Daily Inspiration #358 by Zhuang Li-Hao

Daily Inspiration #358 by Zhuang Li-Hao

Dear Steve

I have enjoyed your website for some time now and like your reviews and enthusiasm for photography. Thought I would contribute a few photos for your daily inspiration section.

I share your enthusiasm for the Fuji X100. All three photos were taken in Masai Mara (Kenya) with Fuji X100, wide open at 2.0, taken in JPEG and edited in snapseed on iPad. You may think strange that I used a 35mm for wildlife. In fact I had with me Canon 5D Mk2 135mm/f2 as well. While the 5D was critical for close up animal shots, the Fuji gave better colours, contrasts, and feel for landscape shots like these.

I have enclosed only three photos as per your daily inspiration rules. Take care.



  1. Really beautiful landscapes and nicely treated in snapseed, tempted to give it a try. Did you get to go up in one of the balloons? I imagine the view from up there must have been special.

  2. Well, I have to say that I enjoyed these, especially the etherealness of them. As for the comment “Seen one, seen them all”, you can apply that comment to the boring street photos on this site that I’ve seen that everyone raves about.

  3. Gorgeous images. It really does show the power of the x100, my new favorite carry everywhere camera. And to see these are shot at f2.0 is inspiring, especially from a moving vehicle. I do find that sometimes when it is glaringly bright outside for me here in Southern California that f2.0 gets totally blown out even with exposure compensation turned all the way to -2. Keep of the great imagery and thanks so much for sharing. warmly, Marc

  4. Very, very nice, Captured that wide expanse of space and sky. I like these.Especially the first one.
    Thinking that we always have to stop down to take a landscape is thinking in a box. If you have a M lens for example you’ll get great results wide open and you really don’t need depth of field in a shot like this where nothing is up close. F2 and a fast shutter was a good call. Well done.

  5. Great work Zhuang, superb grandstand shots of the Masai. Got to agree with you about the X100, a camera that I would not be without. Great post well done!

  6. Good captures! Like many already said, probably the most common way of shooting wildlife (on camera) is with big lenses and though it may be stunning sometimes, you get bored easily. With these pictures you show the countryside as it is, not with loads of telephoto distortion. Nice!

  7. Very nice photos, and from the X100, terrific. As far as the “seen one, seen them all” comment, sure, I generally concur. This is why I don’t like the photography you see in National Geographic. Everything is always too perfect, too saturated, too sharp, and too composed. Don’t get me wrong, these photographers are the best at what they do and that is why they work for National Geographic but I like to see some edge or something different as well. As far as the above three photos are concerned I don’t believe they fit in this category. We’ve seen a million landscape photos but my favorite in this series is the first photo with the hot air balloons. I can’t recall seeing a photo with so much space in it. Being that this photo is so minimal, I asked myself if the photo would be stronger without the hot air balloons and I came to the conclusion that the balloon adds to the airiness and lightness of the photo. The balloons, similar in shape to the trees, almost makes it feel as if the trees and grass are about to lift off the ground too. Nothing in this photo is anchored. Also, because this photo is in B&W, there is a sedate, sober feeling about it too. It is so quiet, it is akin to reaching a state of euphoria through the sound of a rain drop hitting a leaf.

  8. Lovely scenes, the only thing I would say is that there is a little too much post-processing for my tastes. It’s not a criticism, just a personal taste thing, and also, your photography is good enough to not need it in my opinion.

    • Thanks Garry for the tip. Appreciate it.

      The 1st photo has more processing than what I would have liked — but the lighting condition was quite tough. So I had to intervene a little more.

      The second photo was originally a little too saturated, so I toned it down.

      The third photo only had B&W filter and slight increase in contrast.

  9. Li-Hao, I just received my X100 Monday and you have truly inspired me to use it for more than street and enviro portraiture as I intended.
    I understand you needed a fast shutter being mobile on a bumpy road, but can you please explain to this beginner how you got such a great depth of field shooting it wide open?



    • Hi Jeffrey

      Since everything is at infinity, and this is a semi-wide angle lens, depth of field is not an issue.

      If you take close ups then it is a different story. The 2.0 would then give you bokeh which you may or may not want.

      Also try the panoramic mode – gives really good shots if you use it correctly.

      Happy shooting!

  10. Very well done with your Fuji X100. When one thinks of photographing Africa and the animals we generally think of Nikon and Canon with those monster lenses – do not get too close to the wildlife, which is understandable.

    I like the photograph of the elephants (what majestic and intelligent animals they are) – just a pity that they were not heading towards you.

    The Fuji X series cameras do have some magic about them, and I have been impressed with the quality of my little X10 considering the price it is sold at today (a compact camera bargain). The X Pro 1 is on top of my wish list at the moment.

    • The elephants were indeed a sight to behold. I have more shots of them, many front facing and closer – I chose this for the mood it conjured. I can post more if Steve is ok with that.

  11. For some reason it makes me happy to read about photographers using the X100 to take real pictures. I´m getting bored of all the fantastic shots taken with extreme telephoto equipment that most of us never will be able to afford. I´m no enemy to expensive glass and big “white” lenses, but I just find it enjoyable to see good shots taken with a small and simple camera, like the X100. I think that´s one of the reasons why I like Steve´s site so much (even though Leica is very hard to afford or most of us).

    The shots are very nice, but I don´t understand why you used f2.0? For landscape I would prefer a smaller aperature 🙂 Anyhow, good shots and beautiful examples of the dynamic range that the X100 delivers.

  12. Great shots with the X100 !
    And you did very nice job with Snapseed !
    Do you have a website or a flickr page to see more of your work ?

    • Thanks for the compliment.

      No I dont have one currently – may think of doing so now that you mentioned it 🙂

  13. I am not a big fan of poster images like these, but I would be cynical not to call the landscapes beautiful. The two b&w images work better for me. Why would you shoot these daylight scenes wide open? From a moving car?

    • You don’t like big “poster images” like this? Do you not like looking at the earth and the various landscapes about?

      • For me these images fall in the category “seen one, seen them all”. Think of Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, a waterfall in a tropical forest, a salt lake, an African Plateau… it takes something totally unexpected to make a great photo of such a subject.

        Nothing wrong with the landscapes and no question about the beauty of the location.

    • Hi Mikael

      Thanks for the compliments.

      Yes I shot them wide open from a moving Land Rover on a bumpy road.

      I have shot close ups as well – but with my Canon. This submission was more to demonstrate X100 versatility.

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