Waiting for the bus

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I was very kindly loaned the new Fujinon XF 35mm f2 by Fujifilm Singapore some weeks ago. I’ve been testing it out over the last few weeks, expecting it to be a slower version of the beloved 35mm f1.4, but it’s turning out to be quite a different beast, both performance-, optics- and general use-wise. A review is forthcoming, but first, a picture. This one was taken on the afternoon I picked the lens up, waiting for the bus home.

Singapore of Stockholm

Charlene journal 4 Comments

In early June this year, I was in Stockholm for an afternoon to give a presentation at Fujifilm Nordic. At some point during the proceedings, I had an hour to walk around Stockholm by myself. It was Sweden’s national day, so aside from a numerous wedding parties at City Hall, the waterfront was quiet. I headed for the old city which couldn’t have been more than a kilometer or so away, guided by its distinctive outline of spires, so different from the angular urban skylines I’m used to. It was breathtaking from a distance. I’d never been to Stockholm before this, and I was taken aback by how gorgeous it is. Not only for its spires and old buildings (as a child of a young nation, I am irresistibly drawn to the weight of history in …

A night at the opera

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I came across a beautiful set of portraits that Chia Aik Beng made of the Teochew Opera troupe, Lao Sai Tao Yuan recently. I have returned to this series a number of times, compelled by the intimacy of his portraits, and this facet of Singapore I’ve had no contact with. Then chance stepped in. After some hours wandering around the Ramadan bazaar in Geyland Serai the other night, Flemming and I found ourselves in front of a big red and white striped tent with a performance by the very same troupe in full swing. We sat down a while to take it all in. This was my first time watching a Teochew opera. I didn’t understand the language, nuance behind the make up, gestures and various stage elements. But its story was universal enough for the gist of the tale to come …

Thieves Market, Sungei Road

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My father used to bring me to the Sungei Rd Thieves Market on weekends, to have a browse. You never knew what you would find there. The market used to cover a much larger area than it does today, with most of it already eliminated by the construction of the expanding rail system. What remains will eventually surrender to the same fate. Picture: Fujifilm X-T10, 35mm, JPEG only.

Kopitiam, Singapore

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In an old coffee shop somewhere in/near Bugis with Chia Aik Beng: She made us teh peng and kopi ice (ice tea, ice coffee) and then scurried around serving other customers , refilling containers, clearing tables. I am frequently unbalanced by the land of my birth. When I am here I want to leave; when I have left I long to belong. Places like these are a sliver of the Singapore that I remember as a child in the 80s, tagging along with some adult, being scared of the crusty old characters that run them. I have no personal association with them, but they feel oddly accessible, unlike the things that are familiar. Thank you ABC for taking the time out of your day to meet with us. Picture: Fujifilm X-T10, 35mm, JPEG only.

The making of the Fujinon XF 16-55 video: A $4.20 product shoot with the X-T1

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One of the pleasures of shooting the Fujinon XF 16-55 video, was figuring out how to showcase the product on its own. I mentioned in the X-T1 filming review, that I’d wanted to transpose a car commercial style onto the product showcase itself, so this was what I worked on. These are the original clips used in the movie, slightly sped up: What did I use to these film product clips of the XF 16-55mm? A few very simple, and cheap things: 1 x A2-sized black sheet for a surface & backdrop (SGD $1.40) 1 x stack of books as a camera stand (SGD $0 if you happen to visit the library regularly) to create my “set” in my old bedroom in Singapore:   For the all important lighting to sweep the lens with: 1 x cheap torchlight (SGD $2.00), …

Shooting the XF16-55mm F2.8 promo movie: the Fuji X-T1 (with pre-release Ver 3 firmware) filming experience

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Have you watched the new Fujinon XF 16-55mm f2.8 promotional movie? No? What are you waiting for? I love the delicious hedonism of car commercials, slivers of light slipping over sinuous metal curves, evoking speed, performance, beauty, divine luxury. I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to shoot a car commercial for a company like BMW, or Subaru. When Flemming and I pitched the Fuji XF16-55 project to Fujifilm Japan, which included a video component, I had only one thing on my mind: A car is a shiny metal object with curves. A lens is a shiny metal object with curves. The X-T1’s version 3 firmware included manual video control. Give its to us, the preciousssssssssss! At the start of December, Fujifilm Japan sent a big box to my Mum’s place in …

The new Fujinon XF 16-55 f2.8 – promo movie

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Fujifilm 16-55 Promotional Movie from Charlene Winfred on Vimeo. For most of December, Flemming and I have had the pleasure of making stills (him) and a promotional movie (me) for the brand new, highly anticipated Fujinon XF 16-55mm f2.8 lens that’s just been released. We had a musician create the original soundtrack this time. Tusind tak the brilliant Rasmus Kjærbo for great work on this project! Video I shot the video on a gorgeous Graphite Silver Edition X-T1 with a XF 23mm f1.4, both on loan from Fuji Japan. The X-T1 was pre-loaded with the new Version 3.0 firmware. Read about my experience making this video with a lightweight, all-Fuji setup. Stills Flemming’s sample images (crazy clean, contrasty, vibrant JPEGs straight out of the camera) can be found here. Massive thanks …