Its amazing how quickly we can adapt to change if we have no other choice !
I have always used a camera of some form from a very early age of about 8 years old and trust me when I was 8, around 50 years ago cameras were quite basic, I used to love taking photos and it was always interesting to see what came back from the developers !
The digital age came and it was great to be able to see what you had taken on the rear screen and when mirrorless first came out it was great to see the image through the sensor as such. I embraced Mirrorless and and the Fujifilm system, I probably did this very quickly because I was very slow to move from Film to digital and once I realised the potential of Mirrorless I jumped ship from the huge Nikon Pro system to the Mirrorless system.
I then went one step to far and brought in to the Fujifilm GFX system, the system is great one of the best in the world but my work had changed and there is no way I needed all that resolution and did not need a camera system that was that heavy.
I sold my GFX system and re invested the money back in to my Fujifilm system and at that time the XT-3 was the way forward for most of my work. I also had the Xpro2 and the X100F for personal work and Street work.
One of my all time bug bares with the Fujifilm system as with any digital system was the few extra steps it takes to edit and then get your images online ! Sounds crazy right ! 50 years ago I would shoot then wait a week for the images to come back from the lab, now I cant be arsed to transfer my images to my laptop and then get them online.
The smartphone has always been ok but they have there downsides like resolution speed of focus and lens length. I did not think I would ever favour a phone to a camera but after using an iPhone 11 ProMax now for so long without any other camera its been an eye opener. I can shoot edit and upload to where ever I need in the matter of minutes.
The iPhone 11 ProMax has three lens options and although they are not as good as Fujifilm glass they are good enough, also I get fed up with a bag full of lenses and a camera around my neck.
When I started my projects after my Stroke I really did think I would miss the Fujis but I have not picked up a real camera for my own personal work in 18 months. I have done a few commercial shoots before I retired and went back to the Fujis but even found myself using my phone as well for the client ! He loved the fact he could get my work on Instagram as we finished the shoot so we were both happy.
Don’t get me wrong if you want to print large or need the images for commercial work outside the internet and social media then the smart phone would struggle but for most social media work its the perfect tool. I was even shooting my YouTube videos on my phone before I closed my account.
I made some notes in Autumn so that next year I could go back to some locations with my real cameras to get some decent Landscape shots ! But the crazy thing is the thought of dragging bags of gear and a tripod to a lake on a 5 mile walk don’t feel me with enthusiasm.
I really have adapted really quickly to just using my phone, I wonder every day if I should sell all my camera gear and just use my phone.
I don’t think I am at that stage yet and will keep it and see what use to get next year but I can see some changes on the horizon.
I would miss my long fast lenses for wildlife etc but I have not missed them for 18 months and if i see wildlife I just enjoy my time with it without a camera !
In the time I have spent not using a camera and just my Phone I have noticed Canon and Nikon have now started to move in to Mirrorless properly and have some great kit but have a long way to go before they catch up with Fujifilm and Sony. Its quite funny how you could be tempted to jump systems from one year to the next but its just a fools game. Its better to find a system stick to it and hone your craft.
I was tempted to Leica last year but to be honest a really good smart phone will do me for now.
Who knows what another 12 months will bring I guess we will have to wait and see.
I opened a new YouTube Chanel this week but have not posted any videos yet but once I do I will write a blog about it. I closed my old account for many reasons and was going to use Vimeo but changed my mind due to cost etc so will stick to YouTube and Instagram, I just need to decide what to do with the new Channel.
Have a great week cant believe its August already !
Well, we are over half way through 2020 and what a year it has been.
I am now over half way through my Path and Weather projects at week 202 and 62 weeks in to my Litter Project.
I have closed my YouTube Channel ! It was after a lot of consideration but YouTube were changing their rules and I was a little fed up with some of the tools available to me. I hope sometime in the future to embed some videos in to this blog. I am still on facebook at the moment but really do need to close my account as the lockdown has shown us just how bad social media can be ! I am sick of the Politics and Vitriol on facebook and twitter but need them both at the moment for Fotoholics.
I was going to use Flickr and Instagram but I am fed up with the progress with Flickr so will not be continuing with Flickr once my subscription has run out. I will however keep Instagram even though I hate what facebook has done with it, its still a great place to use for projects, its just a shame its been strangled by algorithms for commercial purposes.
