Tag Archives: London Camera Exchanges

Olympus Fashion Shoot – April 2017

In Lincoln, we have not one but two London Camera Exchanges and they are on a roll this year with so many events being organised by both of them. Last week was Silver Street store’s “Olympus Fashion Shoot” to coincide with this year’s Lincoln Fashion Week (28th April to 5th May). As the name implies this was an event arranged between LCE and Olympus.

Out local Olympus rep (Lewis) was there along with a great selection of Olympus system cameras, lenses and flash equipment. He and LCE’s favourite professional model Katie Lea came to show how to take stunning fashion shots. The shoot was in two parts from 10 to 12:30 we used the LCE store floor-space for an indoor shot followed by an outdoor shot in Lincoln from about 13:30 to 16:00. The LCE store also had some great offers on for the day but that 300mm f4 lens really wiped me out so I was not able to make use of these offers. My next investment must be a second body – another OM-D E-M1 MarkII – hopefully they will come down in price by the time I have saved up for one.

LCE/Olympus had set up a patterned backdrop for us and after experiencing problems using two Olympus flashguns via optical triggering we switched to radio triggers.

As a side note, this is one reason I am thinking of investing in some Nissin radio-based flashes over the Olympus branded versions; they offer all of the features at a much more attractive price. Two i60A flashes and a trigger cost about the same as a single Olympus FL900R. Whilst the Nissin flashes are more compact, they are not as quick charging and are not weather sealed like the FL900R. If outdoor shooting with a weather sealed flash was a need then investing in them might be a good idea.
I also managed to try out two Olympus lenses, the new 25mm PRO f1.2 lens and the (non-PRO) 75mm f1.8 lens. I wasn’t very impressed with the 25mm, even though I was shooting at f3.5/f4 the depth of field was very small and most of my shots were not sharp. The 75mm lens was a completely different “kettle of fish”; this lens is flipping sharp! I have used one before at a Damian McGillicuddy event a couple of years ago and I wasn’t impressed; however, this lens produced some amazing shots and I like the way that I was forced to think different as there were no zooming to get get in the way.

We moved the flashes around to get some different shots o Katie, her are my favourite shots:

After a lunch break we loaded up and ventured outside, we needed a good backdrop where there wasn’t too much foot traffic. We ended up near Stokes Caffe bridge on the south bank (opposite the “Glory Hole” side). After an abortive use of the reflector we all managed to get some nice photos:

We went to the entrance of this passage where this is an iron stair case, these didn’t produce a lot of great shots but I do like this one once I cropped out a lot of the extraneous detail:

Our final location of the evening was not far from where I work on Silver Street on the out-bound side near Sills and Betteridge Solicitors. All along this street are alley ways and we found one where we all tried lots of different styles and lighting techniques, these didn’t produce many great shots as they all looked like a flash was used; some coloured gels and lighting modifiers might have helped. We managed with what we had, here is my favourite:

Like always with Olympus/LCE shoots I learned a lot, managed to get some nice shots, had a great day and met up with likeminded photographers. I want to thank all the staff at LCE, Lee from Olympus and most of all Katie with putting up with us for the whole day. 🙂

Advertisements

The Photography show 2017

On Sunday I went to this year’s Photography show; this 4-day event runs from Saturday 18th to Tuesday 21st March at the Birmingham NEC. Like previous years, I visited the show with my friend Richard Brown; the only difference is that he drove this year as I no longer have a car. Richard has already written his report of the show and this can be read here.

Although there wasn’t a lot of new equipment to see this year (my local LCE stores do stock a lot of photographic gear between them) I was very interested in seeing a number of photographers, manufacturers and suppliers this year.

We left Lincoln at about 07:15 and as the traffic was quite light we arrived just after 09:00, we had a similar drive time back too. Unfortunately, the public are not allowed in until 10:00 so we had to order a quite expensive coffee at Starbucks to help with the wait. After the coffee, we joined the hoards as we ventured into the staging area. Whilst here I picked up my show guide and shortly afterwards a large 5 second countdown started on the a big screen we were allowed in when it reached zero.

What follows are the parts of the show that was of most interest to me.

Olympus:
The Olympus stand was at the top of my list and the first stand I ventured towards once we were allowed in. I picked up my complimentary show copy of the Olympus Magazine and then had a quick look around the stand. I noticed that all the reps were present; I know most of them by name now: Lewis, Dave, Jez, Claire and Aiden who I haven’t seen for a while since his promotion. I also checked out the dedicated talks that would be held at their stand. There were 4 scheduled for the day from Tesni Ward, Steve Gosling, Damian McGillyCuddy and finally Gavin Hoey. Although I missed Steve and Damian this year I did manage to attend Tesni’s and Gavin’s presentations.

