Fuji

You don’t need to know what Camera Settings were used !!

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I don’t know where to start with this but after leaving a Facebook Group yesterday  because the admin were demanding that every post had the camera settings I was left shocked !

They also wanted to know what Lee filter was used !

I did make a comment before I left but I think it was lost in Translation ! The guy was insisting it was not about the light !

I fully understand they most people that are learning to use there camera think they need to know other people’s camera settings and for some reason some Pro’s and some trainers encourage this, and so do lots of groups !

I remember when I was younger I even fell for this myself until I realised it’s all irrelevant!

We are convinced by other people the way to learn is to read up on camera settings so much so we get obsessed with Exiff data !

We then think if we had that camera and that lens that guy uses so we could take photos like him or her  !

The brands have taken this to the next level and love all their Ambassadors to share this info.

The Photographer might as well share what they had for breakfast and how they were dressed for all the good it will do us.

If you were to take three photos with the exact same setup at three different times of day using a Photographers setting you would get three different sets of results.

We don’t know what the light was like at the time, what software was used, how it was processed or what effect the Photographer was going for.

When I used to teach Street Photography the most common question I ever got asked  was “can you set my camera up for me ?” or “what are your camera settings for Street ?”

When I try and explain that’s not how it works I get the look ! I can hear the cogs ticking ! “He does not want to tell us his secrets !”  “He does not want us to be better than him !”

When the truth is I Format my memory card before I go out and shoot in RAW and have my Cameras set on Manual if I am in a Studio and Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority out on the Street and probably Auto ISO ! If I am shooting Landscape it will be Manual with the lowest ISO probably.

Wherever we stand on this planet whatever country we are in, at any given time of day the light and conditions are different and also the effect we want in our camera also comes in to play.

We have to learn to Master the Exposure Triangle there and then and it’s only by going out day after day for years and years can we work out what works for us.

Yes of course you can use the Sunny 16 rule on a Sunny day but that just gets you a shot !

What if you want people with motion blur or want narrow depth of field or you even want to make people disappear from the scene ! What if you want movement in the clouds or silky water !

What if in a Studio you want High Key or Low key ?

Stop obsessing over bloody camera settings and get out and practice ! The more time you spend with a camera in your hand the more you learn.

Photography is about so much more than Exiff Data it’s about Light,Composition, Moment, Amazing Subject and Emotional impact. It’s about you the Photographer and what your vision is. Not what settings Linda Wisdom uses !

You won’t learn this stuff in a week or a month it’s a lifetime of learning !

If you are in a Facebook group that insists on Exiff Data leave the group, go outside and take some photos it will be the best thing you have done for your photography all week.

There is no shortcut trust me, get out with your camera every day or as much as you can and practice practise practise, learn by your mistakes and trial and error. That way you learn a lot faster.

You can read as many books as you want, do as many courses as you want they just give you inspiration. It’s down to you and you alone to teach yourself the Exposure Triangle  and learn to speed up that process by daily practise. 

Jane always says to me she does not want to learn photography because there is too much to remember ! So very true but with practice it becomes second nature. You can just dial it in and shoot.  You don’t become an expert at anything if you sit on your arse and wait for it to come to you, hard work and commitment is the name of the game.

Searching YouTube for those bits of info on camera setting for hours and hours won’t make you a better photographer it just makes you a couch potato !

So get up go out and get practicing ..

Good Luck

Choosing a lens and why Facebook can’t help !

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Where do I start !

I used to own a Motorcycle Business in Kent and I lost count of the stupid questions I got as a retailer every day.

I used to tell my staff every day, today will be a good day but within a short period of time that was all over.

Stupid questions ! all day long…

Customer : Can I have a bulb for my bike ?  Sales Assistant : What bike is it ? C: A red one

Customer: I need a spark plug for my Bike. SA: what bike is it C: Honda SA: What model  C: I don’t know !!! SA: is it here ? C: Yes SA: goes outside and looks at the Suzuki and sigh’s !

This was so common it was painful. But now social media gives more room for Stupid Questions but not just stupid questions but a million unqualified stupid answers.

