Blog - Lighttraveler

Light Traveler

  • Thu, 04 Apr 2019 15:13:54 +0000

    Colour ! Its a Van Thing !
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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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 !!!

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    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.

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  • Sun, 24 Feb 2019 17:19:49 +0000

    On Becoming a Photography Brand Ambassador

    How do you get noticed in a Crowd ?

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    I have lost count of the amount of times I have been asked “how do you become a Brand Ambassador for a Photography Company ” It can be any brand and as I was probably with Fujifilm the longest,  then people will assume I am talking about Fujifilm but this could apply to any Photography Company.

    So how do you become a Brand Ambassador ? To be honest it’s hard work and dedication and most importantly a great body of work because without great images to back you up you can fall at the first hurdle. These days there are a few people that have slipped through the net because they know somebody that knows somebody or have a fake Instagram following but when it’s time to knuckle down and produce the goods its these people that fail.

    So many people want to become a Brand Ambassador but they really don’t know what is involved they only see the tip of the iceberg and the perceived glory !

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    They don’t see the hundreds of hours that go into the job and the thought of standing on a stage talking to 60-1000+ people scares the crap out of quite a few. There are also the trolls and negative people that are too lazy to work hard for themselves and think you are going to help them when they can be arsed themselves !

    I have given help and advice to lots of people over the years and also watched people knocking at the doors of lots of Brands and never making it ! Why is that you might ask and do you know most of the time they just give up too soon.  Most the the time if they are good the brands will be watching them they might even have people in their social media accounts before they even know they are in there. I have watched people focus on a brand and daily swamp the brands hashtags and pump images all over their feeds in the hope of getting noticed and trust me this works. I have even had brands say to me what is he or she like and I say yea great good work to only to find out the person they were watching gave up and then got overlooked.

    I was told once you can’t be a Brand Ambassador on your work alone but that is not strictly true as I believe to this day its still your work that gets you noticed first. Then yes of course they need to see where you fit in their Brand Ambassador Scheme ! If a company has a full set in each country from Street to Landscape Sport etc then you should be looking for one of these people to leave and seize your chance.

     

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    Times  have changed and most brands now require you to be a Full Time Professional Photographer earning at least 90% of your income from Photography. There are a few exceptions and that’s were your hard work and  image making skills come in.

    With most brands it’s got to be a win win situation and there has got to be something in it for them and you.

    I do laugh at times when I see people chasing after brands and think in three months or a year they might be working for Fujifilm or Sony etc  I think it was nearly three years before Fujifilm even noticed I was there and running next to me was Jeff Carter and I think at the time he was posting and blogging like a man possessed ! I was at the time shooting like a mad man and hoping my work would get me noticed and it did.

    I think around about 2013 I was in the middle of my Black and White project and I was approached by about 5 brands all in the same year and still to this day I get the odd email asking me if I would like to work with X or Y brand.

    It’s a lot easier once you have worked with a few big brands as you then have more value to another Brand. I am only representing 1 brand at the moment and that’s the amazing Gnarbox Team  this is a brand I believe in and have a strong connection with. I have turned down lots of brands and the main reason is I don’t like of believe in their product or I don’t like the way they do business. I won’t just represent someone because they pay me to represent them I have to keep my integrity intact.

    When I left Fujifilm in 2017 quite a few people were wondering where I would go next and I thought it was amusing because as far as I am concerned Fujifilm are the best Camera Manufacturer out there at the moment with the best team, best integrity and the right vision for the future and they listen to the end user. I think Canon come second and after being a Nikon user for 40 years before I changed to Fujifilm I think Nikon are the most out of touch ! As a Nikon fan for 40 years I find the way they do business short sighted and rude.   On this point if you want to be a Brand Ambassador you need to be loyal !

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    I have lost count of the people that have asked me how to be a Fujifilm ambassador then in 18 months jumped ship to Sony and that’s why the brands don’t rush into taking you on.

    I know some people that think if they play up and are rude and nasty they will get noticed and it somehow has worked for a few people by slagging off one brand, they have managed to get involved with a rival ! I personally think that’s pathetic and there are a few out there with quite dubious backgrounds in the industry and I know some of these people personally and they have not done half the things they have on their CVs.

    Some of them even admit fake it until you you make it mentality but it all goes wrong when you rock up for a job and can’t cope !!

    The truth is it’s a long journey to be a Brand Ambassador first you need a body of work this takes time and if you have no images then you are looking at at least 5 years and at least 5 projects under your belt. I would say you do need to specialize I used to be known as a safe pair of hands that could shoot anything but that would not help me become a Brand Ambassador. In the end I had to go back to my passion and shoot Street and focus on that before I would get noticed.

    You have to have a head for business and be able to take rejection as well. I learnt quite a lot from Stock Photography as rejection was high in the early years.

