It’s the end of my second GFX50s hire today and it’s left me with lots of ideas spinning round in my head. The good news for me is that I now have my own! If you follow my blog you will know that I bit the bullet and purchased this stunning camera.
It was the hardest decision I have had to make for quite a few reasons and one was size!
The whole reason I moved over to Fujifilm was camera size. After working with a pair of Nikon D3s Full frame bodies I needed to downsize for the sake of my back and neck. Back then my work was varied but I shot a lot of gigs etc where I carried lots of heavy gear around all day and it was taking its toll.
I changed to the Fujifilm X System on a wing and a prayer and the amazing thing is the X System has developed in to a range of great cameras and lenses with such a massive choice for all the tastes out there. The X System cameras are stunning and offer choice between Rangefinder and more conventional style bodies. My favorite X series cameras for Street Photography are the XPro2, X70 and X100F. These cameras are perfect for my Street style small, compact and light. I have also recently bought an X-T20 for travel and occasionally Street mainly because I love that touch screen. I do prefer the Rangefinder style for Street photography as I find they handle better for the way I shoot and I hate having my nose squashed on the rear screen of a camera. The X-T20 works really well with the tilt out screen and the X70 is just so stunning I cant even put it into words. I really do hope that one day Fujifilm do make an X80 ! We can only hope.
I have been fighting with myself over the GFX50s for a while now and I even said at the start it has no place in my workflow it’s just too big. I was lucky enough to see the GFX long before it was put into production and thought at the time this is very big but the version I held had the grip on it.
So along came a few changes in direction for me as far as my business is concerned and then the big V small argument in my head started. I had quite a few Fujifilm bodies and lenses at the time and decided what ever happens I need to sell some of my kit off and make way for new. Yes of course I had the GFX stuck in my head but I also had the BIG camera issue stuck in my head.
As I started to sell off my gear I had to decide what to keep and what to sell and as I picked up the X-T2 I realised I only really used this camera for Landscape work and with any Landscape work always came a bag full of gear to put in the van for all those occasions ! So that is when I realised that some photography does require quite a bit of kit that weighs more than you would like. I also had quite a few lenses I used for landscape and none of them gave me what I wanted ! I wanted massive field of view.
So I started to sell off my spares bodies and all the lenses I did not use ! I will not even tell you the amount of times I put lenses in boxes to sell then changed my mind. In the end I got there though.
I am lucky because I plan to semi retire this month so want to get back to shooting what I love and want to start using the best camera for the job so this process was very therapeutic bit like a spring clean in my head and it’s not even spring.
So what lenses did I keep in the X series range ! The 16mm 1.4 was the first one to stay it’s just the best lens that Fujifilm make for the X Series. I also kept the 23mm 35mm 50mm and 90mm F/2 lenses because they are small light and sharp I also kept the 18-55mm Zoom it’s just such an amazing travel lens. I would not part with it and also if I had an accident on a trip with any of my other primes this lens would get me out of trouble. I nearly sold the 50-140mm f/2.8 about 5 times but in the end could not part with it or the 1.4 teleconverter. The 50-140mm is so good, so much better than my old Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRII so it had to stay. I also kept the wide conversion lens for my X100F. The rest I sold and I had all the lenses Fujifilm make and most of the bodies. My shelf looked bare but I was happy with my decision.
Then the real argument started in my head, how can you buy a GFX when you want to only use small cameras ! How will this work !
To solve the argument in my head I had to pretend I was not an X Photographer and that I could buy any camera on the market ! So if this was the case what would I buy myself.
Well it would not be a DSLR because I have grown to hate mirrors ! So what could it be ! The answer I came up with every time was Leica or Phase ! Because of the sensors and image quality mainly but I still wanted quality glass. I sat down with a calculator and worked out the cost of a new system and then added the GFX50s in to the pot. In the end after a few days the answer was the GFX and so I hired it to find out.
I was blown away by not just the image quality but also the fact the camera was not as big as I thought it was ! I documented the hire on here and then I hired it again. This time with the 23mm lens and I was lucky enough to have the new 45mm pre production on loan from Fujifilm. The 45mm is a very nice lite lens and makes the camera so much more usable with a light fast light lens it really is not much bigger than a D800.
So that was it I was sold, I bought the GFX with a 23mm 110mm and 32-64mm for a retirement present for myself with no real business plan ! I do however have some ideas for future projects and exhibitions.
