Travel Photography – Cluj Napoca, Romania

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I’ve just returned from a group trip i organised exploring a little corner of Romania that has been on my bucket list for some time.  Cluj Napoca, the unofficial capital of Transylvania is steeped in history dating back to the Roman Empire and offers a multitude of photographic opportunities.

I’d researched what to expect, areas i’d like to visit in the city, and also a little further afield, with the wealth if information already available on the internet.   One day was used to visit Corvin Castle which had association with Vlad the impaler but the other days were spent exploring the streets and mostly the old part of the city which did not disappoint.

Street photography has always been one of my favourite genres but, make no bones about it, it’s hard work.  Trying to capture spontaneous candid moment or qwerky compositions is no easy task but it gave me the opportunity to work on my zone focusing techniques and also a little shooting from the hip.  Using the Fuji x camera app also got used too.  The light was harsh throughout the day with clear blue skies compounding the difficulties but it was great to be put under pressure and work hard to produce what i think are some worthy images.  Take a look at these and let me know what you think.

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The city of Cluj has a colourful history from the many ruling factions dating back to the middle ages and the Roman Empire to most recently the last Romanian Revolution of 1989 which saw the end of authoritarian communist rule and the ousting of Nicolae Ceausescu after nationwide demonstrations.

The ‘old city’ offers plentiful medieval gothic architecture interspersed with neo gothic and renaissance architecture all within a small area.  With a bountiful assortment of cafes and restaurants you could spend more than a couple of days exploring this part of the city.   The city has a busy bustling feel about it with many cafes and bars in the main square but be a little brave and explore some of the side streets and you will find some amazing hidden gems.  One such place is Roata restaurant which offers local traditional cuisine at an amazingly affordable price.  Again, here are a selection of images from that area.

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Day two saw us heading out on a road trip to Corvin castle briefly venturing off the beaten track for a short distance to the abandoned fortress of Coltesti and then a short walk through the village of Rimetea with its Germanic inspired architecture at the foothills of the Carpathian mountains.

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Corvin Castle was one place I’ve wanted to visit for some time.  It’s association with the story of Bram Stokers Dracula is often misplaced.  The real association is that Vlad III, commonly known as Vlad the Impaler, was imprisoned there for many years and whilst held prisoner the Hungarian military leader who ruled the area, John Hunyadi, executed his father.  On his release Vlad III entered into a political alliance initially but then sought his revenge for his fathers death and went on a killing spree using impalement as his favoured method of execution.

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Photographically the castle is best viewed from the northern side, either at dawn or dusk, but to get a clear view you have to be relatively close so a wide angle lens would definitely be required.  My xf14mm on my Fuji X-T1 was at the very limit of what i could fit in view.  That said i did attempt a few multiple image panoramic shots which turned out ok.  A wide angle tilt-shift lens would have been ideal.

Throughout the trip i was thankful for my lightweight Fuji X gear.  We were out from early in the morning returning to our accommodation late in the evening and much of that time was spent on our feet exploring, apart from the frequent stops at many of the local cafes.  All of the images were taken on my Fuji X-T1 with the XF14mm & 35mm primes and the 18-55 & 55-140mm Zoom lens’ and, when required, supported with the Lee Seven5 Filter system.

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So, that wraps up this little blog please feel free to share this and to leave me any comments or questions.  There is much much more to explore and find in this wonderful city so i’ll be organising another small group trip soon.  If you’d like to join me then please do get in touch.  You can take a look at my website for more from this trip and details of any future tours when they are planned or catch up with me on social media on twitter, Facebook or instagram @robferrolphoto

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London and a mixed bag of Photography

Last week I ventured off on a day trip to London.  It had been a while since my last visit and I was long overdue a day of ‘me’ photography.  I had no real agenda and no expectations of what i would find or photograph, but, as London is place where you can find and photograph anything and everything, i was more than confident of getting something ‘in the bag’.

With that in mind it did make me take a little more kit that I really should have, but, with the light weight of the Fuji XT1 and its complement of amazing lens’ it wasn’t a real issue.  I did however make a return trip to the car shortly after parking at the rain station to dump my tripod as a last minute decision to leave this behind.

