X30 Pics

Then I went to Don Edwards Refuge

After a fun day in San Francisco, I doubled down and went to Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge for a complete sea change. First was street photography and walking the city. Next was a completely different take with the Fuji X30 and capturing the scenes from the refuge. I played with different film simulation modes including Provia which is standard and Velvia which is an enhanced mode which seems to saturate the colors a lot more. Which one I like most I cannot say so its fun to shoot with both and compare.


The quality of the color representation is amazing to me.

I’ve also been experimenting with different shooting modes. So far I have done Program mode when doing the street shooting and aperture priority doing landscapes or more rural shots. I chose them because program mode provides that quick release where the camera does the figuring but you can also apply overrides or use custom film types. Aperture priority for outdoors photography seems like just common sense since you want more depth of field.

I have not experimented with Shutter Priority or Manual yet. That will come.

This weekend, I’ll take off and drive to the beach and capture Highway One south of Santa Cruz and north of Monterey. I have not done that kind of photography yet with the X30. We’ll see how that works out.

Street Adventures in San Francisco

How many of you want to escape to the streets with a camera and go record life as you pass through it. Perhaps a member of a scene for a moment and then you exit or the scene moves on to new things. Street photography is interesting with the Fuji X30. I spent yesterday recording it in three locations and combined some nice what I will call urban shots along with the personal. I think there are three rules with it so far.

  1. You only have mere moments to capture a thing. People or things move at a speed which does not give you time to pull out the monster DSLR, focus, choose shutter, aperture. By that time, the thing is far gone.
  2. You need to either sit still or move yourself. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Moving lets you see new things but a thing just behind you may erupt in a cacophony of colors or events or both.
  3. You don’t need to find fancy places to find people doing what they do best. Being people basically. I found a few below which I thought captured the scenery and the life of a busy day in San Francisco. See what you think.


A perfect mix of different places spent walking around the city. San Francisco has so many settings to capture you can spend a day in one place or reach a lot on your feet.


In the “always remember to take the camera wherever you go”, I observed this while out walking this morning through my neighborhood. You don’t have to go far distances to find things. Sometimes things are waiting patiently for you down the street you live on.

There is a fourth thing. If you want to experience a thing, you have to get out and see it. I still forget to take the camera and I miss things which are time limited which I think back on when writing the blog here and wish I had focused on.

Street photography is interesting and fun and a bit challenging. You have the fear of doing it combined with the challenge of the camera and the people. In the end, you should try it. Life is not just a one person experience. How you do it and what you use remains to be seen. For me, the Fuji X30 is the perfect camera with its tiltable monitor and great battery life. I set the camera on Program mode and can always override it if necessary.

Today’s Adventures

Today I am heading into San Francisco via BART to go stroll and take more photographs with my Fuji X30. I’ve settled on two distinct modes when shooting photographs so will be testing them more in SF today.  This is in anticipation of my August trip to Vancouver and Victoria since the type of photography I enjoy doing will not change that much when I am walking there. I went out yesterday to Palo Alto and strolled down California Street to capture people, stuff and their transactions. California street has a mix of restaurants, shops and people enjoying both. Here’s a few samples from the X30 set on program AE mode where I just click away.

I like the contrast of the umbrella things and the blue sky in this shot.

Another joy is being able to just take photographs with the camera in real life where people come and go and I can respond in real time using the mode that works for me.

In retrospect, I should have stopped for awhile in Backyard Brew. I like the looks of that place :-).

In street or urban shooting the depth of field, aperture, ISO is set by the camera and I trust to its settings but can override. Doing some more landscape, I prefer a bit more control so I can ensure that the depth of field is accurate or I want to play and see. I use Aperture Priority mode and the camera decides two of the settings.


I took this at the Dumbarton Bridge pull off or vista point because all the years I have driven the bridge I never stopped there. I never knew it had this stuff so I stopped.

Some would say the X30 cannot do landscape. How then did I get this shot? I am not sure. Perhaps an error of some kind :-).

Its very green out there now!

So onward to the day pretty soon. Its about 8am here and I am in no rush to head on out. I’ll go to the Union City BART station and head in about 930am after breakfast.

Can’t wait to test the camera out in a new place!

Back to the Fuji X30

I finished a few side projects so decided yesterday to leave work early and go back to experimenting with how I shoot a variety of types of photographs on the X30. I’m a rank amateur but have found a few things which just seem to work.

  1. Shooting around town with buildings and people. I have been using Program mode for this since there is no real thinking about things and one can simply bring the camera up or tilt the monitor at an angle and be able to take frames from the hip so to speak. I’ve read that Program mode is for lazy people that don’t want to learn more complex modes. To that I say who cares what you think about the way I shoot photographs? Program mode just works on the X30. When you take a photograph of a person or thing that’s happening what do you want? Futzing with manual settings and by the time you figure it out its already happened? Nope.
  2. Shooting at some kinda landscape mode. I like to shoot pictures of natural stuff. I’ve read that the X30 for the purists is not the best for landscape photography. To that I say Nope. It works fine for me in Aperture Priority mode shooting the types of photographs I will want to shoot on vacations. In this mode you set the Aperture and the camera decides what works for the shutter and ISO. This mode works well for me. Forget what others may say regarding whether it should be on manual for now.

