Mon, 06 Jan 2020 12:57:24 +0000My 2020 365 Project is Pathways
I have never had the time to do a 365 and working as a Professional Photographer I was far to busy with my work so the last thing I wanted to do was pick up a camera once more every day and take or remember to take one more photo !
I was trying to think of a project to do this year and after taking a few photos on my Dog walks Matt Walkley Suggested I do a Path Project and from there I have decided to do my first ever 365 project.
So my 2020 365 Project will be pathways, it will be shot on my iphone 11 pro max and in black and white.
You will be able to follow along on my instagram account @matt6t6 I did think about starting a new Insta for the project but I am trying to reduce my social media not add to it !
I have always thought a 365 would drive me nuts so I am about to find out.
One thing is for sure this time next year I will have taken a lot of images of Paths !!!
Tue, 31 Dec 2019 18:03:27 +0000The Stroke
It’s not a very nice photo but it shows where I was on February the 14th 2019, that’s right my Valentines present was a Carotid Endarterectomy !
I will just say before I start this Blog I owe the NHS my life and even though there were a few errors I have had a complicated couple of years medically here is the short version on YouTube if you don’t want to read this. YouTube Version.
First I need to go back a couple of years to the start.
In my late 30s I had a bad motorcycle accident and broke my back. I was told at the time I would never walk again but after a while I got the feeling back in my legs and started a long painful recovery. I have suffered with back problems from that day. At the time of the accident they found out I had a very narrow spinal canal and this would cause me issues with pain as the nerves had nowhere to go when compressed by my discs.
Jump forward to approx two years ago and I started getting very bad back pains and I was losing feeling in my legs and having severe pain in my hips knees and ankles. I went to the doctors and he sent me for an MRI. The results were I had 5 disc bulges in to a narrow spinal canal !! At the time he said he could only operate on the worst one L3 but this might not help. I was put on heavy pain meds but I am not one for lots of meds as that’s just a slippery slope. So decided to lose some weight and start Physio.
I worked hard with the Physio and I went from 106.9 Kilos down to 80 Kilos in about 6 Months. I thought I had done very well I was pain free and had no back problems whatsoever. But then after a meal in Edinburgh I had excruciating pain under my right rib cage and up my back, pain like I have never had before I was sick and my urine went bright orange. Turns out losing weight can cause Gallstones !!! You can’t make it up can you all that hard work and now a new type of pain.
Gallstone pain is excruciating so it was back on the pain meds but this time they did not help much as the only thing that helped with Gallstone pain was walking until it subsided ! I walked miles and miles in agony around the house and around the streets, even when we were away or at friends it would start and I would have to walk until it stopped or I was exhausted.
They wanted to list me for Surgery but first they wanted to stick a camera down to make sure there were no other issues and it was safe to take the gallbladder out. I went for the camera and have had this procedure before but this time the sedative was not as good and it was a very painful and uncomfortable experience. When I came out that sat Jane and I down and told me I had esophagus cancer or the precursor to it and had sent the biopsies off for testing ! (All you here is cancer ) I was crapping myself for two weeks and even lost some more weight. Lucky for me the biopsies came back negative.
Following the Camera however, I was not in a good way I was having small electric shocks all down my left side and in my mouth and on my face and head these were accompanied by massive headaches and shooting white lights in my eyes a bit like you get when you stand up to quick or get a knock on the head. My doctor was convinced it was nothing to do with the camera procedure but I was not. He told me it was migraines and would probably go.
During all this I was in Birmingham with my friend Matt Walkley and Lee Glasgow and we were drinking a lot of Single Malt but I will come back to this night.
In the end I was not happy with my Doctor and went to see a diferent doctor who was concerned and booked me and MRI this MRI was not even in 2018 it was August 2019 ! The day after I went to see the Doctor I went blind in my right eye, it was like and opaque curtain across the bottom of my eye. So I went back in to the Doctors and she sent me to St Pauls Eye Hospital in Liverpool !
Trust me the whole world is in that waiting area with itchy eyes !! I waited about 6 hours and by the time I was seen I could see again. They did a quick eye exam and told me it was probably a little TIA behind the eye but was clear now but if it happens again to come back asap. The checked with A&E and let me go. The following day I went blind again twice the first time for a few seconds the next time longer so I jumped in a Cab and went back to the Hospital as instructed. I wanted 4 hours and then in triage they asked me why I was back and I told them ! They were not happy but told me the lady would see me so I then waited another 4 hours ! I think she wanted to show me I was wasting her time ! When I got to see her she was rude and condescending and basically told me there was nothing wrong go away and don’t come back.
