Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 25: DARK CLOUDS OVER VAL D'ORCIA, TUSCANY

As stated in my last Pic(k), I had a great time touring around Tuscany on photography tour end of May. While I did a fair bit of classic Travel and Street photography (with the Fujifilm X-T100, review here), the main purpose of the trip was shooting some fresh Landscape work; something Tuscany is renown for!

My Landscape camera for the trip was the X-H1, Fujifilm's largest camera in the X-series line. Given I was mainly shooting close to my car, the larger size of the X-H1 did not really bother me. Had this not been the case, I would definitively used my trusty X-T2 instead. 

One of the challenges of going on a Landcape photograph trip in June is that the days in the Northern hemisphere are the longest; this means getting up before 5am to be in time for a sunrise shoot. As the trip was also a family vacation, I elected to mainly shoot landscapes in the morning and reserve sunset to be spent with my wife over great Tuscan food and wine. 

Just when we wanted to go out for dinner one night in Val d'Orcia, a huge line of thunderstorms was approaching giving the sky a very dramatic look. Needless to say, dinner was delayed a bit that night...

The below image shows that drama quite well. I was particularly attracted by how the wheat fields in the foreground were nicely lit while the dark sky above was turning purple. A car approaching with headlights on in the center frame, give it that nice little touch. This is an image that will be printed...

The image was shot handheld on the side of the road. Those of you questioning why I did not shoot at a lower ISO given the X-H1 has IBIS (In Body Image stabilization), it is as simple as allowing AUTO ISO to do the job. Yes I could have easily shot at ISO 800, resulting in a 1/80s but given the moment was over in a blink of an eye, I elected play safe and use AUTO ISO instead. Beside shooting at ISO 2500 is no problem on all on the newer X-series cameras.


Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-H1 with the XF50-140 lens
  • ISO 2500, 1/320s, 69mm, f13
  • Lightroom CC for RAW development, including use of a gradient filter
  • Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 for optimal contrast
I've noticed that a lot of photographers new to Landscape photography, tend to use lenses in the 24-70mm full frame equivalent range. Especially when shooting vast open fields like the ones found in Val d'Orcia, I do recommend shooting longer glass; the XF50-140 turned out to be a great lens for that. Occasionally I would even use the XF1.4 TC (Teleconverter) when 140mm on a cropped body would not be enough. 

While I occasionally have people comment on one of my Landscape images, "It looks like a painting", this one definitively does! I'll take it as a complement next time I hear this, I guess...

At least one or two other images from Tuscany will become a Pic(k) of the week. For the ones that can't wait, check out the Tuscany gallery here

Remember: "Not everybody trusts paintings but everybody believes photographs" - Ansel Adams












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