Thursday, 23 March 2017

What a difference a day makes

3 places in one day.

Starting at 8am getting home at almost 9pm.

The great outdoors. Fresh air. Sunshine for the solar powered human body.

Cold, wind and a runny nose.

Photography is my thing. You know that. I have to do it. its all that seems to work for me. Nothing else is quite the same.
Its my smoking, my drug, my vice. I
 need to go out and shoot. Sitting at home slowly drives me crazy. Im a caged photography animal waiting to break free.

3 dogs.
Wow 3 dogs is hard work. 2 dogs is 1 too many but 3 dogs is ridiculous.
Thats 3 dogs that all want to walk in 3 different directions.
3 dogs to clear up after, 3 dogs too feed.
They're living creatures, they need to get out, they need to run.

8am i got in the car and took the dogs to west bank light house at the mouth of the wash.
Walking boots and dog towels at the ready.
The wind was bitter, hands were cold.

After buying the 6D recently I've been using it a lot to familiarise myself with it, which is not that difficult as its like a mini 5D. Ive been carrying it everywhere. Its not super heavy but its hardy unnoticeable especially with the battery grip attached too.
Luckily, which has kept the weight down, I've been shooting with the Helios 44-2 lens.
Its tiny compared to the average 'new' lens. New lenses have all sorts trickery involved in the glass to give you perfect results.

This old lens doesn't have any tricks up it's lens barrel (the closest it has to a sleeve, see what i did there) so its small and light. 254g to be exact and thats with a small lens hood and mount adapter included.
Compare this too, 903g, the1st lens i pulled out of the drawer, my Tamron 24-70 f/2.8.
649g is a big weight saving when carrying the lump around.

Ive been using an adapter with a focus confirmation chip, to aid in getting focus correct. It does a pretty good job too!
Keep the lens reasonably open and it will focus easily, if stopped down even to f8 focus confirmation is not so successful. Apparently this is the case with most manual focus lens/confirmation devices.

As always I've been challenging myself. This time I've been using focus differently; I've not been focusing on the usual subject instead I've focused on another area in the scene and have allowed the main subject to fall out of focus.


Why not?

Why do the same thing as everyone else?

Take this photo for example.

The East bank lighthouse.
It would serve as the subject of focus in many images.
I don't blame it, its not often the average joe sees a lighthouse in real life.
To begin, i create the composition. Follow all of the normal rules or just make the scene pleasing to my eye. After all if you don't like your own photographs then why are you taking them.
Once everythings in place, find another part of the scene to focus on.


I want the usual main attraction to be recognisable but not sharp. Like a fond memory.

Let me tell you. Taking photographs whilst in the company of dogs is hard work.

Its much easier to take a photo of a dog.

But in the company of dogs, it can be difficult.
Right at the decisive moment, the shutter click, your almost guaranteed either the dog will walk into the frame or will jump up you or pull on the lead.

Many of times has this happened to me.
Maybe i should get the message.

On this occasion i just got dirty footprints up my jeans and jacket.

Ella usually sits quite patiently, waiting for my call to move. She deserves a photo now and then.

Focus is not great but she was anxious to move, so, never mind.

I had an appointment soon after the dog walk.
I was then free to roam the streets of Spalding again.
Not a bad 30 minutes spent walking around shooting street.

 Beer cans and alleys. A common occurrence in the Fens.

 One man and his bow.

 Where would the world be without mobile phones?

Smoking, according to one source is the 3rd most difficult addiction to cure. 
It reports that love is the most difficult.

Patiently waiting.
Light, is an amazing thing. Highlights and shadows and create images just by themselves.

Not long after getting home from Spalding i got invited to shoot landscapes with Jack.

Im no landscape shooter. They just don't do it for me.
But you should never pass up an opportunity and just because i don't like something doesn't mean i shouldn't try.

Just like Ribena, i don't like the stuff but if its the only thing available then fill me up a glass.

We drove over to Cromer in preparation for sunset.

I met a couple of other photographers who were waiting for the same light. Its nice to talk shop with new people.

Setting up on the beach i wasn't feeling it. Its not my thing.

But i had do capture something. Luckily the tide was out at this point and so the wet sand was flat and strewn with thin layered puddles that reflected their surroundings like glass.

This is what makes me an artist and not something else is that i know to look for beauty in all scenarios.
Is that a big headed thing? No. I just know there will be something in amidst the mundane.

On to the 'landscape'.
Everyones long exposure favourite; water.

Sitting here thinking about it. I guess the feel good thing about this image, or the story about this image, is the standing around and waiting for the exposure time to be up. So you can see what you've got. Like shooting on film with imaginary fingers crossed hoping that it works out.

Thats my two pence on it, feel free to disagree.

A busy day.

