2017 has been my year of Colour project and it’s not over yet !
It finishes on the 31st of December and I cant wait, I have only taken a hand full of black and white images and they were taken over the last month or so. I feel like a sprinter stuck in the starting blocks for 9 months ! I think in a way it’s a good thing as I am bursting with black and white creativity I want to get out of my system.
As for colour ! I never really have liked colour and on my recent trip to Scotland I had some time stuck in my camper on the really bad weather days to reflect on the Year of Colour project so far. I started the year hating colour and I will be ending the year really hating color ! I was hoping to come out of this year with a colour style as well as more understanding of colour. I do have a better understanding but the colour style is a sticking point.
I understand that every day light is diferent and even the weather the light and the time of day has a bearing on the scene, so shooting on Auto colour balance will give you a neutral look but it won’t give you the consistency within the dynamic range.
I am a very lazy editor and only want to spend 3-6 min per image in Lightroom or Snapseed and one thing I know I should like but don’t is presets ! I don’t understand why I don’t like them I just don’t and I think the only way I could get colour consistency and style would be to start making presents. The downside to presets for me is the fact I use quite a few diferent camera bodies with different sensors so I would have to make a preset for each sensor and I really get fed up when the preset makes all the wrong changes and I then have to spend longer fixing the issue. So I don’t use presents and I don’t think I want to !
My black and white work for the last 10 years has all been without a single preset and just processed by eye, it’s all very consistent and apart from the blacks getting deeper with the mood of the scene or my mood they just seem to work !
I am not sure I will pursue colour in to 2018 but if I do I think I need to start to learn Colour Grading for Style ! The downside to this is every film ever made is colour graded for that style of film ! So for me to colour grade and try and find a unique colour style is a pain in the arse ! It used to be so much easier with Film !
You might have noticed there were quite a few rainbows in Scotland this month !
I have just sold quite a few cameras and lenses and started to reduce my Fujifilm kit to make way for possibly the GFX50s but am still deciding. However I have now brought an XT20 and sold my X-T2. The X-T2 was great but I just do not need it anymore because I am stopping shooting events. The X100F and the X-T20 and the XPro2 work so well together and do have more consistency as they all have the same sensor so I might look in to Colour Style over the next three months and give you more details at the end of the project. I know this combination of cameras works so who knows.
I do feel at the moment I will be returning to Black and White next year, but we shall see.
Is it day 3 already !
I decided to take the GFX in to town (Liverpool) with me for a little walk around, again no tripod and the 32-64mm Zoom, just wanted another day with a camera over my shoulder and no bag.
I decided to shoot for Colour today following on from yesterdays black and white work, just to make a change and make me look for more interesting shots involving interesting colours.
I first went in to Bold Street Coffee my favorite coffee shop in Liverpool, I love this place the coffee is amazing and so is the fruit toast. Its not the largest place but you can always get a seat, I have never waited more than a few minutes. Great place to sit and think before you walk round the city. There is always an Exhibition on in the cafe this time it was painted skateboards.
I then walked down Bold St to Resurrection and noticed the have a new Cafe and Barbers upstairs. I took the shot more as a reference shot to remind me to come back when the upstairs window is more interesting. Whilst I waited for the foot fall to drop to get a decent balance I noticed the guys both in their phones at each end. I can’t get over the detail this camera shows even in web sized images. When zooming in on my Mac I am blown away. So much so that I am going to have to buy one !!! Yes its only day three and I am totally bitten by the GFX bug.
I did say there I can’t see a place in my workflow for this camera when it first came out because I have up my pair of Nikon D3s Bodies to go small ! I have decided I am going to keep my XPro2 and my X100F with the set of f/2 primes and sell the rest of my kit to fund the GFX ! This is not just a Game Changer it’s a Rule Breaker ! It should not be this easy to use a Medium Format camera in the Streets ! I have some new plans for the next few years I want to start shooting more Street for myself for personal projects and always want to Explore Cityscapes and Landscapes with simple editing in Lightroom with no PS work. This is the camera to give me my passion and creativity back in that direction due to the amazing detail.
I do love a good Pret ! I shot this image because of the poster and the guy’s arm pointing at the girl giving a lead into the shot. We get too close sometimes in Street photography and miss all the great Street Scenes. If you look at the crop below you will see what drew me in to the scene.
