I organised a Liverpool Photo Walk for Saturday the 10th January 2015, it became known as #LiverpoolPW15. My first thoughts were for a walk to see in the New Year, and get a few like minded people out in the fresh air for a nice walk around the city. So I set up my Eventbrite page with 100 free places. I thought if I set 100 places and 100 people sign up about 30 might come, but 100 places were gone in a week! So I made 200 places, and in the end I had 130 people sign up to the walk.
The weather forecast for the day was not great high wind and rain so I was not expecting too many people and had received a few emails to let me know people could not make it, so I was not expecting a great turnout. But I was wrong, a few head counts on the day revealed we had around 175 people in total! Wow that was a great attendance!
So thank you to all you guys that attended the walk, you all made it a great day, and after all, photo walks are all about like minded people at a social event taking photos and sharing tricks and tips, and having a great day meeting new people and making new friends in real life and then becoming friends on social media.
I have had a large amount of emails thanking me for the day. Some quite overwhelming! You know who you are and it was nice to meet you guys to and glad you came out. I have tried to reply to as many as I can but if I have missed any sorry and thanks for your emails.
The feedback has been great and yes I will be organizing another free walk later in the year around October time I expect, not yet decided on Liverpool again or Edinburgh! Feel free to email me your thoughts on what city.
I would like to thank all the guys in the trade that put up prizes and supplied tea and coffee and discounts and gifts for the day. So a BIG thank you to Cambrian Photography, SmugMug,Formatt Hitech,Wilkinsons,FujifilmUK.
Thank you Sarah,Richard,Alistair,James,Alex,G,Jim,Tony and everyone that helped out on the day.
For information on the next one check out my Eventbrite Page for updates.
For the Video of the day.
Thanks again for a great turnout I hear it might be the largest ever UK photo walk so thanks everyone see you on the next one.
My 2014 Portrait Project became what I can only describe as complicated, this was for many reasons. One reason was arranging times when it was a convenient time for both my subject and I to be available for a shoot, it became quite apparent very quickly this was going to be a big issue. The weather also had a big part to play in the timing of shoots and it was too nice or two wet for some of the planned shoots. I also quickly decided shooting planed portraits was not for me. I love to shoot people but in a more candied reportage style, so the whole project started to go downhill from day one. But I decided to continue with the project and just see how it progressed.
If I ended up with just a hand full of images but learnt a lot from my project the whole year’s project would have been worth it. But hardly any progress was made over the first few months, I said to myself over and over again, never again….
Every project I start is for a reason and this project was designed to not only take me out of my comfort zone shooting people I had first met on the Internet, but also shooting people I had not met at all and only ever spoken to via social media. There were a couple of exceptions, an old friend Sam and her husband Chris who approached me at the start of the year. Sam does not like having her photo taken but wanted to step out of her comfort zone and have her portrait taken by me this year. How could I refuse, Chris ended up having his portrait taken as he waited for me to finish shooting Sam, the best part of this story is, Chris has now brought a camera and taken up photography. Looks like Sam will have to get used to having her portrait taken!
One thing I found out very quickly was trying to pin someone down to shoot them at a date and time was almost impossible, this alone made me want to throw the towel in from the start. I love street photography and event photography it’s the spontaneity that gets me excited, I just love it when all the elements of a great shot fall in to place. Trying to get a subject to be in the place they wanted to be, to be shot how they wanted to be shot on the right day at the right time in the right dress, with the right light was almost impossible !
On one occasion I was due to meet my subject at 9am, but after a few Facebook messages and phone calls they did not arrive until 1pm, by this time the light was useless and the planned location was in the wrong direction to the sun and it was pouring with rain. We had to wait for the rain to stop then shoot a new location. By the time we got the shot it was nearly dark. This was a big learning curve for me. Did I want to spend a whole day shooting one subject for my project! The simple answer was NO!
One Lady came all the way from Australia and was very much out of her comfort zone when I shot her image so thank you Linda.
I love all my projects, making each project last a year was a good move, it gives me time to completely hate the whole project and to want to throw in the towel, but when the mojo comes back to then pull yourself out of that hole using the towel as a rope !
I now know I hate shooting planned portraits, I can’t think of anything worse than trying to organise and plan a shoot with people you have not met and may not meet again. I found out the British weather is just as unpredictable as I thought it was. I found out getting people to relax for their portrait was very complicated and required a lot of work, most of the shoot in fact was taken up with getting the subject to relax. I have noticed even with some of the best portraits I have ever seen there is sometimes a look in the eyes of boredom or mind wondering! I have always hated that look, in street I always look for those few seconds before eye contact to try and make the shot.
I was lucky to be able to shoot a couple of my subjects as they worked; this made the whole process much easier. On the whole people are quite hard to work with as subjects, the more creative they are the more difficult this becomes.
Don’t get me wrong some people are great and I would like to say thank you to all the people who have allowed me to shoot them and use their portraits in this project. It was a pleasure to shoot you all and in some cases quite a laugh. Some people I could not shoot and this was more down to both my work commitments and theirs, as well as the distances we would have to travel.
