Inspiration

Or rather, the lack of it.

Most photographers making personal work will confess to having run out of inspiration at some point. It isn’t always easy to know what to focus on (pun intended) amongst all the potential subjects in the world. It is especially difficult if you are the kind of photographer who doesn’t have one particular genre that you like to inhabit. I like landscape, architecture, street, portraiture, documentary, and don’t particularly want to concentrate on one kind of photography. My style, if I even have one, isn’t obvious to me and probably to no-one else either.

So on a day when I definitely lacked motivation I put my new X100f onto a tripod for the first time and took it into the garden to see if inspiration lay in the flower beds. It didn’t of course but I liked this image of some ferns captured with the Classic Chrome film simulation.

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Morecambe Bay monochrome

Black and white photograph of tidal channels

Looking back over my collection of digital images I wondered what was the first digital photograph I took that I thought was not just a ‘snapshot’. My first digicam was a Fujifilm point and shoot with 2 megapixels and JPG only capture. I used that alongside my Nikon 35mm film camera to capture family life and holidays. The image above was taken in 2004 and the colour version was nothing special, but a quick conversion to a very contrasty black and white lifted it a bit and showed what I saw in my mind’s eye when I took the picture. The quality is terrible but that doesn’t matter – it showed me the possibilities.

A new toy

I have always strived for simplicity in everything I do, and that includes photography. So owning a Fujifilm X-T1 with two prime lenses – the 23mm f/2 and the 35mm f/2 – felt like owning one lens too many. I decided I was prepared to sacrifice flexibility for simplicity and chose the Fujifilm X100F compact camera with its fixed 23mm f/2 lens and smaller form factor. I have also been experimenting a bit with street photography – something I feel very self-conscious about whilst doing it – and I thought the X100F might help to make me feel more confident.

Having owned the very first iteration of the X100, back in 2012, I knew what to expect in terms of look and feel, but the performance has come on in leaps and bounds. I will almost certainly have regrets about selling off my X-T1 and those two primes, but I’m looking forward to not having to decide what lens to use.

Here is an image from my first walk around town with my new toy. It’s a straight out of camera JPEG using the Acros film simulation. It will take me a while to work out what settings to use for the JPEGs, but I also capture images in RAW so as to have the best of both worlds.

Monochrome image of man on street