Category Archives: Photography

Fujifilm x10 Digital Camera

My first shoot with the Fuji X10

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed as a Featured Photographer for This is East Van – a community photography project that has its second book in production. As well, my web design company, 32spokes, was recently hired by Uprising Breads Bakery to provide some food photography. These things got me thinking about my camera equipment – and that it was high time for an upgrade. The last time I actually purchased professional gear was back in 2005 when I bagged a used Nikon D100.

I went to Mike Mander, the head of the digital department of Beau Photo in Vancouver, and spoke to him about my need for something with more going for it than my phone camera.

Mike told me about the Fuji X10, which he described as “The baby brother to the Fuji X100,” but with much better macro capabilities and the capacity to use the raw format. (Mike hasn’t lead me astray with any of his advice or suggestions in the past and it’s one of the reasons why my first stop is usually Beau Photo.) He piqued my interest and I asked if I could see one. Then he said it wasn’t going to be released for two months …

I put in a pre-order and waited, but not for long. In just shy of two weeks Mike called, saying my camera had arrived and it was one of only two in stock. I decided to take the X10 out for a test drive at the local Remembrance Day ceremonies in Sechelt.

The Cenotaph located at Sechelt BC
The cenotaph and wreaths before the ceremony

My first impression was that it’s a small but solid body with a visual viewfinder that’s actually large enough to be usable, along with a shutter release and zoom dial that are in easy reach when the camera is brought up to your eye.

I find the twist on and off feature of the camera ingenious and problematic. I love it when I am using the camera but if I want to turn the camera on I can’t do that without exposing the lens. I just have to hold down the playback button for a few seconds. (and thanks to steve for the clarification in the comments.)

One thing that amazed me about the X10 was its frames per second capacity for a camera in its price range. I set it to capture both jpg and raw formats at medium speed, which the manual states to be about 3 fps and it wasn’t far off. My beloved FM2 with the motor drive was only 2.5 fps and my F90X topped out at 3.5 fps. The technology has certainly come a long way over last couple years.

Sechelt Remembrance Day Ceremony - Less we Forget
The light and wind made for a beautiful ceremony

Once the Eye-Fi card was set up, I found the transfer process puzzling. It treats the raw and jpeg image types as different entities and wants to put them in different folders.

I ended up returning the Eye Fi card and just got a regular SD Card as it didn’t really work for me and it drained my battery quite quickly. I know Eye Fi works for other photographer I have talked with, but it just didn’t work for me.

A camera with very few minuses. But here are a few…

The NP-50 battery will last for an hour or two of shooting, but having a second battery on hand is certainly recommended.

The LH-X10 Lens hood does mount quite easily and accepts a standard 52mm filter. But once the lens hood is attached it does block the visual viewfinder a bit. Not a big miss, but worth a mention.

I also ended up returning the shoe mounted flash EF-42 and it was just far to large for the camera. I would say it is more like holding a feather and then putting a gorilla on top of. I felt it was completely unwieldy. I did some weight testing and the camera only weight 20mg more then the flash. I know a large flash can disrupt the balance of camera, but making a flash that weights almost as much camera is not well thought in my honest opinion by the folks at fuji.

I look forward to when Adobe and/or Apple add the X10 to their list of raw converters and to learning how to use the dynamic capture feature to its fullest potential. All in all, it feels great to have a new camera and I’m very pleased with the picture quality I’ve seen so far. I love the feeling of a real camera in my hands and I love the feeling of a shutter release with a hole in the middle. It is something that a phone just can’t deliver… the feel of a real camera in your hand.

PS: All the images displayed were captured on jpg and adjusted with Photoshop CS4.

This is East Van Volume 2 book cover

This is East Van 2

This is East Van 2 Photo Project Part Two
This is East Van 2

When I first submitted to the THIS IS EAST VAN project, (see previous blog post) I thought it was pretty cool. It was something that brought me back to why I love photography: it’s how I tell stories.

It turns out that lots of others liked the idea, too. THIS IS EAST VAN became a stunning book of photos by East Van community members; it conveys what East Vancouver means to them in a visually powerful format. Its success is reflected by its placement at many great Vancouver outlets, including the Vancouver Art Gallery.

If you missed out on being part of THIS IS EAST VAN, despair no more – they’re doing it again. Until September 15, you can submit your photos for inclusion in the upcoming THIS IS EAST VAN 2. (I love it when a good idea grows like that.) This time around TIEV has added the convenience of submitting via their website. And, they’re doing a film as well, so if you have video clips that show your East Van, have a look at the film guidelines, too.

As mentioned in an earlier post, there are few calls for submissions that I take the time to participate in. THIS IS EAST VAN (thanks Erin and Rob you guys rock) is one of the best that I have ever been involved with.

PS: East Vancouver is a community that I love and has fostered much of my growth in recent years. Partnering as a sponsor with the TIEV project is natural for my web design company 32spokes Web Design.

This is East Van Website Header

This is East Van

I have entered very few photo contest. I have submitted to even fewer “call’s for submissions”. I’d either disagreed with the terms of the submission or just have a lack of interest in the actual project.

Buskers of Commercial Drive
Buskers on The Drive

This was different…  This is East Vancouver. The neighbourhood I have lived in (abet somewhat part-time at the moment) for almost 3 years. The unique nature of the independent vibe and creative culture I found in East Vancouver and especially Commercial Drive really fed my soul and has given me a lot of food for thought ( It gave me a lot of great coffee as well).

So when I heard about the This is East Van call for submissions it peaked my interest and I checked out the site. My interest was completely captivated when I read it was two creative types (not unlike myself) who live and work in the community and that “with reckless abandonment” had an idea to make a book about a community they live in.

Saturday Morning Coffee at Prado Cafe
Saturday Morning

Well I don’t think I have ever submitted my photos fast then I have to this project. It was everything a community photography project should be and I am lucky enough to have three photos accepted into the book.

Flipping through the book as I wrote this post I see many photos that spark memories of an event or a time of the year. Other images are foreign, a part of the city I have yet to explore.

I think Erin Sinclair and Jason Uglanica have really done an amazing job on this project.

Where can I get this book you say?

Snow day at Salisbury Park in East Van
Snow Day

Also you can order the book online from the This is East Van website and I have been told on good authority that if you live in the community you might get the book hand delivered by either Erin or Jason themselves.

Will leave you with this teaser video from the This is East Van Website.

[vimeo clip_id=”22421674″ width=”600″]

A Nostalgic View

A high school friend named Jana Curll looked me up to do some photo reproduction of her art work.

Jana Curll Art Work Reproduction Shoot
A very basic studio set up in my living room.

Loosing contact as one does I never knew she was such an artist back in high school. Her work is amazing.

I on the other hand had to pull out the old Camera Gear and jury-rig up a studio in the living room to capture her work. It was the first time I had really shot something in over a year. It was fun to get back into the photo groove if only for a morning.

She is having a show at the Gumboot Garden Cafe for the month of July. I’d certainly check it out.

I then met up with another artist type friend. Dan Sullivan (better known as exploding Haggis) who in comparison I have only known for two years and we off to enjoy a bike ride around Gibsons.

I didn’t really start feeling old until I realized that it was Elphiphstone Secondary Grad Night and both myself and Jana graduated in the same gym some 15 years ago.

This is when I really started to feel old. Lucky Dan showed up. I asked if we could jet, before I break a hip and my false teeth fall out.

On the way home I felt the entire day from start to finish was comprised of my past and how easily you are reminded of it.

This Time – he shot video

Etana and Robert during video, Photo by Laia Prats, used with permission
Etana and Robert, Photo by Laia Prats, used with permission

Robert Caplin is someone I have only met once, you might say we run in the same circles just in different end of the continent. I first talked Robert when we were both member of the What I learn about Robert back then was when does something he does it right. Big big or go go home. . . Well Robert always goes big. Like the time Robert entered to win a Jack Gruber autographed monopod cover from the Salt Lake City Olympics. Robert set his lawn on fire to spell Jack’s name. Yes, he did get the monopod cover, but anyone who goes to that length for a monopod cover, must be dedicated to photography, Caplin is and it shows. He now lives in New York city after graduating school and having internships with LA Times and NY Times. I have always been impressed with his work. He is a gifted individual with telling a story through the lens of his camera.

Game changing

When the Canon 5D MKII,(the one that shoots 1080p video) was released, we all saw what could be done with this new hybrid of the digital age in  Vincent Laforet’s Reverie. But he had helicopters, car mounts, lights, and some resources that most people just don’t have. No doubt it is an impressive camera when put into the hands of some one who is truly a master of the craft. I though Vincent’s video was truly ground breaking and game changing. I though How hard it would be to put something like that together with limited equipments funds and budgets.

Home Video

Caplin came through to answer this question for me. He and his sister produced quite the amazing video with the same Canon 5D MKII camera. He writes in a story for that all he used was four people and a iPhone to produce this video.

The production of the video consisted of four people in total:
• Myself as ‘the cameraman’
• Etana, as ‘the talent’
• My Step-Mom as ‘the help’
• My Girlfriend Laia as ‘the producer’

Robert Caplin

He also shot the entire video in natural light, and some fast lenses (aperature f2.8 or faster) and used a reflector on just one shot. This is where the future of the industry is going where stills and video mashing up into a one solid visual artist.


Did I meantion that Etana is just a high school student who wrote this song herself and is only 15 years old? I also showed this video to a friend of mine who though this video was shot by a recording studio on location with a large crew. She did get the vocals recorded in the studio and  then added some musical accompaniment to help fill out the song, but truly it was just a family affair.

Now we all don’t have New York based awarding winning photographers as brothers, who can put us in a music video in Time Square, but  but don’t let that dismay you! Why I am showcasing this amazing video because I don’t believe it is out of reach of any photographer with a little dedication.

You can also video the behind the scenes footage of the video on how they used that iPhone too, and true to form Caplin makes an appearance at the end which captures him quite well I think!!!

Bill Reid Gallery Opens

Opening of Bill Reid Gallery
Opening of Bill Reid Gallery

During my internship at Creative Spirit Communications I was invited to the Bill Reid Gallery. I jumped at the chance to visit the new gallery and saw the progress of Mystic Messengers being elevated and hung on the wall. It was an amazing morning to witness such achievements and to be so close to such great art. I met Haida artist Jim Hart who was carving a totem pole for the opening of the gallery.

Although I never made it back to check out the progress of the the totem pole that was being carved, I was excited to attend the official opening on Thursday, May 8.

Location Location Location

The Bill Reid Gallery Opens up to the Public on Saturday, May 10 and is located at 639 Hornby Street.

This is one of the largest collections of work in such a cozy and welcoming space. It is nice to see a permanent home to one of our greatest residents.

All photography is copyright ©2008 Robert Dall – all rights reserved – No reproduction of any form without expressed written permission.