Monday morning in London was manic, it’s manic every morning to be honest, but this particular Monday was the day after the London Marathon.  The cleanup process was still in full swing and there were stacks upon stacks of those meal barriers everywhere, but, the cleanup team must have been very hard at work all night restoring the city to its normal self ready for there Monday morning onslaught.

I love the huge diversity London offers and it’s great to see all the tourists taking in the sights but i’d wish they would leave those blooming selfie sticks at home.  Having nearly had my eye taken out on a couple of occasions was beginning to wear a little thin as they waved them around with little or no regard to those around them.

All-in-all though it was a great day where i photographed ‘that’ anything & everything, from some of the iconic buildings, life on the street, life under the street and even those blooming tourists with their selfie sticks, lol.  The weather was very changeable with some heavy rain showers but it certainly did not stop play, moreover, it helped create a winning image, more about that a little further on.

Again, the Xt1 was a dream to work with, occasionally shooting from the hip and zone focusing for the street shots – but i must admit that i still need a little more practice at this technique.  As for that tripod i left behind, i didn’t even miss it.  I photographed a few long exposure images, some in excess of 75 seconds, all helped with the Lee Seven5 filter system, and just used what was available such as walls and even the pavement.  It helped me compose some great images with a low perspective and the freedom of working without a tripod was very liberating.

The week ended on a high by me submitting an image into the Fujifilm_UK #fujifridaychallenge, with the weeks theme being reflections, and having my entry chosen by renowned Fuji X Photographer Paul Sanders as the winning image.  As mentioned above, the image was taken just after a heavy rain shower and i was in an area of high-rise office blocks, with a view of the Shard in-between, and the wet pavement in combination with the glass sided buildings created an amazing reflective scene.

Anyway, I hope you like the images i’ve added below.  Please do feel free to share the blog and leave me a comment and if you missed my last blog post on why i moved to the Fujifilm X system you can read that here.  Thanks, Rob.

London Photography by Rob Ferrol

There’s more to London you know.

News reader on the streets of London by Rob Ferrol

News reader ready for action

Tourists in London posing with selfie stick

Grrr, the curse of the selfie sticks.

Padlocks left by lovers

Lovers locks

A newly married couple on Westminster bridge, london

Just married

big ben London with blurred London bus and jogger

Lunchtime rush hour at Westminster bridge

stormy clouds over westminster by rob ferrol photography

Stormy clouds over Westminster

London bus blurred with motion as it passes red london phone box by rob ferrol

elderly females taking a cigarette break

Fag break

two males outside bookshop in london by rob ferrol

Another fag break

lonely female in cafe by rob ferrol

Deep in thought

 

london city skyline in black and white by rob ferrol

London city skyline

long exposure of tower bridge by rob ferrol

Tower Bridge long exposure

st pals cathedral by rob ferrol

St Paul’s from Millennium bridge

statue of fire fighters and st pals cathedral by rob ferrol

Firefighter statue near St Pauls

shard reflections on a rainy day in london by rob ferrol

The winning shot

Why i moved to the Fujifilm X system

Ok, i can hear you all moaning already “not another i’ve moved to Fuji blog” well yes, sorry, but it is.  It’s a poignant post for me as i’ve been integrating Fuji x cameras into my workflow for some time and now the move is now complete.  Yes, i’ve sold all my DSLR gear and am now a ‘fully Fuji’ X system photographer.  So, this is a little blog of why ‘I’ personally have made the move.

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The Fujifilm x100

Some years ago, and a year or so after its initial launch, i purchased the original Fuji x100 which I was drawn to after seeing a full page add on the back of a camera mag.  I though “WOW that looks awesome” the design was amazing, it had so much character and it just called out to me – I wanted one so much!!  Yes, i can be a bit of an impulsive buyer but I mused over the idea for sometime on whether to purchase one.  Anyway i did and made my purchase almost a year after it’s initial launch.  Sods law though, not long after my purchase, Fuji released the X100s with many improvements – lesson learned do some more thorough research.  But not perturbed i persevered with the x100 and I remember being in awe of the first few initial test images.  Below is my first portrait of my daughter with the x100, about the 5th frame i made since taking it out of the box.  Simple window light on a dull day with a not so willing model.  Her expression was ‘hurry up, i want to go out’ – she didn’t share my excitement over my new toy.

