Blog - Lighttraveler

Light Traveler

  • Tue, 27 Feb 2018 21:33:03 +0000

    X X Photograper


    Today I made the decision to hand back my X and become an X X Photographer !

    This was not an easy decision but the timing was about right for me and my business moving forward.

    So what camera system will I be moving to you might all ask ! Well the truth is I am not going to be moving to any other system, I love the Fujifilm X System and the GFX and this will remain my brand of choice.

    I never ever got paid by Fujifilm to say that the X System was great and always said I only said it was great because that was the way I felt about it. But there are plenty of people that did not believe me.  I can honestly say now that Fujifilm have never paid me to say the X system is great and from now on I will still be using what I feel is the right system for my workflow. I loved the X100 the day it was released and I have loved all the X Series cameras that I have used. Going back to basics when I moved over from Nikon and got the first X100 and XPro1 made me slow down and think and the sensors have always blown me away.  The XPro1 was and still is as much a game changer back then as the GFX is the game changer today. The fact that the exposure triangle is where you need it and the cameras just feel right in your hands will never change and the work I have produced with the X Series cameras speaks for itself. I can’t wait to see what Fujifilm bring us in the future.


    Watching all the griping and moaning about the new XH1 from all the Nikon and Canon users on social media has made me laugh over the last couple of weeks. Fujifilm have come up with a camera that you all asked for ! So why all the moaning that its too big or the grip is not right or this and that ! It’s hard to read and pathetic at times. Photography is about the image and creating amazing images with the 6 inches behind the camera not the tech that goes in to it. Video is a whole new ballgame and Fujifilm are now improving in that field as well and in time I am sure will bring us an amazing camera for Video. I really do wish people would get on with creating great content with stills or video and be proud of the work they produce and get off social media moaning and running people and companies down.

    I only own one camera that is not a Fujifilm camera and its a Canon 200D and this is my Vlogging camera and will remain my Vlogging camera until Fujifilm make a camera with an articulated screen that I can use to Vlog with.  I would use my X-T20 all the time for Video and Vlogging but its just takes me to long to set up, even though I prefer the images out of the X-T20 I love the ease of use of the 200D. I did use my X-70 for a while but the Rode Mic would get in the way of the flip up screen. I have used the X-T20 and the 200D side by side on some workshops and can say that the X-T20 images are always better, but the 200D is just a breeze to work with when filming yourself. Fingers crossed in the future Fujifilm with bring us a decent articulated screen and all my dreams will come true.


    I have been so busy over the last few years I have hardly had any time to stop and think and even worse I have not been able to give the time I need to develop Fujiholics.  I sat down at the end of 2017 and decided I needed to make changes to my business plan to give more time to Fujiholics in 2018 / 2019 and also to concentrate on my own business and get back to making images I like and not images that people expect me to make.

    I have three projects on the go this year and also need the time to concentrate on my own personal work.  The fear has always been that I would start to hate photography because I  would spend more time in the office and less time out taking photos and last year was very much 90% hard graft marketing and I hardly shot a thing.  So it’s time for change. I still love the photowalks and getting out and meeting people and I really do love all the Fujiholics what a great bunch of people and the community I believe is one of the best in the industry.

    I have absolutely loved all my time with the Fujifilm UK team and the Fujifilm team around the world it’s honestly been some of the best moments of my Photography career.  I have never met such a passionate bunch of people in all my life, the team really do believe in the  X Series as much as we the users do and that makes them very special team.

    I have lots and lots of plans for Fujiholics in the future and with the help of Richard Waine and my new Business Partner who will be revealed very soon I hope to bring all the Fujiholics some great new content and a few surprises.

    So thank you to all the guys at Fujifilm you all know who you are and here is to an even more exciting future.





  • Thu, 01 Feb 2018 16:14:15 +0000

    Black and White Editing

    Black and White Editing.

    I like to keep my Black and White workflow as simple as possible and have refined my systems and processes over the last ten years. I use Lightroom CC and Silver Efex Pro 2 for all my black and white images. I shoot most of the time in RAW but this process is just as effective with Jpegs, you just have less latitude with the Jpeg file. SEP2 is part of the Google Nik Collection and was made free to everyone last year.

    My workflow is simple and after a day out shooting I pop my memory card in to my MacBook Pro and copy the images in to Lr CC this is where I view the images and make my selections. I might shoot 40-60 images in a session or more but I normally only end up with 3-5 keepers if that. Once I have made my selections I then open each image in turn in SEP2 for conversion to black and white. After a few small slider movements I import the image back in to Lr for some final editing and then star rating this whole process takes less than 3-6 min per image.

