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) )
  • Nice photographs Kevin. I particularly like the asparagus on the chopping board. Simple composition, almost minimalist. The marks on the board hint at a long history and show that it is a working kitchen. The Acros simulation brings out all the detail superbly.

    I love it too in my X-Pro2. I tested out the in camera jpg vs applying the simulation to the raw files in Lightroom and the difference was massive – far better with the in camera processing. I’m happy to use Acrosfor all s my black and white wedding work.

    I wonder if there is a way to bracket the film simulations, plus shoot with raw at the same time?

    • Thanks Barry – and sadly there is no way of shooting film sim bracketing & Raw.

  • Very nice b/w images! Your experience with the Acros film simulation on the X-Pro2 is fascinating! I will also have to test shooting at ISO 100, as I was a bit surprised that one can see a difference between it and ISO 200! Thanks again for this article.

  • Kevin Clarke

    A cracking set of images Kevin. I particularly like the ones on the pass – there’s a natural vignetting due to that light intensity that adds a certain je-ne-sais-pas… And love the action within the dough-throwing too!

  • Terrific images Kevin, taken from some interesting points of view, which really add interest. As always I’m loving the punchy B&W. In fact, as someone who shoots primarily B&W myself, I’ve unashamedly copied your (X100T) settings and couldn’t be happier with the results.

    • Thanks Adrian and of course, use those settings – its why I publish them 🙂

  • Very good images Mullins,loving the Acros Film Simulation from what i can see from around the Web,although the Highlights i think is a little bit soft for my taste,but only in some pictures,i don’t know if it has to do with the white balance.

    Cheers

    Bruno Ribeiro

  • Another great article and series of images! Did you spot meter most of these shots? I find more and more I like spot metering with my X70.

    Regards,
    Michael R. Garcia

  • Lars M

    Kevin, it is possible to use ISO 100 with RAW files also on the X-Pro2. Nice images!

    • Hi Lars – yes you can. But this is expanded ISO – not native.

  • Thanks Kevin these are awesome images. Across does look superb. I can understand Fuji not putting Acros on the XT1 with the XT2 being released.
    What is a pain though is that it doesn’t look like Fuji will put Acros on a firmware update on the X100T. I updated from the X100 to the 100T which was a very good move but don’t want to have to update the 100T as it is perfect for me. So if I use Acros on a newer XT I won’t be able have similar jpegs from 100T. How are you matching up your 100T and XP2 Acros jpegs. Best regards – Andy

    • Acros film simulation is sensor specific. AS far as I’m aware there is no physical way of applying it retrospectively. For X100T I’m still using B&W + R Filter.

  • Across!!!

  • Brett Patching

    Really nice images Kevin!

  • Wonderful Kevin! My question involves the settings you use for shadows, highlights etc. can you offer any guidelines on how you decide on +3 shadows etc etc
    Thanks!!!

    Ben

    • Hi Ben – I find I prefer to have deep shadow areas and this is the way to do it in camera. Its very subjective of course. Recently, I’ve been shooting colour for my Street work and its been more +1 for shadows.

  • Thanks Kevin. That makes sense about the sensor.
    Sorry I put the comment in when I had a couple of minutes to read your article and didn’t notice that I spelt Acros with a double s in the first line or it spell checked me so I was saying doh!!!! to me for spelling wrong.

    Had a chance to look in more detail at your images and they really are excellent art!!

  • Jason

    Hi Kevin,

    Love the series and and the photo compositions. After reading through most of your posts I’m finding myself using spot metering more and more.

    Were most of these shot with the camera in program mode or did you use a combination of aperture/ shutter priority?

    • Hi Jason – actually, most of these were shot in Aperture and shutter priority. The kitchen was quite a dynamic place and light was very different from one end to the other. In some cases I needed to slow things down to enable certain parts of the image to come through adequately. I do shoot a lot in P mode though – wherever I can in fact.

  • EDUARD GRECU

    Hi Kevin,
    First of all, thank you for being with us for that day, an absolute honour!
    I don’t know if anyone noticed that there is no un-wanted converging vertical here, the shots are superbly “clean”, for something taken on the wing, as you never disturbed us or stopped us for a split second! The mastery of light and shade in black and white is already a trademark of yours but the framing is shockingly accurate. I have gone back and forth through these images and it really strikes me how the viewer’s (my) eyes go straight on the most important element of the image, but the context is also incredibly well defined; everything is where it should be. For someone that was “just walking around”….Lovely diagonals and the light gently melting into shade….I’m lost for words, this is class! Thank you for sharing the settings and the Acros tips with us!… Take care!

