Well day 10 did not turn out as expected due to far too many phone calls first thing this morning followed by a few to many important emails. So the Liverpool Street plan was scrapped hopefully I can get out on Monday and Tuesday and try again.
I instead decided to go to Speke Hall and take my tripod for some long exposures if the weather held out. Unfortunately as soon as I got there the sun came out and the clouds started to clear so I only managed one LE shot and that is the black and white image below. Its also the School holidays and I had forgotten about that so the place was packed. Great for LE as you can just make the people disappear. I did manage to grab a few shots with no people as well.
I have work commitments for the next three days so wont be able to use the GFX again until Monday and Tuesday so will have to write up days 11 and 12 then, after that the GFX has to go back to Hire A Camera !
I only managed one LE shot but was blown away with the dynamic range of the GFX I did one practise LE shot and underexposed by about 3 minutes. When I moved the exposure slider in Lightroom I found I could rescue the image. I then moved the slider to + and – 5 stops and was blown away but the fact the image could go to both extremes without loss of detail ! This camera is truly quite amazing.
I used to dream as a lad of being a photographer and always wanted to have a great big medium format camera for Landscape and Portraiture. I have owned some MF film cameras but only Hired MF digital cameras due to cost. I think now that Fujifilm have brought MF into the realms of high end DSLRs it’s time for me to fullfill a little boys dream and look at purchasing a MF camera for myself. Once you have used the GFX it really does put all other cameras to shame. Low Noise High Iso Capability combined with super sharp images with a depth and feel you can only get from MF is just the start of this love affair with MF and the GFX. The tones out of the camera are just stunning and the handling is just so intuitive. The touch screen is so clever I found out today that when viewing a scene on the rear LCD if you swipe down you get a heads up aircraft style display to help you get the camera level on all axis.
I did not manage to get many images from today but here are a few, all images shot on 32-64m lens.
GFX days 4,5,6 are all a bit of a blur, it was such a great weekend with great friends and went far to fast.
It was Fujiholics Wales Weekend. This year a small group of Fujiholics met up in Beddgelert for the weekend with no real plan. Well there was a plan, take a few photos drink some beer have a few coffees and some cake ! Share some stories and catch up with friends old and new.
We all met up on Cae Du Campsite on Friday night and had a few beers and discussed the plan for Saturday ! This was a complete waste of time as we changed our minds in the morning. We decided to take the Steam Train from Beddgelert to Porthmadog on the Welsh Highland Railway. The original plan was to do a Circular Walk.
It was a fantastic little journey and Jane was just a little bit excited ! She even got to drive a Steam Train at Porthmadog station with some of the girls in the group.
We went in to an amazing cafe called Jennys for breakfast in Porthmadog, they had some of the best home cooked cakes we had seen for quite a while ! The Lemon meringue pies were to dies for and we brought two for the journey home !!
We had a great journey back and ate most of the lemon meringue and finished the evening off in the village in Saracens Head with a very nice meal and a few pints.
We all made our own way home on Sunday as North Wales was quite busy and there were not to many places to park for a Fujiholics tour…
I shot all the images from the weekend on the GFX in a variety of lighting conditions and processed the black and white images with Silver Efex Pro and the colour images are all just a very quick lightroom edit.
I carried the GFX around all weekend and I have to say it was not as heavy as I expected but its still on the heavy side. You know you have it round your neck after a days walking thats for sure. The point is though does it matter ? The answer is yes and no ! Its heavy and if it was a DSLR there would be no point in the extra weight when you have the X-T2 or XPro2 but this thing is so good you dont care ! I again only went out with the 32-64mm lens just to save carrying the other lenses with me and found it just perfect a very versatile lens indeed.
I am shooting a film in the morning and will be taking the GFX and might try one of primes just to change things up abit.
I will try and get you some images online tomorow night when we finish shooting the video but if I get in late I will skip it until Wednesday night.
So far I am loving the GFX and so much so I have just hired it again for another project in November. I have hired a some diferent lenses for November so will be able to show you the a few images shot on those then. I still have to use the 63mm and the and the 120mm and hope to do that this week at some point.
I cant wait to get up to Scotland to shoot some Landscape with this amazing bit of kit.
One thing is for sure I will be sad to see the GFX go back at the end of the hire its got to be the best camera I have ever used in my life and the files are just so easy to edit ! They are a breeze in Lightroom, I am for the first time just starting to fall a little in love with Colour !!! Yes on my year of colour I am starting to work out what I like about colour and thats all down to the GFX.
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 !
