Heinrich Hattingh’s passion for photography was reignited after his 40th birthday, picking up the Fujifilm X-Pro3 afterwards to set the fire ablaze. We chat to him about his emotional connection to this camera, slowing down for the little details and (hopefully) setting down a path towards conservation photography.
(Photo credit: Dané Turvey)
Why do you love photography?
Photography is my gentle reminder to stop and slow down. We live in a world that has become increasingly fast. Photography has allowed me to slow down, open my eyes and look at the world as if I’m seeing it for the first time. Capturing these moments of beauty, kindness and love that’s all around us is a blessing that I’m grateful for.
Tell us a bit more about your photography and what you would like to achieve through this.
I enjoy documenting the world around me, and capturing moments and emotions that inspire and fill me with joy. This also brings me out into nature and the outdoors that I love as I am an adventurer at heart. I’m not really after creating the perfect image but rather trying to capture these moments, these emotions, because they are all perfect.
There’s so much beauty all around us, whether or not it’s as simple as a beautiful smile or a magnificent sunset or ocean scene. Living in SA we’re also spoiled with an abundance of bird and wildlife, capturing these moments is what inspires me and hopefully through my images I get to inspire many more.
What made you switch to Fujifilm and when did this happen?
My first camera was a gift for my 21st birthday, and happened to be a Fujifilm, a Finepix S7000 to be exact. It pretty much set me on a path that has taught me to pay attention to the details, the little nuances that most people don’t know exist. But it’s that detail that sets you apart.
I have, unfortunately, not been inspired to pick up a camera for the good part of 10 years, but for my 40th I went to visit friends in Karkloof and the way our trip was documented by Dané Turvey gave me new hope and inspiration. She understood the detail, the emotion. It led me to pick up a Fujifilm X-Pro3, along with the XF 23mm F1.4 lens.
I have to confess, I have not had such an emotional connection to a physical object since I sold my 1972 Ford F250. The build quality, the perfect weight in my wrist, and that shutter sound, I just don’t have a word to describe it yet.
Which Fujifilm camera(s) do you use and what’s your favourite lens?
I have three bodies at the moment. X-Pro1, X-Pro3 and the new X-H2. Lenses I make use of currently are the following: XF 16mm F1.4, XF 35mm F2, XF 50-140mm F2.8 and XF150-600mm F5.6-F8. I used to have the 23mm F1,4, 50mm F2 and the 70-300mm but sold these to fund the X-H2.
If I had to pick only one lens it would be the 35mm F2 (or maybe the new 33mm F1.4 but I have not been able to own one yet). 35mm (50mm) is my favourite focal length and how I like to view the world. I personally prefer a tighter view of things, being able to look at detail and be able to capture moments filled with emotion and intimacy. Also, the 35mm F2 renders images in a very special way, not sure how to describe it but it’s almost as if it’s not 100% clinically perfect, and that is what makes it beautiful.
Being spoiled for choice though and considering that I spend most of my time outdoors and in the mountains, I also absolutely love the 150-600mm. It allows me to take insane pictures of birds, detailed landscapes and the compression makes for very interesting compositions.
What do you love most about the camera and lens?
The way the X-Pro3 feels in my hands, the sound of the aperture ring when you stop it down, the sound of the shutter is beautiful. The dials and buttons are robust, have tactile feedback and feel industrial.
For the X-H2, being able to almost instantaneously switch between settings by just flipping the PASM dial is an absolute game changer for bird photography compared to using the X-Pro3. It’s mind-blowing.
Shooting with the X-Pro1 is a very special experience. I have a manual lens mounted on it and shoot pretty much just in BW, and just love how it forces you to slow down even more, think about your shot, compose meticulously, and press the shutter release once. It’s beautiful.
What’s on your photography bucket list?
My dream is to shoot documentary photography, specifically conservation photography. For this I would need to travel, so top of the list would be Japan, Yosemite National Park, Tanzania/Serengeti, Mongolia/Gobi Desert and Virunga National Park in Rwanda.
Do you have a photography tip to share?
Try and find the focal length you love, glue that lens on your camera and go out and take a lot of pictures.
Find more of Heinrich’s work here: