Street

2019 Street Project is Litter

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Manchester

If you have been watching my YouTube Channel you will know that my 2019 Street Photography Project is Litter. I started of over thinking the project but after a quick look back over some previous work its all started to fall in to place and I am sure it will evolve in time.

I am going to use my Fujifilm X100F for the Project and back the X100F up with the Fujifilm Xpro2 and 18-55mm Kit Lens, I probably won’t carry both cameras with me at all times but I do like to have a backup camera for a project. I want to film as much of my project as possible for my YouTube channel and this will be filmed with a combination of diferent cameras over the course of the year but will be a mixture of Canon Fujifilm and DJI and possibly GOPro.

My project will focus on Litter and peoples relationship with litter, I will only give the images simple city titles so that the viewers will know what cities the images were shot in but not what the relationship is between the little and the people in the images if any !

The viewer will be left to draw their own conclusion from the litter in the scene, from how long it has been there to weather it is litter or potential litter.

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Liverpool 

The image above for instance will just be titled Liverpool and the bag on the floor in this case was taken away by the girl in the image, but in my project you will have to draw your own conclusions.

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Liverpool 

My project images will all have litter of one form or another in the scene and this is just to highlight the amazing amount of litter we walk past every day. I have always wanted to do a project that says something and could possibly make people think differently about our city Streets.

After walking the Streets of nearly all the UK cities I  can say that some are worse than others but over the last few years people have got a little better but the councles are getting worse at emptying bins and general street cleaning. So much so that there is now Human Excrement and waste in more and more back streets.

Don’t get me wrong people still drop litter and quite a few just don’t care and will never change. I guess I went to school when the UK had an epic litter problem back in the 60’s and were taught at school to bin it with the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign.

I have a facebook group called Bag it and Bin it the group is about Litter and Dog Poo, and I have always wanted to try and tell the story in images and so decided to give it a try for my 2019 project. I don’t expect to change the world overnight but I thought I would try and put this years project to good use.  I was recently over in Ireland and was pleasantly surprised at the lack of litter. There was a lot less litter over in Ireland and I was told its because people respect their country more.

My project will evolve and if you want to follow along then check out my YouTube Channel and don’t forget to Subscribe to get updates on new videos.

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Edinburgh

 

 

 

Big v Small

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GFX50s 23mm Lee 15 stop IRND 0.6 Soft Grad

It’s the end of my second GFX50s hire today and it’s left me with lots of ideas spinning round in my head. The good news for me is that I now have my own! If you follow my blog you will know that I bit the bullet and purchased this stunning camera.

It was the hardest decision I have had to make for quite a few reasons and one was size!

The whole reason I moved over to Fujifilm was camera size. After working with a pair of Nikon D3s Full frame bodies I needed to downsize for the sake of my back and neck. Back then my work was varied but I  shot a lot of gigs etc where I carried lots of heavy gear around all day and it was taking its toll.

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Fujifilm X70

I changed to the Fujifilm X System on a wing and a prayer and the amazing thing is the X System has developed in to a range of great cameras and lenses with such a massive choice for all the tastes out there. The X System cameras are stunning and offer choice between Rangefinder and more conventional style bodies. My favorite  X series cameras for Street Photography are the XPro2, X70 and X100F. These cameras are perfect for my Street style small, compact and light.  I have also recently bought an X-T20 for travel and occasionally Street mainly because I love that touch screen. I do prefer the Rangefinder style for Street photography as I find they handle better for the way I shoot and I hate having my nose squashed on the rear screen of a camera. The X-T20 works really well with the tilt out screen and the X70 is just so stunning I cant even put it into words. I really do hope that one day Fujifilm do make an X80 ! We can only hope.

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Fujifilm X70
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Fujifilm X70

I have been fighting with myself over the GFX50s for a while now and I even said at the start it has no place in my workflow it’s just too big. I was lucky enough to see the GFX long before it was put into production and thought at the time this is very big but the version I held had the grip on it.