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    You also have to be able to do the job. It’s no good  blagging your way in then not being able to stand on a stage and perform. Trust me it’s not easy to get up there and some of the best I have seen crapping themselves before they go on stage.  You also have to be able to work very hard and very long hours and mostly weekends. I think David Noton once said “you have to do your time in the trenches before you can become a Professional Photographer” and he was spot on if you don’t learn the job inside out you will look stupid at some point.

    In 2016 I hardly had a day off and was all over the UK at the drop of a hat and the lifestyle looks great but it can get bloody lonely living out of a hotel room and sitting on a train on your own for hours at a time.

    Yes the rewards are great but trust me going to bed at 4am and starting at 6am for 14 days straight can take its toll.

    People always see the SUCCESS but they don’t see the hard work, risk, late nights, struggles, failures, persistence, action, discipline, courage, changes, criticism, disappointments,  adversity, rejections, sacrifice, marketing,  and accounting that goes in to that SUCCESS !!

    The biggest thing holding most people back in trying to work for a brand is they just don’t have what it takes to go the distance and these days they are just too lazy and want it all done for them and handed to them on a plate. The end goal for most people trying to be a Brand Ambassador is they want free stuff but trust me,  it does not work like that and even though some brands do give stuff away most of the people who think wow that’s great, fail to deliver the goods and fail to impress the Brand and are just left with a camera body that they end up selling.

    Some of the brands these days are to blame. They see someone with a fake Insta following and start throwing stuff at them only to find out the person can’t deliver !!

    I have fallen foul of this myself and booked people with a huge following but they fail to get bums on seats at workshops or events because the following is fake ! Thanks to the Social Chain and quite a few other people now these accounts can be checked.

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    So my advice on trying to be a Brand Ambassador if that’s what you want to do, is to consider this, I decided to leave Fujifilm to get my own identity back as I felt I needed to have my own creative freedom to do my own projects again so be aware you will be signing a contract that in some cases can be quite restrictive.  Make sure you are using that brand’s products  and have been for quite a while and I mean really love that gear and then build yourself a body of work using their products and get some really good projects under your belt before hounding them to death on Social Media. Specialise in one area be it Street, Landscape or Portrait and even if you are a Full Time Wedding Photographer do a project that means something to you that could make people look at your work in a new way.

    Work hard and be positive and buckle in for a long journey.

    Someone once said to me how long will it take me to get in the Police I have been trying for 8 years,  I said if you give up now you wont get in,  she sighed and got in the following year and is now doing her dream job.  It’s the same with the brands stick at it be loyal and produce great projects and they will find you.

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  • Sun, 24 Feb 2019 13:30:27 +0000

    Stuck IN !

    So I am stuck in the house until the 14th of March  ! Not 100% true I can walk Jake and I can go out but I can’t drive and I have to be super careful.

    It’s been this way for the last three months but I am now on the mend and climbing the walls so I have decided to do a 14 day Instagram Challenge to post an image form inside my House every day for the next 14 days shot on my iphone7plus and edited only in Instagram ! My instagram account is a black and white only account so all the images will be with Inkwell filter.

    My Instagram feed started to get boring with just pictures of Jake and I know a few of you would love me to do an Instagram account for Jake but it won’t happen. From 2019 onwards I am going to thin out my Social media accounts as life if far more interesting than the never ending loop of social media.

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    I started yesterday with a lightswitch and today was a simple lead that we all probably had by the side of the bed, the best part of the lead post was quite a few of my facebook friends taking this piss with their own floor images ! So it just goes to show what any little project can do.

    At the moment I am running Project Sunday on my YouTube channel and Flicker so if you want to join in that pop on over to YouTube and Join in this weeks theme is Reflections.

    So pop on over to my Instagram @matt6t6 if you want to see some everyday items shot in black and white with a phone !

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  • Sat, 23 Feb 2019 20:20:42 +0000

    2019 is not going to PLAN !

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    I was really looking forward to 2019 and I was all set to have my Gallbladder out and then get on with the year ! I am not going to go through all my serious medical issues that started in December but let’s just say I will probably have my Gallbladder out at a later date.

    I have basically been stuck in doors unable to drive for three months and I am now climbing the walls. I have been asked to talk about what happend a few times and have decided to save it all for a future Podcast by a friend.

    I will be able to drive again soon and can’t wait. I travel a lot by public transport or Taxi as it is but have not even been able to do that over the last three months.

    I am going to be out there with my camera and video cameras like a man possessed soon as I have never been so cut off from my photography in all my life ! My project is at a standstill and I have no new work and it’s driving me insane !

    I am represented by the HipGallery Hull but I am now also very proud to say I have been asked to be part of the O Gallery. To be honest I don’t even know why they asked me !  The web site has not been launched yet but it’s coming soon until then you can find out all about the O Gallery on Facebook.