Some of my Friends have got in to TikTok I was on there from day one but got off really quick as it was full of very young kids ! But even though the audience is still very young its not political its more of a fun place.
I am not 100% sure about future video but Instagram or Vimeo will probably be the go to places. YouTube is great but getting more and more complicated but who knows I might return.
Photography apart from my projects has been put on the back burner at the moment, I have found it very hard to pick up a camera following my Stroke but have some great ideas for the future with stills and video, but its all on hold until next year. I think the Smart Phone has really replaced the compact camera thought and my iPhone 11 ProMax has been great. I really do miss the reach and speed of a real camera though so will be exploring some decent Landscape work again next year.
I managed to buy a Drone just before lockdown but as yet have not used it once !! I might get a chance soon but not decided to use it for Stills or Video yet ! We shall see…
I have three Instagram accounts @matt6t6 for black and white @matt6t6colour for you guessed it colour and one for Jake @jake_the_lab_lurcher I put a lot of thought in to Jakes and started it from the first day I met him in the Dogs Trust Merseyside ! He has been an amazing help to my Stroke recovery and he get me out of the house every day for a walk, I think we have helped each other because he was abused before he came to live with me so I guess we have helped each other. He now features a lot in my work and gives it another dimension.
Street photography has really taken a back seat but that’s because my Stroke has left me with massive anxiety around groups of people. I am sure in the future this will sort its self out but for now I am keeping clear of city’s and crowds.
I was aiming to write this blog more regularly but I have not got round to it, but hopefully that will change in the future as we are making more changes to our schedule.
You are all probably aware I retired following my stroke and closed my company, but I carried on with Fujiholics this year but we rebranded it to Fotoholics. However this year has been very difficult for the company so we will have to review its future by the end of the year. The Fotoholics Competition closes at the end of the month and has had some amazing prizes up for grabs. If you want to enter you can HERE.
I will be aiming to get at least one blog out a month from now on so watch this space…..
I almost failed to start this project because I had two 365 projects on the go and because I did not think it worked in black and white. I also was unsure if it would work in colour but with a few tweaks in Instagram I have found a style and mix of tones I like.
I am only up to day 22 and already it’s making me think about a few aspects of litter.
I always blame the person who fails to put it in the bin, lets be honest it really is there fault but I think corporate buisness has a lot to answer for as well. The fast food industry and the packing industry need to take some responsibility to.
There are all types of litter about but the bulk of it is take away food and drink waste ! Plastic is by far the worst but there is ever increasing paper cups from coffee shops.
The pandemic as brought about new waste ! I will try and capture the new waste over the coming months and is alcohol related waste dumped in parks and out of car windows around parks ! This has increased broken glass on footpaths and carrier bags getting blown about.
There is also now camping waste ! When I say waste it’s tents and suitcases etc dumped in the countryside ! I have been quite shocked by what I have seen on social media about the increase in waste in the countryside. It’s strange as the National Trust and tourist company’s are saying we want everyone to come and enjoy the countryside. But I disagree with this. If people can’t follow the countryside code then they should stay at home and keep their shit with them.
Litter is getting everywhere and it’s got worse and worse since the lockdown started ! Fly tipping is out of control and people’s attitudes to litter is getting worse and worse. People think it’s someone else’s job to pick up after them or they think it keeps someone in a Job ! Not sure where they get this idea from because the bulk of the litter in the countryside is picked up by other people who can’t stand to see it and groups that have formed to keep their local parks and beaches free from the crap other people leave behind.
I really do believe it’s now up to us the people who hate litter to make a difference ! I am not sure how but we really do need to change other people’s attitudes to litter !
Also the corporates need to start education in their fast food outlets ! I think drive through outlets should start writing vehicle reg numbers on take away orders so the litter can be traced back to the litter bug and they get a hefty fine. Let me know what your thoughts are.
I must be mad ! I am already in the middle of two 365 projects when another one jumped in my head.
I wanted to start this project last year but it just did not work in Black and White.
The only Instagram accounts I had last year were my black and white accounts so I just put this project on the back burner.
I opened my Instagram colour account a while back but forgot about my project. It all came back to me the other day when I saw this lucszade bottle on this post !
