Is it nearly December already !!
Where did 2018 go !
I have now reached semi retirement and it feels very strange, yes last month I was 55 and as planned I am going to slow things down and move on over to YouTube.
I have slowly been making videos, just dipping my toe in the water learning as much as I can by watching YouTube videos and talking to some of the rising YouTube stars about what they think my USP is ! They say its my age and experience so I aim to use that to my advantage in 2019.
One thing I do find about YouTube is that you can’t learn as fast as you can when you are doing a practical lesson. You also can’t ask questions when you want and I don’t think we retain the knowledge as well when we just watch a screen ! So I am going to do about four workshops a year to build my own personal education and I am going to still teach a few a year as well as get out and about as much as I can on photo walks and meet ups.
My next workshop is in Liverpool and there are only a few places left. Its my very popular Learning to See Workshop.
One thing is for sure I am getting sick to death of Facebook and I know quite a few people who are but like me we just hang on in there because of the groups and our business pages ! I do wonder why at times I really do !
Now SmugMug own Flickr I really do hope they bring the photography community together on Flickr again because Facebook is not the place of it, it’s so full of Trolls and Keyboard Experts !
I have been told people like my RANTS ! Not sure why but if that’s the case then I will bring a few Rants to YouTube but I really want to focus on inspiring people to take their photography to the next level and hope to inspire the next generation once I can workout a strategy to do so.
Before I can get to the really good stuff I need to get my viewing hours up to 4000 hours and maintain that over a year.
I am going to start 2019 with all the normal YouTube stuff you would expect like unboxing videos, product tests and some tips and tricks. I will then move on in to 2019 with Interviews and long form videos that can be watched as videos or listened to driving in your car like podcasts. These really long interviews will be at least an hour long or longer. I don’t really want to get in to Podcasts as I find them a little disconnected at times but who knows ! I think I will try the video route first.
I really do want to just get out every day and take photos and have lots of ideas for projects and a few workshops this year and hope to share all my ideas and processes with you on YouTube so make sure you tune in to my YouTube channel and click subscribe and hit the bell for all the great photography related videos in 2019 see you all on the other side !
Check out my X100F set up video here.
Wow what a great six days ! 124,000 steps around some amazing cities with the amazing Fujifilm X100F.
We Started in Leeds and ended in Liverpool. We went to Dale Photographic, Calumet, Wilkinsons,Cambrian and LCE. We carried 8 X100F bodies and a small team from Fujifilm UK Richard, Pete and the amazing John Dallas.
We ran three walks a day with three groups of up to 8 people on each session over six days and covered some serious miles.
The feedback on the X100F has been very positive and that has reflected in the amazing amount of Pre Orders.
Most of the guys that came on the walks loved the X100F and think its a good move to sell their X100 X100S of X100T’s to move up to the Fourth Generation camera. Just incase you did not know the F in X100F stands for Fourth. A few of the guys were undecided about the X100F but were very interested in the X-T20 or the X-T2 one of the guys was desperate for the GFX50S.
There were a quite a few of the guys that did not like the placing of the Q button and the fact you could knock the joystick. This was mentioned by quite a few of the Fujifilm X Photographers when the camera was out on evaluation. We will feed back the Q button issue to Fujifilm and hope they can make the change on the next version. The Q button can be locked by pressing and holding the Menu OK button but this will lock all the function buttons. Some of the guys did not like the fact the joystick would rub against their clothing and get moved, however the Joystick can be turned off by pressing and holding it down for more than 3 sec.
Its been a long six days and I am worn out now and need a nice break so will be hiding out in my camper van this weekend somewhere quiet. One thing that always amazes me about the Fujifilm family is what an amazing group of people you Fujifilm users are, so friendly and positive about the brand.
Thanks for the great company over the last week all you lucky winners and I hope you enjoy your x100F when it is released on the 23rd of February. Thanks for traveling from as far as Oban and Birmingham to spend a couple of hours with the X100F in the North West and North Wales and making the last six days so much fun. You know who you are and thanks…..