So along came a few changes in direction for me as far as my business is concerned and then the big V small argument in my head started. I had quite a few Fujifilm bodies and lenses at the time and decided what ever happens I need to sell some of my kit off and make way for new.  Yes of course I had the GFX stuck in my head but I also had the BIG camera issue stuck in my head.

As I started to sell off my gear I had to decide what to keep and what to sell and as I picked up the X-T2 I realised I only really used this camera for Landscape work and with any Landscape work always came a bag full of gear to put in the van for all those occasions ! So that is when I realised that some photography does require quite a bit of kit that weighs more than you would like. I also had quite a few lenses I used for landscape and none of them gave me what I wanted ! I wanted massive field of view.

So I started to sell off my spares bodies and all the lenses I did not use ! I will not even tell you the amount of times I put lenses in boxes to sell then changed my mind. In the end I got there though.

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GFX50s 23mm Lee 10 stop IRND 0.6 Soft Grad

I am lucky because I plan to semi retire this month so want to get back to shooting what I love and want to start using the best camera for the job so this process was very therapeutic bit like a spring clean in my head and it’s not even spring.

So what lenses did I keep in the X series range ! The 16mm 1.4 was the first one to stay it’s just the best lens that Fujifilm make for the X Series. I also kept the 23mm 35mm 50mm and 90mm F/2 lenses because they are small light and sharp I also kept the 18-55mm Zoom it’s just such an amazing travel lens. I would not part with it and also if I had an accident on a trip with any of my other primes this lens would get me out of trouble.   I nearly sold the 50-140mm  f/2.8 about 5 times but in the end could not part with it or the 1.4 teleconverter. The 50-140mm is so good, so much better than my old Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRII so it had to stay.  I also kept the wide conversion lens for my X100F. The rest I sold and I had all the lenses Fujifilm make and most of the bodies. My shelf looked bare but I was happy with my decision.

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GFX50s 23mm Lee 10 stop IRND 0.6 Soft Grad

Then the real argument started in my head, how can you buy a GFX when you want to only use small cameras ! How will this work !

To solve the argument in my head I had to pretend I was not an X Photographer and that I could buy any camera on the market ! So if this was the case what would I buy myself.

Well it would not be a DSLR because I have grown to hate mirrors ! So what could  it be ! The answer I came up with every time was Leica or Phase ! Because of the sensors and image quality mainly but I still wanted quality glass. I sat down with a calculator and worked out the cost of a new system and then added the GFX50s in to the pot. In the end after a few days the answer was the GFX and so I hired it to find out.

I was blown away by not just the image quality but also the fact the camera was not as big as I thought it was ! I documented the hire on here and then I hired it again. This time with the 23mm lens and I was lucky enough to have the new 45mm pre production on loan from Fujifilm. The 45mm is a very nice lite lens and makes the camera so much more usable with a light fast light lens it really is not much bigger than a D800.

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GFX50s 23mm Lee 10 stop IRND 0.6 Soft Grad

So that was it I was sold, I bought the GFX with a 23mm 110mm and 32-64mm for a retirement present for myself with no real business plan ! I do however have some ideas for future projects and exhibitions.

Its quite funny though because the day after I bought the camera I picked up work with it and then picked up a bit more and so far I now have £3500 in outstanding invoices from buying it so I guess at this rate it will pay for itself in six months !

I always say over and over again to people it’s got nothing to do with the camera it’s the final image that counts and I still believe this is true. I have been excited by very few cameras in my life the first was the Nikon Fm2 then the Nikon D3s then the Fujifilm X100 in fact the X100 changed the way I thought about my work and the way I shoot. I have also loved most of the X Series line up and I am sure a few will end up classics one day.

I did not think the GFX would do this to me and in all honesty I did not realise it was getting to me that way, it was Jane who woke me up. She was sitting with me in the office the other night and she said “it does matter though !” I said “what does ?” She said “I have not seen you this excited looking at images since you had your X100” ! She is right I am blown away by this camera and Fujifilm are right to call it a game changer.