Whilst at the stand I played with the other OM-D and PEN models and have to say that for a second cheaper body I would prefer the E-M1 (Mark 1) over of the other OMD or PEN models. The best choice would be a second OM-D E-M1 Mark II but these are the most expensive Olympus cameras now; maybe I’ll be lucky enough to win one from this month’s Olympus Competition as featured in the magazine – I can hope.

The other items of interest were the two new flash units, the FL-900 Speedlight and the STF-8 Macro Flash unit. I didn’t get much time with the STF-8, but this is a very well designed unit, simple to control and can be part of the Olympus optical RC system. The FL-900 whist being a weather sealed unit that has a metal foot and gaskets for the weather sealing. This very light (no pun intended) unit has a very small display, what I do find confusing though is why it costs £550! This is more expensive than Canon’s 600EX II-RT* and Nikon’s SB5000 (both flagship Speedlights) and these have both radio and optical RC modes over the Olympus optical only RC mode!

*The Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT is usually £539 but currently has an £80 cashback offer bringing this down to £459. The Nikon SB5000 is currently £499.

I see the STF-8 in my future but I don’t think I can justify the £550 for the FL-900 unit, not when I can get a Nissin i60A TTL radio controlled unit for only £239 and a radio trigger for £80. Two flashes and a trigger are only £8 more than the FL-900. However, whilst the FL-900 is weather sealed, the i60A units are not. All of the flashguns mentioned have similar guide numbers so that’s not a deciding factor.

Tesni Ward’s presentation featured an excellent collection of photographs mostly from her Mountain Hare project. The images were all amazing and the character for each of the different hares shone through and were sometimes very amusing. Tesni also showed some of her other work too (videos and photos), these were also amazing; the video of the snakes and story behind them was very intriguing. Initially I was slightly worried that the presentation would be similar to the one we saw at Marwell Zoo but was that was quickly dispelled within a few minutes. I cannot wait until May when I will be taking part on one of Tesni’s workshops.

I really enjoyed Gavin Hoey’s presentation, he showed what’s involved when you are given a short brief that (in this case) and how this can require 3 separate shoots involving the Fire Brigade. There were also a liberal sprinkling of tips, do’s and don’ts in there too. I must say that I recognised a lot of them and I am guilty of some of the don’ts mentioned. Gavin’s images were also excellent and it was nice to see how they look when printed which is not something you always have the experience of. I also want to finish by saying that Gavin is one of the nicest people I have ever met and an excellent teacher, thanks Gavin if you are reading this. 🙂

Nikon stand:
Richard and I briefly visited the Nikon stand where you could get a picture of you (and friends if wanted) holding up of one of Nikon’s “I AM …….” signs – I think that this marketing idea is a bit tired now but if you like Nikon I suppose it’s nice. I also picked up a Nikon D5 fitted with a 14-24mm lens, whoa! this is a heavy beast, heavier than I thought it would be. It’s at times like this that I am glad I moved to the Olympus OM-D range, I simply have no desire to carry around such a heavy camera/lens combo anymore. I also much prefer the sound of the Olympus shutter over the large “clacking” sound that the Nikon made. I think the OM-D E-M1 Mark II has the nicest sounding shutter around at the moment!

Canon Stand:
Although Canon probably had the largest presence at the show especially as they had their own video booth too, was a vendor I had no interest in seeing as they had nothing new to show. Both Richard and I walked past them many times; obviously, we were in a minority as there were loads of people in and around this area.

Panasonic:
As another one of the MFT (Micro Four Thirds) manufacturers I’m always interested in what Panasonic are up to and I had a chance to try out their full range of interchangeable lens cameras as well as the new FZ2000. Top of my list was the GH5 and Panasonic they had plenty to play with. Similar to the previous GH models, the GH5 looks like a mini-DSLR with its ample grip, central EVF and top mounted controls. The grip of the GH5 has changed slightly from the one of the GH3/GH4, although I have never used a GH4 I have owned a GH3 in the past.
The GH5 has a few features over the GH4 but as most of these are around video there wasn’t much to see. I also had a go with the Leica 42.5mm f1.2 lens on a GX8 and that is a seriously nice lens. I felt that the focusing on the GX8 seemed to be quite slow and has that focusing system that has to go past the point of focus and then back again.

Fujifilm:
The main attraction for both Richard and I at the Fujifilm stand (more so Richard) was medium-format GFX50S camera, although this is smaller than a “traditional” medium-format it is larger than 35mm “full-frame”.

