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Projects 2019

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Canon G7X Mark II

I’m a bit late thinking about my 2019 project and I have not even finished my 2018 Project !

Not that I have to finish it on the 31st January this year as I have given myself and the group that are all doing the Home project extra time as we have to have the images ready for an Exhibition in Hull next October at the Hull International Photography Festival the first weekend in October 2019.  My Home Project is The Plot and is all about Janes second home her Allotment.

I can just share one image with you from my Plot project and its the one below.

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Fujifilm GFX 50S 

Part of my projects process it to work out what I would get the most out of that would also push me and take me in a new direction but because I have a few other project on the go I am probably going to be quite reserved next year, because I want to concentrate on YouTube in the first couple of months and i have a house to finish my time will be limited for a while.

I did however start thinking about my 2019 projects when I shot this image in Edinburgh a couple of months back ! It was pouring with rain and as I stood there with my X100F grabbing some frames of wet people running for the train I started to get a few ideas flooding in but most of them would be to much work.

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Fujifilm X100F

I am already working on two projects that are long term and one is Where is Jane and the image below is from that very long term project and is all about finding Jane. She is on the Path to the left if you are struggling

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Nikon D3s

A big part of my thought process for projects is taking photos and see if they would work as a body of work or how difficult the project would be to shoot and how long it would take ! I guess these thought go through my head all the time.

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Ideas like the image above come and go and eventually just like when you smell freshly made coffee one such idea will excite me and it starts me on my new Project Journey.

Next year I am going to take you on that Journey with me on my Youtube Channel.

 

Ireland with the X100F

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Fujifilm X100F Lee 0.9 Soft Grad

If you read my previous blog post or watched my YouTube video you will know I have just been to Ireland for the first time in years.

I had a rough time in Ireland with my health so did not achieve all I wanted but had a relaxing time apart from the times I was kept awake all night with Gallstone Pain.

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I was going to shoot lots of video but did not feel up to it so there is just a short film on YouTube this time.

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My previous blog post was all about the iphone and how amazing it was to have with me so that I could shoot, process and upload the images in seconds.

This is just post it just to share a few of the images I shot in Ireland with the Fujifilm X100F my favorite camera in the Fujifilm range for so many reasons and even though I have just brought two X-T3’s for Landscape and Video they will never beat the weight and ease of use of the X100F.

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I really did not want to be carrying a tripod and bags of gear with me everywhere I went in Ireland so kept it really simple. Canon G7X MKII in my pocket for video and back up, X100F over my shoulder and iphone in my pocket.

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I have to confess to mostly using the iphone and then second came the X100F and last the G7X.

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We were blessed with Storm Ali whilst we were in Northern Ireland so managed to get some interesting shots of the Giants Causeway and with storm force winds it was quite a challenge at times.

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I used the X100F with a Lee Filters 0.9 Grad handheld in front of the lens just to darken the sky and keep the spray off my lens on most of the shots.

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Fujifilm X100F Lee 0.9 SG

We had an amazing time and now I have to put together a workshop on Achill Island with Matt Walkley so will leave you to look at a few of the images I made with the X100F.

I am moving to YouTube next year so feel free to hop on over to YouTube and subscribe and hit the bell, that way you can see what I am up to in 2019.

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Fujifilm X100F Lee 0.9 SG
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Projects

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Fujifilm X100F

I have always been passionate about Photography Projects and I even include Projects in my talks and workshops. Projects are fantastic for personal development but frustrating all at the same time. The hardest part with most projects is getting started ! Once you are started its not too hard to stay motivated, as long as its a short project.  A short project is for around a year.

I started my ‘Where is Jane’ & ‘Where’s Jane’ project about six months ago but its not been going to plan. Its a long term, double project based on my old facebook posts about my travels with Jane.

I got it wrong from the start and decided to shoot the project in Colour and with the Fujifilm GFX because I wanted to put the images in a Exhibition with really big prints. The downside to this idea was I really don’t carry the GFX with me everywhere I go with Jane, so the projects were not really getting off the ground and I ended up shooting with all types of camera, also I am  not a fan of colour so it was all at a standstill !

This weekend in Edinburgh I shot the black and white image above and it was that lightbulb moment ! I was doing it all wrong and it should be in black and white and not camera specific !

So I am going to start the project from scratch but this also means I can add into the project all the old images from facebook that made me want to start the project in the first place.

‘Where is Jane’ & ‘Where’s Jane’ are two very simple projects,  one is looking for Jane in the images and the other is knowing where she is in the world ! Trust me its confusing enough for me especially as I am Dyslexic so just the wording alone is confusing.

