Thursday, 6 September 2018

Fujifilm X-T3: The Next Step Forward



Today (6th September 2018) Fujifilm have unveiled their latest flagship X Series camera, the X-T3, the successor to the X-T2.  The T3 comes with a new 26.1MP X-Trans sensor and new processor, the X-Trans CMOS 4 and X Processor 4, which takes the AF and Video performances of the camera to the next level.

I had the opportunity to test a pre production version of the X-T3 alongside my X-T2 and X-H1 at Silverstone for two days last month and while I didn’t get the opportunity to fully test all of the new functions on the new camera, it certainly delivers in the areas that I need for my work as a sports photographer.

The AF was certainly quick and accurate when shooting trackside at Silverstone, especially with the new XF200mm f2 prime lens.  The X-T2 and X-H1’s AF is already excellent, so the X-T3s increase in speed will probably not be noticed by the average X series user but the X-T3 was certainly quicker to lock on and track a car moving at speed.


TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AND SEE MORE SAMPLE IMAGES VISIT THE MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC WEBSITE HERE


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Monday, 27 August 2018

Latest Fujilove Article: Fujifilm Finally Brings Out the Big Gun


As a sports photographer I have been waiting in anticipation of the new Fujinon XF200mmF2 for three years.  In October 2015 I sat in a meeting room in Fujifilm HQ in Tokyo and explained to the product development team why Fujifilm needed to produce a fast telephoto prime lens.  
I had been asked to test the prototype of the XF100-400mm zoom lens the following weekend at Fuji Speedway at the World Endurance Championship event and it was a very nice addition to the Fujinon line up,  However I, and many other X-Photographers, still underlined the need for a fast telephoto prime lens with the powers that be at Fujifilm.
CLICK HERE to read the full article


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

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Monday, 25 June 2018

A Change of Direction


Hello, sorry it has been a while!  I have refrained from posting updates on the MacLean Photographic blog since the end of April as I have been mulling over which direction I wanted to go with the features I post.  

For the past five years I have tried to update these pages regularly with interesting articles and reviews but have recently felt this mix has been too eclectic.  So I have decided to concentrate on regular weekly updates on the projects I am working on.




Future Direction for MacLean Photographic
In November I obtained a DJI Mavic Pro drone to evaluate the possibility of using a drone to produce some promo videos to promote the MacLean Photographic workshops.  This has been very successful and given the promo videos an extra edge. 

In May I have upgraded the Mavic Pro to a larger DJI Phantom 4 Pro and I have booked a CAA approved Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) course which will allow me to sell my services as a drone pilot and also the images / video from the drone.

One of the features I will write in the near future is on this new drone; how I use it for my work at present and how I intend to use it once I am cleared for commercial operations.

I see video production as an important extension of my photographic business and I am quickly learning how to produce quality short films, including attending a WEX Photo and Video Master Class with Jon Scott in Edinburgh recently.  

I will post a review of this course in the near future.




Projects - Motor Sport
I am currently working on several projects, some local and some further afield.  

I have just returned from the 24 Hours of Le Mans where I was working for the FIA as the Media Delegate and also for the ACO as the Photo Delegate for the event.  Le Mans was Round 2 of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship, the first being held at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium at the beginning of May.  The next WEC event is at Silverstone in August.

I am also working on the European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup.  We have had two events for this series at Paul Ricard in France and at Monza in Italy.  

One of the video projects I am conducting in the ELMS is following two drivers throughout the season.  The first driver is reigning LMP3 drivers champion Sean Rayhall from the USA and the second driver is reigning Michelin Le Mans Cup LMP3 drivers champion Jean Glorieux from Belgium.  

This is another area I will focus on in a feature in the near future.




Projects - Rockhopper of Percuel
Since March I have been working on a project where I am following one of the local fishermen in my home town of Dunbar, Barry Brunton of the trawler Rockhopper of Percuel.  I have produced eleven videos to date - four full episodes where Barry describes an aspect of owning and operating a 32 foot fishing boat and seven video 'shorts' on a certain aspect of daily life of a 43 year old boat.

I have also produced a sub website with information on the history of the Rockhopper, a page for the videos, a shop for Rockhopper merchandise and a page for the adventures of 'Rocky', the boats mascot.

CLICK HERE for more on the Rockhopper of Percuel




Projects - Fujifilm Sports Photography as a Spectator series
The final feature of the Sports Photography as a Spectator series was recently published and concluded a series of features on twelve different sports from around the UK.  The sport featured in the final article was cricket and was shot at County Durham's match against Kent at the end of April.

The other sports featured were - rugby, rally, canoe slalom, water skiing, circuit racing, eventing, autograss, mountain bike racing, horse racing, football and ice hockey.

I am now working on other features for Fujifilm and I will post links to these features on the MacLean Photographic blog and social media feeds.

