An Escape To New Mexico | A7rII – XT2 – X100F

Man, it’s been a busy month. For those that follow this blog, I actually don’t do this full-time. I’m a trailer editor and when things get crazy, they get crazy. I live in a dark grey room where I destroy my ears with risers, slams, and sub-drops 10-16 hours a day. For whatever reason, I kind of like it.

Between gigs, I leave town immediately to recollect myself from the insanity that comes from working as an editor in advertising. This time my wife, child and friend from Japan took the long and painfully boring drive out to New Mexico. With a few fun stops along the way.

My goal for this trip was actually two things. One to review Aurora HDR, which I am now actively working on, and two a review the Fujinon 14mm lens, a lens that I’ve had for a while and to be honest, it might be my favorite.

Of course, I also brought my trusty X100F, which is just such an amazing camera. I’ll post those shots tomorrow.


Aurora HDR 

I have a lot to say about this software as I’m blown away. First thing I’ve noticed is it’s more than just HDR software, the tools for a landscape photographer are simply insane. Check it out here. At least download the demo. But it’s worth the purchase in every way.

AuroraHDR – A7rII – 15mm Voigtlander | ISO 320 – f5.6 – 2.5sec +-2EV

My first attempt at shooting some cave photography at the Carlsbad Caverns, it’s tough. It’s hard to capture any sense of perspective or scale when inside the cave. The lighting they use in these caves is also pretty intense. It would be cool if they used LED lighting with rotating colors.

I also brought the completely wrong lens for the occasion, the Voigtlander 15mm, great lens but I should have brought my 16-35mm f4, or a 24-70mm. I was just worried about the weight for the long hike down. Luckily I had my X100F.

AuroraHDR – X100F – ISO 200 – f5.6 – 3.5sec +-2EV
AuroraHDR – A7rII – 16-35mm f4 @ 19mm | ISO 100 – f9 – 1/125 +-2EV


Fujifilm 14mm f2.8

I’ve had this lens over a year now and just haven’t gotten around to using it much, or when I do go out to use it, the weather suck and the shots don’t turn out.

I do love this lens though. It’s so small and light and the images come out looking so crisp. It might not be the sharpest lens Fujifilm has made, but it still has a very nice qualities.

Fujifilm XT2 – 14mm | ISO 200 – f8 – 1/125
XT2 – 14mm | ISO 200 – f8 – 1/50


Disclosure: I am affiliated with Aurora HDR, but I’m not affiliated with Sony or Fujifilm.


  • Peter
    May 19, 2017, 8:28 pm  Reply

    Just took your recommendation on SD cards for the Canon 80D and thought I’d have a look at your blog.

    Love that first image of the rippled white sand and blue-hour blues!

    And the one of your daughter as well – it really pops – she’s lucky to have such a talented Dad.

    Will also have a look at Aurora (thanks for mentioning your affiliation – nice to have full disclosure up front). I’ve used Photomatix up to this point, but the last upgrade for Mac seems broken in some way; the processed image doesn’t look anything like their preview (although I’ve never had this issue before).

    The Aurora interface looks intuitive and the amount of control you appear to have looks impressive. I tend to shoot HDR for architecture, urbex, machinery and landscape, so I’m interested to see the results.



  • May 21, 2017, 12:18 am  Reply

    Hey Peter,
    Thanks for the comment. I was a long time user of Photomatix as well. The new version of Aurora has been a game changer for my workflow. The use of layers to bring back in some of the original bracketed shots with layers masks makes my life so much easier.

    I also just discovered you can save your work, so that you can go back and edit the same photo again if you need to change anything. I just have to learn to get in the habit now.

  • May 30, 2017, 4:32 pm  Reply

    took the leap and bought aurora, and I must say I’m extremely impressed, its a bit slow handling the fuji GFX files, but it works a real treat and the results are very stunning

  • Mark Li
    May 31, 2017, 12:03 am  Reply

    I read most of your reviews and post and I really really enjoyed them.
    I am going to Japan in a few weeks and I am planning to buy XT2 but I have hard time deciding between 23mm and 35mm f2 lenses. I am switching from canon environment where I mostly used zoom lenses for sports photography. I want to try something new and do street photography and just take photos of people around me. I know that for fujinon 23mm will equal 35mm on the full frame but I don’t have a clue which one will be more useful to my eye. I went to Fuji shop close by, but could not really make up my mind only by taking few shots inside. So which one would you recommend?


  • May 31, 2017, 2:39 am  Reply

    I think the 23mm lens is more versatile for running around Japan, but honestly, you can’t go wrong with either. I personally shoot 23mm more than 35mm.

    But when I made my first jump into prime lenses years ago, I went and looked at all my RAW photos that I use to shoot on my Canon zoom lens to see what focal length I was at the most and that helped me make some decisions.

  • May 31, 2017, 2:42 am  Reply

    I know it’s really cool right? I’m still working on my review for it and going back to my old shots and reprocessing them. It’s a lot of fun.
    It’s also a little slow on my A7rII, but not so bad on my SSD drive. I’ve been editing over my network which I think has been slowing it down a lot. I actually usually edit over wifi but started plugging in again.

  • May 31, 2017, 11:52 am  Reply

    yeah I edit to the local PCIE/SSD/NVME and then after I transfer it to the Lexar HR2 (which is a wonderful product, especially with the new MBP which only have usb-c, thats another story altogether, but I found the results from Aurora to be exceptional and very natural, unlike many others that I have to really work to get nice images, I really appreciate the info, I’m pinging all my friends about it, have you used the standalone editor? I’m interested in that as well.

  • June 3, 2017, 10:42 pm  Reply

    I haven’t tried anything else besides Aurora, but it should should work as a standalone. Unless you’re talking about some of their other software?

  • Mark Li
    June 7, 2017, 6:30 pm  Reply

    Thanks for reply! Appreciate it! Would you recommend anything else to a new comer to Fuji? Read your article on accessories, but which ones would you say are essential (other than fast card and extra battery)

  • Flavio Sa
    July 13, 2017, 7:07 pm  Reply

    Hello, thanks for the review.

    How do you compare the x-t2 and the a7rii?


  • July 15, 2017, 1:26 pm  Reply

    The X-T2 has a perfect form factor and it’s my favorite camera to shoot with. But, I do use the A7rII when I want to maximize image quality. I usually carry the X-T2 and shoot with it if I’m shooting casually, but use my A7rII along with my X-T2 when shooting landscapes, just because I sell prints sometimes and the A7rII it will give me better resolution. Both are great cameras, but if you ignore the A7rII being full frame with 42 megapixels, the X-T2 is simply a superior camera.

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