Summary of 2013 and Top 10 images of the year

While heading to the ballroom on New Year’s Eve, we photographers had a lot of reasons to celebrate: 2013 was a year when many people rediscovered their passion for photography. After years of megapixel wars and an SLR monopoly, last year brought us new tools, which helped to redirect our senses toward image creation and away from technical mumbo-jumbo.

Of course, as many of you know, Kasia and I have been shooting exclusively with the Fuji X-series cameras. Since our first interaction with the game-changing X100, to the later-released Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji X-E1 and Fuji X100S, our way of seeing the world has found its camera match. While looking through our 2013 images we couldn’t have been more pleased. If there are any flaws or imperfections they could all be ascribed to our failure in the process of crafting an image rather than to any gear limitations.

We went through our images and decided to pick our favourites. Here are my top 10 personal favourites:


Lawless House, Fuji X100S, ISO 200, 1/240 sec, F5.6

© osztaba_port_moody_20120929_DSCF6839-Edit

Port Moody Pier, Fuji X-Pro1, XF 18mm F2, ISO 200, 1/40 sec, f/5.6


Man and Dogs, Fuji X100S, ISO 200, 1/900 sec, f/6.4


Shaniko Fire Truck, Fuji X-Pro1, XF 14mm F2.8, ISO 200, 1/350 sec, f/10


Hidden Stairways, Fuji X-Pro1, XF 14mm F2.8, ISO 200, 8.0 sec, f/8


The Shadow, Fuji X100S, ISO 200, 1/150 sec, f/5


Great Flood, Fuji X-Pro1, ISO 200, 1/140 sec, f/4

© osztaba_sun_peaks_20111230_DSCF0062-Edit

Barn, Fuji X100S, ISO 200, 1/500 sec, f/7.1

©osztaba_port_moody_Jan 22 2013_DSCF0195-Edit

Walk In The Park, Fuji X-Pro1, XF 35mm F1.4, ISO 200, 1.5 sec, f/8


Old Mill, Fuji X-Pro1, XF 14mm F2.8, ISO 200, 1/240 sec, f/5.6



Kasia’s top 10 favourites:


Graceful, Fuji X-E1, XF 18-55, ISO 4000, 1/125 sec, f/4


Woman, Fuji X-E1, XF 18-55, ISO 200, 1/110 sec, f/4


Chilling, Fuji X-E1, XF 18-55, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, f/8


Serenity, Fuji X-E1, XF 18-55, ISO 200, 1/350 sec, f/13


Magnificent, X-E1, XF 18-55, ISO 500, 1/125 sec, f/4


Vulnerable, X-E1, XF 18-55, ISO 200, 1/400 sec, f/8


Friends, X-E1, XF 18-55, ISO 320, 1/125 sec, f/3.2


Abandoned Farm, X100S, 23 mm, ISO 200, 1/850 sec, f/9


The Ghost Town, X100S, 23 mm, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, f/2


Shack, X-Pro1, 14 mm, ISO 200, 1/350 sec, f/9

There are many more images that we cherish but somehow these ones struck a chord with us. The greatest lesson we learnt this year was to be prepared, as the best images appear unexpectedly. Therefore, always having a camera with you is the most important step to capture the life of seeing. It doesn’t mean you need to take lots of photographs. Just carry a camera everywhere and teach your senses to be vigilant. This will unleash your creativity and train your eye to catch the unexpected (even if you don’t take a photograph).

For this reason, among many others, Kasia and I decided to name the Fuji X100S our camera of the year. It doesn’t matter whether we are going to the grocery store or a museum, the Fuji X100S is always with us. Its silence, size and lightness mean you are unnoticed and this is something you cannot underestimate. I am not even going to touch on the image quality and lens issues – enough has been said about it.

Our favourite lens of 2013? It must be the XF 14mm F2.8. It’s not only a truly exceptional glass but it covers a focal length that matches our way of seeing (along with the 35mm).

The biggest surprise of 2013? I think I would be the Iridient Developer software. Given early issues with the X-Trans sensor RAW files conversions, this previously unknown company (at least to us), came up with a demosaic formula, which put to shame all other software solutions available.

Despite that, in 2013 we started shooting more and more JPEGs, cutting our processing time and turning our attention to more important pillars of image creation. We will share more of our findings and settings in our upcoming posts.

Websites? It must be Patrick’s Fujirumors and Thomas’ Scoop it. Both provided us with numerous links and rumours about the world of photography.

Plans for 2014? Plenty!

We are already planning several photo trips, including extensive shooting with an upcoming XF 56mm F1.2 lens we have long been waiting for. We are also working on several projects and workshops. We will share with you more details in the upcoming weeks and months. There are many more plans but let us keep some secrets. After all, this is the art of seeing and surprise. Stay tuned.