I had a quick go with the GFX50S and was instantly surprised how light the camera was (even with a lens and battery). The focusing speed could do with a boost though – it reminded me of early X-T1 AF performance prior to the improvements that came with the firmware updates. Overall though I was impressed. I think a lot of users who were going to get a Nikon D5 or Canon 1DX/1DX II might go for one of these as the cost difference isn’t that great; £6,200 for the body and £2,200 for the standard zoom lens. However, I don’t personally see one of these in my future.

Sony
Like Canon, the Sony stand was by passed as they don’t have much new stuff that interests me. Don’t get me wrong, they (like Tamron and Sigma) have impressive new glass to show off but I don’t see a Sony 35mm full-frame mirrorless camera on my horizon. Sony also seem to be ignoring their APS sensor sized cameras as far as lenses go; I’m not sure why but they seem to have gone back to their old habits where new cameras come out very regularly but lens growth is almost non-existent. I suspect that new cameras are easier/cheaper to design and all of their lens technology and know-how is focused on the much larger and more expensive full-frame mirror-less cameras.

Sigma and Tamron:
I also did not visit the Sigma and Tamron booths and although they both have impressive new glass to show this is either for Sony, Nikon or Canon mounts. Although both Tamron and Sigma do agree that mirrorless cameras could offer them growth, if it isn’t for Sony there isn’t much to see. Sigma do have a few boring MFT lenses but Tamron have none.

NiSi Filters:
After a lot of searching I found the NiSi Filters booth and I was surprised at their presence at the show. Not only did we have (nearly) all their products on display they also had some “NiSi Ambassadors” present too. Each ambassador would do a talk and presentation at the stand from time to time explaining not only why they use NiSi filters but also how they got the shot when showing their very impressive images.

I was particularly interested in meeting up with Phil Norton who is not only one of NiSi ambassadors and also a distributer in the UK too. I have sent a few emails to Phil enquiring about the filters and their use with and OM-D camera and lenses and found him very helpful. Phil also uses the OM-D cameras and lenses so can offer very useful tips. Unfortunately, it seems that everyone wanted to talk to Phil too so I only managed to get 5 minutes of his time. We spoke about the system and he was going to show me the adapter for the Olympus 7-14mm f2.8 PRO lens but couldn’t get to it at the time as his bag was next to another ambassador who presenting. Phil’s personal adapter was not being sold at the show so was the only one there. I suggested coming back to see his presentation later and then see the adapter then. Although I did get back to see Phil’s presentation and spectacular images he was talking to more people straight after his talk and I gave up trying to see Phil again.

X-Rite:

Although I already have an X-Rite i1 Display Pro calibration device I did go and see them as the rubber on the outside of mu device has gone very “tacky”. I did try (many months prior to the show) get in contact with them regarding this but got no reply. Their reaction to the tacky-ness issue at the show clearly shows that this is a known problem, they were apologetic in the fact that no-one replied to my email and then logged the issue again on their site on my behalf. I’ll have to wait and see if anything comes of this beyond the standard email confirmation message I received. They did say that I would probably end up with a replacement device – hope springs eternal.

Other Vendors:
I had a good look around and the accessory space is alive and well, a lot of vendors were there showing off and selling luxury camera bags and (very expensive) camera straps each numbering into the hundreds of pounds but they will match your Leica camera nicely.

My favourite bag was being shown at the Olympus stand and is (currently?) only available with the EM-1 Mark II camera as a show offer promotion. The bag made by Gillis has an indigenous design and looks the part too, I want one and I suspect that some users who got the bag at the show might sell them on eBay later. Failing that I think that they will be available at some point a few weeks or months from now. The bag has an RRP of £299 – but it’s worth every penny!

Retailers
In addition to all of the camera and accessory manufacturers at the show we also had London Camera Exchange (LCE), Calumet and Camera World too. Whilst some of the offers at the show were nothing special (i.e. £5 off a £75 battery) there were also some fantastic deals to be had too. I went with the purpose of picking up the Olympus M.Zuiko 300mm f4 IS PRO lens and a Peak Design wrist strap. I went straight to the LCE stand and surveyed the Olympus offers page on one of their glass cabinets, the lens was being sold with a £500 discount! Soon after I had an LCE bag with my 300mm lens in there – colour me happy! LCE had the best deal for this lens as Camera World were only offering a £200 discount. I could not see any Olympus gear at the Calumet Stand although I did get my Peak Design wrist strap from them.

Wrap Up
I had a great day at the show, good company, met up with some fantastic people/photographers, got hold of the lens I wanted and might get my tacky i1 Display Pro device sorted out too. The only thing I didn’t like was the food – over-priced and not very good either. I’ll certainly come next year and bring my own food, at least that way I’ll gets something I like and not be fleeced.