    I am still shocked I have not picked a camera up for over three months and my YouTube videos have all been pre recorded ! My next YouTube video on the 10th of March I will be nearly back in the real world and a few days after that I can drive again and can’t wait.

    The last few months were like this woman’s hair completely out of control in the wind and just like her I have come out the other side with a smile ! Just about !

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    I am now basically three months behind on 2019 and for someone that plans 18 months ahead it’s been a  difficult time I even had to cancel one workshop and I have never had to cancel a workshop in 6 years so it was a hard decision but the right one.

    I am also very lucky to have an amazing bunch of friends who have really helped over the last few months and taken over Fujiholics for me. You know who you are cheers guys.

    I can at last get back to blogging and to shooting some video at home again next week so hopefully that should keep me sane until I can get out again.

    It’s been a trippy few months and just goes to show you should Live life to the Full every day, use every day good or bad as a learning experience to help you grow and develop. Only you can help you. Surround yourselves with positive friends who have the same dreams as you and help each other to achieve your life goals. Ignore the haters and bitter people in the world life is to short. But use their negativity in a positive way to grow your own positivity.
    Have a great weekend everyone. #makethatchamgenow

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    I have been lucky enough to have a new Rescue dog in my life called Jake who has been a great help to me over the last few weeks and no doubt you will all meet him over the course of 2019 ! I fact that’s all you have seen on Instagram for the last few weeks !

    I suppose I had better keep myself busy with an Instagram home project ! Check it out on @matt6t6 starting tomorrow !

  • Tue, 22 Jan 2019 17:55:47 +0000

    XT-3 Swap Over Complete

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    Well it’s done after a few months of just not having time to swap over my Office Vlog set up, I decided today to make the Change !  I have been using the Canon 200D with the Rode Video Micro after my Rode Videomic Pro broke( The jack plug broke inside its case and I threw it away before I realised it had a 10 year warranty ! silly me)  So was using the Video Micro for quite a while, but I now have the amazing Video Mic Pro + and its ability to turn on when you turn the camera on is a real bonus over the Video Mic Pro, I can’t even tell you how many times I forgot to turn that mic on !

     

     

    So this is my new set up its the amazing Fujifilm XT-3 with battery grip in a Smallrig Cage with added smallrig accessories to hold the Video Mic Pro + and the Atomos Ninja Blade.

    I am using the Ninja Blade for forward facing monitor and also it doubles up for when I want to record the Camera Screen.

    I am using the 16-55mm f/2.8 Fujifilm lens as its perfect for the.  The Rig does look a bit like frankenstein’s monster but it does a great job. I now have a Pair of Fujifilm XT-3’s and the are growing on me more and more every day.

    The face and eye detect is really good and one of the only reasons I stuck to the Canon system for Video was the amazing Autofocus but I really did miss the lovely Fujifilm colours. Now I have the best of both Worlds the XT-3 really does deliver on Autofocus all they have to do now is sort the screen out and make one that flips round. For now I will use my Ninja Blade lets home in the Future the XT-4 will have a decent screen.

    I can strip this rig down and use this camera in the field when needed but for now it’s going to live in the office to save me time on my YouTube videos.

    So looking forward to making some amazing content in 2019.

    I won’t write a complete list of parts but if you want to know more please ask.

     

     

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  • Thu, 17 Jan 2019 18:26:01 +0000

    The Plot

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    Last year as part of a Facebook Group Home Project I decided to shoot Jane’s Second home her Allotment Plot. This was shot over a 12 month Period in 2018 and was shot on the Fujifilm GFX50s with 32-64mm lens and it was also shot in Colour with minimal editing using Classic Chrome. I could not give this Project as much time as I would have liked but I managed to get enough images for a book and at some point in 2019 I will sit down and make the book. As soon as I started the project I realised the wider Project could have been a study of all the plot tenants and not just Jane but I barely had time to shoot jane and her plot.

    I won’t bore you with any more words here are the images from The Plot.

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  • Thu, 17 Jan 2019 15:46:32 +0000

    Let there be light

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    I have always found light fascinating from the moment as a young boy doing my first art class at school to going to my first Art Gallery. I used to walk around the Galleries to see how the artists painted in the light in the scenes or on there subjects. It’s always been my fascination and as a Photographer I sometimes just can’t be bothered to even get my camera out unless the light is right. I love all types of light and it depends on what I am shooting what type of light I want. The funny thing is people think they know what type of subjects I look for out on the street but I don’t have a type of person I prefer to see how the light falls on them first. Sometimes I find the light like above and wait to see who walks through the light and how they look then after I work out where the light is and how it falls I will wait for the perfect combination right light right clothes right shadows. This can take ages at other times it all just comes together in fractions of a second.

