing them a camera to take photos of each other. The X100 is a wonderful camera because its small, quiet, and looks like an old camera - much nicer than shoving huge DSLR in someone's face.

I have lots of computer "skills", having been a professional software developer for most of my career, but I admit I don't know beans about lightroom or photoshop. I did buy a copy of DxO Optics and I think it works wonders with the RAW files from my X100 and S90 cameras. I can also do a few things with SilkyPix but like DxO I'm probably using less than 5% of the program's capabilities. If I could learn more about post-processing that would be a good thing, but it does seem as though its hard to improve on the out-of-camera Jpegs that come out of the latest X-Trans cameras.

I've come to treasure cameras with viewfinders of some kind over holding a camera at arm's length and looking at an LCD screen. My favorite digital cameras at this moment are my X100 (of course) and my Ricoh GX200 with its EVF.

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