At this point I was not happy and was now having about 5+ TIAs a day ( not that I knew what they were at that point ) I decided to go private and get an MRI as I was all over the place by now and really struggling. The results of the MRI were not good and my Doctor rang me at home late at night to give me the news. I had Brain Damage after a Stroke and was now having TIA’s and could have another stroke at any time. I went to the Vascular clinic at the Royal the next day and the team were first class the were however very annoyed with the eye hospital for sending me home. The also scanned my Neck in the MRI and they found quite a lot of damage in my neck that could be causing me issues now and in later life (something else to look forward to)
At this point I was glad I was drinking whisky with my friends Matt and Lee because it turns out that was the night I had my Stroke in my Hotel Room alone !!!
I had my neck doppler scanned and it was found my right carotid artery was 90% blocked, and would need surgery asap. They explained how the Camera Procedure had probably pushed my blood pressure up and had dislodged some particles in the artery.
So my Gallstone camera procedure had probably saved my life in a roundabout way !! Better it happen now than to be on holiday in 5 years time have a massive Stroke and Die.
My Gallstone operation was put on the back burner until after I had a Carotid Endarterectomy a procedure to clear out the plaque in my Carotid Artery. The risks to the operation were Stroke or Death. Trust me it’s a scary time, you make sure you have a Will and all the things that need to be in place are in place. I even thought well I have had a happy life so if this is it then its been good.
It was February now and I had been having TIA’s basically from November 2018 to about 4 weeks before the operation the reason they has stopped is because the medication they had put me on stopped blood clots forming in the narrowing in my neck. I was scanned again before the operation and the narrowing was 80% so what probably explained the amount of TIA’s I was having a day.
I was prepped for Surgery on the 13th of Feb 2019 and already to go to theatre after crapping myself all night. The operation was called off because the MRI report had been written up back to front and they needed clarification on what side the brain damage was on. I was back in on the 14th Feb 2019 and the procedure was carried out. I had a funny turn after the operation due to suddenly becoming allergic to codeine but was home soon after to recover.
I was seen by a neurology professor who explained I had been very lucky but even though I look fine on the outside I had sustained some quite serious brain damage that would never heal but in time I would work round it. This was backed up by further tests and I was told it would be about two years before I started to work this all out.
Just as I was recovering from the Surgery my Gallbladder decided to start playing up again and this time I could not take codeine so was prescribed this mad drug that did take the pain away but kept me awake all night !! Gallbladder pain is off the scale and the only way to relive it is to walk and walk until it subsides, the drugs help but only for a while and the pain lasts for up to 13 hours. During this time I had the pleasure of Gallstones coming out of the gallbladder and getting stuck in the bile ducts and this is a whole new level of OUCH.
The NHS would not remove my Gallbladder for some strange reason and I kept getting put on the end of the list. In the end I found out that I needed a letter from my Consultant to allow me to come off my blood thinner and go on to Aspirin for 7 days but they would still not move me up the list. I ended up in A&E a couple of times on Morphine to relieve the pain and they told me people were jumping the waiting list by keep presenting at A&E with pain. However I could not do that due to the medication I was on.
So again I went private and had my Gallbladder out a couple of months back.
Its bliss to now been pain free even if I can’t eat like I used to, I am happy not to have to be in agony at random times any more.
So as you can see it’s been a journey so far and it’s not over yet as far as Stroke recovery. I am really looking forward to 2020 as I see 2020 as a fresh start and want to start to get out again with my camera. I hope to take you on the rest of my recovery journey in 2020 through youtube and this blog. A stroke is quite a shock to the system and is life changing I will explain more on YouTube in 2020.
I would like to thank Jane and Jake for the support this year and all my close friends who have always been at the end of the phone and my Medical Friends who have given me so much great advice without you guys I would have gone nuts.
I would also like to thank the NHS who are over run with people abusing the system so it makes it hard for people who really need it. I have had a few issues with mistakes over the last two years but they are under so much pressure its unreal. The Vascular team at the royal are amazing and a credit to the NHS. The private hospitals are also under strain as they are picking up where the NHS cannot cope.
Also to all you guys that follow my blog and youtube have a great new year and see you in 2020.
Fri, 23 Aug 2019 13:30:29 +0000You don’t need to know what Camera Settings were used !!
I don’t know where to start with this but after leaving a Facebook Group yesterday because the admin were demanding that every post had the camera settings I was left shocked !
They also wanted to know what Lee filter was used !
I did make a comment before I left but I think it was lost in Translation ! The guy was insisting it was not about the light !
I fully understand they most people that are learning to use there camera think they need to know other people’s camera settings and for some reason some Pro’s and some trainers encourage this, and so do lots of groups !
I remember when I was younger I even fell for this myself until I realised it’s all irrelevant!
We are convinced by other people the way to learn is to read up on camera settings so much so we get obsessed with Exiff data !
We then think if we had that camera and that lens that guy uses so we could take photos like him or her !
The brands have taken this to the next level and love all their Ambassadors to share this info.
The Photographer might as well share what they had for breakfast and how they were dressed for all the good it will do us.
