35mm

Its a Glass thing.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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York Street Workshop

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I have had another great weekend teaching Street Photography in the amazing City of York.

York is a great place for Street photography due to the amazing characters and the great atmosphere within the City Walls.

The group got talking at the weekend about attention span these days and the above image is a good example, not a single mobile device in sight ! Nice to see people just taking the world in for a change and not just looking at not so Social Media !

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Social Media has also become a ‘like’ culture on posts and images as well as with Street Photography. So many images getting lots of ‘likes’ but I wonder if you asked someone that had just ‘liked’ an image to give you four sentences on the image whether they could ! The same for the over posting of millions of images without any thought, if you cant think of four sentences about your work then why post it ? If it means something to you and you love it then that’s a great start, but look at it again and really ask yourself what do I love about this image ? With Social Media you want your work to stand out from the crowd so post your best work.

I very rarely post more than a few images, I cant stand some of them after a few weeks, but the ones that mean something to me personally and the ones I connect with the most, grow on me more and more as time goes by.

Street Photographers put a lot of time and thought in to some of their images as do lots of other photographers. I wonder how many people take time to have a good look at the image.

We are all guilty of too many ‘likes’, the worst part about friends ‘likes’ and random ‘likes’ is just like a really bad singer on X Factor !  People think they are taking great images when they are not !

I guess that’s why I  love the social side of my workshops. The conversations about Street Photography and all other aspects of photography are so much better in real life than a 50/50 debate on Social Media. Its great to just stop and debate an image or subject in the real world with like minded people who give a real subjective view on the world. The trouble with Social Media is friends of friends joining in discussions they know very little about !

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I was listening to a chef talking about having a great palate and how his palate had served him well in his career, he was talking about how so many people have tried his food and did not have a clue what they were eating and did not know if it was good or bad as most did not have a palate like his !   I guess  that’s a little like photography, so many people on Social Media claim to know what a good image is but so many don’t have a clue and just click ‘like’ ! Millions of people cook every day on this planet but how many great chefs are there or how many great photographers ? Makes you think…

I think its a good idea to buy books and invest in some really good coffee table books and have a real good look at some of the amazing images from the Masters, not just a quick peek and then back on Facebook but a real good look. There is so much to learn its unbelievable.

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I think the art of studying and learning is a dying art and people should buy more books and do lots more workshops and courses to help them understand their journey.

I am lucky, I run the workshops so every week get to meet more and more people on my courses who share all their thoughts and feelings with me about Photography and ask me lots and lots of questions. This gives me the opportunity to think more deeply about my own images and the images my workshop attendees produce on my workshops.

I look forward to every workshop session because it really does put the social back in to photography.

I always reinforce the point that on a workshop the chance of getting one great image is very slim, the chance of getting three images is also a very tall ask. The day is more about teaching people to hold and use their camera equipment in a more intuitive way and to learn to see the streets around through different eyes. The so called decisive moment might only happen once a month once a year or if you don’t go out every week it might never happen. The more time you spend out there shooting the more chance the magic will happen, as long as you are looking in the right direction and know what to look for.

How many people have wonky horizons for years and then when they get told about it they start to straighten the image ? Lots and lots, but the point is what else cant they see ?

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If you want to join me on one of my many workshops in 2015/2016 here is a full list.

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/matthew-hart-photography-ltd-6442621859

Street Photography Workshops

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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.

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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 !

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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.

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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…

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First Event DSLR Free

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Africa Oye 2013          Nikon D3s  Sigma 300mm f/2.8

I did it ! I made the jump and I am OK !

Last year at Africa Oye I was shooting with a Nikon D3s and a variety of Nikon Pro glass, as well as my favourite Sigma 300mm lens. I also had a Fuji X100 with me.  I was thinking about trying out Mirrorless but had not made up my mind. I managed to get a few shots with the X100 and one got published.

I was worn out after two days shooting at Africa Oye 2013! If you have never shot an event believe me two or three days shooting all day with a heavy DSLR body takes its toll on your back and shoulders. I had been exploring the Fuji option for a while but felt I could not give up my D3s and 300mm f/2.8 !

But as most of you know from my previous posts I did give up my D3s last year at the end of the festival season. I went over to Fuji from Nikon and then spent the rest of the year shooting Fuji but in the back of my mind I was worried about the festival season.

My first event in the 2014 calendar was Africa Oye, this will be followed by Brazilica, the Giants and LIMF.  Even after spending quite a while shooting with the XPro1 and the X-T1 I would not have a fast enough lens for the job in low light. The 55-200mm is fine but it’s not a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 so would struggle in low light and is a little slow at times. The Fuji bodies only go up to 6400 ISO so my fear was as the light dropped I would run out of light and not be able to shoot!