Below is a set of images for ‘Where is Jane’.. as in where in the world…

 

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The following set is for looking for Jane..

Some are easy and some are a little harder !

Some are a cross between the two projects..

Still Confused ?

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I always find it interesting how a project evolves over time. The ‘Where is Jane’ project has been stalled for far too long but now at last I have found a way forward. Hopefully one day it will be a book and an exhibition. Its still a little confusing but I am quite sure it will all make sense in the end ! I hope.

Photowalks 2017

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Here we go again, another year of Photo Walks.  This year I will be leading four Fujiholics Photowalks. The Liverpool walk has already taken place but Bristol, Edinburgh and London are still up for grabs.

I would like everyone to know that you can bring any make of camera with you and that includes smart phones. You can also come without a camera just for a day out.  It’s all about like minded people getting together to have a great day out and to share ideas and meet new people.

The walks are free to sign up to, I only ask that if you sign up then change your mind, please follow the link from your Eventbrite confirmation email to remove yourself so other people can sign up as numbers are limited.

So far this year London is in the lead with 280 people signed up.

We would like to see more families and children on the walks and would like you all to know that kids are welcome as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Why not bring them to London and make a weekend of it.  They can use their phones or even buy them a throw away camera.

Photowalks are great, I have met friends for life on the walks and also made some amazing business contacts. They are a great way to explore our cities on foot with a great bunch of people.

A route and map is emailed out to everyone that signs up approx 1 week before the event to download to your smartphone or gps device or you can print out the map. You don’t have to keep up with the guys at the front as we tweet our location throughout the day and use a unique hashtag for the day. You can stop for refreshments along the way or even a cold beer and then catch up a bit later by taking a shortcut using the tube.

In London this year we have the Fujiholics Team and a few other Pro Photographers as well as some retailers so hope to bring you a few offers for the day. There will be quite a few Fujifilm X Photographers and Ambassadors about as well. The Fujiholics Team really do make you all feel welcome.

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I would love to see as many of you guys on one of the walks this year, the last three walks are spread out all over the UK so feel free to come and join us.

Here are the links to the walks..

Bristol

Edinburgh

London

If you want to buy cheap train tickets then here is a link to sign up to The Train Line ticket alert.

If you need to know any more details then feel free to contact us info@fujiholics.com or matt@fujiholics.com

Hope to see you sometime in 2017…

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Exposure Triangle the rest is personal.

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I had another great year at The Photography Show and this year was just the same as last year as far as questions were concerned, but this time about the Xpro2 and not the X-T2 so I have decided to answer a few questions in this blog.  If you came to the show and listened to my talk for Fujifilm UK, you will know how much I hate writing and why. I also only tend to write my blog when I have something to say, the rest is just noise.

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One of the great things about TPS is the fact that so many photographers get together in one place and get to inspire each other. I always come away from the show buzzing with ideas. This year the biggest buz and the coolest places to be where the SmugMug Stand and the Fujifilm Stand, this is in part to the huge community of like minded photographers that love to be part of what is becoming the coolest collaboration in photography ever.

To many people get bogged down in the TEC, at the end of the day you only need a box with a lens and a way of controlling Aperture, Exposure and ISO the rest is all personal taste.

We all choose cameras we like the look and feel off and we listen to the people around us for feedback and read reviews etc, that is the same for a sofa or pair of shoes or a toaster.

People are free to choose what ever camera they like so there is no real need to moan about one you don’t like go buy one that fits your personal requirements.

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All you really need is the exposure triangle the rest is just semantics!  I was asked over and over again at the show to pick all the fault’s in the XPro2 and when I said it does not have any, one person was pushing me for a fault he even said “so what would other people say was wrong with it” I don’t know what other people would say I have never been one to wish a camera had this or what or needed x or y I just buy a camera that I feel an emotional connection to and that has the exposure triangle close to hand, after all that is all I NEED ! I don’t need much more in my line of work, I am a Photographer and just need to take pictures.  I do like a great lens to give me a sharp image if I want a sharp images and Fuji lenses give me that in droves.

I have an XT10 for Street and to stick in my pocket and that has a 27mm lens on it, I have another XT10 with a 90mm lens on it. My XPro2 has a 35mm f/2 lens on it and my X-T1 has a battery pack and 50-140mm on it most of the time. These are all for different jobs like a mechanic with a socket set! The Cameras are the ratchets and the lenses the sockets so picking fault in ratchet or socket for one job is pointless when you have a great set of tools ! I get asked about 4k video etc and I roll my eyes ! I have two GoPro cameras for video if I want to shoot 4K but in all honesty the Video in my XPro2 or X-T1 is great for blogging etc If I wanted amazing stunning video I would buy a new tool for my tool box not moan about the ones I have.

