The Marina Beach in Chennai is a special place. I remember when I stood there first in 2014. Though it was dark it had almost 40 degrees Celsius and I felt sick because of the heat.
This time it was a little cooler. I arrived earlier and was able to take some shots before it got dark. This is among the busiest beaches in India and it attracts 30.000 to 50.000 people per day though swimming is prohibited because of the strong undercurrents. It is much quieter before it gets dark.
I shot exclusively with Fuji XF27/2.8 lens. Since I bought it on my last trip to Asia this lens has become one of my favorites. It is sharp wide open and has nice contrast but its main attraction for me is its size and weight. This thing is so small that it is a no-brainer to take it with me even if I want to go super light. It compliments my all time favorite Fuji lens, the fantastic XF14/2.8 that has become my most used lens from the very first trip. The XF27/2.8 is surprisingly versatile. It’s 27mm on APS-C is about 40mm on full frame and that’s very close to the 38mm on my all time favorite compact camera the Contax T2. Its Zeiss Sonnar 38/2.8* was just fantastic. The whole camera was just like a dream. I wish there would be a digital version of it.
Back to the XF27. I will switch to full frame terms now and hope that you don’t get confused. Many people seem to love the 50mm field of view. Not me. For me it was always too narrow. When I took the Fuji XF35/1.4 with me on my trips to Asia it ended up as a portrait lens or as a tele lens substitute. The Fuji XF23/1.4 with its classical 35mm field of view worked much better for me. The XF23/1.4 is a fantastic lens but it has two disadvantages: size and weight. The Fuji X27/2.8 is close regarding field of view but super small and light. The slightly longer focal length helps for portraits too. Because a lot of people (including me) have prejudices against pancake lenses it is the real sleeper in the Fuji lens line. A real winner.
On the image above you see the boats of the fishermen of Chennai and some of the newly built houses for them in the background. Their old homes were massively damaged by the 2004 tsunami. The government built new houses for the fishermen but it seems that people from outside moved into some of the flats and most fishermen still live in a truly depressing slum right beside the beach. I was shocked when I saw it first and it still looks the same.
But if you take a different road back to your hotel you will never see their dwellings. Everything you will see is a big and crowded beach on one side and lots of colorful fishing boats on the other. In India it is not simple to look away but sometimes you have to. The poverty of this beautiful country is hard to bear.