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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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.
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..
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to see you sometime in 2017…
Here we are four months in to my Year of Colour and I am struggling !
I always thought it would be hard thats why I chose to take it on as a project, but this has been so much harder than I thought but mainly because I have been so busy. I have hardly been able to get out and shoot any personal work so have just had to grab a few shots on my workshops and walks.
I have found out as expected colour is complicated! I have always realised that and found it very difficult to match the colour to my mood and style. I think it was a lot easier back in the film days you chose a film for your style or job and just went out and created. Well I did, because I chose colour transparency film so did not have much say in the initial process. I guess that’s another reason I went black and white in the early days.
With digital you have so many choices from camera to software it’s just a minefield but I think I made a small breakthrough yesterday on a workshop.
I started off this project with the XPro2 and the X100F as my main cameras and now I have decided to just use the X100F for the rest of the project as best I can.
I have been going between RAW and Jpeg and then changing my mind again but now I have decided to shoot Jpeg and Raw and start playing around with the Jpeg settings in camera on the X100F. This way hopefully I will have a few choices at the editing stage, I have struggled to get a Jpeg image to look how I want it to look and prefer RAW with a very simple Lightroom conversion but I still feel I am missing a trick with Jpegs.
So it’s time to start experimenting. I can’t do that chopping and changing between cameras, the X100F is going to get some serious use this year.
Consistency without pre sets is going to be my main bug bear as I have an amazing black and white workflow that just works. With colour it’s more dependent on the quality of light on the day and the colour temperature of the light so that has become a big issue for me. I have been falling out with colour in a big way over the last couple of months so much so that I was starting to hate it.
But then I shot the image above and started to look at colour in a whole new way. I realised I was thinking in terms of Digital and not Film and the closer I could get to the film or Cine look the better. I think colour trends change and people do like saturated mad colours but I dont think thats me. I have always liked the way RAW files looked except they are flat and lifeless but with a few tweaks they come alive.
So I need to explore if I can get the same feel in camera with Jpegs, I am not holding up much hope but by shooting Jpeg and Raw I have kept my options open.
Thank you Fujifim for Film Simulations, I am going to play with these over the next couple of months and see what happens. If it drives me nuts I have the RAW files to fall back on.
This image changed it yesterday. The colour of the shop front and the guys shirt were a close match so I wanted to capture this in RAW and make some simple changes to get the image to look how I wanted in Lightroom. I then set about getting the camera set up to look like this on the rear screen or as close as I could get it.
I then did the same with this image, it’s just a crazy experiment trying to edit a shot before you take it in camera but thought I would give it a go.
My dream is to not need to use Lightroom to edit so it’s about time I started playing around to achieve the end goal !
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.
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.
Look forward to seeing you all at some point this year…
Way back in 2013 my project was A Year of Black and White and this was to explore my digital black and white photography in many ways and to see what I could learn in a year. I mainly wanted to learn how to process black and white files and try to find a style that would suit me. It was a great success but as time goes by and we get older our tastes change.
I did not think in 2017 I would be doing a year of colour ! I have been thinking about it for a while now and I have decided it’s time to give it a go. If I am asked to produce Black and White images for clients then I will do but the rest of my work will be shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom and possibly Viveza but we shall have to see how that progresses.
I would love to be able to just use Fujifilm Jpegs but I am not sure they can give me the starting point I need for a simple workflow.
I could never have done this project with Nikon as the RAW files were such a pain for me to process and to find consistency with. I have noticed however the Fujifilm RAF files are almost where I need them to be be to create a colour style. I could be mistaken but this is what 2017 will all be about.
So on the 1st of January 2017 I will start the project and it will finish on the 31st of December 2017, I have not quite decided where I am going to start putting the images apart from social media as I hate mixing black and white and colour so I need to think about this over the next couple of weeks.
I hope to come out of 2017 with a more consistent colour workflow and a more interesting colour style. I also want to explore Colour Street photography through my own eyes.
Black and White Street photography has always been an amazing storytelling medium and I have always found colour quite annoying, but as I get older its growing on me.
My colour work has always been a bit abstract and a little loud and I have toned that down for people but that means I have fallen into the trap of pleasing the viewer and not myself. Its now time to change all that and work out what works for me.
I am quite looking forward to it and in a way it’s quite exciting and as with my Year of Black and White I will have the RAW files in 2018 if I need to process any images into black and white.
One of my favorite Street Photographers is Saul Leiter and I know his style has inspired me so now I need to explore colour for myself and see where it takes me.
One of the most common questions I get asked is “How did you get into Street Photography ? ”
I guess the simple answer is by accident, I didn’t even know I was shooting Street until about eight years ago.
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.
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.
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..