Scouting Locations with the Fujifilm X-T1

by on August 5, 2014

We’ve had some decent foggy mornings of late and because I often work in Australian / NZ time zones as well as my MST, I’m often working when the sun starts to rise, and I miss out on some real goodies, like much of this past week (Murphy’s Law, the big meanie). A week and a half ago, I found myself free right as the sun was about to rise, so I grabbed some gear and headed on out. In an attempt to chase the fog, I came across a killer scene, about 5 minutes away from my home. The fog was low-lying everywhere except one area, and it was encompassing some grain silos in the most perfect manner, with the sun adding the right mix of mystery, eliminating the drab feeling of the boring bald sky. Here’s the thing – I was once again roadblocked as I still have no clue where to shoot these silos from without trespassing, which is something I refuse to do. So I pretty much spent the first 30 minutes trying to get to these damn silos from a number of possible entry points, but I was out of luck. I’m not sure why I thought suddenly today I’d be able to access them when I haven’t been able to the past 5 years. Ah, I amuse myself at times.

By the time I was done, the light was average and I missed my moment. Taking advantage of the fact I had the little Fuji with me, I thought I’d spend the next hour or so scouting locations before heading back home. Wet, dirty and covered in bites, I found a few spots where I think with the right lighting and some good ol’ fashioned effort, I might be able to make something interesting at another time.


Location scouting around rural Alberta with the Fuji X-T1 and 10-24mm ƒ4 lens. Abandoned stucture after sunrise with lens flare, process with VSCO edits.

Scouting images are almost painful, as they are often taken because the elements we need to make a successful image weren’t coming together and we use this opportunity to mark a spot with the hopes to return. It’s hard to look at them and be inspired, so this is where we need to visualize the bigger picture and plan for something better.


Location scouting for Alberta farmlands with the Fuji X-T1. Pumpjack in the distance with deep shadows over canola crops shortly after sunrise, mid-summer.


It’s just a normal pumpjack and field, and we are certainly not lacking these in Alberta, but I felt I might be able to find a sweet spot when the light is right because of the placement of a few trees and structures, as well the way the field stretched out (hard to tell here). I look forward to coming back to this area to see what I can do.


Location scouting for Alberta farmlands with the Fuji X-T1. Canola crops shortly after sunrise, mid-summer. No.F0703.


Gear chat: It was a huge plus having the much smaller, yet efficient Fujifilm X-T1 with me, which made scouting that much easier. I’m used to scouting with a Canon DSLR body and 16-35mm ƒ2.8 lens or even the 70-200mm ƒ2.8, which can get somewhat tiring after a while to lug around, but still not impossible. What made this little trek with the Fuji even better was the fact I could throw my X-T1, 23mm ƒ1.4 and 10-24mm ƒ4 lenses in my old, rugged Domke 832 messenger bag, with room to spare for other non-photo accessories. I was able to carry this set-up with no problems. I brought both lenses for 2 reasons: 1) I don’t want to be without a wide angle just in case and 2) haven’t really shot much with either of them, so because they are light enough, I can bring them both with me with no problems and we can become better acquainted. After banging off a few more frames, I soon called it a day, cranked up the Johnny Cash and headed back home.

While I have no plans to ditch the rest of my remaining Canons (an aging body and 2 lenses) like I did my 2 wide angle lenses this spring, I’ve convinced myself I’ll definitely want to pick up a couple of Fuji lenses in 2015 so I can cover more focal length. 24mm doesn’t really cut it, ya know. Until then, I guess I can lug the Canon when I feel I might need that length, even for a scouting mission. Worse things have happened.

I guess it’s a good thing I have some time to decide which Fuji lenses I’ll want. Until then, I’ll continue obsessing over the Fui X-mount roadmap like I have the past couple of years on my own and also on our podcast. hehe

Now if I can just find a way to make sure Murphy will bugger off and not have me working when the skies decide to give us something really amazing to shoot.


See you in the field, stomping all over Murphy!




Photographer. Podcaster on hiatus. Edmonton Oilers lovah. Cinematic Star Wars fan. Fond of wildlife conservation, animal rescue orgs, and all things Johnny Cash. Gen X. 

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