Long live XPro1… welcome XPro2

It is that time of year when I don’t do anything about my blog/portfolio/self-promotion… As I did for past 400 days. But being the best Fuji X photographer in Bosnia (I’ll explain this later) bring some responsibility to all three of my readers to say something about what I did in past few hundred days.

Let’s start with frustration…
imageFeeds on my humble  social networking presence are overwhelmed with new Fuji gear, orgasmic reviews and pixel peeping comparisons. And… I like to read them all. To be honest… some of them for several times. And yes… I’m an XPro1 user… there is a new XPro2… and I need one more camera body… aaaaand it would be great to  get my hands on it… aaaaaaaaand no… my incomes are just no match to it…. Too bad, since I believe we would be a great match.

So… I decided to run one more story about how good my current camera is and to cover last year with some shots since I haven’t put even a word on my blog for more then a year. I wrote some initial thoughts on Fuji XPro1 two years ago here.

Confession…

You can call me whatever you like… hobbyist, enthusiast, amateur… Photography is a part of my life for more then a half of it (and I’m 36) so you do the math. Occasionally, I do get some paid jobs or some paid assignments but it is impossible to make a living out of it (I have other job which pays my mortgage, taxes, food, gas, kindergarten, some cigarettes, shoes and clothes from time to time…). Ok, my wife has a job too… ok,…. we have a decent life here but… still… as I said… incomes are insufficient when it comes to gear renewal. Last time I did it, I sold out all of my gear that I had and with  some additional savings I managed to purchase a new camera. Why? Because of the mileage of my previous one, because I wanted something lighter and because I needed something more technologically advanced. So I ended up with Fuji XPro1 and it was love at first sight and it still is.

XPro1 is ok but not on par with industry leaders? 

I was slicing my brains out to find some downsides and to make myself more criticizing about it… but without success. Yes… there are some stuff that DSLR purists will say that are more then a good reason to run away from it… (slow focusing, slow sync speed, precision-less OVF, etc.) but at the end… you just get used to it and start to love all the things that you made together. XPro1 is a great companion in every situation you can imagine yourself. At the time Fuji decided to upgrade their flagship model, you don’t feel cheated as most people do when some new technology comes out. At Fujis, new is good but the old one is still keeping up. This is not a praise to  Japan company (I do believe that they are no different than any other in terms of profitability and moneymaking business). Just want to point out that they did a great job back in 2012. On the other side I do think that models like XM1 or XA1 were unnecessary but hey… I’m not a business expert. I still think XPro1 is on par with most newer models made by competition. I have experience with most of them (Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic…) so my subjective opinion is based on usage and not on web reviews.

How I became THE BEST…

Very simple. You would think that I will probably tell you a story of how hard I was working on building my portfolio, shooting endless assignments, shooting days and nights until my finger cramp… and it is the common story of many of my fellow best photographers around the world, but not in my case.

I just bought the camera no one did in my country… so immediately I became the best X photographer in Bosnia (I’m pretty sure that I’m still the best around here or there are just a few best of us). So… being the BEST here, it gives me the right to ask some sample equipment to test it out from Fuji. Just point me at nearest camera store to pick it up. O wait… there is no camera stores around here. Ok… I’ll talk to your representatives in my country and try to convince them. O shit… yes… you don’t have it here.

My point is that Bosnia is not a market that is interesting not only to Fuji but to many other camera companies. But it would be great at least to have one specialized camera store here where one could go and test some equipment or maybe to rent it and at the end, to buy it. So… all of you dontknowwheretoinvestmymoney people, come to Bosnia, open a camera store and in some short time… you will loose everything, but hey… you’ll have a chance to become THE BEST camera store here ever. 😉

Ok… I lost it a bit. This post could easily become a sobbing confession of how hard life is around here… and how we have crappy politics… and how system of value is distorted and blah, blah,blah….

Enough…

imageOk… enough with story without any point. Long story short… XPro1 is still a great piece of gear. Since I’m in a process of thinking about additional camera body – it would be great to have a new XPro2 as a main camera but hey… I would be pretty much satisfied with another XPro1 body too. Good ergonomics, decent AF speed (no missing shots in 99%), decent high ISO output (at my standards, even ISO6400 is usable in some situations), good weight-shoulder ratio, 16MP sensor can give a print output of 70x55cm easily… do anyone need more?

Let me show you some images I did recently…

Motion

I love slow shutter speeds and how you can create surreal images in some simple and common situations and I noticed that when ever I shoot, no matter what, assignment or personal work… I always do a few slow shutter images.

Featured

If you went through my blog archives , you would notice that my work is often based around theatre. Also, I do follow some extreme sport clubs in region so you could find some xsports features… extreme climbing and uphill cycling. I do also a wedding photography from time to time but rarely. I’m an official photographer for Tourist organization of city of Prijedor since this year.

