Street - Fuji 23mm f1.4 - Colour or B&W?

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF8227This is a cross post with 35mmStreet for the following reason. When it comes to street photography I've always had my feet planted in the black and white side of the fence as it just looks more interesting to me. It strips away the distraction of colour and narrows the photograph down to composition and content. It also gives street shots a timeless quality. 35mmStreet has had only three colour pictures (I think), which were on the earliest posts. Since then it's been B&W all the way and even the post processing has been the exact same home made recipe that I cooked up in Silver Efex Pro way back. But lately I've noticed that some colour street photography has been catching my eye and that's unusual for me. I tend to think colour street shots look a little too bland, but never say never!

So here's the thing. All the shots on this post are in colour, but you will find the same ones in black and white over at 35mmStreet HERE. They were all shot with the amazing new Fujifilm 23mm f1.4 on the X-Pro1, a pair that hasn't been separated since the lens was released. Have a look at both blog posts and see what you prefer. I'd love to here what you think. Do they all look better in colour? Do they all look better in B&W? Or does it depend on the individual photo?

Leave a comment & use the poll on the post at 35mmStreet HERE.










X-Pro1 v3.10 : Satisfaction & Hopes


One of the most important firmware updates for the Fujifilm X-Pro1 is released on Dec 5th 19th and it looks like the camera is finally complete. Although v3.0 was a very welcome update recently that gave us quicker focus and focus peaking (amongst others), this new firmware v3:10 gives us some great new features, one of which should have been in the camera from day one. Here’s a list of what's new. I've included a list of four things I would like to see in a future firmware at the bottom of this post.

  1. We can now edit file names in the camera. So instead of your files being named DSCF*** you can now choose your own letters. Four letters if you shoot in the sRGB colour space and three if you shoot in Adobe RGB. This is great if like me, you have two X cameras that have shot a similar amount of frames. Files from both cameras can now live in one folder.
  2. Improved RAW file conversion. After converting a RAW file in camera, instead of being left at the JPEG, it now goes back to the original RAW file
  3. See the exposure setting in live view and histogram.
  4. Change of numbering for images shot using continuous shooting mode. Before the upgrade, only the first image was displayed full screen and the others were shown smaller at the bottom right of the screen and the file number was set to S+7-digit number. With the new firmware, all shots are shown in full screen and the number sequence is the same as if they were shot in standard single shot mode.
  5. Aperture and shutter speed can now be changed once AE Lock has been selected.
  6. Minimum shutter speed in Auto ISO. This is the best feature of this upgrade and one that should have been in the camera from day one (as it was in the X100). When selecting Auto ISO, we can now set Standard ISO, Maximum ISO and Minimum Shutter Speed.
  7. Improved cover range and accuracy of the bright frame in the OVF. The position of the bright frame with parallax compensation during AF Lock, the shooting area can be checked, even after letting go of the shutter button (not available in EVF only cameras like the X-E1 and X-E2.


Exposure Compensation in Manual Mode with Auto ISO. Sounds strange, but I'd like to be able to use Auto ISO but be able to manually choose aperture and shutter speed. Yes you can do that right now, but auto ISO kicks in and makes Manual Mode act pore like Full Automatic. Meanwhile the EV Comp dial is doing nothing.

Loose the Basic setting in the Custom Settings Menu (1st position in Q). This serves no purpose and is a source of confusion. No matter what Custom Setting is selected (C1-C7), Basic will always be displayed the next time the Q menu or Custom Setting menu is accessed. Kill it Fuji!

I'd still like to be able to select Macro from the Fn button or the Q Menu and free up the four way pad on the back so it can always be live for selecting focus points (like on Nikon DSLR's), no need to activate the function, just move one of the four switches

On the X-Pro1 and X-E1, make the AF Button on the bottom left side a second Fn Button. Allow this to be used for Macro (see above), AF-L, AE-L and all the other functions attached to the original Fn Button.