Party Time       Fuji XPro1 35mm

I decided to shoot the crowd up close and personal with the Fuji XPro1 and 35mm lens and use the X-T1 with the 55-200mm for when the crowds were too tight for me to walk through or reach the subject.  I should explain, Africa Oye is family friendly and everyone is there with tents and blankets having a very nice family day out with BBQ’s etc so it’s not always that easy to get close to your subject as the day moves on.

I decided to shoot the stage with the 55-200mm on the X-T1 on the day and also get a few crowd shots with the 10-24mm from the pit. I also took the 60mm f/2.4 with me for when the light dropped off. I would have taken the 56mm but I have been holding off buying the 56mm due to the fact the 50-140mm f/2.8 will be out this year. To be honest the 60mm worked out fine but the 56mm would have been better.

Smokin..        Fuji XT-1 55-200mm

I have to say my plan worked like a dream, getting in amongst the crowd paid off with the XPro1, it was so nice getting close to all the people I have shot at previous events with a 70-200mm I was asked for business cards and where the images could be found. It was so nice to talk to people I see year after year at the events. So, not only had the change from Nikon to Fuji made me rethink the way I shoot, it put me right back in the crowd where I should be ! It was like going back to my Nikon Fm2 and 50mm lens in the film days. Yes the change from Nikon to Fuji has made me more social! How mad is that …

I was standing in the crowd halfway through the first day thinking how great the day was, how amazing the crowd was and how great the music and atmosphere was. I was not thinking about the weight of the camera around my neck for a change. I was worried about battery life as the Nikon D3s battery would last all day on most shoots.  I had a few back up Fuji batteries with me but was not sure if I had enough. I had three for the X-T1 and two for the XPro1 and went home on day one with one full battery and plenty of life in the two of the others. On day two I went home with a full battery and very little left in any of the others. I am not one to hammer the shutter to be honest and prefer to pick my shots. One of the reasons I love the XPro1.

Indians           Fuji X-T1 60mm

The whole weekend went to plan as the light dropped the 55-200mm was no good to me as I was at the ISO limit, so changed over to the 60mm f/2.4, those few extra stops allowed the ISO to drop to a more useable level. I shoot Auto ISO at events, it gives me the flexibility and speed I need to concentrate on the subject and composition. When the lights come up I instantly get 200 ISO. I shoot both camera bodies on Auto ISO setting the base speed to 1/125sec and ISO 6400.  If I want to play around with effects I will switch back to manual or Aperture priority.

Dance          Fuji X-T1 55-200mm

In the end I am not sure why I even questioned myself. Africa Oye was a great way for me to test the Fuji system at an event and it went very well. I can’t wait for the new 50-140mm f/2.8 to come out later in the year and I might have to invest in the 56mm as the 60mm does hunt a lot more in low light that the 56mm from the reports I have had. I managed to eliminate a lot of the 60mm hunting issues by just pre focusing using the back button focus in manual mode method.

Bobble Hat             Fuji X-T1 55-200mm

 

Africa Oye was an amazing weekend with record crowds but the best bit of all I went home without shoulder ache.  Did I miss my Nikon D3s and Pro glass? No way, I am more than happy with the Fuji X-T1 and the XPro1 and the stunning Fuji glass.  I had a friend ( Rich ) shooting with his X-T1 at the same event and he was using an adaptor with his Canon glass. This is an option I did think about a while back but decided for me it defeats the object of downsizing.  When I shoot street with the Fuji XPro1 and 35mm I love the fact it gets me up close to my subject because I have had to change the way I shoot at events by changing to Fuji it’s opened my eyes to a whole new style and I love it. I still had to shoot with the 55-200mm to pick out a few subjects from the crowd and the stage but hopefully in the future Fuji will bring out a 300mm Prime and a few more primes that will be useful at events.  I can’t wait to see what Fuji bring out in the future in the way of Bodies and Lenses.

I will leave you with a couple of  shots of Finley Quaye the headline act at Africa Oye 2014.

Finley Quaye        Fuji X-T1 60mm
Finley Quaye                Fuji X-T1 60mm

 

Why Fuji ?

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I have been trying to write a blog post on the Fuji X-T1 and the 10-24mm f/4 lens for quite a while now, but every time I sit down to write it, I just think about all the other blog posts out there that are so much better than mine! I am not a technical photographer my interest in photography is for business and pleasure. I don’t spend a great amount of time looking in the menus. I read the manual and then just pick up the camera and go out and use it. I then find out how it works on a daily basis by just using it. I only use the functions I need and forget the rest, therefore I am not the best person for a technical blog. Gordon Lang is probably your man for a technical insight into the Fuji cameras and the X-T1  he will give a balanced view.