Its quite funny though because the day after I bought the camera I picked up work with it and then picked up a bit more and so far I now have £3500 in outstanding invoices from buying it so I guess at this rate it will pay for itself in six months !
I always say over and over again to people it’s got nothing to do with the camera it’s the final image that counts and I still believe this is true. I have been excited by very few cameras in my life the first was the Nikon Fm2 then the Nikon D3s then the Fujifilm X100 in fact the X100 changed the way I thought about my work and the way I shoot. I have also loved most of the X Series line up and I am sure a few will end up classics one day.
I did not think the GFX would do this to me and in all honesty I did not realise it was getting to me that way, it was Jane who woke me up. She was sitting with me in the office the other night and she said “it does matter though !” I said “what does ?” She said “I have not seen you this excited looking at images since you had your X100” ! She is right I am blown away by this camera and Fujifilm are right to call it a game changer.
I guess it’s come at the perfect time in my life and I hope to produce some new and interesting work with it over the next few years.
I think what will make a difference to quite a lot of people thinking about this camera is the new Smart Adaptors that are now appearing on the market. Now all you guys that don’t want to part with all your Canon glass can get an adaptor and use it with the GFX.
I have not tried any of the Adapters yet I was going to but so far Fujifilm have all the lenses I need.
I still love my Little X Series cameras for Street and travel and they will stay my default cameras for that style of work, but I really want to find a place for the GFX in my street work too. I might just have to adapt the way I work to suit the camera. Where have I heard that before ? Yes it was what I said that day I got the X100 !
2017 has been my year of Colour project and it’s not over yet !
It finishes on the 31st of December and I cant wait, I have only taken a hand full of black and white images and they were taken over the last month or so. I feel like a sprinter stuck in the starting blocks for 9 months ! I think in a way it’s a good thing as I am bursting with black and white creativity I want to get out of my system.
As for colour ! I never really have liked colour and on my recent trip to Scotland I had some time stuck in my camper on the really bad weather days to reflect on the Year of Colour project so far. I started the year hating colour and I will be ending the year really hating color ! I was hoping to come out of this year with a colour style as well as more understanding of colour. I do have a better understanding but the colour style is a sticking point.
I understand that every day light is diferent and even the weather the light and the time of day has a bearing on the scene, so shooting on Auto colour balance will give you a neutral look but it won’t give you the consistency within the dynamic range.
I am a very lazy editor and only want to spend 3-6 min per image in Lightroom or Snapseed and one thing I know I should like but don’t is presets ! I don’t understand why I don’t like them I just don’t and I think the only way I could get colour consistency and style would be to start making presents. The downside to presets for me is the fact I use quite a few diferent camera bodies with different sensors so I would have to make a preset for each sensor and I really get fed up when the preset makes all the wrong changes and I then have to spend longer fixing the issue. So I don’t use presents and I don’t think I want to !
My black and white work for the last 10 years has all been without a single preset and just processed by eye, it’s all very consistent and apart from the blacks getting deeper with the mood of the scene or my mood they just seem to work !
I am not sure I will pursue colour in to 2018 but if I do I think I need to start to learn Colour Grading for Style ! The downside to this is every film ever made is colour graded for that style of film ! So for me to colour grade and try and find a unique colour style is a pain in the arse ! It used to be so much easier with Film !
You might have noticed there were quite a few rainbows in Scotland this month !
I have just sold quite a few cameras and lenses and started to reduce my Fujifilm kit to make way for possibly the GFX50s but am still deciding. However I have now brought an XT20 and sold my X-T2. The X-T2 was great but I just do not need it anymore because I am stopping shooting events. The X100F and the X-T20 and the XPro2 work so well together and do have more consistency as they all have the same sensor so I might look in to Colour Style over the next three months and give you more details at the end of the project. I know this combination of cameras works so who knows.
I do feel at the moment I will be returning to Black and White next year, but we shall see.
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.
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..
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to see you sometime in 2017…
Here we are four months in to my Year of Colour and I am struggling !
I always thought it would be hard thats why I chose to take it on as a project, but this has been so much harder than I thought but mainly because I have been so busy. I have hardly been able to get out and shoot any personal work so have just had to grab a few shots on my workshops and walks.