Keep shooting.

Friday, 3 March 2017


Time is precious.
Any chance to use a camera and shoot some pics i want to take it.

Any excuse.

Ive purchased a 6D to replace my back up body as it was becoming a bit long in the tooth for me. The 6D is supposed to be a low light monster. Let me tell you it certainly focuses well in a dark room. I need to compare my 5d and 6d and see which really does perform better.

So 2 full frame camera's and 2 Fujifilm cameras for weddings. Its a good job I've got a big bag.

Im still not ready to leave Canon fully. Every time i put a big camera in my hand it feels so right. Big camera, big lens, big smile. Quit those dirty thoughts!!!
he fuji's are great for the candid moments, where you want to capture people having fun, when you don't want them to notice you. With Fuji's you can blend in. They're less intimidating.
But throw on a 70-200 on a full frame body and the images just have... something.

So. It turned up the other morning and in the constant challenge mode that I'm in, instead of throwing on one of my nice lenses, i chose to put on an old lens that i realistically paid about £2 for with a film body attached. 

The Helios 44-2 58mm, has a good write up by people who use it for swirly bokeh portraits and other images. 
'Swirly Bokeh' google it.

I just put it on because its small and i can use the depth of field scale on barrel to estimate focus for street photography. Ive not really shot street photography with a 'big' camera before, its always with a small Fuji. A new challenge.

Image quality from the 6D is nothing to worry about.

The 44-2 however suffers terribly from soft corners, so don't go putting the subject in the corner of the frame as you may/will be disappointed.

Spalding was the location for this Street photography outing. Not my favourite place in the world, though i have a great fondness for a night out there.

Much like my local jaunt of Wisbech, Saplding also has a huge eastern european population. Beer cans a plenty then.

There's alleys and claustrophobic streets, empty shop fronts and a general grey feeling to the place. Perfect for me then.

Look closely at your surroundings and you might find interest

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

An old game of cricket before joining the RAF

A grim Sunday morning out in the middle of Norfolk, looking for a building in the middle of a woods that we don't know the location of.

Actually simple enough to find. Especially when Jack asks the 1st person we see.

If you ever want the perfect location for a stereotypical running through the woods and find a scary cabin horror film then this be it.

The Cricket Pavilion. 

Theres not much to see. The trees are much more photogenic than the ruin.

Although if like me you want to make something out of nothing and find beauty in everything then look a little closer.

These doorways are amazing, so much depth and mystery.
lose yourself

For a few years I've wanted to visit RAF Sculthorpe and see what was still there.

Opened approx 1943 it has been used by the RAF and later by the USAF during the cold war. Its now used for the occasional training exercise and the majority is an industrial estate.

Most importantly though; the buildings form the past life are still there. They're not exactly falling down either, granted they're smashed up inside but the structures will last forever or someone will demolish them, which ever comes 1st.

My constant search for the light in the dark.

He's looking at you.

We plan on going back very soon with my drone and spending a lot of time here as we only looked around a couple of the buildings and theres lots more to explore.

Always look whats behind the wall, fence, door. There's a whole world to see.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The view from above

So I had the burning desire to buy a drone.
It was all I could think, read and talk about.
Which one is the one for me?
What's the camera specs like?
Image quality?
How far do i want it to fly away from me?

I chose to buy a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced. Ive flown it 4 times and its great fun.

Boys and their toys.

Its not overly difficult to fly but I'm yet to take a look at all the settings available. Right now i know how to fly and to take photos and video. Next will be options like point of interest, follow me, planned route etc.

I plan to use it to explore a new world; the view from above.
To get shots that I've never been able to get before. To find out whats at the top of the church, tower, building etc.
A new challenge, a new angle.

What do i think so far?
Its a lot of phaf; every time it gets switched on it needs to be calibrated, updated, you name it. Putting the propellers on, taking them off.
But when it takes off and you can shoot up at what seems like a million miles an hour to this big kid, all that gets swept away by a big smile.

Drone photography will be a challenge to me though; I'm used to full frame Canon and the brilliant Fujifilm X-Trans sensors. The drone has nothing like that.
The lens has a fixed focus, I'm yet to figure the sweet spot for focus and compared to my DSLR's and CSC's the image's are soft.
However i can shoot raw, import to Lightroom and edit away like any other photo and that is definitely a nice touch.

What makes Sutton Bridge

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Honesty may not be the best policy.

Let's face it.

Im no world famous photographer. Im not sure id even want to be one. 

I go through phases of picking photography jobs up. Im happy with those that i get through word of mouth. Theres nothing better than being told that so and so said your good and so can you shoot this for me. 
Thats a good feeling.

Times before I've really wanted to go full time but i feel that id have to shoot a lot things that i don't want to shoot. Im not that person. 
This is my passion, no one else's. 
My photography speaks to me. 

