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4 minute read

An Exploration of Life

Mio Monasch uses FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR’s unique power to explore more than just the beautiful landscapes of Mount Rainier National Park

As photographers, when asked why we make images, we often immediately think about the end result. For example, it could be that we want to document history, raise awareness, or simply create art. In doing so, it’s easy to overlook the process of picture-making and how, oftentimes, that can be more important than the image itself.

For travel photographer, Mio Monasch, this is a concept that couldn’t be more significant. “I’m enthralled by life and this planet,” he begins. “I’m enthralled by the way a sunrise changes a landscape, the way an artist feels their passion on stage, the emotions that people feel and display. Being able to preserve these moments is important to me, because it helps me further investigate and understand elements of life that I hold dear.”

By using photography as a way to explore and decode the world, Mio feels that it has ultimately taught him to better appreciate life, with or without a camera in hand. “I feel like I notice more around me due to my time spent behind the lens. I appreciate the way wind might affect the plants around me, or see the small details in a leaf while taking a walk with my pup,” he continues.

“I notice the little pauses an artist takes to themselves on stage, I feel like I see people dig into and bring forth different memories and emotions during a wedding, or when completing a basic task in their normal life, because of the way I’ve had to investigate this when taking pictures.”

Mio is the first to admit that in a lot of cases these observations could be nothing more than his imagination, but is that such a bad thing? “It’s brought a newfound creativity, inspection, and realization to so many moments in each day, and for that I owe everything about how I experience life to photography,” he says. “It has helped me discover something special and a newfound appreciation towards moments of life that otherwise could seem mundane or ordinary.”

Mio has most recently been using FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR to explore the moments and landscapes that can be found in Mount Rainier National Park, near Seattle. This is a place and a genre of photography that ties in particularly well with his hobbies of hiking, camping, boating, and fishing. Plus, XF50mmF1.0’s capabilities as a superfast mid-telephoto prime lens complement his style perfectly.

“I feel the most inspired when outdoors and seeing friends and family enjoy themselves in an environment. The relationships in nature between weather, the mountains, plant life, and the stars is something I also love being able to observe so, naturally, framing it is something I enjoy greatly,” he explains.

“I absolutely love using wide apertures in landscapes (something I realize is atypical for the genre), because I love using foreground, trees, anything nearby to create a perspective when viewing the primary subject. I also had a few overnight backcountry trips planned for astrophotography purposes and wider aperture makes a massive difference in that field, so the timing was perfect!”

Travel photographer Mio Monasch uses FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR to make landscape images. Astro photograph of the night sky and Milky Way above Mount Rainier.

Photo © Mio Monasch | FUJIFILM X-T4 camera and XF50mmF1.0 R WR lens, 10 sec at F1.0, ISO 2000

Mio was particularly pleased with the images he made of the Milky Way over Mount Rainier (above) and Liberty Bell Mountain (below). Both were created from a series of 140 different image files that were then combined in post-production.

Not only did he stack multiple exposures to remove noise and strengthen the depth in the sky, he also split the scene into a grid and photographed each section separately to preserve detail. “I photographed five rows, with seven columns per row, and four images for each column in each row. Once I had stacked each area of the end product, I stitched all of the photographs together to create one final image,” he explains.

“I had never created astrophotography with a lens capable of F1.0 aperture,” he continues, “and that made a huge difference, because I never really had to range into higher ISO.

“Most of the time with astrophotography, I try to photograph at the darkest part of the night, with no moon in the sky, to get the brightest color of the Milky Way without any light gradient coming from the sun near the horizon. So being able to make images at a max ISO of 2000 was amazing.

“The amount of detail, considering these images were made around midnight with zero moon in the sky, is insane!”

Travel photographer Mio Monasch uses FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR to make landscape images. Astro photograph of the Milky Way above Liberty Bell mountain.

Photo © Mio Monasch | FUJIFILM X-T4 camera and XF50mmF1.0 R WR lens, 5 sec at F1.0, ISO 4000

Mio believes that choosing the right lens can have a huge impact on his creative process, because it allows him the control he needs to choose the story he wants to tell and how he wants to tell it. “It unlocks the creative vision of the photographer, enabling them to capture and share their interpretation of their subject,” he explains.

“For example, if we’re looking at a mountain, with a sunset lighting up the highest peaks, this in itself can make a powerful image. However, it may only be a small portion of our experience in the moment. It may not tell the full story of our experience, and capturing a more complete image can help others investigate these moments differently.”

With its huge aperture, spectacular bokeh, and beautiful separation, XF50mmF1.0 brought something completely new to his storytelling, while still complementing Fujifilm’s trusted color profile. “This lens is a must-use piece of equipment. I’m absolutely thrilled by the sharpness, tonality, focus speed, and aperture,” he beams.

“Having an aperture of F1.0 is so rare and it provides something completely unique to the stories I’m able to tell with it. Plus, this lens has a really beautiful tonality to it that works very pleasantly with the X Series sensors.

“I’d recommend this lens to almost every type of photographer. I loved it for landscapes
and portraiture. I will 100% use it for live performance with its speedy focus, and the detail
coverage found in the sharpness and depth-of-field will be great for weddings.”

With XF50mmF1.0 now a permanent addition to his bag, Mio can’t wait to keep using his photography to explore the world around him. And if his images can ultimately do some good for the planet, he’d be a happy man.

“I strongly believe that appreciation and respect for nature has never been more needed,” he concludes. “I hope that in my times outside, I can be framing and then subsequently sharing stories of how incredible the outdoors can be for anyone, but with a message of conservation and respect.”
 
FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR is coming soon to your nearest FUJIFILM Authorized Dealer. Learn more and read the full specifications here.


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