I get asked all the time why I changed from Nikon to Fuji every time I do a talk or workshop, it’s my most asked question. So I am going to try and answer that question today. First my thoughts on the X-T1 and the 10-24mm f4.

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I was so in love with the XPro1, I was not going to buy the X-T1, when the X-T1 was launched it had a tilting screen and I have always wanted a camera with a tilting screen. It has so many great uses for events and street photography. I then found out it would have a battery grip this was another great add on the XPro1 did not have and for my event work this was going to be a great help. The focus speed was also a lot quicker and the frame rate with a fast SD card was also going to help me at the events I am booked to cover for 2014.

So, to be honest, that is why I bought the X-T1 ! Now having the camera for a few months I know it was a great decision. I don’t use half of what the camera has to offer me as I have said, I am not that technical. I do love the fact all the functions I need I can get to from the outside of the camera very quickly and very easily.  This was one of the reasons I changed to Fuji in the first place. I do also love the fact I can control the camera from my i Pad and i Phone. I love this app and it’s not just a button pressing app. I have full control of focus point, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, film simulation etc all from an App ! I hear this app will be further developed in the future, I do hope they add long exposure capabilities then it will be awesome!

I have used the X-T1 for street photography and its great. I do prefer the XPro1 most of the time and the XPro1 with the 35mm or 18mm lens is my default street camera. For something a bit different the X-T1 is great fun. The i phone app makes it very interesting for those candid shots!  For events the X-T1 is my go to camera. Fuji do not make a fast event lens so I have had to adapt my style to suit the camera until the 50-140 f/2.8 is released later this year. I love the fact I can shoot all day without arm ache and I love the flexibility of the rear screen. I also love the fact I can put the camera anywhere on stage and just use the Wifi app to shoot away with full control. I can safely say I love the Fuji X-T1 for events.  Yes, I could do with a fast long prime. My event lenses in the past with Nikon were the 70-200mm f2.8 VRII and the Sigma 300mm f/2.8, I do miss both those lenses but the Fuji 60mm and 55-200mm are both great, I find myself shooting with the 35mm most of the time with an adapted style !

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The X-T1 is my D3s replacement and apart from the high ISO capability of the D3s and the battery life I have no real issues. There has been talk about the D Pad issue! I have great big fat sausage fingers and it’s not a problem for me! But I don’t spend a lot of time in the menus. I set up the camera and then go out and shoot, most of what I need when I am out and about in the way of camera functions, I can access from the camera.

I have been using the 10-24mm f/4 lens now for quite a while. It’s not a lightweight lens, it’s a great big chunk of glass and  just the best great big chunk of glass I have had in my hands for ages ! I am a prime lover first and I also love a great zoom. In the past using Nikon for over 30 years, I have always been impressed by Nikon Primes but their Zooms have been hit and miss for me. One of my favorite wide zooms when I had a crop sensor Nikon was the 10-20mm Sigma lens, this was stunning , some people said it was soft but most of the people that thought that had a filter to protect the front element and this was the problem. Once the filter was removed the Sigma 10-20mm was awesome. When I changed to full frame Nikon I had to sell my Sigma 10-24mm and buy the Nikon 14-24mm,  this lens was stunning but it had its faults. You could not use filters with it and it would flair like mad in the sun or with any direct light ! There are filter kits now available for the 14-24mm but very expensive. Well let me tell you this Fuji 10-24mm kills the Sigma 10-20mm and the Nikon 14-24mm stone dead, I am in love with this lens. I have just spent a couple of weeks in Scotland and the 10-24mm f/4 has not left my X-T1 ! Its sharp and it takes filters, what more could you ask for. There is more, it had IOS so it’s a very special lens. I am so impressed by the 10-24mm. I am very excited to see the 50-140mm f/2.8 and the 16-55mm f/2.8 due out later this year.

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So why Fuji ? Well its natural progression in a way but a massive choice. I could have gone with Sony, Olympus or even stayed with Nikon or Canon. I was looking for an alternative camera to the great big pro body D3s I was carrying around for quite a while. I had tried the D7000, I had a D200 and a D300 but they were all too big and so were the lenses. I had been looking at the Mirrorless options for a while. The cameras were all good and getting great reviews but the lenses and future lenses were not that great. Then the X100 came out ! What can I say, no sensor cleaning and the lens was awesome. The camera was quirky and at first the reviews were not great. Most people said it’s just an X10  but the X10 had a Zoom. I bought an X10 from e bay and used it for a while then sold it. I did not process many of the images for a while. I kept looking at X100 reports and they were getting better and better. So I processed the X10 iamges and made a discovery, they were very nice and great in black and white. So I got a X100 from e bay with a few batteries and a few extras and that was it, I was hooked!