If you were to take three photos with the exact same setup at three different times of day using a Photographers setting you would get three different sets of results.
We don’t know what the light was like at the time, what software was used, how it was processed or what effect the Photographer was going for.
When I used to teach Street Photography the most common question I ever got asked was “can you set my camera up for me ?” or “what are your camera settings for Street ?”
When I try and explain that’s not how it works I get the look ! I can hear the cogs ticking ! “He does not want to tell us his secrets !” “He does not want us to be better than him !”
When the truth is I Format my memory card before I go out and shoot in RAW and have my Cameras set on Manual if I am in a Studio and Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority out on the Street and probably Auto ISO ! If I am shooting Landscape it will be Manual with the lowest ISO probably.
Wherever we stand on this planet whatever country we are in, at any given time of day the light and conditions are different and also the effect we want in our camera also comes in to play.
We have to learn to Master the Exposure Triangle there and then and it’s only by going out day after day for years and years can we work out what works for us.
Yes of course you can use the Sunny 16 rule on a Sunny day but that just gets you a shot !
What if you want people with motion blur or want narrow depth of field or you even want to make people disappear from the scene ! What if you want movement in the clouds or silky water !
What if in a Studio you want High Key or Low key ?
Stop obsessing over bloody camera settings and get out and practice ! The more time you spend with a camera in your hand the more you learn.
Photography is about so much more than Exiff Data it’s about Light,Composition, Moment, Amazing Subject and Emotional impact. It’s about you the Photographer and what your vision is. Not what settings Linda Wisdom uses !
You won’t learn this stuff in a week or a month it’s a lifetime of learning !
If you are in a Facebook group that insists on Exiff Data leave the group, go outside and take some photos it will be the best thing you have done for your photography all week.
There is no shortcut trust me, get out with your camera every day or as much as you can and practice practise practise, learn by your mistakes and trial and error. That way you learn a lot faster.
You can read as many books as you want, do as many courses as you want they just give you inspiration. It’s down to you and you alone to teach yourself the Exposure Triangle and learn to speed up that process by daily practise.
Jane always says to me she does not want to learn photography because there is too much to remember ! So very true but with practice it becomes second nature. You can just dial it in and shoot. You don’t become an expert at anything if you sit on your arse and wait for it to come to you, hard work and commitment is the name of the game.
Searching YouTube for those bits of info on camera setting for hours and hours won’t make you a better photographer it just makes you a couch potato !
So get up go out and get practicing ..
Thu, 22 Aug 2019 17:09:44 +0000Choosing a lens and why Facebook can’t help !
Where do I start !
I used to own a Motorcycle Business in Kent and I lost count of the stupid questions I got as a retailer every day.
I used to tell my staff every day, today will be a good day but within a short period of time that was all over.
Stupid questions ! all day long…
Customer : Can I have a bulb for my bike ? Sales Assistant : What bike is it ? C: A red one
Customer: I need a spark plug for my Bike. SA: what bike is it C: Honda SA: What model C: I don’t know !!! SA: is it here ? C: Yes SA: goes outside and looks at the Suzuki and sigh’s !
This was so common it was painful. But now social media gives more room for Stupid Questions but not just stupid questions but a million unqualified stupid answers.
I used to teach my staff TMA To Much Information, facebook comes unfiltered and is just a joke. Now we all ask stupid questions sometimes and there should be no such thing as a stupid question, but there is ! This is made worse by a 10000 stupid answers !
A lot of the time it’s about education and the person wanting a bulb for his bike should have said ” Hi can I have an indicator bulb for a Honda CBR400R on a H Reg please” but he did not know there are probably 1000bulbs to choose from. I won’t go in to how complicated it is to find a Spark Plug for a bike when someone doesn’t even know what make it is.
These days people ask such random questions like “what is the Fujifilm 80mm lens like ?”
Sounds like a simple question and does not even sound stupid !
But what we need to know is more information Like….
What camera is it going on ?
How many times a year are you going to shoot Macro ?
What’s your budget ?
The list is endless….
This sounds like I am just being a knob but look at is this way.
If I was to ask on Facebook what is the best toaster for me I would get about 500 replies but they don’t know what the application is do they ?
Am I single and just need a 2 slice ? Am I single and a greedy git and need a 4 slice ? Have I got a family of 6 and need an 8 Slice or do I want it for my B&B and need an industrial Toaster if I don’t give the right information in the question I will get 500 wrong answers.
I know asking what is the Fujifilm 80mm Lens like looks specific but its not, the guy who asked the Question owns a Fujifilm X Pro1. Nothing wrong with that it’s a great camera and if he was going to use the 80mm on Manual then he would get some great if he likes a great big heavy lens that costs over a grand. He will also have to shoot on Manual because the focus system on the camera is not up the XT3s standard so spending that a amount of money on a lens would be pointless. He would be better of with a set of Extension tubes or reversing rings and so many other options.