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So why do I buy new cameras if I am not chasing the tec ? I chase the warranty that’s why, you see so many people blaming the manufactures and moaning about faults 5 months or 8 months out of warranty.  I thinks it’s mad! Social media has become a media hub for moaning about out of warranty issues with all brands.  As a professional even before I used Fuji X Series camera I used to buy a new Nikon body every time the warranty ran out that way if I ever had an issue I could return it and get it repaired without any hassle. To be honest in all the time I have owned the Fujifilm X System and I don’t look after my tools as much as I should, I have never had to have them repaired. The only camera I sent back was one of my X-T1’s for the light leak issue and that was turned around in 7 days.

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Quite a few people think we get our kit for free but this is just not true, I paid for all my Fuji X Cameras and lenses before I was a Fujifilm Ambassador and still do to this day. We do get to hire new gear when it’s available and free of charge but it has to be given back. The only camera I have been given was the Fuji XPro2 and this also had my name on the serial number. This was a gift for all my hard work in the XPro2 launch and my ongoing work for Fujifilm. But when I say given, if I had invoiced Fujifilm for my time this it would far outweigh the cost of the camera.

Mirrorless cameras make great tools and don’t take up any room so you can in fact have quite a few in your toolbox, I also do like a spare body for back up.

I was asked at the show if I could choose one X Series camera what one would it be ! That is like saying what is your favourite Socket or wrench! Well the answer if it was a toolbox would be SnapOn and what ever socket I needed for the job.

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So why Fuji, well I started buying the X Series cameras and the found this great community around the world that all had this passion for the brand, they would share there passion and I soon found myself starting Fujiholics to put on events to get everyone together to share the passion and take photos, mostly of coffee and cake and each others cameras it appears !

As far as a camera is concerned, I only need an exposure triangle and I am happy, but the X Series have given me so much more I have never had so many collaboration talks with so many photographers. The Fujifilm teams all over the world are all great people and are all part of the community in one way or another.

If you pushed me to say what is the best all round Street Combo I would have to say the XPro2 and 35mm f/2 lens at the moment but that’s because I LOVE shooting Acros Film Simulation with Green filter Jpegs are my thing at the moment as I hate processing with a vengeance.  The 35mm f/2 is just sexy that is all !

I try to have an emotional attachment to my work and I need the same feeling with my camera system. Perfect tool for that is right for the job.

They X Series do look good next to a coffee and cake to !

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The Stunning X-T10

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What can I say, I have owned or still own every X series camera that Fuji have made and so far the X-T10 is the star. I love my X-T1 and should prefer it to the X-T10,  I actually do when I am shooting events in the rain and need a battery grip but the rest of the time the X-T10 is my go to camera.

I am never one for a technical review. I like to use a camera over a few months and see how it works for me in the real world.

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I used to take the X100T everywhere I went but now its the X-T10. Its so small and with the 27mm pancake lens its just the best street camera in the range. I have also found myself using it for long exposure workshops instead of the X-T1.

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I think the autofocus is just a little bit faster than the X-T1 and the images from RAW appear to be a little cleaner and sharper, so much so that I hardly spend any time processing them.

I have hardly picked up my X-T1 since the festival season finished and have had the X-T10 around my neck in all weathers (not that I recommend you do it) but I have found myself shooting in torrential rain and this little camera has not missed a beat. It’s no secret I use my cameras  as a tool and not a prize possession. This little camera is just bullet proof.

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It’s small enough to be invisible for Street but has a great viewfinder and perfect size rear screen for me to teach Landscape and  Long Exposure classes.

I thought I would be running back to my X100T or my X-T1 in no time but I am still in love with this little thing.

It’s great with most of the smaller lenses but becomes unbalanced with the larger glass but this is to be expected.

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I use this camera on Auto ISO for most of my Street work and shoot with the large green square on continuous focus for anything that is moving. It nails it 99% of the time, this is with me walking and my subject on the move. I hear lots of people talking about how the Fuji’s don’t compare to the DSLR they have and I find this strange as the people that come on my workshops with DSLRs can’t get a single in focus shot on the move. They can with the shutter speed cranked up to the max on a bright day but thats a different story.

I go out day after day with this little camera and come home very pleased with the keepers.

I have been using it with the 27mm as if it was bolted on but now I have the new 35mm f/2. I hope to give it a treat over the festive period with a change of glass.

I can’t fault this little camera and I love it so much I have two, one to shoot wide and one to shoot long!

