Day 4 - Falmouth. Cornwall is the western gateway to the English Channel. Because of this, our naval defences have always been focussed at key points like this. Falmouth is on the top right corner of the Lizard peninsula and so any invading navies would have to pass by at some point. This made Falmouth (and the surrounding area) strategically important. King Henry VIII recognised this and constructed Pendennis Castle, which has a fantastic viewpoint over the whole river estuary and surrounding sea. Pendennis Castle is an English Heritage property, and they put in a great deal of effort to convey the history and importance of a place. The focus here is twofold; the Tudor heritage, in terms of warfare and general life in that time, and the role of the Castle as a military barracks in both WW1 and WW2.
There were plenty of subjects in the old garrison building to try out the Fuji x-pro1 and see how it handled detail. Unfortunately because it was so close quarters, I had to stick on the 18mm glass, which is not as good as the amazing 35mm glass from Fuji. Noise wasn't too bad (images above shot at ISO 640), and actually the Fuji produces quite a pleasing grain at higher ISO. One thing I did notice in post is that the files do not stand up so well to sharpening, perhaps a hang-up related to the age of the body (I think it's about 6 years old now...). It was really interesting and enjoyable to read about and see the items the soldiers were using and living with at the turn of last century. There were lots of original items on display, and I for one really appreciated English Heritage's style of display, by not hiding them behind panes of glass. They seemed to trust that people wandering around weren't idiots. Refreshing.
Pendennis castle does a good job at transitioning between the time periods. There's definitely an emphasis on 20th Century history, with an old outpost/radio office down at the bottom of the site (accessed through quite a long walk through some damp tunnels). The binos and spotting scopes were still set up for use, and we actually spotted the modern Navy practicing a Sea King rescue!
I'm always drawn to odd details, items that show they had a use at some point, and this radio post was a goldmine for any photographer who likes looking at the fine details. The Fuji did really well here, producing some lovely colours and tones. Yes, the detail isn't quite as good as the Nikon D750, but with a 16MP APS-C sensor it was never going to! As a small, powerful package which is compact enough to take anywhere, it does extremely well.
The other side to the castle is the Tudor influence. Considering who built the place, Pendennis has the whole keep devoted to all things Tudory. On the day we went, there was a jousting demonstration going on, which meant the place was packed and it wasn't so easy to get some clean shots of the horses, but it did lend itself to taking some candid shots. I luckily spied a squire in costume and captured a nice moment of him taking a break.
I can completely recommend Pendennis Castle to both photographers and general tourists. This place allowed me to stretch my legs with my recent Fuji purchase, and it helped me see how fun the camera is. Being able to wander around a busy location with a small kit, but still produce excellent quality in my images is a huge tick in the mirrorless box.