Waterfalls at Mid-Day?

jackson_falls_mid_day_3356-2-Edit

Ideal Waterfall Light.

If you’d ask me to describe my ideal weather and lighting conditions for photographing waterfalls I would tell you that I hope for an overcast day and with any luck a slight drizzle. I would also tell you that it is definitely not during the middle of the day under harsh sunlight.

If I can’t have the even light of an overcast day, or at the very least the waterfall is in full shade, I wouldn’t even try to photograph flowing water.

And yet I was working under the harsh light of the mid-day sun when I made the above photograph of Jackson Falls in Jackson, NH.

Even Is Even.

Last weekend I was out with a workshop client and during a break we stopped to check out this beautiful road side waterfall. I was certainly not thinking it was going to be at all photographable since it was 2 in the afternoon. As we admired the flow I started to notice something about the light. It occurred to me that the waterfall was indeed illuminated by even light. It wasn’t the beautifully soft light of an overcast day, but it was even light nonetheless. So to satisfy my own curiosity I set up my Fujifilm X-T2 with XF16mm f/1.4 lens. Knowing I was going to need help getting a long enough exposure time to blur the water I attached my Formatt-Hitech Firecrest filter holder to the lens and inserted a 10-stop neutral density filter. As I was setting up my composition I set the aperture to f/16 and the ISO to 200. Much to my surprise with the 10-stop ND filter I found I was indeed able to get a long enough exposure, to the tune of 26 second! After I took my first shot I knew I was on to something.

Lesson learned.

I’d still prefer to photograph waterfalls when its overcast and rainy out, but at least now I don’t automatically put the camera away when it’s not.

 

Advertisements

What lurks in the shadows.

monument_at_sunrise_rye_harbor_state_park_2017

The more time I spend with my Fujifilm X-T2 the more impressed I’ve become with it and the X-Trans sensor inside. One of the things I’ve been most amazed by is the amount of detail I’m able to recover from shadows that seem to have gone to black.

With about 20 minutes before the sun would crest the horizon off the New Hampshire seacoast it was still pretty dark when I made the above photo. So it was no surprise to find the shadow side of the monument rendering as black in the image. Even the histogram in Lightroom indicated there was no detail to be recovered.

Screenshot_4_6_17__7_40_PM

Histogram indicating no detail in the shadows.

Or so it seemed.

While I’m happy with the photo the way it is I was curious as to just how far I could push the shadows and what if any detail might be revealed.

Below is an approximate 100% crop taken from the original photo. Just for the heck of it I pushed the shadow slider in Lightroom as far to the right as it would go.

monument_at_sunrise_rye_harbor_state_park_2017-2

100% crop from the original image.

Much to my surprise there was a lot more hidden in those shadows than I thought possible. This is the same crop, only this time with the shadow slider pushed all the way to the right.

monument_at_sunrise_rye_harbor_state_park_2017-3

The same 100% crop with the shadow slider pushed all the way to the right.

The real surprise, I wasn’t pulling all of this hidden detail out of a RAW file. All of this detail was hidden in the shadows in the straight out of camera jpeg. The second part of the surprise, there was virtually no noise introduced into the image after boosting the shadows.

Add this to the growing list of reasons why I continue to be happy  with my decision to switch from Canon to Fuji.

Why Choose Fuji?

Because they listen.

img_0431

I mean really listen.

When customers request new features, they listen by releasing a constant stream of firmware updates to both new(er) as well as existing older model cameras.

I’m not just referring to adding these new features to future models either. Besides image quality, one of the things Fuji is known for is the constant release of firmware updates. More often than not these firmware updates are designed to add new features such as better and faster autofocus performance to existing models.

Not just for current models either, they are known to add new features or improve performance in older models as well.

img_0436

Who else does that?

When most other manufactures seem hell bent on forcing you purchase the newest model in order to get the latest list of features, Fuji is content keeping their customers happy by improving older models as well as the newest high end models. My guess is they know that by treating their customers right and keeping them happy those customers are highly likely to upgrade to the newer models at some point anyway.

Case in point the camera that started my journey with Fuji, the Fujifilm X-Pro1.

x-pro1_4186

I purchased mine used back in October, roughly four years after its initial release. Known for great image quality though having autofocus performance that can generously be described as glacial, the X-Pro1 was and still is a great camera. However even with the release of the much improved X-Pro2 on the immediate horizon, the engineers at Fuji still saw fit to release at least one more firmware update in an attempt to improve the autofocus performance of this great little camera.

Even my current camera, the Fujifilm X-T2 which shares top of the line billing with its rangefinder style sibling the X-Pro2, has received two firmware updates since I bought it back in October.

Looking back to my time with Canon I can think of only one or two times, if that, that a firmware update was released, not one of which added a new feature of any kind to the cameras.

So if great image quality in a small package that’s built like a tank isn’t enough for you to consider buying one of the many great Fujifilm cameras, getting a few new features added to it long after you bought it just might.

Oh yea, those firmware updates, they’re free!