In continuation from last month, we at Fujifilm Australia are happy to announce Mr. Nathan Brayshaw as our new X-Thusiasts Featured Photographer for March 2016. In his recent interview, Brayshaw relays his thrill for travel and adventure through Fujifilm photography.
Let’s start with the basics: Where are you from? What are your hobbies? What inspires you from day-to-day?
My name is Nathan Brayshaw. I can’t tell you how excited and honoured I am to be featured by Fujifilm Australia! I have resided on the Gold Coast for 35 years. I work in an office all day, which is not the most creative environment for a photographer, so I really look forward to my days off and holidays. Besides photography, I like to lift really heavy things. This year marks 30 years of gym life for me. Other than that, I’m inspired by people who manage to make a great image out of nothing. The people who see the extraordinary in the ordinary. I carry a camera with me every day, always trying to get a better photo than yesterday.
How did you develop an interest in photography? How would you describe your photographic style?
I’m a late bloomer in the photography world. Initially, I struggled. My photos were poorly composed, badly lit snapshots. I carried three hand-written cards with f-stops, shutter speeds and ISO settings with me all the time, determined to learn to shoot full manual and get the shots that auto didn’t allow—whenever I left the house I had a camera and those cards with me.
I don’t know if I have a style. My work consists of corporate headshots, boudoir photography, product photography and sports photography. I also sell my travel images. I’ll take a photo of anyone or anything, anywhere and anytime. Some of my photos have a “look” to them and people can tell it’s my work.
What's your favourite location to shoot in Australia? What's your favourite subject to shoot?
I love photographing from the water. I grew up surfing on the Gold Coast and try to get into the water at every opportunity. We are lucky to have such beautiful, clean, wide open beaches in Australia. I love big waves! Trouble is the best photos are in the impact zone.
I would also like to do more portrait work, much like my images from China, Pakistan and Indonesia. Local people going about their day at home and in the workplace. They are my absolute favourite photos. Whenever we go overseas, I’m always wandering the back streets and suburbs to see who is out and about.
What's your favourite X-series camera? Why do you prefer that particular model?
I bought the X-E2 the minute it was released. The X-E2 and the Fujinon XF18-55mm lens arrived and I struggled at first. It only had an electronic viewfinder and I struggled with the zoom lens. I carried it daily till I was used to it. It was small and quick to focus and gave me great images even at ISO 3200. I could get great images on the street, beautiful landscapes at 18mm and fantastic boudoir images at 55mm. And then the firmware update with Fuji’s Classic Chrome film simulation came along and, oh my God— I was in love! Truth be told, I did not realise the depth of the love affair until I bought the Fujinon XF35mm f1.4. Now I was in heaven. Shooting on the street in really poor light at 1.4 in Classic Chrome, I took some of my very best photos. With this combo I achieved my “signature look.” However, if I had to choose a favorite camera body, it would be the X100. That’s the camera that taught me the most about photography.
What are some of your favorite features or aspects of your preferred Fujifilm model?
The X100 series is just so versatile. The 23mm perspective is great for everyday photography. I’ve sat it on handrails in the dark and used the timer to take long exposures of traffic and cityscapes; shot low-light, indoor boudoir photos; used it with a handheld flash for portraits with a fast shutter speed in bright light and taken some of my very best street photos with it.
It’s hard to define a favourite feature on my X100. I just like taking photos. The X100 is just a great all-around camera and perfect for people who just want to take good photos. I carry my X100, a lens cloth, spare battery and memory card in my pocket and I’m off wandering the streets looking for inspiration.
Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer?
My XF35mm1.4 lens is my favourite. First, it is awesome for portraits. My best portrait shots from my travels are from this lens, mostly at f/1.4 and in very poor light. Sharp with beautiful bokeh. Move up to f/8 and auto shutter plus auto ISO and I can walk along and get fantastic street photos. Then, if that’s not enough, move up to f/16 and point it at the sun and I get beautiful sunstars. All this PLUS it’s a small, compact lens.
Could you describe your photographic workflow? Do you prefer any third-party software or camera accessories?
I’m not big on editing, mainly because I like to do it right with my camera in the first place, and I don’t really know how to edit. Saying that, nearly all my photos get a basic tweak in one of two ways. One, when I’m on the road (road-tripping or overseas and just can’t wait), I’ll use the wireless function on my X-E2 or Eye-Fi card on my X100 to send photos to my phone. Then I’ll edit with Snapseed or VSCO and upload to social media. Two, when time permits I’ll edit my raw images with Aperture (on a Mac), and then with Google’s Nik Efex if I think the photo needs something extra.
Do you have any advice to new photographers or the next potential X-Thusiast?
Your current Fujifilm camera is more than capable of taking great photos. Push it to its limits. I know a few talented photographers on the X-Thusiast roster from social media. I love looking through the X-Thusiast submissions to see who is getting the most out of their Fujifilm camera. I also follow a lot of blogs looking for inspiration and there is definitely a unique look to Fujifilm photos. If I was to provide any advice to those photographers, I would say take a lot of photos of unique scenarios. Perhaps put your camera in burst mode and take a bunch of shots. This can be helpful if you have more than a couple of people in the shot and someone blinks or looks away. Don’t be scared. If you are friendly and professional, you’ll find your subject will be more than obliging.
Any final thoughts, tips or advice you'd like to share?
Use your camera daily. Carry it with you all the time. Photograph what inspires you and photograph it often. I’m not looking for the next Instagram hit. I’m learning about aperture, shutter speeds, ISO and dealing with varying light. Knowing these things makes it so much easier when you meet a stranger in the street at 10 p.m. in Pakistan and you just have to take her photo.
Most of all, print your memories and put them on the wall. They don’t have to be masterpieces. I have selfies of my little family from all over the world on walls around the house. Above our main photo wall is the quote, “The best things in life aren’t things.” Embrace it. Live it.