On the Road with the X-T30: Eastern Sierra Mountains with Bryan Minear

PHOTOGRAPHER: Bryan Minear
BASED IN: Michigan, USA
KNOWN FOR: Serene landscape images of America’s Midwest
SHOOTS WITH: FUJIFILM X-Pro2 Camera, X100F Camera, FUJINON XF10-24mmF4 R OIS Lens, XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Lens, XF56mmF1.2 R Lens

Introduction

To celebrate the launch of the new X-T30 camera, Fujifilm is sending it to some of the world’s most talented photographers to shoot in spectacular locations around the USA and beyond. You can follow the X-T30’s journey every step of the way here.

The first stop on this trip was California’s Eastern Sierra mountains, where X-Photographer Bryan Minear braved adverse weather conditions in pursuit of the perfect landscape shot. Read on to find out more about his trip and to discover how the X-T30 performed in the field, or check out the above video!

Where did you take the X-T30 and why?

I took the X-T30 to the Eastern Sierra mountains in California. More specifically, Alabama Hills and the Mammoth Lakes area. I knew that, between the snowy mountain peaks and the more desert-like locations, this area would make a perfect backdrop to showcase the capabilities of the camera.

Also, this time of year, weather conditions can be questionable across the US. I had high hopes California would provide some awesome light.

On the Road with the X-T30: Eastern Sierra Mountains, California, with Bryan Minear

What did you like most about the camera?

The size and ergonomics. There were a lot of times when I found myself out in the cold. I held the X-T30 and lens in my pocket to keep my hands warm between shots or when I was hiking. It’s amazing the amount of technology Fujifilm has packed into such a small body.

I also love the decision to replace the direction pad with the Focus Lever. Since its introduction on the X-Pro2, I have come to love that little lever for pushing my focus points around. It is very intuitive to use when navigating the menus of the camera and, ergonomically, a wonderful decision on the part of Fujifilm.

What was the standout shot from your trip and how did the X-T30 help you to achieve it?

My personal favorite shot is from the last day of the trip. Due to weather and road closures, we decided to revise our schedule, leave earlier than anticipated, and catch a potential sunrise at Alabama Hills. I love this shot because it wasn’t in the original plan at all and was almost completely ruined by the weather, but at the very last moment, the sun popped out from behind the clouds and illuminated the scene in a spectacular fashion.

I only had a brief moment to capture what I was seeing, because the clouds were moving fast and changing the light from one shot to the next. Thankfully, the X-T30 was a champion at both focusing quickly and allowing me to rattle off as many shots as I could before the light disappeared entirely. Here’s the result…

On the Road with the X-T30: Eastern Sierra Mountains, California, with Bryan Minear

What advice would you give for capturing a photo that can be enjoyed far into the future?

First, make it your own. As photographers, we are the visual historians of our time. We also have this unique opportunity to present moments with our own vision, through our own lens.

Even when I’m visiting a location that has been photographed millions of times before, I try to approach it from a unique perspective. Everyone sees the world in a different way. Remember that and try to use it to your advantage.

Second, always have a camera with you. Practice often, so that when you are presented with opportunities, you don’t even have to think. It’s just you and your scene.

What makes the X-T30 perfect for doing just that?

The X-T30 is as capable and feature-packed as the X-T3, in a much more travel-friendly package – all available at amazing value for money. After shooting with it for the last few weeks, this camera’s capabilities blew me away.

If you are looking for a small camera to keep on you at all times, look no further. It just doesn’t get any better.

Why do you feel using photography to capture the world is so important?

Our world is changing at an exponential rate and, for better or worse, that means things of old are going by the wayside or being replaced.

It’s important to me, because I want my family to be able to look back on the way things were. And, most importantly, I want to continue to encourage everyone to step outside their bubble, travel, and see what the world has to offer them.

On the Road with the X-T30: Eastern Sierra Mountains, California, with Bryan Minear
On the Road with the X-T30: Eastern Sierra Mountains, California, with Bryan Minear

What does legacy mean to you?

I feel that legacy is about leaving behind a positive impact that others are going to revere and learn from for years to come. I look to the artists of old who inspired me to become a photographer in the first place, and there is such a special feeling there.

In some sense it’s a lot like being a father and wanting to instil certain things about life in my son, while at the same time allowing him the freedom to find his own solutions along the way. I saw something that triggered the urge to do what I do, and have taken that foundation and expanded upon it in my own way.

Do you feel an increased responsibility as a professional photographer in such a rapidly changing world and, if so, can you tell us how and why?

In a lot of ways yes, but in a teaching capacity. Now that technology is expanding in an exponential way, I feel we owe young photographers the same sort of learning process we had. I never would have fallen in love with photography like I did if it wasn’t for the darkroom process. And while that doesn’t hold a place in my current situation, the roots are alive and well.

On the Road with the X-T30: Eastern Sierra Mountains, California, with Bryan Minear

Are there any specific legacies you’ve been inspired by?

Ansel Adams and Edward Weston are probably the two photographers at the very top of my list of people who have inspired me. The way that Ansel thought about darkroom techniques has had a massive effect on the way I think about my own post-processing.

Both of these artists had this amazing way of seeing light. From landscape to still life, Ansel and Edward inspired me to hone my vision and creative process, as well as think outside the box.

What do you want to leave as your legacy?

I want to inspire people to grow in the craft and learn all the rules of what makes an appealing photograph so that they can subsequently break them and experiment.

In my experience, the best art begins in a place of uncertainty and experimentation. I got a whole lot wrong before I ever started to get anything right, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Be open to criticisms to better yourself, but never let anyone tell you how to make your art.

Bryan Minear is a compensated FUJIFILM X-Photographer.

Find out more about Bryan’s adventure by watching a behind-the-scenes video here.

To see more of Bryan’s work, visit his website.

Follow the rest of the X-T30’s journey here.

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