It’s been almost a year since my 30 Days with the Fuji 35mm f2 project. For 30 days, I shot with nothing other than my brand-new 35mm f2 on my Fuji X-T1. I was in the process of switching from a Canon system to a Fuji system at the time and was feeling overwhelmed by my gear. I had a full-fledged Canon system that could do just about anything and I was simultaneously building a Fuji system. The result was a paralysis of options. To rebel against this, I took a minimalist gear approach to photography for a month, using the acquisition of a new lens as an excuse. A side benefit of this project was that I got to know my 35mm f2 lens extremely well, and it’s been a favorite lens of mine ever since.
Yesterday, I received another piece of excellent Fuji gear: the much-anticipated X-T2. I sold my X-T1 after using it to shoot my sister’s wedding earlier in the summer and have been predominantly shooting film ever since. The goal was never to transition to a full-time film photographer, though. I was simply experimenting with another area of the photography world while waiting for the release of the X-T2. Now that it’s arrived, I’d like to celebrate with another 30 Days project!
This project will be very similar to the 35mm f2 project: For the next 30 days, I will post one image per day taken with my brand new Fuji X-T2, and I will not take or post any images with a different camera.
The goals of this project are:
- KNOW THY CAMERA. Ken Rockwell says “the camera’s only job is to get out of the way of making photographs.” Ideally, I want to be able to focus on the art I’m creating without getting distracted by the tools I’m using. The only way to get to that point, paradoxically, is to focus very intensely on the tools. You have to practice with your gear over and over until changing the settings is second nature. Only then can you focus exclusively on the art without getting distracted by the tools. This 30 Days project will give me plenty of practice with my new camera and give me a head start on achieving this second nature status. Fortunately, the X-T2 is very similar to the X-T1, which I shot for over a year. There are enough new aspects (new sensor, new menus, slightly different dials, new film simulations, etc.) to warrant some practice, though.
- FOCUS ON JUST ONE BRICK. This project will initiate creativity in my photography. Sometimes giving yourself boundaries can unleash creative potential that is otherwise hidden by the avalanche of possibilities. “Should I grab this lens or that lens? Should I take both camera bodies? What about a tripod?” And so forth. These decisions can lead to a mental fatigue that may end up resulting in not taking ANY pictures (it’s too much effort just to think about it…). For this project, these decisions will largely be eliminated, as they have been predetermined from the start. All that’s left is to take pictures! Furthermore, the enforced consistency of shooting and posting every day will force me to create even when I don’t initially feel inspired to create. This may seem like I’m forcing things, but in reality we often need to work our way into inspiration rather than wait passively or inspiration to arrive. Sometimes the days, weeks, years, and even lives pass by before the inspiration visits.
- PROMOTE ART. While embarking on this adventure, I’d love to also provide a real-world review of the X-T2. This is certainly not my top priority and there are already plenty of other wonderful reviews out there (with more to come, no doubt). That said, I think there’s something to be said for longitudinal reviews. If I can share my experiences learning about the camera while I’m learning about the camera, I might be able to offer a unique perspective. As was the case with the 35mm f2, my hope is that this perspective will help supplement other reviews for those trying to decide whether to pull the trigger. While it’s quite likely that I’ll be gushing about how excellent the X-T2 is at various points throughout the next 30 days, my hope is that readers will also consider the impact of limiting one’s gear options and just making art with what you already have.
- I will post one picture per day that was taken with the Fuji X-T2. There are no lens restrictions.
- While I must post a picture every day, I don’t necessarily need to take a picture every day. Unfortunately, shooting every day is not feasible, as I have a full time job and wouldn’t be able to fit every day shooting into my schedule.
- While I may post pictures from prior shootings within the 30 days, I cannot post a picture over a week old. This prevents the situation of shooting a bunch in the first couple days and then not shooting any more and just posting images from the first couple shoots. This behavior wouldn’t live into the spirit of the project.
- I will not take a picture with any other camera during this time period, nor will I post a picture from any other camera. Not even iPhone snapshots! I want to be extremely strict on this rule so that i’m forced to take this camera with me pretty much everywhere.
Before heading out for an evening photo walk, I’ll leave you with one of the first images I took with the X-T2. I went on a photo walk this morning in the brisk autumn air and snapped this shot on the sidewalk in front of my apartment building. I was using the new Acros film simulation with a red filter (more on this setting in future posts), and the file posted here is a straight out of camera JPEG (no post-processing was done on my part).
Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll enjoy the next 30 days of (over?) sharing images from this delightful new piece of Fuji gear! If you have any questions for me about the camera (or anything, really), let me know in the comments section below. 🙂