I have learnt quite a lot from my project I can now use in my street and event work, I also have far more confidence in asking random people for a portrait than ever before! I have always been able to ask people for portraits but, not always had the confidence with some types of people at the important times. I won’t let these given moments pass me buy any more. I probably won’t shoot this type of portraits again but if do, I will plan at least a day or half a day for each shoot.
I have also found the Fuji X cameras are just perfect for Portraits, the XPro1 is my favorite, it slows me down and makes me think and also relaxes my subjects a lot more than a huge great DSLR in between my face and theirs. The Fuji X-T1 is also great when you want to speed things up when you can see the subjects mind wondering.
So in the end I managed 14 images, not as many as I thought but more than one a month so not to bad.
So that’s the 2014 project out of the way now for my very exciting 2015 street project…
My street photography workshops have been going down very well in 2014, its quite sad that I have only got one left this year ! The last one is in Liverpool on the 14th of December at Wilkinson Cameras and will be concentrating on the Liverpool Markets. Its been a great year for me teaching the groups. I said for years I would not want to teach but have found the last year very enjoyable. I am very passionate about Street Photography, also about getting people to explore our great city’s in the UK. I love shooting people and with the modern street techniques and the amazing mirrorless Fuji X Cameras its now just a breeze.
I prefer the XPro1 with a 35mm lens for most of my street work. Looking back at when I shot film I was always wide and long ! So am quite excited about the new Fuji 90mm lens due out in 2016. I do like to get up close in my own work but there are occasions getting close is just not an option. The X-T1 is so much more simple to use but I love the rangefinder feel and style of the XPro1 so hope when the 90mm comes out the XPro2 will be coming out around the same time to give me a pair of Street cameras.
The courses have been so much fun, I have decided to carry on with them in to 2015. I have some very exciting plans for instance the Edinburgh Workshop weekend is with Ami Strachan who is one of my favorite UK street photographers and lives in Edinburgh so will be our guide for the day. People booking on the course can also contact me in advance if they want to try out some of the latest Fuji Cameras and lenses. I only have 6 places on each course and they get booked very quickly so if you want a place on one of the published courses book now, you can try and get one for a Christmas present !
I will be adding more courses in to the year but at the moment I am trying to fit in my other talks and workshop for some of the retailers in the UK like Cambrian Photography who have a Christmas show on the 6th of December and a very special event in 2015.
I will be adding events in the south once we get in to the new year, so keep checking my Eventbrite page. I am now an official Fujifilm X photographer and as you know a Formatt Hitech Featured Artist so have a very interesting project planned for next year using the X Series cameras and Hithech filters in my Street Photography. Its all very exciting and I cant wait for 2015…
I was asked to speak about a year ago at the South Liverpool Photographic Society, I said yes due to the fact it was not that far from my home and I had heard great things about these guys.
I went along to one of the club nights to see how things worked and was very impressed with the set up and how friendly the guys were.
I found out its one of the largest groups in the UK and that they were also very interested in having a digital and print based talk. I also managed to get a a few of the latest Fujifilm Digital Cameras to take along for the guys to try out. I think they were quite shocked that those little cameras could create such huge images ! Jane came with me and did over hear one guy say ” that’s it I am going mirrorless” always music to my ears.
I love talking to people with prints, it makes it feel more real ! Hope that makes sense !
I think we should all print our work and one of the best things about this club was the people handing there work in for judging in print form. I look back at all the great images of my past and it brings back so many memories. My mum has a massive draw of memories of her childhood and I have the same hundreds of black and white images and a few colour. I do wonder what our children will have in the future !
This was one of my last talks of 2014, I only have one workshop left so looking forward to a wind down for Christmas. I would like to thank Bert and all the guys at SLPS for making my evening a memorable one and for listening to my passionate talk on black and white.
If you are thinking about joining a club and live in Liverpool this is the one to join.
I was asked to speak at Wilkinson Cameras Digital Splash on the 9th of November 2014 about my year of black and white. This was very exciting for many reasons but mainly because I was going to have a chance to show my work in print as well as in a digital presentation.
So I would like to thank Kerry Hendry for inviting me,and David, Paul and Alex for making it such a great weekend.
My talks were sold out well before the event and the show was packed. Its always great to be able to talk to a crowded room.
I don’t think people realise the time and commitment and cost that goes in to these shows, we are very lucky to have such great independents in the UK like Wilkinson Cameras.
I did over hear a few people looking at the gear at the show and handling it but talking about buying it from Amazon ! I still find this quiet a shock. I know it’s cheaper at times bit where is the money going and what will happen to these great businesses if we don’t support them!
I buy from my local camera shop because of the great customer service and the fact its easy to returning a product if a fault appears, I also like to know my money vat and tax is going to support the local economy. In some cases it’s just a few pounds more to buy local so well worth the extra cost to keep the shops open in the high streets. Not just that, but these shops provide training and seminars all year round at some of their branches, so your money is also going to support education and training in photography skills.