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First image out of the x100 – 

My kids had been my test subject on many occasions and somehow this little camera made grabbing images of them somewhat easier.  It was far less intimidating than my big DSLR with equally big lens, easier to grab and pop it my my pocket at a moments notice and it quickly became my ‘go to’ camera for family outings etc but thats as far as it went.  For some bizarre reason i never considered it a tool for my professional work.

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X100 | f/4 | 1/250 |iso200

For my professional photography i stuck with the DSLR gear and continued to do so for a couple more years but as a Wedding and Commercial Photographer, along with some other random assignments & commissions, 2 full frame DSLR’s and an accompaniment of lens’ was quickly taking it’s toll, and my back was beginning to groan.  I’m a small chap at 5′ 5″ and i felt like the weight was compressing my spine reducing those valuable inches even further.

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Street photography with the x100

 

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Street Photography with the X-T1 | 1/4sec Handheld

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X-T1 | Ramada Hotel, Leicester

In a bid to ease my back woes i researched and tried many options for carrying the DSLR’s, waist holsters, double harnesses, roller bags, the lot, and none seemed to suit me.  I’d used the ThinkTank belt pouch system for a number of years but sold my set during my quest to find a suitable alternative but i ended up buying another as it proved to be the best of what i’d tried.  But, at the end of a busy wedding at the end of the 2014 season, i could take no more and i decided to look at alternative camera systems.

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X-T1 | xf35mm | f/1.4 | 1/125th | iso200

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X-T1 | xf35mm | f/4.5 | 1/30th | iso400

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X-T1 | xf35mm | f/1.4 | 1/420th | iso200

Over the Christmas break of 2014/15 i looked around at the alternatives.  I loved my X100 and the X100T, a successor to the x100s, had just been released but i wanted a system that offered interchangeable lens’ and being left eye dominant i wanted a central viewfinder DSLR style design.  I was drawn by the Fuji lure to the X-T1.  I can’t remember where i first saw this camera but i had heard wonderful things about it.  It had been on the market for almost a year and a few other photographers that i know were already using it in a professional capacity and raving about it.  So, my Christmas holidays were spent between my family and frenzied research for more info about this camera in eager anticipation of an early new year purchase.

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Fujifilm X-T1

I purchased my first Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite Silver edition with a couple of lens’ and, just like the impact the X100 had one me, i was blown away with the image quality.  It was on par, if not surpassing, what i was getting from my Canon DSLR.  The instant image preview with live exposure simulation in the large EVF was a dream to use and the camera instantly felt much more comfortable in my smallish hands compared to my DSLR.  The tactile controls, reminiscent of a bygone age, were very different to my DSLR but took me back to my days with the Canon AE1, oh the irony!!

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X-T1 | xf35mm | f/1.4 | 1/4000th | iso200

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X-T1 | xf35.. | f/1.4 | 1/2300th | iso200

From the outset of 2015 it worked amazingly alongside my Canon gear, using it to shoot weddings and commercial commissions, but it lacked a vital element that was crucial to a particular genre of photography that i also undertook, corporate events with onsite sales, which required me to shoot tethered.  At The Photography Show last year i spoke to the Fuji team who said the software was coming and had already been given out to a select few for testing.  In fact, i recalled Bert Stephani seamlessly shooting tethered during his presentation at the show,  it gave me hope that it wasn’t far away. By the way, i’ve followed Bert’s work for a few years with his early YouTube ‘Confessions of a Photographer‘ and ‘Motivational Light’ video series and it’s well worth checking out.  Here’s a few commercial jobs undertaken with the X-T1.

