photography

Camera phone (mobile photography)

I have been rather harsh in my views on mobile phones and their cameras and whilst I still think they have many limitations.  I do think they are great for certain kinds of photography.

So I thought I would just post a couple of images taken with my Samsung Galaxy Note 4.  The Note 4 has been around for a few years but was class leading when it came out and that included its camera.  Now camera phone technology has come along way in the last couple of years, with multiple lenses and various extra features but with the main lens, not much is different.  The Note 4 has a 16mp sensor, which is more than enough (it is 10mp more than my first DSLR).  The sensor doesn't have the low light ability or dynamic range of a DSLR or mirrorless camera but if you know what you are doing, that doesn't hugely matter.  

My local park

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Phone are great for landscape photos, their lenses are wide and because of their size, very easy to carry around.

This photo was taken whilst walking my dog on a crisp winters morning.  I shot down low to separate the trees on the left from the main tree.  The sun was behind me, which lit the tree nicely.  Now if am going to critique this photo properly, I would say the problems are on the right of the image.  The first problem is the trees on the right, which are very distinctive in the image because of the amount of sun light falling on them.  In theory I could change this in Photoshop, by either reducing the light or if my Photoshop skills were good enough removing the trees completely.  The second issue is the vapour trails left by planes flying from London City Airport.  Again this issue could easily be resolved buy editing way the trails. 

The second image is probably the favourite I have taken with my phone and again involves Reggie

Reggie's Holiday

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This second photo I have edited and I feel it is a very strong photo for a variety of reasons.

I recently went down to Margate with Reggie.  It has been over 6 months since my mother passed away and she always love living in Westbrooke and taking her dog Jamie to the beach.  Reggie, has only been to the beach once before and the tide was out, so he didn't go anywhere near the sea.

This time the tide was in and he was a little afraid to go near the water. Apart of the beach at Westbrook doesn't have the tide come fully in, so I took Reggie onto the beach.  Whilst walking, next to the incoming tide, Reggie did various things, the first being to taste the water (he didn't like that much), then run away from the waves, which at first scared him a little.

We then got to a point where the beach was slightly lower and the tide had reached the sea wall.  Now I am slightly devious and wondered if Reggie would go into the water (as you can see it isn't very deep), so I walked towards the water and Reggie took a few steps in (I of course stopped).  To my surprise Reggie, continued going further (at one point laying down (he soon realised this wasn't a good idea).  Reggie continued walking around and I took various photos.  This was the second last photo before he decided he had had enough.

So the first important part of this photo for me, is meaning and memory.  I will always have this image and will remember the day because of it.

The second part of this photo is, it is a good photo, with everything done well.  The lighting is nice, and the sky to sea ratio works well.  I took the photo from low, so Reggie is on the top right thirds, looking left.  The waves drive the viewers view to Reggie and the brightest part of the image is Reggie's face.  There are a contrast of colours and tones, with the blue sky and white cloud, contrasting well with the sea, seaweed and beige sand. 

Now in post production I have done a few things.  I have slightly cropped the image.  I have also removed the ships and wind turbines from the image.  I have also removed the fencing on from the island, which was a unnatural distraction.

For me this is almost the perfect photo to sum up the day and it means a huge amount to me.  It was only 1 moment in a day but that moment was for me perfect and I have it for the rest of my life.

Video

At this moment, I should be editing but sometimes it is a little hard to get into the swing of things, so I thought I would write a blog post instead.

I graduated Univeristy in 2001 with a degree in video production. I loved watching films and still remember the first time I watched, Star Wars (in the cinema), Time Bandits (hired on video from the library on a Saturday afternoon) or Blade Runner (watched in my bedroom on a small tv screen).

 I think I shocked my mum when I said I was going to do my degree in film making and I am sure she didn't take me seriously.  My only qualification was in Caring, so going back to college and then to university was a bit of a stretch.  My year at college was great and I learnt a lot, going to university was a bit different, firstly that the course (particularly the practical side) wasn't that great and secondly the numbers of students taking the course was silly, compared to the amount of equipment available but despite several set backs for various reason (both mine and the universities fault) I ended up getting my degree.

So after leaving university, I had lots of dreams but no idea how to break into the film industry. As a reward for passing my degree, I bought myself an SLR (Nikon F65, which came with 2 kit lenses).  The main reason I got the camera was because I couldn't afford a video camera amd I thought that I could keep my visual eye in whilst I looked for a job in the video industry.

Cameraman at Passion TV (no, it wasn't a dodgy porn site)

Cameraman at Passion TV (no, it wasn't a dodgy porn site)

It took much longer than I had hoped to break into video production, I worked various jobs outside the industry and did small jobs in the industry to get experience.  Somehow I floated towards camera work, which fitted my skillset,  My big break was working for Passion TV, it was a very small company and everyone had to chip in.  I shot all sorts of different things from vox pop interviews to travel documentaries. Looking back now, I wasn't very good but I did learn a lot.  I then worked as a freelance cameraman on various jobs, filming live shows and fitness photography but I didn't feel that I was going in the direction I wanted as a cameraman.

