Archive for Fuji x-Pro 1

The Wisdom of David Hurn

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2014 by yammerman

 

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Having been to a lecture by Magnum photographer David Hurn this week and inspired by his story and wise words, it was only natural that I was eager to put this new found knowledge into practice.  It was fortunate then that my good friend and fellow photo enthusiast Paul Williams was due a visit this weekend.  On Saturday morning, I suggested we head down the coast to the wetlands near the Aberthaw power station and mine its rich seam of photo opportunity.

To David Hurn it is all about subject matter and it is this that great photographers talk of when they chew the fat.  It is not about the gear or highfalutin artistic concepts, but what would make a good subject.  For him it was the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 when he found himself one of the few photographers who made it on to the streets of Budapest.  He learnt to follow the journalists and photograph what they found – thus his name was made.

He talks as you would expect from a man who has survived and prospered in the tough world of commercial photography.  His passion is clear, as at eighty he was still able to hold forth and enthrall for over two hours.  He put up a list of the friends who had slept on his floor in the sixties and it read like a list of photographic icons.

He recalled  how he found his ‘tinsel town’ niche in 60’s magazines and the importance that networking and luck had played in his life.  And how he was asked to do the stills for a small film which happened to be Dr No, the beginning of the James Bond franchise.  He realised that success came from hard work and the instinct to come up with a subject that might excite a Picture Editor.  He had a brief period taking fashion shots while also working for magazines like Nova and Holiday.  He reminded the many students in the audience that WH Smith still has over 3000 magazines on sale.  He also suggested thinking globally about where your work might sell; his own work with the Nursing Times has been used in over nine countries.

He spoke of those photographers now regarded as artists who were just trying to make a living when they did their great work.  His best advice though was that photography was simply made up of two things – first where you stand and second when you push the shutter; get those right and the rest will follow.

He believes that the greats in any field need not fear the constriction of a brief but be able to satisfy its demand while maintaining their own unique authorship.  His advice was not to copy anyone but find your own vision and learn from the great, especially their contact sheets.  It is from them you will learn how they came to capture that great image.  It is rarely with one shot, but with a chosen background worked at over several frames until by luck or judgement the elements come right in the frame.  It was a marvelous talk, possibly his last in the UK, and I feel privileged to have been in the audience.

The wetlands proved not to be the rich seam I had hoped, but Paul and I spent a pleasant couple of hours clicking away.  We then returned for lunch on Penarth Pier and a visit to the rather wonderful Ragnar Kjartansson  ‘The Visitors’ installation at the Turner House Galley.  I highly recommend the installation though my photographs might suggest it’s not for everybody.  My own ‘something and nothing style/organising the chaos’ should, I feel, keep me safe from the pressures of commercial photography for a while yet and I’m ever hopeful that one day I’ll figure out where to stand and when to push the shutter.

Fuji XPro-1 with 35mm F1.4 and tweaked in Lightroom

 

Holiday with a Teenager in North Wales with a Fuji X Pro 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2014 by yammerman

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We headed north on our summer holidays this year to visit the tribes of North Wales.  The idea was to visit Anglesey, a place we had been denied access on a previous visit by an over turned lorry.   The selected accommodation in Criccieth looked great in the online pictures and on this occasion the photos did not lie.  The place was huge and immaculate with stunning views of the sea.  Our hooded teenage monster grunted his approval and thrust his tablet at me and demanded wi-fi which, as any parent knows, is as important as oxygen to the young these days.

A first day walk along the beach set the pattern for the holiday with demands for me to calculate equations of distance v time, to which the apparent answer is framed in units of misery.  We set off walking on sand, my objective a rocky promontory in the far distance.  The mood was only enhanced by the rhythmic chorus of ‘Can we turn back now?’.   It was with great joy that we reached our way point only to discover that the incoming tide had pretty much covered the sand and we were forced to return on pebbles.

Why no one has not yet come up with an exercise machine based on such a surface I know not – or rather I do, it’s because it really is not very pleasant.  As we trudged back, the percussive sounds of our footsteps were accompanied by a chorus of ‘I told you so’ and adoption of a stick as a weapon.  I can’t entirely blame the boy as it is in his DNA; I remember his mother selecting similar tactics on a beach in Australia many years ago.  If one day, I should not return from a family outing and the reason given is that I accidentally fell off a cliff edge, a pier or into a river, I urge that the witnesses are questioned closely.

I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, though it followed much the same pattern for the remainder of its duration.  The boy was dragged to Anglesey, Port Merion, Criccieth Castle, Beaumaris Gaol, the National Slate Museum and any number of fine beaches.  My wife and I loved the Llŷn Peninsular and the magnificent house we stayed in – wish that it was for sale.

The highlight of the holiday though was when we stopped for supplies in Criccieth and, rather than shop, the boy selected to stay in the car.   Now I swear this was an accident but, as I retrieved some bags from the back of the car, I closed the boot and automatically locked it, setting the alarm.  My wife and I then spent a pleasant 15-20 minutes perusing the High St until our return to the car where to my surprise the hazard lights were flashing.  Upon unlocking the car, a rather disgruntled teenage boy asked ‘Where the hell have you been?’  Apparently the alarm went off four or five times and he’d discovered you have keep very, very still to avoid tripping it. The family sitting on a bench nearby eating ice-creams seemed remarkably unconcerned and really I hardly laughed at all.