You see a better question would have been ” what are the best Macro Options for my XPro1 ? This in the right group on facebook would have been more helpful.
I really do think Facebook However is not the place to ask or answer to these questions, I really do think advice in the right Bricks and Mortar shop is far better. Facebook and Twitter etc are no place for Expert advice they are just quick and easy but they just make the water twice and muddy ! When I say the right shop, I mean shops with Photographers in, not just shops with Sales people in, as they will look at you like you have two heads if they can’t just bounce there sales patter off you !
The Fujifilm 80mm Macro is a fantastic lens and the images on with this blog were all shot on the Fujifilm XT3 and the 80 mm Macro, but it really does depend on what lens this lens is going on and how its going to be used.
The purpose of this blog was not to help you choose a lens because you need to do that for yourselves the same way you choose a Toaster of a TV or a Bed, go in a shop and pick the lenses up and try them. You really will get a good idea in a shop and if you are still not sure ask the shop if they hire the lens for a few days or try Hire A Camera.
If you have a Friend that lives close that has that lens and they are a good friend then ask them if you can give their lens a try, you never know your luck ( but be prepared to buy your friend a new one if you lose it or break it )
I tend to buy lenses based on my needs and reviews on youtube or blogs by trusted people like Cameralabs but I do my research ! I ask my friends that have used the product and I only ask people I know will tell me the truth and I make sure I let them have all the information they need to give me an informed answer.
I would never ask 3000 people on facebook what they think ! I don’t need a baker with no camera experience telling me how good or bad an XT3 is although he might be able to help me with my my bread for my Toaster !
Tue, 13 Aug 2019 16:23:28 +0000So you think you are a Photographer ! Part 2
When I wrote part one I was interested to have a good look around Social media to see what the response was, and to be honest it was as expected.
Some thought it was great and very true and most of these were people whose work I found on Social Media are Professional or very good photographers in general with some interesting bodies of work.
There were some that thought it was a shouty ranty post that was a load of crap ! Looking at most these peoples work available on Social media it’s technically fine and some of the people even work in Photography for a living but their work has no personality or soul and it’s more for the viewer than the photographer. Some thought I was arrogant and an arse !
Everyone is entitled to think what they like and the fact I am now writing this blog to help people learn to see and move forward I know what I have to say won’t be to everyone’s taste but hopefully the few that do take a few hints and tips on board will be able to lift their work to the next level. I have helped a few people to really achieve great things in their work and sometimes you have to be honest and help them find their way.
Even though I say I have only helped a handful achieve Exhibitions and Books I have probably inspired 1000’s to more forward with their work.
The most interesting thing I noticed was the amount of times people said “who is he to tell us we can’t call ourselves Photographers” Interesting how my blog post was interpreted because that’s not what I said.
Even more interesting was the the fact people were saying ” who is he to tell us we can’t call ourselves Photographers, we are entitled to call ourselves whatever we want” I did laugh at this and then did some more research.
A teacher friend of mine told me that in modern teaching kids are being told they can be anything they want to be and are Entitled to call themselves anything they like.
I think that’s great and as a young boy my Parents encouraged me to play sport and learn to play instruments etc in the hope that I would find something that would interest me they also wanted me to join a choir ! But I was cluless with Music and apart from getting off my face during the Rave Scene and being mad about Psytrance and House Music I was never going to learn an instrument.
I did however Swim for Kent win the British Bench Press in 82.5 Kilo class and competed in the World Powerlifting Championships at 82.5 Kilo class and trust me I trained day 7 days a week to Swim and to lift weights. I don’t think I would have dared to walk in a Gym and said I am a Powerlifter if I was not. I also played in the British Roller Hockey Team in Goal against Spain. I spent hundreds of hours training in all these sports so that I could overachieve.
So if this is the modern world and people are entitled to call themselves anything they want then I am a Chef a Singer and Film Star ! But my advice is don’t buy and of my food buy some ear defenders and dont watch any of my films.
I do think this is sad because what is wrong with learning a craft and waiting a few years before you start calling yourself anything ?
Its quite funny how the Photography industry has been devalued buy all the people that call themselves Photographers ! Imagine people calling themselves Plumbers and Mechanics being let loose in your home or on your car !
My original blog was about just that, you don’t need to call yourself a Photographer, you can of course and you are Entitled to ! But personally I would get a body of work together and get some years under my belt before I called myself anything.
Some people need to take a long good look at their own work and dig deep and consider their own path and development.
I will continue my blog and try and help the people that want to read it to improve their work it’s amazing how most of the Haters do not have a body of work or many images to show for themselves and have the loudest voices ! Do you think this is because they don’t like the idea that anyone is better than them ?