    I view each image on my 27” Eizo Monitor, the monitor is calibrated regularly even though this is a black and white process I need to see every tone between the black end of the spectrum and the white end.  If you don’t have a calibrated monitor or an old monitor its best to buy a new up to date LED type monitor as these are great out of the box. You can download a test card from the internet to check your screen, if you can’t see every band in the chart you need to calibrate of upgrade your monitor.

    I will take you through my very simple workflow from start to finish with this image taken of Glenfinnan Scotland, this is the RAW file out of camera converted to Jpeg.


    First I import my images in to Lr and once in Lr I then view all my images and the images I want to keep I give a one * I do this in the Library module. Once I have made my keeper selection I then highlight and delete the rest of the images leaving my keepers and these are all the ones with the one* sometimes at this point I will remove a couple of the one* images if I think the others are stronger. At times, I have deleted the whole lot.

    Once selected I will then import the first keeper in to SEP2 this is a simple right click open in SEP2.

    Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 15.47.05

    Once the image opens in SEP2, I do not touch the left-hand side of the program as this is mostly pre-sets and there is no point in opening a pre-set because I will then have to spend the next 10-20 min trying to get the image back to the way I want it from the pre-set. I only ever use the sliders and the controls on the right-hand side of SEP2 and only use the main sliders and not open them up for fine control. The main sliders I use are Brightness Contrast and Structure and I make changes by eye to every single image I open.  I start at the top and work down the sliders.  I normally brighten most images by about 20% then contrast about 20% and then apply quite a lot of Structure to make the images pop about 60% but this is all by eye and not an exact science. On the Glenfinnan, I am going to go Brightness 22 Contrast 22 and Structure 66.

    If I need to just make controlled adjustments I use the control points so as not to cause over processing of artefacts in the complete image. This is mainly with people’s faces or complicated backgrounds with out of focus areas. I don’t need to do that in this image, I am happy with the way the image looks so I then import the image back in to Lr.

    Once in Lr I switch to the development module.

    Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 15.49.52

    I again start at the top right of the sliders and work my way down sometimes a few tweaks and at others hardly anything at all, therefore I don’t use pre-sets in Lr as I would spend most of my time correcting the changes the pre-sets make.

    I always keep an eye on the Histogram for clipped highlights as these look harsh in digital images and even worse printed. I ignore the clipped blacks as these looks great when printed and I do like quite dark blacks in my images.

    The first thing I do to this image in Lr is add a graduated filter to the sky and use the exposure control to darken the Sky by one stop. I then use the shadows slider to just pull back the shadows from the mountains. I then make a second graduated selection and darken the top of the sky to about half a stop.

    Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 15.54.08

    I then work my way down the sliders Contrast +24 Shadows +18 Blacks -31 Clarity +31 and finish off with a post-crop Vignette of about -7 I would also use the adjustment brush to lighten the snow areas and darken any areas using the exposure slider. This is about the same way you would dodge and burn in the Dark Room. This is all to personal taste, I prefer my whites to be white in an image so do tend to burn in the white but without over exposing them.

    Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 15.56.32

    Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 15.58.11

    I would then rate my image for personal use between 3* and 5* if I felt at this stage the image was 2* or 1* I would delete it.

    _MKH5713-Edit-3 copy-Edit

    The image looks quite dark in WordPress but looks great printed or on my Eizo, I hope to run a Black and White editing workshop for Fujiholics later in the year so please keep an eye open on the Fujiholics website.

  • Wed, 31 Jan 2018 15:18:33 +0000


    I was planing on bringing you my review on my Gnarbox but due to my heavy editing workload this month and the fact my new G Tec drive has not arrived I am going to have to bring it to you next month.

    I am now the only UK member of the Gnarbox Pro Team. I am really happy to be working with Gnarbox as I feel Gnarbox is a perfect fit for my workflow.

    I have had a play around with this great product and I am happy to say it’s easy to use and I see some great potential in the Gnarbox for my back up solution in the field.

    I don’t normally have much time for editing in the field the most I do is a couple of quick edits for Social media. The fact I can edit RAW files on my phone or iPad with the Gnarbox really does appeal to me. I am getting more and more in to Video and being able to use the Gnarbox to throw some quick edits together for Social media is also great.

    It’s not got massive storage but most of the time I don’t need it to back up my Street Photography.

    Tec Specs

    Intel Quad Core, 1.92ghz CPU

    128GB or 256GB Solid State

    USB 3.0, USB 2.0, SD and Micro SD Ports

    4000 mAh 3.7v rechargeable battery

    4 Core Intel HD Graphics GPU

    2gig of Ram

    Duel Band 300mbs 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi

    Data Transfer up to 4GB per Minute

    iOS & Android Compatible

    Battery Life 4-6 Hours

    Water Shock and Dust Resistant

    5.3″ x 4.3″x1″ / 1lb

    Check out the Gnarbox website for full details and the amazing helpful Learning Tab.