I can’t believe its February already ! Not even sure where January went.
It’s been a busy month and it’s all a bit of a blur. I can remember doing my first two Street Photography Workshops for Calumet UK in London and Birmingham, I loved both of these workshops and cant wait to visit the rest of the Calumet stores this year and deliver the same workshop. It’s a slightly different format from my own workshops and each branch of Calumet is a great base to start from. The only Street Photography workshops I am going to do for myself this year will be the Liverpool ones, the rest will be with Calumet UK in 2017. You can see a complete list here Calumet Street Workshops.
I also recorded a Black and White editing video in January that should be out sometime this month to purchase. We have set the price to half the price of attending my Black and White editing workshop as I have stopped my Black and White workshops this year because I will be concentrating on my colour project.
My Colour project has taken a back seat in January and the only image I have shot is the one on this page ! Just goes to show even a professional photographer does not always have the time to get out and shoot for himself.
I had an amazing trip to Glencoe with the Fujiholics and hope to do a lot more collaboration workshops in the future. Fujiholics takes up quite a chunk of my time and was quite a juggling act last year. Hopefully going forward we should bring some great walks and workshops to everyone.
When I got home from Glencoe I had my first delivery of Custom Flash Drives from USB Memory Direct delivered. I have to say they provide a great service and the printing is just how we wanted it. You can have a look for yourselves USB Memory Direct so many choices.
I thought I would get a rest in January and February but I have never been so busy. I am just about to take over from Kevin Mullins and go on a short road trip around the North West and Wales with the Fujifilm X100F and Fujifilm UK taking the lucky winners of the Fujifilm X100F ‘touch and try’ competition out into whatever the British weather throws at us to show the winners how I use this amazing new addition to the Fujifilm X Series. I can’t wait to show the winners what an amazing little upgrade this is. I will be going to Dale Photographic, Calumet Manchester, LCE Manchester, Cambrian Photography and Wilkinson camera over the next six days and cant wait to catch up with the Fujifilm UK Team and the lucky winners.
When I get back from my little trip with Fujifilm I will be off to Venice with Paul Sanders to teach a Landscape and Street Workshop. There are still a few places left so grab a space whilst the euro still has some value. Venice Trip
Once back from Venice it won’t be long before I am at The Photography Show in Birmingham. I will be on the Fujifilm Stand most days and in the Behind the Lens Theater on the last day of the show, so make sure you get your tickets, here is a discount code to save you a few pounds SPKTPS17 if you book online.
It’s a very busy year and if you want to book on any of the Fujiholics workshops or my own workshops or Photowalks here are the links.
Look forward to seeing you all at some point this year…
One of the most common questions I get asked is “How did you get into Street Photography ? ”
I guess the simple answer is by accident, I didn’t even know I was shooting Street until about eight years ago.
I was given my first camera about the age of eight and living in a big city I guess I have always taken pictures of people on the street. I have also photographed just about every genre of Photography there is. At one time I was known as the photographer that could shoot anything. I guess this label was true and I could shoot just about anything. It’s part of being a professional photographer you soon learn to shoot what will pay the bills and you get better and better as a photographer the more strange situations you find yourself in.
I have always tried to separate my passion from my work and with some of the jobs I have had outside of photography industry this was easy. The trouble with being a professional photographer is how do you separate your passion from your day to day photography. This was a struggle at first especially as I am so busy with work but now I have found the simple answer. Only talk about and shoot what I am passionate about and turn the rest down !!
So why Street Photography ? I guess it’s all about people watching. I have always been a people watcher, every occupation I have ever had, I would spend my lunch breaks and spare time watching people in towns and cities. This then turned into trying to capture those special little moments as with the right light. I shot a lot of people in the street and most of what the images were bland and boring and did not tell much of a story although I found it relaxing and great fun. I did get through a lot of rolls of film and did not have a lot to show for it, but it got me out in the fresh air.