All my blog posts are open to debate and discussion and one thing I do like about WordPress is its relatively Troll Free because most of them cant be arsed to read more than a couple of paragraphs on Twitter or watch a youtube channel.
Photography has always been a hotbed of jealousy and Trolling so I will only answer and debate with people that are genuine.
Have a great week.
Wed, 07 Aug 2019 15:13:38 +0000What do you really need to take a photograph ?
What do you really need to take a photograph ?
Let’s get the gear bit out of the way first before I move on to the future of my Blog and YouTube.
A few years back I would have recommended a film camera but with the spiralling costs of film and paper it’s probably not the answer unless you can afford it.
So I will base this on Digital.
I guess first off it depends what type of photography you are in to, as will define the gear or amount of gear you need. The word NEED is the issue. What you need at what you buy and collect are hardly connected and most people quickly fall into the GAS ( Gear Acquisition Syndrome ) section.
I fully understand there is a huge difference between what you need for Sports Photography or Landscape or even Studio work.
Because of the years I have shot just about everything I have been through the (GAS) just as everyone has. I wish someone had told me at the start that chasing the TEC and buying tons of Kit is a mugs game ! No wait they did ! I ignored them.
There is nothing wrong with buying tons of kit and people with Expendable incomes can buy what the hell they like.
I had a friend who asked me what he needed for his new camper van a few weeks back and I told him ” you will keep buying more and more gear you think you need and filling your van up with stuff, then in two years time you will leave most of it at home and just take what you need and start to enjoy your van”
But everyone must understand the gear won’t make you a better photographer, I really do believe struggling with cheap hard to use kit and slow lenses is part of the learning process.
Let’s face it if you are going to shoot something slow moving or standing still only a few feet from you or even a Landscape and you are only going to view it on Instagram you might at well just use your Smartphone.
At the other end of the scale if you are a full time Pro shooting billboard size images for an advertising company you might need a 100mp Medium Format Camera. Likewise if you are going to do large prints all the time the Medium Format might be the way to go.
But remember the more megapixels you have the more detail you will see in the images the more dust and imperfections you with have to deal with in the final edit. Also your computer system will need to cope with the huge file size. You will also have to deal with Dust on that Sensor.
The biggest problem is once people get bogged down in cameras and lenses they hardly use what they have and they struggle to decide what to take when they leave the house ! Some take 30-40 kilos of kit every time they go out ! It’s madness no one cares what you have on your back or what you have in your hands only you ! The people who walk round camera shows with all there kit ! Who are those people ?
I guess we all have to learn the hard way. The secret to buying cameras is to only buy what you really need and to invest in glass as body’s will be updated with the new best thing in 12-24 Months ! That’s what I was told years ago and it’s somewhat true but buying that new body is great if you are a Pro and need to have a reliable camera under warranty in your hand at all times but for the average person it really is a mugs game.
You really only need what you are going to use. If you are a Pro that’s shoots everything from Sport to Studio work then of course you are going to need a large amount of kit. That way you can pick up the right bag for the Job and run out of the house to shoot the job and get paid. Most Pros these days have lots of kit but also Hire in for specific jobs. Most of the Pro’s I know off load kit all the time. I do it as well, I look in Lightroom to see what lenses I have been using and what cameras and focal lengths them make changes accordingly. Sell bodies I don’t use and get lenses that make more sense.
I can’t tell you what you all need because I don’t know the way you Shoot or what you Shoot so it would be impossible for me to be able to advise lots of people all in one blog post.
I do know if you are a Pro then you need kit that can handle daily use, with a big bright viewfinder because you are going to spend a lot of your day looking through that viewfinder !
If you are not a Pro don’t waste your money on Pro gear just because you can afford it.
Not many people take their driving test in a Formula 1 Car ! Sounds like a mad analogy but it’s not far off.
I learnt photography with a film camera my Dad gave me and the first camera I saved up for was a Zenit E. I made all my own Studio lights and reflectors and only had two lenses ! I learnt so much using that camera and a light meter. I also learnt all about light and composition because I had to.
These days it’s easy to buy any modern point and shoot and it will take infocus images with correct exposure on auto without you having to think too much.
You can also get round most technical issues in post processing depending on the sensor.
So if you are starting out and really want to learn Photography buy the most basic Manual camera around and teach yourself the basics of photography. You probably won’t use it on Manual once you understand it you will probably shoot in Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority or in some cases like weddings and Sport full Auto. But getting the basics right first gives you the grounding you need to move on and understand why your camera reacts to light and speed the way it does.
You don’t need a GFX or a Nikon D7 to start your journey even if you can afford it.
I was watching a film last night looking at the lighting and composition as well as all the noise in the dark areas ! I also noticed it was not always sharp or in focus. These things really don’t matter as much as you think ! People are obsessed with Sharpness.
You really don’t need to have all the latest gear and lenses to take great photos trust me.
