Back Up Drives

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I wrote about my computer system and backup solutions ages ago now here  and I still have the same backup solution and it works very well. I have been doing more and more Video Editing and now I need more hard drives for backing up and for working drives in the Field.

I am waiting for the Gnarbox 2.0 to hit my doorstep but have been making do with the Gnarbox 1.0 and a G Tech Back up drive and Samsung T5 drive for a faster working drive and love them.

However I see so many of my friends using the WD drives its unreal and they mostly rave about how good they are. Most video editors appear to use lots of WD drives and and I see piles of them on peoples desks all with labels on so I thought I would just share a quick blog post to let you guys know what people are using at the moment.

I understand budget is important and this blog post was inspired by a friend of mine who was looking for a short term backup solution for his lap top. I then had a quick look at Amazon and realised how cheep these drives are now !

The WD My Passport  Drives are perfect and you don’t have to go for 4tb drives you could get a few smaller drives as back and use one as back up and one as a mirror back up and leave it at a relatives house just in case of break in or fire etc.

I think we all know Hard Drives can and will fail, bit as long as you have a few back ups you will be fine, so these little drives are perfect for that.

Out Out !

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It’s been a difficult year so far, apart from a couple of days work at Peoples Ford Liverpool I have hardly been out with a camera and this bank holiday weekend was the first real chance to be out with my camera this year. I thank my good friends Rich and Elaine for the opportunity to get out and get some fresh air.

Not going in to many details but waiting for my Gallbladder to be removed and daily pain has taken its toll. Not only am I now in daily pain but every now and again when a stone decides to move in to a bile duct I have around 15 hours of intense pain and this can be at any time of day or night at at the most random and annoying times. Lucky for me I had a weekend with minimal issues and was able to get out with my camera, even thought I probably drove my friends mad moaning about my Health !

I have driven past the Marble Church for about 10 years and about 5 years ago I decided I would like to try and photography it. However it’s one of those places on a journey so you very rarely can be bothered to stop. I had a vision in my head of what I would like but as soon as we got there it started to rain. Great for cloud formation but a pain in the arse for rain on the lens !!  I also had a vision of what I wanted to shoot and to be honest the first walk around the Church I realized I was to close and needed to be further away I also had to deal with too much distortion up close and did not have a tilt shift lens.

After taking a few reference shots I decided to move back towards the road where I had seen this Church from and the closer I got to the road the vision I have had for so long started to fall in to place. The rain stopped and a little light hit the church and lit up the graveyard. So I quickly framed the church between the bushes  and grabbed a couple of frames. I was using one of my Fujifilm XT3 bodies and the amazing 10-24mm lens, I normally use this camera just for commercial work and only ever take out my X100F on most trips but decided I wanted something a little wider today and this used to be my default Landscape Lens.

I am quite happy with the shot and I guess it just goes to show all good things come to those that wait ! I think if I had stopped and tried to shoot this Church 5 years ago it would not have been the same !

After the Church we went to the woods, the weather forecast was supposed to be over cast all day but over the last few years I think these little showers have been quite hard to predict so the cover of the tree canopy in the woods was a good choice.

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I think you can tell my mood from my images and I have always noticed this. It’s been a crazy year this year and at times as now, my mood has been quite dark. The irony of going to the woods to shoot bluebells was not lost on me being a black and white shooter  ! I just loved this path and the darkness of the woods so wanted to capture the way the woods made me feel at the time and I think this image did just that.

The next image says a lot to me, I fell out of love with Landscape images because for me there was always something missing ! Without a human element or something living I found it quite hard to connect with some scenes. When I was composing this shot I loved the way the light was hitting the ferns in the foreground and lighting up the bluebells but really did struggle with the empty space on the left ! It was at that point Jake walked in to the scene a couple of frames later I had an image I was happy with.

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I had almost fallen out with Photography this year, but it’s surprising how a day out with great company and some fresh air can bring back the urge to make and create images again… I need to go OUT OUT more often !!!

You can find these images on my Instagram account @matt6t6

 

Colour ! Its a Van Thing !

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Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

As  most of you know I am a 99% black and white Photographer it’s always been my preference. I have never really liked Colour as I have always found it distracting and a very hard medium to grasp and as for trying to tell a story out on the street !

I also struggled with Colour in the early days of digital as the slightest noise really did mess with the colours on most DSLRs.

