A Long Weekend With Fuji

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when I decided that I wanted to be a photographer. Was it when I was five, when I decided to have a “photoshoot” of my sister and some of our toys one morning and burned through a roll of my mom’s film? Was it when I was nine, when I would spend all of my pre-smartphone days marvelling at the pictures in my small collection of wildlife books? Or was it when I was eleven, when my Aunt decided to let me loose in the woods with what I am guessing was her fairly expensive camera and a roll of film?

I wanted to do something different for a wedding I was shooting a couple of weeks ago. The Bride gave me full creative freedom and encouraged me to take pictures that were as moody as possible. After I stopped weeping with joy at the remarkable situation that I now found myself in, I was faced with the challenge - how can I make this wedding different?

I did a little fact-finding at Rowe Photo in Rochester (shout-out to Mark Widman). Mark listened to my situation and recommended a Fujifilm X-T3. After a bit of research, I decided to rent the X-T3 and their 56mm f1.2 lens for a long and eventful weekend. 

As soon as it came in, I fired it up and we started getting to know each other. I found that I didn’t want to put the camera down and that I was firing away without the smallest thought of “where is this going to go?” I took it on a drive through the southern tier and found myself stopping every so often if I saw something interesting.

After I would shoot, I couldn’t wait to upload photos and get to work in Lightroom. I love the film simulation profiles that Fujifilm has crafted. Before the purists come out of the woodwork in outrage, think about this - No major camera manufacturer today has also made film in their history. Every camera company has their own color profiles. Why would it be so hard to imagine that Fuji has figured out the tonal structure to begin replicating their heritage?

Now, the wedding. Taking pictures of my daughter and some trees is all well and good, but the real question was “Can I take it to work?”

No need to stretch this out. Yes. Absolutely. I had my Canon in one hand and the Fuji in the other, and the Fuji was by no means collecting dust. I loved the way it felt and the images it created. The 56mm was perfect for low light situations and was an absolute bokeh machine when shooting wide open. Personally, I think it hit the nail on the head in terms of being different without sacrificing on functionality.

The image quality, tones, and ergonomics are great on this camera. But the one thing that I found that Fujifilm managed to capture was the spirit of what makes photography fun. It is the perfect blend of classic design with modern technology.

I was transported to that home photoshoot and that walk in the woods. I wasn’t able to surprise my Mom with what was on her roll of film that I hijacked, but really that’s probably for the best. 

This camera was fun. Plain and simple. 

The Roberts Beach Wedding

There is a lot to love about being a wedding photographer in what I consider to be such a beautiful part of the world. Why did I phrase that statement in such a way? Well, some may disagree. But some people obviously don’t live here full time. Western New York is awesome. The variety in landscape and architecture alone ensures that there is never a dull moment, and the people are an absolute blast to work with.

When Katie and Shawn reached out to me and described their beach house wedding, I was immediately on board. I’m open to pretty much any situation as a photographer and have documented events of all shapes and sizes. But a “Do-it-yourself beach party with a great view celebrating two wonderful people who are clearly head over heels for each other” event? Count me in.

Right from act one, this wedding was obviously going to be a hit. The excitement that Katie and Shawn had was contagious, and everyone in attendance was thrilled to be a part of such a special day. There were a lot of pieces that made this wedding great, but the crème de la crème was Shawn’s awesome shirt. It immediately caught my attention, and clearly caught Katies as well.

The excitement kept going throughout the reception and carried its way throughout the evening. Have you ever seen such a photogenic group of people? I’m a firm believer that good people attract great people, and this wedding was living proof of such a theory.

As the night drew to a close, Katie and Shawn pulled out the perfect sendoff - Chinese lanterns. Now, I have personally never lit a Chinese lantern. I’m Eagle Scout, and I like my fire on the ground where it belongs. But the photographer in me pretty much started drooling when they pulled these out. And they did not disappoint. Not to bore my four readers to death with technical talk, but the ISO range on the Canon EOS is incredible. My style calls for natural light whenever possible, and I really put that unrealistic stance to the test for this portion of the day.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your day.

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