First attempt at Astrophotography

The chance to see the stars properly is an event that is becoming a scarcer occurrence and reflected worldwide with the increase in urbanism as rural communities shrink.

On the second week of our trip to South America we flew to Patagonia, the southern mountainous region which straddles Argentina and Chile.  During our time there we made the 5 day 100km W Trek in Torres Del Paine, a remote area of Patagonia roughly 2 hours from the nearest city making it a potentially perfect location for seeing the stars and some astrophotography.

We were blessed with 5 days of clear weather on the trip where snow, hail, gale force winds, rain and sun are often experience in the space of an hour.  On the second night of the trip while camping at Paine Grande I got up at 2am to try and experience the stars.  The experience did not disappoint and the campsite we stayed at was lit but an entire night sky of twinkling stars and the southern Milky-Way arcing over head.

I walked toward the lake which encircled our campsite to find a good vantage point to set up my manfrotto spider tripod.  It was then a process of trial and error knowing roughly the settings I should be aiming for in order to get a crisp and well exposed astro shot.  Below is the my favourite shot of the night taken on the Fujifilm XT-2 with the 16mm f1.4.  This image is the out of camera JPEG. The lens is known for producing coma (fringing of light) so I look forward to taking the image into lightroom to tweak it and create a comparison in a later blog post.

The shot was taken with ISO 3200, f- stop 1.6 and a 20s exposure. 


Goodbye Fujifilm 80mm F2.8 XF LM OIS WR Macro Lens

It’s always a sad time when you have to part ways with a lens, especially when its one that you’re fond of..

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to receive an equipment grant from the Westminster 125 fund while in my final year of Architectural Masters at the University of Westminster in London. With this money I was able to buy the recently released Fujinon 80mm F2.8 (and all the rest) lens. I wanted a macro for photography my architectural models for my portfolio and having done a good deal of reading around it looked to be a real killer piece of glass, a huge step up from the respected but now dated 60mm macro that Fuji released early on in the X-series.

Recently I sold the lens in order to pay for the Fujinon XF50-140, the 80mm had served me well for 6 months but it just wasn’t getting the amount of us my other primes were getting. For me, personally, there is nothing worse than owning something expensive that doesn’t get the use that it deserves.

Having owned the lens for 6 months I would commend the image quality which was just incredible and arguably the sharpest of the X-mount lenses that I’ve owned.  Coupling this with the 1:1 macro image reproduction that the lens creates it sets a very high standard for macro photography.  The IBIS is a definite plus for the lens but I only really used it for taking general photos where as anything macro was always set up with a tripod. The lens continues the long tradition of exceptional build quality from Fujifilm but the main downside for me is that the lens is a bit of a beast for a prime which is ultimately what stopped it earning a spot in my daily camera bag.

Having had the 50-140 for a couple of months now I know that I made the right decision but I loved the 1:1 macro results that the 80mm produced. Below I’ve shared 3 different sets of images, Fujinon 80mm, our time together was short but it was sweet.

The first images are taken from my final year model, a design for a Micro-Fishery in Hull. The model is made at 1.50 scale and the images demonstrate the 1:1 macro power of the 80mm to take photos at this architectural scale and appear almost real world in their appearence.

This second batch of photos are of the Bridge Theatre lights designed by Haworth Tompkins and were taken for ahead of the Dezeen Awards 2018 for which these lights were longlisted. The light is made of folded copper mesh which wraps an LED light source which helps increase the warmth of the light source into an almost candle like glow.

This final set of photos captures some of the fire damaged surfaces found at Battersea Arts Centre. The fire which consumed the grand hall in 2015 stripped back 120 years worth of paint in varying warped layers to create a set of scarred yet beautiful surfaces which were ultimately preserved in the grand halls rebuilding which was completed in 2018.

Starting the Vote

This week I thought it would be fun to start giving my followers on Instagram two buildings to vote for with the one receiving the most votes being the one that I would photograph. To start I gave the choice between two fantastic brick projects: The Tate Switch House by Herzon & De Meuron and The LSE Saw Hock Student Centre by O'donnell and Tuomey.

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Morning Light - National Theatre & Fuji XT-2

Denys Lasdun’s brutalist icon The National Theatre, completed between 1976 and 1977, is one of most interesting 20th century buildings in London. It has long been a goal of mine to try and capture the mesmorising play of light on the building’s concrete forms.

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