    I hope to bring you a review over the next few weeks.

  • Tue, 30 Jan 2018 21:02:39 +0000

    5 Candid Street Photography Tips


    These are the 5 tips from my latest YouTube channel 5 TOP TIPS

    Tip Number 1

    Buy and use a rangefinder camera like the X100F or the XPro2 just depends if you want a  interchangeable lens camera or not. I love my X100F for ease of use and portability. But the XPro2 with the 16mm lens makes for an amazing combo.




    Tip no 2

    Make sure you go out with an idea or a theme ! It could be as simple as Red,Yellow,Blue or you could have so many other reflections, light and shade high, low the list is endless. But don’t just going out without a plan or you will come home disappointed.



    Tip No 3

    In mixed lighting conditions like we have in the UK unless you are trying to be creative shoot on Auto ISO as its just one less thing to worry about. I set mine in the Menu to Auto Iso 1 Base 200 Max 6400 Shutter speed 250 Sec.


    Tip No 4

    Move the focus point from the middle of the frame to the upper third when you are shooting people up close as this will put the focus point over their face and not in the middle of the frame and if you are shooting wide open this will give you a better chance of getting the head and face sharp.





    Tip 5

    Remember the 5 golden rules of a great Street Image Light / Composition / Moment / Great Subject and Emotional Impact.




  • Thu, 11 Jan 2018 16:06:33 +0000

    GFX50s C mode.
    DSCF0111-EditGFX50s GF23mm ISO100 1/13sec f/16 Lee 0.9 Med Grad

    I guess I have fallen in love with this camera, it blows me away every time I use it and to think I left it so long before I invested ! I have always secretly wanted to get a medium format camera but I never really had the need for it or a business case to buy it, as I said in my previous post about the GFX I just decided to buy it as an early retirement present to myself, not that photographers ever really retire.

    I have three projects to shoot with the GFX this year as well as getting back in to Landscape photography and this is the perfect tool for the job.

    Three of the projects I am involved with will include really large prints and even though the other X Series cameras are capable of large prints they cant hold the detail as well as a bloody great images sensor in a medium format camera.

    DSCF0172-EditGFX50S GF23mm ISO100 1/5 sec f/16 Lee 0.9 Med Grad

    One amazing thing about the GFX is the ability to switch it to C Mode once the Lens is set to C and the ISO dial is set to C and the shutter speed dial is set to T the camera is in Command mode and the back and front Command dials act as a DSLRs command diles do and control the Speed and Aperture. Also if you push the front command dial you can then alter the ISO so this puts the Exposure Triangle at your fingertips.

    The command mode gives you the control you need to dial in the exposure you require for LE Photography ( Long Exposure ).

    The old way was to take and exposure and then calculate the filter factor with the current exposure time to give you the time it would take to make the exposure. Well that all just changed the GFX50s can’t do a timed exposure up to 60 minutes on its own.

    DSCF9908-EditGFX50s GF23mm ISO100 12 sec f/8 Lee IRND 15 Stop Lee 0.9 Med Grad

    Let me explain, you set up the shot focus the lens then set the lens to M to prevent it from re focusing when you press the shutter. Then you simply place the filter you require like the Lee 15 Stop in the holder and adjust the Aperture do the desired depth of field. Then you move the shutter speed all the way until the camera meters for the sceen through the filter. Once you set you then just set the self timer in the Q Menu to 2 seconds to prevent camera shake and make your exposure. You don’t even need a cable release so that’s one thing less to blow around in the wind.

    This function alone as made my whole life so much easier and considering the GFX is about the same size as a D800 and my Landscape kit now consists of one camera and three lenses I am really happy. I use the GF23mm GF32-64mm and the GF110mm and this little lot is quite a light lighter than the Nikon D3s and pro lenses I used to carry and the images from the GFX are outstanding as it the dynamic range.

    Right I best get back to wales and see what else this thing can do.

    DSCF0178-EditGFX50s GF23mm ISO100 240 sec f/16 Lee 15 Stop Lee 0.6 Med Grad 
  • Tue, 09 Jan 2018 16:08:30 +0000

    The New Trend in Unwanted Critique
    DSCF0186-EditGFX50S 23mm

    Happy New Year and let’s start with a bang !

    The images in this post have nothing to do with the post but are just added to give you something to look at whilst reading my semi rant !

    Back in 2014 I wrote a blog post about Critique and to save you all searching here it is 2014 Blog Post  I am not even going to read it before I write this post because I know roughly what it says and not a lot has changed since then, people with little or know skill or knowledge feel the need to Critique other people’s work for various diferent reasons.

