Stepping out of the comfort zone

I have shot with Nikon since I got into this digital photography world. I have great confidence in my camera, and I know what it can do.

Last Friday, was the National Day of Honour for the Canadian Forces who were deployed in Afghanistan for the past twelve years, and to remember the 158 service people who made the ultimate sacrifice.

I made a point of heading down for the event, and chose to leave my Nikon gear at home and bring my FujiFilm X-T1 and lenses instead. The X-T1 is still a new camera to me, and I’m not using it enough. I decided to change it up, and try something different and use the Fuji. My lens selection is purely primes – 18mm, 35mm and 60mm (28, 50 and 90 35mm equivalents). I was a bit nervous. No zooms, and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, other than a flypast with a selection of aircraft used in the missions. I didn’t really want to be swapping lenses throughout the ceremonies, but that is what I chose and I stuck with it.

I went down early enough to scope out the location and find a good vantage point. The event took place on Parliament Hill, and there was a Chinook helicopter and other Canadian Forces items on display. So I got to go inside the helicopter and see the other displays before the masses appeared.

Chinook Helicopter

Chinook Helicopter at 18mm.

I had an awesome spot, until all the security people blocked my views. I stuck to the 60mm for most of the event, trying to get some good shots. I switched out to the 18mm for the flypast – which happened so fast, I didn’t really get great shots of it.  They were okay, but I kept thinking if I had my Nikon gear it’d be better. But in retrospect, it wouldn’t.  It was just the need for the comfort of a heavy camera.

However, the X-T1 did shine. The back LCD screen tilts for better viewing. I’m not one to use the LCD as the viewfinder, but as the march of the flag from the Kabul base came up the pathway, I used the tilting screen to raise the camera above the crowd and get a photo or two of the procession. Couldn’t have done that with my Nikon.

The flag procession using my 60mm and tilt screen to get above the crowd.

The flag procession using my 60mm and tilt screen to get above the crowd.

It was a fine ceremony, and while at times I wished I had a zoom (even though it probably wouldn’t have been as useful in the end), the lightness of the Fuji meant I never had a sore back for the three hours I was standing in one place. I’m looking forward to the new zooms coming in the fall that are weather sealed and have a constant aperture.