I have spent quite a bit of time shooting portraits and headshots and spent some time shooting glamour in a studio and found that type of work where you set up the shot with perfect light and perfect people to be too contrived. I wanted more excitement. Instead of using the holy trinity of photography Light, Composition and Moment in the Studio I wanted to go out and look for it on the Streets. Quite mad you might think and yes at times I get very frustrated by the simple fact there is no light, I cant get the composition right and the moment never comes. This was compounded by the fact I am a Candid Street Photographer so will never compromise and set up a shot. I can’t change the dynamic in the scene it just doesn’t sit right with me. I have thought about it many times when working on project for big companies but just can’t do it.
I have shot Candid Street for years without knowing that it was Street Photography, the image below was part of my early windows project back in 2009 in Tunbridge Wells. It was a couple of years before this image was taken that some of my friends started calling me a Street Tog and I did not take any notice. I just thought they were naming me for what I liked to shoot. But the name started to stick and make me wonder so I started looking in to Street a properly around 2012-2013 but after looking at some of the amazing work of the masters felt my work was just ordinary.
However I decided to read up on Street Photography and check out the masters of Street and other modern Street Photographers. It’s about then I worked out I was probably a Candid Street Photographer. In 2013 I did a ‘Year of Black and White’ project and off the back of the project I was asked to do some talks about photography and from there the workshops came and I started teaching Street Photography and Black & White editing.
The funny thing is at the time I was still not sure what I was doing was right !! Then a friend of mine gave me a book by David Gibson The Street Photographer’s Manual This was a breakthrough moment as I agreed with 95% of the book and then realised this was how I was teaching so thought to myself I must be doing something right ! Thanks David for writing a great book and Elaine for giving me the book.
I still don’t see myself as a Street Photographer yet, I feel I have a long way to go and one day hope to finish a project that I am really happy with and take one amazing Street image. I guess some of my work won’t be relevant for 50-100 years but I love what I do and can’t wait to get stuck in to my next project..
When Clifton Cameras do a promotion, they certainly don’t do it by halves – The #StreetLife competition was no exception to the rule! Spanning many months and encompassing a variety of different events and competitions, the StreetLife promotion was HUGE! It’s also rather in-depth, so bare with me while I try to explain.
One of the most exciting parts of the #StreetLife promo was the competitions. There were three different street photography competitions, each with a different theme and the chance to win an awesome FujiFilm X100T! There was also a prize for the overall winner, which was an all expenses paid trip to a European city to shoot street photography with yours truly.
The first competition ran from March – May and the theme was shadows. This proved to be a really popular section and there were thousands of entries in total. After some debate, the panels of judges, myself included picked this fantastic shot taken by Jim Moody.
(Image by Jim Moody)
“This was the strongest image for many reasons, being shot from above made this image stand out from the crowd, the strong angles of the buildings added to the great composition of the shot, the arrow shaped shadow pointing into the darkness makes you think, but at the same time you want to know more about the woman standing with her arms folded, making this a great Street image.”
Skip forward a few short weeks, and it’s time for section two competition which ran from early June through to mid August. This time, it’s the more difficult theme of Layers. Now, we don’t mean lengthy photoshop composition, instead we were looking for multiple things occurring in a single frame – David Goold delivered just that. A image titled “Hostage.Crisis” was picked as the winner of that round and won himself a Fujifilm X100T.
(Image by David Goold)
End of August through to start of November was the third and final section of the competition. The theme – Red. A simple one, but we gave specific instructions that the images must be kept real and red was a crucial part of the overall composition. After much deliberation, us judges agreed on Vasile Buzdugan’s entry entitled “Nuns.”
(Image by Vasile)
Alongside the Street Life competition, I ran a series of free photos walks open to anyone on the behalf of Clifton Cameras. To give everyone a chance to attend these were thrown up and down the country. The first one was on the 4th July in Bristol, the second was 5th September in my hometown of Liverpool and the third and final one was on the 1st November in London.