The plan is to shoot another 365 but put the images in my Instagram colour account @matt6t6colour I am going to shoot the project in Square format and use insta filters and editing only.
Litter has been a long term pet hate of mine and over the lockdown period it’s got worse and worse.
The other day there was so much litter around a duck pond I had to drive home to get a bin bag and some gloves to collect it all up because the ducks and ducklings were trying to eat around it.
I really don’t get how people can’t put there crap in a bin. They go for a walk in the beautiful countryside or go to the beach and just leave their crap everywhere. Don’t even get me started on dog poo bags in trees ! I don’t understand the mentality.
I know here in Liverpool it’s got so bad teams of people have gone to the beaches to clear it up. Crosby beach was horrific.
I have mixed feelings about people picking up after other people. I think it’s great people clear it up. I have done it myself I have even seen people picking up other people’s crap and giving it back to them. The downside to picking it up for them the idiots that leave it never get to see the shit state they leave places in. You almost want the beaches to be left in a shit state for a month to show these people what they do. I know this is not practical because so much would blow in to the sea and cause more issues.
I used to walk Jake in a local park and watch this girl run there every morning. After her run she picked up 3 bits of litter and put them in the bin. What a great thing to do but such a shame she had to do it.
I don’t know what the answer is. I think it starts with Education, on saying that you should see the rubbish around my local school ! Thrown on the floor or kicked out of car foot wells.
I try to do my bit but during this virus I have had to stop because I need gloves and a bag every day and I feel by wearing gloves every day I am adding to the waste situation so will resume again once the virus has burnt out.
I guess my project is to highlight the litter and hopefully draw people’s attention to how it looks in places it should not be. I very much doubt my project will have any impact but we shall see ! I have a Facebook group called Bag it and Bin it feel free to join if you want. We can’t change the world but it would be nice to change a few people’s ways !
Well what a year 2020 is turning out to be. I was so looking forward to this year after all my Health Issues from the last couple of years.
My Plan was to start getting out and about in late March to get Jake used to busy city streets and to start shooting some YouTube footage and start YouTube again.
The funny thing is just as the lockdown came on my back went ! Yep disc bulges in to a narrow spinal canal is quite something and joke on the side, something I thought I had put behind me. It’s knocked me back a bit but I have managed to force myself to get up and out and keep off the pain meds.
Lucky for us in the UK we were allowed 1 form of Exercise a day so that was perfect for me to walk Jake and carry on with my two 365 projects. Without the walk I think I would have gone insane.
The good part of the lockdown was the time to think abs reflect. I really have had enough of people’s politics on Social Media it was bad enough with Brexit and the Election but now we have people using their politics to push their own views about Covid-19 all over Facebook and Twitter. This has been horrendous, but it’s helped me to decide what Social media to get rid of and what to keep.
I decided to remove my website now I have retired and will slowly be coming away from Facebook and Twitter. I did think I would dump Instagram but have changed my mind as it’s really handy for my projects. Flickr however will have to go because SmugMug are just not upgrading the community tools.
One thing that kept me going in the Lockdown was walking and shooting short 1 min videos every day for my friends. I had so much feedback I decided to look at doing YouTube again. So I did a quick YouTube video today YouTube to explain.
Following my Stroke I decided to retire but this has been a struggle. Thankfully the lockdown made me realise my decision was right.
I also started watching Netflix and found going in my office quite hard as it felt like going to work. I also need a more mobile solution to editing still images and video. Something better than sitting in front of two computer screens for hours on end.
So I have decided to move my workflow to a more mobile solution. This won’t be easy but I am looking forward to the Challenge. I am going to be using my phone a lot more for stills and video. I will be adding the new i pad Pro 2020 and combining that with the GNARBOX 2.0 and possibly a couple of backup options. I plan to use LumaFusion for Video and Lightroom cc for stills along with Snapseed and possibly Darkroom. I was hoping to be able to move away from Adobe Subscription model but we shall see.
Moving to a mobile workflow will be a dream come true and I will update you all with my progress and link you back to my home office set up at the same time. I will become more mobile over the coming months so moving away from a desktop set up is a wise move. Now all I have to do is teach this old dog some new tricks.
I hope to start updating this blog and YouTube from 1 June onwards so stay tuned.