We might give the boy a break from holidays next year if he does well in his exams, oh and I love him really.  Anyway here are some snaps taken with an Fuji X Pro -1 and toned with an Aged Photo preset in Lightroom

 

 

The Soul of the FA Cup with a Fuji X-Pro1 and 60mm Macro.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2014 by yammerman

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We have had a glorious few days in this part of South Wales, the first burst of summer.  It coincided with my annual gathering for the Cup Final, a ritual I keep in homage to those far off days in the 70’s when the family gathered to watch the finale of the football season. Teams would leave hotels on coaches, men in terrible suits would walk nervously onto the pitch and a titanic struggle would ensue for that most romantic of silverware.

It was a big day with some big games now etched in the memory.  The fancy dans of  Chelsea v the cloggers of Leeds; the miracle of Jim Montgomery’s save to win the Cup for SunderlandCharlie George’s sizzling winner  for Arsenal in the week I bought a Liverpool bag; and Bobby Stokes, Roger Osborne and Alan Taylor becoming folklore.  In the eighties, it was Coventry winning; Ricky Villa’s goal for Spurs; while Smith had to score for Brighton; and, of course, the Crazy gang of Wimbledon toppled  Liverpool.

With the arrival of the nineties, the Cup lost its lustre as the filthy lucre of the Premiership became more important than the glory of the Cup.  Teams playing weakened sides in order that they might cling on to the gravy train at the top table.  The early rounds are still marvelous, the big boys having yet to come up with a way of ruining Third Round day.

You might be able to see what’s been gained by looking at the balance sheets of a dozen clubs but what’s been lost is something unquantifiable and invisible to the bean counters.  These days it’s either two rich clubs suddenly getting interested for the Final or a lucky minnow that generally gets trounced.  Well done to Wigan for ripping up that script last year.  This year it was Arsenal v Hull and we all knew how that was going to end.

The last few years the kick-off has been moved from three to five pm, no doubt after a financial analysis of advertising rates suggested a richer revenue stream in emerging markets. These are hollow men without imagination who think, Premiership B teams playing in the lower leagues is the way forward.  I rather hope one day the plug gets pulled on the money in football and sanity will be restored, but I’ll be long gone before that point is reached. The recent Richard Scudamore  sexist remark scandal tells you all you need to know about the attitude and mind set of those in charge of football in this country.

If you haven’t yet watched the game, spoiler alert for a brief ten minutes where Hull could do no wrong and scored two goals but, inevitably, Arsenal came back to win 3-2 for their first silverware in nine years.  For supporters of lower league clubs like myself, the idea of a nine year wait for an FA Cup doesn’t seem much of a hardship at all.  I’ll still be back next year, if only as it happens around my birthday and guests feel obliged to bring me presents.  It’s a ritual I still enjoy, even if the game has turned into a generally less than memorable side show.

Oh, and I did some pictures as the last shaft of light arrowed across the garden.  Then I sucked the life out of them in Lightroom as a homage to the vampires of football leaving just a faint glimmer of the beauty that once existed.

 

Catch the Sun with a Fuji X Pro-1 and 60mm Lens

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2014 by yammerman

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As my marigold clad hands scrubbed the wok used to prepare a rather fiery stir fry (the radical chilli flourish perhaps a mistake) I happened to notice a fine yellow light was playing on the  flowering clematis.   I expected it to have vanished by the time I reached the final sponging of the surfaces, but for once the camera gods smiled upon me.  So I snatched up my Fuji X Pro-1 and 60mm lens and went to catch the sun as the band Doves once so wisely advised.

If I had paid more attention in physics at school or had not foolishly wasted my memory to recall the fine goal Plymouth Argyle scored against Peterborough Utd in 1974, I could perhaps tell you why the light is yellow in the evening.  Thankfully both you and I can look that up in our own time when we have exhausted the trivial addiction that is social media and have some spare time for a proper use of the internet.

I can tell you that it had likely taken 8 minutes for the sunlight that now caressed the clematis to get to Earth and I suspected I had somewhat less than that to capture it.  I didn’t really expect success, in much the same way that vast beautiful landscapes are rendered dull in holiday snaps, as light is a slippery fish at times.  It is generally more by luck than judgement that I obtain in the halides or pixels what I actually saw at the time.

The photo gods, like the golf gods, realise that in order to keep you coming back for more, they should allow you some success once in a while.  Not, perhaps, in the way you’d intended but just the beautiful crack of a ball on club, or a photo that shows the world not as a chaotic unjust shambles peopled by greedy bankers and corrupt politicians, but something sublime and beautiful that you will miss so very much when the lights go out.

These are by no means perfect,  after all the tripod was up too many damn stairs for my dodgy knees, but I do like them enough that continuing to press the shutter may yet provide me some degree of pleasure.

