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Picktorial 3 – NEW Fujifilm X Pack Film Presets!

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Photography NEWS! A Happy Day For Fuji Users…

Picktorial just released a new set of camera profiles called The Picktorial X-Pack of film simulations for Picktorial 3. It has film presets galore, and it supports Fuji RAF files. They sent me a copy of the X-Pack to test out a few days ago, and they are a lot of fun to play around with on all different kinds of photos. In my opinion, the X -Pack set of film simulations is the perfect “one-stop-shop” for photographers that want to get quick content published on social media. Checkout the official Picktorial X-Pack Release Page HERE if you want to learn more and purchase the X-Pack. Also, if you don’t own Picktorial already, they gave me a crazy discount for all of YOU that will get you 45% off of the Picktorial/X-Pack bundle. CLICK HERE to receive the discount.

A lot of people prefer a very minimalist editing workflow when it comes to getting quick content published for social media, and I think that the X-Pack film simulations are going to be fantastic for that type of workflow. All Fuji users will love that another RAW processing software now offers Fuji-specific film simulations for RAF files, especially since Picktorial seems to render Fuji RAF files just as good as ON1 and Capture ONE.

Scout’s Honor…

Now, you all know that I am an honest reviewer and don’t let companies buy my endorsement. I was not paid to use Picktorial software or to write this review about the X-Pack, but they did give me a free copy in order for me to let all of  YOU know how I like it. So, I love that Picktorial is innovating and pushing themselves to be bigger and better, and I can say with 100% honesty that the X-Pack films simulations work perfectly. How often would I use them? A lot of you know that I mainly use RAW processors for 10% of my photo and then spend an hour or so in Photoshop working on the other 90%. Here’s what I will say about me using the X-Pack: I take a lot of behind the scenes photos of me in the field, photo gear that I am reviewing, quick documentary stuff for location referencing, etc. Those are the photos I will be using the X-Pack for because I typically don’t devote a lot of time to post processing behind the scenes/blog photos. The X-Pack in my opinion is a perfect representation of the film presets from Fuji that we have all come to love, so why wouldn’t I just want to click one button inside of Picktorial to give me that look? 

Please keep in mind that I am just being honest and letting you know what I will be using the X-Pack for. YOU can use it however you like and in any situation you like. Making our own creative decisions is what makes us all unique artists in our own special way. However, let’s go ahead and get past the question that I know will come up the most…”Eric, since you said you’re only using the X-Pack for behind the scenes photos and social media stuff, does that mean you think that the film simulations aren’t good enough for professional editing or printing?” Like I said, I think the X-Pack is a perfect representation of the film simulations by Fujifilm, and if the “film look” is what you want, the X-Pack will surely deliver for print, social media, landscapes, wedding photography edits, and any other type of photography you want. You can see my super quick demo video and photo examples below…

Picktorial Standard Profile:Picktorial X-Pack Velvia/VIVID:Picktorial X-Pack ACROS:

My Thoughts On Picktorial As A Company…

If you follow my YouTube channel, you know that I am always on the lookout for good RAW processing software options. I gave Picktorial 3 quite a good review when it first launched a few months ago, and I have been watching the company ever since then to see how they were going to innovate and compete with the other giants in the market.

Well, Picktorial have been doing things right in my opinion. I get approached by a lot of companies every week asking me to try their products, but I only say “yes” to the companies that I really believe have a solid vision that will better the photography industry. I can tell you from having a direct connection inside of Picktorial that they love hearing from their customers. They realize that Picktorial isn’t just a group of software engineers or a corporate team. Picktorial is the customers and photography community that give Picktorial a purpose to exist. All I can say is that it’s rare to find that mentality these days, and those are the only kinds of companies that I agree to work with for reviews and collaborations.


 

Two Underrated Fujifilm Lenses – Download The RAW Files

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Does Fujifilm even Make A “bad” Lens?