Judge’s Lodgings Studio Photography Workshop

Following the success of the LCE arranged Doddington Hall Portrait Photo workshop, they have arranged several follow-on workshops. On 28th February we had a Studio Photography Workshop that was hosted by John Clements and this time within the boundaries of Lincoln at the Judge’s Lodgings which is adjacent to the main entrance of Lincoln Castle and a short distance from Lincoln Cathedral.

There were 12 places available and (due to a last-minute cancellation) 11 workshop attendees, I recognised just over half of them from the Doddington Hall shoot last year. Like the previous workshop the camera you used didn’t matter and although I was the only one shooting with an Olympus (OM-D E-M1 MarkII) there was a good mix of Fuji, Canon DSLRs and Nikon DSLRs, surprisingly there were no Sony shooters. Although I was the lone Olympus user, the fact that had a E-M1 Mark II did generate some interest as not many had been seen in the wild. One of the users whose name escapes me for now (sorry not good with names) did show many things you could do with the OM-D, some I was aware of and some other things that were unknown to me – Thank you to whoever you are (if I found out their name I will update this post accordingly).

Taken straight from the LCE Events website here are the details for the course:
Photographing people is the most popular of subjects. But to do it well combines many skills such as lighting, composition and good guidance. So, join us on this workshop as highly respected pro photographer John Clements, shows and explains how to create a wide range of lighting skills and techniques, enabling repeatable and enjoyable results to be achieved when photographing people.

Following very positive feedback after his mini lighting sessions at our Doddington Hall event, imagine what can be achieved sharing a full day with someone who is used by major companies to teach and demystify lighting skills. Leave with a genuinely useful understanding of studio lighting, how it works, and how to shape light with it, to suit various face and body shapes, from the individual to small groups.

Easy to follow step-by-step, this inspiring day is equally suitable for those starting out, simply wanting a recap, or the pro, seeking a refresh and some new ideas. You will also create and leave with some fine images.

Some key areas covered include:

  • Understanding studio flash.
  • Camera settings for studio lighting.
  • Using a light meter for simple and advanced studio lighting arrangements.
  • Real world practical guide to using reflectors, umbrellas, soft-boxes and other common accessories for people photography.
  • Repeatable and practical lighting arrangements for repeatability, inside and out.
  • Working in and around the home or small studio/office environment.
  • Solutions to common people’s lighting needs, such as photographing people wearing glasses and dealing with various body and face shapes.
  • Posing & composition tips.
  • Creating clean white backgrounds.
  • Working with the ‘natural’ backdrop.
  • Creating ‘the quick’ backdrop solution.
  • Practical shooting sessions to cement the techniques and skills on the day.

The images:
Over the course of the day John would discuss a technique and then practically show the technique using the model who you might recognise as Katie from the Doddington Hall Photo-shoot. Some of these were part of an overall lighting strategy towards a final photo and some were single light effects.

The first 2 photos were from the same set of single light head-shots,I like both of these two especially Katie’s expression in the second photo:

The next photo was with two lights and has Katie’s hair undone:

We re-shot the “Black Widow” photo from Doddington Hall again, I’m much happier with this photo over my earlier attempt. Kudos to Katie for this one as it was very cold outside on the day and she only had the coat to keep her warm:

For the final session of the day we were split into two groups, and each group was given a room and brief for a photo shoot. We knew what Katie was wearing and our brief was to shoot an environmental photograph of Katie. I must say that this was a challenging part of the course and really makes you think about so many things, the room we were in was very big and there were so many distracting elements to avoid or camouflage in some way. I took a few photos and the only I really like is shown below:

I must say I had a great day and will join John on some other LCE courses he’s planning to run later in the year. I always enjoy networking with other photographers and I usually learn something new. If you would like to join any of the LCE courses, keep an eye on their Events page.

Lincoln Photo Show 2016

lce-photo-show
Today’s the day of the annual London Camera Exchange (LCE) Lincoln’s Photo show at the Lincoln Drill Hall on Free Schhool Lane and runs from 11am – 4pm, entry is as usual free

This year it is on a Sunday (previous years were the Wednesday nearest the 5th November – so a bit earlier in the year too); LCE promises a great day out for everyone from the keen beginner to the seasoned pro. They have stands packed with products, advice and demos from the likes of:

  • Olympus
  • Canon
  • Sony
  • Nikon
  • Sigma
  • Panasonicv
  • Fuji
  • Tamron

Along with a wealth of accessories from:

  • Manfrotto
  • Metz
  • Lastolite
  • Hoya
  • Tenba
  • Hahnel

This year LCE have three guest speakers, each giving an hours presentation on their work and how they achieve the results they get:

11.45am – 12.45pm
Gavin Hoey – Portrait photographer and photoshop master, Gavin gives a unique presentation using Olympus cameras and “smoke and mirrors” to create photography like you’ve never seen before.

