FUJIFILM X-S20 gives seasoned travelers Cameron Seagle and Natasha Alden the opportunity to vlog a little closer to home, in Canada’s rugged Rocky Mountains
Few ideals inspire creativity like the far-reaching corners of the globe. The prospect of the experience is matched only by the potential for photographic treasures. Images were once our only access to verdant forests, barren deserts, or frozen tundra, but travel is now a realistic pursuit. For Cameron Seagle and Natasha Alden, it is a cornerstone of their marital and artistic partnership.
After years of full-time wandering, the pair made a home west of Calgary, Canada, close to one of North America’s natural wonders. Banff is known for its sapphire lakes and towering peaks – and it’s here that Cameron and Natasha used FUJIFILM X-S20 to film and photograph their most recent project. Scenes depict landscape and lifestyle in equally thrilling measure.
“We spend half the year traveling, working on The World Pursuit, then half the year at home, creating for The Banff Blog,” explains Natasha. “It’s the perfect balance. The Rockies checked all our boxes, with natural beauty, good seasons, and easy access to action sports. When it comes to image making, the landscape also helps!”
“The mountains are spectacular – there’s so much to inspire you here,” Cameron adds. “It might be one of the most beautiful places on earth.”
While a passion for image making could surely have grown from a desire to document their adventures, for both creatives it can be traced back further. Far beyond a practical necessity, artistic pursuits have remained a meaningful outlet.
“When we met, Natasha was in film school and I’d been working in production,” Cameron reveals. “She wanted to produce and help craft a story, and I wanted to become a cinematographer.”
“People love seeing the images and if they’re planning their own travels, they want to know what they’re getting into,” Natasha continues. “Our photography and filmmaking has evolved. It’s a huge part of both our websites.”
The pair’s vlog, like their broader work, is a window into another world – alive with the spirit of adventure, and enough to evoke a sense of limitless potential. Having outlived their Hollywood aspirations, there’s no filmmaking trickery to be found. Awe-inspiring visuals are nothing more than the combination of refined vision and capable tools.
“When I was working in the film industry a decade ago, many of X-S20’s features were only available in high-end cinema cameras,” Cameron recalls. “Now you’ve got a huge set of tools in an entry-focused consumer body, making it capable of absolutely beautiful images. For us, the appeal is being able to access that tech in an easy-to-use way.”
Often far from modern amenities and constantly on the move, time and physical effort have become critical concerns for these semi-nomads. Production is grounded in efficiency for the most suitable circumstances, but when positioned in the middle of a frozen glacier lake or halfway up a steep mountainside, demand takes on new life.
“Every creative is busy,” Natasha states, “but when we’re traveling and creating content for guides, we might have a schedule of ten destinations in a day. We simply can’t afford to spend time messing around with a camera when we only have an hour in a location.”
“Usability is what drew me to X Series in the first place, and X-S20 steps it up,” Cameron notes. “For our needs, Vlog mode is simply incredible. You can start in an instant, then quickly change settings as you go, if the light or your visual interest changes. Once you’ve memorized the basic layout, it’s so intuitive.
“We’ll continue creating stills the way we always have – in Aperture Priority mode – so it’s helpful to have that option right there on the PASM dial. Between that and the grip, the ergonomics are great.
“When we hike, like we did for this vlog, we have so little pack space that I often carry my camera strapped to my chest. X-S20’s compact size is perfect in that sense. Despite that, we noticed the battery life has increased hugely,” he continues. “At well below freezing, it held up all day.”
“And we were out all day,” Natasha emphasizes. “We often create like this, from morning to night.”
A light kit bag doesn’t just mean opting for a slimline mirrorless body – it calls for the elimination of all tools outside the absolute essential. A 6lb tripod isn’t worth its weight, and the focusing aids of high-end cinema workflows are entirely out of the question. Thankfully, X-S20 accommodates with an expanded internal toolset.
“The camera’s seven stops of IBIS, coupled with an OIS lens, is enough for smooth handheld footage, which is how we create almost all our imagery. Autofocus was also incredible,” Cameron enthuses, noting the impact of X-Processor 5. “Even with an 8mm focal length, where human subjects were a tiny dot within the frame, Subject Detect mode would pick them up.”
“I found tracking just as impressive,” Natasha echoes. “Cameron placed the camera down on the ice and skated by from a distance – it tracked him the whole time.”
Cameron and Natasha’s closing thoughts are of Fujifilm’s most deceptively simple feature: the image. Where a viewer sees an enticing picture, like Banff’s enchanting landscape, the filmmaker knows exactly how much has gone into its creation. In the case of X-S20, it’s 6.2K 4:2:2 internal recording, 10-bit depth, and decades of color science refinement.
“Image quality does shape the way we impact people,” Natasha acknowledges.
“Especially for video, we often rely on Film Simulations, like ETERNA or Velvia, because it’s too time-consuming to grade a video. With images this good out of camera, we can focus more on the creative process, and sharing our view of the world.”
Learn more about FUJIFILM X-S20 and read the full specifications here.