Flemming Bo Jensen http://flemmingbojensen.com Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:12:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Getting our kicks on Route 66http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/04/20/getting-our-kicks-on-route-66/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/04/20/getting-our-kicks-on-route-66/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:06:03 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6380 FlemmingBoJensen-blog-usa-mmr2014-3411

Williams, Arizona and some old-skool Route 66 awesomeness.

MMR 2014 continued: We got out of Los Angeles as fast as we could. We headed North East, destination Britton, South Dakota in search of my family history. Our first stop was the classic ole’ Route 66 town of Williams, Arizona. Apart from the truly horrible food we ended up buying due to being tired, jetlagged, on a tight budget and everything closing really early on a Sunday, this was a very fun trip back in time.

After Williams, AZ we stopped by the very grand Grand Canyon and then we continued straight north east through Arizona into Colorado. I can still replay all the beautiful moments in my head of driving through the american west. The Navajo land of Arizona in the setting sun. Crossing majestic mountains in Colorado. Finding Blue Bell ice-cream in a small gas station. And finally arriving in Salida, Colorado which proved a nice place to rest for a few days (in the funkiest of western style motels) before our final run towards South Dakota. A run which involved 3 states in one day and a college rodeo. Stay tuned!

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Tired and jetlagged we ended up eating truly horrendous food from Dairy Queen. It said Open and everything else we could afford was closed.

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A very funky motel room in Salida, Colorado

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Classic road to nowhere in Colorado

 

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Fujinon XF16mm F1.4 lens – the wide angle wonderhttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/04/16/fujinon-xf16mm-f1-4-lens-the-wide-angle-wonder/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/04/16/fujinon-xf16mm-f1-4-lens-the-wide-angle-wonder/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 05:00:13 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6325 Culture Box, Copenhagen, Denmark. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 1/200 at F1.6, iso3200

Culture Box, Copenhagen, Denmark. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 1/200 at F1.6, iso3200

For the past 3 weeks I have had a prototype of the Fujinon XF16mm F1.4 lens on loan from Fujifilm to test, review and shoot sample images.

I use wide angle a lot in my work and I have been looking forward to the XF16mmF1.4 for a long time. I am a sucker for the wide shot and often in my music photography I need to create a dramatic look. Wide angle lenses and I were made to join forces in our quest for the epic. Fuji already produce some really nice wide angle lenses, but this one promised an aperture of F1.4 and I need speed in my nightclub photography.

I am not a technical reviewer, I do not go into all the technical specs of the lens nor do I shoot test patterns or studio shots. Actually I am not a reviewer at all, this is me working with the lens in real situations and my impressions after 3 weeks of use. Some of the images will be grainy due to io6400 as I used the lens in the dark environments I normally shoot in, not in perfect studio conditions. I have not specifically gone for shooting at F1.4 all the time (actually a few times I wanted to but accidentally moved the aperture ring to F1.6) but most of the images are all in the F1.4-F2.0 range – a range no other wide angle Fuji lens can do. On many of the images I have chosen to post the same in camera jpegs as I have delivered to Fuji – I continue to be amazed at how good the in camera jpegs are. Please, note that this is a prototype lens, not a finished product.

Music photography

I work as a commercial music photographer shooter, and I have used the Fujinon 14mm F2.8 lens very often when working music events and it is absolutely a great lens. But it is only aperture F2.8 and sometimes it is so pitch black in these clubs that I need F1.4 to capture what tiny bit of light there is. So the 16mm F1.4 promised to be the perfect music wide angle lens and obviously the first thing I had to do was test the 16mm in a nightclub.

Culture Box, one of the very best clubs in Copenhagen, very kindly allowed me access to shoot with the 16mm lens on a Saturday night in late March. The main room in Culture Box is appropriately called Black Box – it is close to a dark hole in the universe, bathed only in the slightest of red light. No problem at all because the 16mm lens really lives in this pitch black environment. Set the aperture somewhere between F1.4 and F2.0 and iso at iso3200-6400 and I have nightvision! The 16mm feels and operates is very much like the 14mm but the difference between F1.4 and F2.8 literally is night and day at times. The red light is difficult to capture but the dynamic range of the Fuji X-T1 and the fast 16mm lens makes it possible, the red shadows may be somewhat grainy (I happen to like grain) but the entire dynamic range of the reds are captured with no clipped highlights.

After using this lens at two club nights, there is no doubt for me. This is the perfect wide angle for music photography! It is super fast at F1.4, the pictures are extremely sharp and detailed and I highly recommended it. It will be a permanent lens in my bag whenever I go to work to capture beats in the dark.

The following is a selection of my work from Culture Box. I have chosen to leave the images as unprocessed straight out of the camera jpegs, the same images I delivered as samples to Fuji. It really is quite astonishing how good jpegs the X cameras deliver. Bear in mind this is a prototype lens, not a finished product.

