Every year my family goes to Milford Lake, Kansas, to spend a few days catching up on things, fishing, swimming, boating, tubing…all the normal kinds of things you might do while vacationing at the lake with siblings, nieces, nephews, and parents. And the occasional four-legged family member too :) Normally I return from those trips with a handful of shots to put up here on Weekly Fifty, but this one was a little different. I found that, contrary to most of our trips over the years, I did not take as many shots of the world around me and instead most of my pictures were the people around me. Not that vacation-based photography has to be one or the other, but I didn’t find that I had my usual inspiration or creative spark for taking photos of nature, even with my macro lens that I specifically brought with on the trip for that exact purpose.
The exception to all of this is the shot that you see here, which is one of the last pictures I took during the entire trip. It was a warm Monday evening in late July and those of us who were left at the cabin, after some others had gone home due to work and other obligations, were sitting by the campfire watching the light fall and the fireflies begin their daily dance while we roasted marshmallows and chatted about life. As the sun settled behind the horizon I saw a great opportunity to take a picture before the last bits of daylight faded away, so I ran to the cabin, grabbed my tripod and Fuji X100F, and hightailed it to the beach to take a few pictures.
The key to shots like this is a long shutter, which smooths out any ripples or imperfections in the surface of the water, and it’s the kind of scenario that the X100F is practically made for. It’s built-in 3-stop ND filter means you can leave the shutter open for much longer than normal, and get some great results that are basically impossible with a smartphone. I ended up shooting this at f/16, ISO 200, with a 13-second shutter and I’m super pleased with how things turned out. (After a bit of tweaking the RAW file in Lightroom, of course.) You know what I really like about this though? The reflections of the grass, or whatever those things are, in the water. The stalks are still but the reflections are blurry, because there actually were some subtle movements on the surface of the water. It lends an almost dreamlike quality to the image that isn’t present in a lot of my other sunset pictures I’ve taken over the years, and while I didn’t expect it I do quite like it.