The Photography Show 2015 Photowalk #‎FujiTPSWalk‬

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On Saturday 21st of March 2015 I led a Photowalk around a small route in Birmingham for FujiFilm UK with Dave K Piper , some of the great Fujifilm UK Team and two members of the Fujifilm Japan Team.

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We met up at 17:00 hours in Victoria Square and a Fujifilm X30 was given away as a prize.

We then set of to Royal Mail Street and made our way to the Old Line Birmingham Canal after a brief Street camera demo from myself and a quick Q & A by Damien Lovegrove.

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Damien was soon to live up to his new name and the Love Gloves came off for the above shot. The Loveglove name came from a Japanease translation of Lovegrove a few weeks back when Damien was representing FujiFilm UK in Japan as one of the FujiFilm X Photographers.

_DSF0525 _DSF0508We made our way down the Old Canal and crossed over at the bend and made our way up to the Library for a group photo. The group photo will be on the FujiFilm blog very soon.

Most of the images from the evening were posted on Twitter under the #FujiTPSWalk and are well worth a look. I managed to grab a few images between chatting and demonstrating a few street photography techniques. We then made our way to a local pub for a quiet drink before ending the evening. So, if you are at The Photography Show next year look out for a Street Walk, one of the best ways to see a city and make new friends.

If you don’t want to wait till then, have a go at this great competition by Clifton Cameras and FujiFilm UK and try to win one of three  Fuji X100T’s and possibly a trip to Paris.

You can also come on one of the free Photowalks planned over the next 6 months, see web site for details http://www.techtoyreviews.com/fujifilm-xt10-rumors-sensor-fuji-xt1-price/ 

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Modern Photography No Shortcuts

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There is a lot more to being a photographer than just relying on the functions of your camera. Every subject requires a new set of skills and these skills take time to learn. Don’t expect it to happen over night and don’t be afraid to take some courses and learn every set of skills you will  need for you to be the best in your field. This is not as easy as it looks, learning to use the camera is just the first step and then forget everything you think you know because the camera is just a tool. It wont do it all for you no matter how much the advertising blurb tells you it can. One of the main reasons I went over to Fuji from Nikon was just that, the advertising was getting in the way of my own creativity and I was not using half the bells and whistles Nikon had programmed in the body.

It’s not all about the camera and for every one thinking I am going to say nice things about Fuji because I am an X Photographer you will be wrong. I use three film cameras, a Nikon Fm2 an Olympus Om10 and a Fujica ST705. It’s not all about the camera it’s about the camera skills. The reason I choose Fuji over every other brand is because when I have a Fuji X100T in my hands I feel like I did over 40 years ago, excited and inspired to go out and create new images. That is what excites me every day, shooting shooting shooting.

There will be the cries from the die hard DSLR guys that the little mirrorless cameras can’t shoot Motorsport or Wildlife and in a way they are right likewise a Ford Focus is not a Ford tipper truck. But wait a minute, people have shot these subjects in the days of film and got some amazing shots. Some of the best Motorsport shots from the past were not shot with bells and whistles AF  and multi point tracking systems. They were shot in film cameras with manual focus and the Photographers used their skills to create images. These days to shoot lets say Motorsport, you go out and buy a D4s and a 600mm lens and you think that is it, I am going to be the best at this, then some guy with an i phone gets a killer shot and it’s front page news !   Why be part of the long lens and expensive camera crowd in the same place taking the same shots ? Think out of the box and go to the event and shoot the crowds expressions or think of something new and make a name for yourself !  Don’t follow the crowd and don’t believe you need to have 30k in gear to be a great photographer, learn to use what you have. Even better go buy a Film camera for £30 and a lens for £50 and go out and be creative !

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With Fuji all the functions I need are on the outside of the camera so I don’t have to dig in the menu’s. This scares some people but this is how you learn your craft. Its not a five minute process it takes years. I have been at it for over 40 years and still learn new things every day and admit it to myself.