I have found out as expected colour is complicated! I have always realised that and found it very difficult to match the colour to my mood and style. I think it was a lot easier back in the film days you chose a film for your style or job and just went out and created. Well I did, because I chose colour transparency film so did not have much say in the initial process. I guess that’s another reason I went black and white in the early days.
With digital you have so many choices from camera to software it’s just a minefield but I think I made a small breakthrough yesterday on a workshop.
I started off this project with the XPro2 and the X100F as my main cameras and now I have decided to just use the X100F for the rest of the project as best I can.
I have been going between RAW and Jpeg and then changing my mind again but now I have decided to shoot Jpeg and Raw and start playing around with the Jpeg settings in camera on the X100F. This way hopefully I will have a few choices at the editing stage, I have struggled to get a Jpeg image to look how I want it to look and prefer RAW with a very simple Lightroom conversion but I still feel I am missing a trick with Jpegs.
So it’s time to start experimenting. I can’t do that chopping and changing between cameras, the X100F is going to get some serious use this year.
Consistency without pre sets is going to be my main bug bear as I have an amazing black and white workflow that just works. With colour it’s more dependent on the quality of light on the day and the colour temperature of the light so that has become a big issue for me. I have been falling out with colour in a big way over the last couple of months so much so that I was starting to hate it.
But then I shot the image above and started to look at colour in a whole new way. I realised I was thinking in terms of Digital and not Film and the closer I could get to the film or Cine look the better. I think colour trends change and people do like saturated mad colours but I dont think thats me. I have always liked the way RAW files looked except they are flat and lifeless but with a few tweaks they come alive.
So I need to explore if I can get the same feel in camera with Jpegs, I am not holding up much hope but by shooting Jpeg and Raw I have kept my options open.
Thank you Fujifim for Film Simulations, I am going to play with these over the next couple of months and see what happens. If it drives me nuts I have the RAW files to fall back on.
This image changed it yesterday. The colour of the shop front and the guys shirt were a close match so I wanted to capture this in RAW and make some simple changes to get the image to look how I wanted in Lightroom. I then set about getting the camera set up to look like this on the rear screen or as close as I could get it.
I then did the same with this image, it’s just a crazy experiment trying to edit a shot before you take it in camera but thought I would give it a go.
My dream is to not need to use Lightroom to edit so it’s about time I started playing around to achieve the end goal !
Way back in 2013 my project was A Year of Black and White and this was to explore my digital black and white photography in many ways and to see what I could learn in a year. I mainly wanted to learn how to process black and white files and try to find a style that would suit me. It was a great success but as time goes by and we get older our tastes change.
I did not think in 2017 I would be doing a year of colour ! I have been thinking about it for a while now and I have decided it’s time to give it a go. If I am asked to produce Black and White images for clients then I will do but the rest of my work will be shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom and possibly Viveza but we shall have to see how that progresses.
I would love to be able to just use Fujifilm Jpegs but I am not sure they can give me the starting point I need for a simple workflow.
I could never have done this project with Nikon as the RAW files were such a pain for me to process and to find consistency with. I have noticed however the Fujifilm RAF files are almost where I need them to be be to create a colour style. I could be mistaken but this is what 2017 will all be about.
So on the 1st of January 2017 I will start the project and it will finish on the 31st of December 2017, I have not quite decided where I am going to start putting the images apart from social media as I hate mixing black and white and colour so I need to think about this over the next couple of weeks.
I hope to come out of 2017 with a more consistent colour workflow and a more interesting colour style. I also want to explore Colour Street photography through my own eyes.
Black and White Street photography has always been an amazing storytelling medium and I have always found colour quite annoying, but as I get older its growing on me.
My colour work has always been a bit abstract and a little loud and I have toned that down for people but that means I have fallen into the trap of pleasing the viewer and not myself. Its now time to change all that and work out what works for me.
I am quite looking forward to it and in a way it’s quite exciting and as with my Year of Black and White I will have the RAW files in 2018 if I need to process any images into black and white.
One of my favorite Street Photographers is Saul Leiter and I know his style has inspired me so now I need to explore colour for myself and see where it takes me.
I have been asked on many occasions to help someone pick an image as their best image. I still find this very frustrating to say the least however it’s worse when someone asks me to give my views on their image, they tend to get very defensive !
I do offer critique but I have never asked for it and I never will. My personal journey is just that, mine. I only ever give critique by email if asked and never in open social media.