If you’ve been in or around the photography industry, you KNOW that glass is always more important than camera bodies. When the time comes to choose what camera brand you want, researching that brand’s lens lineup is very important. I did that before I chose to shoot with Fujifilm X bodies, and I had to look over the entire internet to find a blog or forum that had negative things to say about Fuji lenses.

It’s simple, Fujifilm has a killer lens lineup, and the value for your money is wonderful. As with any camera company, there are certain pieces of gear that are underrated or not as appreciated as they should be. I’m sure everyone has a different opinion on what those underrated pieces of gear might be, but I want to specifically talk about two Fuji lenses that are often overlooked and underrated.

You can watch my video below to hear my full opinion on these lenses, but it seems that quite a few people overlook the 18-55 f/2.8-4 OIS Kit Lens and the 55-200 f/2.5-4.8 OIS telephoto. Typically, the alternative choices to those lenses are the 16-55 f/2.8 and the 50-140 f/2.8. Let’s just go ahead and get something out of the way, the 16-55 and the 50-140 are absolutely fantastic lenses, but they cost more money, take up more room in your bag, and weigh quite a bit more than the 18-55 and 55-200 lenses. The question is, are those lenses worth the extra money to YOU? It really comes down to knowing what you need out of your lenses for your genre of photography. the point I am trying to make is that going with the 18-55 and 55-200 is not a “bad” alternative. It’s simply a different alternative that might work better for your style of shooting. In the end, all four of these lenses will give you fantastic images!

Don’t Just Take My Word For It…

In order for this blog post to provide true value for you, I’m allowing you to download a few of my Fuji X-T2 RAW files from the 18-55 and 55-200 so you can check the out-of-camera quality when paired with the X-T2. Do as much testing and pixel peeping as you want! Just click the button below to get access to the RAW files.


 

Exploring The Gulf Coast With The Fujifilm X-T2

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A Day Of Landscape Photography…

While I was on holiday with my family near Rosemary Beach, Florida, my dad and I took a day to explore the coast in search of great seafood and photography. We found both!

The best tips I can give you for shooting in the mid-day sun is to look for high-contrast scenes where the natural shadows make interesting compositions, and you will also want to take a really powerful ND filter to add interest to water and clouds. You will notice in the VLOG and photos below that I used the high-contrast light AND a 9 stop ND filter for almost every photo I captured. Always take advantage of the creative tools in your camera bag, and if you don’t own filter already, feel free to watch my video where I tell you all about my favorite filters for landscape photography. Also, the filter company even gave me a discount code that allows my viewers to get 10% OFF of all of their products. All of the info is in the video.

Take Care Of Your Gear…

In closing, make sure you really think about which bag you’re using in the field when you’re around a ton of sand and salt water like I was. Sand and salt water can ruin gear so fast! I highly recommend two bags for these situations, and you can watch my video reviews of them HERE: MindShift Gear Rotation 180 Pro Backpack Review | LowePro Whistler 450 AW Backpack Review

Below, you can see the photos and VLOG from my day of landscape photography on the gulf coast...

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8 | Polarizer And 9 Stop ND Filter

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8 | Polarizer And 9 Stop ND Filter

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8 | Polarizer And 9 Stop ND Filter

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8 | Polarizer Only

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8 | Exposure Blend


 

 

How To Prep Your Photos For Printing – Fuji X-T2 20×30 Print

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My Prepping Workflow…

Printing my work is one of my absolute favorite ways to showcase my photographs. There is just something special about seeing my work as a physical object that I can hang in my office. I appreciate it in a different way, and I really hope this blog post inspires all of you to start printing more as well.

Before you watch my step-by-step video, please know that everyone has a slightly different workflow of prepping their photos for print, so everything I am showing you is what works really great for me. If you would like to tweak my process or remove/add a step, feel free to create your own way that works well for you.