I guess it’s come at the perfect time in my life and I hope to produce some new and interesting work with it over the next few years.

I think what will make a difference to quite a lot of people thinking about this camera is the new Smart Adaptors that are now appearing on the market. Now all you guys that don’t want to part with all your Canon glass can get an adaptor and use it with the GFX.

I have not tried any of the Adapters yet I was going to but so far Fujifilm have all the lenses I need.

I still love my Little X Series cameras for Street and travel and they will stay my default cameras for that style of work, but I really want to find a place for the GFX in my street work too. I might just have to adapt the way I work to suit the camera. Where have I heard that before ?  Yes it was what I said that day I got the X100 !

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GFX50s 23mm Lee 16 Stop IRND 0.6 Soft Grad

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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2017 Year of Colour – so far

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 !

 

February Already !

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I can’t believe its February already ! Not even sure where January went.

It’s been a busy month and it’s all a bit of a blur. I can remember doing my first two Street Photography Workshops for Calumet UK in London and Birmingham, I loved both of these workshops and cant wait to visit the rest of the Calumet stores this year and deliver the same workshop. It’s a slightly different format from my own workshops and each branch of Calumet is a great base to start from. The only Street Photography workshops I am going to do for myself this year will be the Liverpool ones, the rest will be with Calumet UK in 2017. You can see a complete list here Calumet Street Workshops.

I also recorded a Black and White editing video in January that should be out sometime this month to purchase. We have set the price to half the price of attending my Black and White editing workshop as I have stopped my Black and White workshops this year because I will be concentrating on my colour project.

My Colour project has taken a back seat in January and the only image I have shot is the one on this page ! Just goes to show even a professional photographer does not always have the time to get out and shoot for himself.

I had an amazing trip to Glencoe with the Fujiholics  and hope to do a lot more collaboration workshops in the future. Fujiholics takes up quite a chunk of my time and was quite a juggling act last year.   Hopefully going forward we should bring some great walks and workshops to everyone.

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When I got home from Glencoe I had my first delivery of Custom Flash Drives from USB Memory Direct delivered. I have to say they provide a great service and the printing is just how we wanted it. You can have a look for yourselves USB Memory Direct  so many choices.

I thought I would get a rest in January and February but I have never been so busy. I am just about to take over from Kevin Mullins and go on a short road trip around the North West and Wales with the Fujifilm X100F and Fujifilm UK taking the lucky winners of the Fujifilm X100F ‘touch and try’ competition out into whatever the British weather throws at us to show the winners how I use this amazing new addition to the Fujifilm X Series. I can’t wait to show the winners what an amazing little upgrade this is. I will be going to Dale Photographic, Calumet Manchester, LCE Manchester, Cambrian Photography and Wilkinson camera over the next six days and cant wait to catch up with the Fujifilm UK Team and the lucky winners.

When I get back from my little trip with Fujifilm I will be off to Venice with Paul Sanders to teach a Landscape and Street Workshop. There are still a few places left so grab a space whilst the euro still has some value. Venice Trip

Once back from Venice it won’t be long before I am at The Photography Show in Birmingham. I will be on the Fujifilm Stand most days and in the Behind the Lens Theater on the last day of the show, so make sure you get your tickets, here is a discount code to save you a few pounds SPKTPS17 if you book online.

It’s a very busy year and if you want to book on any of the Fujiholics workshops or my own workshops or Photowalks here are the links.

Fujiholics

Matts 

Look forward to seeing you all at some point this year…

2017 a Year of Colour

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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My First Camera

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Fujifilm X-T1

One of the biggest questions most professional photographers get asked this time of year is “what camera should I buy my son or daughter for christmas”  we also get given a budget, some far too low but for the majority the figure is £500-£800. Below that figure there are some great little cameras about but they will not last long and the sensors are not up to helping your kids to progress, so in my view it’s a waste of money.

