It’s January and we have no weddings this week, so we headed across to Wales for a few days. I decided to pack one of our little Fuji XT-1’s and just one lens – the 56mm f1.2 – mainly so I could have a play with using the camera in low winter light on the Barmouth Estuary and experiment with the very shallow depth of field this lens creates when used wide open. It turns out the 56mm f1.2 is not too shabby when used for photographing landscapes either.
It is approximately equivalent to an 85mm lens used with a full frame DSLR, a medium telephoto, making it a great portrait lens. Using it for landscapes means seeking out local areas of interest rather than wide vistas.
This photograph of the late afternoon sun was made from two shots taken on the Barmouth rail and foot bridge. The first shot was of the sky and was taken when the sky was at it’s most dramatic, and before the cloud cover thickened and shut out the sun altogether. The sky is underexposed by two stops to darken it down and reduce the areas “blown out” by the brightness of the sun. Underexposing the image in this way adds drama to the sky, but darkens down the foreground too much, so a separate image of the foreground was required. “Proper” landscape photographers I’m sure would use a gradient neutral density filter to achieve the same result in camera.
One of the really great things about using the Fuji is it’s very easy to set the exposure you want just by looking at the viewfinder. What you see is what you get, no guessing or “chimping” like you would with a DSLR.
The second image was taken some minutes later and further along the bridge overlooking Barmouth Estuary when the rocks and streams looked their best, the idea being to provide some foreground interest. By this time, the sky was not looking so good, but this didn’t matter. This image was correctly exposed for the rocks and beach, and the sky allowed to blow out.
I later realised I had left the camera white balance on “Auto” for both images. With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better to have selected a fixed white balance and used the same setting for both images. Using “Auto” meant the white balance was different for each image and had to be corrected later in Lightroom.