 

Portraits

I do consider myself a portrait photographer so here are some of the most recent I’m still working on for Prijedor city theater. They asked me to do some formal portraits of ensemble and I did it. But somehow, wasn’t very satisfied with it so I proposed a bit different approach. Idea is to show a theater that is not visible to majority of people. Old depots, hidden tunnels over the main hall, wardrobes, workshops, etc. And all of thatin form of a portrait. So… this is the result

If somehow you made it to this part of my blog post, I hope it was pretty much clear how XPro1 is more then a capable camera. Sports, weddings, documentary,off camera flash… you name it. Essentially, it is not up to camera… It depends on your imagination and preparation. Any camera would be as good as this one only…. you are makeing a relationship with any camera you are using and… I just think that XPro1 is more then any other generic model (no matter if a lot of them are technically superior) on a market. All the benefits combined with negative issues are creating a unique experience upon no one can be left indifferent.  Long live XPro1… welcome XPro2!!!

Classics with a twist

As I already did few times before, occasionally I’m publishing some work I’m doing for Prijedor city theater (I would like to link them but they don’t have a working web site… in 21st century). Sometimes it’s just making photos for archive kind of work and sometimes is something more (like posters, video…).

This time it was complete visual identity (except the scene itself). From main poster, photos for brochure, video material and projections that were used in the play to promo videos and trailers.

Three sisters by A. P. Chekhov directed by Marko Misiraca.

Since this year is the 110th year from Chekhovs death, my idea was to recreate some family photos of him with local actors.

Promo video…

Poster

tri sestre plakat

… and few from the show…

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Veso Arežina – Taekwondo Hall of Fame

Veso is a long time taekwondo fighter and trainer from Prijedor with remarkable results from whole over the world who recently got an information that he is selected for the Taekwondo Hall of Fame in Las Vegas (USA). Ceremony will take place in mid October this year and Veso asked me if I could help him with promotional campaign. So I did a few shots of him and gave him a proposal of billboards. Veso Arežina is first person ever from Bosnia and Herzegovina who got nominated and selected for Hall of Fame.

New portrait, #4 PAINTERS!!! Mirko Sevic

Mirko Šević is a low-profile artist, surrealist… Not a painter by profession but good enough to win Lorenzo il Magnifico Award on a 2011 Florence Bienalle. Also, artist who will present his work on New York on January 2014 in New Art Center.

As it usually happens, Mirko’s work is well known all across the globe, but very few people respect his efforts in his current home town.

I tried to recreate similar atmosphere as on his drawings…

Mirko Sevic

New portrait series. PAINTERS!!!

I’ve been off this blog for a long time and writing and posting again is injecting some strange energy. Main reason I was on stand by is that I became a father, so priorities in my life are drastically changed. Even though I didn’t post anything I was spending a lot of time thinking about this blog, what it became, what should be different, what it is…

I’m aware of fact that this blog is not much concerning a stuff you can read on it. A lot of photos so it could be called a photoblog too but I prefer just a blog, or web site, or sketch book… Also, I know that all those photos are scattered through posts and hard to find. In short – not presentable as a portfolio. So I decided to make it a blog/portfolio site. I’ll try to do it on fly so it is possible that sometimes these pages will be in weird condition but hopefully it will not last too long.

I started a new series of portraits calling it simple: “PAINTERS!!!” (don’t ask about exclamation marks – I just like it!).

In this series of portraits I will try to combine a portrait of a painter with a part of his/her work or with a whole opus. Initial thought was to combine a portrait with actual work (painting, drawing or a sculpture) but I ditched  the idea as a plain and dull and not creative.

Here, you will see a lot of photo manipulation – things that I haven’t did before in my work, at all. All the photographs combined in one portrait will be taken by me and complete visualization of a portrait will be produced by myself. Portraits you will see in this series are my own vision of someones work. For the artists with online portfolios I will not write much. Hopefully, I will publish one portrait per week (I think it is a reasonable goal since I’m still learning to act as and to be a parent 🙂 ).

First in a row is Dragan Indjic. As an inspiration, I used his grotesque portraits and tried to implement it without any changes on combined images except blending them together (3 photos).

Dragan Indjic

Djelidba by Skender Kulenović

New play by Prijedor city theater – Djelidba (not sure about translation, but I believe the most closest word would be “dividing”) by famous Bosnian writer Skender Kulenović, directed by young Marko Misirača.

Quartet

“Quartet” by Ronald Harwood, directed by Darko Cvijetić, a new play by Prijedor Theater. All images are made on general rehearsal. Interesting thing to me was that this is a chamber type of play and audience will be present on the stage. It creates new way of seeing things, some kind of “3-dimensional” performance. Everybody will see it from different angle and perspective. It was challenging thing to do.

