Nuits Romanes – Charroux – Compagnie Trans Express

I was lucky enough to get to see the Compagnie Trans Express perform at one of the Nuits Romanes in the town next to ours last night.  Working for the local tourist information office, my wife managed to get them to come. This is an event that has been to major cities all around the world, so for a tiny village with only a few hundred occupants it’s no mean feat and I’m rightly proud of her!  I’m not sure how I can describe it, there is nothing to really compare it against.  It was one of the most breathtaking things I’ve ever seen.  If you ever hear of them performing anywhere near you – go!  They are a musical human puppet show who strap themselves into a huge metal contraption that is suspended way above you by a crane, and which spins, opens and closes…well, look at the photos and you’ll get the idea – as I said, it’s hard to describe!

Naturally, I shot it with the X-Pro 1 and the X100.  Lighting was very hard, from the blackest black to the whitest white of the spotlights.  I shot it using spot metering to have more control over it, and in JPEG + RAW just in case I needed to work with some of the files.  In the end, I only chose two shots to work with in RAW – the red ones near the end where the JPEGs were a little too blown out with the flares and the colour wasn’t quite right.  I continue to be amazed at the high ISO performance and JPEG files both these cameras produce.  I used AF on the X-Pro and X100, it coped fine, a lot better than many and certainly no worse than any other camera would have done – including dSLRs.  Only very occasionally would it hunt and not lock on focus.  Pretty much everything was shot wide-open, and I ended up using the 35mm on the X-Pro 1 for most shots, simply because the f/1.4 aperture allowed me to capture the action without the shots getting blurred -thank you Fuji for such a fantastic fast lens!  The X100 struggled a bit even at f/2 because although I was at ISO 3200 the shutter speed had to be quite low.  I had it on a Gorillapod-style tripod attached to the balcony railings and I actually used the X100 mostly to shoot some video of the event.  Almost all the shots were taken between ISO 3200 and 6400 – you couldn’t get a better camera for that than either the X-Pro 1 or X100.  At the end I had a lot of people come and tell me that they just gave up taking pictures because they realised they couldn’t capture it.

I strongly suggest you click to view this in the full-screen slideshow on Flickr rather than this small sample.

The video is just a few clips taken with the X100 and occasionally the X-Pro 1.  Video wasn’t what I was concentrating on, it was really turned on and left running in most cases with the X100 attached to railings with a tripod.  I thought I’d post it to give you some idea of what the movement and music was like.

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About The Author

Matthew Maddock is a commercial photographer based in the Lake District, UK. Specialising in the hospitality and outdoor sports industry. He is a Fujifilm X-Photographer and Getty Images contributor. His portfolio can be viewed at memaddock.co.uk

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