This is where the story gets a bit complicated. The day comes to announce the winner, after much deliberation, us judges picked David Goold’s image titled “Hostage Situation” as the winner overall. We’d all had that image in our shortlist and came to the conclusion, this superb image deserved to take 1st place.
The winner was due to be announced mid-november across social media and on the Clifton Cameras website. However, just days before, the unthinkable happened – The Paris Terror attacks. It was a huge shock to everyone and due to the nature of the image and the timing, we thought we would delay the announcement out of respect for the tragic event. We had also decided upon the european city we were going to visit, which coincidentally was Paris.
One night in Paris.
Skip forward to September 2016 and it’s time for David Goold to get his prize – An all expenses paid 1 on 1 street photography weekend in Paris.
After leaving my home in Liverpool I headed for the Eurostar where I met David. We spent the journey chatting all things photography, the plan for the next two days and putting the world to rights. Interestingly, we both agreed upon the Fujifilm Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 lens was our favourite for Street Photography. Oh, and we both wished for an even faster version to come from Fujifilm in the future. Running through our kit, I had opted to use my FujiFilm XPro2 armed with the Fujinon XF 16mm f1.4 WR and a FujiFilm X-T1 coupled with the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 lens. Meanwhile, David’s main set-up was the Fujifim X-T10 with the Fujifilm 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS MKII.
It was about 1pm before the Taxi reached the hotel and we spent the journey with the windows open desperately thankful for the breeze. Once we were all checked in and sorted our first stop was that really tall building that looks a bit like the Blackpool Tower – I forget it’s name.
We set a route from the Eiffel Tower down to Champs-Elysees, then towards Arc de Triomphe followed by a walk The Louvre and we finished our 14 miles trek in a beautiful area around Folie-Mericourt. By that time sun had started to set, so we ended up going back towards The Louvre for a bit of grub and a well deserved sit down!
In those tourist areas it was really difficult to find quick pit stops to grab something small to eat and drink. Most of the places we stumbled across were subscribed to the laid back, French dining experience. We love that style on the right occasion but we had pictures to take and just needed some quick in and out sustenance. It was so hot and the streets were packed with tourists which meant most places had completely sold out of cold drinks. Thankfully though, we stumbled across a Starbucks along the way and was able to get some kind of delicious orange frappe creation.
After a day of shooting some fantastic street photography and seeing a bunch of Paris’s finest landmarks, it seemed like a natural progression to head to a local french place for dinner. However, where we were, we couldn’t find a little bistro in sight. We ended up settling for an Italian, well, at least it borders France right? It turns out, the reason we couldn’t find any French places was because we were in fact in the ChinaTown, which explains a lot really.
A lot of street photographers have strong preferences for certain conditions in order to give them that perfect light. For me though, I don’t feel that strongly about it – I like to work with whatever I have. Of course, harsh sunlight can be quite awkward to work with but I think that it sets the scene and allows us photographer to create a different ambience with the light we use in our pictures. Paris has something about it, although the sunshine was constantly bright, it was much more forgiving than I once though. I was expecting a lot of areas of blown out highlight detail and deep dark shadows, but the light on the street as a lot kinder than I anticipated. Perhaps it was the buildings, the positioning of the sun or just having a bit more dynamic range from the X-PRO2 sensor, it just worked out quite nicely.
With all this said, the real recipe for a great street shots is decent light, a decent composition and a moment. Even in a great city like Paris, the moment is the hardest bit. There are colourful characters, interesting objects but it’s all down to that split second where everything comes good.
HOT HOT HOT! Day two was yet another scorcher hitting highs of 38ºC at mid-day. We hatched a plan over breakfast and decided to take a Taxi to the Moulin Rouge followed by an exploration of the area. Climbing the stairs to Montmartre and wandering around the square along the beautiful cobbled streets was rather pleasant. I can imagine if there was a bit of rain the day before the reflections and the texture you would get from those cobbles would have been incredible, but of course, there was no chance of rain on this particular day. We searched the streets for a nearby Starbucks but came away unsuccessful as they didn’t do any icy frappe things. With that terrible news, we headed back towards the hotel to get our bags and also grabbed a light lunch in a local french place followed by a cold beer. For some reason, cold beer was all we could find. Judging by the general lack of cold beverages available, anyone would think that summer had come out of nowhere and suddenly surprised the shopkeepers of Paris.