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These days nearly the only time I shoot colour is for Client work and I really do forget just how amazing the modern Fujifilm Cameras are with such great Colours.

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Fujifilm XT3 16-55mm mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

I have been shooting Vans and Trucks a while now and just love working with Peoples Ford Van Centre Liverpool. The team there are amazing and they have some amazing return customers who just love their Vans. I also have a Camper Van based on the Ford Transit Custom and built by Wellhouse so I am in love with the backbone of the UK.

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Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

Ford have been producing some amazing colours over the last few years as well as some stunning Vans. It’s through my involvement  with Peoples Ford that I have started to love shooting Vans in Colour ! I am not sure how long my love of Colour will last !!!

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Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

I guess it all depends on what Ford have up their sleeves !

One thing’s for sure I love the creative freedom I get working with these guys and I can’t wait to share with you all some of the images I have planned for the Future !

Until then here are a couple from this week’s shoot.

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On Becoming a Photography Brand Ambassador

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How do you get noticed in a Crowd ?

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I have lost count of the amount of times I have been asked “how do you become a Brand Ambassador for a Photography Company ” It can be any brand and as I was probably with Fujifilm the longest,  then people will assume I am talking about Fujifilm but this could apply to any Photography Company.

So how do you become a Brand Ambassador ? To be honest it’s hard work and dedication and most importantly a great body of work because without great images to back you up you can fall at the first hurdle. These days there are a few people that have slipped through the net because they know somebody that knows somebody or have a fake Instagram following but when it’s time to knuckle down and produce the goods its these people that fail.

So many people want to become a Brand Ambassador but they really don’t know what is involved they only see the tip of the iceberg and the perceived glory !

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They don’t see the hundreds of hours that go into the job and the thought of standing on a stage talking to 60-1000+ people scares the crap out of quite a few. There are also the trolls and negative people that are too lazy to work hard for themselves and think you are going to help them when they can be arsed themselves !

I have given help and advice to lots of people over the years and also watched people knocking at the doors of lots of Brands and never making it ! Why is that you might ask and do you know most of the time they just give up too soon.  Most the the time if they are good the brands will be watching them they might even have people in their social media accounts before they even know they are in there. I have watched people focus on a brand and daily swamp the brands hashtags and pump images all over their feeds in the hope of getting noticed and trust me this works. I have even had brands say to me what is he or she like and I say yea great good work to only to find out the person they were watching gave up and then got overlooked.

I was told once you can’t be a Brand Ambassador on your work alone but that is not strictly true as I believe to this day its still your work that gets you noticed first. Then yes of course they need to see where you fit in their Brand Ambassador Scheme ! If a company has a full set in each country from Street to Landscape Sport etc then you should be looking for one of these people to leave and seize your chance.

 

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Times  have changed and most brands now require you to be a Full Time Professional Photographer earning at least 90% of your income from Photography. There are a few exceptions and that’s were your hard work and  image making skills come in.

With most brands it’s got to be a win win situation and there has got to be something in it for them and you.

I do laugh at times when I see people chasing after brands and think in three months or a year they might be working for Fujifilm or Sony etc  I think it was nearly three years before Fujifilm even noticed I was there and running next to me was Jeff Carter and I think at the time he was posting and blogging like a man possessed ! I was at the time shooting like a mad man and hoping my work would get me noticed and it did.

I think around about 2013 I was in the middle of my Black and White project and I was approached by about 5 brands all in the same year and still to this day I get the odd email asking me if I would like to work with X or Y brand.

It’s a lot easier once you have worked with a few big brands as you then have more value to another Brand. I am only representing 1 brand at the moment and that’s the amazing Gnarbox Team  this is a brand I believe in and have a strong connection with. I have turned down lots of brands and the main reason is I don’t like of believe in their product or I don’t like the way they do business. I won’t just represent someone because they pay me to represent them I have to keep my integrity intact.

When I left Fujifilm in 2017 quite a few people were wondering where I would go next and I thought it was amusing because as far as I am concerned Fujifilm are the best Camera Manufacturer out there at the moment with the best team, best integrity and the right vision for the future and they listen to the end user. I think Canon come second and after being a Nikon user for 40 years before I changed to Fujifilm I think Nikon are the most out of touch ! As a Nikon fan for 40 years I find the way they do business short sighted and rude.   On this point if you want to be a Brand Ambassador you need to be loyal !

