Beltane in Bristol

Hello, much-neglected photoblog!

Sorry for not updating in so long (it’s not you, it’s me). I’ve recently bought myself some new gear, and sold off a lot of the film stuff I had, in an attempt to simplify photography for myself and make it fun again. Will it work? Who knows.

My new toy is a Fujifilm X-T20 with a couple of lenses, which I bought for event photography and general walking about. I’d always heard great things about the Fuji X line, and even from my early tests, I’m finding the X-T20 fun and simple enough to use, even for a simple film idiot like myself.

I took it along with the 15-45mm lens to a local Beltane celebration here in Bristol, at an allotment/outdoor events space in Knowle, organised by the lovely people at Wander Gather. I thought it would be a good real-life test for changing light, taking photos discreetly (I don’t miss that medium format mirror slap), and getting back into post-processing after so long (my most hated part of photography).

We started out in late evening, which made my images a bit muted as the night drew on. I was most looking forward to the sun going down, and trying out the insane low-light capabilities of the camera (12800?? madness).

We were treated to some beautiful songs from DeJa Vu, accompanied by fire poi from Joe, which was very fun to shoot. Even at higher ISO, the shots retained a good deal of detail and colour clarity.

Finally, we tied our wishes/hopes/things to be purged to the wicker man, and set him alight. A few more songs to round off the evening, and we were done – summertime ushered in once again for 2023.

On the post-processing side, I’ve recently given up with Darktable, finding it too complicated to use. I’ve switched to RawTherapee, despite its stupid name – it seems a bit more user-friendly so far, but I have a few final niggles to work out (I’d like to resize upon export, but can’t see how to do this).

My post-processing skills are a bit crap, so maybe it’s time to watch some videos and see if I can pick up any tips. In the age of iphone cameras doing everything for me, it’s easy to look at shots from a “proper” camera and get discouraged at the amount of work that has to happen to make images look decent in comparison.

Still, I shall keep plugging away, and if anyone has any processes/tips for either the X-T20 or RawTherapee to share, do drop them in the comments!

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