These days everyone thinks in terms of the DSLR is the camera to aim for but this is not the case. People ask me do I get a bridge camera then get a DSLR in a few years time?

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People don’t understand how Mirrorless cameras have taken over from the DSLR in the last few years and just how great they are. I myself only use the Fujifilm X Series Mirrorless cameras for my professional work and most of my professional friends also use the Fujifilm X Series, not many people I know are using DSLRS.

Most parents go in to a shop and say “I am looking for a DSLR” but in fact they are looking for a camera and they just call it a DSLR. The sales assistant then goes in to overdrive to sell a DSLR, the parents can’t afford it and they go home to buy something from Amazon.

My advice this year has been to look out for great offers on the mirrorless cameras as this is a great starting point. You can pick up older models of the Fujifilm X Series like the X-T10 and the X-T1 at amazing prices and these camera bodies will be perfect for School, University and for any workshops or courses. The exposure triangle is on the outside of the camera and the sensors are a 1.5 crop the same as most of the DSLRs in there price range. This way instead of buying a compact or bridge camera that you throw away in  six months you have started to invest in a system. You can then go on to investing in lenses for birthdays and Christmas and eventually upgrade the body in a few years time.

There have been some amazing deals on the X-T10 and X-T1 over the last few months in UK retailers and this is where people should look for a bargain. I was talking to a guy last week who did a trade in and got double cash back and got an X-T10 for £290 ! All he had to do was buy a lens of his choice, he got a 18-55mm with cash back and is now wrapping it up for his son for Christmas.

I have used both of these cameras professionally and all the images on this blog were taken with these bodies and a variety of lenses. I mainly shoot Street Photography in black and white but in this post I have included a few colour images and some other genres of photography.

So my advice for Christmas or birthdays is look for bargains in Mirrorless Cameras even if it’s last year’s model your kids will thank you in the long run and you wont have wasted money on a camera you will throw away.

I bought both my Sons Fujifilm X-T10 kits with 18-55mm lenses last christmas and they both love the cameras.

My first camera was given to me by my parents and it was a 35mm Film Camera that was the camera that made me fall in love with photography. I then saved up for two years to buy my first Nikon FM2, I used that camera for over 20 years. So I think it’s important to choose very carefully for your kids. If my parents had got me the wrong camera at the start I might not have fallen in love with photography the way I did.

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Clifton Cameras #StreetLife

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When Clifton Cameras do a promotion, they certainly don’t do it by halves – The #StreetLife competition was no exception to the rule! Spanning many months and encompassing a variety of different events and competitions, the StreetLife promotion was HUGE! It’s also rather in-depth, so bare with me while I try to explain.

One of the most exciting parts of the #StreetLife promo was the competitions. There were three different street photography competitions, each with a different theme and the chance to win an awesome FujiFilm X100T! There was also a prize for the overall winner, which was an all expenses paid trip to a European city to shoot street photography with yours truly.

The first competition ran from March – May and the theme was shadows. This proved to be a really popular section and there were thousands of entries in total. After some debate, the panels of judges, myself included picked this fantastic shot taken by Jim Moody.

(Image by Jim Moody)passing-shadow

“This was the strongest image for many reasons, being shot from above made this image stand out from the crowd, the strong angles of the buildings added to the great composition of the shot, the arrow shaped shadow pointing into the darkness makes you think, but at the same time you want to know more about the woman standing with her arms folded, making this a great Street image.”

 

Skip forward a few short weeks, and it’s time for section two competition which ran from early June through to mid August. This time, it’s the more difficult theme of Layers. Now, we don’t mean lengthy photoshop composition, instead we were looking for multiple things occurring in a single frame – David Goold delivered just that. A image titled “Hostage.Crisis” was picked as the winner of that round and won himself a Fujifilm X100T.
(Image by David Goold)

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End of August through to start of November was the third and final section of the competition. The theme – Red. A simple one, but we gave specific instructions that the images must be kept real and red was a crucial part of the overall composition. After much deliberation, us judges agreed on Vasile Buzdugan’s entry entitled “Nuns.”