    • Thank you Eddie – and actually the pleasure was all mine. It was worth it for the Monkfish alone 🙂

  • Living in North Devon I very much enjoyed the article and images Kevin.

    Just wanted to ask you as general question, what is your opinion if any and reader’s experience with Iridient Developer, Ive been using it as a Lightroom 6 editing tool and the consensus is that its fantastic on the fuji !
    I like the results so far ! not much information from third parties on usage etc and I believe it only runs on Mac.

    Hope you don’t mind me asking the question, and thank you for sharing you knowledge with the rest of us!!

    • Honestly David – as a PC user I have never used ID. Its MAC only. I know some people who love it….

  • Hi Kevin, iI have a question regarding the order in which you use your focusing. How do you use the back button focusing in combination with spot metering? I’m assuming you use the AE-L first pressing (press and release to lock instead of hold) it to select and lock exposure, then you lock focus with back button AF-L, compose, and then take the picture. If you do, how do you do it so fast? Of course if this is totally inaccurate, please dispell my assumption. I’ve been trying to practice this to build up my speed for events and weddings.

    • Hi Deveren,

      Actually I don’t use the AE-L button. I use the AF-L button only to lock the focus – then I half depress the shutter to lock the exposure (focus, recompose), then shoot when I’m ready. Obviously this only locks the exposure for one shot (or burst). If I really need to switch the focal point manually or really need to lock the focus specifically (which is very rare), then I’ll use the AE-L button. However, I always use the centre point as a rule and focus/recompose.

      Cheers

      Kevin

  • Chris Scott

    Hi,
    Are your settings specific for this type of “indoor”shoot? Or are they the general ones you use for all your photography using Acros R?

    Also do you ever dabble with Acros G?

    Ps maybe Ken Rockwell was right all along about shooting JPEG and not RAW

    Thanks
    Chris

    • Hi Chris,

      I’m pretty standard with my settings – though they might change slightly if I think about changing the accordingly. Generally though, I like to not worry about changing things as much as possible. I’ve recently tried the Acros+ye filer and I like that. Way better than the standard Mono+ye.

  • Valentin Minguez

    I still can’t understand the main differences between the 3 ways of mettering. (Spot, average and multi)
    Keep it that way mate!!! Love your stuff!!

    • Hi Valentin – if you point your camera at a bright light source (like a light bulb – not the sun), then switch the metering you’ll get a good idea.

  • Hi Kevin Just been reading your article on Acros film simulation. Did you mean you can shoot both colour and Acros simultaneously? Loving the X Pro 2. Enjoyed the article.

    Regards

    Colin Bate

    • Hi Colin,

      Yes, you can shoot up to three film simulations at the same time. Nifty feature. Sadly you can’t shoot RAW as well.

  • Joseph Walsh

    I too like “vignettes” pass pics
    Kevin, is there a way to do two film sim brackets rather than three?
    Thanks for all you do.
    Joseph

    • Sorry Joseph – just three or none I’m afraid.

  • really really fantastic styled pictures, i like this bw style.

    but how did you manage to avoid the horizontal stripes which occurr when using the electronic shutter in artificial light, at least my experience ?

    thank you kevin !

    • Hi Chris,

      That will only happen under certain frequency lighting. Mostly the power saving low emission type lighting. I always check on the EVF if its occurring before continuing to shoot.

  • Valentin

    Hi Deveren,
    Actually I don’t use the AE-L button. I use the AF-L button only to lock the focus – then I half depress the shutter to lock the exposure (focus, recompose), then shoot when I’m ready. Obviously this only locks the exposure for one shot (or burst). If I really need to switch the focal point manually or really need to lock the focus specifically (which is very rare), then I’ll use the AE-L button. However, I always use the centre point as a rule and focus/recompose.
    Cheers
    Kevin

    Hi Kevin, I did not get it, actually I’m doing like Dereven

  • Stefan

    Hi Chris
    Love your work. Rally inspiring for me.
    Just a question. When you shoot in Film bracketing Mode. What is your third Setting or can you change the Settings that only two versions of the picture will be created ?

    • Hi Stefan – I normally put the third one on Provia or Standard. I rarely use it though. You have to have three, you can’t just select two.

      Thanks Kevin

  • John Samuel

    “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.”

    As I understand it, if one uses the film simulation brackets all the tweaks to colour, sharpness, highlights, shadows etc are ignored. You can choose the order of three default films.

    So you can have Acros+Ted, Classic Chrome and Standard – but all three at default settings. If, for example, you like deeper blacks you have to accept either post-processing or not using film bracketing.

    At least that’s my understanding.

  • John Samuel

    A subtlety my initial comment overlooked is that the film simulation mode does honour all the Q settings.