I am going to update my blog as much as I can over the next few weeks with some images and words about my time with the GFX50s this is day 2.
Today I had a quick drive into town to try out the GFX in the Liverpool Cathedral one of my favorite places to test any new camera for low light and detail. I did not take a tripod on purpose as I wanted to see what I could capture hand held. I can honestly say that I am shocked at the level of detail from this little medium format camera ! I think we all know that medium format is the way to go for Commercial work for that exact reason but that put us up in the 20k+ bracket of camera system until now.
On my way up to the roof to shoot the Liverpool Skyline I took a couple of shots inside the bell tower in some very low light.
Not only was I blown away by the high ISO capabilities but the detail as you will see below is just incredible.
If you look at the image above and look right down to the dark piece of wood paneling at the bottom of the stairs. Then look as the image below you can see the detail in the 100% crop. Not only that but the tones are stunning.
I have been in this bell tower a few times and I have never been able to capture the detail in this building like this. I think medium format a few years ago was the camera I always wanted but could never afford ! Until now ! I will carry on with the GFX over the course of this month and try and decide if this is the camera for me but so far I am am so much in love with this thing its unreal. I know I am a Fujifilm X Photographer but I am also known for saying things how they are. Fujifilm did not give me this camera to test as they expected me to say no. I shoot street and love the small mirrorless cameras for my work. I decided to Hire this camera myself to see if it would fit into my future plans and workflow. I will come back to about this as I move through my time with the GFX.
I will leave you with the views from the top of the Liverpool Cathedral, you can access the roof of the Cathedral by paying £5.50 in the gift shop and asking for a Tower Tour, its well worth it as long as you are not claustrophobic or scared of hights !
About two years ago I was working in Paternoster Square London when I tweeted a short tweet about my Street Photography Workshop in the city. I was then approached by a member of the Paternoster Square Management Team who asked me if I would be interested in organising an Exhibition of my own work in the Square ! I was quite shocked and honored all at the same time. Matt and I met up and had a long chat about it and Matt told me what his Vision was.
A few years back you could not even take Photo’s in the Square due to the fact it was private land but that has all changed now so I could not think of a better space to hold this exhibition.
I also have a love of Paternoster Square as I start all my workshops in Pret in Paternoster Square and finish all my Photowalks in the Square as well. Its like an oasis of calm in a busy city.
I realised I could not do this alone so spoke to my good friend Alan Raw from Hull, who is a big part of the Creative Culture Hull. Alan is a very busy man and wears quite a few hats so I was expecting him to say no as it’s Hull’s City of Culture year. To my surprise he said yes he would curate the event.
I then needed some London talent to bring their work to the show. Alan and I had a long talk and I invited my good friends Linda Wisdom and Paul Sanders. I then met up with Christian Cross in London to ask him and he was also very excited to take part and Alan asked one of my students from Hull, Robert Bentley.
It was a long 18 months after that with lots of planning to pull it all together.
Fujifilm UK, Snapperstuff, Gillis Bags,Lee Filters,Genesis Imaging and Camera World all came on board to make the day a little more interesting.
Alan did an amazing job of curating the event even if it was like herding cats at one point and I can’t thank him enough. He brought his team down from Hull and worked far too many hours to make this work. So a big thank you to Alan and and his team and all the retailers and artists for pulling off such an amazing day.
The estimate was 20,000 people passing through the Square on the day and 7,000 people engaging with the images and stands so a great day and great result for us all.
On the 1st of September my first indoor Exhibition Reflections of a Street Photographer opens its doors in The Hip Gallery Hull. The opening night is just a 2 hours preview from 18.30 on the 1st September and you are all invited.
I have been organising the Fujiholics Photowalks for a couple of years now and get amazing amount of pleasure out of leading the walks. The Fujifilm Family is what it’s all about and as much as it sounds corny it really is about putting the Social back into Social media !
On Thursday the 20th July I made my way to Bristol, quite a long journey from Mossley Hill Station in Liverpool then on to Bristol Temple Meads. Booked in advance this is a £30 single with TheTraineline.com my next blog post will give full details of how I use this service and why.
I had a meeting in Bristol on the Thursday and on Friday I had my last Street Photography workshop with Calumet UK. I have run a series of workshops with Calumet over 2017 in various cities but that was the last one for Calumet. I am also bringing my own Street Workshops to a close in 2017 as I want to focus on more personal work in 2018.
A Very wet day for the Calumet Worksop and nice to see so many Fujifilm X Series cameras on the day. I used my XPro2 and 23mm to walk around with instead of my X100F mainly because the XPro2 is weather resistant.
