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Bristol #FujiholicsBRIS16

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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.

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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.

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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….

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Photowalks 2017

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Here we go again, another year of Photo Walks.  This year I will be leading four Fujiholics Photowalks. The Liverpool walk has already taken place but Bristol, Edinburgh and London are still up for grabs.

I would like everyone to know that you can bring any make of camera with you and that includes smart phones. You can also come without a camera just for a day out.  It’s all about like minded people getting together to have a great day out and to share ideas and meet new people.

The walks are free to sign up to, I only ask that if you sign up then change your mind, please follow the link from your Eventbrite confirmation email to remove yourself so other people can sign up as numbers are limited.

So far this year London is in the lead with 280 people signed up.

We would like to see more families and children on the walks and would like you all to know that kids are welcome as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Why not bring them to London and make a weekend of it.  They can use their phones or even buy them a throw away camera.

Photowalks are great, I have met friends for life on the walks and also made some amazing business contacts. They are a great way to explore our cities on foot with a great bunch of people.

A route and map is emailed out to everyone that signs up approx 1 week before the event to download to your smartphone or gps device or you can print out the map. You don’t have to keep up with the guys at the front as we tweet our location throughout the day and use a unique hashtag for the day. You can stop for refreshments along the way or even a cold beer and then catch up a bit later by taking a shortcut using the tube.

In London this year we have the Fujiholics Team and a few other Pro Photographers as well as some retailers so hope to bring you a few offers for the day. There will be quite a few Fujifilm X Photographers and Ambassadors about as well. The Fujiholics Team really do make you all feel welcome.

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I would love to see as many of you guys on one of the walks this year, the last three walks are spread out all over the UK so feel free to come and join us.

Here are the links to the walks..

Bristol

Edinburgh

London

If you want to buy cheap train tickets then here is a link to sign up to The Train Line ticket alert.

If you need to know any more details then feel free to contact us info@fujiholics.com or matt@fujiholics.com

Hope to see you sometime in 2017…

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Why Street?

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One of the most common questions I get asked is “How did you get into Street Photography ? ”

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I guess the simple answer is by accident, I didn’t  even know I was shooting Street until about eight years ago.

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I was given my first camera about the age of eight and living in a big city I guess I have always taken pictures of people on the street. I have also photographed just about every genre of Photography there is. At one time I was known as the photographer that could shoot anything. I guess this label was true and I could shoot just about anything. It’s part of being a professional photographer you soon learn to shoot what will pay the bills and you get better and better as a photographer the more strange situations you find yourself in.

I have always tried to separate my passion from my work and with some of the jobs I have had outside of photography industry this was easy. The trouble with being a professional photographer is how do you separate your passion from your day to day photography. This was a struggle at first especially as I am so busy with work but now I have found the simple answer. Only talk about and shoot what I am passionate about and turn the rest down !!

So why Street Photography ? I guess it’s all about people watching. I have always been a people watcher, every occupation I have ever had, I would spend my lunch breaks and spare time watching people in towns and cities.  This then turned into trying to capture those special little moments as with the right light. I shot a lot of people in the street and most of what the images were bland and boring and did not tell much of a story although I found it relaxing and great fun. I did get through a lot of rolls of film and did not have a lot to show for it, but it got me out in the fresh air.

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I have spent quite a bit of time shooting portraits and headshots and spent some time shooting glamour in a studio and found that type of work where you set up the shot with perfect light and perfect people to be too contrived. I wanted more excitement.  Instead of using the holy trinity of photography Light, Composition and Moment in the Studio I wanted to go out and look for it on the Streets. Quite mad you might think and yes at times I get very frustrated by the simple fact there is no light, I cant get the composition right and the moment never comes. This was compounded  by the fact I am a Candid Street Photographer so will never compromise and set up a shot. I can’t change the dynamic in the scene it just doesn’t sit right with me. I have thought about it many times when working on project for big companies but just can’t do it.

I have shot Candid Street for years without knowing that it was Street Photography, the image below was part of my early windows project back in 2009 in Tunbridge Wells. It was a couple of years before this image was taken that some of my friends started calling me a Street Tog and I did not take any notice. I just thought they were naming me for what I liked to shoot. But the name started to stick and make me wonder so I started looking in to Street a properly around 2012-2013 but after looking at some of the amazing work of the masters felt my work was just ordinary.

