30 Days with the Fuji X-Pro3: Day 1

It’s been over two years since my last “30 Days with…” challenge, and I’ve finally stifled my insatiable camera gear ADD for long enough to embark on another one. This time I’ll be shooting with the divisive Fuji X-Pro3…

I’ll talk more about this camera and why I picked it below, but first some background on this “30 Days with…” concept:

The goals of this project are:

  1. KNOW THY CAMERA. 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.
  2. 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 preponderance 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.
  3. REFLECT ON TOOLS. While embarking on this adventure, I’d love to also provide a real-world review of the Fuji X-Pro3. This is certainly not my top priority and there are already plenty of other wonderful reviews out there. That said, I think there’s something to be said for longitudinal reviews. If I can share my experiences working with the camera almost exclusively for a month I might be able to offer a unique perspective. As was the case with all of my other “30 Days with…” projects, my hope is that this perspective will help supplement other reviews for those trying to decide whether to pull the trigger on this particular photographic tool. While it’s quite likely that I’ll be gushing about how excellent the X-Pro3 is at various points throughout the next 30 days, I already know that I’ll be sharing some frustrations as well. My hope is that this honesty will prompt readers to consider the impact of limiting one’s gear options and just making art with what you already have.

Rules

  • For the next 30 days, I will post one picture per day that was taken with the Fuji X-Pro3.
  • While I must post a picture every day, it doesn’t have to be taken on the same day that it was shared. I don’t have the time or the skill guaranteed to produce a share-worthy image every day, unfortunately.
  • While I may post pictures from prior shootings within the 30 days, I cannot post a picture over a week old (though I did give myself a week head start on shooting for this project). 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.

Ok, enough background…back to the camera! I pre-ordered the X-Pro3 almost immediately after it was announced (the delay was simply a matter of trying to decide which version to get — I settled on the Dura Silver/raw titanium model) and got my hands on it just after the start of the year. Little did I know what 2020 had in store for my new camera and me…

It’s probably just the COVID time vortex, but it feels like I’ve had this camera for much longer than a year. It felt natural and intuitive to shoot with right away, and even though I haven’t shot as much in 2020 as I’d hoped to it seems like the X-Pro3 has been with me every step of the way. I’ve hardly shot any film this year, and without a capital-s Subject to shoot for most of the year my Fuji GFX 50R feels like overkill. That left my X100F and my X-Pro3 for those everyday shots…and I found that I’d simply much rather to shoot with the X-Pro3. So it’s been hanging around within arms reach all year, and it’s been my primary tool for a COVID documentary personal project that I’m hoping to wrap up this winter. Even though most of 2020 has felt like I’m stuck in neutral, this camera and I have been through a lot together.

I’ll be talking a lot more about the camera over the coming 30 days, and while I’ll most likely talk about its technical features I want to underscore that it is not first and foremost a technical camera. It’s more about emotion, nostalgia, and the moment than it is about megapixels or continuous autofocus. So it’s in that spirit that I picked this first image for the 30 Days with the Fuji X-Pro3. 2020 has been a beast of a year, but out of the chaos and depression have come some heartwarming moments of positivity. Near the top of my list is Doggface’s viral morning vibe. Thanks, Stevie and Doggface…2020 hasn’t been all bad… 🙂

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