I finished my walk around the city just looking for interesting colours and scenes that interested me and started to shoot them. The GFX itself was not even a concern. But not having it in a bag in some areas I walked through did make me think this is 8K around my neck. Not a real problem and in Liverpool as it always been a very safe city. But there are some places in the UK I would feel uneasy. Will it stop me buying one no. It just means I will need a new bag !
I am off to Wales tomorow so days 4,5,6 will be online by Sunday night, and next week I am shooting a Video so my posts might be a bit slow. But I will aim to put a GFX post on every day until the Hire is over and I have send it back and start sulking.
In the images below the detail in the lady’s hair is stunning !
As quite a few people know I am changing the format of my workshops in 2018 so if anyone wants to take part in the present format, please choose one of my Street Photography Workshops from the list below.
This is the format for 2017.
The workshops will encourage debate about Street Photography and help the participants to be more critical about their work.
The workshops are suitable for professional and amateur photographers of all levels. We ask you to familiarise yourself with using your camera and learn how to change settings quickly before attending the day, this will enable you to enjoy the experience fully.
The day will start at 10.30am and conclude at 16.30pm with a break for lunch and plenty of comfort breaks throughout the day, most of the day will be out on the streets. There is a lot of walking during the day and the event may take place in inclement weather so come prepared.
You will spend the day with myself exploring the streets picking up tricks and tips on my style of Street Photography throughout the day. My Street photography workshops and courses are fun, informative and relaxed. They are both challenging and highly enjoyable and designed to stretch your imagination.
I uses the Fuji X100F and XPro2 with a 35mm or 16mm Prime lens.
You can bring any DSLR or mirrorless camera on this course; fixed lens compacts are also welcome. If you are wondering what lenses to bring 50mm is ideal for full frame and 35mm film uses. APSC size sensors 35mm is ideal or lenses around the normal focal length.
The day normally starts at 10.30am with a coffee introductions and a discussion about the day. We will touch on the ethics and law and how to deal with challenges in this area.
Next we will discuss camera set up for the day and the best set up for street photography with a practical demonstration of street camera technique.
Matt will cover what Street Photography is, and show you some of his favourite Street Photographers images. He will also show you the best way to approach his style of Street photography.
We normally spend around two hours covering these subjects then around 12.30am we head straight out on to the streets where you can watch the way Matt works and try out some of the tips and tricks that he shares with you.
We break for lunch around 1.30pm where we can find a quiet place for a snack to discuss the mornings work and share our experiences.
We then go back out on the streets to practice your new street techniques and try and find your street rhythm and look for some interesting characters or great light!
We stay out shooting until about 4pm, we then find a quiet place to sit as a group to discuss the day and this will include lessons learnt. Matt will share his processing techniques and preferred software. Matt will give you his views on Critique and show you how to review your own work.
I know the majority of you guys that read my blogs and attend my workshops are Fujifilm users but for all you that have other brands of camera please feel free to book on any of these workshops as all camera brands are more than welcome.
Here are the available dates left this year, please click on the dates for availability:
These will be the last Street Photography Workshops in this format at this price.
I have some interesting ideas for Locations and Styles of Workshops for next year, these workshops will be a little more complex so require a lot more planning.
I will advertise the 2018 Workshops around about October time.
I will be leading the Fujiholics Photowalks in London, Edinburgh and Bristol this year so make sure you sign up before all the places are gone. We have over 350 people signed up for London already.
Hope to see some of you on a Free Walk or Workshop and if you are a Fujifilm shooter then our new Facebook group might be for you here.
Here we are four months in to my Year of Colour and I am struggling !
I always thought it would be hard thats why I chose to take it on as a project, but this has been so much harder than I thought but mainly because I have been so busy. I have hardly been able to get out and shoot any personal work so have just had to grab a few shots on my workshops and walks.
I have found out as expected colour is complicated! I have always realised that and found it very difficult to match the colour to my mood and style. I think it was a lot easier back in the film days you chose a film for your style or job and just went out and created. Well I did, because I chose colour transparency film so did not have much say in the initial process. I guess that’s another reason I went black and white in the early days.
With digital you have so many choices from camera to software it’s just a minefield but I think I made a small breakthrough yesterday on a workshop.