My next mode to learn is the opposite so to speak of Aperture Priority. I will next learn when and where to use Shutter Priority by taking the requisite photographs with that mode given what the others have said and using it as a baseline.

Here’s a few photographs of my ongoing attempts.

This was shot in Aperture Priority mode. This is letting the X30 decide what the shutter and ISO should be.

This was shot in Program Mode. In this mode, the X30 decides it all but I can set overrides or do what are called Program shifts if I want. I do use a custom Photo simulation called Velvia and back off some details using negative values. Here’s another shot in the same mode.

One thing to notice here is the color of the sky. In the past, I had serious over exposure issues when I got too complex with the camera so I decided to use simpler methods that still have overrides when I may want them.

I also thought over during my Friday night binge beer event what I expect out of this learning experience with a better camera. I came away realizing I am not a candid street photographer completely or a landscape photographer only. I am some kind of mix and want the best of both but still want ultimate control over what the camera is doing so its a continuous learning experience. Its okay to make mistakes and then go back and use a workflow to address. Learning to use the X30 is not about proclaiming I am only going to shoot on Manual or I won’t use Program because of some reason. Its more about what works between me and the camera. I don’t want to be bothered shooting something in a city with nagging doubts whether I got a setting right or not. People or things moving are not gonna be there so Program mode in my downtown mode works better. My landscape photography includes things that don’t move so much. Mountains, hills, trees, and grassy fields do not change so Aperture mode works.


The final thing I have been working on my Samsung Chromebook Plus is a workflow to get the photographs from the camera card to my Google Photos. I now upload all the photos from the card to Google Drive and then I told Google Photos to include my Google Drive as an image source. This works really well and means I can see everything in my cloud photo service simply by using the flow I have established. Its also easy to use Snapseed in this workflow if I want to change a thing in post processing. I don’t do that a lot. I just accept, delete, or retake  the photograph these days. It shows back up in the workflow on all my devices since everything uses Google Photos as the cloud source.

So there’s the current state with Mike moving from taking photographs with a Android phone that requires no real decision making to learning something and then learning new things. Learning is good. Whether I keep the camera workflow and custom settings the way they are or move to Aperture Priority for everything only depends on me.

Perhaps I’ve simplified the camera or perhaps the camera offers these modes for some reason. I think there is  reason and its not to “dumb down” the exercise. I think Fuji offers Program mode and the ability to override it for people that want to take pictures when in a busy or saturated environment like street photography. There should be a way to make a few changes using the Q menu that are not available in automatic shooting mode. If you are a purist, that’s great. At the end of the day you will take your photographs and perhaps you publish them or sell them. I don’t. This is about my own enrichment which does not include justifying why the camera I use can capture the picture while you are still fiddling around with the triangle.

Adventures with my Fujifilm X30 continues

I’m taking the camera more places which is good. Its not a habit though which I would want it to be. I took it to work yesterday and ended up at a 7/11 store and took this. I wanted to try making basic changes to the black and white so darkened it a bit and applied “pop”.

Shooting in black and white creates a completely different reality but applying a few basic post processes brings out more of the photograph which I did not capture in my enthusiasm and complete newbieness.

I also went to a park earlier today to play around with Aperture Priority shooting on the X30. It gives more control over the camera but still the camera sets the ISO and shutter speed so not all the values are up to me.

I need to learn more technique and ability with the aperture. Its one of the triangle of photo shooting. If you are just learning (like me), a few resources come in handy that are not slanted toward any camera in general but more about technology and approach. Easy to find with a google search!

Shooting with a camera is so different. The X30 has different film simulation modes which are fun to play with and explore. The above picture was taken with the Velvia mode. Each one offers some unique combination and a new playground for things to experiment with.

I also went prowling through our backyard and its amazing what I could find to take a picture of if I would remember the camera.

Its truly unlimited out there and I’m glad I bought the camera. I cannot imagine now going back to my smartphone camera no matter how well its rated. Learning photography is not just about taking pictures in some auto mode and letting the camera adjust. Its finding the different modes and learning each one.

I am hoping that by the time I travel to Vancouver and do all the different kinds of photography I am learning now, I’ll be better and more able to judge what I should set the camera to. The real benefit is learning something new. The camera worth has far exceeded what I paid for it already.

Uh Oh. Mike got a new camera…

You know what that means, right?

These were my first photos with the FujiFilm X30. I have a feeling that there will be lots more to come. This camera has a definite funk feeling to it. I wanted to head out to a few local places and shoot on fully automatic where I let the camera decide what it should do.

I also offloaded the photos from the SD card to my chromebook and then uploaded to Google Photos in Starbucks. This will be the way I “harvest” the photos each day when I travel so its like proving out how the workflow will work. Since my chromebook has the android apps as well, I can run Google Photos Android and Instagram. I think it would be easier to share from my android phone using Google Photos after its all uploaded.

Someone asked the key differences and why I would want to move to a camera. There’s lots of reasons. The first thing is a smartphone is just that. Its smart and its a phone. No matter how good the camera, there’s a certain thing to holding a camera. There is also a learning thing for me where the camera and I reach an agreement. That’s to come though after a number of more day trips to various and sundry places where I shoot with the Fuji on fully auto and harvest the pictures.