    To be honest Facebook and Social media is rife with opinion and critique and bullys.

    I always said I have never ever seen a professional photographer ever give unwanted Critique online or in an open forum as they have better things to do and would not lower themselves to be that person.

    I am talking about unwanted and negative Critique on images posted by individuals or companies on social media or the internet.  If someone posts an image in and open forum and asks for constructive Critique that is a completely different matter and I am not going to cover that today.

    Yesterday that all changed, a company I work for posted one of my images on their social media page and two people decided to question why the company would post such an image and gave their reasons why they thought the image should not be posted !

    The first guy fits right into the Pets and Fruit Category from my first blog post and even got his wife to like his comment. A very quick look as his facebook page revealed the obvious, completely poor imagery that was out of focus blurry and to a very low standard. So that just made me laugh as his knowledge of what makes a great image was limited, and he just fell into the category of Keyboard Warrior.


    However the second guy I had thrown out of a group before due to his constant unwanted Critique on other peoples images and his non stop bad behaviour another Keyboard Warrior but this time with a difference.

    I had looked this guy up before and I think he had won an award at some point and was now a Professional Photographer who has worked for some big names in the industry and was able to name drop quite a lot on his website.

    His facebook header image however had a wonky horizon and his images were mostly quite average. He did have some quite nice images but there was not much personality in his work with a large quantity of Landscapes were achievable by anybody with a decent camera and some time on there hands a few good books and the right locations and perfect weather conditions and a knowledge of composition, what I would call a template shot.

    He was however in the past a teacher ( in another field) so has been teaching photography for for the last few years.

    So why does this guy feel the need to run other people down and also run down my images on a corporate facebook page ?

    Well I challenged him on the page and in the end he deleted his comments and so did the other Keyboard Worrier ! I guess it’s easy to drop a comment in to a thread so its seen by the audience and then run away when challenged  !

    What was said in the thread was really irrelevant, but it got me talking to my friends and this always comes back to one thing. A lot of people say it’s just jealousy ! I don’t think it is I think there is far much more to it than that these days, I think these people are trying to play games with the big brands and cause some controversy or try to get elevate their profiles, or just get noticed for being a complete negative arse in an open foram. Over the course of 2017 there have been so many people bad mouthing each other and bad mouthing big brands to get themselves noticed it’s becoming a thing.

    I was brought up with this saying ringing in my ears ” if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all” as I got older I just added this  “if you do speak be constructive and offer real world solutions and dont be negative”.

    I teach workshops on learning to see in Photography and everyone comes away with their eyes opened to where they are in their photography journy and can go off to produce better work and get stuck in to a project. I don’t get them in a classroom and tear their work apart. Teaching people what makes a great image and learning to see a great image is not always possible, as with anything in life we all have certain gifts or skills but one thing is for sure people need to learn from professionals not Mr Pets and Fruit or Mr I dont want them to be better than me.

    The internet has become a place where everyone feels the need to say what’s in their head without thinking most of the time. I fear there is now a new bread of people that feel the only way to get anywhere in life is to run the people around them down  to make themselves look good or highlight themselves. The photography industry has always been a bit bitchy for some reason but some of these people are taking things to a whole new level. I think its because it’s quite a small industry and as the years go by there are less and less opportunities out there but more and more people with a camera !

    The worst part of this behavior from Keyboard warriors is they scare people off from taking pictures or teach them the wrong way to review and look at their work and that’s quite sad.

    As for this profesional who made the comments about my image ! Well he is not alone I see on twitter there have been some quite nasty comments towards rising stars in the industry and they really do make themselves look like a bunch of jelous arseholes ! The other week there was a whole bunch of Landscape Photographers bitching and backstabbing about  Thomas Heaton most of them teach workshops and have also won 1 competition at some point ! It did bring back memories to my own journey, I had plenty of that behavior and still get a bit as yesterday showed, luckily I was warned it would happen !  Thomas even made a youtube video about some of his Trolls.

    The point is its not big and it’s not clever as a Professional to behave like a jealous child. Thomas puts a lot of time and effort in to his youtube channel and I for one find it quite refreshing and wish him all the best as I do all the new talent in the industry.

    I have been around long enough not to really care about these people but I will always have my say when they rear their ugley heads because I believe I should put them back in their box.

    My advice to anyone out there that gets unwanted Critique feel free to copy and paste the link to my original post in a comment thread or even this one. Ignore any unwanted critique as no one that gives unwanted critique is doing it for the right reasons they are just doing it for some strange power trip or to cause upset or some other strange  reason or to big themselves up and draw attention to themselves ! Trust me people in the industry see them for what they are so it does them no good. The odd one slips through the net but its rare.