I know I know if you are going to shoot wildlife sport or birds you need slightly better kit but let’s face it Wildlife Sport and Birds have been photographed before all the latest kit came out ! So sometimes it worth looking back instead of forwards for inspiration.
Remember that Camera that was the newest best thing a year ago ? Well it not much different a year later ! I know Press Photographers still using the Nikon D3s over newer models because the camera is better in many areas and the file sizes are much more manageable.
So what do you need to take a photo if you are just starting out ? It all depends on what you are going to shoot and your budget so I can’t answer that for everyone but what I can say is. Don’t buy a Bentley before you have learnt to drive. Because once you have learnt you will realise a Bentley is a great big fat lump of a car that costs fortune to insure does not fit in to a parking space can’t be left anywhere because it might get keyed and is great for showing off in but the wife’s Audi A6 is better all round so you end up leaving the Bentley at home and just taking the point and shoot !
Don’t do all the the research online go in to real shops and pick up there cameras and feel them try out the lenses and get a feel for them once you have decided keep going back to the same camera store over and over again and build up a relationship with the staff that way you can get better discounts and find out about second hand gear when it comes in. Ever time there is a new model out all last years models end up back in the shops so keep your eyes out for a bargain.
You don’t need a Full Frame DSLR you really don’t …
Think about what you shoot now what you will shoot in the future and research that, pick a shop like Wex or Park Camera or Wilkinson Cameras or some of the Old Favorites like Ffords of Greys of Westminster find a camera shop with Camera Enthusiasts not retail sales assistants on commission.
MPB.com is also a great way to buy Second hand I use MPB and Wex used all the time the mint cameras and OB cameras are good as new at a fraction of the new cost.
Steer clear of the internet you might think it’s cheap until you find out its fake or has no warranty in the UK !
One you have your kit the journey really starts…
Mon, 05 Aug 2019 15:23:00 +0000So you think you are a Photographer !
Bollox are you ! Most people that carry cameras these days are just camera owners.
If you buy lots of ingredients from a Supermarket and carry them around with you it won’t make you a Chef, not even if you do have a £10,000 Cooker and all the pots and pans. You need to learn all the classics and possibly even start off in the pot wash or on veg prep.
Well it’s the same with a Camera with all the gear, it takes years of practice and a lifetime of learning.
One very well known Photographer once said to me ” you have to do a long time in the trenches before you can call yourself a photographer”
It’s no good watching Youtube and having a good look around Social media. YouTube does help but youtube is not a great way to learn and retain information. Social media is either one way or the other it’s either lots of people blowing smoke up your arse, or a lot of hate. Most of the time its gives you a 50/50 view of your work by uneducated people who might be lying for their own benefit !
The other issue these days is so called Ambassadors or Influencers ! Most just work to a template of formula to produce images you want to see that you think are great. Technically most of their images are fine but are they any good ? They are famous today but will you remember them in 10-20 years time ? Who made them famous ? Their work or their association with a brand ? Don’t get me wrong there are some great Ambassadors out there with some amazing work but do you know the good from the bad ?
Don’t even get me started on the Fake Instagram and Social media stars with paid followings and brown filters !
People these days who are making crap images have even started to slag off some of the greats or try to debunk there work in a vain attempt to make themselves feel better.
It’s all becoming a real mess how do new people know who to follow and how to learn ! Well it’s not easy its a complete minefield out there and coupled with that the fact that most people with a camera think they are a Pro the moment they get the camera out of the box it’s a big mess.
I have seen many an argument about Bruce Guildon or Martin Parr the funny thing is most people don’t have a clue what a good or bad image is or why ! So there is no way they can work out who are the modern day greats !
I won’t go in to the guy I watched tell Nick UT he used the wrong film when he shot the Napalm Girl !
A great photographer will be out there every day honing their craft and probably won’t even have time to teach or talk until they are a lot older and have more time on their hands. I have seen people leave University without a body of work and set up teaching workshops and people actually going on their courses ! Most of the Course content has been stolen form the internet or they have been on other photographers workshops to make notes and just replicate there course ! They are passing on No Passion and No Skill. There are so many workshops and courses out there now the market is flooded.
I remember reading about 10 years ago, how that one day the world would be saturated with cameras and then the new cream of photography would rise to the top. I think we are at that point now but the water has become so muddy most people don’t have a clue what makes a great image or a great photographer and social media and political correctness is holding the future greats back like a great big dam. Combined with people with really average images trying to convince the world there work is great and some brands even falling for it !
I am now retiring in October this year so don’t read this thinking he is just trying to sell his own workshops because I am not.
You might be thinking he thinks he is the dogs bollocks that Matt Hart but far from it I don’t like any of my work and if you have been on any of my workshops you will know I like about 9 of my own images, and they all mean something to me personally.