I used to teach my staff TMA To Much Information, facebook comes unfiltered and is just a joke. Now we all ask stupid questions sometimes and there should be no such thing as a stupid question, but there is  ! This is made worse by a 10000 stupid answers !

A lot of the time it’s about education and the person wanting a bulb for his bike should have said ” Hi can I have an indicator bulb for a Honda CBR400R on a H Reg please” but he did not know there are probably 1000bulbs to choose from.   I won’t go in to how complicated it is to find a Spark Plug for a bike when someone doesn’t even know what make it is.

These days people ask such random questions like “what is the Fujifilm 80mm lens like ?”

Sounds like a simple question and does not even sound stupid !

But what we need to know is more information Like….

What camera is it going on ?

How many times a year are you going to shoot Macro ?

What’s your budget ?

The list is endless….

This sounds like I am just being a knob but look at is this way.

If I was to ask on Facebook what is the best toaster for me I would get about 500 replies but they don’t know what the application is do they ?

Am I single and just need a 2 slice ? Am I single and a greedy git and need a 4 slice ? Have I got a family of 6 and need an 8 Slice or do I want it for my B&B and need an industrial Toaster if I don’t give the right information in the question I will get 500 wrong answers.

I know  asking what is the Fujifilm 80mm Lens like looks specific but its not, the guy who asked the Question owns a Fujifilm X Pro1. Nothing wrong with that it’s a great camera and if he was going to use the 80mm on Manual then he would get some great if he likes a great big heavy lens that costs over a grand. He will also have to  shoot on Manual because the focus system on the camera is not up the XT3s standard so spending that a amount of money on a lens would  be pointless. He would be better of with a set of Extension tubes or reversing rings and so many other options.

You see a better question would have been ” what are the best Macro Options for my XPro1 ? This in the right group on facebook would have been more helpful.

I really do think Facebook However is not the place to ask or answer to these questions, I  really do think advice in the right Bricks and Mortar shop is far better. Facebook and Twitter etc are no place for Expert advice they are just quick and easy but they just make the water twice and muddy ! When I say the right shop, I mean shops with Photographers in, not just shops with Sales people in, as they will look at you like you have two heads if they can’t just bounce there sales patter off you !

The Fujifilm 80mm Macro is a fantastic lens and the images on with this blog were all shot on the Fujifilm XT3 and the 80 mm Macro, but it really does depend on what lens this lens is going on and how its going to be used.

The purpose of this blog was not to help you choose a lens because you need to do that for yourselves the same way you choose a Toaster of a TV or a Bed, go in a shop and pick the lenses up and try them. You really will get a good idea in a shop and if you are still not sure ask the shop if they hire the lens for a few days or try Hire A Camera.

If you have a Friend that lives close that has that lens and they are a good friend then ask them if you can give their lens a try, you never know your luck ( but be prepared to buy your friend a new one if you lose it or break it )

I tend to buy lenses based on my needs and reviews on youtube or blogs by trusted people like Cameralabs but I do my research ! I ask my friends that have used the product and I only ask people I know will tell me the truth and I make sure I let them have all the information they need to give me an informed answer.

I would never ask 3000 people on facebook what they think ! I don’t need a baker with no camera experience telling me how good or bad an XT3 is although he might be able to help me with my my bread for my Toaster !

YouTube

 

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Out Out !

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It’s been a difficult year so far, apart from a couple of days work at Peoples Ford Liverpool I have hardly been out with a camera and this bank holiday weekend was the first real chance to be out with my camera this year. I thank my good friends Rich and Elaine for the opportunity to get out and get some fresh air.

Not going in to many details but waiting for my Gallbladder to be removed and daily pain has taken its toll. Not only am I now in daily pain but every now and again when a stone decides to move in to a bile duct I have around 15 hours of intense pain and this can be at any time of day or night at at the most random and annoying times. Lucky for me I had a weekend with minimal issues and was able to get out with my camera, even thought I probably drove my friends mad moaning about my Health !