    Always remember its is always about the Image a great image is always what makes a photographer and so is a great body of work so ignore the noise and get out their and shoot.

    Happy New Year to you all….


    DSCF0111-EditGFXs 23mm




  • Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:16:23 +0000

    2017 Year of Colour
    DSCF2237GFX50s 32-64mm at 32mm 1/90 sec f/11 ISO100 

    What a year ! Its now December and my Year of Colour project is nearly over and I am glad. Its been a very busy year for me and the project has been dragging along behind me instead of inspiring me to get out and shoot ! I always thought it would be hard but it was a lot harder than I expected. I have never been a fan of colour so I already set myself up for failure before I started.

    Colour for me growing up in a black and white world with black and white TVs in the house and all my film cameras loaded with black and white film 99% of the time was never going to be easy. I think after learning to see in black and white colour just does not do it for me. I very nearly gave up on several occasions but I am glad I stuck with it. I think black and white is my escape from the real world, the fantasy land of TV as a child.

    The project does not really finish until the 31st of December but I have had some back problems and whilst trying to get that under control I really am not inspired or motivated to get out and create anything remotely interesting.

    DSCF1934GFX50s 32-64mm 1/160sec at f/8 ISO200 

    I wanted to force myself to shoot Colour for a year to see if I could fall in love with it and get some form of continuity in my work and develop a colour style. I soon found out Colour does not work like that, to have continuity you need continuity in lighting every day and that is the hardest part. Its easy to set up in a studio and have the same lights and white balance but out in the real world the light is diferent every day so the only way to get a consistency would be to light the subject the same no matter what the weather conditions or time of day. In bright light the colours pop and we are cooking on gas. When there is no light or poor light we have dull washed out colours and these images require a lot more work. In a very short space of time at the start of the year I got fed up with the issue of continuity.

    MKHF0401X100F 1/640sec f/3.2 ISO 640

    I did however start to look at and play around with film simulation modes on the Fujifilm cameras and even though you could not quite get the continuity you could get a consistent body of work that looked the same. I also looked in to colour grading as they do when they make films but this started to get very complicated. I am in the process of learning to edit film and thought it would all come in handy and it did. I shoot my video in colour so I guess my year has not been wasted as I am putting some of the things I have learnt about colour to good use in camera for my blogs.

    I started out hating colour and to be honest for still images I am still a Black and White lover, in all honesty I prefer black and white films as well. I guess colour is so very distracting that it confuses me. My black and white has a consistency and style that works for me. Black and White is a story telling media and colour sometimes can distract you from the story if you get it wrong or are super critical of the way colour works in a scene. I dont hate colour as much as I did and I have a newfound respect for anyone who can keep their outdoor work consistent in every lighting condition without elaborate lighting set ups. I want to do more exhibitions in the future and this is where I need continuity.

    Iso also has a big to play in this situation the higher the ISO the darker the image and the more noise is introduced, this looks fine in black and white and even better when printed but really does darken your colour images down. The other issue with colour is my mood ! In black and white you can see my mood changes in my work and this is shown as you would expect in dark moody images with lots of black. In colour they just look more dull and boring ! Primary colours can also be so very distracting in colour images form the story or from the main subject so this to can be very frustrating.

    MKH25485X-T2 90mm 1/680sec f/2.2 ISO400

    I used quite a few Fujifilm cameras during my project and have to say that helped me to decide on what cameras to keep and what to sell. With black and white there is always a small difference in how you process between sensor upgrades but with colour this is huge. I soon discovered that as long as you keep to the same sensor across the board when editing then the files are the same across the editing range, but as soon as you work on say and X-T1 file and an X-T2 file they are worlds apart. As you all know I am not a bit fan of editing so I need a simple workflow that does not take up much of my time.

    MKH25402X-T2 90mm 1/2200sec f/4 ISO400 

    When I did my year of black and white I did change cameras because of the project and the same has happend this time. I sold all my older X Series cameras and updated to the newer versions to keep sensor continuity across the range. So now I have X100F, XPro2, X-T20 as my main X series work horses. I did however buy a second had X70 to stick in my pocket and take everywhere.  I also splashed out on the GFX but that’s more for some projects I have in 2018/2019. I also sold quite a few lenses to lighten my load but that was more due to lack of use. I always do regular lightroom searches to see how much use a lens is getting and if its not getting used it’s not earning its keep so needs to go.

    Projects help me to make these camera and lens decisions as well as other work I do, because I might use a diferent lens for a project than I do for my street or client work.