One of the biggest factors forcing my move was weight and during my weddings of 2015 i found i was using the X-T1 more and more.  The X-T1 and a selection of lens’ was a massive weight saving.  I felt a sense of liberation from the heavy ‘bricks’ that were weighing me down during long wedding shoots, sometimes in excess of ten hours.  The image preview in the EVF allowed me to see what i was getting before the shot was taken so i was shooting less but ending up with many more ‘keepers’, thus speeding up my post processing workflow.  Here’s a bunch of wedding related images shot on my X-T1’s, nothing overly fancy, im still building on my X-T1 wedding portfolio but you can find more of my wedding photography here.

Very soon the DSLR never made it out of the bag and after just a few months with my initial X-T1 i purchased another, this time a black model, and further lens’ to compliment what i already had.  Additionally, i found that i was favouring prime lens’ having always used zoom’s on my DSLR and the quality of the Fuji glass is equally as good and my Canon L series lens’.  Once the tethering issue was sorted with the software patch for Adobe Lightroom being made available it was full steam ahead with my complete move to the Fuji platform.

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Derwent Reservoir | X-T1 | xf14mm | f/11 | 1/30th |iso200

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Saltburn Pier | X-T1 | xf18-55 @20mm | f/14 | 14secs | iso200 | Lee Filters

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Ladybower Reservoir | X-T1 | xf14mm | f/11 | 1/30th | iso200 | Lee Filters

I’ve used the Fuji X-T1’s extensively now across my compliment of services covering weddings, landscapes, commercial & charity events and also a little travel photography where i took them to Morocco, North Africa.  Shooting from the city to the edge of the Sahara where the temperatures often exceeded 45 degrees celsius and the camera never faltered.  Moreover, the massive weight reduction compared to my much heavier DSLR gear made working thought the day in the blistering heat bearable.  Below are a few images from that trip but you can find my blog post with more images from that trip here and a clip on YouTube here.

This by no means a technical evaluation or reasoning for my move, i’ve purposefully avoided going down that route on this blog post for the sake of simplicity, many of the factors are just personal preference for me.  The system has proven to be a worthy workhorse across all the genres that i cover and not once have i regretted my decision to move away from DSLR’s.   I’m not saying its a camera system that will suit everyone and i’m not ruling out a further change somewhere down the line myself, the recently released X-Pro-2 looks sublime and is receiving much hype on social media and i’m eagerly awaiting to hear more of the much anticipated X-T2, but for now its a tool that i am more than happy with and would happily recommend to others.  The journey, and the story continues………

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x100 | Oban, Argyll

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x100 | St Pancras, London

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x100 | St Pancras, London

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X-T1 | St Pancras, London

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X-T1 | London

A mixed bag of London – Street, Architecture, Fashion & Sports Photography

In my last blog post i gave you an highlight of my images that i took of the final stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race.  A chance encounter on a fantastic weekend in the city.

I had planned to be on a 2 day workshop that ended up being cancelled last minute but having already paid my travel & accommodation costs i decided to still head down there and have a weekend of self indulged photographic fun.  It was my first ever time in London on my own with my camera so i had just planned to take my time and soak it all up and it ended up being a mixed bag weekend.

I’d arrived late in london due to a train delay but was pleased to see East Coast Trains staff handing out refund vouchers which was a pleasant surprise, id always thought train delays were part and parcel of modern day rail travel so well done East Coast Trains for your fist class customer service.  So, having arrived late, i decided to head straight over top Tower Bridge to get some late evening shots.  I didn’t plan on dragging all my luggage with me but i didn’t want to waste my first evening.  The hotel checkin could wait a little while longer.  As i mentioned above, the weekend turned into a mixed bag of photographic subject.  As well as stumbling across the Tour of Britain on the Sunday i found myself in a photographers melee on Saturday afternoon.  After a quick lunch at the Covent Garden food market I wandered down to the Strand and found London Fashion Week in full swing.  There were photographers and models everywhere, it was like organised chaos and one couldn’t resist grabbing a few shots.  I may have to venture down to London just to capture the atmosphere around this event one day.