I have driven past the Marble Church for about 10 years and about 5 years ago I decided I would like to try and photography it. However it’s one of those places on a journey so you very rarely can be bothered to stop. I had a vision in my head of what I would like but as soon as we got there it started to rain. Great for cloud formation but a pain in the arse for rain on the lens !!  I also had a vision of what I wanted to shoot and to be honest the first walk around the Church I realized I was to close and needed to be further away I also had to deal with too much distortion up close and did not have a tilt shift lens.

After taking a few reference shots I decided to move back towards the road where I had seen this Church from and the closer I got to the road the vision I have had for so long started to fall in to place. The rain stopped and a little light hit the church and lit up the graveyard. So I quickly framed the church between the bushes  and grabbed a couple of frames. I was using one of my Fujifilm XT3 bodies and the amazing 10-24mm lens, I normally use this camera just for commercial work and only ever take out my X100F on most trips but decided I wanted something a little wider today and this used to be my default Landscape Lens.

I am quite happy with the shot and I guess it just goes to show all good things come to those that wait ! I think if I had stopped and tried to shoot this Church 5 years ago it would not have been the same !

After the Church we went to the woods, the weather forecast was supposed to be over cast all day but over the last few years I think these little showers have been quite hard to predict so the cover of the tree canopy in the woods was a good choice.

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I think you can tell my mood from my images and I have always noticed this. It’s been a crazy year this year and at times as now, my mood has been quite dark. The irony of going to the woods to shoot bluebells was not lost on me being a black and white shooter  ! I just loved this path and the darkness of the woods so wanted to capture the way the woods made me feel at the time and I think this image did just that.

The next image says a lot to me, I fell out of love with Landscape images because for me there was always something missing ! Without a human element or something living I found it quite hard to connect with some scenes. When I was composing this shot I loved the way the light was hitting the ferns in the foreground and lighting up the bluebells but really did struggle with the empty space on the left ! It was at that point Jake walked in to the scene a couple of frames later I had an image I was happy with.

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I had almost fallen out with Photography this year, but it’s surprising how a day out with great company and some fresh air can bring back the urge to make and create images again… I need to go OUT OUT more often !!!

You can find these images on my Instagram account @matt6t6

 

Colour ! Its a Van Thing !

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Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

As  most of you know I am a 99% black and white Photographer it’s always been my preference. I have never really liked Colour as I have always found it distracting and a very hard medium to grasp and as for trying to tell a story out on the street !

I also struggled with Colour in the early days of digital as the slightest noise really did mess with the colours on most DSLRs.

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Fujifilm XT3 16-55mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

These days nearly the only time I shoot colour is for Client work and I really do forget just how amazing the modern Fujifilm Cameras are with such great Colours.

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Fujifilm XT3 16-55mm mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

I have been shooting Vans and Trucks a while now and just love working with Peoples Ford Van Centre Liverpool. The team there are amazing and they have some amazing return customers who just love their Vans. I also have a Camper Van based on the Ford Transit Custom and built by Wellhouse so I am in love with the backbone of the UK.

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Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

Ford have been producing some amazing colours over the last few years as well as some stunning Vans. It’s through my involvement  with Peoples Ford that I have started to love shooting Vans in Colour ! I am not sure how long my love of Colour will last !!!

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Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad

I guess it all depends on what Ford have up their sleeves !

One thing’s for sure I love the creative freedom I get working with these guys and I can’t wait to share with you all some of the images I have planned for the Future !

Until then here are a couple from this week’s shoot.

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My top 3 Cameras from 2018

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I have been a bit slow on my blog this year because I have been focusing on YouTube but I thought I would answer my most asked question.

What are your top three Cameras  ?

I always get asked what cameras I use and prefer or recommend  and its always difficult to answer that question without knowing what someone will use a camera for, after all they are just tools to do a job and all tools have a different purpose.

But my top two for Street Photography are the Fujifilm X100F and the Fujifilm XPRo2 and that will depend on weather you want a fixed 23mm lens like on the X100F of want to be able to change lenses like on the XPro2. These are my hands down best best two Street Cameras.

My other camera choice is the amazing little Canon G7X Mark II as this is an all round amazing little camera for carrying everywhere I go and is not just a great back up stills camera but an amazing vlogging camera. It’s become my pocket camera next to my iphone7plus for 2018 and I hear a rumor there is a G7X Mark III I really hope there is and can’t wait to try one out when Canon release it.