    MKHF2644-PanoX100F 6 shot pano

    The year of colour was not a complete waste of time I did learn a lot and I did have a good play around with film simulation because I did quite a few edits on my ipad and not on my macbook so I found taking a Jpeg in to SnapSeed or Lightroom Mobile was a lot more simple if I had already applied a preset and got it to as close as I would like in camera first. Most of the time it just needed a slight crop or straighten before posting the image. I am not a fan of editing on Tablets and that I think is just down to my eyesight. I prefer 27″ monitors so that I know there is no dust on the sensor or other issues.

    MKH25513X-T2 90mm 1/280sec f/2 ISO400 

    I set my X70 on Jpeg and RAW on classic chrome and in 2018 I will change this to Acros and green filter. I use my X70 as an extension of my iphone for blogging etc I know the XE3 is now out and far better but I prefer the screen on the X70 as it’s so much more versatile. Hopefully one day Fujifilm will make an X80.

    DSCF0060GFX50S 110mm 1/30sec f/10 ISO100 

    I think we all see colour in a slightly diferent way and I know I have a few friends who are colourblind. I also think we all like to view other peoples work not just for the subject matter but for the colour style they have. I think in time I could find a colour style that would suit me but I really do just prefer black and white.   It’s been an interesting experiment. Its not been as interesting for me as my year of black and white way back in 2013 but I have decided to go back to 90% black and white for 2018 and have a play around with colour when the mood takes me.

    I have some new projects in place for 2018 / 2019 and these are all secret projects. One I am doing with a few friends and two by myself but they all work quite well together. Hopefully all the projects will come together as a book and also at least two exhibitions. I normally do a book at the end of every project but this year I don’t feel the images from my year of colour are strong enough for a book so will skip 2017.

    I am going to take some time off over December and January to give my back a chance to sort itself out. I have had two quite serious accidents in the past one that broke my back and it appears this is all coming back to haunt me. Taking time off to heal and to put some thought into my projects.

    I still have a couple of workshops left in 2018 as Matthew Hart Photography but will be putting a lot more time in to Fujiholics.

    I hope you all have a great Christmas see you all in 2018.

    DSCF4455X70 1/250sec f/2.8 ISO 1600
  • Tue, 24 Oct 2017 20:29:17 +0000

    X70 Dark Horse


    I recently purchased an X70, it’s not the first time I bought one as I got Jane one when they first came out. Jane was lucky enough to see the X70 before it was made,  it was just a mock up the first time she saw it and she said when its made whe would like one. So as soon as it launched I got a her one. She is not that in to Photography so has not used it much. She said I could use it, but that feels wrong to use a present. So in the end when John a friend of mine was selling his to buy an XE3 I decided to buy his X70. It was in as new condition with a few extras for just £325.

    I hear he loves his XE3 so its a win win as I really love the X70 its one of the best cameras fujifilm have ever made.


    I am not a JPEG shooter but wanted a simple put in my pocket carry everywhere camera that I could change up on the move or even just plug in to my powerbank. I was not fussed about a viewfinder as with the nice wide 18.5mm lens I could just point and shoot. The tilt screen is very good as it tilts in a totally diferent way to the X-T2 and X-T10 so it just perfect for the way I shoot. The only downside to the rear screen is you cant put a thumb grip in the hotshoe as the screen tilts from the top.


    I have know there are some big fans of the X70 out there and I also know so much was launched at the same time the X70 came out the camera got overlooked. This is a shame as this little camera is stunning. At the time of writing I do not know if there will be an X80 but if there is and it’s anything like the X70 it will be stunning. If Fujifilm just added bluetooth as they have in the XE3 then that would be good enough for me.

    I have seen a few for sale over the last few weeks and these are a bargain.

    I am just getting into Video and shot a short clip on the X70 with its flip around screen and was quite impressed, not a bad little vlogging camera to be honest with its selfie view screen.

    I set the to Jpeg fine and Classic Chrome with dynamic range to Auto Sharpness +1 Highlight Tone -1 Shadow Tone +1 Noise Reduction 0.


    I was away in Edinburgh at the weekend and managed to shoot a few quick images with the X70 and the beauty of this little camera came to light from the start. It was in my pocket all weekend and when not in my pocket on the table next to me. For the first time ever I just copied the jpegs to my ipad and edited them in Lightroom Mobile or Snapseed well that was the intention ! In reality I just made a small crop to most of them.


    Lets just say me and the X70 are getting along fine and this little camera is going to live in my pocket and go with me everywhere.

    What a stunning bit of kit.



  • Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:32:58 +0000

    Workshops in the UK



    I have been wanting to write this for ages but as a workshop provider people would just think it’s me looking for work but that is far from the truth. Workshops are not the bulk of my income they only provide a fraction of the income my other Photography work provides. I have been teaching less and less workshops and have now finished my own Street workshops so guess this is now the time to write this post.