We had a great day round and about on the Streetsof Bristol despite the rain.
On Saturday we met up at @Bristol for the start of the Fujiholics photo walk. 120 signed up for the walk with Eventbrite unfortunately only 20 came out for the walk. This is always disappointing. Even though I always expect half numbers, when it’s lower I sometimes wonder why I put the effort in. I think for 2018 I will have to come up with a new plan. I will still do the walks but include a small fee and give out something on the day like a Memory card or ThinkTank battery holder. I will have to give it some thought.
It was however a great day in Bristol and nice to see so many old faces and some new ones. Fujiholics Walks are all about meeting new people and having a great day out networking meeting social media friends, drinking coffee, eating cake and drinking the occasional beer.
I planned a slightly different route this year and I think everyone that started the walk finished so will probably do the same route next year !
The Bristol Harbour Festival was on this year and this brought an extra 250,000 people to the city. I have to admit Bristol is an amazing city I have never seen so many so drunk but still standing up in my life. The Harbour festival appears to be a time the whole city comes out in force to dress up and have a few drinks. What an amazing place.
We ended the walk at the Old Duke where a few beers were consumed.
I was lucky to get a lift home on the Sunday with Richie so that saved me the Train ride.
The interesting thing is the car journey and train journey with stops and changeovers are almost the same time give or take a few minutes with out delays so from Liverpool to Bristol it’s about 3 hours 45min..
See you in Edinburgh next weekend….
I have lent out a lot of personal Fujifilm kit over the last five years and the result has always been some love hate relationships and personal battles with the kit. I always find this very interesting. I remember my first time with the X100 and how it wound me up no end that the sensor was giving me better black and white images than my Nikon D3s but how hard it was to get used to the camera and menus. Most of all the focus system was hard work and so much more. This all made me question my choice but the images spoke for themselves ! It felt like a toy camera compared to the mighty D3s ! But who cared about the feel when the images were just so great …
On a recent trip to Edinburgh I was having a facebook conversation with a friend who had brought an X100T on my recommendation for her Street Photography. She hated it out of the box and many times I looked at her comments on social media saying how she wanted to get rid of it. One day it was driving her nuts the next it was fine. I could see the personal battle taking place this Marmite camera was tearing this girl apart !
She even asked me when the XPro2 was out and then the X-T2 and the X-T20 but all the time she went out shooting with the X100T. On this trip to Edinburgh she messaged me and said ” I love this camera Matt I really do, but it’s taken me 18 months to make it work for me” I laughed and said I know ! I said to her the problem with the X100 series is you have to adapt your style to the camera and no one can help you with that. It’s up to you to decide on every setting from Jpeg to focus mode. You can’t just look up what other people do on the internet or blogs you just have to go out every day and have a personal battle with the camera and almost fight over who is in change !
I have taught over 200 workshops over the last two years and so many people come on the workshops who have the same battle not just with the X100 series but some of the other Fujifilm models.
I was talking with another friend tonight who has my X-T10 and she said I am getting there but I am having a love hate relationship with this camera ! I just laughed and said I know…
I would say 99.9% of the people that have this battle win and they fall in love with the X Series Camera system. I know a few people who have lost the battle and gone back to their chosen brand. I have noticed one thing though, the people that battle on don’t just learned how to adapt to a new camera system their work changes for the better too.
I think the the personal battle teaches them more than just how to use a new camera it makes them look at the way they work as well. It’s all too easy to pick up a DSLR out of the box and go out and shoot on auto, it’s not so easy to use the X100 you have to start to understand your craft more and in doing so your work improves.
Quite a few people love the way the X Series slowed them down at the start but then became frustrated by that very fact ! Fujifilm responded to customer feedback and have made the XPro2 and X-T2 but you still have to know what you are doing to get the best out of these cameras. You can use them out of the box on Auto now but once you really learn how to set them up you take a great big step up on your photography journey.
The shame is that most people just look at these cameras on the internet or for a few minutes in a shop ! They never get to use them for 12-18 months and so never get to experience love hate battle and that is such a shame. So many people don’t like change but I think that is where the X100F comes in. You can buy it as a back up camera and take it everywhere. Some days you will want to throw it in the river or bin some days you will want to hug it and kiss it ( possibly a bit far ) but when you look at those images you know you have an amazing bit of kit in your hands that you can stick in your pocket and take everywhere ! Take the X100F challenge buy one or borrow one and see how you get on, then come back on here in 18 months and leave a comment.