I did find it funny on facebook when I read about a guy that culls his images down by first removing all the out of focus shots ! I think omg just stick the bloody thing on Auto you won’t miss !
Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about learning to use a camera, this for most people takes a while but also the whole process is a lifetime of learning. Some people get stuck in the cocky pixel peeping stage where they know the camera inside out then then spend their lives on social media telling everyone how great they are ! They forget we have Google so we can just google their work and see a bunch of random shit with no meaning or context. These are the people that go to all the gear shows and try and piss off all the staff at the Trade counters with their vast knowledge. What they don’t know is everyone just thinks they are a dick ! I love to google people having an argument about images and see how really bad there work is !!
No one gives a flying fuck what camera you have and if you are loyal to a brand any more just learn how to use what you have or find the right camera for you. It’s just a box that takes a photo learn to use it then move the fuck on.
The only way to learn how to make and take pictures is immerse yourself in Knowledge, read up on the real greats from the past the same way great painters copied the brush strokes of the masters before them. You will go through the stage of copying the peoples work you admire but then it’s time to start to find out who you are and what you have to say with your camera. Most people with cameras these days are like those kids in school with the tracing paper just copying what other people have done and never really moving forward.
I have taught thousands of people over the years and only a handful have listened and studied the greats and then gone on to produce great bodys of work or find their own style.
It’s not easy and involves a lot of work and that is why most people don’t ever learn and don’t ever get anywhere and the camera manufactures love you because it’s you that they can convince that there new lens or new camera can make you a better Photographer but sadly there are no shortcuts. Hard work dedication and a lifetime of learning is the only way.
If I wrote a blog post about the Fujifilm X100F it would reach 20,000 people if I made a video about it it would reach 80,000 people, If I talk about how to move forward in your photography and become a great photographer I get about 100 hits ! What does that tell you.
I used to teach a learning to see workshop where I gave people the formula to be a great and successful Photographer but because its involves hard work people don’t follow the route. I think out of all the courses I did only 3 people really listened and one is now producing great work and has been talking and exhibiting their work.
Instead of going to all the gear shows support all the great Exhibitions around the world that are not about the gear but about great projects and great work.
In the UK we have Hull International Photography Festival and Photo North in Harrogate the Birmingham Photography Festival etc
Go to an Art Gallery and see how the masters paint light in to a scene or frame and image.
Have a look at the great books by Bluecoat Press.
I hear people moaning about the cost of Exhibitions at £5 or £20 and it makes me laugh, they spend £1000 on a new lens and some shitty bags and more lens cloths and that new KickStarter thing that they think will make them great at The Photography Show but £5 -£20 spent on looking at real work by real people will inspire you more than any bit of kit but it might not make you feel happy inside like a new camera ! People were moaning about paying £20 to go and see Don Mccullin’s work in London a while back. I was shocked, I wonder if people realise how much these things cost to put on. I have a friend who put on a small exhibition a couple of years back and it cost him 35k ! It’s not like TPS where all the brands pay for all the artists.
Photowalks also help, get out in the fresh air with like minded people, be careful you don’t get stuck with the know it all gear freak ffs they will drive you insane, but listen to the conversations that way you will hear some new names you can research and find out about the next Exhibition or Festival you might hear some names you have never heard off and find out that there work inspires you.
So how is this blog post going to help ! I think most people could not give a shit to be honest they just want to be YouTube famous or have 20,0000 likes on Insta.
I am not going to give it all away in one blog post I am going to write a series of posts and now I am out and about again try and make some YouTube videos that really do help the few people that really want to learn to make it. It’s all up to you though as I say there really are no shortcuts.
The truth is it’s all about Projects and Finding your own style but its like weight loss you can tell everyone losing weight is all about diet and exercise and because that sounds like hard work they switch off ! You can’t lose 3 kilos in 5 minutes and keep off you have to work at it.
It’s the same with Photography you have to start by researching who the greats really are in the area of Photography you want to learn then immerse yourself in there work. Once you have learnt as much as you can you need to get out there and shoot and shoot. The more time you spend with a camera in your hand the better you will get, and that is where Personal Projects come in.
Don’t shoot for your friends and social media shoot for you shoot something that really means something to you, shoot something that you are passionate about it’s not about likes or fluffy comments it’s about learning ! Start a project today and make it last a year and produce a book at the end of it. Do you know how many times I have said that and how many people have done it ? How about if I told you the greats work on projects all the time !
Mon, 13 May 2019 11:52:28 +0000Back Up Drives
I wrote about my computer system and backup solutions ages ago now here and I still have the same backup solution and it works very well. I have been doing more and more Video Editing and now I need more hard drives for backing up and for working drives in the Field.
However I see so many of my friends using the WD drives its unreal and they mostly rave about how good they are. Most video editors appear to use lots of WD drives and and I see piles of them on peoples desks all with labels on so I thought I would just share a quick blog post to let you guys know what people are using at the moment.
