INSPIRED BY ART WHILE MAKING ART - PHOTOGRAPHING IN MUSEUMS

At the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y., the galleries offer plenty of photographic opportunities. Here, I was drawn to the monochrome look of the background and the contrast with the color and form of the glass. I also like how the shapes created by the silhouettes of museum-goers interact with the curves of the glass. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a 50mm F2.0 lens, 1/500 @f5.0, ISO 400.

At the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y., the galleries offer plenty of photographic opportunities. Here, I was drawn to the monochrome look of the background and the contrast with the color and form of the glass. I also like how the shapes created by the silhouettes of museum-goers interact with the curves of the glass. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a 50mm F2.0 lens, 1/500 @f5.0, ISO 400.

There are many reasons to visit museums, art, history or otherwise, but I find that for me, it's all about being inspired while finding inspiration and at the same time making photographs. And while I love when museums feature photography exhibits, inspiration can come from all kinds of exhibits, such as paintings, mixed media, or the building itself.

Below are five tips to keep in mind when photographing in museums. 

1. If you plan on taking your camera to the museum, make sure they allow photography. I find that most museums today do allow photography with a few caveats. No flash photography, tripods or video are pretty standard. Occasionally, some exhibits will be clearly labeled as off limits to photography. I've also have seen where cell phone use is banned, but have never seen it enforced.

I use the pop of color and door frame to draw you into this photo taken at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. The guard in the doorframe breaks up the scene and adds some life. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a 50mm F2.0 lens, 1/40 @f2.8, ISO 320.

I use the pop of color and door frame to draw you into this photo taken at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. The guard in the doorframe breaks up the scene and adds some life. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a 50mm F2.0 lens, 1/40 @f2.8, ISO 320.

2. Don't just walk around photographing artwork just to duplicate the artwork. Take the time to see the art in its environment. Or how one piece plays off other pieces in the space. Or does the space or room itself become the focal point of your photograph?

The Royal Ontario Museum located in Toronto, Canada, has a great mixture of exhibits located in a wonderfully designed building. In this photo, I used the straight lines of the windows to contrast with the curved lines of the dinosaur. Choosing to present this as monochrome further emphasizes the patterns. Fujifilm X100S, 1/1250 @f2.8, ISO 800.

The Royal Ontario Museum located in Toronto, Canada, has a great mixture of exhibits located in a wonderfully designed building. In this photo, I used the straight lines of the windows to contrast with the curved lines of the dinosaur. Choosing to present this as monochrome further emphasizes the patterns. Fujifilm X100S, 1/1250 @f2.8, ISO 800.

3. Be courteous to other museum goers. Don't plant yourself in a way that puts you in a spot which blocks others from viewing exhibits. I like to keep moving until I see something that might make a nice photograph and if taking the photo at that time would impede on others experiences, I'll just take note and circle back. Also be mindful of shutter noise. If your camera has the capability of a silent shutter, this is the time to use it. Otherwise, just be mindful. 

Museums typically have some great natural light and I think in this photo that's what gives it a light airy feel and compliments the art. People can bring a museum to life and like to include them whenever possible, however, I rarely make them the center of attention. It's for that reason that I often use silhouettes or obscure faces. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a 50mm F2.0 lens, 1/1000 @f2.0, ISO 320.

Museums typically have some great natural light and I think in this photo that's what gives it a light airy feel and compliments the art. People can bring a museum to life and like to include them whenever possible, however, I rarely make them the center of attention. It's for that reason that I often use silhouettes or obscure faces. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a 50mm F2.0 lens, 1/1000 @f2.0, ISO 320.

4. Sometimes I like to find a bench or seat and just wait until a scene comes together. Patience is key. If you sit somewhere long enough you become part of the scene and others won't even notice you. If you are standing in one place with a camera, people may avoid you, not wanted to get in the way of what they perceive you are photographing. Stepping outside the gallery for a few minutes and then returning can reset the natural mood of others.

What caught my eye in this image at the Royal Ontario Museum located in Toronto, Canada, was the rhino behind glass as if it's guarding this gallery, but somehow being held back. Fujifilm X100S, 1/8 @f4.0, ISO 800.

What caught my eye in this image at the Royal Ontario Museum located in Toronto, Canada, was the rhino behind glass as if it's guarding this gallery, but somehow being held back. Fujifilm X100S, 1/8 @f4.0, ISO 800.

5. Take the time to enjoy your visit as well. Remember the inspiration part of this post? Step back, put down the camera and enjoy the art and exhibits around you. Many times you can also meet other like minded people and strike up a conversation. 

SILENCE IS GOLDEN WITH MIRRORLESS CAMERAS

Carol Cannon, with Allison Tsai on piano, perform at the Centre Street Performance Space, part of the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute, in Baltimore, Md. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 50mm, f2. 1/160 @ f2, ISO 1250.

Carol Cannon, with Allison Tsai on piano, perform at the Centre Street Performance Space, part of the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute, in Baltimore, Md. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 50mm, f2. 1/160 @ f2, ISO 1250.

