One of the purposes of this blog is for me to regularly post pictures I’ve taken and write about them. Hopefully, these will be informative, but largely it’s intended as a learning process for me, to encourage me to take more and better pictures, but also to think about what works in an image and what I find challenging. So with that in mind, here’s the first one.
I’ve been trying some third party manual focus lenses on the Fuji X-T2. I recently purchased a Laowa ultra-wide 9mm f2.8 lens from Venus Optics, after reading a few reviews, including this one by Jonas Rask, who seems to have been able to get some pretty enviable images with this lens. The Laowa 9mm is a quite inexpensive wide angle option. It seems solidly built and is tiny, which makes it really convenient to take around. It also comes with three handy filters, a UV, a circular polariser and what I think is a 10-stop neutral density filter that I have yet to try. This is a manual lens, which I don’t find to be a problem, particularly using focus peaking on the camera, and being a wide angle it’s pretty easy to get a large part of the frame in focus even at f2.8.
The image above is the lotus-shaped Art Science Museum in Singapore, located in the marina area next to the shopping mall at the Marina Bay Sands. I took this with the Laowa 9mm lens and circular polariser, which came in useful as it was the middle of the day. This helped create a nice glow around the museum building, which I quite like, though you can also see the harsh lighting on the water lillies, which I like less. There’s also quite a bit of lens distortion, as you can see from the slanted trees and buildings. Some people would correct this, but I kind of like it, as I feel it’s part of the process of shooting wide angle and it serves as a reminder of what lens I used. Correcting it would also require shooting with some empty space around the frame to allow for some cropping in post-processing, which would have meant composing the shot differently. This is one of the major challenges with this lens. I haven’t shot much with wide angle lenses, and this lens is so wide that composing a shot is difficult. The subject is much smaller in the frame than I’m used to and you really need a strong foreground to make a compelling photo. The walls of the pond that houses the water lillies make for interesting diagonals that I had intended to use as leading lines, but the angle wasn’t quite right so I left these out and tried to use the flowers as a leading foreground instead. The low viewpoint makes the museum structure more dramatic I think.
Because there are no connector pins on the lens, there’s no metadata communicated to the camera, and I don’t keep track of aperture settings, but this was probably taken at around f11-f13. There’s a slight purple colour cast in the sky – I’m not sure if that’s from the filter or the reflection in the glass wall on the right. I could probably have corrected it, but it kind of goes with the flowers so I left it in.
So what do you think? An interesting shot? Does it suck? Could it be improved? Feel free to comment, preferably nicely.