The Fuji X-Pro1 camera has a soul!

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Peter Drastrup

"I am a dad, musician and freelance photographer based in Aalborg, Denmark."

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Hi Peter! Would you like to start by presenting yourself to the readers?
Hi! Thank you for having me! I am a dad, musician and freelance photographer based in Aalborg, Denmark.

You photograph in a splendid way a diversity of genres, including Landscape and Weddings, but much of your work we know of is live concerts, including everything that happens around you among the public. Do you have a special connection to this type of photography?
I have no special connection to any specific type of photography I think. I just try to stay true to whatever stuff happens in and around me, and do my best to capture how I feel the moment I’m photographing, regardless of the genre. A few years ago when I bought my first X-Pro1 I suffered from some pretty severe stress-related symptoms.

I was on sick leave for quite some time and in retrospect I’d like to think that my daily walks at that time, with only one camera and one lens, capturing whatever, helped me in some sort of therapeutic way to overcome those obstacles I’ve dealt with. So I have a special connection with photography, but the different genres not so much.

What was your first camera and when did you first try a Fuji?
The first camera I bought for myself was back in 2000 I think. At that time I was skating a lot and needed something to capture new tricks and good times. It was an older outdated Sony portrait oriented P&S. 1.5 MP or something. It really wasn’t that great, but for snapping a few shots of my skatebuddies, I think it did okay.

As long as I can remember I have always been fascinated with cameras and video cameras in one way or another. In the fifties, a long time before I was born, my grandad who was travelling the world at the time, bought an Agfa Silette Pronto and started capturing his life. I have always been fascinated by him and all his great stories from around the world and his huge 8mm, VHS and kodachrome slide film collection.

Back in 2003 he gave me his Silette camera and I shot a few rolls of film with it. That really triggered my curiosity towards film photography and a few years later I bought myself an used Nikon FE2 with a whole bag full of lenses and immediately started experimenting. I learned everything the hard way by myself.

In 2015 I bought my first X-Pro1. At that time I had never tried or held any modern digital camera before, DSLR or whatever, but the beautiful retro styling of the X-Pro1 totally won me over.

What’s your current setup? We understand you still have your old X-Pro1. Could you share a picture of it, next to your X-Pro2?
Yes! My main camera, here three years later, is still my first X-Pro1. My current setup consists of two X-Pro1 bodies, one X-Pro2 and the 18mm F2, 35mm F2, 35mm F1.4, 50mm F2 lens and a bunch of old manual legacy lenses. I almost exclusively use the X-Pro1 for documenting my own life and surroundings, whereas the X-Pro2 gets used for everything else. I still think that the X-Pro1 is a better and more durable camera in a lot of ways. That camera has a soul!

What’s your favourite focal lengths and why? Or does it depend on the subjects photographed?
I’m an 50mm (35mm APS-C) guy, that’s for sure. I’ve always been and probably always will be. I want to get close. It’s as simple as that. Almost all my work is shot with an 50mm field of view.

Over the years I have come to the point that I can look across a street or whatever and know almost exactly where I should stand to get the composition I want. Lately I’ve been using the 18mm F2 a lot and I can definitely see myself getting the new 16mm F2.8 sometime soon.

You often photograph in dimly lit places. Do you think the Fuji sensors combined with their fast lenses are perfect match for these situations?
I think that the Fujifilm cameras are a very good option for photographing in dark environments, sure! I will not get into technicalities here, but I think that the X-Trans sensors and especially the first generation X-Trans (1) sensor renders high ISO files better and more organic than any other camera I’ve tried. Especially in black and white.

For your kind of work, in places where the lighting intensity varies constantly, do you prefer the optical or the electronic viewfinder?
I use the electronic viewfinder maybe 90% of the time regardless of the lighting conditions. I almost always shoot in manual focus mode and use the AF-L button for back button focusing and then finetune focusing manually using the Focus Peaking option.

I don’t think the optical viewfinder works that great in manual mode unfortunately. I wish it did! Sometimes when shooting street stuff, I switch to autofocus and use the optical viewfinder, but for everything else I use the electronic viewfinder and focus manually.

You photograph mostly in black and white, using a good amount of contrast and some grain, resulting in a highly consistent style throughout all genres of photography. What’s your file processing workflow?
Thank you! I always shoot with a black and white mindset and 90% of the time I have the standard monochrome film simulation turned on. I always shoot Raw and Jpegs.

I have no typical file processing workflow. I tend to switch up the way I work with images in post, all the time. Of course I have my go-to favorite presets, that are available at my website, but other than that, I have no specific way of doing things.

Looking at your “Music” gallery we are pulled inside the auditorium and concert halls, we feel almost like we’ve been there. Could you share some tips for getting better concert photos?
Leave your zoom lenses at home and get close! When you are close, get even closer. Let go of any preconceived thoughts or ideas you might have had and just submerge yourself in the atmosphere.

Party with the rest of the crowd, in the middle of it all. Feel the vibe, feel the music, feel the beat and move along with it. Get drunk as the rest of the audience and have a good time. Don’t be afraid to fail.

I can and would love to get much more more into detail about concert and music photography, sharing tips and stuff, but I think that has to be an article on its own.

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