The biggest issue that people have when sending their digital files off for print is receiving a print that looks completely different from the digital file that it was printed from. For example, the vibrant and contrasty colors on a digital sunset photo may look awesome on a computer display, but they could be completely flat and lifeless on print.

Our computer displays need to be properly color calibrated to make sure that our computers and printers are reading the same color profile. There are quite a few ways you can improve your post processing experience in order for proper color, contrast, and sharpness to give your prints that extra “pop” that will make the sell. Check out my videos below…

Step-By-Step Video For Print Prepping…

The Prepped Digital Image…

The Final Result – Fuji X-T2 20×30 Print…

Don’t Awaken The Darkness

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Weekend Trip To The Mountains…

We spent the weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains at a beautiful cabin right at the top. The cabin had an amazing wrap around porch with a great overlook, so it wasn’t hard to find a location to continue testing out the Fuji X-T2. Here is a short video I made that gives you a quick tour of the cabin…

NEW PHOTO – “Don’t Awaken The Darkness”

We arrived at the cabin about an hour before sunset, and that is when I noticed that the porch and overlook were at the perfect position for a sunset photo. As time went by, the sky set fire to some of the most vibrant red tones I have ever seen, and the sensor of the X-T2 rendered the reds brilliantly!


 

Disney Day 6(Last Day): Reflections In Magic Kingdom And A Creepy Ending At The Haunted Mansion

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The Best Day Of  The Week…

After walking around the Disney parks for a week and trying to manage the late nights with early mornings, it was so nice to have a relaxing day with no reservations or plans of any kind. Since today was our last day, we all decided that we wanted to spend the day in Magic Kingdom taking photos of the kids, watching the parades, and just walking around slowly to enjoy all of the architectural details that Disney has to offer. 

I’m glad that I ended up packing all of my Fuji lenses for this trip because I was able to see which lenses I used the most. My two most-used lenses all week were definitely the Fuji 18-55 f/2.8-4 kit lens and the Fuji 35 f/2 prime lens. I used the Fuji 55-200 telephoto lens a fair bit as well for the parades and wildlife, but the other two lenses lived on my X-T2 most of the week. The 18-55 with it’s incredible OIS, covered most of my architecture and low light photos, while the 35mm f/2 covered the family photos and Disney character portraits. Now I know for the future that those three lenses are my must-have camera kit for travel. If you’re interested in seeing the entire Fuji kit that I took to Disney, you can watch that video HERE.

Night Time And Rain In Magic Kingdom With A Haunted Ending…

If you have been to Disney before, you know how magical everything becomes at night. Almost every square inch of the park is lit up, the weather cools off, and most the crowds start to leave park. Lucky for us, we have been staying on Disney property all week so we took advantage of the Disney “Magic Hours” from 10pm t0 12am. The “Magic Hours” allowed us to stay in the park two hours later than regular guests, and that is typically when I capture all of the long exposure Disney photos that you see in my portfolio.

Not long after nightfall, it started raining pretty hard, but we were ok with that since we knew it would clear the park of even more people. Pro tip: When it rains in Disney, 90% of the people think they’re going to melt if they get wet, so that means you get the park to yourself. While it was raining, we walked around in all of the cool shops on Main Street in Magic Kingdom, and I got to capture a really cool photo of a professional glass blower who was working on a new piece for the store’s collection. I really like the way his photo turned out! I have always believed that everything happens for reason, and had it not rained that night, we would have never gone inside that little shop, and I would have never captured that photo. Pretty cool 🙂

After we shopped around in the stores and purchased some good ole Disney merchandise, we noticed that the hard rain had turned into a light sprinkle, and there were no humans to be seen in any direction! It can be a little weird walking down Main Street in the busiest theme park in the world with no people in sight, but that is exactly how I like it. Most people just don’t take the time to wait out the crowds…

It was a very enjoyable night being able to ride all of our favorite rides with no wait times or people… Well, until my friend Joseph and I asked the wives if we could ride The Haunted Mansion on our way out of the park…big mistake  😯 . We were making our way to the front of the park so we could head back to the hotel, and as we were walking by the rides and stores, the lights were blacking out one-by one. It was a little creepy since we were the only ones left in the park, but we just assumed that they were closing things up since it was a little after midnight at that point. We also figured that The Haunted Mansion would probably be closed since everything else was closing as we walked by.