It’s not about the camera is about you and it’s a long hard process. No one these days wants to know it’s going to be hard work ! They just want to put pressure on the manufacturers to create camera systems and software that  does it all from behind the keyboard.

I am not a technical photographer and I don’t write much about all the camera functions and menu’s.  In truth I just don’t care about all that, for me its the end product that comes after my days work that counts, the final image or images.

What is the point in comparing Canon to Nikon or Fuji to Sony?  We do that every day with cars, bikes and washing machines. Once you get caught up in all the tech chasing you loose your creative edge.  You spend all your time researching cameras and not out shooting, make your choice then one week later Samsung bring out a 20 giga pixel must have camera ! People are still making better images and posting them on flickr with old film cameras in Russia than some of the people with 60k in gear !

It’s like learning to play a violin, it probably wont take you long to get it out of the box , string it, work out the basics and get a sound out of it but there are no short cuts in the learning process. Hard work and dedication will now follow and at some point you might have to admit defeat because you are tone deaf or you just can’t master it. You can still pick it up and enjoy it but you know you will never be a pro.

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I know not every one wants to be a Pro Photographer and some people are happy to just walk about taking snaps on their phone or very expensive camera. This post is not about those guys they are happy taking snaps and good luck to them, it’s a great hobby too.

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Like a new TV your camera works out of the Box ! You don’t need to educate yourself or be educated in how to use it, the technical side is in the manual that comes with the camera. If you now want to go out, create and become a photographer at any level above snapper, you have to learn. This is a long process for some and quite short for fast learners. Lucky people get it in 30 seconds flat. It takes years for most of us to perfect our craft and to rise to the top of your game. Some people jump from one subject to the other from Landscape to Studio hoping to be noticed but it does not work like that,

I appreciate some people are happy to learn, join clubs and associations but there are some that just want it all on a plate in this modern world and want it for free.  Well nothing is for free, hard work, education and dedication is the only way.

There is a faster way, take classes and workshops and learn from the professionals, just like apprentices in the past. My advice there is find your favorite photographer and sign up to their courses and workshops. Its no good learning how to shoot in a Studio when you want to be a landscape photographer, that’s a whole new set of skills.

I get hundreds of emails every year asking this question ” what are your camera presets and can you share them” or “I love your black and white images can you share your Lightroom presets”  I don’t use any in camera or Lightroom presets. I shoot in Raw and process every image as an individual image and this shocks people but I am not sure why. If we all used the same presets and programs we would all be the same ! How boring would that be.

_DSF9672-EditYou could learn the way I did. I was self taught, and it was all down to trial and error using film. I read lots of books and went out every day and practiced until I got it right. Shooting long exposures with film at 14 was a steep costly learning curve involving hours looking at my mistakes, but I soon learnt.

These days we have Google and YouTube but they are only education tools, they don’t have all the answers and photography is not all about copying other people its about you. It’s about your passion and creativity.  There is no substitute for going out every day and shooting, the more time you spend with your camera in your hand the better you will become at using it. Whether you can ever create a great image is another story. I’m still trying.

Photography has so much more to it than cameras along with all the great products you can buy from lighting to filters. I used to have to make my own lighting set ups but I learned so much about lighting doing it that way. I used to make quite a lot of my own photographic accessories for the darkroom and for my camera bag. These days its all on the shelf, but it probably makes it all too easy and stops you thinking.

I am focusing more and more on Street and events and these two choices throw me back twenty years. You don’t need an all singing all dancing DSLR to shoot street or events you need a simple camera with all the controls at you fingertips. All cameras struggle to focus in low light and also struggle to track people in the street. It’s far better to shoot using the skills you have learnt over the years than to try and force the camera to do the impossible. My project this year is Available Light Street and Street Long Exposure Blur. My first day out I was back to stage one, learning how to create the right amount of blur for people in a trial and error way. At least now I don’t have to waist 5o rolls of film to find out how to do it !