 

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Lunch in Crickhowell with a Fuji X Pro-1 and 18mm

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2013 by yammerman

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Today I travelled up to meet my good friend Bob as he traversed Wales on his way west to Cardigan. We’d agreed to meet in Crickhowell and lunch at the Bear Hotel. He sold this prospect to me with the recommendation that they had given his wife food poisoning ten years earlier. I decided to give the faggots a miss.

The desolate landscape as I came up the Heads of the Valleys road might have made a better subject, with its picturesque dusting of snow on the mountains. But you are not getting that because they would be very dull in comparison to these thrill filled pictures of  Crickhowell’s buildings and, if you’re buying that, I’ve also some very reasonably priced evaporated water you may like to purchase.

I arrived a little early for the meet so had a quick stroll around what is a very pleasant small town. A man in a funny hat with a camera is wisely given a wide berth and a wary glance by the locals although I imagine they are quite used to this kind of thing in the summer months. Given more time I might have wandered further afield, but the clock was ticking so I returned to find Bob outside The Bear.

It was good lunch; Fish, Chips and Mushy peas for me, while Bob had the Belly pork. Fine grub it was too with the old fashioned pub ambiance turned up high. We put the world to rights in about 90 mins so sleep easier in your beds tonight.  I then headed south once more while Bob went on westwards .

Here are the snaps taken with  a Fuji x Pro-1 and 18mm then given the Yesteryear treatment in Lightroom.

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Poppit Sands with a Fuji X Pro-1 and 18mm

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2013 by yammerman

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We went west, this weekend, in a chain of red tail-lights that diminished in length as each pair peeled off to its weekend destination. We were headed to Cardigan to see Paul and Shevaughn, in order that my wife could enjoy a ‘boozy birthday lunch’ on the Saturday while James and I would sample whatever other delights Cardigan had to offer.

Saturday, it turned out, was a fine day and, once the celebrating ladies had taken their leave, Paul suggested we head to Poppit Sands, a short drive away.  The children of the party – made up of James, Elsie and Penny – did not show much enthusiasm for the outing and, with my flute playing not to the standard of the Pied Piper, a ‘sugar buzz’ had to be promised to maintain discipline.  It was a lovely clear day and, with our heads bowed into the biting wind, we chased the retreating sea.

A game of wildebeest and jackals followed, in which David Attenborough’s voice could be imagined describing how a larger group of 7 year olds might have brought down the bigger animal by sheer weight of their numbers.  Intervention was only felt necessary when clubs were obtained from drift wood in order to beat the unfortunate prey.  It was proper fresh air and exercise of a kind that would cure many an ailing soul.

We returned home to await the return of the lunchers.  Time passed as Wales succumbed to Ireland; followed by Scotland to England; and the reading of the football results.  It can be concluded from this that a fashionably long lunch is not just the prerogative of thespians, BBC executives or the French but a tradition also in West Wales.  In the eighth hour since departure, the party returned and, being far too much of a gentleman to go into forensic detail, I will only say that a good time had clearly been had by all.

The following day the tired revelers were in good spirits and we made preparations to head home.  It was only later that the last information James imparted before departure about the Romans’ use of the Vomitorium became significant.  We sped through the winding roads for 45 minutes when a voice from the back seat announced “I feel sick”. There was barely time to wind down a window before a full re-enactment of that old Roman tradition began to take place in the back of my barely 3 month old shiny new car.

To be fair to James, he did get most of it out of the window; I suspect to the huge enjoyment of those following us.  We stopped to clear up the worst of the mess and proceeded on to a service area to wash up.  James, having lost his breakfast, was feeling a little peckish and suggested a burger might help fill the void…..oh. how we laughed!

Images from Poppet below taken with Fuji X Pro1 with 18mm. Tweaked in Lightroom.

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Walking in Penarth with the Fuji X-Pro 1 and 35mm f1.4

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by yammerman

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The clouds parted briefly in the New Year and, with school approaching, it was time to tire the boy out enough that he might actually go to sleep before midnight.  Naturally the prospect of being disconnected from the global network was not met with much enthusiasm, but the possibility of ice-cream was dangled and the bait taken.

We wandered as always with me striding off and James, his hood up, following in a manner that suggests to an outside observer that I will be his next mugging victim. We strike up a good healthy dialogue normally, as he tells me I’m old and stupid and I counter that he is young and knows nothing.

We then spend the rest of the time negotiating the length of this shared pleasure and whether killing things all day long might have a detrimental effect on the mind of a teenager. To be fair to him, in his games he’s always a mage or a healer and surprisingly moral considering he has such a dissolute father.  He tested me on some Walking Dead (it’s a game) plot lines once and it turned out I might be a bit of a liability in a zombie apocalypse situation.

We did the full circuit of Penarth seafront but sadly the ice cream vendors had their feet up at home. I was forced to promise ice-cream on our return as we trudged up the very steep climb home.

Here are some more efforts with the Fuji X-Pro 1 and 35mm f1.4 with the usual Yesteryear preset in Lightroom.