Our train back to the UK was our next stop and was leaving at 6:30pm, so we opted to head towards the train station after lunch picking a great location to concentrate your efforts before heading home. The area is known for it’s colourful characters and it the location is easy on the eye – or should what be sensor?
Well, there’s not much else to say here other than to express my thanks to everyone involved with this exciting project.
We reached out to David Goold for his take on the trip – Here’s what he had to say.
Audrey Hepburn said that “Paris is always a good idea” – but in thirty-eight degrees Celsius?! It had been forecast for a week but the reality of a high summer heatwave in France’s capital was suddenly with us. “Welcome to Hell!” was the greeting from the African taxi driver at Paris Gare du Nord as we began our Big Adventure. Fortunately, I had decided to travel light from Scotland; I brought with me just the X-T10 and the 18-55mm zoom for my photo workshop with Fujifilm Ambassador and pro street photographer (and now good friend), Matt Hart.
Two full days shooting ‘street’ in that city – in that heat – needed serious and careful attention to health and safety. Drenched in Factor 50, we paced ourselves from the start and must have each consumed a litre of water every two hours whilst pounding the pavements during our two-day stay.
But that city rewarded us with golden sunlight and inky black shadows, such elegant architecture and characterful citizens and visitors. In that special light, haute couture red dresses and heels had us, if not running, then staggering briskly to capture the decisive moment at those distinctive, striped street crossings in Le Marais.
I suppose we each develop our own technique, learning from our mistakes, but I had never experienced the technique of a professional street ‘tog. It was a revelation to watch Matt in action… to watch his pace change as he spotted an opportunity and to keep out of his way while he ruthlessly sought the decisive moment. And I hope I caught a few of those myself whilst learning to sharpen my eye. I suspect Matt features in many of them and I’m very happy about that – some wonderful memories of our journey to Hell and back.
For making it all happen, big thanks to Clifton Cameras, Fujifilm UK but most of all to Matt. We had such a blast. Let’s do it again soon! But perhaps in December this time, please?
(Images by David Goold)
My Fujifilm journey started back in 2011 but it was hit and miss. I was a Nikon shooter and had been for over 40 years. In 2011 I found myself looking for a camera system that was smaller and lighter than my Professional Nikon system. I looked at Sony and Panasonic but wanted great glass and realised that only the top players in the camera market could offer this. I picked up a Fuji X10 and had a love hate relationship with it so in the end sold it. I read all the reviews and was put off the X100 but in the end found one for a good price on ebay and purchased a really nice camera.
The image above was one of the first images I shot with the X100 and I was hooked. This amazing little camera was producing images far cleaner than my Nikon D3s and for a fraction of the cost. Yes focus was slow and it only had one lense but it was the way it made me feel that shocked me, this camera had set me free.
It was not long before I walked in to Cambrian Photography and took a massive leap of faith. I bought the Xpro1 along with the 18mm, 60mm and the 18-55mm Kit lens and decided to give it a go on my trip to Venice. I had made up my mind that if it worked for me I would come home and sell all my professional Nikon Gear.
Before I went I was almost convinced this would not happen, how could this Xpro1 replace my D3s and Pro glass as it was so slow to focus and so awkward to use !
I came back from Venice and the decision had been made this XPro1 was perfect for me. I was convinced that stepping away from mainstream DSLR’s and choosing a camera that slowed me down and made me think out of the box again was the way forward. So I took the leap and sold all my Nikon gear. I said to myself that if I needed a Pro DSLR for a job I would just hire one. That was four years ago and I have not needed to use a DSLR and will never look back.