(Image by Vasile) red-winner

My Photowalks!

Alongside the Street Life competition, I ran a series of free photos walks open to anyone on the behalf of Clifton Cameras. To give everyone a chance to attend these were thrown up and down the country. The first one was on the 4th July in Bristol, the second was 5th September in my hometown of Liverpool and the third and final one was on the 1st November in London.

THE WINNER

This is where the story gets a bit complicated. The day comes to announce the winner, after much deliberation, us judges picked David Goold’s image titled “Hostage Situation” as the winner overall. We’d all had that image in our shortlist and came to the conclusion, this superb image deserved to take 1st place.

The winner was due to be announced mid-november across social media and on the Clifton Cameras website. However, just days before, the unthinkable happened – The Paris Terror attacks. It was a huge shock to everyone and due to the nature of the image and the timing, we thought we would delay the announcement out of respect for the tragic event. We had also decided upon the european city we were going to visit, which coincidentally was Paris.

One night in Paris.

Skip forward to September 2016 and it’s time for David Goold to get his prize – An all expenses paid 1 on 1 street photography weekend in Paris.

After leaving my home in Liverpool I headed for the Eurostar where I met David. We spent the journey chatting all things photography, the plan for the next two days and putting the world to rights. Interestingly, we both agreed upon the Fujifilm Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 lens was our favourite for Street Photography. Oh, and we both wished for an even faster version to come from Fujifilm in the future. Running through our kit, I had opted to use my FujiFilm XPro2 armed with the Fujinon XF 16mm f1.4 WR and a FujiFilm X-T1 coupled with the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 lens. Meanwhile, David’s main set-up was the Fujifim X-T10 with the Fujifilm 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS MKII.

It was about 1pm before the Taxi reached the hotel and we spent the journey with the windows open desperately thankful for the breeze. Once we were all checked in and sorted our first stop was that really tall building that looks a bit like the Blackpool Tower – I forget it’s name.

We set a route from the Eiffel Tower down to Champs-Elysees, then towards Arc de Triomphe followed by a walk The Louvre and we finished our 14 miles trek in a beautiful area around Folie-Mericourt. By that time sun had started to set, so we ended up going back towards The Louvre for a bit of grub and a well deserved sit down!

In those tourist areas it was really difficult to find quick pit stops to grab something small to eat and drink. Most of the places we stumbled across were subscribed to the laid back, French dining experience. We love that style on the right occasion but we had pictures to take and just needed some quick in and out sustenance. It was so hot and the streets were packed with tourists which meant most places had completely sold out of cold drinks. Thankfully though, we stumbled across a Starbucks along the way and was able to get some kind of delicious orange frappe creation.

After a day of shooting some fantastic street photography and seeing a bunch of Paris’s finest landmarks, it seemed like a natural progression to head to a local french place for dinner. However, where we were, we couldn’t find a little bistro in sight. We ended up settling for an Italian, well, at least it borders France right? It turns out, the reason we couldn’t find any French places was because we were in fact in the ChinaTown, which explains a lot really.

Lighting

A lot of street photographers have strong preferences for certain conditions in order to give them that perfect light. For me though, I don’t feel that strongly about it – I like to work with whatever I have. Of course, harsh sunlight can be quite awkward to work with but I think that it sets the scene and allows us photographer to create a different ambience with the light we use in our pictures. Paris has something about it, although the sunshine was constantly bright, it was much more forgiving than I once though. I was expecting a lot of areas of blown out highlight detail and deep dark shadows, but the light on the street as a lot kinder than I anticipated. Perhaps it was the buildings, the positioning of the sun or just having a bit more dynamic range from the X-PRO2 sensor, it just worked out quite nicely.