1pm – 2pm
Joe Cornish – One of Britain’s most experienced landscape photographers, Joe will present his work on the most amazing landscapes in the world, sharing advice and techniques acquired in years of experience using Sony equipment such as A7RII and G Master lenses.

2.15pm – 3.15pm
Bertie Gregory – 23 years old and travels the world for National Geographic creating amazing films for the National Geographic Channel using Canon equipment including the Eos 1DX MKII. Examples of Bertie’s work can be found at natgeo.com/wildlife

All presentations are free and will run within the main hall along with exhibitions from a group of local camera clubs.

LCE also promise special show only offers and great part exchange deals – I’m not sure what these are so we’ll have to wait and see.

If there’s anything of interest I might post my thoughts and my highlights.

I (like LCE) hope to see you there too!

Doddington Hall Portrait Shoot

At the end of last month (Tuesday 27th September, the Lincoln – Silver Street branch of London Camera Exchange (LCE) organised (in conjunction with Canon, Nikon and Olympus) a Portrait Shoot at Doddington Hall here in Lincoln. The sold out event was well attended by a wide range of photographers with all skills and the variety of camera brands in use exceed the sponsors of the event including Fuji and Sony users too.

Learn how take to take great portraits in the stunning setting of Doddington Hall. We’ve teamed up pro photographers from Canon, Nikon and Olympus for a day long masterclass in portrait and fashion photography, using professional models and the stately rooms of the Hall as the backdrop. Your tutors are all experts in their field and will take you through the best use of cameras, lenses, speed lights and studio lights to get stunning results.

As already mentioned, LCE had support from Nikon, Canon and Olympus and each one had a Photographer or (in the case of Olympus) a representative from the company. The literature provided by LCE give the credentials of each photographer as well as an intended itinerary as follows:

John Clements (Nikon)
As a working pro photographer spanning over three decades, John has an impressive photographic pedigree. His clients include those from the corporate world, many household names, well known people, and the Great British Public. In addition, he was formerly Nikon Corporation’s UK “Advisor of Photography” for a number of years, a respected and privileged position. And has worked in an ambassadorial role and consulting capacity with other leading imaging companies.

John is particularly respected for his lighting skills. Author of over a dozen books, he also wrote about photography and road tested equipment for numerous photo magazines in years past. His workshop and seminar presentations excite people. Delivered with a clear, concise, motivational, and an approachable style, that delegates simply warm too.

A highly respected presenter, combining vast technical knowledge, an eye for the creative image, with clear explanations.

Been there and still doing it with an enthusiasm and a passion, you would be hard pushed to find someone within these shores, with as much Nikon expertise and shooting experience using it. Something willingly shared at our event.

John will present three workshops:

  • Nikon Speedlight Photography, Inside Out.
  • Nikon ‘Shoot It in the Studio’.
  • Shoot People ’Nikon Style’ With Available Light.

Dave Newton (Canon)
David Newton is a professional photographer and videographer who avoids specialising in any one area. As the former technical editor of EOS Magazine and Canon Professional Network, his knowledge of the Canon system extensive. An active photo tutor, David often gives seminars for Canon at various camera shops and trade shows. He is also a SanDisk Extreme Team member, Manfrotto Ambassador and Koy Lab Ambassador

Dave will be running three workshops on Canon Speedlites

  • Canon flash and ETTL
  • Multiple flash indoors
  • Flash and daylight

Lewis Speight and Dave Smith (Olympus)
Lewis Speight is one of Olympus’ newest recruits, bringing his ambition and excitement, and has over 2 years experience with other retailers being one of the best photography trainers in his team. This was after years of building his portfolio as a wedding photographer, and sports videographer. You’ll now find Lewis behind his EM5ii with a 7-14mm PRO, experimenting with light trails, off camera flash, and night time landscapes. David Smith has worked with Olympus UK for over 3 years, specialising in Product Technology, Training, Workshop and Event leading on all of the OM-D and PEN products. David has worked with various key photographers over the years including Damian McGillicuddy, Robert Pugh, Neil Buchan Grant and Jay McGlaughlin in areas such as Portraiture, Fashion, Wedding and Macro photography. His preferred area of photography is Macro, Street and Portraiture and specialises in teaching one to one Olympus tutorials as well as running various workshops all over Central England, the Midlands and East Anglia. David’s kit bag usually has 2 cameras in it, the OM-D EM-5 MKII and the PEN F, accompanied by the 12-40mm PRO lens, the 17mm f1.8 lens and the 25mm f1.8 lens, always ready to capture the moment, whenever it happens.

