Glimpses of Sri Lanka through Fujifilm x100s

Kande Viharaya Temple
The sitting Buddha statue of Kande Viharaya temple at Kaluwamoda near Aluthgama. Kalutara District, Western Province, Sri Lanka. September, 2013. © Nishant Ratnakar

September 23rd was our first wedding anniversary. And we planned to celebrate this milestone in our life with a small vacation, far away from home. With commitments at work and at home, we could plan a maximum of 6 days vacation only. And to keep the travel & expenses short, and still not to compromise on good experience, we zeroed in our neighboring country, Sri Lanka.

Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka is just an hour’s journey by air from Chennai. Our home is in Bangalore, but the airfare between Bangalore and Colombo is twice the airfare between Chennai and Colombo! To save on the expenses, we decided to do 6-hour train journey between Bangalore and Chennai. The return journey on the train was a little tiring, but there had to be some trade-off in saving more to spend in Sri Lanka. In the end, it was worth the trade-off :).

In the six days that we spent in Sri Lanka, we visited Colombo, Beruwala, Bentota, Galle, and Kandy. Our experiences involved trying out the local cuisine, indulging in luxury at few locations, visiting famed landmarks, a boat ride along an estuary, an encounter with a crocodile, learning about turtle conservation, learning about the local culture, visit to parts of the hill country, an elephant orphanage, and yes, shopping too! I have tried showing some of these experiences in the photo gallery above. There is much more to experience in Sri Lanka than just these few places. I’ll return to Sri Lanka in future for more.

For me, this holiday also became a field test for my new Fujifilm x100s mirrorless camera. For those who are not aware of x100s, it is compact, has vintage looks of a rangefinder, and has a fixed lens with a fixed focal length (with a field of view of a 35mm lens on a 35mm camera). Yes, you read it right! No zoom!

It has been a while since I stopped carrying my DSLRs on travel and on personal projects. My  DSLR cameras were strictly for commercial and editorial assignments. I prefer to travel with less gear. Hence, for a long time my mobile phone and Canon Powershot s100 were my travel companions. But, a constant desire to get more out of my camera in order to effectively translate my vision into the images I make, drew me towards x100s. The internet is full of reviews about the capability of x100s. I wouldn’t rewrite all of it here. I just want to say that the last time I had been this excited about a camera was when my trusted EOS 5D Mark2 hit the market and turned out to be a game changer. In my opinion, the x100s (and its predecessor the x100) is also a game changer.

The x100s is the perfect camera for a traveling photographer (or any photographer) who just wants to carry one camera and doesn’t mind the limitation of a fixed focal length lens. The limitation in many ways opens up a new world of possibilities for creative challenges and experiments. Note that there are many photographers from the past who have built a career travelling the world with only a 35mm prime lens. The field-of-view of X100S’s 23mm lens with maximum aperture of F2 is exactly similar to that legendary 35mm field of view.

The result of my experiments in Sri Lanka is seen in the Photo gallery above. Do let me know your views on them.

Are you an x100s user or photographer who has switched over to compact mirrorless cameras, then feel free to share your experiences?

Do you love the photographs above, then feel free to share the blog post using the sharing buttons below.

Nishant Ratnakar
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By Nishant Ratnakar

Nishant is a Bangalore, India based Wedding, Portrait & Editorial Photographer. He is available for assignments across India. He also conducts photography workshops and offers personal photography mentorship.

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Venkata Rajesh P
Venkata Rajesh P
10 years ago

There are too many good pics here …

Pic 2 and Pic 5 … Loved the frame within a frame … very elegantly used
Pic 17 and 18 … Loved the kids’ expressions.
Pic 37 … Conveys very strong sense of size of the Buddha statue … loved it
Pic 39 … Lovely reflection … A regular scene looks surreal

10 years ago

Thanks for your comments Venkat. Photographs 17 & 18…. is something that i do day in and day out as a documentary photographer.. 🙂 But photographs 2 and 39 are also part of my personal favorites. I liked the challenge they gave me to capture an images with highly contrasting lighting condition. Getting that exposure right and using the full dynamic range in x100s’s raw file to process and get the exposure and colors right as i saw it was a rewarding task. Thanks again. And you must visit SL (in case you haven’t yet visited it). beautiful place. Cheers!… Read more »

10 years ago

Hey nishant.. u have made Sri Lanka look more beautiful than it is… Feel soo happy to live here…

10 years ago
Reply to  Shweta

Thanks Shweta. I don’t know If I have made the place look more beautiful than it is. But, I have indeed presented the place from my perspective – the way I see it.

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