With all this said, the real recipe for a great street shots is decent light, a decent composition and a moment. Even in a great city like Paris, the moment is the hardest bit. There are colourful characters, interesting objects but it’s all down to that split second where everything comes good.

DAY TWO

HOT HOT HOT! Day two was yet another scorcher hitting highs of 38ºC at mid-day. We hatched a plan over breakfast and decided to take a Taxi to the Moulin Rouge followed by an exploration of the area. Climbing the stairs to Montmartre and wandering around the square along the beautiful cobbled streets was rather pleasant. I can imagine if there was a bit of rain the day before the reflections and the texture you would get from those cobbles would have been incredible, but of course, there was no chance of rain on this particular day. We searched the streets for a nearby Starbucks but came away unsuccessful as they didn’t do any icy frappe things. With that terrible news, we headed back towards the hotel to get our bags and also grabbed a light lunch in a local french place followed by a cold beer. For some reason, cold beer was all we could find. Judging by the general lack of cold beverages available, anyone would think that summer had come out of nowhere and suddenly surprised the shopkeepers of Paris.

Our train back to the UK was our next stop and was leaving at 6:30pm, so we opted to head towards the train station after lunch picking a great location to concentrate your efforts before heading home. The area is known for it’s colourful characters and it the location is easy on the eye – or should what be sensor?

Well, there’s not much else to say here other than to express my thanks to everyone involved with this exciting project.

We reached out to David Goold for his take on the trip – Here’s what he had to say.

Audrey Hepburn said that “Paris is always a good idea” – but in thirty-eight degrees Celsius?! It had been forecast for a week but the reality of a high summer heatwave in France’s capital was suddenly with us. “Welcome to Hell!” was the greeting from the African taxi driver at Paris Gare du Nord as we began our Big Adventure. Fortunately, I had decided to travel light from Scotland; I brought with me just the X-T10 and the 18-55mm zoom for my photo workshop with Fujifilm Ambassador and pro street photographer (and now good friend), Matt Hart.

Two full days shooting ‘street’ in that city – in that heat – needed serious and careful attention to health and safety. Drenched in Factor 50, we paced ourselves from the start and must have each consumed a litre of water every two hours whilst pounding the pavements during our two-day stay.

But that city rewarded us with golden sunlight and inky black shadows, such elegant architecture and characterful citizens and visitors. In that special light, haute couture red dresses and heels had us, if not running, then staggering briskly to capture the decisive moment at those distinctive, striped street crossings in Le Marais.

I suppose we each develop our own technique, learning from our mistakes, but I had never experienced the technique of a professional street ‘tog. It was a revelation to watch Matt in action… to watch his pace change as he spotted an opportunity and to keep out of his way while he ruthlessly sought the decisive moment. And I hope I caught a few of those myself whilst learning to sharpen my eye. I suspect Matt features in many of them and I’m very happy about that – some wonderful memories of our journey to Hell and back.

For making it all happen, big thanks to Clifton Cameras, Fujifilm UK but most of all to Matt. We had such a blast. Let’s do it again soon! But perhaps in December this time, please?

(Images by David Goold)dscf8247_dg

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Exposure Triangle the rest is personal.

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I had another great year at The Photography Show and this year was just the same as last year as far as questions were concerned, but this time about the Xpro2 and not the X-T2 so I have decided to answer a few questions in this blog.  If you came to the show and listened to my talk for Fujifilm UK, you will know how much I hate writing and why. I also only tend to write my blog when I have something to say, the rest is just noise.

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One of the great things about TPS is the fact that so many photographers get together in one place and get to inspire each other. I always come away from the show buzzing with ideas. This year the biggest buz and the coolest places to be where the SmugMug Stand and the Fujifilm Stand, this is in part to the huge community of like minded photographers that love to be part of what is becoming the coolest collaboration in photography ever.

To many people get bogged down in the TEC, at the end of the day you only need a box with a lens and a way of controlling Aperture, Exposure and ISO the rest is all personal taste.

