Working The House – Fuji WCL-x100

I had a spare hour on this trip to Perth and I knew I wanted to attempt to get a shot of one of the local icons. If you go to one of my favourite travel research sites, and search on Perth, sort by rating, you see a ton of pictures of this boat house on the Swan river. It’s been shot a lot, and I’m not going to get anything radically new, but I’d still like to pay homage and add it to my collection. I’m out with my minimalist kit, so working with some limitations, but I know what I have in mind.

I take a short taxi ride out and there is a local photographer working with a couple who just got married. No problem as the boat house is half lit / half shadow and a nightmare in tonal range. I wait for them to move on, chatting to a couple of other tourists there for the same reason.

I’m using the WCL-x100 on this to get as wide as I can without doing a pano and stitching. I want the water to go soft as possible, so I need to slow it way down. ISO down to 200, f8 and screw on my 10 stop Heliopan filter. This drops the shutter to around 3 seconds, but I want slower, so I add the B+W 3 stop filter. No go, very noticeable vignette. This answers the question about filter stacking on the WCL-x100 – you can only go one filter deep, depending on the filter thickness, of course. Take the B+W off and turn on the built in 3 stop ND and the shutter is at 30 seconds. Perfect. The background is very bright, the boathouse in shadow, so I know I’m going to have to do some compensating and possibly some layering in post, so exposure bracketing is in order. The bracket will need to go past the 30″ maximum auto shutter speed of the camera, so I’m switching to bulb and the cable release. I love this old school stuff. Bracket with manual exposures at 15″, 30″ and 1.00′. Focus manually using hyperfocal, although I’m now at f6.3. Chimping, the shots are sharp, depth of field is what I want, exposure looks excellent (I trust the histogram) and the water is beautiful and soft with no texture.

(Click on images for larger version)

Fuji X100s, WCL-x100s, f8, 1min.

Because I only have my little tabletop tripod with me, I’m limited to the composition, with the strong foreground. I’m not complaining – I love this shot and it’s exactly what I had in mind going in. As I’m packing up, a couple of young guys turn up, loaded for bear. They have a Nikon D3S, D610, 24-70 2.8, 14-24 2.8 and a couple of Gitzo tripods. They have been patiently waiting for me to get out of the way and we start chatting. I saw the standard Arca Swiss quick release on their ball heads and quickly asked if I could borrow one of their tripods for a quick shot variant. I got the nod and dropped onto the tripod like a starving rat, going for the horizontal composition first with the higher viewpoint.

Fuji X100s, WCL-X100, f8.0, 30s

Then I went for the vertical. The second I saw it on the back of the camera I started grinning. The guy who’s tripod I borrowed suddenly got quiet. I took the bracketed set, slipped off the tripod and handed it back. He looked a bit sad and asked about the Fuji, and what I was using to get that shot. I showed him the shot on the back of the camera and his bottom lip pouted. He looked at me and said “I forgot to bring my ND filters”. I thought it would be churlish to offer to lend him my 49mm filter, or mention the built in 3 stop in camera filter, so I offered my thanks for the use of the tripod and headed for the bus stop.

Fuji x100s, WCL-X100, f8.0, 30s

More to come……..

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