It’s amazing how the reason you changed gets under your skin at times and the slow focus on the XPro1 drove me to buy the X-T1 and the X-T10. These cameras work perfectly for my event photography and due to the small size of the X-T10 I started to use two of these stunning little cameras back to back one with 27mm f/2 and one with 90mm f/2 lenses. It is quite amazing how small the X-T10 is with the 27mm lens it’s almost the same size as the X100T.
My plan was if I am totally honest was to wait for the X-T2 if there was one and use my X-T10s for Street and the X-T1 for Landscape and wet events and bring the X-T2 in to play.
But then BOOM Fuji asked me to test out the Xpro2 and it’s just changed my photography all over again. When I first picked it up my first thought was where is the tilting screen ? It’s hard to go out and test a camera that is not due out for three months when you are a Street photographer I can tell you.
I started using the Xpro2 and at first I was not blown away, but this was the same feeling I have had with all the Fuji X Cameras. They are like magic in your hands, the more you get to know the camera, the more they come alive in your hands. This camera is fast to focus, it surely has to be the fastest yet.
The shape of the camera is a vast improvement over the XPro1 and the inclusion of two fast card slots is going to make quite a few wedding shooters happy. The inclusion of the ISO dial in with the shutter speed dial, puts all the buttons and knobs back on the outside of the camera so you have the exposure triangle where you need it. There is a neat little joystick on the back of the camera and the buttons are all in the right place for me.
You all know I am not one for technical write ups as all the pixel stuff does not do anything for me and there are camera testers all over the UK that can test this camera to death for you all. But one word of caution, I was put off the X System for six months before I got the X100 because of all the reviews so be careful what you choose to read. This system is not all about pixels and super fast this and that, it is about changing your way of thinking.
So why do I love this camera ? It’s easy, I don’t have to edit any of my images any more. I have always been a RAW shooter converting in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2 until now. This camera is a game changer for me and the file size is just about right. The XPro2 is going to change my photography for the better.
The design of the XPro2 compared to the Xpro1 is completely different making the XPro2 sit so nicely in your hand.
I am going to be shooting Jpeg with the XPro2 for the next year with the 35mm f/2 lens for a Street Project I am doing with a few friends on Flickr. I love a good project and this project will help me to learn how to setup and use the Xpro2 for Jpeg and never have to edit again. The time this is going to save me is life changing. At the moment I have the camera set up to black and white with green filter. I have Dynamic Range set to 200%, Highlight Tone -1, Shadow Tone +3, Sharpness +1, Noise Reduction off. I will be playing around with these settings a lot more over the coming months.
It’s been a pleasure testing this new camera for Fujifilm and it was also an honour to have one of my images that I shot on the XPro2 selected for the Exhibition in Japan with 100 other X Photographers from around the world.
I think Fujifilm have made a stunning camera and I would like to thank them for for listening to all the X Photographers and Fujiholics around the world and adding most of the requests and ideas to this little camera.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds and I am so glad I made that leap of faith nearly 5 years ago. The Xpro2 is a huge step forward I am quite sure the Fuji roadmap is going to be very exciting…
Here is a video I shot about the my Fujifilm journey including some XPro 2 images.
I have been shooting with the Fuji X System now for since June 2012 and as many people know have fallen head over heels in love with the brand.
Over this time I have used most of the cameras and lenses but a few have slipped through my fingers.
Back in the summer a friend of mine posted his 27mm lens on facebook in the Fujiholics group for sale and it was such a great price I thought I would just buy it even if I used it now and then it looked so small I could just pop it in my pocket !
So the deal was done and the lens was mine, I bolted it on to my X-T10 and its been on there ever since!
I love shooting with both my X-T10’s when out and about and normally the 35mm f/1.4 and the 90mm f/2 are my walk about kit this little lens has taken over from the 35mm lens, I still carry the 35mm f/1.4 with me for when the light drops off in the evening or for adding the little bit of length back in the shot but as lenses go this 27mm lens is just perfect for the X-T10.