We all choose cameras we like the look and feel off and we listen to the people around us for feedback and read reviews etc, that is the same for a sofa or pair of shoes or a toaster.

People are free to choose what ever camera they like so there is no real need to moan about one you don’t like go buy one that fits your personal requirements.

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All you really need is the exposure triangle the rest is just semantics!  I was asked over and over again at the show to pick all the fault’s in the XPro2 and when I said it does not have any, one person was pushing me for a fault he even said “so what would other people say was wrong with it” I don’t know what other people would say I have never been one to wish a camera had this or what or needed x or y I just buy a camera that I feel an emotional connection to and that has the exposure triangle close to hand, after all that is all I NEED ! I don’t need much more in my line of work, I am a Photographer and just need to take pictures.  I do like a great lens to give me a sharp image if I want a sharp images and Fuji lenses give me that in droves.

I have an XT10 for Street and to stick in my pocket and that has a 27mm lens on it, I have another XT10 with a 90mm lens on it. My XPro2 has a 35mm f/2 lens on it and my X-T1 has a battery pack and 50-140mm on it most of the time. These are all for different jobs like a mechanic with a socket set! The Cameras are the ratchets and the lenses the sockets so picking fault in ratchet or socket for one job is pointless when you have a great set of tools ! I get asked about 4k video etc and I roll my eyes ! I have two GoPro cameras for video if I want to shoot 4K but in all honesty the Video in my XPro2 or X-T1 is great for blogging etc If I wanted amazing stunning video I would buy a new tool for my tool box not moan about the ones I have.

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So why do I buy new cameras if I am not chasing the tec ? I chase the warranty that’s why, you see so many people blaming the manufactures and moaning about faults 5 months or 8 months out of warranty.  I thinks it’s mad! Social media has become a media hub for moaning about out of warranty issues with all brands.  As a professional even before I used Fuji X Series camera I used to buy a new Nikon body every time the warranty ran out that way if I ever had an issue I could return it and get it repaired without any hassle. To be honest in all the time I have owned the Fujifilm X System and I don’t look after my tools as much as I should, I have never had to have them repaired. The only camera I sent back was one of my X-T1’s for the light leak issue and that was turned around in 7 days.

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Quite a few people think we get our kit for free but this is just not true, I paid for all my Fuji X Cameras and lenses before I was a Fujifilm Ambassador and still do to this day. We do get to hire new gear when it’s available and free of charge but it has to be given back. The only camera I have been given was the Fuji XPro2 and this also had my name on the serial number. This was a gift for all my hard work in the XPro2 launch and my ongoing work for Fujifilm. But when I say given, if I had invoiced Fujifilm for my time this it would far outweigh the cost of the camera.

Mirrorless cameras make great tools and don’t take up any room so you can in fact have quite a few in your toolbox, I also do like a spare body for back up.

I was asked at the show if I could choose one X Series camera what one would it be ! That is like saying what is your favourite Socket or wrench! Well the answer if it was a toolbox would be SnapOn and what ever socket I needed for the job.

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So why Fuji, well I started buying the X Series cameras and the found this great community around the world that all had this passion for the brand, they would share there passion and I soon found myself starting Fujiholics to put on events to get everyone together to share the passion and take photos, mostly of coffee and cake and each others cameras it appears !

As far as a camera is concerned, I only need an exposure triangle and I am happy, but the X Series have given me so much more I have never had so many collaboration talks with so many photographers. The Fujifilm teams all over the world are all great people and are all part of the community in one way or another.

If you pushed me to say what is the best all round Street Combo I would have to say the XPro2 and 35mm f/2 lens at the moment but that’s because I LOVE shooting Acros Film Simulation with Green filter Jpegs are my thing at the moment as I hate processing with a vengeance.  The 35mm f/2 is just sexy that is all !

I try to have an emotional attachment to my work and I need the same feeling with my camera system. Perfect tool for that is right for the job.

They X Series do look good next to a coffee and cake to !

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