In this weeks A Fujiholics Story we take a look at Matt Walkley, why he is a Fujiholic, what he considers to be his favourite bits of equipment and what he hopes to do next.
So you’re a Fujiholic?
Definitely, but don’t tell anybody! I hear that you have to shoot a DSLR to be taken seriously as a photographer these days.
Ever since the purchase of my first Fujifilm camera I’ve been hooked. I developed an interest in street photography and wanted a camera that was smaller, lighter and less obtrusive than the DSLR that I was using for my landscape photography. I did some research and the X-Pro1 looked to be the best option for me. The multi-lens deal that was available at the time made it an easy decision, so I ordered the X-Pro 1 with 18mm, 27mm and 35mm 1.4.
The X-Pro1 changed everything for me. It had a huge positive impact on my photography and has helped me to produce some of my most successful photographs to date. I prefer a slower, more methodical and manual approach to photography and feel that the Fujifilm X Series cameras suit the way that I like to work. That’s not to say that the cameras are slow! My current camera of choice is the X-T2 and it has never been easier to capture photos of my two boys as they run around at 100mph!
All of my digital photography is now captured with the help of the Fujifilm X System so in short, yes my name is Matt Walkley and I am a Fujiholic.
Which is your favourite lens and why?
I have two favourites that I couldn’t live without, the first being the 35mm 1.4. I own both X Series 35mm lenses and adore both of them. The 35mm 1.4 is one of those lenses that have something special about it. Admittedly the focus is slower than the f/2 and it lacks weather sealing but the photographs that I’ve made with this lens just seem to have something that little bit special about them. It’s something that I can’t put my finger on but it’s there and I love it!
The second of my two favourite lenses has to be the 16mm 1.4. This lens is an absolute masterpiece. I’ve used it for landscape, street and even a portrait shoot for an album cover. The lack of distortion, large aperture and brilliant optics make it a hugely versatile lens. It’s my go-to lens for shooting landscapes.
When you next go travelling, what gear will you take and why?
I will be spending 10 days in Spain touring the Picos de Europa on my motorcycle with a group of friends later this year and have already planned what I will be taking. Space will be limited and I want to keep the weight to a minimum. I’ll be taking my XT-2 with battery grip and the above-mentioned lenses. Being able to charge the camera via the battery grip will also eliminate the need to carry spare batteries that may get lost. It’ll also give me a higher frame rate and faster focusing for when I try to capture some panning shots through the mountains.
The large apertures of 1.4 on both lenses will allow me to capture the local bars and restaurants in the evenings without the need for flash. Shooting at a high ISO isn’t a problem either with the camera producing very clean images. This camera and lens combination will hopefully see me returning with some great photos that I hope to make into a book for those that came on the trip.
When out shooting, what are your settings and why?
I suppose the easy answer to this is that I use the settings that are required to make the best photograph I can, given the conditions at the time.
If I’m shooting street, I would typically be using a 35mm lens with a minimum shutter speed of 1/250 sec and apertures between f/5.6 and f/11 with ISO set to automatic. Focus would be set to manual and pre-focused at around 1½ to 2m. I like to get close to people and focusing at this distance tends to ensure that my subject is in focus. I shoot RAW/JPEG and will have the film simulation set to ACROS with a green filter.
If I’m shooting landscape, I fix my ISO at 200 unless shooting at night. I want the cleanest file that the camera can produce so keeping the ISO at its lowest setting is essential. The aperture I choose depends on subject. Generally, I want maximum depth of field. This means using an aperture between f/8 and f/10 when using a wide angle such as the 16mm 1.4 as the optimum balance between depth of field and sharpness tends to be within this range.
If I’m using a longer focal length such as the 56mm, it may be necessary to make multiple exposures using different focal points. These would then be blended together using a focus stacking technique when post processing. I try to avoid this wherever possible as I like to keep post processing to a minimum but sometimes it’s the only way of achieving the required depth of field.
I use both graduated ND filters for balancing exposure and ND filters such as Lee’s Big Stopper for creative effect. A polarising filter is always in my bag and probably one of the most important filters that I carry.
What kind of tools do you use for post processing?
I shoot everything in RAW and although the JPEG files are great, I seldom use them. I like to have full creative control of the final image and shooting in RAW allows me maximum control. Everything is processed on my MAC using a combination of Irridient developer, Lightroom and Photoshop. All my black and white conversions are made using NIK Silver Efex Pro and toned using custom duo and tri tones that I have made in Photoshop.
I tend to process my street photography using Lightroom and Silver Efex and have custom profiles saved to try and achieve consistency between images. My street photography is usually quite a quick editing process. I spend a little more time when processing my landscape files and use Irridient for the initial conversion from RAW to Tiff format. I find this gives me a much sharper image than using Lightroom alone although with each update Lightroom is slowly getting better.
What is your favourite film simulation and why?
As mentioned before, I don’t tend to use JPEG files so the film simulations are largely irrelevant to me. That said, I think that the Acros with the green filter and the Classic Chrome simulations are really nice. It’s great to have the option of using these though and I have considered spending a short period of time shooting nothing but JPEG.
GFX! Well, that’s the dream anyway. I would love to get my hands on one and spend some time wandering the British landscape. I have a wall in my kitchen that is crying out for a huge print and think that this would be just the tool for the job. (If the wife agrees!)
Regardless of whether the dream becomes a reality, I will continue to make photographs whenever and wherever possible. Photography is more than just a hobby to me. It’s an obsession and one that will continue to grow.
The decision to use Fujifilm cameras was one made from the heart as well as the mind, as I’m sure it has been for many. This is apparent within the Fujiholics community and shown through the passion that Fujifilm users show for both their photography and the equipment that makes it possible. I will continue to be an active member within this community and look forward to sharing the photographs that I make and building new friendships
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