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However I decided to read up on Street Photography and check out the masters of Street and other modern Street Photographers. It’s about then I worked out I was probably a Candid Street Photographer. In 2013 I did a ‘Year of Black and White’ project and off the back of the project I was asked to do some talks about photography and from there the workshops came and I started teaching Street Photography and Black & White editing.

The funny thing is at the time I was still not sure what I was doing was right !! Then a friend of mine gave me a book by David Gibson The Street Photographer’s Manual   This was a breakthrough moment as I agreed with 95% of the book and then realised this was how I was teaching so thought to myself I must be doing something right ! Thanks David for writing a great book and Elaine for giving me the book.

I still don’t see myself as a Street Photographer yet, I feel I have a long way to go and one day hope to finish a project that I am really happy with and take one amazing Street image. I guess some of my work won’t be relevant for 50-100 years but I love what I do and can’t wait to get stuck in to my next project..

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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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Liverpool Photo Walk 2015 #LiverpoolPW15

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I organised a Liverpool Photo Walk for Saturday the 10th January 2015, it became known as #LiverpoolPW15. My first thoughts were for a walk to see in the New Year, and get a few like minded people out in the fresh air for a nice walk around the city.  So I set up my Eventbrite page with 100 free places. I thought if I set 100 places and 100 people sign up about 30 might come, but 100 places were gone in a week!  So I made 200 places, and in the end I had 130 people sign up to the walk.

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The weather forecast for the day was not great high wind and rain so I was not expecting too many people and had received a few emails to let me know people could not make it, so I was not expecting a great turnout. But I was wrong, a few head counts on the day revealed we had around 175 people in total! Wow that was a great attendance!

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So thank you to all you guys that attended the walk, you all made it a great day, and after all, photo walks are all about like minded people at a social event taking photos and sharing tricks and tips, and having a great day meeting new people and making new friends in real life and then becoming friends on social media.

I have had a large amount of emails thanking me for the day. Some quite overwhelming! You know who you are and it was nice to meet you guys to and glad you came out. I have tried to reply to as many as I can but if I have missed any sorry and thanks for your emails.

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The feedback has been great and yes I will be organizing  another free walk later in the year around October time I expect, not yet decided on Liverpool again or Edinburgh! Feel free to email me your thoughts on what city.

I would like to thank all the guys in the trade that put up prizes and supplied tea and coffee and discounts and gifts for the day. So a BIG thank you to Cambrian Photography, SmugMug,Formatt Hitech,Wilkinsons,FujifilmUK.

Thank you Sarah,Richard,Alistair,James,Alex,G,Jim,Tony and everyone that helped out on the day.

For information on the next one check out my Eventbrite Page for updates.

For the Video of the day.

Thanks again for a great turnout I hear it might be the largest ever UK photo walk so thanks everyone see you on the next one.

Matt

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Filters

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I am in the middle of a very busy time Photography wise so this post will be short and sweet.

It’s a busy time in Liverpool with lots of events one after another, so my time as an event photographer is booked up solid, so the blog posts I intended to write this month are all going to be pushed back to later in the year.

I have always used filters in my photography right back at the start with my film days, playing around with all the effects filters from star burst to tobacco filters and all the range of NDs.

I have put them all to great use over the years but lately just used them for long exposure shots in Landscape etc

I am starting a new project next year that is going to make great use of the skills I have learned over the years with different filters, I am not going to give to much away but it’s going to be a different approach to my favorite subject.

I will be using Formatt Hitech Filters for all my filter work, so this seems like a good time to announce to every one that does not know, I am now a Formatt Hitech Featured Artist so you will be able to find my project work next year on the Formatt Hitech web site as well as my My Web Site.

I can’t wait to get started on the 1st of January 2015.  I am bursting with ideas and excitement, Hitech have some great new filters out this year that are going to give some great long exposure times, so I will need to get some practice in before I start my project.

I will leave you with a couple of images from the Liverpool Giant Spectacular that is just about to start in Liverpool this weekend.

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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