Message from the country

After months of drought-inducing conditions, some welcome rain has fallen in the past fortnight. The unsettled weather has brought hail, thunder and lightning and some dramatic skies. A good moment, then, to head to the countryside.

The water cycle

Since purchasing the Fuji X-Pro1 last month, I’ve been shooting urban scenes exclusively so I was keen to use it in a landscape context. So I hopped in the car and drove down the coast to the Isle of Grain, a familiar place. It turned out to be a something of a ‘smash and grab’ photography expedition, driving around the peninsula and alighting here and there with the camera.

It was a fresh spring day, warm in the sunshine and cool in shade. When I stopped to take pictures, I left the tripod in the boot and worked hand-held. To my surprise, I find myself favouring the EVF (electronic viewfinder) in most situations because of its precise framing and through-the-lens view (no parallax). Many of the scenes were contrasty so I was careful not to overexpose, often using 2/3-1/3 negative compensation. The immediate access to this dial is one of the joys of the camera – direct control and no menu navigation required.

Yesterday I discovered a new technique – shooting from the car! I don’t think I’ll be using this method too much but you never know when a ‘hit and run’ shot might work. It’s a little easier in a convertible (with the top down) as you can see the scene much more clearly. 10/10 for laziness, then, but here’s one taken from the driver’s seat.

Layering

There are some fine views of the Thames Estuary from Grain’s northern shore and I found a new prospect yesterday by exploring an obscure lane. A tripod and a longer lens are required to capture these scenes properly, though, so I’ve made a mental note to return.

Working with completely neutral in-camera settings (and still shooting jpeg), I find the Fuji’s colour and contrast rendition to be quite conservative. Therefore, I usually push these values in Lightroom to produce more arresting images. The white balance has been exceptionally accurate in varied conditions, something the X-Pro1 seems to have inherited from the X100’s credentials in this area. RAW support is in development by Adobe so the wait should not be too much longer.

Yesterday’s picture post featured a few images from the trip – here’s another link to the gallery.