Well, as we approached The Haunted Mansion, we saw one single cast member standing outside the line waiting for people to come in. Of course, Joseph and I walked up to ask her if it was still open, and the lady didn’t say one word. She just starred at us with a straight face and pointed towards the ride. We were already a little creeped out at that point, but we assumed that her pointing meant that we could go through the line. If you have never ridden The Haunted Mansion before, you won’t know what I am talking about, but before you actually get on the ride, they take you into a pretty big room where they act out a short little skit that is supposed to be playful and scary at the same time. It’s fun to watch people get a little freaked out before getting on the ride, but I have the entire skit memorized because I have been riding The Haunted Mansion since I was a little kid. I also know that every time I have ever ridden  The Haunted Mansion during magic hours, they skip the little skit and let you get right on the ride. Naturally, I assumed they would do the same in this situation since it was literally just me and Joseph. I was wrong… One of the cast members took us into the big room, a shorter version of the skit played throughout the speakers, all of the doors around us shut, and then BOOM…the lights went out. Before the light went out, we were the only two people in that big room. BOOM! The lights came back on, and there were two girls dressed as creepy maids that randomly appeared about 6 inches away from our faces. We literally felt their breath…

After that insanely creepy moment, those two girls opened the door that lead to the ride, and we finally got on. Even more creepy things happened while we were on the ride, but that is a story for a different day. It’s really late and I still have to pack up my stuff and get some sleep since we’re leaving to go home in about 7 hours(yikes). Thank you all for following the blog all week and going on this Disney adventure with me and my family! Just promise me you’ll think twice before rinding The Haunted Mansion after hours.

Enjoy viewing all of my best photos from our last day…

Fuji X-T2 | 35mm f/2 WR | This is one of Disney’s awesome cast members in the “circus” section of Magic Kingdom. This guy’s face had such a unique look, so I had to ask him for a photo. Luck for me, he said yes!

Fuji X-T2 | 35mm f/2 WR | This is my beautiful baby girl, Scarlett. My wife and I envisioned this photo before we ever went on this trip, and we made it come to life. This little green patch of AstroTurf is great for photos of the kids with the castle in the background! 

Fuji X-T2 | 35mm f/2 WR | This is the glass blower that I got to photograph when we ran into the shops to escape the rain after sunset. I just love this image!

Fuji X-T2 | 18-55 f/2.8-4 Kit Lens | This is a photo of Magic Kingdom’s classic steamboat. Looking at this scene made me think of the old steamboat Mickey cartoon.

Fuji X-T2 | 35mm f/2 WR | This was the very last photo I took. We were on the way out of the park, it had just started raining again, and I saw those refections just singing my name. Obviously, I had to stop and grab a set of photos even though I got soaked. It was so beautiful!


 

Disney Day 5: Epcot At Golden Hour And German Sausage

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Golden Light, Another Great Sunset, And Snacks…

We all went back to Epcot tonight because…well, Epcot is a whole different world of magic and culture when golden hour hits. The countries all start to turn on lanterns and beautiful lights, the weather gets cooler, and all of the golden light starts reflecting off of the huge man-made lake in the middle of the Epcot World Showcase.

Our wives were looking at all of the souvenirs while Joseph and I were taking photos and drooling over the light hitting the architecture all around us. After walking around a bit and enjoying some family time and photography, the wives wanted to get some snacks. They were talking about ice cream, some kind of French fruit parfait, etc etc. This is where Joseph and I offered to take the kids, part ways from the ladies for a little while, and find some “man snacks” in another country. 

