October Already !

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Canon G7x MkII

Well its October already and what a year 2020 has been ! I have just watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix and it really does help to explain what is going on in the world right now !

I spent an amazing amount of my time with my business online and was always mystified by the need for Facebook data centers and the need for complex algorithms ! When facebook started it really was a great laugh with all my friends over the years I hardly see any of my friends online and am fed videos and adverts daily.

I have been spending less and less time online and more and more time walking and trying to get outside as much as possible and have been wondering for ages why it’s so nice outside but so horrible online ! It’s almost as if something is driving a wedge between us all and creating a huge divide ! I was also finding myself saying on a daily basis “are people that thick to believe A.B.C !” I was thinking bloody hell stop believing Fake News and google the Truth ! Little did I know that’s not exactly possible !

So if you do anything this year watch The Social Dilemma and share it with your friends.

Right ! Back to Photography, I closed my Flickr account as sadly they were not taking it anywhere and I got fed up waiting. It would have been great if they had sorted out the App and made it almost along the lines of Instagram but without the Adverts.

I noticed today that my @matt6t6 Instagram account has changed and they have moved the post button and it’s now a bloody shopping button ! I find it very sad that such a great photography App has now turned into a Shopping Channel ! However it’s still a quick and easy to use App so for now it will stay but who knows what the future brings. There really is a market for a Great Photography Site / App that we pay for but is not a shopping channel ! I think Flickr/ 500px/Instagram were all great models in there time but they are all losing touch !

I have been tempted to start my own website again but its just something else that takes up my time indoors and I don’t need anything else that makes me sit at a desk !

The image at the top of the Screen was shot on the Canon G7X MKII, and is the first personal image I have shot in 18 months on a camera and not on my phone !

It’s crazy to think that 4 days ago I got a Quote from MPB for all my camera gear and it was a very good quote as well ! But a little voice in my head said “are you mad” well not just a little voice but Jane as well. It was the day after that I put the G7X in my pocket when I walked Jake.

In fairness it was a misty cold morning with great light, so I was really glad I had it with my for the above shot as I have walked past this scene for over two years every day walking Jake and always wanted to capture it in such great light. The weather was so good it really did get me excited again about picking up a proper camera. So much so that I started to think of some new projects for next year both Video and Stills.

I have not included many images in this blog this time but if you want to see how my projects are going and what I have been up to with my phone pop over to @matt6t6 and @matt6t6colour on Instagram.

As I said in my last blog post I have opened a new YouTube channel but have not made any videos yet and am not putting myself under any pressure to do so, I am just going to see how it goes.

Recovering from a Stroke is a long process and my brain is doing well but it sure is a rollercoaster ride ! One step at a time one day at a time and even though I was told it would take two years to learn to cope, I know it will be longer but now I have a handle on how complex that is I can move forward.

Jake Morning walk Canon G7X Mark II

So I am going to take baby steps back in to Photography, I am going to complete my 3 x 365 projects over the next few months, even if they do make my Instagram feeds look messy and then go from there.

Using my phone only has been amazing and it’s an amazing bit of kit but its not quite there yet for textures and tones and printing and as for a decent sensor and decent glass you can’t beat a real camera.

I have just given my G7X Mark II to my Son Luke so will be taking my G7X MKIII with me from now on, I will take it on my daily walks and wherever I go to try and get me used to handling a camera again before I pick up the Fujifilm Cameras.

Taking a phone out of the pocket for a quick photo is simple, taking the G7x out is a little step up and in the right direction. Taking out one of the Fuji’s at the moment is a step to far but the little Cannon really is making me look and want more.

It’s a funny thing I would shoot 99.9% Black and white before my Stroke but now Colour really is something I crave !

Who knows I might get back to Street at some point, but until then I think I need to explore some other aspects and areas of photography ! One thing I loved as a young boy was they way some of the amazing painters painted our amazing countryside so watch this space !

Let There Be Light

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Iphone11 ProMax

I have been a black and white Photographer for most of my life. From a very early age nearly 50 years ago I have been shooting black and white and I guess growing up watching a black and white TV, I learned from an early age to see the world in texture and tone, light and shade and also to work with light.

I did use Ektachrome for a while but not for long as I preferred black and white for story telling as I found colour to distracting.

When I moved from Film to Digital the sensors were so bad colour was a nightmare, sensor noise was so bad it made all images far to dark, so I guess I just gave up trying to work with Colour. On a fantastic day with great light it was easy but on a flat day with little or no light unless you had an expert knowledge of lighting it was almost impossible to get consistency.

I tried to shoot JPEG in the early days of Digital but gave up there was not enough latitude to get the full range of tones I required for my work. In fact it was not until around 2013 whilst doing my year of black and white project did I find a way to produce digital black and white images I was happy with.

I have never been a fan of sitting in front of a computer and editing. In the film days I would only print my best work so possibly one or two shots from a roll of film for personal work. So spending more time on digital editing drove me nuts. There is more to life than bing sat in doors.

There is a big wide world out there waiting to be photographed and I wanted to be out there in the fresh air and not stuck indoors. I had quite a lot of flack in the early days and was called a Photoshop Hater but that’s was so far from the truth. I use Lightroom because it was for me the fastest way from A-B. I am Dyslexic so Lightroom made more sense to me than Photoshop, so that what I used.

I was a RAW shooter and every time I tried to find a style or a way to shoot and process Colour images I gave up. It was just ridiculous the amount of time you had to spend in Lightroom or Photoshop to get consistency in your work when using colour.