While reading the recent release announcement of the Sony a9, something buried in the article caught my attention. It wasn't that it was full-frame or that it was capable of 20 frames per second or even how this could finally be the mirrorless camera to cover sports, but that because of its electronic shutter, a photographer could get shots like never before.

Okay, the electronic, or silent shutter, is not new. In fact, I've written about it before. I just wondered why all of a sudden I was reading several articles about this new Sony camera extolling the fact that we could now have a mirrorless camera capable of shooting sports while not making any shutter noise. Was it all about making photos of golfers in their backswings we'd see now?

I took these photos from my seat while the event's official photographer, with two Nikon D5 cameras, who was sitting right in front of me could only watch. The soloist never knew I was taking these pictures. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 50mm, f2. 1/160 @ f2, ISO 800.

I took these photos from my seat while the event's official photographer, with two Nikon D5 cameras, who was sitting right in front of me could only watch. The soloist never knew I was taking these pictures. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 50mm, f2. 1/160 @ f2, ISO 800.

The reality is for those of us that shoot both mirrorless and DSLR cameras, the benefits of that electronic shutter is well known. During meetings, performances, or being discreet on the street, any time that the clunk of a shudder would draw attention or break the mood, the electronic shudder wins. And, yes, it even has its place when covering sports.

I understand the mechanics of why a DSLR makes noise and often use the quiet shutter-release mode on my Nikon D4s. While it is sometimes the better option, it still isn't silent. And because shutter noise can be distracting, get you noticed, or worse, get you kicked out of a room, it is nice to have the option of an electronic shutter.

Silence is golden, which is why my default setting on the Fuji X-Pro2 is silent, all sounds muted or turned off. I even go as far as to cover the indicator lamp with gaffers tape.

The electronic shutter allows for a certain amount of stealth, even when it is obvious you are taking pictures. But without shutter noise, it's easy for the subject to forget you are there, allowing you to blend into the scene and truly capture the moment.

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE BLOG - SHENANDOAH ON A MOTORCYCLE, A TEST

In this episode, I take my Triumph Bonneville, loaded with camera gear, to Shenandoah National Park. This was a test ride to work out the logistics of taking camera gear along for a ride and how I would secure the motorcycle gear in order to leave it while going off on a hike or spending the night on the trail.

I did manage to take one photograph during this trip, but you have to watch to the end in order to see it. 

See the show notes for links to the gear I discuss in this video.

 

DOES THE FUJINON XF50 LENS COMPLETE MY KIT?

Cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., taken with the Fuji X-Pro2 and a Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR lens at 1/80 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

Cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., taken with the Fuji X-Pro2 and a Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR lens at 1/80 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

I recently purchased the Fujinon XF50 F2 R WR lens, my fourth Fuji lens since I purchased the Fujifilm X-Pro2 mirrorless camera in March of 2016. Why should you care?

First a little history of my Fuji lens purchases. I initially purchased the Fujinon XF35mm F2 R WR lens at the same time as I purchased the X-Pro2. That lens decision was mostly based on using the 35mm f/1.4 for seven days with an X-Pro1 in New York City which I wrote about here. I liked the 53mm equivalent focal length and on this f/2 version, I was drawn to the smaller form factor and weather resistant features. 

Well, it didn't take long for me to realize that I wanted something a little wider. I was leaning towards the Fujinon XF16mm F1.4 R WR lens but at the price, it wasn't going to be an impulse buy. However, when I received an offer for $300.00 off, I couldn't resist. I wrote about the 16mm (24mm equivalent) here, and while this a super lens, it is just too big for everyday carry. It does get used as my primary landscape lens, however.

Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR lens at 1/500 @ f3.6, ISO 400.

Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR lens at 1/500 @ f3.6, ISO 400.

You may see where this is going. After a year shooting with these two lenses, something was still missing and I couldn't put my finger on it. I really liked the X-Pro2 but just didn't seem as satisfied with my photos as I when I was using the Fujifilm X100s. Could it be as simple as the focal length of the lens? The X100s has a fixed 23mm (35mm equivalent) lens and I just never missed having another focal length when carrying that camera.

In August of 2016, Fuji released the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR lens and I thought that would finally be the answer. In fact in my previous blog post, 'Did I Finally Find the Perfect Fuji X Lens?', I attempted to answer that very question. And I think I did a pretty good job of justifying that purchase. And if that lens had been available when I initially purchased the X-Pro2, I probably wouldn't be writing this blog post now.

In January Fuji released the aforementioned 50mm (70mm equivalent). This is a focal length I didn't think I would need or want. However, after several outings with it, I'm convinced that it will get used second only to the 23mm.

Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR lens at 1/17 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR lens at 1/17 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

It also completes what I'm calling the trifecta of lenses, the 23, 35 and 50mm. Others refer to these lenses as the 'Fujicron' line-up, a play on Summicron, a term Leica uses to designate lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/2. Whether you refer to them as the trifecta or 'Fujicron', they are all f/2; lightweight, but solidly built; small and compact; weather resistant; sharp and all match perfectly with the X-Pro2.