    There are now more workshops than ever in the UK in just about every style of photography you can think of. There is also a downside as well, some of the people teaching don’t have a clue what they are doing and just treat it as a money making exercise ! So much so that now we have big corporate companies getting in on the act to do the same this then makes people feel ripped off.

    I dont mind the guys doing it at the weekend to supplement their income as long as they are good at what they do and are doing it for the right reasons.

    There is however another growing trend, people go on workshops to get a Photo ! They dont go to learn how to create or make the photo but just to stand next to the workshop leader get them to do everything for them except press the shutter. They do this mostly  to win a local camera club competition and also some of the bigger competitions like LPOTY etc I had heard about this, but until recently I had never experienced it probably because my Street Photography workshops do not work like that. You cant get a great Street shot on a workshop or even in a Month or a Year it’s all got to come together Light, Composition, Moment, Great Subject and Emotional impact, to get a great Street shot, you cant just make that happen. On a recent workshop though my heart sank, four out of the five attendees when asked what they hoped to get out of the workshop all said an image for their Street Photography Theme at their Photographic Society ! I nearly fell off my chair. I told them that probably won’t happen today and from that moment on they were not interested in anything I had to say  and just made the whole day very difficult. One thing I did notice over the course of the day was they could not even use their cameras not even on basic settings. My workshops state that you must be able to use your camera, as they are geared towards Street.

    Over the next few months I started asking questions of workshop providers and it appears there is a growing trend in this area where people don’t want to learn the craft of photography they just want a short cut to taking an  image even if that means paying someone to set it all up for them. I personally think that is very sad.


    One of the other big issues in the UK and I say the UK because in other countries there is not the same issue, people buy their cameras and they think they are a Professional photographer as soon as they get it out of the box ! This is worrying and scary ! They do  not want to pay to learn how to use it and will not go on basic camera workshops because they do not think they need to learn. I also hear people say the workshops are too expensive. In other countries they buy their cameras then have a thirst to learn and book on workshops and hoover up information.

    I have to say some workshops are too expensive but most good ones are not and here lies the rub. How do people know good from bad and what is expensive ! We all have diferent budgets and needs so what price is learning !   I have set up workshops with amazing Landscape photographers like Paul Sanders at really cheap prices in the Lakes and Glencoe and this year we struggle to fill places at £299 people have said this is too expensive. We were in Glencoe a few years back and there was a group that had paid £5500 for the same workshop with a guy that was nowhere near as good as Paul and remarked how cheap we were !

    I was one of the people who has never done a workshop, I have heard lots of people say people that teach workshops have never done one themselves. That always makes me laugh as for me its true. I have never taken a workshop but there is a reason for that. I am dyslexic and I have a capacity to learn very quickly,  I only have to read it once or try it out and I have got it. I am also over 50 so when I was learning my craft there were very few workshops about so I could not find anywhere to learn. I was lucky enough to have friends and family to point me in the right direction.

    I am also very stubborn and did not think there was need for workshops so much so that I refused to teach workshops up until I was 49 because I thought there was no need. How wrong was I. The first workshop I taught had lots of Teachers and University Lecturers at it and that then changed my whole outlook on teaching. Their feedback on my teaching style was very welcome and so has the feedback from all my workshops over the years.

    I learnt from teaching workshops that yes quite a lot of people can figure it out for themselves after all I did and these days we have Youtube and social media for help. But if you really want to learn and get to your final goal quicker real practical help in a workshop group can’t be beaten.

    There is a small downside to workshops that I deal with right at the start of mine, it’s the know it all people that come on workshops to try and undermine the workshop provider and make himself look good.  I dont think they realise how much people in the groups hate this. I recently had a request from a lady to have women only workshops because of the men that do this and try to make women feel stupid ! I pointed out to her that it’s not always the men unfortunately.

    In the years I have been teaching and organising workshops I have been shocked to see the amount of people that can’t use a camera out of  program and will also not admit they can’t use it. When we set up workshops we have beginner days and advanced days and the advanced days sell out first every time and the beginner days are a struggle. The annoying thing is on the advanced days you have three or for people that can’t use a camera taking up places of people that can.  I find this as frustrating as the workshop leaders as they just don’t have the time teach basic camera technique on an advanced workshop.

    I own a little company called Fujiholics and we have been running photowalks and workshops over the last few years and the questions we get asked the most is ” When are you going to do basic camera workshops” “will you do Fujifilm Camera workshops as I have moved from Canon to Fujifilm” ” I have moved from Nikon to Fujifilm will you have workshops”  We listened and set up a set of workshops in London and we are setting the workshops up in the Northwest and Scotland and a few more places once I find the right people for the job and guess what ? So far no one has booked on the any of the workshops.


    On photowalks I get so many people wanting to learn how to use their cameras its unreal. I am guessing people just dont want to pay in the UK and I don’t understand this as in other countries they pay a fortune to educate themselves.