Kevin Mullins decided once he started using the Fujifilm System to shoot JPEG and created his own style in this way. I did try it but gave up because it just did not work for my Black and White image style. I like my blacks to be black and my Whites White and all the other tones across the range. You could not get this from a JPEG because you had to spend more time undoing what the camera had done. I could process a Black and White image in a couple of minutes from RAW but it was five to ten minute from JPEG.

I can shoot black and white in any light and process very quickly in a very short amount of time and even though I have dabbled in Colour its never really appealed to me until now.

Why ? Well I have retired now so have no reason to have clients wanting all different colour profiles and I used to get fed up using colour charts and profiles to keep clients happy. Now I can explore colour and try and find a style that works for me and even better I have no deadlines so can just shoot colour on days when there is perfect light.

I cant explain in this blog what perfect light is because its probably subjective, but perfect light to me is light that produces an image I hardly have to edit. Its mainly golden hour light, or that magic light you get just after a rainstorm or thunderstorm or that crazy light you get just before a storm.

I used great light in my black and white images at times but most of my black and white work was shot on very overcast days, or in very high contrast light.

My new love for Colour stems from great light and has come about by using my iphone ! I have tried Nikon and Canon RAW’s and JPEGs and nothing works for me without extended processing times. The images out of an iPhone need very little if any processing. I have not picked up my Fujifilm cameras in probably 18 months and when I do if they cant produce JPEG images like the iphone I might have to have a rethink ! I very much expect I will find a way but for now I am just going to work with my iphone and explore colour from there.

Its amazing how having a Stroke and being restricted in a few ways has allowed be to develop some new ideas and ways of working. I am changing my views on the world and on the the photographic process. I want speed and constancy and I want something very portable, I also want a systems and process that are very simple.

One of the best times I had with a camera was when I was walking and climbing with Jane and just had a compact camera in my pocket and a phone to take the odd photo on a day out. Bags of cameras and lenses really don’t appeal to me anymore I just want simple.

I have never been obsessed with Sharpness or that unreal look you get with digital, I have always preferred that blemished film look so will be going backwards rather than forwards in the future that’s for sure.

There is no point in carrying lots of gear about just in the hope there might be some great light now and then ! David Noton used to spend weeks if not months waiting for the light and that was the clue to great colour photography, you just have to wait for the light. Taking images in shit light and then spending hours and hours in Photoshop is not for me when you can just go click with a phone on the right day. I know a phone shot will not be good enough for a decent print but once I have mastered waiting for the light I can then find a camera system that makes my life as easy as the iphone 11 ProMax who knows it might be one of the Fujifilm cameras I have, or it might be a simple compact camera I don’t own yet ! One thing is for sure it’s all about painting with light and always has been for me. I don’t need lots of great images a year just a couple will do me ! Taking one great image in great light once in 10 years would make me very happy.

 

Smart Phone

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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 !

iPhone 11 ProMax

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.  

iPhone 11 ProMax

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.

iPhone 11 ProMax

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.

Iphone 11 ProMax

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.

iPhone 11 ProMax

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.

iPhone 11 ProMax

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.

iPhone 11 ProMax

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.

iPhone 11 ProMax

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.

iPhone 11 ProMax

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 !

 

Half Year Update

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…..

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Litter Project Update

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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.

Rubbish !

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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 !

2020 Going Mobile

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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.

                                             i phone11 ProMax  

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.

                                               i phone11 ProMax

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.

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I hope to start updating this blog and YouTube from 1 June onwards so stay tuned.

 

Fear of Projects

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I have found it hard to write my blog and create Youtube videos following my stroke but every now and then something happens to inspire to make me sit down at my desk and write or grab a camera and make a video.

I have been encouraging people to do projects for years and also doing at least one 365 project in their lives !

I have always been aware that project images out of context or 365 images looked at as individual images might not be understood by people. Let’s face facts you are not going to go out and shoot a masterpiece every day of a 365 in fact I doubt any images in your 365 will be amazing ! Because that’s not what it’s all about.

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I do however think its comments like this on Social media that hold a lot of people back from starting a project.

People want to take a photo put it on social media and get 400 likes and great comments, but that’s not what projects are all about. A single image looked at out of a series probably makes no sense and as part of a 365 can me quite boring or banal !

The crazy thing for me at the moment is the simple fact I am walking the same walk I always walk due to the Lock Down for Covid-19, I don’t have much choice about were I go and I am trying not to shoot the same path or area of sky more than once.

I sometimes reply to comments like this and sometimes I ignore them to give me time to think, but I always check out the posters images, its my first port of call.

This time instead of replying I have decided to blog about it, I am not 100% sure what this guy is getting at but he obviously does not realise that this image is #82 of 365 and even though it’s hardly a masterpiece its 1 image out of 365 and means something to me because I only went this way on this path this day because there were to many people out walking their dogs this day and I had to go this way to socialy distance myself from others, it also has my dog Jake in it and gives a sense of place with the light gantry. When I look back at this image in a year’s time I will remember the Lock Down.

This series of images is part of my Path Project and Weather Projects 365s and once completed will be in an exhibition and in two books. As individual images they will not make a lot of sense and as I say with quite a few 365 projects quite a lot of images will not be great or mean much to other people. But for the artist or Photographer it’s all part of a Year’s Journey.

So don’t let the fact you are not going to get 400 likes and the fact you will get strange comments at times stop you from doing a project of starting a 365 because it does not matter what other people think or like it’s all about what you get out of the project or 365 at the end of the year.

 

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March 2020 Update

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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.

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My 2020 365 Project is Pathways

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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 !!!

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