Another real bonus is you can own this trifecta for around $1200.00 total and that makes a real nice set of glass to couple with whichever Fuji camera system you shoot with.   

My only complaint is the lens shades that Fuji ships with the 23 and 35. The 50mm lens hood is acceptable, but I did break down and buy the Fujifilm Lens Hood for XF35 from B&H. At $59.99 it is a little pricey, but the good news is that it also fits the XF 35.

So, why should you care? Don't make the mistake and impulse buy lenses. Take the time to think about the type of photography you do and what a new lens will add. I would be perfectly happy with just the 23mm and the 50mm if I could do it over again.

DID I FINALLY FIND THE PERFECT FUJI X LENS?

This was the first scene I came across as I found a position near 6th St. on the Mall. The Naked Cowboy is cliché, but that's in Times Square, not D.C. Plus who could pass up the word Trump emblazoned across his Fruit of the Loom underwear. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/90 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

This was the first scene I came across as I found a position near 6th St. on the Mall. The Naked Cowboy is cliché, but that's in Times Square, not D.C. Plus who could pass up the word Trump emblazoned across his Fruit of the Loom underwear. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/90 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

It has been a little more than a year since I've been shooting with the Fujifilm X-Pro2. It has also been a year since I've been searching for the just the right lens to pair with this exceptional camera.

I originally purchased the Fujinon XF35mm F2 R WR lens and soon realized that I wanted something a little wider. Welcome to my next lens, the Fujinon XF16mm F1.4 R WR. The 16mm is a great lens, very sharp and I've used it many times, mostly while photographing landscapes. But, as I noted when I wrote about this lens, it is just too large and heavy to be my everyday lens.

When I went to the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama I was about a block farther away, so I knew that I would never get a photograph of the actual swearing in. So I positioned myself close to a screen in order to capture the moment. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/320 @ f5.6, ISO 200.

When I went to the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama I was about a block farther away, so I knew that I would never get a photograph of the actual swearing in. So I positioned myself close to a screen in order to capture the moment. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/320 @ f5.6, ISO 200.

Same thing for the Fujinon 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR lens. Again a great lens, but also large and heavy. While I only borrowed this lens, I noted the good and bad when I wrote about it following a visit to Grand Central Terminal. The search continued for that perfect everyday carry-around lens.

Maybe you have guessed by now which lens I've finally chosen. In fact, it was a lens that I shot with for almost two years and loved, I just didn't realize it, or maybe I was in denial. Or maybe I'm just slow to catch on.

The 23mm allowed me to capture this moment between two first time inauguration attendees while moving in the crowds. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/300 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

The 23mm allowed me to capture this moment between two first time inauguration attendees while moving in the crowds. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/300 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

Whatever the case, the lens, of course, is the Fujinon XF23 F2 R WR. For two years, I used that focal length on my Fujifilm X100S. Street photography, landscapes and everything in between, that was my go to lens. Of course, it was the only lens, since it is fixed on the X100S.

The point is that not given a choice, I found that the 23mm (35 equivalent) was the perfect lens. So for the past three weeks, starting with the inauguration, I've only used that lens and I've fallen in love all over again. It's small, light and seems to be the perfect focal length to capture both wide overall establishing shots and the up close and intimate shots.

The only negative, and it's the same negative that I had with the 16mm lens. Why can't Fuji just provide the right lens hood when I make the purchase? In both cases, I've purchased the upgraded lens hoods; the LH FX16 and the LH FX35-2.

The final photograph I made that day was of Barack and Michelle Obama leaving D.C. aboard Marine One. Once again I was looking for crowd reaction to the scene happening on the big screen. Although there is some disagreement, my opinion is the crowds weren't as big as in 2009, but this is the kind of situation, crowds, fast-moving and with plenty of action, that I like, and the 23mm was the perfect one lens for me that day. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/200 @ f6.4, ISO 200.

The final photograph I made that day was of Barack and Michelle Obama leaving D.C. aboard Marine One. Once again I was looking for crowd reaction to the scene happening on the big screen. Although there is some disagreement, my opinion is the crowds weren't as big as in 2009, but this is the kind of situation, crowds, fast-moving and with plenty of action, that I like, and the 23mm was the perfect one lens for me that day. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/200 @ f6.4, ISO 200.

These are pricey upgrades and cheaper options are available but don't be fooled. In the past, I've recommended some of the less expensive lens hoods, but for the 23mm, like the 16mm, these hoods are very different and while overpriced, are worth it. As a bonus, the LH FX35-2 will fit both the 35mm and 23mm lens. 

Lens hood issue aside, the 23mm is very sharp and in my opinion the best all around lens to pair with my X-Pro2 for a wide range of photography. The 16mm and 35mm are by no means obsolete but are no longer carried with me every day.