In the Footsteps of Gold Prospectors with the Fuji X-T1 and X100S

When we read about British Columbia’s Bridge River Valley and its rich history we knew it was going to be our next photo escapade.

Last weekend we packed our gear: Fuji X-T1, Fuji X100S, 14mm F2.8, 56mm F1.2, some spare batteries, detailed maps of the region and warm clothing. We made sure we had a spare tire and at 3:00 AM we left Vancouver for a great photo adventure.

First, we headed north on the Sea-to-Sky highway, past Whistler and toward Pemberton. We have visited this beautiful and photogenic town on many occasions but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to capture some images as the sun rose.




From Pemberton we drove east on Highway 99 toward Lillooet. It may surprise you but in 1860, it was the second largest North American centre west of Chicago after San Francisco, and the main hub of the Cariboo Gold Rush. In fact, the St’at’imc people have lived here for more than 8000 years. Despite the brief stop, we were able to capture a few images, including the historic train station (rebuilt recently).




Then we hit Bridge River Road, or Highway 40, which winds north along the west bank of BC’s Fraser River for about six kilometres before crossing the Bridge River gorge. About 30km from Lillooet, the Bridge River has scoured out a wide bend to create the stunning Horseshoe Canyon.



Then we continued our trip past dams on the Bridge River and driving toward Gold Bridge along stunning Carpenter Lake.



A historic bridge welcomed us to the Gold Bridge community. We followed a steep road climbing up to Bralorne and its rich mining history. How about this structure with a great address, “Sucker Lake,” and no exit?


Next, we headed to Bradian Ghost Town. Bradian lies at an altitude of 3,700 ft with stunning scenery surrounding it. Lakes, rivers and mountain peaks are all around you (if you are interested, the town is for sale for 1.3 million dollars and is designated rural residential).




Bradian was once a hub during the gold rush in the 1930s, when the Bralorne mine was at its peak. The mine closed 40 years later after producing 4 million ounces of gold and 1.2 million ounces of silver, more than any other mining operation in British Columbia. In 1971 the lower gold prices meant the mine closed and Bradian become a ghost town.




After spending a short time at the site, we started back to Lillooet. On the way we encountered a traveller on the site of the road with a flat tire, which reminded us that it is a beautiful and vast region but rough and dangerous. Be prepared.


Despite the fact that gold prospectors are no longer at work in this region, our search for great imagery paid off. We have many more images from this trip, which we will share with you in our next posts.

Gear Notes: Fuji X-T1 and X100S worked wonders during the trip. We were glad that the Fuji X-T1 is a sealed camera, given the dust we had to operate in during this trip. This trip reminded us how good the XF 14mm F2.8 lens is. Many of you ask us about the choice between the latest XF 10-24mm and XF 14mm. Both are very capable lenses. It is a matter of preference. If you are a hard-core landscape photographer you need to go as wide as possible, therefore, XF 10-24. We shoot with the XF 14mm and we love its smaller size and prime qualities.

The majority of images were processed in Iridient Developer and Lightroom 5. 

Next time…




© Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

15 thoughts on “In the Footsteps of Gold Prospectors with the Fuji X-T1 and X100S

  1. I have a question about your monochrome work. Do you take a photo with monochrome in mind at the time, or do you make the decision afterwards to convert to mono? Perhaps if you find the colour version distracting in some way?
    Also if you are shooting specifically in monochrome, for the purposes of getting a better idea of the final mono result , do you put the camera in one of the mono modes and shoot raw + JPG so you can see a mono version in the EVF when composing?
    I am just curious how others approach these things.

    Thanks again for the great blog.

  2. Fantastic. I especially like your square format black and white photographs. The subtle toning works well in this setting. Were you formerly a Rolleiflex or Hasselblad photographer, by chance? How did you do the conversion to B&W? Thanks!

  3. Hello,
    Thanks for your nice photo-trips!

    A question though: how do you handle the lenses changes during such trips?
    Do you prepare so much by scouting that you don’t have to change lenses too often during the trip? especially if there is dust around, you may not want to change lens on a mirror-less.

    I am always hesitating so much between focal lengths (I have a X100s with the two converters) that I sometime think zooms are probably the only solution… but it’s probably coming from a lack of experience and skill in “seeing” the picture before taking it, I guess…

    Thank you for your feedback


    1. The “green foliage” issue has been blown out of proportions. Use Iridient Developer (or Ninja for PC) and there is no issue. Even the most recent version of Lightroom works well with the X-Trans Sensor files.

      Thank you for visiting.


  4. Olaf, I am one of those who asked you about the choice of the 14mm vs. the 10-24. I decided I couldn’t wait and got the 14mm, which I’ve learned to love. I was always more naturally inclined to using telephoto lenses, but your words and especially your photos have taught me a great deal about seeing the world in this way. Now I walk through my world seeing wide instead of narrow and deep. Thank you, thank you. (XT-1 also a big help in seeing this way.)

    1. Bob,

      The 14mm is such a great lens – our favourite wide-angle! Indeed, such wide-perspective makes a huge impact on a viewer.

      All the best.


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