Fuji X100S, Constraints Fuel Creativity

I’m all for that one camera, one lens thing. Not as a publicity stunt or anything but as an exercise on just how infinite the variables are of any giving photographic circumstance before introducing all of the possible stuff you could bring to the table. Constraints absolutely fuel creativity. I posted a bunch of pictures yesterday that people seemed to like. I’ll use a slathering of them here as illustrations.

This ties in a lot with a suggestion I made to someone the other day to pick one “look” and stick to it. With that one look in mind see what you make and how you start to interpret the world — he’s also doing a one camera, one lens project for himself during 2015.

I’ll give him a break, myself as well. How about two diametrically different looks? That’s the equivalent of shooting two different kinds of film. The variables of composition framing, subject direction, point of view, exposure, aperture, shutter speed and focus combined with just two different “looks” are infinite. Change those things up within a look context and see how creative you can get. All these images were shot as starting points in a two hour mini-workshop I hosted a while ago. I shot maybe 5 minutes total — I like the vast majority of shooting time devoted to participants.

The two looks I picked were TMAX3200P and BW400CN soft whites from the Capture One Film Presets. Of course I tweaked exposure half a stop one way or another but the overall feel was exposure decisions, etc in-camera. The shot at the top was sort of a more normal approach to exposure, lighting ratio, focus, shutter speed etc. I picked a normal-ish BW400CN soft whites as the treatment.

Same here but a different composition that adds apparent contrast due to the juxtaposition of the shadow side of Sheba against a lighter portion of the wall on the right side.

How about the same thing with a drastic exposure change to bias for the highlights and let the shadow fall where they may. TMAX3200P for this.

A choice of two stops less exposure — and it is a choice — renders a completely different feel. I’m glad I positioned the shadow edge of Sheba against the lighter portion of wall. You can still see subtle separation there along the curve of her back… I like that a lot.

Keeping the same camera settings I narrowed down the light by pulling the drape out of frame tighter and narrowing the light source. That made it darker but more importantly it made the light more contrasty in that there was less overall bounce back. Now only a small spot of the wall in the background had any light to speak of. I tightened up the shot and positioned that black shadows against the lighter wall again for this…

A different but similar shot with a minor adjustment in pose and composition how does the same thing feel with that other film look BW400CN?

How about something nuts like keeping the same light but increasing the exposure 2 stops putting it way out of the realm of “sharp hand held zone” and racking it out of focus too?

I really like that one… In what particular way is this image less because of lack of resolution? That grain plays very well with this in my opinion. While were doing the really slow shutter thing lets open the room back up, keep exposure on the normal-ish side with everything brighter and jerk the camera on purpose but this time in focus. This time with that smoother look of BW400CN.

How about a similar thing but in-focus and sharp with a higher shutter speed. Back to that grainy look.

How about the same thing but out of focus…

Really like that to. Really shaking things up lets chuck Sheba up on a table really close to the window (will increase highlight shadow contrast a bunch. Let’s do crazy shit like shoot against the light and out of focus.

Okay enough with the out of focus. Let’s change the pose a bit and shoot one in focus.

How about upping the exposure a bunch of stops with a slow shutter speed? But hey that won’t be sharp… and we’ll use that BW400CN as it kinda makes sense we would have to shoot at a much lower shutter speed to use that. The hell with it, as long as it’s not going to be sharp I may as well get a dose of that creamy goodness the X100’s lens shows as well.

Okay, back to “normal mode” let’s use that light a bit differently. I’ll even shoot it mostly in focus this time… I used f/2 all day… we’ll keep the BW400CN though.

How about less exposure and put her face more in light and her front in more shadow.

Same thing but let’s jump back to that messy film.

How about that but softer with just a bit out of focus…

Let’s change the point of view a lot… Hey many there’s like this light up here… Cool I’ll shoot through it. Adds more of a fly on the wall kinda voyeuristic quality for sure when you shoot through shit.

Moving rooms to a room that had much lower contrast but also was far far darker my first response was to “use the darkness” let’s shoot this really dark. Here’s the smoother film with the same contrast curve as everything else.

How about a very similar image with a minor framing difference using that gritty film…

More normal exposure but at a really slow shutter and focus racked out of whack.

How about a normal exposure shot through stuff again and it sharper… still a low shutter speed.

Let’s see if I can hand hold this thing even sharper. Should prolly concentrate on this. I love the shiny bits floating above Sheba.

Let’s shoot it with Sheba moving a bit with that smoother film look…

Just a different version don’t know what framing I like better so I’ll put both up there. I like how some of it’s blurry and some is sharp in both.

Light, dark, sharp, fuzzy, bits in shadow, bits in light, negative space defined sharply against light vs not so sharply against less light background… All your choices. Even with just two B+W looks in your bag of tricks there’s infinte variety to explore. Trust me if you go with only one or two treatments you’ll play around a lot MORE with all the really important controls when you are shooting.


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