Eduard Grecu is the award winning head chef of the kitchens at the amazing Woolacombe Bay Hotel.

He also happens to be a Fujifilm photographer himself, and a very good one he is too.  We became friends via this website and he very kindly invited my wife and I down to Woolacombe to shoot some behind-the-scenes documentary type images of the kitchen.

If you are looking for one of the most stunning hotels in the most stunning little cove in Devon, then you really need to check out The Woolacombe Bay Hotel.  It’s a really beautiful, family run hotel-retreat with, as mentioned, amazing food, an excellent spa, tennis courts and pretty much anything else you can imagine you’ll need. It’s a minutes walk from the gorgeous sands of Woolacombe Bay.  We will be visiting many times in the future as a family.

I’d been contemplating shooting more personal work over the winter months and something that interests me, along with my Being British theme, is the idea of documenting the “behind the scenes” of everyday activities.

Having worked in a kitchen myself when I was younger, I’ve remained fascinated by the industrious nature of them.

I love how a team can seemly work together from prep through to plating and we, as the consumer, simply see a gorgeous plate of food.

I had previously been scouring my edition of White Heat – the Bob Carlos Clarke photographs of Marco Pierre White and whilst I can’t ever emulate the gritty emotion and intensity of those images, I wanted to produce something that I could at least claim was inspired by the book.

Acros Film Simulation

I’m totally in love with this film simulation and I think, personally, for this kind of social documentary photography it can add a little bit of bite.

I shot the images entirely on a X-Pro2 with a combination of the XF 16mm F1.4 lens and a little use of the 56mm F1.2.

My configuration in my X-Pro2s for all of these images (there are JPEGs of course):

  • Acros + Red filter
  • +3 Shadows
  • -1 Highlights
  • +2 Sharpness
  • -3 Noise Reduction

I actually shot the images in film bracketing mode, which means I have a colour version for the hotel and Eduard as well as the Acros based monochrome version that I wanted.

One thing to note when using Acros; don’t enable the cameras “Grain” option.  There is ‘organic’ grain built into the Acros film simulation and if you add more grain, its going to be over cooked (see what I did there?) in that department.

JPEGs

All of these images are JPEGs from the camera.  I haven’t done any processing with the exception of a little cropping and straightening and in a couple of images a touch of burning.

As mention on my RAW v JPEG blog post, whilst I like to shoot JPEG, there is no “right or wrong” way of course.

However, what I will say is that it took me four minutes flat to get these images from the card to the finished images (and there are a lot more that I’ll be giving to Eduard).  Had I been processing these from RAW, it would have taken a considerable amount longer.

I personally love how the Acros JPEGs come out of the camera and I’ve yet been able to emulate it correctly using the Adobe Lightroom rendering of their film simulation modules.

Using Expanded ISO on the Fuji X-Pro2

You may notice in the EXIF details on some of these shots that I have used the expanded ISO level of 100.

The Fuji X-Series sensors only have a base ISO of 200 for RAW files, but if you are shooting in JPEG you can use the expanded ISO option and reach down to ISO 100.

In some of the images, the light was very tricky and I really wanted to test the 100 ISO level more than anything.  It works well with a slow shutter speed.

Of course, using a very low ISO, and Acros film simulation (which in turn adds grain) can seem a little like an oxymoron but it has its place and on the 100% files I can notice a difference between files shot at ISO200 and ISO100.

Spot Metering and The Electronic Shutter

You may notice a couple of the later images of the food on the pass, I’ve shot at extremely high shutter speeds (in excess of 1/25,000th of a second).

I’ve had to use the electronic shutter built into the X-Pro2 to do this of course.

The reason for needing those shutter speeds is because the light under the pass is intense, and I have chosen to spot meter on the food to try and make a more dynamic image.  In turn, this is driving the shutter speed up as the area I’m interested in is very bright – shooting at a lower shutter speed will have resulted in a badly over exposed image.

Anyhow, here are some of my favourite images from the shoot.  As ever, I’ll answer any questions you may have below.
x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  18mm F2 Lens @ F2, ISO 100, 1/80th Secondx-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  18mm F2 Lens @ F2, ISO 100, 1/160th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 400, 1/300th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 250, 0.5 Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.8, ISO 400, 1/210th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 200, 1/170th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F2, ISO 400, 1/210th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F2.2, ISO 400, 1/200th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F2, ISO 400, 1/200th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.6, ISO 400, 1/180th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F2.5, ISO 400, 1/200th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 400, 1/125th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 400, 1/160th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 400, 1/150th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 400, 1/125th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 400, 1/150th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.8, ISO 400, 1/200th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F4, ISO 400, 1/210th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F5.6, ISO 400, 1/220th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 200, 1/8,000th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 400, 1/320th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 400, 1/25,00th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  56mm F1.2 Lens @ F1.2, ISO 200, 1/23,000th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  56mm F1.2 Lens @ F1.2, ISO 400, 1/2,500th Second
x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  56mm F1.2 Lens @ F1.2, ISO 400, 1/300th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 400, 1/320th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 400, 1/210th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 400, 1/200th Second x-pro2 and acrosFujifilm X-Pro2:  16mm F1.4 Lens @ F1.4, ISO 400, 1/2500th Second

  • Happy Snapping – Kevin (in my Studio in Malmesbury, listening to The Essential Guy Clark (RIP Guy) )