If it speaks to you, then i thank you.

What does it say to you? Speak your mind.

What it says to me;

This is who you are.
Seek to find beauty in everything.
Strive to stay positive but embrace the negative because it's always going to be there.
You will never be someone else.


I can shoot weddings, i like to, its one of my favourite subjects. 
I want to capture the beauty of someone else's moment. They've chosen to share this day with me and put trust in me to show them beauty in image form in return.

The ultimate challenge. Find beauty.

Sometimes it's the sunset behind the couple, sometimes its just that moment of contemplation when the bride thinks that no one is watching.

That moment.

Photography is capturing light. 
The light will be there if you look for it but why take a photo if its not 'That Moment'.

How does this read to you?
Have i said too much?
Have i put you off?

Now there is no link to the above and the imagery below.

The above is my mind, my honesty. Ive let you in. 
The reasoning for why i go out and capture strangers, dereliction & darkness.

If i didn't, where else are you going to see this?

Boston, Lincolnshire.
Fujifilm X100T.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The street at night. A return to digital.

Its been 3 months since my last post.

Time flies.

I guess I've been busy. In second thoughts, i have been busy.

Film, lots of film.

Shooting, developing, scanning.

Ive been on holiday to Turkey. Originally, a pack light on camera gear occasion but in the end it involved two camera bodies, a light meter and a bag of different films to play with.

I need to blog about my film exploits and i will, i just need to get round to it.

As always, i shoot when ever the opportunity arises. I make opportunities a photography opportunity.
There's always a camera in my pocket, bag or car at all times.
Thats the beauty of smaller camera systems.

Being a multi manufacturer owner, it can take are a while to get round to using different equipment but they all have their uses and their time.
Client work is generally shot on my 'big' canons with their big lenses, although the Fuji's sit in the bag screaming to be used. On accessions I've thrown the wide angle adapter on the X100T and have shot some of my favourite portraits with it.

My Fuji's are my 'go to' if I'm travelling and for any occasion that i think "I'm gonna take my camera" and as i put above, i take a camera everywhere so it does mean that i shoot Fujifilm the majority of the time.

Having a couple of months of full on film shooting, I've not used a digital camera much. My heart just wasn't in it. I'd lost my motivation and inspiration. Shooting film was my excuse to just shoot, because you never know, i might mess the developing up and not get anything out of it, so why worry.
Its been a buzz. Like when i 1st got interested in photography. Some things worked, some things didn't.

The X100T is a great camera but eventually I'm always drawn back to the X-pro 1. It's a classic. Such a pretty box of wires. It works for me, the buttons are where i want them to be.

Ive not always got time to visit the city. I'm a village boy. I have to make do with whats around me, so i need to make it a new challenge every time. Challenge is good, challenge is motivating. Motivation means i pick my camera up.


So night time street photography is this blog's challenge.

High ISO, large apertures, shallow DOF.

More deleters than keepers but why bother keeping the photos that are not good enough anyway. They'll just sit on your hard drive and gather dust. I've started deleting images i know i will never use again, or those images where i once liked both of them but now a fresh set of eyes can see that one really is the better. Plus, i shoot raw, i could always edit it differently.

Its good to offload this photography blabbering, to share my (probably not) wisdom and judgement.

Night 1. A Thursday night.
The slow to focus but sharp as 35mm F1.4.
When i look at these images and compare them to the night 2 images i relise i must make the effort to use it more. In the dark, you have no chance to focus quickly, off the cuff style and so i need to be more covert when this lens is attached.
The slightly longer focal length gives me further reach so i can stand back a little bit and be less noticeable as I'm waiting for the lens to hunt back and forth before focusing. Or because ensuring sharp images at F1.4-F2 when manually focusing takes me a few seconds.

But look at the images they are sharp and much brighter than the next set.

Again and again. I always come back to here.

Treat life like an open door (and wait for someone to look at you)
What would people do without their phones. Conversation is dead.

Night 2.
A post work Friday walk around Wisbech town waiting for Laura to finish work so we can do the food shopping together. As i said earlier, use the opportunities to shoot.

27mm F2.8.
A more usable lens with a more usable focal length for ensuring focus.
A more friendly 'pre focus at 1.5mm and walk in closer to make the subject sharp' type lens.

It soon got too dark for F2.8 though. ISO2500 and a little noise reduction in Lightroom saved the day.

Always time for a smoke

I pushed myself to get as close as possible to this lady on the phone. 
The top image was 1st and was the test of strength. That look!

The 2nd was on the way back down the street as was my 'safe' shot.

I waited and waited for someone to walk by.
I say it often, Challenge yourself. 

But do what makes you happy.