Our next Xpan profile is David from all over Europe but currently Switzerland.
When did you find out about the Xpan?
When it was announced. I’m old.
When did you get your Xpan?
My first one in 2000. I eventually managed to kill it in 2010 and bought an immaculate XPan II. The XPan I is better than the II, by the way. Anyway, is it XPan, or Xpan ? Or even XPAN. Actually the logo is all caps.
(MJ – I say Xpan, I’m probably wrong but I’ve been doing it too long to change now!)
What attracted you to the Xpan?
I thought it would make girls go wild. Apart from that, I was already into panoramic framing using early digital stitching (Apple’s QTVR Toolkit) and this seemed much easier.
What lenses do you have?
All of them. And a spare 45mm, if anybody’s interested.
Which is your favourite lens?
I like all of them, but if you really pushed me I’d take the 90mm, because nobody else likes it. But also because of the mild compression it adds, which can be very nice on certain landscape shots.
What do you like to take photos of with your Xpan?
Most frequently landscapes and architecture. I don’t find it particularly amenable to street photography, partly because of the slow lenses, partly because it isn’t that rapid in use. However, the fact that people have no idea that they’re in the frame can be a benefit. And a drawback.
What would you like to take photos of with your Xpan?
Generally just carry on with what I’m doing, although principally I tend to use the XPan for sub-polar/polar landscapes, and ongoing photography of Venice and the Venetian lagoon. At least one of those places is basically just down the road.
What is your favourite film to use in the Xpan?
Kodak E100G. It has a very natural, neutral palette and is very easy to scan. I’m down to my last 10 rolls, but I have hopes for the new Ferrania film. I also like Portra 400, but I find negative film a bit of a pain to edit. And I like Agfa Scala, although arguably it’s a bit pointless these days.
What are your three favourite shots that you have taken with your Xpan?
Well, I’ve got thousands of XPan frames here, so choosing 3 is pretty hard. So I’ve chosen three I particularly like from my Flickr stream.
The first is a grab shot taken on the island of Stromboli in early spring a few years back. The place was practically deserted. Just this friendly dog, and everything fell into place.
The second is from the northern end of the planet, in Svalbard.
The third is from the other end, in Antarctica.
What is your favourite shot that someone else took with an Xpan?
This is a hard question. I actually don’t pay much notice to what camera was used to take whatever photo. So, to be sure it’s an XPan, I’ll have to dip in to my Flickr favourites. So, I really like this shot, “Watching Geese”, by Seamus Travers, but there are a lot of very, very good photos out there from a lot of talented photographers. Although I have to say a lot of stuff in the Flickr XPan group doesn’t go much beyond using a “weird” camera for the sake of novelty.
Which photographers inspire you?
Stuart Klipper, Tina Itkonnen, Helmut Hirler, Markus Renner are all fantastic panoramic photographers, working in polar regions. Klipper in particular is an inspiration. And a particular inspiration early on was Andris Apse, who’s work I discovered in New Zealand back in 2000. It made me wish I had a Linhof 612 rather than an XPan, until I discovered how much the Linhof costs.
What other cameras do you like to use?
Mainly Olympus MicroFour Thirds, for the practicality. Also Sigma Merrill compacts for their unique look. A Ricoh GR which I carry everywhere. And a couple of old film cameras, for fun.
If Hasselblad made a digital Xpan, would you buy it?
No, because their markup would be absurd. And they didn’t have much to do with it anyway, apart from licensing the rights. However, if Fuji made a digital TX-1, I probably would. Although it might get a bit confusing with the X-T1.
Where can we see your work?