Content for the day will be:

  • Using both ambient and strobe light for portraiture.
  • Using tethering with the EM-5 MK2.
  • Exploring the differences between the Olympus lens range.

Although the day was centred on these three brands everyone was made welcome to the event and could make use of the invaluable photographic advice that was on offer. Although the event was not free the very low price of admission to the event was only £30 – this was a very good price and great value for money.

The Day
If it’s not obvious, the 3 events were running simultaneously and so three models were also arranged to be present, they also moved around between each event from time to time so that the photographers could have the opportunity to take pictures of each one. All three (Brook, Katie and Chloe) were all very beautiful, friendly professional and very obliging of the photographers who attended the event; many of us are not very used to directing models and although I have improved from my first experience back with Damian McGillicuddy back when I sot with Olympus; I still have a long way to go.

I started the day at the Olympus event as I thought that they were the closes to the Fuji camera (X-T2) that I was using. Although I got some nice shots of Brook I felt that the event was better suited to the Olympus users as this was where Lewis and Dave’s experience was better suited to. They were also were relegated to a small room at the hall when the Canon and the Nikon groups has larger rooms, this made getting he shot with a nice perspective difficult, I was grateful that a friends lent me his Fujinon 56mm f1.2 XF lend for the day (I now own my own 56mm f1.2 XF lens – it’s that good). As we were constantly worried about the weather we also did some shooting outside too.

In fact the itineraries of each group went out of the window to the most part so that we could all shoot outside on the day – fortunately the weather held and it didn’t rain all day although it looked like it could.

Here are my favourite pictures of Brook:
2016-09-27-dhps-1

2016-09-27-dhps-2

2016-09-27-dhps-3

2016-09-27-dhps-4

After the first session a nice lunch was provided by Doddington Hall in the coach-house where we were based and I had a chat with a few of the other photographers. One of them who I spoke to at the beginning of the day (who owns a Nikon camera) went to shoot with John Clements (Nikon) and was very impressed with John’s knowledge. I also spoke to a number of other photographers at the event and found the two other Fuji users, both of them also went John and he was giving out lots of good advice. So I decided for my next session to join my fellow Fuji users and go to John’s classes.

John was based upstairs and after a short talk we went outside with Katie and John had us all thinking about location, backgrounds, posing the model and trying to get us all thinking like photographers. We also tried various film simulations, playing with the white balance, setting the brightness of the rear LCD and fine-tuning the white balance (something I have never done before). He would also throw out tricks of the trade any other photographic gems. As we stepped through each setting John would check the rear LCD screens from time to time to ensure that you were on track and he was a great tutor offering lots of encouragement. I have to say I really enjoyed the second event more; it was also helped by having the other Fuji users around (also nice people too). As I still learning how to use the new X-T2 (at that point it was only a week old) having another X-T2 user and an X-Pro2 user helped when I wasn’t sure how or where to access some of the menu based features. We tried a number of areas in the rear gardens of Doddington Hall and I got a number of great shots too.

I have to add that although John is a Nikon shooter he was offering advice that was not necessarily Nikon specific; he was well aware of what other cameras are out there and many of their capabilities too.

My favourite pictures of Katie:
2016-09-27-dhps-5

2016-09-27-dhps-6

2016-09-27-dhps-7

2016-09-27-dhps-8

2016-09-27-dhps-9

2016-09-27-dhps-10

After a brief coffee break we went to or final session (again with John) and we did some shooting with Profoto studio lights (instead of speed lights). We mixed them with some ambient light (while it lasted) and the model for this session was Chloe. Whilst informative this session ran at a much slower pace as the studio lights were designed to work with Nikon cameras and we had to jury-rig a solution to make them work with the non-Nikon cameras. However John came up with a solution that worked (using a non-Nikon speed light to trigger them). Once this was working we all tried a few shots. As the day was winding down, John had Chloe move to one of the ornate staircases in the hall and we tried obtaining some nice shots from here – this was without any flash. Chloe was back-lit and again my shots didn’t come out – sorry Chloe 😦

My favourite pictures of Chloe:
2016-09-27-dhps-11

2016-09-27-dhps-12

I have to say a really enjoyed the day at Doddington Hall and I must thank everyone involved in setting this up as follows:

  • Dave and Vincent from LCE
  • John Clements representing Nikon
  • Dave Newton representing Canon
  • Lewis Speight and Dave Smith from Olympus
  • Brook
  • Katie
  • Chloe
  • Doddington Hall owners for allowing us to shoot there

Hopefully I’ve not missed anyone.

You can find details of the day at LCE Lincoln Silver Street’s Facebook page here, there was also a competition for the best picture taken on the day and details of this are here too (hint – I didn’t win).

Notes about using the Fujifilm X-T2:
As I already mentioned, I was using the Fujifilm X-T2 camera on the day. It performed admirably and although there were a few moments where is paused here and there (coming out of sleep mode I think) I did not miss any shots. I learned a few things about the camera thanks to John and the Fuji users and I am still wading my way through the manual and watching YouTube videos to get me up to speed. I only used two lenses on the day, first was the borrowed Fujinon XF 56mm f1.2 R lens for the inside shots and the Fujinon XF 50-140mm f2.8 R LM OIS WR Lens for the outside shots (these are equivalent to the 85mm and 70-200 lenses used in portraiture). These lenses focus fast and lock on instantly with the X-T2.

When I got home and looked at my photos I was amazed that apart from the shots where I mistimed or mis-focused they were all wickedly sharp. I wasn’t sure at first as there seems to be a 2-stage refresh happening in Lightroom. You would select the image and it would load the selected photo as a 1:1 and then a few seconds later the true sharpness of the image would load – WOW! The eyes of all three models were all in focus and you could see individual eye-lashes too. In some ways the image was too sharp as every pore in the skin could be see – I had to use a liberal amount of negative clarity to overcome this.

LCE Photo and Optics Show 2015

LCE-PhotoandOptics-2015

Two weeks on Wednesday is this year’s London Camera Exchange’s Photo and Optics show. I have been attending the show for the last few years now and it gets bigger and better every year, it’s a testament to the hard work that’s put into this by the LCE staff not only in Lincoln but further afield too.

This year looks to be no different, it looks like Olympus will have the biggest presence at the show which is good for me and Damian McGillicuddy is back again doing two events at the show; the events will also be better as the stage at the back of the hall is where they will be held. This was the only criticism I have from last year’s show, the event area wasn’t situated in the best place; I’m glad to see that my view were heard and acted upon – thanks Dave.

As well as Olympus we will have Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Lastolite and many many more, you can find more details about the show by clicking here. LCE will also have many show offers on for the day so bring your wallet and speak nicely to the bank manager.

I am really looking forward to the show and I hope to see you at the event 🙂

Driven to Abstraction

The-Third-Man
Yesterday I attended a local (in Lincoln) LCE-Olympus organised event titled “Driven to Abstraction” which was an Urban Street Photography event, you can read more about this here. However I have copied the synopsis of the event from the Olympus ImageSpace website below:

Professional photographer Steve Gosling invites you to get creative with the urban environment and seek abstracts in architecture for an exciting event Olympus is hosting in association with the Lincoln branch of the London Camera Exchange (LCE) in Silver Street. The date for your diary is 20th June for the ‘Urban Abstracts’ workshop, but be quick if this sounds of interest, as only 10 places are available to the lucky applicants

As well as Steve I had the pleasure to meet up with Aiden from Olympus too and although I took my Nikon D810 with me I only used the Olympus supplied OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera. What follows are my favourite photographs that I took during the on event.

Start:
We met up at the Silver Street Store of London Camera Exchange, there were 6 participants as well as Steve and Aiden; my friend Richard was among them. As planned, we left the store together and went to a local coffee shop to go through some introductions and talk about what we all hoped to achieve for the day. The coffee shop was “The Angel” which is just a few doors down from where I work and this was my first experience there. Olympus kindly footed the bill for the drinks we all had – I had to settle for a black coffee as they don’t serve skimmed milk :(.

As we were sitting down we were joined by another photographer to take the total up to 7. Both Richard and I were the only non-Olympus shooters in the group, some of the group use Olympus exclusively whilst others use Olympus in tandem with another DSLR.

Steve asked us one by one what we hoped to achieve during the course and my response was to take something beyond the mundane snapshot type of photograph that I always end up taking during urban type street photography. After a short slide show from Steve of some of his work and ideas behind the shots we all could choose Olympus gear to shoot with from Aiden bag of goodies. Most just wanted to try out difference lenses or different bodies wheres both Richard and I needed a body and lens. Richard wanted to try out the OM-D E-M10 whilst I wanted a go with the OM-D E-M5 Mark-II. I also went with the M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8 lens initially as this would give me the field of view of a 34mm lens (I have a 35mm f1.8 Nikkor lens on my wish list at the moment).