I aim to shoot my 2019 project on the amazing Fujifilm X100F and cant wait to get stuck in to in in January and will be sure to blog about it and Vlogg about it as soon as I get started.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you all.

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Projects 2019

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I’m a bit late thinking about my 2019 project and I have not even finished my 2018 Project !

Not that I have to finish it on the 31st January this year as I have given myself and the group that are all doing the Home project extra time as we have to have the images ready for an Exhibition in Hull next October at the Hull International Photography Festival the first weekend in October 2019.  My Home Project is The Plot and is all about Janes second home her Allotment.

I can just share one image with you from my Plot project and its the one below.

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Fujifilm GFX 50S 

Part of my projects process it to work out what I would get the most out of that would also push me and take me in a new direction but because I have a few other project on the go I am probably going to be quite reserved next year, because I want to concentrate on YouTube in the first couple of months and i have a house to finish my time will be limited for a while.

I did however start thinking about my 2019 projects when I shot this image in Edinburgh a couple of months back ! It was pouring with rain and as I stood there with my X100F grabbing some frames of wet people running for the train I started to get a few ideas flooding in but most of them would be to much work.

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Fujifilm X100F

I am already working on two projects that are long term and one is Where is Jane and the image below is from that very long term project and is all about finding Jane. She is on the Path to the left if you are struggling

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A big part of my thought process for projects is taking photos and see if they would work as a body of work or how difficult the project would be to shoot and how long it would take ! I guess these thought go through my head all the time.

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Fujifilm X100F

Ideas like the image above come and go and eventually just like when you smell freshly made coffee one such idea will excite me and it starts me on my new Project Journey.

Next year I am going to take you on that Journey with me on my Youtube Channel.

 

Youtube Here We Come

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Canon G7X Mark II

Is it nearly December already !!

Where did 2018 go !

I have now reached semi retirement and it feels very strange, yes last month I was 55 and as planned I am going to slow things down and move on over to YouTube.

I have slowly been making videos, just dipping my toe in the water learning as much as I can by watching YouTube videos and talking to some of the rising YouTube stars about what they think my USP is ! They say its my age and experience so I aim to use that to my advantage in 2019.

One thing I do find about YouTube is that you can’t learn as fast as you can when you are doing a practical lesson. You also can’t ask questions when you want and I don’t think we retain the knowledge as well when we just watch a screen !  So I am going to do about four workshops a year to build my own personal education and I am going to still teach a few a year as well as get out and about as much as I can on photo walks and meet ups.

My next workshop is in Liverpool and there are only a few places left. Its my very popular Learning to See Workshop.

One thing is for sure I am getting sick to death of Facebook and I know quite a few people who are but like me we just hang on in there because of the groups and our business pages ! I do wonder why at times I really do !

Now SmugMug own Flickr I really do hope they bring the photography community together on Flickr again because Facebook is not the place of it, it’s so full of Trolls and Keyboard Experts !

I have been told people like my RANTS ! Not sure why but if that’s the case then I will bring a few Rants to YouTube but I really want to focus on inspiring people to take their photography to the next level and hope to inspire the next generation once I can workout a strategy to do so.

Before I can get to the really good stuff I need to get my viewing hours up to 4000 hours and maintain that over a year.

I am going to start 2019 with all the normal YouTube stuff you would expect like unboxing videos, product tests and some tips and tricks. I will then move on in to 2019 with Interviews and long form videos that can be watched as videos or listened to driving in your car like podcasts. These really long interviews will be at least an hour long or longer. I don’t really want to get in to Podcasts as I find them a little disconnected at times but who knows ! I think I will try the video route first.

I really do want to just get out every day and take photos and have lots of ideas for projects and a few workshops this year and hope to share all my ideas and processes with you on YouTube so make sure you tune in to my YouTube channel and click subscribe and hit the bell for all the great photography related videos in 2019  see you all on the other side !

Check out my X100F set up video here.

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Canon G7X Mark II