With the 27mm f/2.8 on the X-T10 it about the same size as the X100T making it perfect size for my go everywhere Street camera for when I was to shoot using the super fast AF system on the X-T10. I always used to shoot my X100T on manual and zone focus but the X-T10 changed all that for me, I now shoot AF all the time and the focus tracking is spot on.
I set the focus area to large square and focus mode selector to C (continuous AF) I can just about nail anyone walking about in the street, with a quick flick of the switch back to S ( single AF) for anything static.
This little lenses with is 40mm full frame equivalent view is something I have been missing for a while, the X100T was just a little to wide for me with is 23mm lens and even though I still love that camera the X-T10 has taken over.
It’s one of those lenses that you wished you had purchased from the start and a stunning take anywhere everyday lens take up no room, I don’t even bother with a lens hood as I don’t want to change the size of the set up.
I just can’t wait to get out and shoot with this lens, its like a little pancake addiction !
All I need now is the coffee..
My ongoing windows and coffee shops project have also crossed over with my 2015 Selfie project, and it’s all been very enjoyable.
Candid Street is still the way forward for me and it’s the way I like to work, that way I don’t change the dynamic or spoil anyone’s day.
The selfie project comes to an end at the end of December 2015 but the windows project will continue.
I started the windows project as a journey of discovery, I have already learnt a lot along the way, it’s been and interesting journey so far but as I said at the start I am going to do this to death and then some.
It started by someone saying windows have been done to death in Street ! I thought possibly but until you do something to death you can’t learn from it can you? The SAS don’t just practice to recover a hostage from a plane just once do they? No they don’t, they do it over and over again training every day to make sure when the time comes its perfect.
I have found with photography unless you go out day after day and work at it you do not learn your craft and cannot progress, my windows project has reinforced that with me.
I started off with a Fujifilm X100T shooting Zone focus, but now for most of my project I have moved over to the X-T10 with 27mm lens and this is my preferred set up for window shots as it gets me very close to my subject. I now carry two X-T10s one with a 27mm lens and one with a 35mm lens or 90mm lens. It depends where I am going as to what lenses I use.
I like to get as close as I can to the glass, but in some city’s this is not easy due to obstructions on the pavements, so lenses with a little more reach are the order of the day, as long they are a fast prime they work well. I just don’t have time to use zooms out on the street by the time you have started to turn the zoom ring the subject has seen you and your little cloak of invisibility has dropped to the floor.
When I first started the project people were asking me if I used a Polarizer or any other filters, the answer is no, I love all the reflections they are all part of the image. Some single subjects sitting at a table need a little more to fill the frame and add interest so I just love waiting for the streets to fill up with people so I can fill the frame with interesting reflections, and mine for the selfie project.
I have learned to love the glass but want to learn more and more about our relationship with the glass and how it works out there in the street! It’s like an invisible barrier that in some street circles seen as an easy option, but to do this right it’s not as easy as it looks. Time of was one hell of a learning curve! Pick lunch time for instance and everyone is eating, and that is of little interest to what I am trying to show in my Journey.
I do not have an end in sight for this project but one thing is for sure it’s not over yet.
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 !
Today I decided to have a few hours in Liverpool out on the streets to see what I could find.
I went out with a pair of Fujifilm X-T10s, is the first time I have been out with a pair of matching cameras for quite a while. I had to decide on what lenses to take as I have had the 35mm f/1.4 bolted to my X-T1 for ages but I wanted to go wider. I did put the 16mm f/1.4 on to start with but I decided I wanted something smaller and lighter on the X-T10 so went for the 18mm f/2 for one body and the 60mm F/2.4 for the other body. I don’t think the 60mm has as much reach as I need so can’t wait to get my hands on the new 90mm f/2.
The weather forecast was for an over cast day with sunny intervals, so quite promising.
I jumped on the train and arrived in to Liverpool a little earlier than normal, it’s great to try different times of day but Liverpool does take its time to wake up. There were not too many people about and the light was flat never a great start.
The good news was the weight of two X-T1s around my neck was nothing compared to the days I used to shoot with a DSLR with the same quality glass.
