Mario Villalobos

Playing Around on a Sunday

Before I purchased my Fujifilm X-T4, I had owned the X-T20 for a few years. It was my first “real” camera, and I loved it. I used it every day. I taught myself how to shoot in manual, and I practiced by shooting photos every day. I used the camera like a journal, shooting photos of my days without an intention to share any of them. I just wanted a record of my life while also learning the camera and about photography in general. Those few years were a lot of fun.

But then I broke my camera.

A few days later, I purchased the X-T4, and I really liked it. It was definitely a Fujifilm camera, and it was easy for me to learn it. Unlike my X-T20, though, I didn’t use it every day. I didn’t use it like a journal, so I never really internalized all its little quirks and the flavor of its photos. I just knew it was a “better” camera than the X-T20, with a better sensor, a new battery, more powerful video features, and other specs. But there’s one thing knowing something exists, and it’s quite the other using the thing at all.

Today I just wanted to play around. I feel like I’ve been in a creative rut lately, somewhat because I went through a seasonal phase of sorts shooting beautiful sunrises or shots of leaves, and I kinda expected that’s what people wanted out of me. But I kinda just wanted to break free from that and try new things.

I had to drive north to buy groceries, and with all these thoughts and desires on my mind, I decided to pack my X-T4 and my XF55-200mm lens, a newish lens I hadn’t really used much. I zoomed the lens all the way out to 200mm, put the lens hood on, started my car and just went for it. I drove 65mph down the highway with one hand on the wheel and the other holding onto the camera. I shot through my dirty car windows and just winged it.

I took a bit under 100 photos to and from the grocery store, and these are the five photos I liked. I don’t think they’re the best photos of all time or anything, but that also wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to play. I even messed around with how I edited these photos in Lightroom. The X-T4 came with a new film preset called Eterna Bleach Bypass, this super high contrast look that I never thought I’d use, but here I am, using it. I also cranked up some of the sliders just because, stuff like Clarity and Grain, sliders I’ve used very very conservatively before and now went all out with.

I like these photos and I liked today and I like my X-T4 and I just like photography more in general now. I think this was a very freeing and fun experiment, and I’m going to keep doing it. You know, just for fun!

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