London with the XT2 and the 18-55mm Kit Lens

Some time ago i decided to make the leap from Canon over to the Fuji X system, and quite frankly, i’ve not looked back.  Now I’m not saying i disliked Canon, moreover, i had many happy years shooting with various Canon DSLR’s, it’s just that the Fuji X system seemed to just suit me and my way of shooting.  I suppose it’s like a pair of underpants, some fit well, others not so, you can’t explain it but they just do, lol.

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Now, ask me to say what my way of shooting is and i couldn’t possibly tell you.   I’m a small chap and i like to feel at ease when shooting, free to float around, especially when shooting busy weddings, and not feel weighted down with cumbersome gear etc.  If the full frame DSLR’s suits YOU stick with them.

Anyway, since making the move to Fuji i’ve amassed a collection of Lens’, both primes and zooms and recently pondered which to take for a planned day trip to London for a birthday jolly outing.  I wanted to travel light, and as this was a family trip, photography was not the main purpose of the day.

I elected to take just the one camera, my XT2, and just one lens, the XF 18-55mm, the Fuji equivalent of a kit lens.  Its a lens that often gets left at home in preference of my primes, especially for shooting weddings etc, but decided to make the most of what this combination could give.

So, no tripod, no filters, no big zoom lens’s, i was free to ‘float around’ and have a good old family day out, while quickly grabbing the odd image.  As you’ll see from the images below just a day in London does not give you too much time to take it all in, so as my son wanted to visit the Tower of London that was the main part of our day.  If you’ve never done the Beefeater guided tour you MUST put it on your ‘todo’ list.  Their historical knowledge, humour, quick wit and amazing character make the entrance fee with while alone.

You could quite easily spend the whole day in the Tower and there is all manner of things to photograph but i tried to take a few different images away from the usual ‘tourist’ snap shots, let me know what you think.

Our second port of call was to take in the ‘View from the Shard’ which was a short 20 minute walk from the Tower via London bridge.  I managed to grab a few long exposures using the bridge wall as a camera rest, remember i had no tripod, and then some concrete bollards.  Sadly, these concrete bollards were put in place after the recent terrorists atrocities that took place here a few months back.

The view from the shard is quite amazing but its hard to avoid the reflections on the glass and there were no elevated positions on which to place my camera, so, i ramped up the ISO, opened up the aperture and took a few handheld shots.  They are not the best but certainly show the view we had.  I’m hoping to plan another visit which will take in a pre booked good sunset, lol.

I thoroughly enjoyed travelling with just one camera & one lens and will make the effort to use that ‘kit lens’ a little more.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you travel with your camera gear.  Do you try to travel light, or do you take a full compliment of lens’s etc?

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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