I hardly used my D3s for my private work and the X100 was my go to camera, it was quirky yes but it was great. Carry anywhere, sharp and no sensor cleaning, what an amazing piece of kit. I was so impressed with it but it could not help me with my work so after a chance trip to Cambrian Photography I purchased the XPro1 with a couple of lenses. I was due to go to Venice on a trip and this was going to be a big test. I left all my Nikon gear at home and just packed the Fuji Xpro1 and 18mm 35mm and 18-55mm. This was a journey of discovery, not only did I decide to sell all my pro Nikon gear I discovered the Fuji lenses were stunning ! The 18-55mm lens was one of the best Zoom lenses I have ever used. It was quite hard to decide what lens to use each day, but that’s the best bit, you can put them all in a bag and take the lot they just don’t weigh anything. I walked around Venice for miles and miles for a week and did not get back ache or shoulder ache, I was now addicted to Mirrorless.

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On my return to the UK I decided to sell all my Nikon gear. I invested in Fuji glass and cameras. When I say invest I mean buy the best tools for the Job.  So why Fuji over the others, it was not an easy choice, I wanted the best glass, I was always told to invest in glass as the bodies will need updating every year or so but the lenses will last 10-20years ! I had a look at what all the others had to offer and there was not much of a choice to be honest. Fuji had a lens road map that made sense. The lenses I had were very well made and looked solid and worth investing in.

Not only was Fuji investing time and money in lenses but Zeiss were making glass for Fuji. That opened my eyes to the future and I wanted to know more. After a few phone calls I found out that Fuji glass and Zeiss glass were so good people were not sure what was best.

I decided to invest in Fuji before the X-T1 came out. I have no doubt Fuji will bring out an XPro2 Next year and an X-T2 and who knows they might even surprise us with a Fuji XXL Medium Format in the future. There has been a lot of talk about full frame and quirky Fuji issues and the fact Fuji don’t have a menu to suit HDR shooters. Personally I don’t care, if I wanted to shoot HDR I would shoot it in manual and expose for the areas I wanted to blend and not have 9 shots when I only needed 3 !  I left full frame to move to this amazing Fuji sensor and don’t miss full frame one bit.   I did not invest in Fuji for what they have now as such. I did invest in Fuji for the lenses they have now and the lenses on the road map. I do love the XPro1 and will never sell this camera as it’s my go to street camera.   I have made the change because I love Fuji as a company. They are listening to the Pro’s and the consumers. They are making firmware updates for all their range and they are constantly making tweaks and changes based on consumer feedback. They might not add everything people want but that is a good thing. If they did we might have a camera the size of the D3s and I would be back to square one !

The rumor sites are busy in photoshop making new cameras for Fuji and coming out with all sorts of info. One thing I think is great is that there is a rumor site and page and so many Fuji related social media sites it hard to keep up ! I think that speaks volumes !

I love mirrorless and it’s a natural progression. Great big wooden plate camera and then 35mm film and 120mm film etc then the Digital DSLR and now the ever growing range of mirrorless bodies and lenses.

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I am quite sure there will be a battle of the mirrorless cameras over the next few years but the X100 was a game changer. Let’s face it Nikon brought out the Df to try and make a Retro camera because of the X100 and XPro1. They were trying to make a Nikon Fm2, I still have a Fm2 and shoot with it to this day. The closest camera I have to the Fm2 in modern times is the X-T1.

We all have choice and I decided Fuji was the way forward for me. Do they have the perfect camera for me for everything I shoot ? No, but they have 90% of the lenses I need and by the end of this year I hope to have the other 10%. They do have the XPro1 my go to street camera, they do have the X-T1 my all round amazing Fm2 replacement and in the future they will bring out even more stunning lenses and camera bodies and that excites me.

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It’s not the camera that takes the picture it’s the photographer. I have chosen a camera brand that excites me not just today but I am excited about the lens roadmap and the future bodies. I have been called a fanboy, it’s true in a way but after 30 plus years of Nikon I wanted a brand and camera that would inspire me to take photographs and not just inspire me but infuse me with passion. Fuji staff are passionate about their brand and passionate about the future of their lenses and cameras. I know for a fact some of the other brands are very jealous of Fuji and so they should be. I believe Fuji are shaking this industry up, they are making a camera for photographers to use and control, not just a camera that anyone can use. This statement might confuse some people, of course any one can pick up an XPro1 or any other Fuji and shoot with it, but by putting all the controls on the outside it  gives the Photographer back control of the camera. Allowing the Photographer to control the camera and not the camera control the Photographer!

One life, Capture it !