I started off this project with the XPro2 and the X100F as my main cameras and now I have decided to just use the X100F for the rest of the project as best I can.
I have been going between RAW and Jpeg and then changing my mind again but now I have decided to shoot Jpeg and Raw and start playing around with the Jpeg settings in camera on the X100F. This way hopefully I will have a few choices at the editing stage, I have struggled to get a Jpeg image to look how I want it to look and prefer RAW with a very simple Lightroom conversion but I still feel I am missing a trick with Jpegs.
So it’s time to start experimenting. I can’t do that chopping and changing between cameras, the X100F is going to get some serious use this year.
Consistency without pre sets is going to be my main bug bear as I have an amazing black and white workflow that just works. With colour it’s more dependent on the quality of light on the day and the colour temperature of the light so that has become a big issue for me. I have been falling out with colour in a big way over the last couple of months so much so that I was starting to hate it.
But then I shot the image above and started to look at colour in a whole new way. I realised I was thinking in terms of Digital and not Film and the closer I could get to the film or Cine look the better. I think colour trends change and people do like saturated mad colours but I dont think thats me. I have always liked the way RAW files looked except they are flat and lifeless but with a few tweaks they come alive.
So I need to explore if I can get the same feel in camera with Jpegs, I am not holding up much hope but by shooting Jpeg and Raw I have kept my options open.
Thank you Fujifim for Film Simulations, I am going to play with these over the next couple of months and see what happens. If it drives me nuts I have the RAW files to fall back on.
This image changed it yesterday. The colour of the shop front and the guys shirt were a close match so I wanted to capture this in RAW and make some simple changes to get the image to look how I wanted in Lightroom. I then set about getting the camera set up to look like this on the rear screen or as close as I could get it.
I then did the same with this image, it’s just a crazy experiment trying to edit a shot before you take it in camera but thought I would give it a go.
My dream is to not need to use Lightroom to edit so it’s about time I started playing around to achieve the end goal !
Way back in 2013 my project was A Year of Black and White and this was to explore my digital black and white photography in many ways and to see what I could learn in a year. I mainly wanted to learn how to process black and white files and try to find a style that would suit me. It was a great success but as time goes by and we get older our tastes change.
I did not think in 2017 I would be doing a year of colour ! I have been thinking about it for a while now and I have decided it’s time to give it a go. If I am asked to produce Black and White images for clients then I will do but the rest of my work will be shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom and possibly Viveza but we shall have to see how that progresses.
I would love to be able to just use Fujifilm Jpegs but I am not sure they can give me the starting point I need for a simple workflow.
I could never have done this project with Nikon as the RAW files were such a pain for me to process and to find consistency with. I have noticed however the Fujifilm RAF files are almost where I need them to be be to create a colour style. I could be mistaken but this is what 2017 will all be about.
So on the 1st of January 2017 I will start the project and it will finish on the 31st of December 2017, I have not quite decided where I am going to start putting the images apart from social media as I hate mixing black and white and colour so I need to think about this over the next couple of weeks.
I hope to come out of 2017 with a more consistent colour workflow and a more interesting colour style. I also want to explore Colour Street photography through my own eyes.
Black and White Street photography has always been an amazing storytelling medium and I have always found colour quite annoying, but as I get older its growing on me.
My colour work has always been a bit abstract and a little loud and I have toned that down for people but that means I have fallen into the trap of pleasing the viewer and not myself. Its now time to change all that and work out what works for me.
I am quite looking forward to it and in a way it’s quite exciting and as with my Year of Black and White I will have the RAW files in 2018 if I need to process any images into black and white.
One of my favorite Street Photographers is Saul Leiter and I know his style has inspired me so now I need to explore colour for myself and see where it takes me.
I have been asked on many occasions to help someone pick an image as their best image. I still find this very frustrating to say the least however it’s worse when someone asks me to give my views on their image, they tend to get very defensive !
I do offer critique but I have never asked for it and I never will. My personal journey is just that, mine. I only ever give critique by email if asked and never in open social media.
Apart from working with clients I always make my own decisions good or bad and stand by those choices because my images are mine. It’s great to be able to self critique and I know it takes quite a while to become comfortable with doing this but by working it out for yourself it’s very refreshing when it all starts to make sense. It will take a lot longer to make sense if you always ask other people, it’s like starting a new job after a while you just get on with it and learn as you go, if you are still asking questions a year later there must be a problem!
