Another awesome U.K. wedding wrapped up and also the smallest one I have had the absolute pleasure to capture!
Lara and Mark's day was a simple affair where they exchanged vows at the local Register Office in Hammersmith, which also just happens to be situated right near the river Thames. Their day was witnessed by two of their dear friends and the wonderful people who had me come along to capture it all, Sara and Tom. The ceremony was an absolute cracker of an affair with the two city officials and celebrants fighting to hold themselves back from dancing to the Motown music playlist that the wedding party had loaded up.
One of the great things about the U.K. are the ample pubs that even without a plan you can find, grab a drink or three in and have a great time. All of 100m away from the town hall was the gorgeous little pub known as The Dove that sits beside the river Thames. The champagne was popped and several pints of ale were drunk by all, which sparked everyone's enthusiasm to get dirty by walking into the low tide of the river for photos. Did we ruin our shoes in the muck? Sure did! Was it worth it? Well, look ahead and tell me what you think in the comments below. This truly was a celebration of love and true friendship.
Much love all you awesome folk!
Jeez... it's been too long between posts, and this is just one of about six posts or more that I need to get going since moving to the U.K. As you can expect, we've been traveling as much as we can (time and finances dependent) given our proximity to so many amazing places in relative arms reach, and after hearing how epic the Lake District was meant to be we set off with some friends during the early spring for a long weekend away.
For this trip I packed the ever awesome X-T2, along with the battery grip, XF16mm and the XF50-140 for that compressed landscape imagery. I'm not gonna rant on how much I love my Fujifilm kit, you know I do and the X-T2 has been an incredible travel and work companion on numerous occasions. To me it's become an almost 'modular' camera system with how you can adapt the kit to suit certain needs, whether it's street shooting, professional wedding photography, or getting out into the wilderness. When it comes to the streets its lean as with the XF35mm, and when I need beef the added battery grip and the XF50-140mm are a high performance combo.
Ok... I ranted. On to the snaps.
Cheers - Mathieu
Take note, grooms who think they can DIY at their wedding. If you're not prepared to custom build an altar and a tree-house for your big day, then you've got nothing on Joseph.
Liz and Joey's wedding was a perfect example of paying homage to young love, and creating a relaxed celebration centered around family, friends, and pets! Every wedding should have pets! Even if they break out of the fence frequently during inopportune times.
Set in the beautiful beach side suburb of Portalrlington where Liz and Joey grew up and got together as a couple, each part of their day was only ever a small walk or drive away, and the collection of classic Aussie muscle cars made each short trip a totally stylish blast! Perhaps one of the sweetest parts of the day though was returning to the street lamp that Liz and Joey got together underneath years before for a few quiet moments. So simple yet so significant. Love it!
My sincerest appreciations go out to Liz & Joey for having me capture such a wonderful, warm day in Australia. Every bride and groom could learn from these two about how to rock it in relaxed DIY style.
WHAT A BLAST!
From start to finish, Anna & Chris created one of the most memorable and fun weddings I've ever had the pleasure of being a part of. They won me over even more by feeding me a deluxe meal, not once, but twice! Yep, it's that simple with me.
Having spent a few occasions getting to know Anna & Chris before their big day (engagement session here) I knew they'd just have an amazing vibe to their wedding - chilled, full of smiles, food, and oh so much love! The elegant and stylish simplicity of their attire, the jovial loving bounce they had for each other all day, and an absolutely blistering first dance! It truly was the perfect balance of organised and footloose fun. I cannot thank them enough for having me capture it all!
Much love and one big ol' blog post of joyful images,
Shout out to the fine venue folk at The Farm Cafe for being on point and keeping me well hydrated!
I just have to say this outright. You folk here in the northern hemisphere, particularly out here in the U.K. are spoiled for good light, when it's out. Coming originally from Western Australia where the sun gives you about an hour each side of the day of pleasant light, it is such a dream with the sun sitting here around 45 degrees.
'Nuff of the whinge!
