My Fuji journey… Not to the Mountain!
First of all, thank you very much for this opportunity!
My Name is Ahmet and I’m from Munich, Bavaria in South Germany. Maybe you know the biggest Beerfest in the World called „Oktoberfest“… Yeah, that’s where I’m currently living.
I love the city, because of its facets… There are the real Bavarian People, which are difficult to understand sometimes, the wannabe Rich People and „normal“ people…. That’s Munich in a nutshell.
Although the city is known for beer, I drink non-alcoholic beer only. I’m not into alcohol so much, which does not mean I’m boring… If I go out to dance or just to have fun with friends, I’m often the most „drunk“ person.
Some other facts about me:
1. I’m an HVAC Engineer and I love it. I love my job, not only because of the income but mostly because of the creativity. You have to think about so many crazy stuff, which non-Engineers would never Imagine.
2. Besides Photography, I love it to draw, listen to music (about 80% of my day just by the way), and my biggest hobby is being the father of my daughter. I love to educate her and play with her. To see her growing up is just my most passionate hobby.
My job and my family are also a big inspiration for my Photography. My job gives me another view of everything, and that’s giving me some random shots.
My Family also shows me everyday a completely different angle to look at my life and the things I shoot.
The time when Photography entered my life
I think I was about 5 years old when I saw my dad with his video camera at home while filming my siblings and me. I was so fascinated by the lens and the fact that we were seen on TV afterwards. Some months later, my family and I went outside to play football and build some sandcastles. Later that day, all my friends come out, and we were playing on the slide. Then the father of one of my friends wanted to take a photo of us, sitting side by side on the slide, and I was like „What the heck this man doing there with this tiny thing in his hand?“.
Some days later I received the photo, and I was very confused because till then I’ve never seen a photo of me. I was so impressed that I asked my dad how this could even be.
My dad, also very interested in photography, told me everything he knew. He also grew up with a dad who was into tech and stuff… but I’m talking about tech in the ’60s 🙂
The time when photography catches me was when I saw the first Polaroid Camera. It blew my mind to see that this camera printed instantly the photo which was taken minutes ago.
I wanted the same camera so bad, but it was too expensive to get for my parents… so I tried to get every chance I could get to take photos with cameras from relatives and friends.
Since then, I love to shoot photos of everything. The biggest inspiration to take photos is in short: Life!
Let me explain… I’ve got very dark times in my life, but I always found light by myself. The last light I could bring into my life was Photography. I took my camera every day with me when I go to work… even when I don’t shoot. I don’t like it to plan a shoot also, because I think that makes the photos unreal. When I see something cool, in my opinion, I shoot it. It is like a feeling which I can’t control.
Most of my photos are Street photography, I think, but there is also some Landscape and Nature stuff. But honestly, I don’t want to put it in a Genre… The photos are like my Feelings in Pictures.
People VS Places
I would love to take photos of people, but it still didn’t happen… I don’t know why. I’ve asked my wife, to test my abilities, but she’s not Into it. Sometimes I take photos of my daughter, but they are just for me.
If I ever take photos of people, I would try to catch their emotions. Sometimes the photos look too dark and sad, but that’s reality. I hate fake laughs and poses. If you love yourself then be yourself in either way.
To shoot places is like work in progress for me. Every time when I shoot some photos from a cool place, I learn something about the place, my camera, the light, ISO, shutter speed, etc. What I mean is, every place is so individual and every corner could be a nice shot.
When I took this picture, I really liked it. Then I got a little closer, and shoot the second one. I love the dynamic from the first one, but the lights and shadows of the second one are awesome!
I also walked around the statue and found some interesting views.
There are so many (good) photographers on every social media platform who give very useful tips on available light… I’m also learning from the big fishes on Instagram and YouTube.
I love to have diffuse light, and just natural light, or available light. As I said before, I don’t like that fake stuff in my photos.
When I go out to take photos and find something interesting for me, I go around my object until I find the perfect light.
From an iPhone to Fuji X-T100 to Fuji X-Pro2
My first camera was a Sony Nex-5 and I really liked it… But it was like a holiday camera and it wasn’t interesting enough after I got my iPhone. I was really impressed by the camera of the iPhone (back then it was an iPhone 4).
I shot everything: the ocean, the streets, some cats, plants and flowers… But this wasn’t like „That’s Photography!“. The first great photos I took was with the iPhone 5 in Paris. It was the second time for me, but this time I was there with my wife. I wanted to take a photo of the Champs-Élysées at night, and this was the result.
After that, I dreamed about a DSLR camera but couldn’t afford it. So I began to take photos only with my iPhone. Later I upgraded to the iPhone 6 and, at last, to the iPhone X which is my current phone. I still love to take photos with it, because it is so quick to be ready and it also takes amazing photos.
