Architectural photography with the Fujifilm X‑T20

  • Apr 26, 2019
  • Travel photography
  • In the Field

If architectural photography is your thing, Budapest will not disappoint. The city is brimming with former palaces, castles and churches, all set along the beautiful Danube river. But perhaps the most iconic of Budapest’s architectural wonders is the Hungarian Parliament building.

Sitting on the Eastern bank of the river (on the Pest side), the parliament building is easy to pick out on Budapest’s skyline. Standing at exactly 96 meters tall, the same height as St. Stephen’s Basilica, these symbols of church and state tower above the rest of the city by design.

My favourite view of the building is from across the river at night. The entire building glows with a golden light and if weather is calm and the river is quiet, you can see parliament perfectly reflected in the river below. Having attempted to photograph this view once before (only to be thwarted by an idling cruise boat) I set aside a few hours on my last trip to the city to try once again.

As the parliament building is symmetrical, it’s fairly easy to place yourself parallel to it by watching the spires as you walk along the riverbank.

Fuji Gear #

As with any holiday that isn't purely for photography, the idea was to keep things light. The kit for the trip consisted of the Fujifilm X-T20 and the following four primes:

  • Samyang 12mm f/2
  • Fujinon XF 23mm f/2
  • Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4
  • Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4

Using PhotoPills I was able to confirm that the XF 23mm f/2 would be suitable to frame the entire building from the vantage point. Having worked this out in advance, I was able to take just the camera, one lens and tripod out that evening.

The shoot #

About an hour before sunset I made my way down to the rivers edge and began slowly walking along, keeping a close eye on the parliament spires. Once I was happy I was aligned with the front of the building as best as possible I began setting up the tripod. Over the course of a couple of hours the sun set, and although the sky was more grey than blue, the river was clear and calm enough to produce some pleasing reflections.

The weather was consistently grey during the four day trip, so this was as good as it got. The upside though, is that the cold weather meant fewer people. I managed a couple of uninterrupted hours huddled next to my tripod on the banks of the Danube.

Editing #

After selecting the best starting image, the white balance, exposure, contrast and highlights were adjusted in Capture One Pro (Fujifilm Edition). The image was then taken into Affinity Photo to remove a construction crane, replace the reflection and tweak the curves and colours.

Basic adjustments were made to the RAW image in Capture One Pro (Fujifilm Edition)

The Final Image #

Here it is, not quite as planned, definitely not perfect but hanging on my wall it serves as a nice reminder of my time spent in this beautiful city. And as for the camera, the X-T20 was a great travel companion – lightweight, capable and easy to use, even on the chilly banks of the Danube in winter.