Ubuntu Help-Portrait: I had the pleasure of joining a group of great people in Swaziland as part of the Ubuntu Help-Portrait. I’ve been wanting to do this since I first heard about it a few years ago. It is a world-wide group where you as a photographer volunteer to go and take portraits of people in need, then the organisation get them printed and a few weeks later the photographers take them and hand them back to the people, all for free. You can read more about it here.
The experience was amazing, with a family there accommodating us, organising the whole weekend from start to finish. I take my hat off to them for all the work, kindness and generosity.
The place that hit me the most was the feeding centres. The kids get their meals there daily, often not having any other source of proper nutrition. A big percentage of these kids most likely also suffer from HIV/Aids and also could have lost their parents to this terrible disease.
For these people, this portrait is just a small moment in their lives that someone actually wanted to capture them in that specific moment, remembering who they are, giving them a sense of self. You can find a lot more Help-Portrait here and some behind-the-scenes images here on Flickr.
I took a decision on the project to only shoot with the X-Pro 1. I read a lot about the 60mm being a problem with focus, but thought I would give it a try. I had no regrets.
When I packed my gear I was in two minds whether or not to take my SLR with my 105mm 2.8 with me. In the end I did pack it purely for back-up, but I’m happy to say it slept in the bag all 4 days.
My experience of the 60mm blew me away. It focused rapidly every time, shooting with only natural light at around f/2.4 or f/2.8. I got over 400 shots on the weekend, not having a single one soft or out of focus.
What I did find was a new, fond respect for the EVF. Because of the focal length and the time constraints on each shot, I used the EVF and also enabled the 0.5 sec preview in the viewer. With shooting in harsh sunlight at times, I could see the image just after the shot and knew if all the elements were in place; focus, exposure, sharpness and that the person had not moved or closed his/her eyes. This enabled me to move rapidly through the numbers and get the shots done quickly, and not having to look down at my LCD to see if the shot was good.
I can honestly and truly say I will replace my SLR with this camera for 98% of my work. Here are some shots I can share from this project, some were taken with the X100S and some with the X-Pro 1.
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