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There is so much to learn in photography and so many different types. I know some amazing studio photographers that would be out of their depth on a Landscape or wildlife day or even a sports shoot. They could wing it but would struggle. For every different type of photography there are new skills to master. People pick up 600mm lenses in Wildlife and can’t work out why they can’t focus and blame the lens when they need to learn long lens discipline.

Shooting in a studio takes years to master the craft of lighting.  I could go on but I just want every one to know there are no short cuts in photography and it’s not all about the camera. It’s all about the skills you learn over the years to create the final image. It’s those skills that will make you stand out from the crowd and give you something to build on so you can be the best at the subject or subjects you choose or help you to change your subject  to keep you ahead of the game.

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Have a great week and get out there and create…

But don’t go out and shoot a Landscape Long Exposure with a Pier unless you can make it something very special !  #justsaying

X-Photographers Spotlight – Matt Hart

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Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography?

I was born in Hammersmith in London, England UK. I was born Dyslexic and I struggled at school with the more academic subjects, but did very well in the Arts and Science. I found being Dyslexic more of a gift than a disability. My Dyslexia was one of the more rare forms where two areas of the brain are not connected in the Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area, so there was no hope for me to improve my academic skills. After I found out Einstein was Dyslexic along with quite a few photographers at the time, there was no holding me back. I had a dream of one day becoming a photographer. I left school with average grades and started out shooting events and weddings with 35mm film. This was short lived due to starting a family so the photography…

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Desert Island Fuji

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I often get asked what would my desert Island camera be! This used to be a hard question in the days of the DSLRs but not anymore it’s very simple it’s the Fujifilm X100. It does not really matter what version of  X100 you have, they are all great. The X100 was a stunning camera and I am sure will go on to be a classic, the X100s was a big improvement and the X100T might not be a massive jump from the S but it’s worth every penny, after all the other two are so last year !

X100 Mersey Ferry
X100 Mersey Ferry

One of the main reasons for my desert island camera choice is the fixed lens, no dust or sand on the sensor is a big plus for me for a take anywhere camera. This camera fits in my pocket and can go anywhere I want all over the world and takes up no room. If you don’t add any of the great lenses and bolt on accessories this little camera even fits in your trouser pocket. I am not going to go in to the technical side of the X100T  you can find this information all over the internet. I am not going to tell you about all the great accessories or the two stunning add on lenses because I don’t use them, for one reason and one reason alone they make it bigger for my street work. However the Fujifilm Tele Conversion Lens TCL-X100 and the WCL-X100 Wide Angle Conversion Lens are on my must have list for my Travel Photography.

Fuji X100  Isle of Islay
Fuji X100 Isle of Islay

I am just going to share with you a few of my images I have shot with the X100 versions over the last couple of years. Besides I have to be 100% honest with you and say the last ever camera review I read was on the very first X100 and it sold it down the river! Yes I was late to the X100 because the reviews were not great. Some people still pick this camera up and don’t understand it. But to really appreciate this little camera you need to be stuck on a desert island with it. You will be calling it Wilson by the end of your stay ( for those that watched Cast Away )

X100 Ferry Isle of Mull
X100 Ferry Isle of Mull

I made a big mistake a couple of years back and sold my X100 ! I don’t even know why I did it but I missed it so much. Sounds crazy, when I first got my X100 it drove me nuts at times with its quirks and every time I looked at the image on the back of the screen I was convinced I had not nailed the focus, but I had. Once I had the images open in Lightroom I was happy and excited and wanted to get back out and shoot. It has its quirks but they are very easy to live with but the benefits outweigh any quirks tenfold. This little camera is a carry anywhere camera that packs a massive punch with its stunning sensor.

X100s Manchester
X100s Manchester     ISO 5000
X100S Manchester
X100S Manchester  ISO 5000

I have a few friends now that own the X100 the X100s and the X100T to be honest I know a large amount of people that are buying the X100 and they are shooting Fashion,Landscape,Street,Long Exposre and so much more.