Autumn Frost :: More from the Fuji 23mm

Fuji-XF-23mm-f1.4-Autumn-DerekClarkPhoto-5The first real frost of winter hit this week and it collided nicely with all the colours of autumn. The sun had just came up and it was a good time to grab more shots with the Fuji XF 23mm f1.4 R. Check the last post to read my first thoughts on the lens, or click HERE. I haven't been able to do what I'd call a propper shoot with the lens yet as I've got two jobs in the post production stage that I need to complete ASAP. I thought these photos went well together as they have the same composition and are all shot with the Velvia film simulation. I've been shooting the Fuji X Series since day one, but I think this might be the first time I've used Velvia. I wasn't getting the rich colours in the camera that I was seeing with my eyes, so I popped it into V mode and it done the trick. I'm loving this lens, but I have a problem with petal style lens hoods. I don't care much that the hood is plastic, but I think a lens hood should be even so that you can sit the lens down on a flat surface. Then you can change lenses and swap the bottom caps easier. It's not a problem when working out of a bag, but when using flat surfaces it's essential!




An Early Christmas :: The Fujinon XF 23mm f1.4

Fujinon 23mm f1.4 & FriendsFujifilm have officially announced the imminent arrival of the XF 23mm f1.4 R. This is the one that I, and I know a lot of you, have been waiting for. With that classic 35mm field of view (full frame), this latest X system lens is perfect for street photography and documentary photography. But not just that, it will also be at home shooting anything from environmental portraits to Landscapes.

I've never quite got into shooting street with the X-Pro1 or the X-E1. The 35mm f1.4 (53mm FF) is too long and the 18mm f2 (27mm FF) is a bit too wide for me. The X100 has stayed as my trusty street camera, but this new lens might change that, although I love the way the X100 with the lens hood feels in my hand when I'm out shooting on the streets. I think an X100s is on the cards at some point.

Like the 14mm f1.4, the 23mm has a depth of field scale near the front of the lens that makes it easier to use for zone focusing. It has 11 elements in 8 groups and includes 1 aspherical element. Aperture ranges from f1.4 to f16 and moves in the usual 1/3rd stop intervals. It has seven rounded diaphragm blades and a filter size of 62mm. The best part is that it's only 63mm in length and weighs 300g, so it must be one of the smallest (full frame equivalent) 35mm f1.4 lenses around. Price in the UK is looking like £849 and it should be available in October this year.

Asia 2013 part 6 :: The Philippines & The Wrath

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF3401-Edit-2 Arriving in the Philippines from Hong Kong hits you like a slap in the face. "Life is hard and then you die", I don't know who said it, but they probably said it in the Philippines. It's hard for me to take photos here. Outside of the compound I'm staying, I'm pretty much the only white guy. Everybody sees me and everybody stares. Even in Hong Kong when I walked to areas that were Chinese only, I still felt my invisibility cloak was working. But here is a different story.

We visited my mother-inlaw's grave yesterday and the sky opened up. Thunder, lightning and torrential  rain, the full deal. Fe told the kids that Lola (Grandmother) was angry, because we had visited the swimming pool before visiting her grave. Superstition is a big thing for Filipinos. The guy (above) asked if he could hitch a lift on the back of the van (converted to a small minibus) that we were traveling in. He was a character.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF5836There's so much beauty here, but such terrible conditions for the majority of the population.  We live such a privileged life in the west (all though I think that's changing), even struggling photographers should think themselves lucky. If we can afford to buy a camera and a couple of lenses, then we're doing ok in my book.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF5971Janel sulks in the corner of our hotel in Cebu (above) . This doesn't happen too often thankfully. I look at my kids on this trip and hope that these will become amazing memories when they get older. I tell them how lucky they are to be able to travel to places that their classmates at school will probably never see. I hope that some day when I'm no longer here, they will sit around a table with their own kids, looking at grandpa's photos and telling them what a great childhood they had. I hope so! They're sitting a few feet away from me right now, watching Filipino TV with Fe. I've got tears in my eyes and I'm grateful for what I've got' The keyboard is getting blurred, so I'll just stop typing here and leave the rest of this post to photos. and captions. It's a short life...LIVE IT NOW!

35mmStreet.com.DSCF5987Fe let's the kids stroke a small  stray bird in the airport.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF5980Blind musicians play at Cebu airport.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF6030It turned out that the plane we flew in from Cebu was the same one that went off the runway a few weeks before.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF6037My nephew Ken, a really nice dude.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF3418Full circle. The wrath of Lola.


