Month: August 2020

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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