Apart from working with clients I always make my own decisions good or bad and stand by those choices because my images are mine. It’s great to be able to self critique and I know it takes quite a while to become comfortable with doing this but by working it out for yourself it’s very refreshing when it all starts to make sense. It will take a lot longer to make sense if you always ask other people, it’s like starting a new job after a while you just get on with it and learn as you go, if you are still asking questions a year later there must be a problem!
I shot landscapes for a long time before I realised that my horizons were not straight! From about 10 to 14 years old I had some horrendous landscapes but every one told me I was a great photographer ! The day I worked it out for myself I started to look deeper into my own work and study some of the past Masters, not to copy them but to learn about composition and try to work out what else I was doing wrong. I see it still to this day on facebook, someone will post an image with an horizon that is obviously not straight and 45 people click like and say WOW! Whilst photography is your own personal journey, those comments are not helpful.
People go out and shoot 400 images on a day out, then go home and post 375 on Facebook or flickr because they can’t decide what images are the best or because they like them all. The best way to decide what are the best image from your day out is to make a book of your day out with 20 images you soon will start to see how unimportant 15 shots of the same tree are or 30 shots of your dog.
So what is this blog post about ?
Well it’s going to be very subjective, my choice, my journey. Lots of people will disagree with me and that’s great, it would be a boring world if everyone agreed.
I will not be getting into a debate with anyone once this is posted I just don’t have the time and life is too short but I will give you a quick look into how I think, when out on the street and how I choose an image from a sequence. I delete all images I don’t use so I had to go out and shoot these images so I could show you how I work. The images in this sequence were shot on a Fujifilm X-T10 with 35mm f/1.4 and shot at RAW files, I shoot single shot and not continuous.
I was shooting in London and found these two guys on a bench and quite liked the interaction and started to work the scene, for me these two were interesting but I needed more, the guy on the phone was added interest.
So I stepped back and started to wait but did not take my eye off the two guys or the benches. I did notice the yellow flowers and the empty benches. As a girl walked past from the right I noticed a girl coming into the frame from the left with orange hair that went quite well with the flowers.
As the girl came into the frame a guy who was not with her sat down on the bench and admired the girl as she started to put her jacket on. I liked the shapes she was making with the jacket. The scene was now starting to build and lots of elements were coming into place for me with my new interest in colour. I was so pleased she had walked into the frame adding more of a story and more subjects to make a much more interesting scene.
I liked the guy under the Cheapside sign but the guy with the bike helmet came into the frame and the woman in the white jacket far left was distracting me, so I made one more exposure by moving the camera to the right and waiting for the guy to be behind the girl, a personal choice based on the fact he was distracting from the guy looking at the girl.
At this point I was sure that this frame frame was the one I wanted to use but would leave them all on my memory card until I got home to make my final choice.
It’s bad practice to delete from your card as this creates gaps in the data and when the card fills up this can cause card corruption, as well as accidental deletions.
I had waited for the scene to build and let the subjects all take up their positions in the shot, all the time I was standing only feet away just watching the expressions. The girl picked up her bag and walked off after this shot and the guy at the end looked down at his phone.
I could have stood here for hours just shooting these benches and the people that came and went all day.
My normal method of selecting and editing my work is harsh and involves the deletion of all the images I don’t use. Its worked for me all my life and I am happy with it. The main reason I do this is to force me to go out and shoot and look for new images every day. I can’t sit indoors in the winter and look through my hard drive for images that could have been, I have to go out and look for that image that amazing image that is out there somewhere.
So when I got home from my trip to London I quickly chose the main image in this set and the only reason the others are still around is this blog post. The only edited image is the main image and last image the rest are RAW files.
I am not a prolific shooter but I do work a scene just like this when I find some interesting subjects.
I was in London for three days and shot about 100 images a day and in my London file now sits 35 images, but 10 have been kept for using like this on my workshops. So I have have 25 keepers but out of the 25 keepers I only have 4 I like and nothing I would call great or amazing, that one is still out there.
This is just a little insight into how I work and to help you guys that email me and message me on facebook about how I work that don’t get a chance to come on my workshops.
I do manage to get some quite good single shots but most of the images I have I like have been part of a sequence where I have allowed the scene to build whilst shooting and observing.
I used to wait weeks to develop my film and still do but once developed I follow the same route, if I ever get stuck in a sequence I will print my images out and put them on my wall until one jumps out at me, but most of the time when I do that I just delete the lot !