Culture Box, Copenhagen, Denmark. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 1/140 at F1.6, iso4000 - in camera JPEG

Culture Box, Copenhagen, Denmark. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 1/140 at F1.6, iso4000 – in camera JPEG

DJ Jean Von Baden at Culture Box, Copenhagen, Denmark. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 1/200 at F2.0, iso5000 - in camera JPEG

DJ Jean Von Baden at Culture Box, Copenhagen, Denmark. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 1/200 at F2.0, iso5000 – in camera JPEG

Culture Box, Copenhagen, Denmark. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 1/70 at F2.2, iso4000 - in camera JPEG

Culture Box, Copenhagen, Denmark. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 1/70 at F2.2, iso4000 – in camera JPEG

DJ Jean Von Baden at Culture Box, Copenhagen, Denmark. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 1/210 at F2.8, iso6400 - in camera JPEG

DJ Jean Von Baden at Culture Box, Copenhagen, Denmark. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 1/210 at F2.8, iso6400 – in camera JPEG

Culture Box, Copenhagen, Denmark. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 1/80 at F2.0, iso6400 - in camera JPEG

Culture Box, Copenhagen, Denmark. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 1/80 at F2.0, iso6400 – in camera JPEG

Astro photography

I am no expert at all in astro photography. But the 16mm F1.4 really is ideally suited for this so I wanted to do something special that included shooting a night sky. After returning to Perth, Australia, Charlene and I rented a car and headed for the excellent Nambung National Park. This place is rather alien looking and a great place to test the lens at astro photography. That is, if it would stop raining! Argh! Darn weather! It never rains in Perth right? Well it has been raining and raining. Every day I looked up at the sky and cursed the weather gods. Finally one Sunday, deadline running out, Charlene and I took a chance, headed north and were really lucky with about 3 hours of no rain and only some clouds.

Charlene was testing her new Fuji video rig, and she discovered just how good her new Cineroid video light also served as a light source for our night shots. All of these pictures are basically lazy me sitting behind the tripod on my ass (a behind the scenes post is forthcoming!) and Charlene coming up with a lot of cool shots. I particularly love the first one where Charlene is holding a star in her hand!

These pictures are all unprocessed in camera jpegs, I want to show you the sample images straight out of camera. Again, bear in mind, this is a prototype lens.

Charlene at Nambung National Park, Australia. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 5sec at F4.0, iso400 - in camera JPEG

Charlene at Nambung National Park, Australia. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 5sec at F4.0, iso400 – in camera JPEG

Charlene at Nambung National Park, Australia. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 30sec at F1.8, iso250 - in camera JPEG

Charlene at Nambung National Park, Australia. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 30sec at F1.8, iso250 – in camera JPEG

Charlene at Nambung National Park, Australia. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 20sec at F1.4, iso400 - in camera JPEG

Charlene at Nambung National Park, Australia. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 20sec at F1.4, iso400 – in camera JPEG

Nambung National Park, Australia. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 20sec at F1.4, iso500 - in camera JPEG

Nambung National Park, Australia. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 16mm lens, 20sec at F1.4, iso500 – in camera JPEG

Macro

I know very little about macro photography, but I was just goofing around with the lens and discovered that I can focus on objects only 5cm away! Actually, the minimum focus distance of the lens is 15cm but since the lens itself is about 8cm long and the lenght of flange back is 2cm then you can focus on your Boba Fett keyring standing only 5cm from the lens. The bokeh is really rather nice on this lens too and it is quite amazing how much out of focus you can get the background on a 16mm lens.

"He is no good to me dead". Best image I have ever shot, period! 16mm lens, F2.8

“He is no good to me dead”.  Boba Fett on my Macbook. Best image I have ever shot, period! 16mm lens, F2.8

Charlene and the infamous lens 35mm hood! 16mm lens, F1.8

Charlene and the infamous lens 35mm hood! 16mm lens, F1.8

I have no idea how I got this in focus! 16mm lens at F2.8

I have no idea how I got this in focus! And wow my sensor is dirty. 16mm lens at F2.8

Some other pictures

A small selection of random images I made during the 3 weeks where I have carried and used the 16mm lens every day, shooting over 800 images.

Copenhagen at night. 16mm lens, 17 sec at F11.0

Copenhagen at night. It was freeeeeezing cold making this shot.  16mm lens, 17 sec at F11.0 – in camera JPEG

Charlene with her awesome video rig at Nambung National Park, Australia

Charlene with her awesome video rig at Nambung National Park, Australia. 16mm lens, F4.0

Charlene at Greens cafe, Leederville, Australia.

Charlene at Greens cafe, Leederville, Australia. 16mm lens, F1.8

Australia is the land of upside-down!

Australia is the land of upside-down! 16mm lens F1.8

Summary of my impression of the Fujinon XF16mmF1.4 lens

  • Image quality. We have come to expect great things from Fuji lenses and this lens delivers. It is extremely sharp and detailed. Even at F1.4 details are very finely rendered. Colours are as you can see in the Culture Box shots very vivid and has detail. It is a lens totally on par with the best of the Fuji primes, the image quality is everything I would expect and hope from a Fuji lens. There is not too much wide angle distortion either.
  • Build quality is also as we have come to expect from a Fujinon lens, extremely high. It is build very much like the 14mm and the 23mm.
  • The lens features the clutch focus ring which works well enough. I must admit to not quite being a fan of the clutch though and I never quite figured out why some lenses (35mm, 56mm, 16-55mm etc) have one type of focus ring and others have the clutch.
  • The autofocus is generally fast and very reliable.
  • Size. Well we all want every lens to be the size of the 18mm right. I know I do. But, have to respect the laws of physics. I want F1.4 at 16mm at super image quality from this lens so that requires a certain amount of light to get through and a certain amount of glass. It is about the size of the 56mm lens and I never felt the 16mm was too big or heavy when working with it.
  • This is the perfect wide angle lens for shooting music photography, and will be a permanent lens in my bag. I also feel it is great for astro photography, any kind of night time wide angle work like street or documentary photography at night.