Final thought. Since we started shooting with the Fuji X100, we have become fans of the X-series system. The philosophy that accompanies the creation of this system, along with the quality and feel of the cameras and superb rendering of the lenses won us over. Despite this well-deserved affection for the X-series, we want to remain 100% independent; therefore, you won’t find any adds on our blog. We want to keep our blog clean, on-topic and free from any outside influence. Image creation and the art of seeing is the only theme of this blog, period.

2014 © Olaf & Kasia Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.


35 thoughts on “Summary of 2013 and Top 10 images of the year

  1. Good day I aam so excited I founbd your blog,
    I really found you by error, while I was researching on Yahoo for something else, Nonetheless I
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  2. You both are amazing Photographers.
    These images taken are a proven fact that fuji’s cameras can hold up to the best names in the business, but even more than that it proves that It is the photographer that creates great images. Its not always about the camera. Your work is stunning. In particular for me “Vulnerable” gave me shivers and I shuttered at the striking composition and content. I will follow you both intently. Very nice work from 1 Photographer to another.

  3. Kasiu,Olaf
    How much do you work on the images on post production or/and how much are theese JPEG straight out from a camera?
    I’m really impressed with yours images and approach to photography. I do own x-100 myself and love the outputs.

    1. Tom,

      The images above were processed but we didn’t spend too much time on them. Recently, we have been shooting more and more JPEGs. Also, we try to make it right “in the camera.”

      Thank you for visiting,


  4. I feel as though I’m a bit late to the party, having only just discovered your blog. It’s quite a party though – you have both captured some amazing and inspirational images!
    Looking forward to delving into your archive and enjoying future posts.
    Best wishes for 2014 from a fellow X100s and X-Pro1 devotee.
    Kevin, Oxford UK

  5. Only recently discovered your site and I greatly admire (both of) your photography and philosophy.
    My current workflow is Lightroom based – from my D700 with serious glass. However I really really like the look of your pictures with the X series, and will buy a X-E2 with 23mm (and 18-55) in the near future. As ID in no option for me as a windows user (there alimits to my willingness to convert) do you have a suggestion for image converting software?


  6. Absolutely stunning images you have on this blog. I am not a photographer (just bought my first camera ever and its still being shipped) but I do love to make nice vacation/work photographs myself.

    I was 3 months in Alaska and Britisch Colombia last year for work, followed up by Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica and if I was as interested in photography then as I am now I would have had some nice pictures to remember my time there…

    Going back to Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica for 2 months followed by 2 months Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Montreal but this time I will be prepared haha.

    Can’t wait for my Fujifilm X100S to arrive !! Although I guess it is going to be a steep curve for a total beginner.

    I will keep a close eye on this blog though. Impressive!

    1. Thomas,

      Wow, what a great trip! We are planning a photo trip to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick this year.
      I am sure you are going to enjoy your X100S. Give it a few weeks and you will fall in love.

      Thank you for your kind words.


    2. Ha ha ha! same feeling here!
      If only I had studied better before going to India last year… still manage to get a few nice shots, but so many beginner’s mistakes…

      I bought the X100s just two days ago, after a long research and this blog has weighted in the balance in favor of the X100s (thanks Olaf). After just two days of casual shooting, I must say I am impressed with this camera. It feels extremely natural to use, the settings can either be simple or advanced without much difficulty, the OVF is a blessing and the SOOC output is just great.
      Can’t wait to go on a trip again (hopefully Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore for work)

  7. Lawless is my fav as well. Excellent blog.
    I have been shooting a jpeg now as well, but run into the waxy skin tones when mid level ISO kicks in.
    Are you have the same experience? Been switching back to raw for people photos due to this.
    Just wondering off I need to send it in or not. Thanks

  8. What an honor and privilege to have discovered your wonderful blog recently. Very much looking forward to seeing more of your images from your future photography adventures. Keep up the the great work!

    Fellow X100s and Xpro1 user

  9. Hi

    You didn’t ask, but here’s some reaction to your Top Ten Pick.
    If I had to pick one with the most emotional reaction for me it would have to be Lawless House. I want so badly to explore inside that house. I really admire the finishing in this beautiful composition. The colours are rich, warm, and intimate.

    Woman is one the the finest portraits I’ve seen a long while. A beautiful subject treated with respect. As for Ghost Town, well that just grabbed me. Sure it’s a wonderful photograph, but it’s also living proof that the more you are out there with the right attitude, the more likely your timing will be good. You nailed this one.

    “Image creation and the art of seeing is the only theme of this blog, period.” : why I look forward to each post.

  10. I should have left my name on the above comment but was too hasty!
    Have you guys ever considered workshops? Again, great blog and best if luck in 2014.

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