Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Free Dunbar Photo Walk on Friday


On Friday 1st July I am hosting the first Dunbar Photo Walk starting from the Bass Rock Gallery on the High Street in Dunbar from 6pm to 8pm.  

This is a FREE event for anyone who wants to come along and join in and is for anyone with an interest in taking pictures with any sort of camera whether it is a mobile phone or the latest DSLR.  It's all about having a fun evening with a few tips on how to compose your images from yours truly

The planned route for the 2 hour walk is below and will take in the John Muir Way to the west of the harbour, a walk around the two Dunbar Harbours and then along East Beach.  Depending on the time we'll stop by Dunbar Church before returning Bass Rock Gallery along the High Street.

If you are interested in coming along to this event please sign up on the EventBrite page HERE











Monday, 27 June 2016

Underwater With The Fujifilm X-T1


A few weeks ago I bought a waterproof housing for my Fujifilm X-T1 and tested in the local rock pools here in Dunbar (CLICK HERE).  I bought this DICAPAC Waterproof Case for the landing trip to Bass Rock that I had booked and the idea was to capture some underwater shots of the Gannets diving for fish which is thrown in the water by the skipper of the tour boat.

Yesterday I finally got to try the new underwater housing in the Firth of Forth.  Now I need to explain how the housing was used.

The DICAPAC case was attached to my Manfrotto monopod by the means of a Mini Clamp.  The monopod has a clip and this was attached to one of the connectors on the waterproof case and then I attached a Peak Design leash to the case which was then attached to my wrist.  There was no way that the camera and case was going anywhere should it become detached from the clamp.




When doing my tests I found the case, which is airtight obviously, tended to flip up and point towards the sky.  I solved this problem with a wire coat hanger which was shaped into a U  and fitted down each side of the case.  I taped off the ends of the wire so the it didn't puncture the bag.

Because the WiFi on the X-T1 doesn't work underwater (there isn't enough signal strength through the water) I resorted to setting the camera to Interval Timer, setting the camera to fire one shot every second.  With the Fujinon 18mm f2 lens fitted to the camera on manual focus the field of view was wide enough to capture images through the fairly clear sea.  While a bit 'hit and miss'  this is the only method I can use without actually getting into the water with the camera.



In the end I didn't get the shot I really wanted ( a gannet diving underwater) but I nearly did (see the shot below of the gannet diving through the frame).  However I did capture some great images as the sun shone through the waters of the Firth of Forth.


Some of the the images are quite abstract in nature or capture the feet of seabirds in the water (see main shot at the top of the page).



I did encounter a couple of problems that I need to solve on the next trip later this summer.  The first issue is the coat hanger wire isn't strong enough in the strong swell of the sea and the camera was soon pointing skyward while it was in the water.  I think I can solve this by putting a strong elastic band around the ends of the wire and under the camera.

The second problem is the movement of the boat in the water which meant I had to hold the mono pod with both hands to try and keep it level.  As you can see with the images the camera was being pushed to something like 30 to 40 degrees off true.  I need to see if I can find a solution to this problem.  However the images do work, even if they are not level.

The one thing that did concern me was sea water getting into the case.  I needn't have worried because, thanks to the system of seals (see images below) the camera was bone dry when I took it out of the case.  I did put a couple of packets of silica gel in the bottom of the case to absorb any minor leaks or condensation but this proved to be a precautionary measure.







CONCLUSION
The DICAPAC waterproof case proved to worthy of its name as it kept the North Sea at bay.  I need to fine tune how I use the camera on the monopod but if I was taking the camera swimming or canoeing it would be easier to use and I would have 100% confidence that the camera would be completely safe from water damage.