As well as the features, Fujifilm invited me to speak on their at The Photography Show and I have been invited to host a workshop later this year (more details coming soon).

Projects - Fujilove Contributor
I have been asked by Fujilove magazine and website to produce a monthly article on various aspects of using the Fujifilm X Series.  The latest article is on shooting environmental portraits pf people at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  I also wrote an article for the Fujilove magazine and also hosted a webinar on sports photography with another one in the planning stages for later this year.

CLICK HERE to visit the Fujilove website

MacLean Photographic Workshops
This part of my business continues to grow with more people booking a one day course or a two hour Back-to-Basics.  For more information on MacLean Photographic workshops CLICK HERE

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

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Monday, 30 April 2018

Photographing East Lothian: Barns Ness


In a new series of features I will be focusing on some of the areas I take guests of the MacLean Photographic workshops, starting with Barns Ness Lighthouse.

Barns Ness is located a couple of miles to the east of Dunbar.  The area features two sandy beaches, one at White Sands and the other sweeping around the bay to the east of the lighthouse towards Torness Power Station.


The lighthouse was built in the early 1900s, with the light going operational in October 1901.  It was built, like many of the lighthouses in Scotland, by a member of the family of lighthouse engineers, David A Stevenson, cousin to the author Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island).  The lighthouse at Barns Ness was deactivated in 2005.



For more information on MacLean Photographic workshops please visit the MacLean Photographic website HERE





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

If you like what you see on this blog please follow us on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAMTWITTER or FLICKR

Sunday, 29 April 2018

VIDEO: Rockhopper of Percuel Part Two - In Full Control



The second full Rockhopper of Percuel episode has been published on the MacLean Photographic Vimeo channel. In part two Skipper Barry Brunton explains the various controls, dials and screens he has in front of him in the Rockhopper's wheelhouse.

As well as the controls and dials for the engines, he explains the chart plotter and GPS system, the auto pilot, a must for him as he is single handed on the 32 foot fishing boat, and the radios, including the emergency system.

The video was shot on a Fujifilm X-H1, a GoPro Hero 5 Black and the aerial images on a DJI Mavic Pro drone.



The Rockhopper of Percuel has a new web presence with the launch of the Rockhopper pages on the MacLean Photographic website HERE.

The site has all of the Rockhopper videos shot to date, seven in total - two episodes and five 'shorts'.

It also features a new online shop for Rockhopper of Percuel merchandise where you can purchase items such as baseball caps, cotton shopping bags, beanie hats, polo shirts and even your own 'Rocky' mascot.  All of the money raised goes into maintaining the Rockhopper of Percuel.

The new site also includes a short history of the Rockhopper from her launch in 1975 and the early years down in Cornwall under her first owner/skipper Rob Curtiss.

More information and pages will be added as the project progresses throughout 2018.  





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MacLean Photographic runs Photography Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  
CLICK HERE for more details and availability
If you like what you see on this blog please follow us on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAMTWITTER or FLICKR

Saturday, 28 April 2018

REVIEW: Testing the Fujinon XF80mm f2.8 Macro


The XF80mm f2.8 macro was unveiled last year and is the first 1:1 macro lens for the Fujifilm X Series.  With an equivalent 120mm focal length, this lens can double up as a short telephoto / portrait lens as well as magnify small objects.

As someone who does a little bit of macro work I was intrigued to see if the 80mm was a better option than the 90mm f2 Fujinon prime which I use with extenders to allow me to shoot macro shots. There is a cost factor here as well.  The 90mm f2 is £879 compared to £1249 for the 80mm on the Fujifilm UK online shop, so does the 80mm justify the extra £370?  I suppose it depends on the amount of macro work you do.

There are two obvious advantages that the 80mm has.  First it has OIS, the first XF prime to have this, and it can also accept the 1.4x and 2x converters, also the first prime lens to do this after the 50-140mm and 100-400mm zooms.

As a portrait lens the 80mm is fantastic, but it isn't an f2 and this is where the 90mm shines for me.  I use my 90mm wide open in the pitlane and in the paddock fro that beautiful shallow depth of field when shooting portraits of the drivers and candids of the teams as they work on their cars.  The f2.8 of the 80mm also gives a very nice shallow depth of field with nice Bokeh but it just isn't an f2.  This might be me being really picky but I know what I like. 


The close focusing ability of the 80mm does have it's advantages for portraits but for me the 90mm is still my favoured option.

While quick to focus, the AF on the 80mm didn't feel as snappy as the 90mm either when shooting portraits. Having said that the shot above was taken through the window of the car and the 80mm went straight to the drivers face and the AF wasn't fooled by the reflections in the glass window.

The switch on the side of the lens does allow you the ability to use AF when shooting macro or closer to objects but I found it rather hit and miss so I would revert back to my standard way of doing things when shooting macro and that is selecting MF. I have found using focus peaking on the X-Series to be the best way to focus accurately with such shallow depths of field.  