    I really do love winter light and the way the low winter light makes its way in to shop windows and doorways. It’s a lot softer and and gives a less contrast for my windows work where as the harsh midday summer sun with its harsh shadows an hard dark contrast lines give a much harsher look for my Street City work.

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    I love to spend the winter months exploring how the light enters buildings. I find it interesting they way the shadows and shapes fall on people and I do love the way the light makes an image all about what you can see and not so much about what you can’t.

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    Those little patches of light on a dull overcast day are just stunning…

     

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    Many times you don’t need anything in the scene light and shadows as you can just let you imagination do the rest.

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  • Mon, 14 Jan 2019 14:11:48 +0000

    Project Struggles !

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    My main 2019 Project is People and Litter and so far I have not even got out with my Camera. I have a house to finish and get on the market so have been struggling for free time and this drives me nuts. But in a way it’s a good thing because it makes me think about the project more so that when I go out I will have more considered shots I hope !

    I never expected it to be easy and I also want to try and Document the project on Youtube as well so and that’s a lot more difficult than I thought. It’s quite easy to sit behind your desk and make a short Vlog About your project but its its a whole new ballgame going out on the streets and trying to shoot video and stills and vlog without help.

    If I was to do a Landscape project it’s not as bad you can plan your day and just keep setting your video camera up on a tripod and walking past it or stopping to do a piece to camera ! In a city by the time you set it up and walked away it might be gone !

    I have given this lots of thought and even though I have quite a lot of gear My Gopro Hero 4 Silver and Black were not quite up to the Street challenge for speed of use and smooth footage and getting a GoPro Gimbal would have given me another great big piece of kit to carry about.  I also need to get some friends to help me so I need kit that is easy to use and smooth to pass to friends so I have just invested in a DJI Osmo pocket ! It’s a great bit of kit simple to use and hopefully will solve a few problems. My first impression is the video Quality is great sound as expected is not great but good enough to sync to so all good but it is really small. I hope to give it a test soon on a job and then out on the street to see how it performs.

    This will be the first year I have ever tried to shoot a project and make a series of YouTube vlogs about it ! It’s a steep learning curve but hopefully I will get there. I have hopefully got the kit I need now so all I need is free time !

    I think we all go through the same struggles and it makes us who we are as Jane always says its character building !

     

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  • Mon, 14 Jan 2019 12:28:14 +0000

    Projects Group

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    Hi Guys and welcome to 2019 Happy New Year to you all, this year I am going to spend more time blogging and more time on YouTube it’s going to be a great big learning curve and my video editing skills leave a lot to be desired but I will do my best and lear as I go.

    My first new venture is Project Sunday and this is on YouTube and Flickr please feel free to subscribe to my youtube and request to join the Flickr Group some people have struggled with the Flickr group request but you request to join then send a message to admin to let you in its invite only but we can invite you if you have not messaged us.

    It’s basically a series of weekly challenges and you post you images in Flickr and your links under my youtube videos it came about from my Learning to see workshops where people wanted a little more to motivate them throughout the year. Its for fun and sharing but who knows where it will end up.

    Hopefully with a meet up at some point.

    We are up to week 3 and if you join this week you might be in time for week 3 if not start week 4 on Saturday coming.

    dscf1485-editWeek one Shoot an Egg  dscf0585-editWeek 2 shoot someone in great light. mkhf0401-editWeek 3 Self Portrait.

    I was shocked at the 70 people that have signed up so far and the amount of people who take part every week, its a great little group on Flickr and I can’t wait to see what they all come up with over the next 12 months. Really impressed by the effort some of the people have put in.

  • Sat, 29 Dec 2018 17:55:11 +0000

    Glenfinnan

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    I just watched a YouTube video that reminded me about this image, this is not the best image in the world far from it but it took my over 5 years to capture it. Approx 5 years before it was shot Jane and I paddled a canoe 7 miles down Loch Shiel to a little Island near Glen Allendale where we made camp for the night, at sunset I proposed to Jane and she accepted.  It was a beautiful day just like the day in this image. Unfortunately the following day was torrential rain so after we battled our way back to Glenfinnan in a very unstable open boat I was unable to climb up the hill to get this shot and the weather was all wrong.

    So I went back to the same spot for over 5 years waiting for the weather to be perfect.  On this day we were just about 6 miles away in the camper and when we opened the curtains in the morning it was warm and sunny with a little mist on the hills ! Perfect ! So we moved very quickly back to Glenfinnan and ran to the top of the hill to get the shot. The shot was made in Seconds with Jane standing next to me telling a couple looking at the view all about our adventure. This shot for me is what photography is all about. It’s about capturing moments in time that mean a lot to the Photographer more than anybody else. For me thats what makes photography really special.

     

    The images below were shot on an Olympus S790sw pocket camera.

     

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