Anyway, i suppose i’d better let you get to the images.  As I said a very mixed bag of stuff which i hope you will like.  Please do feel free to leave a comment and maybe share this blog with your family & friends.  Just before i go i’d like to finish in a couple of thank you’d both heading in the direction of two London Cabbies.  Firstly to a kind chap called Dave who, after chatting in the cab on the way to the hotel, decided to give me a free ride out of gratitude for my past military service and also for my current public service as a Paramedic.  I was blown away with his kind hearted gratitude.  Secondly to another London Cabbie and good friend Terry who is also an amazing photographer, you can see some of his fabulous images on his website here.   He took time out of his hectic weekend day to catch up over coffee and then to show me a few locations around Canary Wharf.   So, on to the images.

London by Rob Ferrol Photography

Tower Bridge, London

Underground, London Rob Ferrol Photography

Early morning tube ride – so quiet compared to the evening rush hour.

London, the shard,rob,ferrol photography

Dawn Light on the Shard, Lomndon

The Shard London Rob Ferrol Photography

Dawn Light on the Shard, London.

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Skateboard Graveyard, Golden Jubilee Bridge, London

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Sh*@ting on Humanity

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Going Underground.

London Rob Ferrol Photography

London Street Photography

London Rob Ferrol Photography

What to have for lunch?? Food market in Covent Garden

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Flying the flags, Covent Garden, London.

London Rob Ferrol Photography

London Fashion Week

London Rob Ferrol Photography

London Fashion Week

London Rob Ferrol Photography

London Fashion Week

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Dusk colour at Canary Wharf

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Canary Wharf in Mono

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Bright Lights Big City. Canary Wharf, London

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Millennium Bridge & St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Millennium Bridge & St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Canary Wharf Clock, London.

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Tube Tunnels, London.

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Spot the Banana, Canary Wharf, London

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Lloyds Building, London.

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Gherkin abstract, London.

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Tour of Britain final, London.

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Tour of Britain final, London.

London Rob Ferrol Photography

Tour of Britain final, London.

The Streets of London

This week I took a trip down to London for the day with an old friend Bryn to shoot some street scenes.  Street photography is a relatively new genre that I’m exploring but enjoying immensely.  With no clear agenda I set out to record what I found interesting, what captured my attention and generally have a good bloomin day out.  We walked miles and witnessed everything from candid emotions,  street protests & Street artists all while doing a little bit of tourists snapping taking in the scenery and wonderful architecture of this fantastic city.

London has so much to offer and explore, way more than a day trip can do justice, so I’m hoping to head back down there next month.  Anyway, here are a selection of images from the day, I hope you like them.  Please feel free to leave me a comment and share with your friends, or stop by my website or Facebook page for more images and updates.  Thanks for looking.

Start the day off with one of many coffee's

Start the day off with one of many coffee’s

Tunnel vision.

Tunnel vision.

Thanks not gonna get me to London, there's workmen approaching.

Thanks not gonna get me to London, there’s workmen approaching.

Bryn watching the world whizz by

Bryn watching the world whizz by

Sleeping

Sleeping

is that Superman???

is that Superman???

these feet are made for walking

these feet are made for walking

first some lunch and a beer :-)

first some lunch and a beer 🙂

what you looking at?

what you looking at?

mmmmm, really?

mmmmm, really?

May day protest - Trafalgar Square

May day protest – Trafalgar Square

protest

protest

more portest

more portest

he's a peacekeeper

he’s a peacekeeper

on the underground

on the underground

Big Mac

Big Mac

more tunnel vision

more tunnel vision

tube

tube

a hard day at the office

a hard day at the office

going up

going up

still going up

still going up

high rise high contrast

high rise high contrast

on reflection

on reflection

London Streets-24

the shard

the shard

Sleep walking - Jive talking

Sleep walking – Jive talking

dunno!!

dunno!!

dreaming

dreaming

caught in the lime light

caught in the lime light

tourist snap

tourist snap

tourist snap

tourist snap

tripods not allowed

tripods not allowed

London Streets-33

skater boy

skater boy

home time

home time