Wow its March 2020 already and it’s been very very wet for quite a while now.
My recovery has been a slow process but I am getting used to working around the brain damage.
I have let Photography take a back seat for a while and I have slowed down with YouTube until I can sort out why I can’t monetize the account. Not that it matters but I dont what to throw hundreds of hours at it and find out in 5 years time the account has other issues ! If only you could speak to a Human at Google or Adsense !!
I have been working on both of my 365 Project on Instagram so if you want to check them out its @matt6t6 on Insta.
The Path project is now running at the same time as my weather project, both projects are shot on my iphone11ProMax and images edited in instagram only. The Path Project shots are all Square and the Weather projects are all low Horizon shots in 4:3 format.
I am getting a huge amount of enjoyment out of just using my phone and will get back to photography when I am ready. I have some plans for Youtube as well and hopefully will get back to youtube in late 2020.
I have never had the time to do a 365 and working as a Professional Photographer I was far to busy with my work so the last thing I wanted to do was pick up a camera once more every day and take or remember to take one more photo !
I was trying to think of a project to do this year and after taking a few photos on my Dog walks Matt Walkley Suggested I do a Path Project and from there I have decided to do my first ever 365 project.
So my 2020 365 Project will be pathways, it will be shot on my iphone 11 pro max and in black and white.
You will be able to follow along on my instagram account @matt6t6 I did think about starting a new Insta for the project but I am trying to reduce my social media not add to it !
I have always thought a 365 would drive me nuts so I am about to find out.
One thing is for sure this time next year I will have taken a lot of images of Paths !!!
It’s not a very nice photo but it shows where I was on February the 14th 2019, that’s right my Valentines present was a Carotid Endarterectomy !
I will just say before I start this Blog I owe the NHS my life and even though there were a few errors I have had a complicated couple of years medically here is the short version on YouTube if you don’t want to read this. YouTube Version.
First I need to go back a couple of years to the start.
In my late 30s I had a bad motorcycle accident and broke my back. I was told at the time I would never walk again but after a while I got the feeling back in my legs and started a long painful recovery. I have suffered with back problems from that day. At the time of the accident they found out I had a very narrow spinal canal and this would cause me issues with pain as the nerves had nowhere to go when compressed by my discs.
Jump forward to approx two years ago and I started getting very bad back pains and I was losing feeling in my legs and having severe pain in my hips knees and ankles. I went to the doctors and he sent me for an MRI. The results were I had 5 disc bulges in to a narrow spinal canal !! At the time he said he could only operate on the worst one L3 but this might not help. I was put on heavy pain meds but I am not one for lots of meds as that’s just a slippery slope. So decided to lose some weight and start Physio.
I worked hard with the Physio and I went from 106.9 Kilos down to 80 Kilos in about 6 Months. I thought I had done very well I was pain free and had no back problems whatsoever. But then after a meal in Edinburgh I had excruciating pain under my right rib cage and up my back, pain like I have never had before I was sick and my urine went bright orange. Turns out losing weight can cause Gallstones !!! You can’t make it up can you all that hard work and now a new type of pain.
Gallstone pain is excruciating so it was back on the pain meds but this time they did not help much as the only thing that helped with Gallstone pain was walking until it subsided ! I walked miles and miles in agony around the house and around the streets, even when we were away or at friends it would start and I would have to walk until it stopped or I was exhausted.
They wanted to list me for Surgery but first they wanted to stick a camera down to make sure there were no other issues and it was safe to take the gallbladder out. I went for the camera and have had this procedure before but this time the sedative was not as good and it was a very painful and uncomfortable experience. When I came out that sat Jane and I down and told me I had esophagus cancer or the precursor to it and had sent the biopsies off for testing ! (All you here is cancer ) I was crapping myself for two weeks and even lost some more weight. Lucky for me the biopsies came back negative.
Following the Camera however, I was not in a good way I was having small electric shocks all down my left side and in my mouth and on my face and head these were accompanied by massive headaches and shooting white lights in my eyes a bit like you get when you stand up to quick or get a knock on the head. My doctor was convinced it was nothing to do with the camera procedure but I was not. He told me it was migraines and would probably go.
During all this I was in Birmingham with my friend Matt Walkley and Lee Glasgow and we were drinking a lot of Single Malt but I will come back to this night.