I used to shoot with a pair of Nikon Fm2’s and this brought back memories, one of the street performers even shouted out “hay mate, shooting film” Just goes to show it was not just me thinking how small they were.
Some days I like to cover a lot of ground when shooting Street others I like to find great spot or road and stick to one area, today I decided to cover lots of ground and see what I can see.
The flat light was very uninspiring today so covering lots of ground I could look out for something interesting, but as with quite a few Street days I was not having much luck. I guess Street photography is quite like fishing; you wait and wait just for that one moment. Not that I was waiting today I was on a mission.
Street Photography can be hard work on some days and this was one of those days, School holidays are always quite difficult times in Liverpool not many great characters about because the Uni’s are shut and lots of people shopping. I suppose when nothing is working, it’s looking for that one great image a year that keeps me going! Some Street Photographers shoot prolifically and then look for something special in the edit. I have lots of ideas in my head but also look for those special one in a million moments that happen in a fraction of a second. Some amazing things happen out on the street in the space of a few seconds and in an almost set sequence that will probably never happen in the same place ever again , it’s being there to capture that moment that is exciting. You can go for day’s, months or years and nothing great ever happens, I guess that’s why most of the great Street Photographers have had a lifetime of shooting.
One thing is for sure it clocks up your daily step count. I hit 10,000 steps in no time, three miles come and go and you forget to eat and drink, I might have to market this as the Street Diet.
I clocked up about 27,000 steps today and covered quite a bit of ground, but there was not a lot going on and the light was flat as a pancake. So I called it a day and got the train home.
Shooting with the 60mm and 18mm on a pair of X-T10s was a breeze, once I had them set up to my preferred settings, I could just concentrate on shooting without thinking. This did take a while as I was trying out the new Focus settings and in the end decided to set both cameras to Zone Focus large Square, I set them to Aperture Priority for the day with Auto ISO and moved the Aperture for my desired depth of field depending on my subject. Auto ISO settings I used Default Sensitivity 200 Max. Sensitivity 6400 and Min. Shutter Speed I set to 1/125 sec on the 18mm and 1/250 sec on the 60mm.
I am quite a calculated person when shooting and will let lots and lots of shots go if they have no set place in my workflow. I try to shoot to get in a rhythm so shoot more than I did with film but I still don’t shoot a lot of images when out. I guess one reason is I just don’t like to spend so much time looking through them all at the edit stage.
I think I am very calculated and have systems and processes in my head but I can also step out of the box if I need to. All of my images follow quite a strict process that starts in my head, I know at the time of capture if I have got the makings of a reasonable image. When I sit down to review my day’s work I can almost go straight to the keepers. Once I do sit down I then start to make more decisions about the keepers and also decide where I might use the images. It’s always funny when I post to social media and someone makes a comment like “I would have cropped that like this” or “I would have shot that person from that angle” well good for them! I did not crop it like that because I like it the way I posted it! I like the angel I shot the image or there was no other option to get the shot, like a wall or bin in the way. This sounds harsh but I don’t care what people think, I have never had a Professional Photographer give unwanted Critique and even wrote a blog post on Critique a while back. I don’t shoot to please people as such and besides half of what I shoot now won’t be relevant until 10 -20 years’ time! I share my work because images should never stay hidden under the bed for no one to see, what people think is irrelevant.
Some days I get home and delete all the images that I have shot, today feels like one of those days but I am going to share a few images. Normally these would have all been deleted, but I set out today to write my blog so will make an exception. Today was one of those days where the light was not working and you watch lots of situations build but they just come to nothing. I work the scene with my camera but when it’s not coming together I walk away, its great practice for when it does all drop in to place. Lucky for me today I needed to find create two more selfie’s for my project or I would have come away with nothing!
I just love to be out on the streets, not every day will bring me an image that I can use or even like and it might take me all my life to make a book of 20 great images, but that for me is the whole point.
I did go for a coffee with my good friend Steve from Street Frame and even though I don’t normally shoot portraits, I had to try out the X-T10 and the 60mm lens.