Me, me , all about me….
I’m probably best known for running Adrenal Media – a small adventure/adrenaline and extreme sports photographic agency. In 2014 we became the Official Photographic agency for the FIA World Endurance Championships, The European Le Mans Series, The 24HRs of Le Mans and this year, the Michelin GT Le Mans Cup Series. So, we are kept busy for most of the year travelling the world and shooting fast shiny things… I have been a big DSLR shooter for years – but a few years ago, I had started using an XPro1 and an X-T1 for my personal work and then in the pit lane. Last year Fuji approached me and invited me to become a Fuji X Photographer and brand ambassador… Testing out gear for Fujifilm, pushing it to its limits to see what it can do in the most extreme environments has been awesome! A dream come true!
I have always been an arty type, sketching and doodling from a very young age. I remember when I used to visit my grandparents, they had various old cameras around the house and I would spend my days playing with them, they never had any film for them but I would pretend it did and think I was some kind of David Bailey!
At some point someone gave in, and got me a small toy camera with a plastic lens and a roll of 35 mm black and white film, and so it began. I shot the crap out of this little camera for years and then one day it was gone, left on a bus somewhere…
Next I had a 110 camera, a little snappy thing that lived in my pocket, until I could afford a Canon sure shot. That went everywhere! This gave way to my first real camera with the Canon A1. This turned into an EOS 600 and then into the wonderful RT, with the epic pellicle mirror camera. What a concept! they got me through art college and uni. This hunger for film and cameras continued all the way through the years and then I bought my EOS 3. This came with the eye tracking focus thingy which was actually quite amazing for its time, it worked awesome for me, someone bring this function back! I shot film professionally for many years, and developed all my own black and white film and images, only using pro labs for the colour or slide work.
Then the film bubble burst…One morning I had two phone calls from two different clients…’do you shoot digital?” they asked….
I explained they could have scans by the end of the day but it was no good, I lost two clients instantly….that afternoon I went digital. Many Canon love affairs followed later until someone decided that it would be a great idea to show me the Fujifilm X-100… And there began the end of the big DSLR for me….
So you’re a Fujiholic?
I would say I am an extreme Fujiholic, I seriously got the bug after the XPro1 came out and then the X-T1 appeared. I bought an extra one and that was my fate sealed. There is a passion for this kit I just never got with other brands. Maybe it is a strong element of the film cameras, and not just in looks but in the feel and the way you use the Fuji film camera. A lot of modern cameras seem to disconnect you from the process, but I find I interact with the Fujifilm camera and spend more time thinking about what I am shooting. The passion doesn’t stop there, Fuji users around the world seem to live and breathe it. Maybe we are all crazy who knows, or maybe the camera has attracted more of these arty types of the photography world. Fuji itself shares this passion, they listen to the users and the photographers, and adapt the cameras, the lenses and even the Firmware to help create a strong brand and amazing cameras. I’ve never seen this interaction between a brand and its users before.
I started out as I said with an X-Pro1 with it came the 18 mm F2 and the 35 mm F1 .4. Over the last few years I have grown my collection of glass but I still keep coming back to the faithful 18 mm. For most things it just does it all, the AF is great, it’s sharp as hell, and it has macro! Shots are amazing F2, and it’s so tiny, wherever I go, it is always in a pocket or on the camera. With a little thought there is nothing that you can’t shoot with the little 18mm lens. I love the 90mm and the 56mm but if you took everything away and I could choose one lens, I really think it would be the 18mm f2.
What kit ?
One bonus of travelling with the Fuji film gear is that you can take it all it’s so small and much lighter than my previous system. I travel with a lot with work so I have to take it all.
My normal travel kit for work is
3 xXT1 cameras
1 X T10 camera
1 X XPro1 camera
Instax mini share printer
Fujinon on glass
18 mm F2
35 mm F1 .4
10-24 mm F4
100 to 400mm f4.5-5.6
This is just my Fuji gear, there are many many extras which I won’t list here…. but I usually travel with three bags that I cram to the hilt so I don’t have to check my bag in on the plane..
Settings and why?
When I shoot lifestyle documentary and reportage arty stuff, I often shoot at the widest aperture available. I like to isolate the subject where possible, if I shoot action and I want to demonstrate motion then anything from 1/30 down to 1/8 or even one third often with a touch of flash for something epic. For pets I generally shoot fast and wide at 2000th – 4000th of a second. It’s all down to the image or atmosphere I’m trying to create and the moment I’m trying to capture. This dictates the style of the shot. I try to create images somebody can feel, like they’ve been there perhaps, that they’ve experienced that frame, so you can sense that moment in time….
Generally the workflow is this
Shoot – Photomechanic – Rate – Ingest – Lightroom – Edit – Photoshop – Edit – Export – Deliver…
Firstly one of the photographers will drop a card to the Editor. The Editor uses Photomechanic to rate the images while ingesting, we then import these to Lightroom for the main edit. After the first edit in LR, the edits can either be sent to photoshop for further retouching and post processing or we add reference data at this point and send them straight out to the Internet for delivery to the client via Ftp. The Photoshop processing we use for serious retouching and that extra mile of image creation. I use a lot of extras like light layers and reflections, one of the best layer enhancement belongs to Lens distortions, these just have a natural feel about them and really enhance the Fuji image mood and atmosphere. However images are created, they all end up on the website which is running on a SmugMug platform. This transformed delivering images to the client it is totally seamless and works perfectly.
Another year with the WEC, ELMS, LE MANS 24HR and the new GT race, travelling the world and shooting fast shiny things! It’s been an epic ride, so far and I’m looking forward to another year with new circuits, new drivers faces and new cars! We have some more swimming and more other sports to come too this year.
I will also be writing a lot more blogs, carrying out a few talks, walks, and even teaching a little bit more when I have the time. I’m also working on a few private projects one of which is my Instax project based on people I meet ‘along the way’, and the other one is my continuation of the ‘motion’ (https://www.facebook.com/motionstreetphotography) street photography project which you can find on Facebook. This is a collection of my travel pictures and street photography…
I really love travelling and photography, so I’m always looking for ways and excuses to do that. I really want to meet more people from around the world, walk their cities and see their lives… I need to shoot bigger and better things and develop my techniques as a photographer…
It’s the quest for that next great shot which drives me further and further.
Have a rummage here for the latest stuff….
Facebook page: (me) https://www.facebook.com/JohnRourkeCreative
Street/Travel Photography: https://www.facebook.com/motionstreetphotography