In the end I was not happy with my Doctor and went to see a diferent doctor who was concerned and booked me and MRI this MRI was not even in 2018 it was August 2019 ! The day after I went to see the Doctor I went blind in my right eye, it was like and opaque curtain across the bottom of my eye. So I went back in to the Doctors and she sent me to St Pauls Eye Hospital in Liverpool !
Trust me the whole world is in that waiting area with itchy eyes !! I waited about 6 hours and by the time I was seen I could see again. They did a quick eye exam and told me it was probably a little TIA behind the eye but was clear now but if it happens again to come back asap. The checked with A&E and let me go. The following day I went blind again twice the first time for a few seconds the next time longer so I jumped in a Cab and went back to the Hospital as instructed. I wanted 4 hours and then in triage they asked me why I was back and I told them ! They were not happy but told me the lady would see me so I then waited another 4 hours ! I think she wanted to show me I was wasting her time ! When I got to see her she was rude and condescending and basically told me there was nothing wrong go away and don’t come back.
At this point I was not happy and was now having about 5+ TIAs a day ( not that I knew what they were at that point ) I decided to go private and get an MRI as I was all over the place by now and really struggling. The results of the MRI were not good and my Doctor rang me at home late at night to give me the news. I had Brain Damage after a Stroke and was now having TIA’s and could have another stroke at any time. I went to the Vascular clinic at the Royal the next day and the team were first class the were however very annoyed with the eye hospital for sending me home. The also scanned my Neck in the MRI and they found quite a lot of damage in my neck that could be causing me issues now and in later life (something else to look forward to)
At this point I was glad I was drinking whisky with my friends Matt and Lee because it turns out that was the night I had my Stroke in my Hotel Room alone !!!
I had my neck doppler scanned and it was found my right carotid artery was 90% blocked, and would need surgery asap. They explained how the Camera Procedure had probably pushed my blood pressure up and had dislodged some particles in the artery.
So my Gallstone camera procedure had probably saved my life in a roundabout way !! Better it happen now than to be on holiday in 5 years time have a massive Stroke and Die.
My Gallstone operation was put on the back burner until after I had a Carotid Endarterectomy a procedure to clear out the plaque in my Carotid Artery. The risks to the operation were Stroke or Death. Trust me it’s a scary time, you make sure you have a Will and all the things that need to be in place are in place. I even thought well I have had a happy life so if this is it then its been good.
It was February now and I had been having TIA’s basically from November 2018 to about 4 weeks before the operation the reason they has stopped is because the medication they had put me on stopped blood clots forming in the narrowing in my neck. I was scanned again before the operation and the narrowing was 80% so what probably explained the amount of TIA’s I was having a day.
I was prepped for Surgery on the 13th of Feb 2019 and already to go to theatre after crapping myself all night. The operation was called off because the MRI report had been written up back to front and they needed clarification on what side the brain damage was on. I was back in on the 14th Feb 2019 and the procedure was carried out. I had a funny turn after the operation due to suddenly becoming allergic to codeine but was home soon after to recover.
I was seen by a neurology professor who explained I had been very lucky but even though I look fine on the outside I had sustained some quite serious brain damage that would never heal but in time I would work round it. This was backed up by further tests and I was told it would be about two years before I started to work this all out.
Just as I was recovering from the Surgery my Gallbladder decided to start playing up again and this time I could not take codeine so was prescribed this mad drug that did take the pain away but kept me awake all night !! Gallbladder pain is off the scale and the only way to relive it is to walk and walk until it subsides, the drugs help but only for a while and the pain lasts for up to 13 hours. During this time I had the pleasure of Gallstones coming out of the gallbladder and getting stuck in the bile ducts and this is a whole new level of OUCH.
The NHS would not remove my Gallbladder for some strange reason and I kept getting put on the end of the list. In the end I found out that I needed a letter from my Consultant to allow me to come off my blood thinner and go on to Aspirin for 7 days but they would still not move me up the list. I ended up in A&E a couple of times on Morphine to relieve the pain and they told me people were jumping the waiting list by keep presenting at A&E with pain. However I could not do that due to the medication I was on.
So again I went private and had my Gallbladder out a couple of months back.