Asia 2013 part 5 :: Leaving The Lights Behind

DerekClarkPhotography.com-Hong Kong-001 So that’s it for Hong Kong. I’m typing this on the flight to my first destination in the Philippines. By the time you read this, I’ll have shot the first part of the orphanage project for the NGO, then another internal flight to shoot the second part. I don’t want to say to much about destinations at this point as the Philippines is a poor country and I’m carrying some expensive kit. But I’ll post more details at a later date.

Part of the gear I packed for this trip was a Joby Gorillapod Focus. I've carried it half way around the world and I hoped it wasn’t for nothing.  Luckily It turned out to be a good move as I’ve shot quite a bit of long exposures. I've also shot long exposure street photography with interesting results. Take a look HERE for a couple of those shots. I also wanted to capture the breathtaking views of Hong Kong lit-up at night. So here are a small amount of what I’ve taken and I hope you guys enjoy them. The first three were shot with a tripod and the next three were handheld.

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I really enjoyed taking these long exposures, it’s extremely relaxing and I’m sure it’s the fishing or golf for the photographer. I wrapped the Gorillapod around railings to get the first three shots. I used the X-Pro1 for these and set it to full manual. Shutter speed dial was set to B (Bulb), with an aperture of f18 and ISO of 200. Each of these three shots took a 20 second exposure to capture. There’s so much light coming from these buildings that they illuminate the clouds and then the clouds act as a huge softbox, sending light back down on Hong Kong.

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This shot is straight out of the X-Pro1 with no editing at all. I wanted to show what these cameras can do in extreme conditions. Setting on this one and the other handheld shots are 1/30th of a second at f2.8, ISO 3200. There is noise there, but I’ll fix that in Lightroom 5 later and I know it will do a fantastic job. But I wanted to show this totally untouched straight OOC. It’s a kind of eerie look with the clouds so bright at night.

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This is the view from Victoria Peak at night. I was here in the day time in 2008, but it's a completely different experience at night.  I recommend visiting around 6pm to catch day, night and a sunset to boot. But go early as cues can be very long and there’s a bit of pushing and shoving to get on the Tram (boy is it steep!).


So Hong Kong is a wrap. I’m sure I’ll post a lot more when I get home next week, but these photos are a good place to leave it for now. We’ve stayed on Lamma Island at the house of friends, while they were abroad So a huge thank’s go to Andy & Honeylet for the use of their beautiful home. You get the best of both worlds staying on Lamma, an island with no cars and an amazing contrast to the hustle and bustle of Central. It’s been a pleasure to arrive in Hong Kong by boat each day, most of them listening to an amazing album by violinist Daniel Hope, called “Spheres’. It was the perfect soundtrack to the breathtaking architecture of Hong Kong, a place I’m extremely sad to leave.

I’ll do a post soon about my workflow on this trip, especially file management and how I set the file structure up before leaving home and how I’ve backed up my work and tried to keep the files same in case of theft or disaster.


Asia 2013 part 3 :: My Favourite (Travel) Things

DerekClarkPhotography.com-3xXCams Fuji X System Cameras (iPhone photo)

This one is really obvious, But I stands out the most when traveling just how fantastic it is to be shooting the Fuji X system. There’s no way I could have brought three cameras and the equivalent to a 35mm, 50mm, and a 27-84mm. The 35mm being fixed to the X100, but if I was shooting a DSLR system, it would be a 35mm f1.4, which is not a small lens. It’s amazing to see all these moms and dads running around with big DSLR’s because they think that’s how you get great photos.


Fujinon 18-55mm f2.8-f4

This was a last minute thing before I left. I’m a prime lens shooter, but I went for the 18-55mm for three reasons. 1). The longest Fuji lens I had was the 35mm. 2). I have the 18mm f2, but I get mixed results with it, I can’t put my finger on it, but sometimes it looks fantastic and other times  3). A zoom is just so much more versatile as a travel lens. The variable aperture bugs me and I’m not used to lenses that extend, but it’s definitely been the go to lens on this trip (so far). I was using it on the X-E1 and body and lens work well together, but it is a bit front heavy. It feels much better on the X-Pro1. But if you own an X-E1, don’t let it put you off.


