I was first introduced to the Fujifilm XT-1 in 2015 when Karlien Murray from AtPhoto brought her body for me to try out. Having seen many positive reviews on the colour rendition of the model, I found myself really impressed by what this little camera could deliver. I promptly ordered one alongside the f1.2 56mm lens - the combination was incredible, and I loved shooting personal projects with the combo…
The good, the bad, the bold, the delicate, all these fleeting moments are well… fleeting. And I want to be there with my camera to record them all. Whether it’s a bride walking down the isle, the in between giggle from a model revealing her true beautiful smile, or a holiday trip with my partner, these moments tell a story. I feel a contrasting pull to dive into camera in those moments, but also to be there present and engaged without constantly living through the viewfinder or back of the screen. So my solution to capture and not disconnect in the moment…shoot fast.
Now that might sound silly, but my Fujifilm camera has helped me to do just that. With the EVF (electronic view finder) I’m able to see exactly what my image will look like even before I press the shutter. No more ‘chimping’, just quicker shooting to get the moment and keep engaged in it. That way I miss less and stay aware of what’s happening around me.
I’ve been shooting for 7 years now and feel super fortunate to be doing what I enjoy full time, along with lecturing part time at Orms Cape Town School of Photography, where I studied 7 years ago. I photograph a wide variety of genres, mainly Weddings, Events and Fashion. I strongly believe in studying in a methodical way, and even though today with easy access to info via Google and YouTube, often you don’t know what you don’t know. I found it tremendously useful to systematically learn different skills that cover a wide range of photographic genres that I most likely would of skipped over if I was just Googling what I like. So my one recommendation regarding self study, is don’t be tempted to pick and choose what to learn. Start simple and build and learn even what you don’t think is “flashy” as I have used those less exciting skills many times and been grateful for acquiring them.
My journey has not been a solo act. I have grown by having talented people around me that inspire and push me. I have a great community of photographers around me that share the same passions and struggles and it’s a great reminder that I’m not in this alone. No man is an island… surround yourself with talented people.
I’ve built my visual literacy by instead of just scrolling past dozens of images of other inspirational photographers, asking the question “What do I like about this photo?” Learning to crit and not just consume has helped me hone in to how I want to shoot.
So capture the moment, learn and keep learning and crit what you see to build an internal library for yourself. Happy shooting.
You can see more of my work on these various platforms:
I am Henry Engelbrecht and I am a FujiFilm user.
I am an IT consultant by day and a music photographer by night. Attending live shows and photographing them is a hobby that gives me a creative outlet which I desperately need.
I love to watch the creative process that unfolds when a band makes music on a stage, and it is my mission to try and capture something of those special moments that take place there. My favourite shows are the wild, rowdy and intimate ones in smaller venues, because that is where the magic really happens.
What makes band photography so interesting and rewarding for me is the fact that you never really know what you are going to get, and you never have any control over the lighting or what happens during the performance. Most of the time it is like trying to take photos of people running around in a very dark room, and it takes patience and experience (with some luck) to extract something out of those difficult situations.
My favourite photos are the ones that tell the story of the event, which shows the relationship between the band members on stage and the relationship between the band and the crowd. To get those photos you must sometimes insert yourself into the crowd, become a part of the event, which is fun but not always easy to do.
I believe that my mirrorless Fujifilm cameras are the perfect tools to capture these moments. The fact that I can see what I am shooting enables me to focus on the important stuff, like timing and composition, because I have to worry less about technical stuff like exposure and camera settings.
Find out more:
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/livemusicimages
- Instagram: @henry.engelbrecht
I am a full time wedding, portrait, corporate, event… (the list goes on) photographer based in Joburg. My journey started back in high school when I got my first camera and joined the Photo-Society. This was where my interest kicked off and my passion grew.
I was lucky enough to work as a photographer and then Visuals Editor for the University of Pretoria's newspaper, Perdeby where I worked for over 3 years. This was my biggest and best learning curve as I was exposed to so many new things and people which all aided in my growth as a photographer.
