Mark Capilitan

Mark Capilitan

It’s time for Mark Capilitan from Ireland.

When did you find out about the Xpan?

My favourite Formula 1 photographer started messing with one in 2000! That sparked my interest in the camera. But it took another 10 years before I bought one!

When did you get your Xpan?

2010, after doing a road trip around some of the USA national parks & messing with digital stitching…I found out I hate that! So I looked for an Xpan when I returned home & managed to find an Xpan2 with only 2 rolls of film through it, and one of those rolls was still in the camera…mint condition!!

What attracted you to the Xpan?

I love film and shooting scenes as is in the panoramic frame…and I really dislike having to do work on a computer after.

What lenses do you have?

30mm, 45mm, 90mm…so all of them!

Which is your favourite lens?

30mm, because it really changes the way the camera sees, puts it into a level close to a 617 medium format camera. But all the lenses have their uses…there are some places where the 90mm shines. That’s why it’s important to have them all in the bag.

What do you like to take photos of with your Xpan?

Landscapes. I’m a wedding photographer by trade, so shooting landscapes is slow & methodical for the most part, the complete opposite to what I do at weekends! And I love having to hike to get to most of the places.

What would you like to take photos of with your Xpan?

Keep doing what I’m doing, but maybe getting luckier with the weather! I went to Yosemite for a full week in February 2014 and didn’t even get a sprinkling of snow!! But I did capture an avalanche on Half Dome so I can’t complain too much!!
I would also like to bring it on safari in Kenya again & shoot wide instead of with a long 500mm lens.

What is your favourite film to use in the Xpan?

Fuji Velvia50…it’s the only film I use. I love it’s saturation & fine grain. Perfect for the kind of landscapes I shoot.

What are your three favourite shots that you have taken with your Xpan?

1 – Half Dome & Avalanche. About 5 minutes before official sunset, a slight glow appeared on Half Dome – it was cloudy & dull up until then. And it just kept getting more & more intense leading us to witness one of the most amazing sunsets we’ve ever seen! The whole of Half Dome was glowing a bright orange. It couldn’t have been more perfect. And then the colour began to wane as the sun set proper. With gorgeous clouds all around the valley, the sky above the dome began to go a mega pinky/purple. And then suddenly when it couldn’t get any better…it did! A massive avalanche occurred just to the right of Half Dome…I stood in amazement. Without even realising it I just grabbed the shutter release cable & fired 3 shots. It was the most amazing sight I’ve ever witnessed and I didn’t even think I captured it as I watched it all. The sound 5 seconds after the avalanche was amazing…a huge rumble echoed throughout Yosemite Valley….like a freight train passing nearby. It was only when I got the film back from the processors did I see I actually captured the scene!

2 – Strandhill Surfer. One of my first shots after getting the Xpan. Like a lot of Xpan shots, this is one frame only, as I had no time to bracket or anything.

3 – Canyon Sunburst. When you shoot a lot of film on a trip you forget about some of the pictures you’ve taken, until you obviously get the film back. Some pictures however stick in your mind, and you pray you got your settings right at the time, because there is no forgiveness with film! Here is one such image, ‘Canyon Sunburst’ taken in Canyonlands National Park at the Green River Overlook. I waited over an hour for that bit of sunburst to happen, and it was gone in about 3 minutes! But when you see the resultant images sitting on the lightbox, you know the wait was worth it!

What is your favourite shot that someone else took with an Xpan?

I don’t look at a lot of Xpan work or work in general. I’ve seen some nice stuff on Facebook groups. But David Mantripp has some pretty awesome images. This one for example…I hope it was shot on the Xpan! The sense of scale is awesome! It’s also the kind of image I would shoot if I was in the same location!

Which photographers inspire you?

A couple of photographers inspired me to start shooting panoramic landscapes, Thomas Manglesen, Ken Duncan, and hard to say but Peter Lik is the other (his early panoramic work is still fantastic…I won’t mention his recent work!). Probably the photographer who inspires me most these days is Rodney Lough Jr…look at his work & you’ll see! Those are landscape photographers…there’s a bunch of others who shoot portraits & sports.

What other cameras do you like to use?

I use Canon 5DMk3’s for wedding work. Do I like them? Sure they’re great for wedding work, but I don’t bring them into the field when shooting landscapes…the Xpan is the only camera I bring.

If Hasselblad made a digital Xpan, would you buy it?

No, because I love shooting film then sending it off to let somebody else process it & somebody else scan it!

Where can we see your work?


Cheers Mark!

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