For more information on the DICAPAC waterproof case CLICK HERE

The X-T1 inside the DICAPAC case
The first line of defence against water - a roll up seal under the top flap
The second line of defence - a push seal across the top of the bag
You can operate some of the controls with your finger but it is best to set the controls before sealing it in the case
The Manfrotto Mini Clamp
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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

In June 2015 Jeff Carter was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

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Sunday, 26 June 2016

Trip Out To Bass Rock


This morning I took a boat out to Bass Rock with a view of taking my second landing trip in two years with the Scottish Seabird Centre.  This was actually my fourth attempt to do this trip as the previous three occasions were cancelled due to the weather.  With finger crossed I headed down to Dunbar Harbour this morning and all looked to be OK as we boarded the 'Fisher Lassie'.  However our hopes were dashed when the swell was too big and we couldn't land safely on the Bass so the skipper made the call to abandon the landing in the interests of safety, which we totally supported.

Anyway there was an opportunity to circle Bass Rock and grab some images of the 150,000 birds that call the big lump of rock home.

Using the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and either the XF100-400mm f4.5/5.6 or Samyang 8mm f2.8 fisheye I set about capturing some images.

Here are a few examples of the images I captured this morning.  I will be hoping to actually land on Bass Rock later this summer with the Scottish Seabird Centre.









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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

In June 2015 Jeff Carter was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'



Wednesday, 22 June 2016

24 Hours of Le Mans - Panorama


The 24 Hours of Le Mans, the greatest motorsport event in the world and a race that I am very proud to be involved at the FIA Media Delegate.  It is ten days of intense preparation and action and this is one of the reasons I have not posted on the MacLean Photographic blog for a while.

I am still sorting through my images from Le Mans for various projects I am working on but here is a selection of different pictures taken on the Fujifilm X-Pro2 or X-T1 from trackside or in the pitlane that I have cropped into a 12:5 panoramic format in post production.

I didn't necessarily take these images with a panoramic crop in mind but when viewed on the computer screen I immediately saw the potential of a 12:5 ratio image in each one.

The images were taken on a variety of Fujinon lenses - XF10-24mm f4, XF16-55mm f2.8, XF50-140mm f2.8, XF100-400mm f4.5/5.6, XF90mm f2 - and a Samyang 8mm fisheye.















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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

In June 2015 Jeff Carter was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'




Thursday, 9 June 2016

REVIEW: Samyang 8mm Fish Eye Lens Test in Dunbar Harbour



This morning a package arrived on my doorstep containing the Samyang 8mm f2.8 Fish Eye lens with a Fujifilm X Mount.  This ultra wide prime lens is far wider than the 10mm end of the Fujinon 10-24mm f4 zoom and gives 180 degree of coverage.  Of course a fish eye lens give a distorted view of the world, the trick is to find suitable subjects.  The first real test will be to capture subjects at next week's 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

This blog is just my initial impressions and I will do a complete review when I have finished at working at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.



After unpacking the lens I put it on my Fujifilm X-Pro2 and headed down to Dunbar Harbour.  With the tide at its low point, the boats in the harbour were resting on their keels and it meant I could also get down low.



The initial impressions of the build quality are very good, especially for a lens that costs just £212.  The lens hood is integral to the lens and can't be removed so the lens cap provided fits over the top of the hood and clips on.

The Samyang 8mm lens is manual focus only and you have to set the came to 'shoot without lens' in the menu.  The camera doesn't read the aperture on the rear screen, just displaying f0 instead, so I had to rely on looking over the top of the camera at the aperture dial to see what was set - no big problem really.  

The focus ring is stiffer than the Fujinon lenses I have but it gives good feedback.  It is a doddle to focus with the X-Pro2s focus peeking and, being such a wide lens, infinity comes in at 1 metre anyway.

I spent an hour walking around pointing the camera at different subjects.  With 180 degrees of coverage the world is distorted at the edges and horizons with never be straight.  But you can pack a lot into each frame with this little lens attached.

Here are some sample images from the hour I spent down at the harbour in Dunbar.  









The initial impression of the Samyang 8mm f2.8 Fish Eye lens is very good.  The quality of the images are excellent and, while not as good as the XF Fujinon lenses I have, the build quality of the lens is above what I would expect for a £200 lens and it is certainly doesn't feel 'cheap'.

All in all a very nice lens and a useful addition to my arsenal of lenses for the Fujifilm X-Series.

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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

In June 2015 Jeff Carter was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'