Finally, I bought the Fuji X-T100 last year in April, before my daughter’s birth. I was like „I’m going to learn how to take amazing photos, to photograph my daughter later!“. I tried a lot and took some photos, but I was still not interested in the camera. I thought „I’m a better iPhone photographer than with the Fuji“. So I put the camera on my desk and it was more like decoration.
I kept taking photos with my iPhone till a friend of mine asked me if we could meet somewhere to make some street photography. I was like „Yeah why not! I´ll give my camera another try!“ So we went to the Olympia Stadion which is a very nice place to take photos. He was more interested in photography and his work is very nice. At this point, I also wanted to be a photographer as good as he is. He told me stuff about ISO and aperture.
Then my approach to photography changed. And that was one minute on another. So we talked and shot, and it was progress for me. I learned to love my Fuji X-T100. A few months after, I bought a new lens: the Meike 25mm f1.8. Why this lens? I wanted a street photography lens that was not as expensive as Fuji lenses. I paid about 75€ for it on Amazon.
I mounted the lens on my X-T100 and realized that I had to learn to take photos almost from the beginning. Why? Because the Meike Lens is a fully manual lens. So many of the stuff I’ve learned the past months was useless in that kind. I had to learn about setting everything manually, and the process is still running.
With the Meike lens, I started to shoot at night. I shot long exposures, stars, city lights, etc. The wide aperture allowed me to take the kind of photos which I prefer today. I don’t mean that I just take photos when its dark outside, but I like it more.
Once I went with my friend to a photography store and we asked an employee about our gear. Then I asked him for his opinion on my work. He said that there was some good stuff, but I had to learn a bit more. This made me very disappointed with my work. I showed him my photos on my iPhone and I told him that I took them with the X-T100. He didn’t believe me… He said that the X-T100 couldn’t shoot like this.
My friend also told him that I shot everything with the X-T100, and then I showed him the same photos on the screen of the camera. He was amazed and I think also a little bit jealous. Another employee came and asked me how did I shoot those photos… I told him that I didn’t really care for the settings, I just shot. Then he said something very special to me.
It was like (the employee was about 50 years old) „You’ve got a very Random style to create such amazing photos! Maybe you could do more with a better camera like the X-Pro2!“ Till then, I didn’t even know about the X-Pro2. He showed me the beauty. I felt in love, to be honest. The style, the grip, everything was just perfect. I said to my friend that I would buy the X-Pro2 one day… and since September she’s mine (Yeah, for me the camera is a girl).
But until I bought the X-Pro2, I learned so much from the X-T100 in combination with the Meike lens. After a while shooting with the X-T100, I recognized that I needed more from the camera. That’s the main reason why I switched to the X-Pro2.
The X-Pro2 gives me more space for my creativity. Just an example, the Jpeg recipes. The settings are more than in the X-T100.
If you compare both, X-T100 and X-Pro2, there are some differences. I don’t mean advantages and disadvantages… For me, it depends on your style. What you need and how you take photos. Both cameras are great.
Meike 25mm F1.8 Lens
Everyone who wants a cheap and sharp lens should buy the Meike 25mm F1.8. And if you like the vintage style, you’re at the right place!
The Meike is fully metal but still light. I like to turn the aperture and focus rings on it to see how the picture is changing. It is also my only lens. At the moment don’t I need another one, I think.
So, if you want to know how photographers used to shoot in the past, you should go and buy some vintage lenses, or like in my case, the Meike.
Software and workflow
My Instagram name is @parlax.unedited which doesn’t mean that I don’t edit my photos. Of course, I edit them. My Name says that I am original. My person and my work. But anyway.
Like most photographers, I’m also using Lightroom… But just on my iPhone. I still don’t do the editing on my MacBook. I’m so skilled already on my iPhone that I keep editing there. It is so easy and quick because I have always my camera and my iPhone next to me.
My workflow is always depending on the photos that I shoot. Sometimes I begin with exposure, sometimes with grain or colouring the shadows. I like playing a lot in Lightroom to get the result I want and feel. So there is no specific way in which I edit my Photos.
I have some presets, which I made by myself and I use them sometimes. But I like it more to develop each photo for itself. I think that makes photos unique.
It is a very big honour to me, writing about my work in photography. Thank you @fujixpassion for this opportunity. Maybe someone who reads this article about me, my work and my passions, will find a way for him/herself to take amazing photos. I always say, there couldn’t be enough photographers on Earth. Everybody has got a story to tell, and everybody should get the opportunity to tell.
Here is my Story. Thank you!
Name: Ahmet Parlak
Location: Germany, Bavaria, Munich
Gear: Fujifilm X-Pro II, Meike 25mm f1.8