I understand budget is important and this blog post was inspired by a friend of mine who was looking for a short term backup solution for his lap top. I then had a quick look at Amazon and realised how cheep these drives are now !
The WD My Passport Drives are perfect and you don’t have to go for 4tb drives you could get a few smaller drives as back and use one as back up and one as a mirror back up and leave it at a relatives house just in case of break in or fire etc.
I think we all know Hard Drives can and will fail, bit as long as you have a few back ups you will be fine, so these little drives are perfect for that.
Tue, 07 May 2019 10:13:19 +0000Out Out !
It’s been a difficult year so far, apart from a couple of days work at Peoples Ford Liverpool I have hardly been out with a camera and this bank holiday weekend was the first real chance to be out with my camera this year. I thank my good friends Rich and Elaine for the opportunity to get out and get some fresh air.
Not going in to many details but waiting for my Gallbladder to be removed and daily pain has taken its toll. Not only am I now in daily pain but every now and again when a stone decides to move in to a bile duct I have around 15 hours of intense pain and this can be at any time of day or night at at the most random and annoying times. Lucky for me I had a weekend with minimal issues and was able to get out with my camera, even thought I probably drove my friends mad moaning about my Health !
I have driven past the Marble Church for about 10 years and about 5 years ago I decided I would like to try and photography it. However it’s one of those places on a journey so you very rarely can be bothered to stop. I had a vision in my head of what I would like but as soon as we got there it started to rain. Great for cloud formation but a pain in the arse for rain on the lens !! I also had a vision of what I wanted to shoot and to be honest the first walk around the Church I realized I was to close and needed to be further away I also had to deal with too much distortion up close and did not have a tilt shift lens.
After taking a few reference shots I decided to move back towards the road where I had seen this Church from and the closer I got to the road the vision I have had for so long started to fall in to place. The rain stopped and a little light hit the church and lit up the graveyard. So I quickly framed the church between the bushes and grabbed a couple of frames. I was using one of my Fujifilm XT3 bodies and the amazing 10-24mm lens, I normally use this camera just for commercial work and only ever take out my X100F on most trips but decided I wanted something a little wider today and this used to be my default Landscape Lens.
I am quite happy with the shot and I guess it just goes to show all good things come to those that wait ! I think if I had stopped and tried to shoot this Church 5 years ago it would not have been the same !
After the Church we went to the woods, the weather forecast was supposed to be over cast all day but over the last few years I think these little showers have been quite hard to predict so the cover of the tree canopy in the woods was a good choice.
I think you can tell my mood from my images and I have always noticed this. It’s been a crazy year this year and at times as now, my mood has been quite dark. The irony of going to the woods to shoot bluebells was not lost on me being a black and white shooter ! I just loved this path and the darkness of the woods so wanted to capture the way the woods made me feel at the time and I think this image did just that.
The next image says a lot to me, I fell out of love with Landscape images because for me there was always something missing ! Without a human element or something living I found it quite hard to connect with some scenes. When I was composing this shot I loved the way the light was hitting the ferns in the foreground and lighting up the bluebells but really did struggle with the empty space on the left ! It was at that point Jake walked in to the scene a couple of frames later I had an image I was happy with.
I had almost fallen out with Photography this year, but it’s surprising how a day out with great company and some fresh air can bring back the urge to make and create images again… I need to go OUT OUT more often !!!
You can find these images on my Instagram account @matt6t6
Thu, 04 Apr 2019 15:13:54 +0000Colour ! Its a Van Thing !Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad
As most of you know I am a 99% black and white Photographer it’s always been my preference. I have never really liked Colour as I have always found it distracting and a very hard medium to grasp and as for trying to tell a story out on the street !
I also struggled with Colour in the early days of digital as the slightest noise really did mess with the colours on most DSLRs.Fujifilm XT3 16-55mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad
These days nearly the only time I shoot colour is for Client work and I really do forget just how amazing the modern Fujifilm Cameras are with such great Colours.Fujifilm XT3 16-55mm mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad
I have been shooting Vans and Trucks a while now and just love working with Peoples Ford Van Centre Liverpool. The team there are amazing and they have some amazing return customers who just love their Vans. I also have a Camper Van based on the Ford Transit Custom and built by Wellhouse so I am in love with the backbone of the UK.Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad
Ford have been producing some amazing colours over the last few years as well as some stunning Vans. It’s through my involvement with Peoples Ford that I have started to love shooting Vans in Colour ! I am not sure how long my love of Colour will last !!!Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad
I guess it all depends on what Ford have up their sleeves !
One thing’s for sure I love the creative freedom I get working with these guys and I can’t wait to share with you all some of the images I have planned for the Future !
Until then here are a couple from this week’s shoot.Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad Fujifilm XT3 10-24mm Lee Filters 0.9 Soft Grad