It's been an awesome past two weeks with the Fuji x100s - wow is all I can say! A huge shout out to the kind folks at Fujifilm South Africa for letting me test this specimen out. I want to stress that this is by no means a technical review; there are plenty of resources out there that cover those aspects in-depth. I will however, highlight a few things I found interesting and thoroughly enjoyed about this camera. After looking forward to shooting with the Fuji x100s for so long, I'll admit that I was slightly bummed -within the first five minutes of switching the device on I wanted to toss it against the wall... There - I said it… One can forget just how accustomed you become to using a DSLR, which I can pretty much operate with my eyes closed. After fumbling around with the controls and dials for a little while it all clicked (ha - pardon the pun). I was particularly impressed with the menu layout and the Q button (a real life saver); which allows you to access some of the most used controls. Anyway, rocky start aside, the x100s has a quick learning curve and is ergonomically very logically laid out. The amount of customization is astounding; in a couple of minutes everything was set up to my specifications. It was at that very moment that a gold ray of light shone upon me and the x100s (A-Ha moment possibly). This suddenly felt like a photographer’s camera. I managed to set up three different custom profiles that I could access on the fly. I got pretty close to my usual Photoshop look just by tweaking white balance and curves clippings. If you prefer the old-school vibe there are three focusing modes to choose from; standard, split screen and the Jedi-like focus peaking mode - which is the best thing ever. Accessing the menu without removing your eye from the viewfinder is genius thanks to the optical viewfinder (OVF), which is good news for all you chimpers out there - no one will ever know your secret antics.....
Once upon a time in Siberia, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, in a warm bed in a small town, a little girl woke up from a dream. It was morning, but it was still dark out, for the little town was so far North that the sun would not show itself for many months. They called this the Polar Night.
The little girl rubbed the sleep from her eyes and dressed in the dark. She put on her pink jacket and red stocking cap and stepped outside. Her breath froze and she walked in the direction of school. All around her were endless fields of frozen tundra. But the fields were not white like you might think, for up above the Aurora Borealis lit up the sky. It looked like a big green breath frozen in the heavens and all around the little girl were beautiful colors. The snow was painted green. And on some mornings—if she was lucky—she’d even see bits of blue, yellow and pink on her walk to school.
She loved these colors very much. Walking through them made her imagination come alive. She liked to think of the fields as blank canvases for Mother Nature to paint upon. And what did that make her? Was she part of the painting too, in her pink jacket and red hat?
She smiled and her mind began dreaming of the days when the Polar Night would come to an end, when the first sun would light up the snowy mountains, making it look like blueberry ice cream. And then the summer would come, the snow would melt and the tundra would transform into planet Mars with it’s golden color seeming to stretch out forever in every direction.
She thought to herself, “Every season has its own colors.” She stored all these colors in her heart, and walked beneath the Aurora Borealis in this little town way up North.
"Tonight it’s dark in the studio, and I’m curled up in my chair staring at this blank page, about to write the first Wonderland diary entry in 9 long months.. Outside its raining, and this morning brought the first frost I have noticed since last winter. Earlier, as I walked to work I stopped and watched a flutter of yellow leaves circle my boots, reminding me fondly of the cloak I made for ‘The Journey Home’ almost one year ago to the day. These fragments of seasons have become like old friends I find myself silently greeting, one by one as they return unannounced, blown by the autumn wind.
The landscape is changing in colour and I’m hoping for snow, as there is still one last picture I need to create before I can let the story complete. But for now, after months of work I am finally ready to let this last chapter unfold, of what has since become the last 4.5 years of my life. I still can’t imagine the day I write the words ‘The End’ but it is slowly becoming a palpable reality, which leaves a bitter sweet emotion in my gut. The pictures I have created over the last few months have at times pushed me to my limit, and I know I have learnt so much about myself in the process.
I have had days when I have never felt to so happy to be alive, standing in the woods with my camera, so grateful for every precious moment ….. and others where my own crushing lack of self confidence has made me sick with worry, as to whether or not I have created something good enough. It is always the same with me …. all or nothing, the highest highs and lowest lows, but throughout it all I can say I have tried my hardest. I faced challenges I was genuinely scared of, but forced myself through as they were the only way to produce the ending I always dreamt of. So I just wanted to say how thankful I am to the people who have been on this journey with me and taken Wonderland into their hearts, both the followers of the project and the irreplaceable tiny team I work so closely with."- Kirsty Mitchell
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