Its bliss to now been pain free even if I can’t eat like I used to, I am happy not to have to be in agony at random times any more.
So as you can see it’s been a journey so far and it’s not over yet as far as Stroke recovery. I am really looking forward to 2020 as I see 2020 as a fresh start and want to start to get out again with my camera. I hope to take you on the rest of my recovery journey in 2020 through youtube and this blog. A stroke is quite a shock to the system and is life changing I will explain more on YouTube in 2020.
I would like to thank Jane and Jake for the support this year and all my close friends who have always been at the end of the phone and my Medical Friends who have given me so much great advice without you guys I would have gone nuts.
I would also like to thank the NHS who are over run with people abusing the system so it makes it hard for people who really need it. I have had a few issues with mistakes over the last two years but they are under so much pressure its unreal. The Vascular team at the royal are amazing and a credit to the NHS. The private hospitals are also under strain as they are picking up where the NHS cannot cope.
Also to all you guys that follow my blog and youtube have a great new year and see you in 2020.
I don’t know where to start with this but after leaving a Facebook Group yesterday because the admin were demanding that every post had the camera settings I was left shocked !
They also wanted to know what Lee filter was used !
I did make a comment before I left but I think it was lost in Translation ! The guy was insisting it was not about the light !
I fully understand they most people that are learning to use there camera think they need to know other people’s camera settings and for some reason some Pro’s and some trainers encourage this, and so do lots of groups !
I remember when I was younger I even fell for this myself until I realised it’s all irrelevant!
We are convinced by other people the way to learn is to read up on camera settings so much so we get obsessed with Exiff data !
We then think if we had that camera and that lens that guy uses so we could take photos like him or her !
The brands have taken this to the next level and love all their Ambassadors to share this info.
The Photographer might as well share what they had for breakfast and how they were dressed for all the good it will do us.
If you were to take three photos with the exact same setup at three different times of day using a Photographers setting you would get three different sets of results.
We don’t know what the light was like at the time, what software was used, how it was processed or what effect the Photographer was going for.
When I used to teach Street Photography the most common question I ever got asked was “can you set my camera up for me ?” or “what are your camera settings for Street ?”
When I try and explain that’s not how it works I get the look ! I can hear the cogs ticking ! “He does not want to tell us his secrets !” “He does not want us to be better than him !”
When the truth is I Format my memory card before I go out and shoot in RAW and have my Cameras set on Manual if I am in a Studio and Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority out on the Street and probably Auto ISO ! If I am shooting Landscape it will be Manual with the lowest ISO probably.
Wherever we stand on this planet whatever country we are in, at any given time of day the light and conditions are different and also the effect we want in our camera also comes in to play.
We have to learn to Master the Exposure Triangle there and then and it’s only by going out day after day for years and years can we work out what works for us.
Yes of course you can use the Sunny 16 rule on a Sunny day but that just gets you a shot !
What if you want people with motion blur or want narrow depth of field or you even want to make people disappear from the scene ! What if you want movement in the clouds or silky water !
What if in a Studio you want High Key or Low key ?
Stop obsessing over bloody camera settings and get out and practice ! The more time you spend with a camera in your hand the more you learn.
Photography is about so much more than Exiff Data it’s about Light,Composition, Moment, Amazing Subject and Emotional impact. It’s about you the Photographer and what your vision is. Not what settings Linda Wisdom uses !
You won’t learn this stuff in a week or a month it’s a lifetime of learning !
If you are in a Facebook group that insists on Exiff Data leave the group, go outside and take some photos it will be the best thing you have done for your photography all week.
There is no shortcut trust me, get out with your camera every day or as much as you can and practice practise practise, learn by your mistakes and trial and error. That way you learn a lot faster.
You can read as many books as you want, do as many courses as you want they just give you inspiration. It’s down to you and you alone to teach yourself the Exposure Triangle and learn to speed up that process by daily practise.
Jane always says to me she does not want to learn photography because there is too much to remember ! So very true but with practice it becomes second nature. You can just dial it in and shoot. You don’t become an expert at anything if you sit on your arse and wait for it to come to you, hard work and commitment is the name of the game.
Searching YouTube for those bits of info on camera setting for hours and hours won’t make you a better photographer it just makes you a couch potato !
So get up go out and get practicing ..