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I have lost count of the people that have asked me how to be a Fujifilm ambassador then in 18 months jumped ship to Sony and that’s why the brands don’t rush into taking you on.

I know some people that think if they play up and are rude and nasty they will get noticed and it somehow has worked for a few people by slagging off one brand, they have managed to get involved with a rival ! I personally think that’s pathetic and there are a few out there with quite dubious backgrounds in the industry and I know some of these people personally and they have not done half the things they have on their CVs.

Some of them even admit fake it until you you make it mentality but it all goes wrong when you rock up for a job and can’t cope !!

The truth is it’s a long journey to be a Brand Ambassador first you need a body of work this takes time and if you have no images then you are looking at at least 5 years and at least 5 projects under your belt. I would say you do need to specialize I used to be known as a safe pair of hands that could shoot anything but that would not help me become a Brand Ambassador. In the end I had to go back to my passion and shoot Street and focus on that before I would get noticed.

You have to have a head for business and be able to take rejection as well. I learnt quite a lot from Stock Photography as rejection was high in the early years.

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You also have to be able to do the job. It’s no good  blagging your way in then not being able to stand on a stage and perform. Trust me it’s not easy to get up there and some of the best I have seen crapping themselves before they go on stage.  You also have to be able to work very hard and very long hours and mostly weekends. I think David Noton once said “you have to do your time in the trenches before you can become a Professional Photographer” and he was spot on if you don’t learn the job inside out you will look stupid at some point.

In 2016 I hardly had a day off and was all over the UK at the drop of a hat and the lifestyle looks great but it can get bloody lonely living out of a hotel room and sitting on a train on your own for hours at a time.

Yes the rewards are great but trust me going to bed at 4am and starting at 6am for 14 days straight can take its toll.

People always see the SUCCESS but they don’t see the hard work, risk, late nights, struggles, failures, persistence, action, discipline, courage, changes, criticism, disappointments,  adversity, rejections, sacrifice, marketing,  and accounting that goes in to that SUCCESS !!

The biggest thing holding most people back in trying to work for a brand is they just don’t have what it takes to go the distance and these days they are just too lazy and want it all done for them and handed to them on a plate. The end goal for most people trying to be a Brand Ambassador is they want free stuff but trust me,  it does not work like that and even though some brands do give stuff away most of the people who think wow that’s great, fail to deliver the goods and fail to impress the Brand and are just left with a camera body that they end up selling.

Some of the brands these days are to blame. They see someone with a fake Insta following and start throwing stuff at them only to find out the person can’t deliver !!

I have fallen foul of this myself and booked people with a huge following but they fail to get bums on seats at workshops or events because the following is fake ! Thanks to the Social Chain and quite a few other people now these accounts can be checked.

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So my advice on trying to be a Brand Ambassador if that’s what you want to do, is to consider this, I decided to leave Fujifilm to get my own identity back as I felt I needed to have my own creative freedom to do my own projects again so be aware you will be signing a contract that in some cases can be quite restrictive.  Make sure you are using that brand’s products  and have been for quite a while and I mean really love that gear and then build yourself a body of work using their products and get some really good projects under your belt before hounding them to death on Social Media. Specialise in one area be it Street, Landscape or Portrait and even if you are a Full Time Wedding Photographer do a project that means something to you that could make people look at your work in a new way.

Work hard and be positive and buckle in for a long journey.

Someone once said to me how long will it take me to get in the Police I have been trying for 8 years,  I said if you give up now you wont get in,  she sighed and got in the following year and is now doing her dream job.  It’s the same with the brands stick at it be loyal and produce great projects and they will find you.

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Stuck IN !

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So I am stuck in the house until the 14th of March  ! Not 100% true I can walk Jake and I can go out but I can’t drive and I have to be super careful.

It’s been this way for the last three months but I am now on the mend and climbing the walls so I have decided to do a 14 day Instagram Challenge to post an image form inside my House every day for the next 14 days shot on my iphone7plus and edited only in Instagram ! My instagram account is a black and white only account so all the images will be with Inkwell filter.

My Instagram feed started to get boring with just pictures of Jake and I know a few of you would love me to do an Instagram account for Jake but it won’t happen. From 2019 onwards I am going to thin out my Social media accounts as life if far more interesting than the never ending loop of social media.

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I started yesterday with a lightswitch and today was a simple lead that we all probably had by the side of the bed, the best part of the lead post was quite a few of my facebook friends taking this piss with their own floor images ! So it just goes to show what any little project can do.

