Living in the Northwest of the UK, most of my photography tends to be of either hills and mountains or flat sandy beaches. The opportunity to shoot on rocky beaches doesn’t present itself that often, but a family holiday down to Cornwall for the week provided just that.
It was also a great opportunity to test out the X100T for some long exposure landscape photography. The X-T1 gets most of the attention as a landscape camera in the FujiX series, and there’s no doubt that it’s a great camera for this task. However, if you’re happy with the focal lengths that the X100T can offer (approx 28mm, 35mm and 50mm with the WCL and TCL converters), and don’t mind the lack of weather sealing, then the X100T is just as capable.
After all it shares the same sensor as the X-T1, and with a fixed lens, optimised for the body, it delivers incredibly sharp images. The print output at 24″x16″ is fantastic, and if you’re willing to accept the natural increase in viewing distance then you can print much much larger if desired.
We were staying for a week at the delightful Cory Farm , just north of Bude on the North Cornwall coast. The farm is situated a short walk away from the Marsland Valley, as Site of Special Scientific Interest that lead down to the rocky beach of Marsland Mouth itself. Rock beaches are full of photographic potential, but the trick is always finding the right shots. Too often it is easy for compositions to become cluttered with rocks that leave the eye wandering around the composition without finding anything to settle on, and after arriving on the beach it took a good while to find some compositions that I thought would work.
This first shot was taken from the easterly end of the beach, where a larger channel between rocks formed a nice lead-in to the composition, with the distinctive Gull Rock at the end of the headland on the horizon. As with all the shots in this series I was set-up on a tripod with a remote release, using a 2-stop Lee ND Grad together with the 10-Stop Lee Big Stopper. This combination allowed me to tame the bright sky and add some calmness to the photos by blurring out the waves and water.
My X100T was fitted with the WCL, giving an effective focal length of around 28mm. An exposure of 28sec gave the image below, and although there is always a little bit of guess work in judging the exposure length, I only required a slight bump in exposure in post production in Lightroom.
Moving on from my first shot I wanted to find something that took advantage of the slanted rocks further towards the middle of the beach. After trying a few positions I eventually settled on the composition below, where the curved rocks lead nicely to Gull Rock beyond. The rocks sloping towards the sun also added a bit of warmth to the foreground, to help balance the distinctively warm cliffs beyond. Before the shoot I was a bit worried that 28mm wouldn’t be wide enough, but I actually enjoyed the challenge of finding compositions that worked with the lens and the landscape before me.
With the sun now dropping towards the horizon, exposure time was increased to 52sec for this image, which proved pretty much spot on.
This next image now has a distinctly cooler feel, with the cliffs themselves now falling into shadows. Some curved and slanted rocks again provided good foreground material, with some deeper pools adding some balance to the larger area of sky in the top right of the image. Exposure time was now up around 2 minutes and with noise reduction coming into play above 60 seconds, I was waiting around 4 minutes between shots; enough time for the lighting conditions to change during the exposure.
For a final shot I wanted something that captured the main exit point of the river Marsland Water. I struggled a little with composition, but came away fairly happy with the below. Some vignetting was applied in post-production to help with the mood of this image. The longer exposure times were now producing more noticible streaking in the clouds, although I quite like the way they lead the eye to the remains of the days sunlight.
All post-production of these images was carried out inside Lightroom. It still gets some ‘stick’ on the internet in terms of its XTrans support, but it’s getting better and with the right settings I’m happy with the detail it provides. Certainly colour rendition itself isn’t a problem, with good support for the Fuji film presets. The ease of workflow with Lightroom still makes it my tool of choice, and I can’t see myself shifting anytime soon.
Overall the shoot helped to confirm to me that the X100T is an extremely capable camera that can deliver fantastic output. The days before and after this shoot it was happily slung over my shoulder as I gave piggy backs to the kids, with a rucksack full of wet-wipes, changes of clothes and tasty snacks. A great camera to have on holiday when you want to be able to switch between holiday mode and serious landscape photography!
Thanks for reading and looking. As ever if you have any queries or questions let me know via the comments.