Seasons of Mist and Mellow Fujiness

Photos taken with the X-Pro1 and 18mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2 lenses.

It sure is wet in the UK. In fact this mild winter has seen a seemingly endless parade of heavy showers crawling over the face of these isles, lingering especially in the North of England. But you can't stay inside warm and dry all the time or you begin to get cabin fever. So myself and my friend Potter (and Otto the dog) wandered up into the cloud soaked Welsh hills of Monmouthshire to savour the stunning twenty-foot views afforded by the mist-wrapped Sugar Loaf mountain. We may not have found any stunning vistas, but there was at least some beautiful soft light to be had for portraits and mood pieces...

It was also a happy outing for the good old Fujifilm X-Pro1. I had to admit, I'd been neglecting it a little of late in favour of the faster focusing X-E2, which has the irresistible Classic Chrome simulation. But when the upcoming X-Pro2 was announced back on the 15th of January, I began to get a hankering to go back and start playing with its predecessor a bit more. Its form factor and layout is very pleasant to handle after all, and that first generation X-Trans sensor does still deliver beautiful images - even if it is a little long in the tooth in camera terms. So after a delicious breakfast of Eggs Benedict at Deli Rouge in Cardiff, we drove up to them thar hills with few illusions as to returning dry and sane. And despite the chill, cloying damp and slippery muddy path, I felt no fears for my camera. It may not be weatherproof like its new imminently released incarnation, but it's still a rugged little beast. My only fears revolved around getting hopelessly lost in the endless mist...

Okay, so the hike might look somewhat numbingly wretched with all that chilly, cloying fog but I really did find it a pleasure with a solid pair of hiking boots to hand, a hip-flask of emergency single-malt whiskey and that pair of lovely red woollen gloves my sister had bought me for Christmas. I just really enjoyed the way the flat light brought out all that texture and detail, and how the saturated foliage from the heavy blanket of mist pumped up the earthy colours and tones of the leaves and bark and hummocky grass. The fashion-favourite Pro-Neg Hi film simulation setting really worked those greens and gave the vegetation some nice micro-contrast, without the overpowering intensity and saturation that the usual landscape photography choice of Velvia might have imposed. Being out and about on an early Sunday afternoon instead of lolly-gagging around the house in my jim-jams also reminded me of how you have to force yourself out of the house, whatever the weather. Because it's all too easy to write off an expedition at the first sign of drizzle and miss out on making images whilst you devour a box-set of Columbo, or something. I feel I've been neglectful in getting out and exploring this last year, and I aim to fix that this year by trying to make a trip some-place every weekend, even if it's just for a few hours and a few miles away.   

Here's to a happy new year for all my readers, and best of luck to the photographers among you for twenty-sixteen in wrestling great images out of the jaws of seemingly endless miserable weather. Er, or something.  But if it does keep up like this, that weather-proofing on the new X-Pro2 is going to start looking mighty tempting. 

P.S: Profound apologies for the title pun.