Thanks

Thank you very much to Fujifilm Japan, Fujifilm Nordic, Culture Box in Copenhagen – and the most magic of all, Charlene Winfred.

Finally, a picture of yours truly and the 16mm wideangle wonder. Picture by Charlene Winfred.

Me and the 16mm. Picture by Charlene Winfred.

Me and the 16mm. Picture by Charlene Winfred.

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903 years of time travelinghttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/04/10/903-years-of-time-traveling/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/04/10/903-years-of-time-traveling/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 10:58:41 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6308 I am still a youngster even if I just had my 903rd birthday as a time traveling jedi. This time we celebrated in Perth, Australia, a slightly less epic setting than then 902 and 901 birthdays. But the setting is not important, all that matters is spending the day with the love of my life and I had some magic birthday days orchestrated by Charlene. The days also included Charlene and I giving a 2 hour Fujifilm X-series Showcase talk at Camera Electronic in Perth. As usual we shot a lot of silly pictures of each other, and here are a few of mine and a lot of Charlene’s wonderful black and white shots of this time traveling hipster on his birthday.

Birthday boy pretending to be cool...and young

Birthday boy pretending to be cool…and young…shallow DOF hides the wrinkles

Birthday boy waiting for the train...pretending to be cool...and young

Birthday boy waiting for the train…pretending to be cool…and young

Trying to focus with old eyes

Trying to focus with old eyes…but good hair at least

Cake! Wonderful birthday cake!

Cake! Wonderful birthday cake!

Birthday boy laughing as the awesome Moon cafe uses old LP covers as menus, making him feel right at home.

Birthday boy laughing as the awesome Moon cafe uses old LP covers as menus, making him feel right at home.

Birthday boy pretending to be cool...and young

Birthday boy pretending to be cool…and young

Birthday boy and his podium

Birthday boy and his podium (try not to fall off, a new hip is expensive)

And a few of my images:

Charlene, Wanted Dead or Alive, making magic with her brand new Fuijfilm X-T1

Charlene, Wanted Dead or Alive, making magic with her brand new Fuijfilm X-T1

Pure. Magic. Awesomeness. Love.

Pure. Magic. Awesomeness. Love.

Finally, the poster for our Gypsy Magic show – might be coming to a town near you soon!

The flyer for our Gypsy Magic Fujifilm showcase show!

The flyer for our Gypsy Magic Fujifilm showcase show!

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Egyptian Lover at Sonar Copenhagenhttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/04/05/egyptian-lover-at-sonar-copenhagen/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/04/05/egyptian-lover-at-sonar-copenhagen/#comments Sun, 05 Apr 2015 13:01:35 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6298 Egyptian Lover - performance

“Eight … oh … motherf#cking … eight!”. Egyptian Lover is a legend and his performance at Sonar Copenhagen on the Red Bull Music Academy Stage was nothing short of old-skool brilliance. The room was pumping and jumping and dancing. “8 0 motherf#cking 8!”.

FlemmingBoJensen-RedBull-Sonar-EgyptianLover-3289 Egyptian Lover - performance FlemmingBoJensen-RedBull-Sonar-EgyptianLover-203632 FlemmingBoJensen-RedBull-Sonar-EgyptianLover-203637 Egyptian Lover - performance

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Courtesy at Sonar Copenhagenhttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/03/24/courtesy-at-sonar-copenhagen/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/03/24/courtesy-at-sonar-copenhagen/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 21:55:36 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6286 FlemmingBoJensen-RedBull-Sonar-Courtesy-3087

She came, she played, she conquered. Copenhagen-based Courtesy brought her “deep sea techno” to a packed RBMA stage at Sonar Copenhagen and proceeded to blow the roof of the place.

Courtesy - performance Courtesy - performance FlemmingBoJensen-RedBull-Sonar-Courtesy-203571 Courtesy - performance Courtesy - performance

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Los Angeles Cowboys at the Smog Ranchhttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/03/21/los-angeles-cowboys-at-the-smog-ranch/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/03/21/los-angeles-cowboys-at-the-smog-ranch/#comments Sat, 21 Mar 2015 09:38:51 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6258 LA in the morning from Griffith Observatory. Notice the lovely brown alien invasion swallowing the city.

Charlene looks out over LA in the morning, from Griffith Observatory. Notice the lovely brown alien invasion swallowing the city. (Also, the level of sensor gunk and dust on my X-T1 in this picture is truly epic, even including some weird UFO reflection!)

September 2014, Los Angeles Spaceport. We sail through immigration surprisingly easy, and efficiently get our rental car, our ‘home’ for the next 3 months. We took off from Copenhagen at 3pm, flew for 11 hours, and then landed at 6pm same day – cue a massive jetlag. I may have flown around the world for more than 5 years but jetlag I can never escape.

I have been to Los Angeles once before. I was not a fan. LA and I do not agree any better on this second of encounters. LA is in the death grip of a disgustingly hot heatwave. It must surely be 100 degrees celcious. The air is standing still, tastes un-breathable. People walk like zombies in a post-apocalyptic mood. Traffic is hell. I cannot wait to escape.

The one major LA highlight: We drive down to the Smogranch and stay with my good friend Daniel Milnor and have a million laughs. Charlene makes an awesome portrait of two cowboys casually hanging out. Milnor interviews me for Shifter.media.

Then we hit the road. Get the hell outta LA. Ah the freedom of the open road.

Venice Beach in a heatwave. The world has ended. LA is all that's left in this post apocalyptic nightmare.

Venice Beach in a heatwave. The world has ended. LA is all that’s left in this post apocalyptic nightmare.

The most beautiful thing to hit Hollywood. Charlene rocks the Hollywood style complete with Fujfilm X-E2 and jetlag.

The most beautiful thing to ever hit Hollywood. Charlene rocks the Hollywood style complete with Fujfilm X-E2 and jetlag.

Two cowboys at the Smogranch. Picture by Charlene Winfred.

Two cowboys at the Smogranch. Picture by Charlene Winfred.

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Sonar Copenhagen – AV AV AV and it is All Goodhttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/03/17/sonar-copenhagen-av-av-av-and-it-is-all-good/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/03/17/sonar-copenhagen-av-av-av-and-it-is-all-good/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 09:27:50 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6254 AV AV AV bringing down the house at Sonar Copenhagen. Credits: Flemming Bo Jensen / Red Bull Content Pool

AV AV AV playing “All Good” and bringing down the house at Sonar Copenhagen. Credits: Flemming Bo Jensen / Red Bull Content Pool

This past weekend I had the pleasure of working for Red Bull at Sonar Copenhagen festival. I got to shoot and experience amazing acts such as Courtesy, ALO WALA, Egyptian Lover and AV AV AV. Two amazing – and long days – followed by a long day of post processing means I am still rebooting brain cells, so much more to come on this blog in time. For now, just an image from the fantastic world-premiere performance of AV AV AV.

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Sixteen Thousand Kilometershttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/03/08/sixteen-thousand-kilometers/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/03/08/sixteen-thousand-kilometers/#comments Sun, 08 Mar 2015 19:48:06 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6238 Charlene piloting us through the spellbinding landscapes of Montana. I am on DJing duties.

Charlene piloting us through the spellbinding landscapes of Montana. I am on DJing duties.

On September 12 2014, Charlene and I set off on a US road trip, the third US road trip in two years and the third installment of Mad and Magic Raving – this one kicking off almost on the two year anniversary of the first one. We landed in Los Angeles and 90 days later, having maxed out our visas, we found ourselves back in Los Angeles, boarding a plane bound for Singapore. In between we drove more than 16,000 kilometers and lived 3 months on the road in the US.

It was the best 3 months of my life.

3 months of magic and complete freedom, a search for wonder and magic – and family history. And we found it, the magic, we really did. We always do in the US. Life since then has been somewhat mad, so I am only now starting to dig into the images and memories. This is the first in a line of Mad and Magic Raving 2014 blog posts and stories. We had only a few planned stops along the way, we needed to get to Britton, then to Seattle, and we wanted to end up in New Mexico. The rest was spur of the moment decisions along the way, enabling us to stumble into wonderful experiences such as a college rodeo and the most stunning of National Parks – Glacier – that I had never heard of. So where did the magic take us?

Sixteen thousand kilometers on a map

Yes, we did not exactly take the most direct route – what would be the fun in that anyway! But we wanted to get to Britton before the cold weather set in. So we ended up doing a figure 8 that looked something like the map below. This is what our sixteen thousand kilometers roughly looked like:

Mad and Magic Raving 2014 - Sixteen Thousand Kilometers

Mad and Magic Raving 2014 – Sixteen Thousand Kilometers

Los Angeles, California. Williams, Arizona – Grand Canyon. Cortez, Colorado. Salida, Colorado. Laramie, Wyoming. Chadron, Nebraska. Rapid City, South Dakota. Britton, South Dakota. Rapid City, South Dakota. Cody, Wyoming – Yellowstone National Park. Jackson, Wyoming – Grand Tetons National Park. Bozeman, Montana. Kalispell, Montana – Glacier National Park. Missoula, Montana. Seattle, Washington. Portland, Oregon. Moab, Utah – Canyonlands & Arches National Parks. Cortez, Colorado. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Needles, California. Los Angeles, California.

These are just some of the main stops along the way in chronological order. Many more stories from all of these places to come.

Mad and Magic Raving forever.

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The Five Dollar Camera Baghttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/03/03/the-five-dollar-camera-bag/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/03/03/the-five-dollar-camera-bag/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:55:58 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6225 The Five Dollar Bag in it's glory.

The Five Dollar Bag in it’s glory.

Like most photographers, I have a bag fetish. The quest for the perfect camera bag keeps photographers busy and bag manufacturers happy! Most photographers have way more bags lying around than they want to admit. We’re suckers for bags for our gear. I have my fair share of bags but my quest is over. I have actually found my perfect bag. My preciousssss. It was waiting for me in Montana of all places.

I had been looking for a super light weight and small shoulder bag for my Fuji gear. I usually carry one camera and 2 lenses, headphones, wallet and my journal, so a small bag is all I need. And ever since having a neck problem in August 2014, I am super careful about my neck, shoulders and back. All of my current shoulderbags were just too heavy. I had been using a very small backpack for a while, which is good for my back and neck, but very impractical for shooting and trying to get gear in and out of a backpack.

Close up of the detailing by Charlene.

Close up of the detailing by Charlene.

One afternoon in October 2014, Charlene wandered around the lovely city of Missoula, Montana. We spotted a camera shop in a basement and went in. They had a small table with used gear and I immediately eyed this vintage funky bag. The brand of the bag is called Coastar and apparently the bag is from the 80s.  But it looks just like a 70s Pan Am aircrew carry-on bag – the ultimate in hipster cool camera bags! The bag was incredibly light weight. It had 3 compartments, just the right size for my stuff. The compartments were coloured blue inside, making it easy to see and find small items. It was worn with a perfect hipster look. And it had a$5 price tag  – yes, five dollars. The perfect price for a on-10-dollar-a-day budget gypsy!

This bag is awesome and I mean it. It really is my favourite of any camera bag I have used. Then Charlene drew my name and a lizard similar to my tattoo on it, making it perfect. It is now an essential part of my outfit.

The Five Dollar Bag, The One Bag to rule them all!

Jacket, boots and bag - my essential outfit! Picture by Charlene Winfred

Jacket, boots and bag – my essential outfit! Picture by Charlene Winfred

 

On the very night I bought The Five Dollar Bag I am causally diva posing with it in front of a motel! Image by Charlene Winfred

On the very night I bought The Five Dollar Bag I am causally diva posing with the full outfit on, in front of a motel in Missoula, Montana. Image by Charlene Winfred

 

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Zouk Singaporehttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/02/25/zouk-singapore/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/02/25/zouk-singapore/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 06:45:44 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6206 Zouk Singapore

Zouk Singapore

Zouk – I remember the name from reading music magazines in the early and mid 90s. The legendary Zouk nightclub where international superstar DJs went to play in the faraway land of Singapore (which I knew nothing about at the time). Fast forward a few years (well, quite a few!) and I find myself working and at times basking in the spotlight in Zouk, the 24 year old club that pioneered dance music in Asia.

Enjoying the spotlight for a moment - just before being asked if I was Ferry Corsten's brother!

Enjoying the spotlight for a moment – just before being asked if I was Ferry Corsten’s brother!

I have blogged extensively about our Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 promotional shoot inside the club.  Zouk were incredibly forthcoming and open towards our project and it made it a true pleasure working inside the club (with the nicest security staff I have ever encountered).

The club itself is actually 3 clubs in one – Zouk mainfloor, Velvet Undergound and Phuture. All three connected through walkways inside the building, never do you leave the Zouk feeling. The Zouk mainfloor is by far the largest and leaning towards a more mainstream sound. It is a multi level masterpiece of club design, with the huge chandelier as the center piece. Phuture is a cool little corner venue, where we never ended up spending much time for some reason, although I did end up making a couple of good pictures in there. Velvet Underground was my favourite, an intimate venue with a super awesome sound and visual system. Those ceiling projections, LED lights I gather, are mesmerizingly awesome! I also loved the music in Velvet Underground. Jeremy Boon, Zouk resident DJ through 23 years, played some nice funky deep house warming up for none other than Mr. Simon Green of Bonobo fame on our last night at Zouk.

From the moment we stepped through the door, we entered the world of Zouk. It is an incredibly well designed club of escapism. Everything is perfect for a pure hedonistic fun, for a great night out forgetting all about the world outside. Late at night, getting a taxi back home to Charlene’s mother’s flat in the suburb of Tampines was literally going from one universe to a faraway corner of another. Zouk does this experience so well that I want to go back right now, to escape into the Zouk universe. Their lease is not getting renewed and they have to move, I very much hope they find a new venue, so the Zouk experience can live on. Until I one day can return, here are some more images, all captured on my Fuji X-T1 with the XF16-55mmF2.8 lens.

Crowd caught in strobe light in the Phuture club of Zouk

Crowd caught in strobe light in the Phuture club of Zouk

Jeremy Boon in Velvet Underground, sounded so awesome.

Jeremy Boon in Velvet Underground, this sounded so awesome.

Bonobo in the darkness of Velvet Underground.

Bonobo in the darkness of Velvet Underground.

The rear and celiing projections of Velvet Undergound are superb

The rear and celiing projections of Velvet Undergound are superb

The crowd worked hard to avoid the turbo lasers inside the Zouk Main room

The crowd worked hard to avoid the turbo lasers inside the Zouk Main room

Ferry Corsten always wanted to be a quarterback and gets ready to throw an imaginary pass.

Ferry Corsten always wanted to be a quarterback and gets ready to throw an imaginary pass.

One guy in the crowd could shoot huge laser bolts out of his arm. That's normal.

One guy in the crowd could shoot huge laser bolts out of his arm. That’s normal.

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Just a Travelerhttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/02/16/just-a-traveler/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/02/16/just-a-traveler/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 08:31:34 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6195
Charlene at Canyonlands, Utah. Fuji X-T1, 18mmF2 lens
Charlene at Canyonlands, Utah. Fuji X-T1, 18mmF2 lens

Canyonlands, Utah. The Southwest of the US is possibly my favourite area on the planet. On day one of a week long celebration of her birthday, Charlene contemplates the scale of the majestic canyons. They feel science fictional to urbanized eyes. Getting to the edge of this outhanging rock took crawling on the ground. The wind is fierce today. This is not a place for falling over. It is a place for loosing oneself in the open sky and the vast view. A place to feel the impact of nature. A place to visit in dreams until we can return.

“That’s what I am: just a traveler. Imagine it: no tax, no bills, no boss. Just the open sky.” 

“There’s a lot of things you need to get across this universe. Warp drive… wormhole refractors… You know the thing you need most of all? You need a hand to hold.”

— The Doctor, Doctor Who

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Singapore at Night with the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/02/05/singapore-at-night-with-the-fujinon-xf16-55mmf2-8/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/02/05/singapore-at-night-with-the-fujinon-xf16-55mmf2-8/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 15:17:43 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6169 We head for the light.

From the suburbs, we head for the light.

The main subject for the Fujifilm 16-55mmF2.8 promotional shoot was the two nights at Zouk nightclub (pictures here and here, and movie here), but we did also do a lot of night shooting and filming in Singapore at night. I can never find anything I like to shoot in Singapore during the day, but at night the city is interesting and quite often very epic – especially around the mindblowing Marina Bay Sands area. I have written about Nightwalking in Singapore before, it is one of my favourite things to do in Singapore.

Not much of this footage nor pictures was used as Zouk and the music photography was the main project for the promotional campaign, so here’s a small selection, all shot on the Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens. Apart from the first image, the rest is straight out of camera jpegs.

City still seems quiet

We arrive at Marina Bay Sands. City still seems quiet.

Loads of people at  Christmas at Gardens by the Bay...still quiet, well sort of...

Loads of people at Christmas at Gardens by the Bay, world’s most expensive building in the background…it is still quiet, well sort of…

The worlds most expensive building joined in.

The worlds most expensive building then joined in, with the nightly out of this world lasershow

But then the Bat signal was lit...

And then the Bat signal was lit, the soap bobbles came out, the party started, it was time to go to Zouk nightclub.

Charlene was making the kick-ass Fuji promotional movie (read behind the scenes fun here) so a lot of the time my view of the city was much improved! Not only did it look like this, it also came with a lot of polite instructions from the director (go back, forward, sideways, stop lookup, no up!, no! not so much, no don’t, argh….do it again!). Loved it! :)

Charlene creating the Fuji 16-55 promotional movie

Charlene creating the Fuji 16-55 promotional movie

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Look, it’s the Grand Canyonhttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/01/23/look-its-the-grand-canyon/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/01/23/look-its-the-grand-canyon/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:39:23 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6161 Charlene and the grandest of clouds of Grand Canyon

Charlene and the grandest of clouds at Grand Canyon

“Don’t you want to look at the Grand Canyon?”. For some reason, every time I think of Grand Canyon I think of that Grand Canyon scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation (either that, or the ending of Thelma & Louise). I watched the Griswold’s family and their road trip quest for Wallyworld so many times as a kid, I must admit there are a lot of scenes I can’t help but replay in my head when roadtripping through the Southwest.

The first time I visited Grand Canyon in April 2010 a snowstorm raged. This time when Charlene and I arrives just before noon in the middle of September 2014, a heat spell is toasting the entire Southwest. A spectacular storm in the horizon threatens rain. We wander along the rim in the heat and be tourists with the rest of the tourists (no Griswolds in sight). The dimensions of Grand Canyon almost seem impossible, incomprehensible for a human eye. Hoping that storm comes closer, but not too close. Staring, in awe, making pictures. And of course, searching for fridge magnets, our own little National Lampoon Vacation mission.

Don't you want to see the Grand Canyon? Hint: It's behind you.

Don’t you want to see the Grand Canyon? Hint: It’s behind you.

The grandest of Canyons

The grandest of Canyons

 

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Fujinon XF16-55 promotional movie – behind the scenes shenaniganshttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/01/14/fujinon-xf16-55-promotional-movie-behind-the-scenes-shenanigans/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/01/14/fujinon-xf16-55-promotional-movie-behind-the-scenes-shenanigans/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:56:48 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6140 I got to star in another movie! Wooohooooo!
I'm ready for my closeup!

I’m ready for my closeup!

While I was busy shooting stills (see here and here) with the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 lens, Charlene was busy shooting the promotional movie. If you haven’t seen it already, press play. If you have seen it, press play again!

Directed, filmed and edited by Fujifilm X-photographer Charlene Winfred. You can read much more about the making of the movie on Charlene’s blog on her filming experience post. I am just going to add the filming experience from my viewpoint!

Behind the scenes

During the 3 weeks of filming, this was often my viewpoint:

Charlene working faster than the camera can capture at Zouk Singapore nightclub.

Charlene working faster than the camera can capture at Zouk Singapore nightclub.

Now, yours truly, Hollywood-wannabe-diva, is no stranger to having a camera pointed at me. Diva here has starred in 3 movies previously, including the epic Beyond – and I did a TV appearance too. It appears the camera likes me…well I tell myself that, it’s more that I like the camera to a worrying ego-out-of-control degree. Hollywood surely will call me very soon.

The director did her usual directing: “walk that way, slowly, no faster, no slower, no look, stop, point the camera, no the wrong way, the other way, behind you, in front of you, don’t do that, do that! No, do it again”. This is the director’s third movie but from how good she is at making her directions heard, she’s a veteran already! You’d think that filming in a loud night club would make it harder for the director to make herself heard, but no, not really. One advantage of filming in a nightclub, there’s always a bar nearby and I could pretend I was a big movie star with catering on set (that I had to pay for, but still, catering was available).

The Dynamite Stick Sinker Cam

Charlene and the stick of dynamite.

Charlene and the stick of dynamite.

Why is Charlene holding a stick of dynamite? Because we find, working like this, people give us more space! No, this is the patented Sinker-cam. That just happens to look like a stick of dynamite. Charlene needed to stabilize the camera with some weights and we ended up making the Sinker-cam. It is my gorillapod, with something like 3 kilos of Charlene’s father’s homemade lead sinkers for fishing. Add tape and you have a Sinker-cam that worked remarkably well. It made the security team at Zouk freeze for a few seconds until Charlene demonstrated what the dynamite was for. To their credit, they then happily let us use it. The security team at Zouk is probably the friendliest I have ever encountered, even after we pulled a stick of dynamite out of the bag, they were nice.

Cardboard magic

Did you notice those amazing closeups of the lens with the light beams sweeps in the movie? That’s all Charlene’s magic. She cooked up a $5 product shoot setup that ended up looking outstanding. Read more about the making of the product shoot on her blog. I assisted in the shooting of these scenes by holding the black cardboard and as such, I considered myself an integral part of their success. That is, until I discovered my hold-the-cardboard up skills could be replaced by a cardboard box.

Voice over

Now, parading in front of the camera like a diva I can do. Voice over recording on the other hand is tough. I vote our next movie is a silent Buster Keaton throwback. I must have recorded the voice over 30 times. And that introduction of me at the beginning of the movie? 20 takes or so in different locations. If Singapore’s noise level didn’t kill the take, then I would surely trip over one of the words. Yes, silent movie next!

Credits and thanks

This was fun! What a great project this was to work on. It featured inputs or collaboration from Japan to Portland to Copenhagen to Singapore. And I was thrilled to be featured in a movie about what I love shooting the most, music photography.

  • Directed, filmed and edited by Charlene Winfred
  • Stills by yours truly
  • Original soundtrack by Rasmus Kjærbo. Rasmus made a kick-ass awesome soundtrack for this movie in record time, even at some point getting up in the middle of the night in Copenhagen to make a small correction for us just before deadline. Rasmus, you rock!
  • Thanks so much to Fujifilm Japan and Fujifilm Nordic for this opportunity.
  • Thanks to Zouk Singapore for being fantastic to work with and very supportive.

 

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Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 at Zouk Singapore: Notes & Pictures & Ferry Corstenhttp://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/01/09/fujinon-xf16-55mm-f2-8-lens-at-zouk-singapore-notes-pictures-ferry-corsten/ http://flemmingbojensen.com/blog/2015/01/09/fujinon-xf16-55mm-f2-8-lens-at-zouk-singapore-notes-pictures-ferry-corsten/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 06:24:31 +0000 http://flemmingbojensen.com/?p=6112 Zouk Singapore, main room. Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 16-5mmF2.8 lens

Zouk Singapore, main room. Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 16-5mmF2.8 lens

“Are you Ferry Corsten? Or his brother? You know, you look exactly like Ferry Corsten. This was an actual conversation I had in the main room of Zouk, just before Ferry Corsten was about to DJ. A guy stared intensely at me taking pictures for 5 minutes and then worked up the courage to ask whether I was in fact the famous Dutch DJ – or his brother. I had to disappoint him and tell him I was David Bowie!

Our pitch to Fuji Japan for this promotinal project was Singapore by Night. The pictures are going to be used for the web, brochures, exhibitions and books from Fuji. The main story would be a photo and video shoot at a Singapore nightclub. Following up on my first impressions, here are some more random notes about Ferry Corsten’s brother using the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 lens and our experience creating the stills and the movie for this promotional project.

  • Charlene and I landed in Singapore on the 8th of December, and waiting for us was a big cardbox of wonderful gear sent to us from Fuji Japan. A graphite edition (so so beautiful!) Fuji X-T1 camera with pre-release 3.0 firmware (so we could test the new manual video options) and the XF23mmF1.4 lens for the movie, and of course, the highly anticipated 16-55mm lens. Jetlagged after two days of flying from LA, we still ripped open the box like kids on Christmas.
  • Over the next couple of days we filmed and shot extensively just to get used to the gear. I used the 16-55mm lens exclusively for the whole period of the project.
  • The first things I noticed after attaching the lens was: wow, the build quality is outstanding! And wow, it is a different, bigger and heavier experience compared to the 35mmF1.4 prime I normally use most of the time.
  • Then my next impression was: WOW, the autofocus is incredibly fast!
  • We actually shot and filmed a lot of Singapore by Night, the epic light of the Singapore CDB, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay etc. We ultimately ended up not using much of this as the main story and my main work is the music photography.
  • A week later we had our first of two nights, where Zouk Singapore had most kindly allowed us to shoot and film. We attended the Wednesday TGIW party and were blown away by this world-class absolutely amazing nightclub.
  • Wednesday: The first night at Zouk was a night of learning, learning the lens, the club, the angles, the lights. I made one good picture the entire night. That’s ok, it was a warm-up and using this zoom at f2.8 is a very different experience to using the small 1.4 primes I normally use for my nightclub work.
  • Saturday: 3 days later we had our main event, the big Saturday night with Ferry Corsten (and his brother!) and the fantastic Bonobo. This was our main night, Zouk was packed with people and the dancefloors were pumping around 2am when Ferry Corsten and Bonobo took the decks in the main room and Velvet Underground room.
  • By now I was in sync with using the 16-5mm lens, and Charlene was rocking the video setup. We made a lot of good pictures and video and Zouk was at it’s best this night, pumping dancefloors and amazing sound and light show with tripping the light fantastic lasers and projections.
  • Sunday: somewhat tired after a good night at Zouk, it was deadline for me to deliver the stills. Now, for a promotional shoot you have to deliver unedited straight out of camera JPEGS to Fuji Japan. No processing whatsoever, no cropping, no touching the file at all. This at least means post-processing time is zero, which pleased me. But it is quite a daunting experience to have to hand over un-touched un-edited raws and jpegs. Fortunately, Fuji X-cameras produce some incredibly good in-camera jpegs. Still, I very often wanted to crop a bit, or post-process a bit. No can do.
  • It’s a good experience actually, shooting with the fact in mind that I cannot post-process. For example, knowing I could not crop an image, I took great care in composing the image in camera (check those corners). This is quite a challenge in a nightclub where the light changes every split second, and everything that happens is chaotic.
  • OK, I lie slightly when I say no post-processing. The pictures are 100% straight out of camera BUT the X-cameras allow you to re-process a raw file (I shot raw+jpeg). So for some of the pictures, I could try different conversions in-camera with Provia, Velvia settings etc. Classic Chrome became available via 3.0 firmware but I don’t really like classic chrome for night club shots.
  • I have shot Fuji X- cameras exclusively for 4 years almost but never really used in-camera jpegs much. This exercise made me realise (yes I am very late to the game, it’s a lot of work being Ferry Corsten!) just how insanely good the Fuji in-camera raw converter is.
  • As for the lens itself, I have written my first impressions. I was mostly surprised by how well it actually worked for my club photography, it was a very positive experience. It helps that the main room of Zouk is well lit. In the extremely dark Velvet Underground room I struggled some as the 2.8 aperture was just not fast enough, even at iso6400. Here, my primes at f1.4 would be better
  • There has been a lot of talk about the lack of OIS. Having used this extensively I feel that if OIS would have added more weight, Fuji made the right choice in not including it. Also, the room range is 16-55. Unlike say 55-140mm, the range of 16-55mm is still fine to handhold without OIS. Yes, Fuji makes awewsome OIS, and yes, we as photographers want it all! I mean, I want this zoom to be a constant F1.4, with OIS, and have it be smaller than the 35mm lens. Make it so!
    We want it all, but that’s physically impossible – and would be boring too, what would we complain about!

All images are straight out of camera jpegs from the Fuji X-T1. Thanks so much again to Fujifilm Japan, Fujifilm Nordic and Zouk Singapore. Oh and it is worth repeating, I am a music photographer. I do not make the usual promotional low iso shots in controlled environments. These are real life images of working as a photographer in dark night clubs with next to no light at all, we’re talking shooting wide open always at iso6400. (Read my post about using the X-T1 for music photography.)

Also: Read my first impressions of the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 lens and watch Charlene Winfred’s Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 lens promotional movie and read the making of the movie from Charlene Winfred.

….and…. no I am not Ferry Corsten. Or his brother. David Bowie, yes!

Zouk Singapore, main room with Ferry Corsten. Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens

Zouk Singapore, main room with Ferry Corsten. Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens

Zouk Singapore, main room with Ferry Corsten. Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens

Zouk Singapore, main room with Ferry Corsten. Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens

Zouk Singapore, main room with TGIW. Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens

Zouk Singapore, main room with Transfix. Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens

Zouk Singapore, Velvet Underground with Bonobo. Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens

Zouk Singapore, Velvet Underground with Bonobo. Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens

Zouk Singapore, main room with Ferry Corsten. Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens

Zouk Singapore, main room with Ferry Corsten. Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens

My Fuji X-T1 with the Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens. Processing by Charlene Winfred.

My Fuji X-T1 with the Fujinon 16-55mmF2.8 lens.

Hamming it up for the camera is my superpower! PR shot for the movie, posing with the Fujinon XF16-55mm lens. Picture by Charlene Winfred.

Hamming it up for the camera is my superpower! PR shot for the movie, posing with the Fujinon XF16-55mm lens. Picture by Charlene Winfred.

 


 

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