Photographing airports with the Fuji X-T1
Airports are intriguing places for photography. The transient nature of travel and the symmetry of the infrastructure give you lots of opportunities for interesting compositions. I love visiting and exploring new countries and cultures, but the hours of waiting until boarding can be quite annoying.
Luckily, I carry my Fuji X-T1 in my hand luggage and often take the opportunity to test out new lenses and different approaches to photography. Unlike with street photography, where you need to be quick, I find it is an excellent time to explore your camera’s features and often re-discover things I haven’t used for ages. Next picture is a double exposure; two images layered on top of each in-body. A fun technique to play around with, and I put the camera on the floor instead of using a tripod in order to stabilise it.
Some airports still have a smoking room, mostly a dreary corner tucked away somewhere, and it’s always interesting to go in there and see smokers get their fix. I used the Fuji XT-1 new totally silent electronic shutter here, in order to capture the moment without disturbing my subject. Some people find this type of photography quite voyeuristic, but you should understand that it is not about taking a picture of someone’s face. It’s about capturing the mood and light of a scene that has caught the photographers’ eye.
I’ve recently purchased the Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4 wide-angle lens, it’s the only wide angle with optical stabilisation, giving you around 3 or 4 stops of advantage. This benefit means you can use longer shutter speeds than usual while the lens will try to stabilise your hand shake or movement. I’ve been experimenting with long(ish) shutter speeds together with this stabilisation feature, in order to depict more moment in scenes, with varying success.
The Fuji X-T1’s sensor lends itself well to film emulations and b&w conversions. I pushed contrasts in all these scenes and added film noise in order to get a more gritty look. My workflow currently consists of importing images to Lightroom, either de-mosaicing the RAW files in Iridient or Photo Ninja, and pulling these files through DXO’s Film Pack 5. This plug-in has some excellent new features like adding micro contrast to highlights, mid-tones and shadows separately, a nice tool to add more perceived sharpness without the need to work with layers.
My girlfriend is currently on an iphoneography trip, refusing to use a real camera. She’s an excellent photographer with years of experience but prefers to use here iPhone for these kinds of snapshots. Weird I know but her Instagram account looks fantastic, just goes to show that the best camera is the one you have with you. Anyway, she uses an iPhone app called Instant 110, and as we often inspire and push each other, I tried a bit of Instagram magic from a Fuji X-T1 file with this last image.