X100 Applecross Bay
X100 Applecross Bay
X100 Isle of Islay
X100 Isle of Islay

For me the X100T is the go anywhere shoot anything camera and even better the X100T is so good looking you never put it away. Mine sits on my desk waiting to go out and shoot. I have a black one and this is my preferred colour for street photography, it suites my candid style.

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X100T Liverpool  ISO6400
X100 Whitby
X100 Whitby
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Lets face it, with the X100T, you can have your cake and eat it…

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X100T

Edinburgh Street Photography Workshop with Matt Hart

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Spend the day with renowned Fujifilm X Photographer Matt Hart, exploring the exciting streets of Edinburgh picking up tricks and tips from Matt along the way. This will be delivered in a relaxed and often, very entertaining way. You will also have personal guide Ami Strachan for the day to reveal all the best locations to shoot street in Edinburgh.

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The course will give you an insight into the way Matt works and his style of Street Photography. You will learn how to anticipate and capture decisive moments throughout the city.  And, having a guide for the day will help to future-proof your knowledge of the area. So, if you choose to come back – you’ll know all the best spots!

What you will learn:

  • The skill in spotting a possible subject.
  • What  to look for in a great scene.
  • How to blend in and be invisible.
  • See and compose a subject with a…

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Street Photography Colour / Black and White

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I have been Shooting Street for a very long time now, right from as far back as I can remember so well over 40 years, it’s always been a part of me to shoot people as a subject, but when I shoot it has to be candid. True Street as I have always understood it, will not interfere with the dynamic in the street, and this is the Street Photography I love.  I know the point where you press the shutter to being spotted and getting a reaction or creating a reaction, is a very fine line involving fractions of a seconded, and find this point very well discussed in the street world.

Street portraits are on the rise but I stopped asking a for portraits years back,  I do ask for the odd one or two if the subject is very exciting but hardly every post the images.

I want to go back to my early days and explore the early days of street in my everyday life and workshops and explore the more modern side of street in my new project.

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I have shot Street with film for years and as many people know I had a fire in my Flat many years ago and lost my camera gear all my prints and negatives. I stopped shooting for long time and only used a camera to record my family growing up. I just took family snaps in colour and black and white,before the calling of the photography world grabbed me again.

I always preferred black and white film and when I first moved over to digital, I hated the way digital cameras would process black and white and colour.

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I stuck to black and white for all the reasons people used black and white in digital, but have been shooting film for my unseen personal work, I will continue shooting film and hope in the future have even more time shoot more and more film and less digital.

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I have always struggled with colour in digital and I know in Photoshop you can almost make the colours how you want them and almost do the same in Lightroom but I don’t want to spend hours and hours trying to make colours look how I want them to look. The days of transparency film were so simple, shoot get developed and view! Print your work! Job done…

Up to last weekend I have shot 95% black and white but the more I get in to Street the more the colour medium is calling me and thanks to Fujifilm this is so easy, my XPro1 and X-T1 produce such amazing colours, I hardly have to touch them in Lightroom. So it looks like I will be shooting more and more colour over the coming months. I will start off with just street images that feel right in colour and put them mainly in my Tumblr account to see how I feel, and a few on Instagram and possibly a few on Google + Its very hard to mix colour and black and white so I am going to struggle with this in 2015.  But I am starting to fall back in love with colour again thanks to Fujifilm.

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I shoot in RAW and the cameras are all set to standard for colour and Lightroom imports the RAW file and I hardly touch the RAW file it’s just a little levels and curves and dodging and burning but I am at last after all this time starting to find my Colour feet.

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I very much doubt I will go over to shooting more colour than black and white as I find colour distracting and not a great story telling medium, I also struggle in separating my subject at times in colour but I can’t ignore it any more! I guess it’s just part of the journey.  Who knows I might even shoot colour film again! But I doubt it.

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