After getting distracted by taking photos of the kids around the park, we finally arrived in Germany at Biergarten to get some homemade sausage and authentic German beer. Typically, I’m not a beer drinker, but when I travel, I love experiencing new things. 

After we all enjoyed our snacks, we met back up with the wives and continued to have a fantastic evening! Family, friends, food, and great photos. Couldn’t ask for a better night! Below, you can see a few of my photos from tonight. Time to get in bed and gear up for tomorrow!

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 18-55 f/2.8-4 | This photo was captured about 45 min before sunset. Everyone else was watching the Chinese dancers preform under this beautiful structure, but I was focused on capturing the golden light and interesting clouds.

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 18-55 f/2.8-4 | The sunset was so good that I had to take a photo even though there wasn’t a great foreground at the time. However, I thought it was a pretty interesting image since I captured two countries and a hotel in one single photograph. Across the lake, you’ll see Morocco on the left, The Swan & Dolphin Resort in the middle, and France on the right.


 

Disney Day 4: Magic Kingdom And Magic Sunset

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Golden Hour Got Funky Fresh…

We spent most of today in Magic Kingdom taking some family photos with the kids and visiting all of the iconic rides. It’s been a fantastic day, but I was a little bummed that the weather was supposed to be gross and cloudy this evening. I knew that it was probably going to ruin my photo opportunities that I had been planning since the beginning of this week.

Well, I am not quite sure how it happened, but the clouds opened up and revealed the most beautiful golden hour I’ve ever seen in Magic Kingdom. I was lucky enough to be facing the perfect direction of sunset when the sky decided to open up, but I had one dilemma…tonight was the one and only night that I didn’t bring my tripod because I thought the weather was going to suck all day and night. I’m an idiot…

Thank God For Fuji OIS Lenses…

My shutter speed at the widest aperture and a moderate ISO was giving me 1/25. That is pretty slow to hand-hold on a windy night with tons of people walking by and running into me. Nonetheless, I was confident enough in the X-T2 and 18-55mm lens to handle high ISO and camera shake for me. I cranked the ISO to 2500, dialed in my shutter speed at 1/60, held my breathe, and started firing off exposures. 

When I captured this a few hours ago, I had no clue that the colors and light were going to show up like this in the RAW file. I am extremely happy with these two photos, and they were both taken with the 18-55mm kit lens. Best kit lens I have ever used!

One single exposure processed with Photoshop and Nik Collection. Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 18-55 f/2.8-4

One single exposure processed with Photoshop and Nik Collection. Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 18-55 f/2.8-4

Who says I can't paint? I converted this photo to a digital oil painting in Photoshop. I am a huge fan of Thomas Kinkade's Disney work. Everyone called him

Who says I can’t paint? I converted this photo to a digital oil painting in Photoshop. I am a huge fan of Thomas Kinkade’s Disney work. Everyone called him “the painter of light.” I thought this photo needed an extra bit of creativity so I came up with this. There are no such thing as rules in the art world 🙂 Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 18-55 f/2.8-4


 

Why Are Fujifilm X Cameras So Special? Fuji XT2 Mini Review

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Ohhh, so THAT Is What Fuji Fanboys Are Talking About…

I am going on three weeks of being a “Fuji Shooter” with my X-T2, and I can say with complete confidence that it has exceeded my expectations. 

I am primarily a landscape/nature photographer and have always used my big Nikon DSLRs. I have been very pleased with my D810 for the past two years, but there are four distinct features that I think sets Fujifilm X cameras apart from the other camera brands I have used.

#1 Light Rendition:

I have no technical explanation for this one. I have used tons of cameras, but the way the Fuji X-trans sensors record light is just magical. There is such a defined and attractive separation between highlight and shadow. I’m Pretty sure that Fuji performs some kind of wizardry on these sensors after Sony sends them over.