So this is my go to Fuji X Series Camera until something more interesting comes along…

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Candid Street Photography

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I am a candid Street photographer, there I said it and have been saying it for two years, but how did that happen? I am not even sure myself to be honest. It’s just how people started referring to my work, it’s not a name I gave to myself its just happened over night I can’t even remember how it started.

I have been shooting Street photography in one way or another for all of my life and started about 8 years old with a camera given to me by my parents. I was born Dyslexic and photography was my welcome release from life, school and my own head as I tried to grow up with learning difficulties.

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I was not great at photography so had to teach myself and made lots of mistakes along the way.  I did all the normal things you do as a kid, shoot long exposures and light trails from cars on roads as well as smoke and water drops, all the photography related things we shoot as we try to learn then people became more interesting.

I started shooting weddings and events at an early age and then glamour. In my spare time my hobby as such was always shooting people, due to the fact I shot people at weddings and people at events and spent my time posing them or talking to them I preferred to shoot my street in a candid way.

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I did not read many  books as reading was such a slow process for me in my early years so I just found out the more time I spent with a camera and the more time I spent in the dark room, the more I found out about photography. I did get a few photography books but they were all about the images and not the text.

I learnt very early on how to critique my own work, I am my worst critic. I shot the odd landscape and had wonky horizons for years until I started to look at my work in a more critical way. The funny thing is finding out for yourself,  can’t even get an horizon straight, now that makes you look more deeply at your work. If you can’t notice something as simple as that what else was I missing.

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I had a house fire many years ago and lost everything in my house from my vinyl collection to all my photos and negatives! Quite a few survived but mostly family images, it stopped me in my tracks for years and I also lost my cameras and the insurance was out of date by a few weeks. Shame we did not have email reminders in those days.

So I have only recently started to show my Street work again but to this day I still shoot film but keep that to myself and don’t post my film images on social media that often.

I have to admit to not knowing anything about Street photography and not looking at any of the masters of Street or even reading up on Street until about eighteen months ago when I met Steve Coleman. Street Frame Steve and I became friends through our love of Photography and Street. I also had not read a book on Street until this year as I just don’t have time to read and very rarely buy books. A friend of mine Elaine was given some books for Christmas 2014 and two were the same. As a coincidence I was given two copies of Martin Parr’s book so we did a swap. Elaine said I would love the book by David Gibson  (The Street Photographer Manual) as it’s exactly the way I teach and shoot street. As soon as she said that I was interested and decided to read it and managed to read it in a week, the speed I read that was fast!

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I was so shocked to read that after all these years I was shooting Street almost exactly the way the manual says it should be done. Not that I am one for too many rules in photography but Street to me is my passion.

I have seen so many YouTube videos of people arguing with people in the street about their rights to shoot on public property after upsetting someone with their camera it was quite refreshing to read a book that was telling it how it is!

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My philosophy on Street is so simple. I want to be able to go out and shoot Street in a candid way so as not interrupt any ones day. I want to keep it real and not ask for a portrait or change the dynamic of the scene. I want  to capture life as it happens and not pose one single element. I have been shooting this way for over 40 years and no one has ever stopped me let alone had an argument with me. The people I have spoken to on the street have all been very nice and it’s amazing what a smile can do.

I always said I would not teach Photography and never Street but now find myself doing it. Part of that was an age thing, I reached 50 and decided to just go for it and teach, do talks and workshops. In all honesty I did not think I was that interesting.

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Some of the main reasons for teaching were that people were asking me to teach them and show them not just Street but black and white editing and all other types of photography.

I was getting asked so many questions that were so hard to answer online; I can’t type that fast and being Dyslexic all my work has to be checked by my girlfriend Jane so writing is a nightmare for me. Workshops were the only answer and I quickly found that I loved the workshops and learnt so much from them myself. So many of the people that have been on my workshops have been Teachers and that has opened my eyes to some of my early failures. I used to say to everyone what is the point in a workshop, you won’t learn much and some of the teachers are not great. I was wrong and I admit it. I wish I had taken a few workshops in my younger years that way I would have not had wonky horizons for 8 years!  I now say workshops are good, go find a workshop with a photographer at the top of his or her game or even someone whose work you admire that way your photography will progress so much more quickly.

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Some of the guys that have been on my Street workshops have come more than once and come to different city’s all over the UK. There work is getting better and better. They ask me more and more questions gaining confidence all the time. Not only that but they can shoot around some of these cities in the safety of a group.  Some single people who are into photography and whose friends are not,  just love to be able to shoot Street with like minded people and its great fun.