For macro work the 80mm has the advantage here - obviously.  The 90mm with extenders can produce a close focus image but it certainly isn't as close as you can achieve with the 80mm.  However for me who rarely does any macro work the extenders can be used on other lenses as well, such as the 35mm f1.4, and this does give me almost 1:1, so again it comes down to cost.


All in all the 80mm f2.8 is a stunning lens, but then it is an XF Fujinon lens, so you would expect it to be.  

For my work I can't justify £370 extra for a lens that I would rarely use in its primary function, as a macro lens when I already own the 90mm f2.  While the 80mm is a great portrait lens, it can't beat the quality of the images produced by 90mm with it's f2 maximum aperture, but it is certainly close.

If you don't own the 90mm f2 and are looking for a portrait / macro lens, then I can highly recommend the 80mm f2.8.  

CLICK HERE for more information on the Fujinon XF80mm f2.8R LM OIS WR Macro 

CLICK HERE for more information on the Fujinon XF90mm f2R LM WR











All images shot on a Fujifilm X-H1 and the XF80mm f2.8R LM OIS WR
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MacLean Photographic runs Photography Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  
CLICK HERE for more details and availability
If you like what you see on this blog please follow us on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAMTWITTER or FLICKR

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

VIDEO: Lochindorb Castle Floating in the Clouds


Just off the B9007 between Forres and Carrbridge in the Highlands of Scotland is the little known ruin of Lochindorb Castle.    Lochindorb means 'Loch of Trouble' and the 13th century castle was built by the Clan Cromyn on a man made island in the centre of the loch.

On a recent visit to Forres I decided to stop off at Lochindorb to scout out the location for a future visit.  The wind had dropped completely and the loch was like a mirror, with the dark peaty water water perfectly reflecting the broken clouds above.

I launched the DJI Mavic Pro to get some aerial footage around the castle as the only other way to approach the ruin is by boat.  The scene below the drone's camera was very etherial and I carried out a 15 minute flight to capture several angles and a few still images before landing the drone on the shore. 

Being low down, and with only one angle from where I was flying the drone, I decided not to shoot still images with the Fujifilm X Series in my bag but have decided to go back later in the year, probably around dawn to get the sunrise on the loch.




History of Lochindorb Castle (Canmore.org.uk) 
Lochindorb was a stronghold of the Comyns Lords of Badenoch and was captured by Edward I in 1303 and again by his son, who strengthened it, a few years later. From 1372 it was occupied by 'The Wolf of Badenoch', Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, who died in 1394 [1405 has also been suggested as his date of death]. It was ordered, by royal mandate, to be destroyed in 1458, having been fortified against the king, but the walls still stand to almost full height.

The Statistical Account (OSA, 1793) quotes local opinion as saying that the castle is built on an artificial island - apparently confirmed by the appearance of great rafts, or planks of oak, by the beating of the water against the old walls.


The castle is first recorded during the Wars of Independence when Sir John ('the Black') Comyn died there in 1300. By 1455 the castle was in the hands of Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray, The next year, after Douglas's defeat and death at Arkinholm, Lochindorb was again forfeited to the Crown and this time ordered to be slighted, the work of dismantling its defences being entrusted to the Thane of Cawdor. Since then, it has been left as a ruin.

CLICK HERE for more information on the history of Lochindorb Castle on Canmore.org.uk 


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

If you like what you see on this blog please follow us on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAMTWITTER or FLICKR

Sunday, 11 March 2018

VIDEO: Rockhopper of Percuel Part One: A TYPICAL DAY

Sunrise in the North Sea - Fujifilm X-H1 + XF10-24mm f4
After the first teaser video for the new series of features on the Rockhopper of Percuel, a fishing boat working out of Dunbar Harbour was posted last week, I have put the final touches to the first part of the series.  This is a three minute video entitled 'A Typical Day'.


I went out on Friday with skipper Barry Brunton to film a typical day onboard the Rockhopper.  I was filming and photographing using two Fujifilm X-H1s and two GoPro Hero 5 cameras.

The day started at 5:30am and we headed out just as the light was breaking on the horizon.  We are treated to a fabulous sunrise as Barry deployed the net for the first tow of the day.

At 10am the net was brought back in but the tide and the wind had shifted meaning the sea had started to get a bit choppy.  Barry decided that it was a bit risky doing a second tow in the 32 foot Rockhopper and he decided to head back to Dunbar Harbour with a small catch of prawns.

The next video in the series will be posted next month in April.  

CLICK HERE for more videos on the MacLean Photographic VIMEO Channel

CLICK HERE to visit the Rockhopper of Percuel Facebook page


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

If you like what you see on this blog please follow us on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAMTWITTER or FLICKR