My wife and I have recently returned from our latest trip to Mexico. We went down with some friends and had a great time together. My basic camera kit came along for the trip as well.
In order to try and pack somewhat light, I brought along the X-Pro2, Rokinon 12mm, Fuji 18-55mm, 23mm f/2 and 35mm f/1.4. While this may seem like a lot, the kit is very compact and rather lightweight all together. The kit, along with a Surface Pro 4, accessories, Velbon Ultra Maxi tripod and other stuff all fit into my backpack as my carry on personal item on the plane. This kit let me shoot essentially everything I needed. Long exposures on the beach at night were no issue and the 18-55mm served well during the day on the beach to prevent changing lenses most often.
My daughter and I had the day off today so we went out for a hike together. She wanted to bring a camera so I let her use my backup with a small prime lens. We loved being out together and exploring in the woods.
Since coming home from Panama, there hasn’t been much time for photography around my house. Between work and other things, the camera has mostly stayed in the bag. Once in a while I pulled it out for some quick portrait sessions. With a few new babies in the extended family, I had some extra work.
Today was a chance to get out with some friends and hang out at the drag strip where some raced their cars. Since I don’t own anything fast, I brought my camera.
Just when I think I’m all clear of anyone asking me to shoot a wedding, I get blindsided by a request from good friends that I just can’t turn down. This request was made about a year ago though, so I had time to forget about it until a few weeks before. Then the bag of bricks hit me and I realized what I had gotten myself into. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my hobby of photography, so I can see many mistakes I made, but overall, I’m fairly happy with what I was able to turn out. Certainly no pro, but I don’t pretend to be one.
Prior to this, I’ve done two weddings for friends and family, but in both cases, the ceremonies were outside and I had free reign to go where I pleased and use a flash as I saw fit. This time was a bit more stressful as the ceremony was in a big old church and flash was not permitted during the ceremony. The light sources were a mix of tungsten, LED and daylight coming in through stained glass. Trying to adjust white balance on that was a bit challenging. I also had to stay behind the congregation or be in the door frame of a little side room next to the altar. To get from the rear of the Church to the little room, I had to exit a back side door, run down the alley and enter the room through another side door. Never a dull moment.
I don’t have the f/2.8 zooms that a wedding shooter should, so I was forced to use the Fuji 55-200mm for much of the ceremony shots because I was so far back. It performed better than I expected and didn’t let me down. The high ISO and IS worked quite well.
After the ceremony, there was a long list of family portraits to take in the Church. I quickly set up 2 light stands with a speedlight each firing through 43″ umbrella’s. Triggering was done via old Cactus V4 units and worked quite well. Trying to position people so they wouldn’t be shadowed was the toughest challenged, as some shots had over 20 people.
The fun part for me came in the reception. Walking about with my camera and just getting the fun shots was a really good time. The one thing that bothered me with the Fuji X-T1 was the autofocus in the dark during the dancing was very hit or miss. I ended up setting the camera to manual and just zone focusing to make sure I got the shots when I wanted. I’m really hoping that firmware 4.0 for the X-T1 will resolve some of the low light lag in focusing. Other than that, the camera and lenses performed beautifully. I had a Meiki battery grip on the camera and was able to replace batteries in that and keep the camera battery charged in case of emergency. I did fill up most of the SD card space (8GB x 3 and a lone 32GB card). I burned through 4 sets of rechargeable batteries in my flash and was on my emergency alkaline set while a set of AA’s were on a wall charger. So, thinking ahead on if I ever do this again, I need more storage and more battery power for the flash, not to mention a backup camera.
In the end, the bride/groom are very happy and thankful with everything I’ve shown them. I’m really blessed that I was able to give them these memories that they will have forever. Best of all, we’re still friends, so I’ll call that a win.