At the moment I am running Project Sunday on my YouTube channel and Flicker so if you want to join in that pop on over to YouTube and Join in this weeks theme is Reflections.

So pop on over to my Instagram @matt6t6 if you want to see some everyday items shot in black and white with a phone !

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2019 is not going to PLAN !

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I was really looking forward to 2019 and I was all set to have my Gallbladder out and then get on with the year ! I am not going to go through all my serious medical issues that started in December but let’s just say I will probably have my Gallbladder out at a later date.

I have basically been stuck in doors unable to drive for three months and I am now climbing the walls. I have been asked to talk about what happend a few times and have decided to save it all for a future Podcast by a friend.

I will be able to drive again soon and can’t wait. I travel a lot by public transport or Taxi as it is but have not even been able to do that over the last three months.

I am going to be out there with my camera and video cameras like a man possessed soon as I have never been so cut off from my photography in all my life ! My project is at a standstill and I have no new work and it’s driving me insane !

I am represented by the HipGallery Hull but I am now also very proud to say I have been asked to be part of the O Gallery. To be honest I don’t even know why they asked me !  The web site has not been launched yet but it’s coming soon until then you can find out all about the O Gallery on Facebook.

I am still shocked I have not picked a camera up for over three months and my YouTube videos have all been pre recorded ! My next YouTube video on the 10th of March I will be nearly back in the real world and a few days after that I can drive again and can’t wait.

The last few months were like this woman’s hair completely out of control in the wind and just like her I have come out the other side with a smile ! Just about !

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I am now basically three months behind on 2019 and for someone that plans 18 months ahead it’s been a  difficult time I even had to cancel one workshop and I have never had to cancel a workshop in 6 years so it was a hard decision but the right one.

I am also very lucky to have an amazing bunch of friends who have really helped over the last few months and taken over Fujiholics for me. You know who you are cheers guys.

I can at last get back to blogging and to shooting some video at home again next week so hopefully that should keep me sane until I can get out again.

It’s been a trippy few months and just goes to show you should Live life to the Full every day, use every day good or bad as a learning experience to help you grow and develop. Only you can help you. Surround yourselves with positive friends who have the same dreams as you and help each other to achieve your life goals. Ignore the haters and bitter people in the world life is to short. But use their negativity in a positive way to grow your own positivity.
Have a great weekend everyone. #makethatchamgenow

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I have been lucky enough to have a new Rescue dog in my life called Jake who has been a great help to me over the last few weeks and no doubt you will all meet him over the course of 2019 ! I fact that’s all you have seen on Instagram for the last few weeks !

I suppose I had better keep myself busy with an Instagram home project ! Check it out on @matt6t6 starting tomorrow !

XT-3 Swap Over Complete

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Well it’s done after a few months of just not having time to swap over my Office Vlog set up, I decided today to make the Change !  I have been using the Canon 200D with the Rode Video Micro after my Rode Videomic Pro broke( The jack plug broke inside its case and I threw it away before I realised it had a 10 year warranty ! silly me)  So was using the Video Micro for quite a while, but I now have the amazing Video Mic Pro + and its ability to turn on when you turn the camera on is a real bonus over the Video Mic Pro, I can’t even tell you how many times I forgot to turn that mic on !

 

 

So this is my new set up its the amazing Fujifilm XT-3 with battery grip in a Smallrig Cage with added smallrig accessories to hold the Video Mic Pro + and the Atomos Ninja Blade.

I am using the Ninja Blade for forward facing monitor and also it doubles up for when I want to record the Camera Screen.

I am using the 16-55mm f/2.8 Fujifilm lens as its perfect for the.  The Rig does look a bit like frankenstein’s monster but it does a great job. I now have a Pair of Fujifilm XT-3’s and the are growing on me more and more every day.

The face and eye detect is really good and one of the only reasons I stuck to the Canon system for Video was the amazing Autofocus but I really did miss the lovely Fujifilm colours. Now I have the best of both Worlds the XT-3 really does deliver on Autofocus all they have to do now is sort the screen out and make one that flips round. For now I will use my Ninja Blade lets home in the Future the XT-4 will have a decent screen.

I can strip this rig down and use this camera in the field when needed but for now it’s going to live in the office to save me time on my YouTube videos.

So looking forward to making some amazing content in 2019.

I won’t write a complete list of parts but if you want to know more please ask.