Shiga Kogen, located in the north of Nagano Prefecture, is my main field of photography. I have known about this place for more than 20 years and have visited it from time to time, so it is a familiar place for me to photograph. However, as I have been going there every month for the past four years, and now spend nearly 1/3 of my month there, I am surprised to find that I am beginning to feel as if I am living there, instead of just being a traveler.
I was able to spend some time in such Shiga Kogen with the X-T5. I would like to share with you what I felt as a photographer when I went out into the field with this new camera, and how the X-T5 responded to my feelings and expressed them.
Bringing out the Reality of Nature
Landscape photographers must be interested in how closely they can reproduce the reality that exists out there. Of course, I am one of them. I wonder if it is possible to fulfill this desire…. When I tested it in a dense primeval forest, as an expressionist, I was delighted to be able to capture images that were extremely close to realism. It was the moment when the resolutions of the 40.2 megapixel sensor fulfilled my wish as an expressionist to bring out the reality of nature.
As I walked through the misty forest, trees rooted in the rocks appeared before me, as if blocking my way. Looking up at the landscape from a low angle, I could feel the breath and smell of the forest and the presence of lurking creatures. I am sure that this photo conveys those feelings.
In front of me was a tree and a rock that had become a giant elephant-like figure with its nose held high in the air. When captured from a low angle looking up at the figure, there is something ghastly about it. The shutter speed was 1/8 second, but thanks to the powerful image stabilizer, hand-held shooting was possible, and the image was captured exactly as intended.
The cave behind the large rock that supports the nose of the giant elephant is a space that can fit a single person, so I crawled in with the X-T5 and the XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR and looked up to see the forest through the hole above my head. Dismissing the feeling of uneasiness, I took hand-held photos, which realistically depicted the reality that lied beyond the surreal space.
Twin trees covered with moss. To capture the realistic appearance of the moss at 40.2 megapixels, the camera was mounted on a tripod and angled straight up, pulling out the 3-way tilt screen on the back of the camera. The sensitive expression of the moss was captured in its full glory.
Reacting to that Moment
Landscapes continue to change their appearance regardless of the photographer. At times it remains still, and other times it transforms in the blink of an eye and challenges the photographer. That is why I need a camera that can react to immediate movements as my partner.
When fast-moving clouds drift over the mountains or when the landscape constantly changes, it is crucial to be able to get into shooting position as quickly as possible. X-T5 has a deeper and firmer grip than the previous model, making it possible to capture such scenery without missing the shot.
Water striders are busily floating on the water’s surface. At the same time, the colorful clouds that appeared around the sun reflect in the water, creating a landscape of mixed colors and patterns. By taking a series of shots hand-held while following the movement of the water striders, I succeeded in capturing the beauty of the patterns created at the moment when the striders intermingled.
This is a scene when a round outline appeared as the sun overlapped with the clouds. Since clouds quickly change shape and move, capturing the position of the sun and the shape of the clouds in the desired composition requires a camera that is responsive to the photographer’s quick movements, and the handheld shooting method produced a solid result.
”Capturing a World of Beautiful Colors”
One of the reasons I use the X series is because of its film simulation. Especially Velvia, adds drama to morning and evening landscapes, so I use it frequently and rely on it. The beautiful images I see on the rear monitor after shooting with the X-T5, whether they are in Velvia or not, inspires and makes me want to shoot another image.
The plateau is covered with prairie greens, and the sky creates a gradation of colors, with yellow, orange, and blue overlapping each other from bottom to top. This is by no means an after-the-fact exaggeration; it is the result of the film simulation. These colors fascinate me, and that is why I use the X series.
This is the moment the sun emerged above the sea of clouds visible from the mountain pass. The sky above the clouds is burnt golden, the clouds are slightly bluish, and on the slope in the foreground, there are yellowing Japanese knotweed leaves and grass that still remains green. Here is a morning drama that can only be felt thanks to the richness of the colors.
This is the scenery just before sunset. Clouds are actively moving, making the landscape appear dynamic. Although there are clouds in the sky, a clear blue sky can also be seen, giving the impression of early autumn. The evening sun illuminates the grass in the foreground, enveloping the scene with warm colors at the end of the day. The true essence of X-T5 is its ability to create colors that speak about the content.
“The Gaze Towards Detail”
The magic of the X-T5 is that the resolving power of 40.2 megapixels makes it possible to become bored of limiting yourself with shooting only large landscapes. While large landscapes will never exceed themselves no matter how much extended prints are made, the small landscapes beneath your feet can, in some cases, be viewed at a size that exceeds reality. This has been said before, but when you pick up the X-T5, you will want to try it. At least I do.
The spider’s web is covered with drops of water and boasts a beautiful appearance. The red fruits of mayumi around the area were used as a point of blur. I focused on the center of the spider’s web. When I zoomed in on the image, I was surprised to discover that not only were the drops beautiful, but the web’s owner also looked very realistic!
I suddenly spotted a group of mushrooms at the corner of my eye. I was intrigued by the appearance as if a large family had gathered in a rotting tree, so I decided to turn my lens on the mushrooms. Although it looks manageable, it is a difficult subject to capture, however I managed to capture a family in the bright blur of the background.
A dragonfly was resting on the top of a daylily bud. Although the subject was quite far away, I thought it would be possible to capture the dragonfly in detail by using a super-telephoto zoom lens, and as I was composing the image, another dragonfly suddenly crossed the screen. I was able to release the shutter at that moment and was unexpectedly able to capture this shot.
A small scenery found near a pond. The rain drops on the curved leaves are glistening in the faint backlight. For this scene, I chose “Classic Negative” as the film simulation, and I purposely suppressed color information to bring out the presence of the drops. I believe it was this awareness of detail that led me to take this image.
“Affinity with Landscape Photography”
It is better to be as light as possible in the field, in extreme terms, even a gram of weight is better. At the same time, it must be easy to handle with a solid feel. In addition, the lens should have the resolution to capture the smallest details. It would be better if it is possible to use different colors according to one’s preference….
Although there is no end to my ideals, the X-T5, with all these features, has a sufficiently high level of performance as a tool for landscape photography. My expectations for the X-T5, which has now achieved a drastic increase in pixel count, are high, and I am looking forward to seeing how it will affect my future creative activities.
While shooting in heavy rain, obviously it goes without saying that if you use a body and lens combination with excellent weather resistant capabilities, you know that you will get good results, so all that is left is for us people to be patient.
The moment when the setting sun on the edge of the mountain also appeared on the surface of the water. I used a half ND filter, timed the shot, and fine-tuned the shooting position, all in a hurry to get the shot. It was quite a difficult scene, but X-T5 captured the moment exactly as I wanted it to be.
There is something exceptionally enjoyable about going into the wilds with a camera. If the camera is the one that we trust with all our hearts, it is even better. The X-T5 has broken out of its traditional shell and has come before us with unparalleled resolving power, yet with the capability of being quick and flexible in its shooting. I can’t wait to see where this camera will lead photographers, and how far it will expand the world it depicts.