One of the features I simply adore on Fuji cameras are the film simulations that you can apply to your images. This is never truer when I'm shooting in simulation bracketing mode, the ability to shoot 3 different film simulations across the same shot.
I find this feature fantastic as it allows me to capture the moment with 3 different moods. Sometimes in-camera I'll take a look at the image and know that I can remove 1 or 2 of the film simulations used, sometimes I like the look of all 3.
On Monday night we decided to head out to Kinbane Castle for an overnight Bivy. I wanted to travel light so it was back to my X100T, a set of filters from Formatt Hitech and a lightweight tripod (a Velbon Luxi which I actually bought back in 2007 in New York).
It was a spectacular night where the sky never really got fully dark and I think, despite her reservations, my wife actually enjoyed it.
One benefit, especially at this time of the year, in regards to sleeping overnight at your chosen dawn photographic location, is that you can roll out of your sleeping bag, wipe your eyes and start shooting.
And so, as the clock ticked over at 03.45am, that's exactly what I was doing. The light already had a fantastic quality to it, despite sunrise not being for another hour. There was a deep blue/purple cast across the landscape and as sunrise approached this changed to first a deep orange/red and then finally to a beautiful warm and rich yellow.
Now the Velvia film simulation is normally one that I shy away from as it can sometimes feel over-cooked, especially on the greens. You can perhaps see this in the image below, especially the greens where the sun is catching around the yellow flowers. Having said that there are parts of the Provia image that seem a little washed out compared to what I saw that morning, especially on the left-hand rock face which, in my mind, was glowing like it was on fire. In parts of the image Pro.Neg.Std seems like a very nice balance, especially in the greens around the flowers and parts of the left-hand rock face. I rather like the greens (Velvia) from the bottom left up until they meet the flowers when, as I already said, they feel a little too punchy.
Another issue, one can sometimes face with Velvia, are the crunched up shadows, which you can see here in a 100% zoom into the rocks below. Provia maintains some detail in the shadows, compared to Velvia which is very blocky. A small amount of detail in the shadows is maintained with Pro.Neg.Std.
So what am I trying to say? Well, firstly it's good to play with the film simulations as some will work best with a particular scene/light than others. This is when the film simulation bracketing really comes into its own as you get the chance to bracket 3 different looks in one shot. Secondly, and this isn't something I had fully considered before, you may find certain looks from certain simulations appeal to different parts of the same image, as is the case here.
And in that case then perhaps you can take all 3 images into Photoshop, play around a little with inverted layer masks and combine the best parts (in your eye) of the same image together. No other processing performed on any of the 3 individual images (nor the final combined one).