Apple Macbook Air 11”

I bought the 11” Macbook Air for this trip and I’m so glad I did. I originally intended bringing a Windows laptop, then had the bright idea of buying a smaller Netbook as it would fit in the ThinkTank Retrospective 7 and I wouldn’t need to bring a bigger bag. That idea got out of hand and I ended-up buying the 11” Air. I have it set-up exactly like my iMac, so it’s so easy to edit and organize. The 11” Air was a good choice and I’m glad I bought it. I bought the 128gb version with 4gm of RAM for £600 second hand. It was the current model until Apple announced the latest updates a couple of weeks ago) and in mint condition. The downside of the 11” version is the omission of the SD card reader and the 3rd USB port.


Kingston MobileLite G3 SD Card Reader

So I bought this little card reader on Amazon for very little money and I just love it. It’s simple and does what it says on the tin. It does feel a bit wobbly when the covers are extended at each side (one to cover the USB plug and one to cover the card(s) if you choose to keep them in), but it’s solid when the covers are pulled back and in use. The G3 has slots for both SD and Micro SD cards and takes up very little room in even the smallest camera bag.


Think Tank Retrospective 7

The Retrospective 7 is great for travel or as an everyday camera bag. I have a few dislikes about it (as I do with any bag). The side pockets are too tight for my liking and I’ve ended up using them for the included raincover in one side, which I’ve used and really glad it’s there, and wetwipes and travel cards in the other. I’d liked to have a bit of elastic on one side at least to accommodate a water bottle. On the up-side for travel, being so tight makes it harder for thieves to get at. My second gripe is that the inner compartment should have a few pockets with Velcro lids to keep small items like batteries, card readers, lens cloths, headphones etc... But apart from that it’s a great travel bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag. If you haven’t seen my post on packing for this Asia trip, take a look HERE to see the contents of my Retrospective 7, it holds a lot of gear.

Oh, and one final thing...

Micro Fibre T-Shirts

I bought three of these t-shirts in a sale for £5 each. They’re lightweight and absolutely crease free. At the end of a day, I simply wash one in the shower and it’s dry in the morning and looks like new. These shirts are an essential item of clothing for traveling light.

View From My Keys :: Shetland Island

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF9729-EditThe beautiful Island of Shetland is located off the north coast of Scotland and takes an hour to reach by air or 12 hours by boat from Aberdeen. Norway sits to the east and Iceland is situated to the north west. Both Iceland and Norway are on my bucket list, but for now, Shetland is the furthest north I've been on Planet Earth. Click HERE for a map. I was armed with the Fujifilm X100, the X-Pro1 with the 35mm f1.4 & the X-E1 with the 18mm f2 (and a tenor saxophone). All of the photos on this post were shot with one of these cameras. This kit fits easily into the Think Tank Retrospective 7 (not the sax), along with my iPad, Zoom H4n audio recorder and lots of Fuji Batteries and memory cards. The in-camera panoramic above was taken with the X-E1. DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF9669-EditThe flight to Shetland was one of the smoothest I've ever been on, but probably the noisiest, due to the twin prop plane. It was early in the morning and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. There were more newspapers on board than people, most of which were the band.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF9696On first arrival at Shetland airport you immediately reach for your watch and adjust the time to 1973. It's like an episode of Life on Mars (BBC).

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF2329Ships can be docked in Shetland for a while, so it's no surprise that these two decided to play tug of war with a white van, just to pass the time.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF2326DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF9734DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF2360DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF2367DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF1829The rhythm section stand against the huge fretboard of the Warwick five string bass. Not the fist time these two have shared the same G string! The Mareel is a stunning venue that overlooks the dock & ferry terminal.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF9742Another soundcheck. It might look like specs of dust all over this photo, but it's actually small lights in the stage curtain known as Starcloth. DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF1843Probably the first pair of self harming jeans in Shetland!

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF1881Shetland has an impressively low unemployment figure, but is plagued with one of the worst zombie problems west of Denmark. This one, known to the locals as Margaret, is a particularly nasty beast that can strip flesh off the ass of an ass in 28 seconds.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF1888Back to the airport and time to leave 1973 behind and head back to to the future. I'd like to return to Shetland for a longer stay and to concentrate more on photographing the island and its people. I'd like to do documentary projects on a fishing boat and maybe a local manufacturer that produces something unusual???.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF1892The weather was a complete contrast to our arrival and it was clear that the flight of doom was imminent.


DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF1906Cabin crew demonstrate the procedures for the flight ahead. A flight that turned out to be the roughest I've been on.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF9819-EditBack on the mainland and safe. The pilot did a fantastic job on this Buddy Holly style flight. The technique of tapping the wings on the runway to check for a soft landing spot worked really well. It was an interesting weekend and lasting memories were formed for all involved. I can't wait to go back to Shetland!

The Digital Contact Sheet :: Episode 5

DigitalContactBanner680I know I'm a week late with this, but I've had a lot going on recently and I wanted to give the previous post a bit of time at the top. I've selected a sequence of 25 shots that mostly aren't that amazing, but it shows that not every frame needs to be a great shot. But as I've said before, it can be more important to tell the story, and that can often mean choosing a lesser photo that's part of the overall story. Remember that some of these shots will reveal larger versions when clicked on. DerekClarkPhotography.com-TDCS E5-FullThe digital contact sheet above, shows the photos straight out of camera (OOC). I have all my X Series cameras set to +1 Sharpness and the files are actually usable OOC. Add a bit of Contrast and a small amount of Clarity in Lightroom and the files really pop. Check out my buddy Patrick La Roque,'s test photos from the X100s HERE for some amazing examples of OOC files from Fuji's latest X-Trans sensor. Make sure you read his X100s review HERE

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF9927This is my favorite frame, but straight OOC it's as flat as a witches tit and a bit overexposed. The composition is a little bit too centred for my liking, but it'll be too tight if I crop it at the same aspect ratio. I don't want it looking like a 10x8, so I'll have to live with it. I love that I shot this so close with the 35mm f1.4 and the guy had no idea I was even there!

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF9927colourEditThis is the edited colour version and to get to this point I did the following. I added my home grown Lightroom Preset '1:02. 20 Contrast & 15 Clarity' which does what it says on the tin. If you shoot with an X-Trans sensor Fuji and use LR4, it's a good idea to have a couple of presets that add about +20 contrast and a few variables of Clarity (+5, +10, +15 works well). I tend to apply these after import, but not on import, or you're stuck with them. I then added a Graduated Filter from the left with -1.82 Exposure to darken the uniform. I added a -30 Vignette (preset) and then boosted the Contrast up to +36 to make it pop a little more.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF9927editedIt still wasn't reaching it's full potential, the main reason being that the colour wasn't doing anything to enhance it. So if the colour doesn't do it justice, it has to go. I made a virtual copy and applied my own Contrasty B&W preset and reduced the Highlight Slider a bit. The preset had re-set the Vignette slider to zero, but had darkened the shadows via the Tone Curve. I then applied a -20 Vignette to bring the edges that little bit darker. So this is the finished edit and was included in my essay 'A Mute Reminder' on The Kage Collective website.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-5And finally, here are the other four picks from the contact sheet. The two colour shots at the top only have contrast and clarity added. They were actually usable straight out of camera. The shot at the bottom right was converted using my Contrasty B&W preset in LR4 and the one on the left was converted to B&W using my own custom preset for street photography in Nik's Silver Efex Pro 2.

So that's it for Episode 5. I hope this has been interesting and shown that a photo straight out of camera might only be half way there. Remember that everything I've done to these photos is the equivalent to what would be done in a darkroom. There's no Photoshop trickery involved, just film-like editing.

If you found this post useful, you might like Shooting Street Photography With The Fujifilm X100. My settings and method for shooting street.

View From My Keys :: 5th March 2013

20130308-113159.jpgGuitar faces don't come naturally, they have to be practiced and perfected before unleashing them on today's public. The examples above are the 2013 faces that have been finely tuned and are on the cutting edge of what's possible from todays musicians. If you would like to be successful in the dark arts of facial performance, start by sucking lemons...that should tighten-up your embouchure. 20130308-113319.jpgThe shot above was taken with the X-Pro1 and the 35mm f1.4. The shot below and at the top of the post was with the X-E1 and the 18mm f2. All three were shot wide open.

20130308-113337.jpgThe mighty Hammond organ has been the cornerstone of many great rock bands through the decades! This XK1 replicates the sound of the amazing B3 that can be heard on countless classic records of the 60's and 70's. It's a beast!