I shot landscapes for a long time before I realised that my horizons were not straight! From about 10 to 14 years old I had some horrendous landscapes but every one told me I was a great photographer ! The day I worked it out for myself I started to look deeper into my own work and study some of the past Masters, not to copy them but to learn about composition and try to work out what else I was doing wrong. I see it still to this day on facebook, someone will post an image with an horizon that is obviously not straight and 45 people click like and say WOW! Whilst photography is your own personal journey, those comments are not helpful.
People go out and shoot 400 images on a day out, then go home and post 375 on Facebook or flickr because they can’t decide what images are the best or because they like them all. The best way to decide what are the best image from your day out is to make a book of your day out with 20 images you soon will start to see how unimportant 15 shots of the same tree are or 30 shots of your dog.
So what is this blog post about ?
Well it’s going to be very subjective, my choice, my journey. Lots of people will disagree with me and that’s great, it would be a boring world if everyone agreed.
I will not be getting into a debate with anyone once this is posted I just don’t have the time and life is too short but I will give you a quick look into how I think, when out on the street and how I choose an image from a sequence. I delete all images I don’t use so I had to go out and shoot these images so I could show you how I work. The images in this sequence were shot on a Fujifilm X-T10 with 35mm f/1.4 and shot at RAW files, I shoot single shot and not continuous.
I was shooting in London and found these two guys on a bench and quite liked the interaction and started to work the scene, for me these two were interesting but I needed more, the guy on the phone was added interest.
So I stepped back and started to wait but did not take my eye off the two guys or the benches. I did notice the yellow flowers and the empty benches. As a girl walked past from the right I noticed a girl coming into the frame from the left with orange hair that went quite well with the flowers.
As the girl came into the frame a guy who was not with her sat down on the bench and admired the girl as she started to put her jacket on. I liked the shapes she was making with the jacket. The scene was now starting to build and lots of elements were coming into place for me with my new interest in colour. I was so pleased she had walked into the frame adding more of a story and more subjects to make a much more interesting scene.
I liked the guy under the Cheapside sign but the guy with the bike helmet came into the frame and the woman in the white jacket far left was distracting me, so I made one more exposure by moving the camera to the right and waiting for the guy to be behind the girl, a personal choice based on the fact he was distracting from the guy looking at the girl.
At this point I was sure that this frame frame was the one I wanted to use but would leave them all on my memory card until I got home to make my final choice.
It’s bad practice to delete from your card as this creates gaps in the data and when the card fills up this can cause card corruption, as well as accidental deletions.
I had waited for the scene to build and let the subjects all take up their positions in the shot, all the time I was standing only feet away just watching the expressions. The girl picked up her bag and walked off after this shot and the guy at the end looked down at his phone.
I could have stood here for hours just shooting these benches and the people that came and went all day.
My normal method of selecting and editing my work is harsh and involves the deletion of all the images I don’t use. Its worked for me all my life and I am happy with it. The main reason I do this is to force me to go out and shoot and look for new images every day. I can’t sit indoors in the winter and look through my hard drive for images that could have been, I have to go out and look for that image that amazing image that is out there somewhere.
So when I got home from my trip to London I quickly chose the main image in this set and the only reason the others are still around is this blog post. The only edited image is the main image and last image the rest are RAW files.
I am not a prolific shooter but I do work a scene just like this when I find some interesting subjects.
I was in London for three days and shot about 100 images a day and in my London file now sits 35 images, but 10 have been kept for using like this on my workshops. So I have have 25 keepers but out of the 25 keepers I only have 4 I like and nothing I would call great or amazing, that one is still out there.
This is just a little insight into how I work and to help you guys that email me and message me on facebook about how I work that don’t get a chance to come on my workshops.
I do manage to get some quite good single shots but most of the images I have I like have been part of a sequence where I have allowed the scene to build whilst shooting and observing.
I used to wait weeks to develop my film and still do but once developed I follow the same route, if I ever get stuck in a sequence I will print my images out and put them on my wall until one jumps out at me, but most of the time when I do that I just delete the lot !
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.