Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Fuji X100

I have followed with interest the Fuji X100 throughout 2011, having first seen a production model in March at Focus on Imaging exhibition.

Having held it and and played with it , I was impressed with the sheer beauty of the camera as it has a retro look of old and was further blown away by the image quality as I examined a portfolio of images, but in my option I didn't really need it as I have a compact at hand. It became a faded memory...

Fast forward to August 2011 and I started to have a look at various sites for reviews of the camera as it was well and truly out in the world although difficult top get hold of in certain places.

Reviews were very positive albeit some minors grips. I started to do my stalker visits to various camera stores to have a proper play with the glass cased display model. Reviews started to sway me notably the nice and funny chap at Digital Rev and Zack Arias who really convinced me that me and the X100 would make a good team.

So September I parted with an 'amount of money' and took the plunge. We actually haven't spent that much time together but I'm really enjoying using the camera and have already taken some memorable shots. I think we are going to develop a very healthy relationship.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

London Photo Festival 2011

I guess I've been on virtual vacation as I haven't posted for a while...

I thought I would write about my very first photograph to be exhibited recently at the London Photo Festival.

The first dilemma I had was which photo to select. Being a London titled exhibition I decided to go for one of my favourites photos, 'A New London Eye' a unique shot of the London Eye.

I chose to go for an A3 size print within a oversized frame to give the most dramatic impact of the image. The image has divided opinion on whether it should be portrait aligned and not landscape. Some thought it would work better in portrait format but I'm sticking to my guns, as it was shot in landscape format...Here is the farmed photo in all it's glory. I'm hoping this will be a platform for me to exhibit more in the future.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Viewfinder vs LCD monitor, let battle commence...

In today's digital photography world, we rarely see the optical viewfinder other than the DSLR camera and some compact/system cameras.

I am a strong advocate of composing through a viewfinder rather than an lcd monitor. I believe one can engage closer with the subject matter and there is something magical about seeing your subject through the viewfinder it's the window to the world, while the lcd monitor is somewhat and electronic representation of the world you are viewing which can often be difficult to get a clear picture with constant brightness shining into your view.

However the lcd monitor does have it's place. I own a Ricoh GR Digital camera, a wonderful compact camera with an air of professionalism about it. I carry this camera with me almost all the time when I am out. It does have an option to attach an optical viewfinder to it but at the moment I am happy using the lcd monitor as I tend to shoot freely with this camera and spend little time composing but more of capturing the moment.

The optical viewfinder has been part of my visual diet since I took up photography in the good ole days... when I had  a choice of taking 12. 24 or 36 shots so I had to be critical in what I photographed. The optical viewfinder is where I would had to make this decision.

Up to present day I have been through a number of digital compact cameras but have struggled using the lcd monitor to compose. However I have met my match in the Ricoh GR Digital the size and the ergonomics just feel right and I'm beginning to understand using the lcd monitor, this in turn has let to my evolution of street photography and shooting in a more 'free spirit' kind of way.

It is worth noting the recent introduction of the Fuji X100 compact camera in the market. I have come up close and personal with this camera at a recent trade show. It has a revolution hybrid viewfinder which appears to be one of the biggest selling points of the camera and it's retro styling. The camera is an object of desire but I don't think I can part with a almost four figure sum...

To conclude the optical viewfinder wins hands down but the lcd monitor does have it's place, however it's taken me around half a dozen compact cameras to finally accept this...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A surreal landscape

Roof topMind the gapWestern landsWooden landscapeIndustrial horizonLost highway
HomeEnglish horizonRoad to nowhere...

A surreal landscape, a set on Flickr.
Recent photography from this amazing surreal space in Dungeness UK.

The area is expansive with much visual food to digest. I used my beloved Ricoh GRD for the black and white shots and Nikon D300 for the colour ones. At times I wish I had several pairs of hands as I couldn't decide which camera to shoot the subject with, I guess I was visualising in both colour and black and white...

Friday, 1 April 2011

A Freelance digital photographer's creative block...

I read an interesting article on that dreaded creative block, the article can be found at the Black Star Rising site,  it's very informative and illustrates a few pointers to get the ball rolling.

This inspired me to take out my Nikon D300 equipped with an 85mm lens, a lens I normally use only for indoor portrait work. This resulted in a very liberating experience. Having a fixed lens is a good visual exercise in seeing and more challenging in forming composition. YOU are now the zoom for the camera... If you need to zoom into a subject you have to move closer to the subject and to zoom out you move away further, simple!

Using natural and available light in digital portrait photography

I have been an advocator in using natural or available light in my portrait photography.

I believe having the minimum amount of kit makes people more comfortable when having their photograph taken instead of being blinded by light flashes or being intimidated by a tower of lights surrounding them.

Through this technique I have now developed my unique style of shooting portraits coupled with a natural relaxed approach which I believe brings the best out of people, here are a few examples which were commissioned for The Charity Commission and Jardine Lloyd Thompson Insurance Group.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Nik Silver Efex Pro for digital photography

If you want trouble free creative and beautiful black and white images. this plugin is a must have from Nik Software. You can also download a demo form their site which will give you an idea of what this baby can do.

I tried a demo and was instantly won over. No more adjustment layers, dodging and burning this is the real deal. A number of effects can be applied and adjusted all on the fly. There are also old school film look effects. The major selling point has to be the U-Point technology.

This is a utility which allows you to make adjustments on the image without creating a number of layers

Here is a screen shot of the user interface.

Once you are happy you click OK and hey presto. The first image is a conversion with the Black and White mode in Photoshop and the second image is through Nik Silver Efex... what do you think?