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Concerning my absence from posting stuff here, it can be explained with my decision to get back to my guitar playing, my wife and I are expecting a baby, apartment reconstruction… Trying to cover several fronts at the same time can be an exhausting activity so I have to settle down my priorities. I’ll try to post regularly but with wider breaks in between. Maybe, in the future, I will post and some music of mine here with the photography I do.

‘Till next time…

Mišo and Jelena portraits

Mišo and Jelena are my friends who had a wedding last Saturday and even I’m avoiding to do any kind of wedding photography, I accepted their kind request to take some portraits of them. A lot of people asked me why I don’t do weddings and I’m always trying to explain how I don’t think wedding photography is below my standards. It is just a thing I’m not “drawn” in to.

Wedding photography (I linked to a place where you will find great photographers and mostly wedding photogs) is a serious job when you are doing it right, and in my humble opinion, it is too much subordinated to a client. I don’t like tilted photos, or soft focus on brides face, or  obligatory shots of ring in pair or with a flowers in background, etc. But client has rights to ask for that kind of photos and probably every serious photographer will try to comply with it within his/her style. I’m not ready for that kind of compromise and that is the main reason why I’m not doing wedding photography and chances to start to do it are really tiny (never say never).

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For the technical part – no fancy staff. One Vivitar 285HV strobe on a stand with shot through umbrella (cheap Chinese one – 1€ aprox. 🙂 ).

Sketches of Iron and Dust

This is a story (sketches from stories) that I was preparing for a Fotopub Festival in Slovenia on which unfortunately I didn’t go. I left this story aside but few weeks ago, I decided to finish it.

I was inspired by Mike, Rebecca and Borut and realized that photofilms are something where I can exploit myself full time. As I’m professional musician, expression of sound is something very familiar to me. Combining photography with sound is something I found to be close to me and hopefully you will see it and hear it too.

Long story – short – Ljubija is a small town in north western part of Bosnia. Once cultural and social center of region, strongly dependable of nearby iron mine. Once iron was exploited – Ljubija was left and forgotten. Those are sketches and emotions of Ljubija inhabitants – Cicko, Bodo and Mladen.

Photography – Igor Motl

Original music – Igor Motl

Edit and production – Igor Motl

GFBL 011 poster

As well as past two years, I made a proposal for the promo poster of upcoming GitarFest Banja Luka – international clasical guitar festival. I made several options and not sure with which one to go. All three images have the energy I wanted but still can not decide which one is most suitable. I’m open to suggestions and opinions… so… shoot!!!

I created all these images in a pretty simple way and with no fancy studio stuff. Model was in a room with white walls and white ceiling. I used wide angle lens, natural window light from left, ISO was set to 800, shutter speed to 1/30 and aperture was f4. No strobes ’cause I wanted to capture a movement. Of course, these images are not straight from camera. Post production was simple. Rising up the exposure using a Brush tool in Lightroom and selecting areas that are white.   Model is “enhanced” by increasing contrast and clarity.

Daylight long exposure

For some time I’m trying to find a way to make some daylight long exposure shots. I know some photographers are using several ND filters attached together but good ND filters are not cheap and it is a little bit hard to get some here where I live. Another problem was what camera to use. Digital is standard today and results are visible right away but overheating a sensor is serious problem (digital sensors are generating heat when taking long exposure shots). Analog is much safer but again, if you make some wrong calculations, whole role of film could be ruined (and it is truly hard to find decent laboratory these days who will develop it the way you want it). And then recently, I was talking about it with my friend Borut and it came to me that I could try to use a welding glass as a truly strong ND filter.

First, I used my GF1 camera to determine the strength of a welding glass (light sensitivity). I calculated it is a 15 stop filter equivalent.

My intention was to use it on a Canon AE1 program camera with 28mm lens and to shoot some cityscapes  – 32 minutes exposures and more – so it would be possible to eliminate all the movement in a scene or to create some abstraction with very crowded places. My test roll was terrible. I realized that all the positions from where I was shooting were “contaminated” with reflections from different shiny objects (car windows, wrist watches on someones hand, sun glasses…). All the shots were overexposed but partially. Something like light stains. I dropped the idea ’cause I need something less complicated.

Then, I tried again with GF1 camera with a intention to make one long exposure and then to leave a camera to cool down. I intended to make 32 minutes exposure but very soon I find out that GF1 camera has a safety feature to limit the length of a exposure to 256 seconds.   I couldn’t find any info about the camera feature but I would like to believe it is it. 🙂 (Let me know if you know anything about it).

So, 256 sec exposure became my new obsession. It is long enough to eliminate or wipe out the movement out of frame but short enough to have time to make some corrections if needed without a “moment” lost. Next month I’ll be traveling to Vienna, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest and it will be a good opportunity to make interesting series (I hope).

Of course, welding glass is green so I was thinking black&white but once I saw a green result I felt in love with it. It has some apocalyptic note that gives it additional drama.

Look for yourself: