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X-Thusiast Featured Photographer of the Month: Dale Rogers

Posted by Fujifilm Australia

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"Last look" Woolamai Beach, Phllip Island, VIC. Fujifilm X-T1 + XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS

Fujifilm Australia is excited to introduce Dale Rogers as our next X-Thusiast Featured Photographer for May 2016. Hailing from Phillip Island, Victoria, Rogers shares how he uses his Fujifilm X-T1 and Fujifilm X-T10 to capture the world around him, teaching others to do the same.

Let’s start with the basics: Where are you from? What are your hobbies? What inspires you from day to day?

I’m a native Texan now living on Phillip Island, Victoria. I came to Oz 19 years ago for a year-long holiday and I’m still here! I enjoy being outside, exploring, learning and creating new adventures. I enjoy bush walking, camping, surfing, reading, teaching others, spending time with family and documenting it all with photography.

My wife, Cecilia, and I run Photo Rangers, an adventure-based photography business from the island. I love the challenge of thinking about how we can use photography to educate others about ecological and conservation issues and thinking laterally about how we get this message out to as many people as possible. My wife and I teach adventure-based photography workshops each weekend and our workshops combine the teaching of photography skills with helping the participants understand the unique island environment—its flora, fauna, geology and seasonal cycles. We've also just released a free app, PhotoRangers, that continues our mission to provide quality education and assistance to photographers. Photo Rangers is an opportunity to combine my two passions—photography and an intimate understanding and appreciation of our environment.

What inspires me day to day is the pursuit of capturing a moment in time, telling a story with my images and teaching others to do the same.

How did you develop an interest in photography?

I’ve always been interested in photography from the time I was a kiddo. A keen interest was rekindled at the dawn of the digital era since I could get instant gratification from each press of the shutter button and it cost me nothing to fill up a compact flash card compared to the expense of buying and developing rolls of film.

I take inspiration from Jay Maisel, who is a master of seeing light, colour, shapes, patterns and movements and being cognisant of the moods these create in the image. Jay once said, “It’s always around. You just don’t see it.”

I also admire Rick Sammon, the “Godfather of Photography.” Rick has reached more people with his books, articles and workshops than anyone I know. He is a man on a mission to make photography fun for everyone and I appreciate his energy, creativity, inspiration and passion. As I was starting Photo Rangers, Rick told me to focus on my passions and let people see my personality and the workshops would be successful. I recall his words of wisdom as I gear up each weekend.

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"Heavenly Tears" Cadillac Canyon, San Remo, VIC. Fujifilm X-T1 + XF18mmF2 R

How would you describe your photographic style?

I call my style Eco-Photography. It’s a style that places the environment and wildlife as the main subject with the intent to increase awareness and support of conservation efforts. To highlight the interconnectedness of human experience with the environment and the necessity to be conscious of maintaining the balance that is required.

What's your favourite location to shoot in Australia? What's your favourite subject to shoot?

My favourite location to shoot is on and around Phillip Island. There are epic locations with grand towering granite monoliths like The Pinnacles, to sweeping surf beaches like Woolamai Beach, to intimate wetlands teaming with wildlife like the Rhyll Inlet, to limestone reefs teeming with dinosaur fossils from ages long ago. This is where I live and I am never far away from an amazing place to photograph.

What's your favourite X-series camera? Why do you prefer that particular model?

I’ve shot with many of the Fujifilm cameras and currently own a X-T1 and a X-T10. I like the buttons and dials on the X-T1. All the settings I want to change and change quickly are located at the tip of my fingers on top of the camera. The grip is just big enough to feel like I’ve got firm control of the camera.

The X-T1 is also weather-sealed which is essential for my style of photography. I’m often clinging to the top of a cliff in howling winds or being soaked from crashing waves or sandblasted by gale-force winds on the beach. It’s comforting to know that the camera can stand a little exposure to the elements.

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"Roll Tide" Cadillac Canyon, San Remo, VIC. Fujifilm X-T1 + XF18mmF2 R

I also love the small size and weight of these cameras. I move around a lot in my photography and hike, climb, crawl, wade, etc., to get the shots. I can carry two Fuji cameras, one on each hip. Their size also means I can now get away with a much smaller and lighter tripod. In essence, I’m much more nimble and mobile with the Fujifilm setup.

Which Fujinon lens(es) do you prefer?

I like shooting with a prime lens because it gives me a sense of purpose and makes me hunt for the right composition. I also like their sharpness, smaller size and weight in comparison to zooms. My favourite lens hands down is the XF18mm. I take this lens everywhere and use it constantly.

When I go in for an intimate landscape shot, my preferred lens is the 35mm f/2. This is an awesome tiny lens that creates beautiful shots. Out on an adventure, I usually carry the 18mm on one camera and a 55-200mm telephoto on the other.

Could you describe your photographic workflow? Do you prefer any third-party software or camera accessories?

I use the histogram in the EVF and the distance meter all the time. I will set the ISO and aperture to my prefered values, then adjust the shutter speed while watching the histogram. I am particularly conscious not to have it peak on the far right side and potentially blow out highlights in the shot. The histogram provides a quick way to get just the right exposure. I am a much more efficient shooter and have more keeper shots using this method.

I use the distance meter at night to get the right focus in low light. It’s great for finding infinity focus when you are out shooting the Milky Way. Additionally, I don’t use many accessories and try to keep my kit as light as possible.

Any final thoughts, tips or advice you'd like to share?dale_rogers

Shoot every day, carry your camera with you wherever you go. Find the shot rather than waiting for the shot to come to you. Also, know your gear. Learn to use your camera in total darkness and change your settings based on feel. Know how to access all the features in the camera quickly. Your camera should be a natural extension of yourself and it should not cause you to pause and fiddle before getting the shot.

Follow Dale's brilliant work on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Every great photographer needs the right tools of the trade. Interested in adding to your photograhy arsenal? Find a X-series retailer near you!

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