 During this time, I found that I much more enjoyed the freedom and creativity of photography and disliked the rush to get everything done with video, which would often come at the expense of quality.  The work was also rather dull and a bit soul destroying, so in 2010 I decided to focus exclusively on my photography and haven't touched video since.

Whilst I can't say my time in the TV/video industry, was a big success, I did learn a huge mount.   Probably the 2 biggest things I took away  had nothing to do with filming, it was much more to do with organising equipment for shoots and keeping equipment in good order.  

Taking a break whilst filming a travel documentary in Israel (shot at Masada)

Taking a break whilst filming a travel documentary in Israel (shot at Masada)

Come forward to 2018 and I have just bought the Fujifilm X-H1.  Their first camera aimed at video. I am not going to say that the X-H1 is the best video camera on the market, it still has certain limitations. in many ways the Panasonic GH5 and Sony 7 series are superior to the Fuji but the Fuji X-H1 is a great photography camera, with good build, lovely lenses and decent/good video.  Fujifilm also has great customer service and whilst the X-H1 does have a few issue I am sure these will be addressed in firmware updates (they are very good at that kind of thing).

Now, this is not a review of the Fujifilm X-H1, I have only had it a week and am still learning the basics of the camera but it does mean I have a toe back in video again and I am confident that I will be much better the second time around.

My lighting knowledge and experience with lenses is much greater. I am now much more confident with my framing and whilst photography and video are different, the simularities are enough that I know I can translate one from the other.

Now, when I say I have my toe in, I really mean that. I am not suddenly going to switch all my photography gear over to Fujifilm and I really don't have the lighting or sound equipment to do professional video production or the experience with non-linier editing systems.

What I hope to get back over the next few weeks and months is a basic ability with video. Certainly, you will see more video on my site, hopefully some vlog posts and some reviews of some of my photography gear but I love my photography too much to every want to replace it with video.

At this moment, I should be editing but sometimes it is a little hard to get into the swing of things, so I thought I would write a blog post instead.

I graduated Univeristy in 2001 with a degree in video production. I loved watching films and will always remember the first time I watched, Star Wars (in the cinema), Time Bandits (hired on video from the library) or Blade Runner (watched in my bedroom at 10:30pm on a small tv screen in my bedroom). I think I shocked my mum when I said I was going to do my degree in film making and I am sure she didn't take me seriously.

So several years later I have a piece of paper, no job and no idea how to break into the film industry. As a reward for passing my degree, I buy myself an SLR (Nikon D65, which came with 2 kit lenses). I bought the photography camera because I couldn't afford to video camera and my thought prosess was that I could keep my visual eye in whilst I looked for a job in the video industry.

It took much longer than I had hoped to break into video production and I ended up working as a cameraman. This fitted my skillset quite well and I shot all sorts of different things from fitness videos to travel documentaries. Looking back now, I wasn't very good but I did learn a lot, which I later took into my photography career.

The 2 biggest things I learnt had nothing to do with filming, it was much more to do with organising equipment for shoots and keeping equipment in good order, something that has been very useful over the years.

Whilst I was breaking into the TV industry, my experience and knowledge of photography grew. I found that I much more enjoyed the freedom and creativity of photography and I really disliked the rush to get everything done with video, which would often come at the expense of quality and I really wasn't a fun of video editing.

So around 2010 I decided that I would be a professional photographer instead of a cameraman and for several years I never touched video. Digital video had been around for a while and the Canon 5Dmk2 had been out for a while but I can't say I was particularly a fan of the camera, it had the full frame sensor, used lenses and had ok video quality but I was never a bit fan and felt the limitations substantial. I could see the potential in video but I thought it would take several years before video came up to the standard that I would be happy with.

Come forward to 2018 and I have just bought the Fujifilm X-H1, Fujifilms first camera aimed at video. I am not going to say that the X-H1 is the best video camera on the market, it still has certain limitations, in many ways the Panasonic GH5 and Sony 7 series are superior to the Fuji but the Fuji has advantages in other areas and I know that Fuji will address a lot of these issue in firmware updates (they are very good at that kind of thing).

Now, this is not a review of the Fujifilm X-H1, I have only had it a week and am still learning the basics of the camera but it does mean I have a toe back in video again and I am confident that I will be much better the second time around.

My lighting knowledge and experience with lenses is much greater. I am now much more confident with my framing and whilst photography and video are different, the simularities are enough that I know I can translate one from the other.

Now, when I say I have my toe in, I really mean that. I am not suddenly going to switch all my photography gear over to Fujifilm and I really don't have the lighting or sound equipment to do professional video production or the experience with non-linier editing systems.

Hopefully you wiill see more video on my site, hopefully some vlog posts and some reviews of some of my photography gear but I love my photography too much to every want to replace it with video.

If that goes well then maybe you will see me do some more advanced projects.  We will see!