Interesting morning shooting with the Royal Parks Shires on two levels.  Firstly watching Tanya driving Heath and Tom as they rolled the bracken in the park made for some good pictures and the reason behind the task was interesting.  Richmond Park is an interesting area because, like a lot of areas that are used for deer herds, It’s cleared ancient forest and if left unchecked the bracken would expand on the acid soil and block everything. However, it can’t just be rooted up as it provides important habitat and cover for lots of diverse wildlife, from the does with their fauns down to butterflies. The answer is to roll it, this breaks the stems an the plants effort goes in to repairing rather than growing and is the solution to the problem.  As this is unploughed, unimproved land with and hills etc. It’s almost impossible to do this with a tractor but the shire horses make light work of it.

From a photographic point of view it was interesting too. I picked up the Fujinon f:1.2 56mm lends on Tuesday and am now carrying three primes as my day to day kit.  The three zooms and the 1.4 converter are on hand for press, commercial and PR type shooting, but for reportage, I use the 14mm 2.8, the 35mm 1.4 and the aforementioned 56mm.  Now it occurred to me today that this equates, to the same focal lengths I carried in pre digital days when shooting on my Lecias.  Thinking about this, I deidedto go the whole hog and put X-Pro 2s into manual mode.  I thought that to set the ISO 400 and control the image totally couldn’t be a bad thing.  About halfway through the shoot, I realised I had an grin on my face from ear to ear and I was thoroughly enjoying the control of the image.

When I got back to the Mac, I looked at the images and the grin came right back.  settling in for the normal post production in Photoshop, I realised there was little if any to do as the images were exactly as I wanted them to be, straight out of the camera.   With the very minimum of “Burning and Dodging” every thing was done and another chapter of the book on ” The Last Herd” was in the can.

Just a note on the 56mm 1.2, this lens is bitingly sharp where you need it to be and yet has a smooth ‘Bokeh” or out of focus area when used at large apertures. I would really recommend it to anyone wanting both a short telephoto and a portrait lens.

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Tanya Melton drives Heath and Tom, rolling the bracken in Richmond Park. Fuji X-Pro-2 set at 400 ISO, Fujinon 56mm f:1.2@f:8 ©Paul Stewart 2016

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