Despite all of my work on the professional side, I have a keen interest in Street and Documentary photography.
Ask anyone and you’ll probably get a different answer to “what is street photography?” Most photographers would say that it is capturing the raw emotions and expressions of people in their everyday lives. Others would say that it is strictly based on their urban environments such as the inner city and only on the “street”. However, combine both of these elements and you’ll have a pretty solid concept.
Basically, it is capturing pictures of people on the streets or in their daily lives. Ideally this should be done in a way that the person is unaware and as candid as possible.
You want to eliminate the “interaction” of the photographer and leave a scene un-manipulated. To capture an image of a person interacting with their environment in one way or another is the true side of street photography.
To check out more of work or to collaborate check me out on my social media channels:
Its 5:30 here on the banks of Rio Cuiaba, which, with the Sao Lourenco river combine courses, continuing across the Paraguay floodplain in a braided fashion to enter the Paraguay River, north of Corumbá. The river forms part of the southern boundary between Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul states, these in turn housing the Pantanal-Matogrossense National Park, the world’s largest freshwater wetland and one of the best places in the world for bird and Jaguar spotting.
The Pantanal is a vast expanse of wetlands straddling the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia and without question is the best place in the whole of South America from where to spot wild animals, and in addition, being split across two states, Mato Grosso (the northern Pantanal) and Mato Grosso do Sul (the southern Pantanal), the Pantanal allows one to explore and view Caiman (Caiman yacare), Anaconda, Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), Ocelot, Marmoset, Howler Monkey, Giant Otter (Pteroneura brasiliensis), Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) Peccary, Marsh Deer (Blastocerus dichotomus), the Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhyncus hyacinthinus) (a bird endangered due to smuggling), and in addition is the home of the largest population of Jaguar (Panthera onca) on earth.
I was watching the sunrise, all the while feeling a mild sense of disorientation as just a few days before I had been standing in a reserve on another continent, and on the banks of the Rafuji River which flows on the western side of the Selous Reserve in Tanzania, once again laden with camera gear.
Fred Steynberg, an friend of mine who runs wonderful guided fishing tours to exotic destinations around the world had invited me to join him there so as to investigate the potential of catching giant tiger fish on fly in the central section of the river where it runs through the reserve, and that is what we were about to do.
The tiger fishing had been strange, in that on the first two days we caught numerous small fish of around the kilo mark, the chartreuse Clouser minnow fly that Fred was using outfishing the various lures that I was exploring with, but then for reasons known only to tiger fish, they simply disappeared and we never saw them again, so we changed tactics and went and explored the Selous Game Reserve instead, and in a blur of time and aircraft, I spent yesterday watching South American jaguars swimming across anther large fast flowing river, while Fred continued his way up the Rafuji to where he is establishing a fishing and photographing camp at Stieglers Gorge.
The sunrise was beautiful, changing colour to the less explosive colours of the day, as now, on board the high speed six meter aluminum john boats used to explore the waterways of this area we were chasing off to find what excitement the day held.
The bird life is prolific, from tiny kingfishers to the stately long legged jabaru stork, and a variety of others to the extent that my non-birding head battled to keep up with all the names being bandied and thrown around by the others, all birdwatchers, that I was in the company of.
Whilst in the Selous I could have done with a lion translating app on my phone when the Nissan 4X4 that we were in, stalled less than a couple of meters from a lioness sprawled in the middle of the dirt track that we were following, while her battle scared redmaned mate lay a short distance away, sneering at the canned tourists across the road from him. An interesting experience as one of the battery cables had come loose, not only preventing us starting the motor, but also preventing us from closing the windows. The lion and I ended up eyeballing each other for almost thirty minutes, both of us sneering at one another while his mate lay between us, rhythmically snoring. Not sure as how long we could have kept this up for had another vehicle not come along and given us a push start…… Now I was experiencing something similar with two jaguars on the banks of a river, one standing almost chest deep in the water and digging into the mud in search of crabs whilst the other prowled the shoreline.