    I understand people go on workshops for many diferent reasons, some to learn, some to be with the people who are top of their game, some for the community element, some for a holiday and plenty of other reasons so it hard to address all these needs in one blog. One of the best reasons is to be inspired so that you go out and shoot with renewed vigour,  if you just learn a couple of new things every time but get inspired to go out and shoot it might just save you a fortune in buying that new camera or lens that you hope will do the same but never does. Lets face it a workshop is a lot cheaper option in most cases. There is also another reason people do workshops and courses and that is because they are single and its a great way to explore the world and far of places with a group of liked minded people and learn at the same time.

    I know that sometimes great teachers are not always the best photographers they are just very good at teaching and vice versa so this also muddies the waters.

    So it is very difficult to tell people who are the best people to go on a workshop with, but we do have Google. I recommend you google the person whose workshop you are attending and find out all about them, check out their work and check them out. Use Tripadvisor and Google ratings and even Facebook ratings and see what other people think before you spend your hard earned cash.

    Street photography is a good example in in the UK there are not very many good Street photographers in the UK but if you google Street Photography workshops in London you would be shocked at how many there are and I know for a fact at least half of these workshops have been ripped off from some of the top guys in the field. I have even seen my whole workshop copied and pasted on Eventbrite to sell tickets. You really do need to do your research and look in to your chosen subject and google the hell out of it even read lots of top Street photographers lists and look at what a great Street images is before you decide to go on a workshop that has nothing to do with real Street whatsoever !  There is a great book by David Gibson called the Street Photographers Manual. I would recommend you buy it and read it before you start to think about a workshop. If you want to know some of the best Street workshops in the UK then email me and I will tell you the ones that I think will be a great learning experience.  This is the Same for Landscape, Macro, City Scape, Long Exposure etc Google the workshop leaders and look in to them are these people that you want to learn from ?


    So why did I write this ?

    I want all those people out there that want a shortcut to creating a great image to wake up and admit to themselves they need to slow down and start to learn how to use their cameras. There are no short cuts it’s a life long long journey this photography lark. You can shorten the learning curve by taking workshops the right ones will help you move up the ladder, if you can pick up one or two things from each workshop then you will get to your end goal a lot quicker but trying to get the workshop leader to do it all for you is like cheating at your exams ! Yes I know some people go on workshop after workshop to pay for an image but that is not the way. Some people are just not creative enough to succeed in photography with out cheating just as I am not a great writer I just know my limits.

    So if you can’t use a camera out of Auto and struggle to create an images get your self on a basic camera workshop and start the creative process right there.

    Workshops are not cheap you might think, a good basic workshop will be between £60 and £120 a day for a group or £350 upwards for a 1:1 depending on what you want to learn and who the person in teaching you. Trust me that is not expensive my commercial rate alone is over £100 an hour. I teach workshops because I enjoy it, not to make money it’s a loss for me every time I teach.

    I cant tell you all the best price to pay for a workshop it all depends on your income or disposable income but I can say people do not like spending money on learning in the UK.

    I am quite proud of the people that have come on my Workshops over the years and the ones that have come on the Fujiholics workshops, I have seen the progression in their work and some have come on leaps and bounds. I will not mention any names and embarrass my attendees but after only a few workshops they are turning out some amazing work whereas before they were just muddling along. I have had some people come on one workshop that changed their journey and some who have been on 10+  they all have improved. Quite a few have become good friends over the years as well.

    We even get Pro shooters on the workshops and the main reason is to further their knowledge and alter their learning curve. I know quite a few at the top of their game that attend at least three workshops a year just to further their knowledge and make them think out of the box.

    You would be surprised at the difference a good workshop or course can make to your workflow and enthusiasm , so go for it and give it a go. If you have has a bad experience in the past and this does happen then drop me an email and I will try and point you in the right direction. There is a hell a lot of difference between a snap and a great images and the only way to learn the difference is to start that learning process now.





  • Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:05:48 +0000

    Big v Small


    DSCF9923GFX50s 23mm Lee 15 stop IRND 0.6 Soft Grad

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

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

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

    DSCF4302Fujifilm X70

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

    DSCF4293Fujifilm X70 DSCF4296Fujifilm X70

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

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

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

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

    DSCF9896GFX50s 23mm Lee 10 stop IRND 0.6 Soft Grad

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

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

    DSCF9881GFX50s 23mm Lee 10 stop IRND 0.6 Soft Grad

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

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

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

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

    DSCF9868GFX50s 23mm Lee 10 stop IRND 0.6 Soft Grad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    DSCF9891GFX50s 23mm Lee 16 Stop IRND 0.6 Soft Grad
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