The Day of Freedom has arrived in the UK, where regulations and rules around Covid are now relaxed and people can ostensibly re-enter the world. As a celebration I acquired a new camera, a Fujifilm GFX50r, my first camera with a medium format sensor, but not my first camera in the Fujifilm lineup.
I purchased with the camera a 45mm f2.8 lens, roughly equivalent to a 35mm lens in the full frame world. This is my favourite focal length and provides for me a real world view commensurate with how my own eyes view the world. An aperture of f1.4 is preferable with this focal length, both to increase the quantity of light entering the camera but also to enable greater separation of near and far ground objects, ideal for environmental portraits. A wide angle throws the background out of view and enables the viewer to enjoy the foreground ( often a portrait ) without details behind becoming a distraction.
This lens has an aperture of f2.8, which when the crop factor is taken into account, widens further to around an equivalent of f2.2 which is wide enough to provide pleasing ‘bokeh’, or the creation of a creamy, dreamlike background. The lens is also very sharp at its widest aperture and provides impressive detail and tonal purity.
The combination of camera body and lens is substantial and unexpectedly heavy, but the controls are intuitive and taking these initial images have not been difficult.
The Somerset Levels is a fascinating region, incorporating a rich ensemble of nature, an alluvial reclaimed landscape and scattered small communities of people. It has remained so for hundreds of years, its waterways providing travel opportunities between communities and channels for the original monks to move from church to church. Nowadays, boats are only used in times of flooding and in many ways the landscape is self-contained and has missed much development due to its relative isolation.
I enjoy exploring the landmarks and features left by its human population; the myriad of decaying farm implements, the strange looking houses built to not sink into the peaty marsh landscape and the incongruous deposits of human flotsam and jetsom found everywhere. These objects here are found on a farm in Moorland, and the farm is next to the river Parret as it winds towards Bridgwater. The first and third photographs are of old carnival floats now cast aside but providing clues as to the culture and lifestyle of a major local town and economy. The middle photograph is a visual indulgence capturing the warm evening light falling on boards propped against a barn.