First playtime with the X-E1

You know, a couple of times I've considered selling the old Fuji but do you know how much this model sells for now? Second hand, of course. About £50! Not worth bothering, just keep it as a backup play thing. 
You know, a couple of times I’ve considered selling the old Fuji but do you know how much this model sells for now? Second hand, of course. About £50! Not worth bothering, just keep it as a backup play thing. 

So I got a new camera today! My first for 10 years. Still Fuji (which as per previous posts wasn’t the initial intention) and it is beautiful (all further images taken on the X-E1, obvs). 

As an aside, the piece with black lace that you can't really see (just behind the camera box) is a bespoke corset for lovely model Twig. Now that I've started embellishing this piece I am very excited for it... I have a feeling it is going to be one of my best pieces this year. Ssh though, don't want to jinx it! 
As an aside, the piece with black lace that you can’t really see (just behind the camera box) is a bespoke corset for lovely model Twig. Now that I’ve started embellishing this piece I am very excited for it… I have a feeling it is going to be one of my best pieces this year. Ssh though, don’t want to jinx it! 

The first thing I have learnt is that when your camera has actual capabilities you need to be more aware of everything happening in frame. Instagram and the like is really about conveying a feeling (for me at least) which is why I think they’re so much fun. Poor lighting, shadows, mess in the backdrop, jarring colours, they’re all taken care of by way of filters! And they have that lovely old printed photo album vibe about them. Interesting composition might translate no matter what you shoot on, but the rest does not. So, memo to self, learn to make better use of light.

Was shooting as open as I could here, and I've still an urge for a more shallow DOP. Though, be careful what you wish for, it's not like I got the focus exactly sharply where I wanted it here in the first place. 
Was shooting as open as I could here, and I’ve still an urge for a more shallow DOP. Though, be careful what you wish for, it’s not like I got the focus exactly sharply where I wanted it here in the first place. 

Anyway, I played this afternoon, of course! Snaps of the studio, mannequins, the showroom, etc. etc. Was fully manual and the light (especially in the showroom) was low, so I discovered that there is much to learn re: the best balance of exposure, depth of field, and so on.

Explosion in the main atelier upstairs... 
Explosion in the main atelier upstairs… 

Am still tossing up the “glasses or no glasses” question too. Have cranked the diopter to its limit and it seems that this is enough for me to be able to focus effectively without my glasses on. They do fairly irk when using the VF. But then I put the camera down and everything’s blurry! Is it worth going back and forth, or just get used to wearing glasses when using the camera? Have also found myself sort of at the limits of the kit lens already, and want to save up for the 60mm macro. It isn’t true 1:1 as I understand, but I think it would be all I needed to be able to show detail properly, when I’m in the studio and want to share what I’m working on with everyone. 

I do love the foreground blur, but if only that DOP were shorter... The kit lens couldn't focus any closer though, so the place your eye is drawn to isn't actually the area in focus. 
I do love the foreground blur, but if only that DOP were shorter… The kit lens couldn’t focus any closer though, so the place your eye is drawn to isn’t actually the area in focus. 

The most enjoyable thing to photograph today was an old oil painting. We had this at home for as long as I can remember, and when my brother and mum brought down some old bits of furniture, etc. for the new premises this painting came with them. I love it because it always reminded me of mum. It doesn’t really look like her, but I liked to imagine it did, with pale English Rose skin and wavy brown hair. The painting is dirty, the oil is cracking, it’s nothing elaborate or pricy. But I love it.

The string of green glass beads she wears, falling onto the table... Love.
The string of green glass beads she wears, falling onto the table… Love.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing that the X-E1 represented colour really very well (as well as my untrained eye can tell, anyway). The painting is presently on the window sill in the loo. Yes, it needs somewhere better to live! I must do some more DIY and decorating as soon as workload allows. This was a nice thing today though, as cropping even tighter shows more of the sunlight shining through the cracks in the paint. 

I was never much use at glazes and layers of oil paint, so I always find portraits like this somewhat fascinating. My oil paint was always thick and messy, never displaying beautiful pink flushed cheeks like this… I love that you can see the paint strokes here. Someone painted this portrait and I will never know why. That’s beautiful and so sad. But here, in the paint, evidence of the painter’s hands. Their gestures, the way they used their body and mind. For all I love this painting, I’d never looked closely enough to see those gestures before. Looking at it through the camera made me look differently, and that is an interesting notion. 

I wonder if it would be possible to make a corset that appeared to be cracked and letting light through, as though the torso beneath were made of light?  

Given how beautifully gold leaf “burns” with a bumped contrast and Instagram filter, I thought the Velvia film-simulation setting might be a natural choice (all these are just jpegs, I ain’t venturing into RAW yet!)… But not so, it came up far too warm and yellow (playing with White Balance didn’t help, must explore further). In general, Velvia might just be too brash for my tastes. The Astia ended up doing quite nicely in terms of a realistic representation,  as shown above. But here you’ve got the daylight coming from left, chandelier light coming from above, and it’s all a bit messy. Need to learn about light. Kit lens does nicely for this sort of shot though, everything seems pretty “true”, and whilst I didn’t think I’d like zooms I can see it being useful when I’m hovering around at shoots and such, as I like to do. Sneaky snapping.

That’s as far as my brain would allow today! Am very excited about just playing with this camera every so often as I think that is how I will learn. I’ve always learnt best, I think, by exploring processes rather than pitching for a particular outcome. 

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