Game viewing in the Pantanal is similar to what happens in a lot of the reserves in Africa, with tourists being taken around by guides in off-road vehicles, only in this case our off road vehicles were 6 meter aluminum john boats carrying three passengers and a driver. Fast and comfortable, they wold taken off across the water to where ever a radio reported sighting had been made.
Abundance of high tech camo clothing, combined with the multitude of large lensed cameras worn and carried by the passengers of the boats as they scream down the rivers and creeks had me initially cowering with the thought of being in the midst of a marine invasion, and the staccato sound of camera shutters in rapid drive was intimidating, to say the least, whenever something interesting was spotted.
Now I come from a background of film when each image was carefully and individually taken, so tend to try and be picky and not waste frames, but having the Fuji XH-1 fitted with the 100-400 lens and 10 assorted hi-speed SD cards to play with and wanting to test the capabilities of the outfit, I succumbed to temptation and on the odd occasion, blazed away at frame rates of 14 frames per second, and I now find myself paying for my indulgence with all the sorting and discarding of hundreds of duplicated images that is taking place.
The XH-1 and 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens combo is a beaut, initially from the fact that it is virtually silent in operation prompting my companions to ask why I was not photographing, and then from its sheer speed of operation.
I carried two camera’s, one being my favourite XT1 fitted with the F2.8 16-55 mm lens for the closer work, the other being the XH-1 fitted with the 100-400 IOS lens, and this is the outfit which hung from my shoulder all day and used for everything, from close ups of birds and flowers to jaguars hiding in the shade in the heavy vegetation, shooting from stationary boats rocking in the wake of other passing boats, from flat water and everything in-between. This combination was so versatile that I hardly used the shorter lens combination but it was there if needed.
I probably cheated a bit by making sure that I maintained a high shutter speed to help the IOS when the going got rough, but what the heck, I wanted the images to be as good as possible and that they are. Crisp edge to edge sharpness and colours that glowed in the late afternoon and evening light, and colours rendered truthfully in the hot clear light of day.
The best part of it though is the ease in which the outfit functioned and how well the controls, with one exception, functioned.
I found the auto focus quick and accurate, and it served well except for those odd moments when trying to capture a subject such as a bird partially obscured by tree leaves, or the head of a submerged jaguar just peeping out from a bank of water hyacinth. It’s not a problem to use manual spot focus to the fix the problem, but trying to set the selector switch on the left side of the camera to Manual and then having to move my hand to the front of the lens to turn the manual focus ring sometimes took more time than I had at that moment, so the odd shot was lost.
It would be wonderful if Fuji were to figure out how to position a separate selector switch close to the manual focus ring so as to allow instant selection from manual to auto focus, and I’m sure that this may happen someday.
When using the long lens combo, I would consider the varying camera to subject distances and conditions that I would be shooting under, so would choose an f-stop that allowed me the optimum depth field for the subject chosen, and then adjust the shutter speed accordingly, using the exposure compensation button in conjunction with the rear command dial and EVF display. Despite having, on occasion, to push the ISO close to 3200 to grab the odd image of a jaguar hidden in the deep forest shade, I can discern no noise on the images.
With so many lovely birds to choose from I decided to try capturing images of them in flight. This would be opportunistic though, with my grabbing images as they took off in flight while not really set up for them, but I am happy to say that I was able to succeed to an extent by simply setting the front focus switch to ( C ) and snap shooting as the bird flew. I admit to missing a lot of images as I was continuing to use the 100-400 lens and so was not able to track as well as I wished, but again the results were adequately satisfactory.
(While I’m thinking about it, fitting high quality UV filters to lenses when working in areas where water or dirt could splash onto the front of the lens is a good idea as this allows you to clean it off with whatever soft cloth may be handy, without worrying about destroying the lens and wasting time hunting the correct cleaning devise.)