What's this new XF50 F2 WR all about?
It's a seemingly obscure focal length that doesn't have an older sibling with a wider aperture to usurp, and what kind of photographer would want it? Well, after shooting 1.25 weddings back in Australia with it and having a good few days on the streets of Oxford with it, I am damned impressed by it just as I still am with it's wider mate the XF35 F2, which is my go-to lens and has been since late 2015. It's a bit of a trip down memory lane, as it would be for many who've stuck a 50mm lens on a crop sensor camera so a 76mm equivalent focal length really isn't that unfamiliar.
For this 'review' I have only included small 3000 pixel JPEGS using Chrome, +1 colour, +1 sharpness, and strong grain. Why did I do this? Because it's just bloody brilliant! I have shot backup JPEGs with strong gain for many months now and I simply lovely the images it helps to produce, particularly when shooting into light - I'll get into that more down the page though. I think it also shows for a lot of folk who like what I shoot that they can achieve this look with no post-editing. If you're really wanting RAW/RAF files leave a comment below and I'll get some going since I now have real internet here in the U.K.
Let's take a look at some bokeh samples.
I'm not one to go hunting for this kinda thing and honestly, I am not sure I have the best eye for what good bokeh is but oh well! As you can see though, at F2 this lens has really lovely focus fall off and beautiful smooth background with nice round balls. With a minimum focusing distance of 39cm you can certainly get nice and close with this lens, further exaggerating background blur in many circumstances. It really does an excellent job at focusing closely too, picking what you intend to shoot quickly and accurately.
How about the AF?
It's snappy! Well freakin' snappy! Just as I LOVE the XF35 F2 for it's efficiency this guy is exactly the same in my experience. It handles itself very well shooting into strong backlight, tracks sensationally in CF mode, acts silently and stealthily, and I simply can't fault it. It's also a joy to handle and weighs next to nothing (200g) which I barely noticed during wedding shoots. Remember though, I am shooting with an XT-2 so older cameras may not be so gracious with regards to performance.
But what about the XF56 F1.2?
It's a tough call. The ol' XF56 1.2 has that stupidly wide, light eating aperture that melts away out of focus areas, but it's also an 'old' Fujifilm lens that can be a bit sluggish and offers no Weather Resistance. In truth, during the second wedding I shot in Australia recently upon owning both lenses, I switched over to the F1.2 and didn't switch back to the XF50 F2 WR. Why? Because with the XT-2 and at times with boost mode engaged, I didn't have any issues with focusing, and I sure appreciated the images it produced at it's widest aperture. On the other side of it though, the XF50 F2 WR is way more comfortable for day to day use and is a snappier, discrete, crazy sharp and silent lens that represents the latest in Fujifilm's tech. I'll get to a comparison blog post some time soon!
Let's finish up with a little chat about the grain function on the XT-2.
I am really hooked on this little add-on for how it helps gradients appear to the human eye and how it reduces the obvious transitions in colour banding in bright scenes. I find it also helps to produce really pleasing flares as well, and overall gives me +50 hipster points in my day to day photography life. You be the judge! I just hope Adobe gets grain happening in Lightroom that looks this good.
Some final thoughts
Fujifilm have produced yet another sensational bit of gear that's of the highest quality and performs exceptionally, further reaffirming my decision many moons ago to get into the X-Series.
I'm not sure that the XF50mm F2 WR will stay in my kit, as it's so close in focal length to my XF56mm F1.2, which still holds the overall crown for preferred lens out of the two. I also much prefer a 50mm equivalent like the XF35mm F2 WR for street usage and day to day shooting, with the XF23mm F2 WR being the next lens I'd like to get and probably stick with.
Truly, you cannot fault this lens and if I were a newbie to Fujifilm I would grab it in a heartbeat with the XF23mm F2 WR to start my kit off, as they're exceptional lenses for the money that have character and handle wonderfully, whilst producing consistently gorgeous images. Try it out for yourself and you'll see what I mean with the XF50mm F2 WR.