Here is Aiden with his bag of Olympus goodness allowing one of the participants to choose their gear for the day:
2015-06-20-OPW-1

The plan was to walk to the top of Steep Hill and meet up in the grounds of the Cathedral and then walk around taking pictures. After talking to Steve (far right in picture below) I should look for “pictures” before I took the shot:
2015-06-20-OPW-2

My Cathedral Pictures:
I was looking ahead, up and below an noticed these tire tracks, after a little contrast increase ion Lightroom I have picture I very much like:
2015-06-20-OPW-3

There is a sculpture around one side of the cathedral and I got closer to get this shot which I call “3 fingers”:
2015-06-20-OPW-4

The contrast between the shiny new brass knocker versus the rusty ironware on this door was very interesting:
2015-06-20-OPW-5

Richard stands very straight and the parallel between him and the stone pillar was the point of this photo:
2015-06-20-OPW-6

I was shooting the cathedral through a hole in a wooden and iron bench when this girl walked across the frame, a piece of serendipity. I had many photos of her as she walked across the frame and her juxtaposition at then far left to the aperture in the bench side works nicely:
2015-06-20-OPW-7

Steve also suggested looking at reflections too, I noticed that the building to my right was clearley reflecting on the bonnet of this burgundy car. At first glance it looks like the white balance is off but you can see that this is not the case as the range at the top-right shows the colour of the brown road:
2015-06-20-OPW-8

We were also asked to look at patterns like this metal warning plate:
2015-06-20-OPW-9

Red and Blue doors:
2015-06-20-OPW-10

On the way down Steep Hill:
For anyone who does not know Lincoln, the Cathedral and castle are located at the top of a hill. The main street down towards the town centre at the bottom of the hill is called Steep Hill- it as aptly named i.e. it is very steep – walking up the hill needs good legs and some stamina.

I personally wanted to show a lot of texture in my photos and this is a close up of some of the black woodwork on this Tudor style building:
2015-06-20-OPW-11

These stairs could be located anywhere, where do they go and what’s behind the doors:
2015-06-20-OPW-12

I was intersted in the various different patterns in relatively small piece of road:
2015-06-20-OPW-13

Opposite this piece of road was very badly corroded brickwork:
2015-06-20-OPW-14

Towards the bottom of the hill was this piece of tarmac road with other stone pieces embedded, I love the contrast:
2015-06-20-OPW-15

After another chat with Steve and Aiden they suggested that I go for a different lens and I was given the 60mm f2.8 Macro lens to try, this stayed on the camera for the rest of the day.

Brayford Wharf:
After walking through town and going down the Glory Hole (yes that’s a real location name in Lincoln) we arrived on the North part of Brayford Wharf, I haven’t been here for a while an it seems different now that I no longer work here.

On the side of the Royal William IV pub was this face in the stone. I was initially interested in the texture of the stone work but after taking a few picture I saw this face:
2015-06-20-OPW-16

I noticed this solitary buoy on the water of the Brayford Pool and like the composition:
2015-06-20-OPW-17

My last two shots are of the fencing around the exposed part of the jetty mid-way down on the Brayford Pool. Firstly one of the fence posts:
2015-06-20-OPW-19

And one of my favourite shots, a close up of the metal wire part:
2015-06-20-OPW-20

After taking the last shots we had a Q and A session with Steven and then ventured back to the LCE shop where we gave Aiden back his Olympus gear.

Thought on the Driven to Abstraction Olympus event:
I had a great day even though I was on feet for almost the whole day, I’m pretty sure Richard had a great time too. Steve has taught me to open my eyes a lot more particularly in a place where I have lived for over 16 years now. I have to say that I came away with a few shots that I am really proud of, I did try a lot more and although I do have some mundane snapshots I also tried lots of different things; some worked as evidence by these photos and some that did not. Steve also suggested that some photos on their own may have lesser impact tan if there were part of a set of photos printed on the same page in a 4, 6 or 8 set grid for example. I really think I learned something during the day so it was well worth it. I certainly would like to go on another course with Steve as he is really great teacher and all round nice guy – thanks Steve!

I would also like to thank Aiden from Olympus, I have met Aiden a number of times now and he always remembers me – he’s another nice guy and I hope to see him again. The Olympus OM-D E-M5II operated in a very similarr manner to the OMM-D E-M1 that I used to own, but the real icing on the cake was the fully vari-angle LCD screen on the rear of the camera and I hope that the markII of the E-M1 has this too.

I enjoyed using the Olympus OM-D for the day, it felt like an old friend (maybe one I should not have left behind so soon). However, I don’t miss the terrible battery life which is the Achilles heals of all Mirrorless cameras (not just Olympus); one thing I noticed is that we all had to change batteries during the day. My Nikon batteries last a lot longer – many shoots per charge.