Its always great to be able to speak at any show and pass on the skills I have acquired over my 40+ years of taking pictures. My year of black and white was in 2013 and has been a great subject to talk about, I have been quite surprised at the amount of bookings from camera shops and camera clubs I have had.
Its always a pleasure and never a chore to work for such hard working people in this industry.
Thanks Guys …
That’s the festival season all over; for another year. I might now have time to catch up on my personal work and this blog! Hope all you guys are well and getting out there and shooting things..
Websites! I get asked all the time about websites, I have to be honest I don’t know a thing about websites! Well not quite true I know a little bit, I could take time out and learn but I am far too busy.
I decided about a year ago I was not happy with the layout of the one I had and the fact some of the site was clunky, I also wanted a site that looked like my 500PX feed and my Flicker feed and well as being able to offer me printing and images sales.
I wanted a trouble free solution that I could build myself in a very short space of time and add or change things as I went, as well as offer prints and downloads for sale and have a client area.
It was at last year’s TPS Photography show I was talking to Alastair Jolly UK Business Development manager at SmugMug. It was at that point I realised SmugMug was not just a website company it was a company that cared about you and welcomed you in to the family.
Following a brief chat I decided to bite the bullet and change my previous provider over to SmugMug. I thought this process was going to be a nightmare, but it was simple, the Smug Mug team are there to guide you if you need help and the SmugMug Pro account was just perfect for all my needs.
I can’t go in to the technical side of the site but it was by far the best choice I had made.
I managed to have a brief look around at all the tools and then went for it! I had the site built and up and running in a day. I launched the site and within hours had an e mail to tell me I had sold an image! I was shocked as I had not even set up the pricing, so the poor guy had paid well over the odds for his print and postage as he was a UK buyer and the image came from the USA ! So I quickly updated the price lists and changed the Lab.
The site has now been up and running without a glitch for nearly 9 months and I love how simple the site is, every week I get a nice emailed analytic report on the site and I have checked this with Google Analytic’s, it looks very accurate, more than I can say for the last site that was miles out.
I did not consider SmugMug at first as I thought it was an American site and would not help me with my business in the UK, but I was so wrong and even better SmugMug use LoxleyColour as there Print Partner who run an extremely tight ship, with amazing prints well packaged and fast delivery times.
So if you are looking for an all in one photography site for your business, or just an amazing site to display your images and order prints now and then, SmugMug is the way forward.
I have had a trouble free 9 months and find it a breeze to update and amend any images or text.
So I am passing on a Discount code that you can use to set up your own account, I am sure SmugMug will welcome you as part of the family.
Web Site: www.lighttraveler.co.uk
The image above was shot on the Isle of Anglesey on a Fuji X-T1 with 10-24mm lens at 10mm ISO200 600seconds at f/16, with a HiTech 100mm Aluminum filter holder, HiTech Firecrest 100 x 100mm 16 stop and the Hightech 100 x 125mm 0.9 Soft Grad, it was processed in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro.
Ship to shore is one of my first images shot with the new HiTech Firecrest 16 stop filter, I am very impressed with the results. I used to have to sandwich a 10 stop and 6 stop filters together before the 16 Stop came out and this on occasions gave a few light bounce issues, but now it’s all plain sailing.
Just slot the Firecrest 16 stop in to the amazing HiTech 100mm Aluminum holder and shoot.
The holder is also very well designed, I used the Lee holder for ages and it’s a great holder but when you are trying to take it on and off when making long exposures the spring loaded catch is very annoying, the new HiTech holder does not have the spring issue and even spins on the adaptor ring aiding filter placement when aligning graduated filters.
I am not going to go into all the technical side of filters and filter use but will say this filter is amazing and is going to sell like hot cakes.
I am a black and white shooter but shoot in RAW so I can show you my straight out of camera ( sooc ) shot so you can see how little colour shift if any there is.
The below image is a sooc shot, no processing at all, the Fuji X-T1 was set to standard and auto white balance in bright sunlight.
As you can see the Firecrest 16 stop image is usable straight out of camera, with very little adjustment or editing if you shoot colour you hardly have any work to do to bring the RAW file to life.
I decided to shoot a comparison image with the HiTech 10 stop IRND this is also a stunning filter. This image was taken at the same time but due to the tide movement from a slightly different position.
The image below was also processed in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro, Fuji X-T1 10-24mm at 10mm ISO200 26sec at f/18, HiTech 100mm Aluminum Holder HightTech 100 x 100mm 10 stop IRND HiTech 100 x 125mm 0.9 Soft Grad.
The unprocessed sooc image below also shows how natural these filters really are.
I cant wait to get out and experimnet with a lot more long exposures of the next few months not I have this amazing filter, I will post any images on my web site www.lighttraveler.co.uk over the comming weeks. Now I am even more excited about my 2015 project.
16 Stop filters are available from Cambrian Photography in Colwyn Bay North Wales and other outlets around the world.