This image was taken during golden hour, and I still can’t explain how the sensor magically portrays the separation between the cold blue shadows and the golden highlights kissing the rocks.


#2 High ISO Detail:

This is a big one for me because I do a lot of printing. There many times where I see “the shot” and just have to crank the ISO much higher than normal to capture the moment before it disappears. Usually when this happens while I am shooting with my D810, it’s kind of a general rule that loss of detail and color starts happening around 3200 ISO. For sharing online or any kind of web use, 3200 and up is easily useable on the D810, but printing is entirely different. To my complete surprise, the XT2 files are still useable at 6400 ISO and up for printing. I ordered a 16×24 print from an XT2 TIFF file that was shot at ISO 8000, and it looked freaking phenomenal due to the amount of detail that held together at the higher ISO values on the Fuji XT2. If you would like to see a Fuji vs Nikon ISO comparison I did, you can read that blog post HERE.

This image was taken handheld at 5000 ISO with no noticeable loss of detail at all.

This image was taken handheld at 5000 ISO with no noticeable loss of detail at all.


#3 The Mechanical Dials:

The image quality isn’t the only reason that the XT2 has been an absolute pleasure to shoot with. The handling and ergonomics of this camera simply make it fun to use. My favorite feature about the ergonomics of course are the mechanical dials on top for controlling ISO, shutter speed, metering, and exposure compensation. Not only does it make for a super fast workflow when shooting, but it also adds that beautiful bit of nostalgia as if I’m shooting on an old film camera.


#4 Color Rendition:

Last but not least, the color rendition on that Fuji cranks out of their files are stunning. It really has a look of it’s own that I have not seen before when using any other camera or software plugin. If you make the jump and purchase one of these Fuji X cameras, you will know exactly what I am talking about. Ever since the first few Fujifilm mirrorless cameras started to hit the market a few years ago, I have heard nothing but good things about their natural rendition of “colory” buttery goodness. Now I know why people won’t shut up about it ;-).

This image only had some micro contrast and sharpening applied to it. The colors and perfect exposure are straight out of the camera. It impressed the heck out of me!

This image only had some micro contrast and sharpening applied to it. The colors and exposure are straight out of the camera. It impressed the heck out of me!


Conclusion And Video Going Over These Four Topics…

If you can’t tell, I am really loving this camera so far, but I have obviously found some quirks and cons that I will mention in my full review(coming soon). I will go ahead and put your mind at ease by saying that I haven’t found anything yet that bothered me enough to sell it or return it. I am going on almost a month of not touching my Nikon D810. It might sound weird, but when I get creative and feel like going on a photo adventure, I just naturally pick up my Fuji kit without thinking. It just feels right…

As Always, please let me know in the comments if you have ANY questions at all.

-Eric


 

Fuji X-T2 Landscape Photography VLOG

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Testing The Fuji X-T2

This was my first time bringing the Fuji camera for a day of landscape photography while leaving my Nikon D810 at home, and the X-T2 honestly impressed me way more than I thought it would

I have been shooting on 35mm full frame Nikon cameras for as long as I can remember, and after an entire day of shooting waterfalls, creeks, architecture, and very harsh lighting situations, I honestly forgot everything about what camera I was shooting with. I was just focused on capturing the photos.

There were many great aspects of shooting landscapes with the X-T2, but the best part was the size and weight. I was able to fit my entire day-kit in a messenger bag…that was AWESOME! I did not miss my full frame camera all day, and I am very happy with the images I came away with.

No matter what camera you are shooting with, never let your gear get in the way of taking the photo itself. You can see the VLOG and photos from the trip below:

Fuji X-T2 | 42

Fuji X-T2 | 42″ | f/11 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 1/2000 | f/5.6 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 1/2000 | f/5.6 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 1/400 | f/4 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 1/400 | f/4 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 1/3000 | f/16 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 1/3000 | f/16 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 27

Fuji X-T2 | 27″ | f/8 | ISO 200