There are a number of elements that can make or break a trip, and what made this South American trip such a pleasure is the highly professional manner in which Catia Zela De Za and her company, EcologicaTur, organized all aspects of the entire journey. Having travelled 38 odd countries, Catia, a most delightful lady, runs a one-lady show which she guides herself, and trust me when I say that she knows her stuff in every respect. She and the river guides that she provided put us onto all the best spots allowing us to return home with wonderful memories and sightings of normally difficult to find and photograph bird and animal species.
….. and all the while, whilst luxuriating in the semi-wild of the Pantanal, Fred was deep in the wilds of the Stiegler Gorge, putting the finishing touches to the camp that he is establishing there, and in between times catching giant tiger fish on fly, but that is a tale for another day.
I've always been attached to streets somehow, the way they smell, the noise and the hustle and bustle of people going about their daily lives. When I was a kid growing up on a skateboard, the sense of venturing into the unknown was always more interesting than anything else I tried as it gave me a sense of independence and in some way allowed me to be free to roam where ever I wanted. I used to get shouted at a lot and chased away from security guards as we weren’t very popular people us skateboarders. People regarded us as hooligans causing destruction and vandalism to the public space. The ironic thing is that its still happening today only this time its not because of something under my feet but by the way I document the world.
I have fights with people on regular bases not because I’m a horrible person, in fact, you need to be quite open to meeting new people and not shy away from the unknown. The guards hate me as my camera is a secret weapon of mass destruction and people think they going to be on the front covers of world news. If only they knew I take photos for the love of taking photos, documenting life around me whilst watching moments unfold.
Patience is a virtue on the street as you never always gifted with amazing images and most times you walk away unrewarded. People look at you a little crazy when you hunting at least that's what it feels like as people are so scared that a camera will cause them harm. I've been pushed around in the streets, had my cameras stolen and for some reason, I always feel that I’m most comfortable making photos between people. I think what keeps you going back for more is the challenge of making photos you can hold onto for the rest of your life. Photos that tell a story of your environment and images that will live on long after me is probably the most rewarding images but most of all its making the ordinary into extraordinary and that for me is the ingredients for a successful image.
For the love of photography.
My second trip to Zanzibar brought along challenges that we didn’t expect as the weather has contradicted the norm as August is meant to be a sunny and clear skies month. My client, The Royal Zanzibar situated in the North in Nungwi, contracted me to capture several images for their website and upcoming Sales Brochure…
I’ve always appreciated good visuals, weather it is be photography, art or cinematography.
As kid I was always intrigued by point and shoot cameras and remember accompanying my dad to the local chemist to get our rolls of film developed.
Throughout my primary school career I was the kid at the school camps with my parents little point and shoot. I got my first digital camera as a Christmas gift in my teens, it was actually a Fujifilm camera.
I was reintroduced to photography during my journalism studies. This was my first and only formal training in photography. I really enjoyed documentary photography. My portrait & lifestyle photography actually kind of just happened to me especially “fro-tography”, I love shooting natural hair and am busy establishing myself as the Cape Town “fro-tographer”.
Initially I wanted to use shoots to fund my documentary (travel) photography, and then I found myself enjoying the lifestyle and portrait side. Like documentary photography it still tells a story. People always have a story to tell. I still hope to document people and places with my xt2 in the future.
Follow my journey on Facebook and Instagram at
Megan Damon Visuals
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa; raised in Dallas, Texas, Rachel Andrews returned to South Africa after studying three years Visual Art Studies at the University of North Texas to complete her studies in Photography at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. After a heavy upbringing in the creative industry with a mother as an accomplished decorative artist in Dallas, Rachel’s main objective is to bring through as much expression through the lens as a paintbrush traditionally would have allowed. Thus, creating a specialised work of art in every image.
Rachel Andrews Photography has been exhibited at the following events:
- The Collective Photography and Graphic Design Exhibition, Port Elizabeth in 2011
- Cape Landscape Exhibition,
- Port Elizabeth in 2011 Red Location Documentary Exhibition,
- Port Elizabeth in 2010