One of the questions I have been asked most this year is, when is it Street and when is it a Portrait ? The answer is simple but there is a grey area. If you just shoot someone in the street without them knowing its Candid Street. If you ask for a portrait it’s a Street Portrait. If you look at them and point to your camera and gesture and they nod then because permission has been asked for and granted it is a portrait! So if you are shooting and waiting for eye contact it’s still Street as long as they don’t smile!! If they smile that is the grey area because the smile can be taken as an agreement to have a portrait taken! I try to capture all my Street subjects’ candid but if I push for eye contact I aim to press the shutter before they smile. I would never post a portrait or smile shot in a Street group, unless they allow Street portraits! So if you wonder why your images get removed from Street groups that could be a reason.

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There is also a lot of debate about shooting the homeless or disadvantaged people. This is a taboo subject in most Street groups and I don’t encourage it on my workshops. A good street image is telling a story and should say something to you as well as the viewer if you view it in a group. ‘Homeless person in a doorway’ or ‘on a bench’ is an easy target for people starting out into Street and they always try to justify their images with a verbal reason. If the images can’t talk for themselves they fail, so give it a lot of thought before you fall into that trap. I also understand that if we don’t shoot homeless and disadvantaged people there will be a big gap in future images so a good story needs to be told.

I was on a photo walk when a friend of mine Dave K Piper said to me “ I get it now “ I said “get what” he said “ I create my work in a studio and you go out and find yours.”  He was spot on and one of the lessons I try and teach is that you don’t always find it !

Too many people are going out and shooting Street like I did with Landscapes as a kid and not looking at their work. There are still wonky horizons in Street but so much Street now has no thought put in to it. I am in some great Street groups and even some of the groups are not helping. People have short attention spans on social media and click ‘like’ far too easily and that gives a Street photographer the wrong idea.

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Some of my images have quite a lot of thought put into them and there is a story there or emotion, but its missed by so many. Someone said the other week that window shots have been done to death and they are easy ! Far from it but so many window shots are just window shots !

Martin Parr and Bruce Guilden ( Thanks Steve ) have some great YouTube videos on Critique and they are well worth watching. I have only just started to look into the masters of Street and to be honest I don’t get some Street but fully get the style I find myself shooting.

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One very important thing for me is that everyone needs to treat people on the street as they would like to be treated themselves so that we can carry on shooting Street in the future and not have the general public turn on photographers for being rude and pushy!

I am a member of the f50 collective an international collective of Street photographers and we have some amazing debates on Street over a coffee in Liverpool but the one thing that is always apparent is our passion for Street.

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I teach Street workshops and I spend all day out on the street with my groups and only have groups of 6 people as that is just about the right amount to take around any city. Shooting candid is an art in its self so group size is very important to me. I also have FREE photowalks in the UK that are planned with Fujifilm UK or Fujiholics to get Photographers together for a great social event not just for Street but for networking or any other style of photography.

My workshops are designed for any level of photography, and I carry out one to one courses anywhere in the UK. I was not sure about starting the workshops as trying to teach people how to shoot Candid street in a group I thought was going to be an issue but its turning out to be a lot of fun.

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People come on my courses and have that light bulb moment and realize it’s not as hard as they thought. Once they have that light bulb moment and start shooting the way I teach, they go from strength to strength. One guy came on one of my very first workshops and said Street is not for him and he was not going to do it again. I was shooting in Liverpool a few weeks back and he was out on his own shooting Street and his work is getting better and better as he gets closer and closer. Not only that but he had confidence issues as well. He now finds a great release and calmness in shooting Street the same as I did when I was a young lad.

I have taken my workshops on the road now and with the help of Fujifilm UK can also offer loan cameras and lenses for my workshops if notice is given. I have some exciting places for 2015 and they all give a different aspect to Street photography: Brighton for example has its relaxing vibrant culture, London for the fast paced action and chaotic city life, Edinburgh for the most relaxed people in the UK and just up the road Glasgow for some of the best characters, Liverpool and Manchester for the amazing styles of the men and women, Hull for the amazing people, Cardiff for the Christmas markets. and Chester for historic backgrounds and so many more that I have not had time to plan yet.

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So, why not join me in a city near you or have a weekend break in a city far away ? With my new early bird prices and advanced train fairs at an all time low it’s a great way to spend a weekend in an interesting city exploring it by day with like minded people and some candid Street.

Don’t confuse my Workshops with the Free photowalks I have this year as they are completely different. I can’t teach 200 people on a walk I can only talk to people on the route and hand out hints and tips. If you don’t make it to my workshops follow my facebook page or twitter feed to find the Free walks and competitions. Who knows, you might win a Fuji X100T or a trip to Paris to shoot Street with me !

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