Quartet of Range Rover Sport’s in the snow

Quartet of Range Rover Sport's in the snow

Taken at the top of the mountain in Andorra. Temperature was minus 6

CPR10242

CPR10221

Taken with the Fuji X100s

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I’m now a web wizard (apprentice really)

I’ve spent the last couple of days developing my new website.

Ever since mobile me was binned by Mac I have not had sufficient web presence for one of my businesses.  I recently watched a youtube video with David du Chemin saying that business branding was less important than personal branding so although my businesses will remain they will all be accessed primarily through www.chrispearceramwell.co.uk

Now being relatively bright but in terms of web design and IT stuff generally I’m not great.  The prime reason I’ve been using Mac’s for the last ten years or so.  I bought a WordPress for Beginners book.  It seemed more complex than necessary so youtube was my prime source of education.

Two MacBooks were set up next to each other, one to watch and pause the Youtube video and one to set up the site.  This method worked relatively seamlessly.  The video used was:

HOW TO MAKE A WORDPRESS WEBSITE – AMAZING! BY TYLER MOORE 

I am eternally grateful to Tyler and seriously recommend this video to get things started.  I now have a site up and running but need to customise it over the next week and add more content.

This is when the WordPress for beginners will probably come in useful.  One of the first things for me will be linking this blog !

My prime studio website is hosted through Zenfolio www.somersetphotographic.co.uk  I cannot see the point in changing this as the functionality with Zenfolio is rich and the back end image printing and sales functionality just works fine.

Liverpool

ImageThe Liverpool Waterfront

Over the last twenty years each time I visit Liverpool it becomes increasingly better and more vibrant.  In the 1980’s it was an unpleasant place with crime high and very evident poverty, dereliction and neglect.

Looking around now these dark days appear to be well in the past and Liverpool has risen to become a bright and prosperous city of culture.

My father had always wanted to look round the cathedral and despite being retired for about 10 years had not found the time to get there.  He also got me started on my journey into photography back in my early teens and gave me my first SLR with the advice that speed, focus and aperture work in synchronicity to produce great results.  His advice as it turned out was broadly wrong but the inspiring slide shows of his Greenland and Alaskan kayak expeditions encouraged me to follow a photographic path.

It is interesting that in some ways for this trip our roles had reversed.  I gave Dad a Sony RX100 camera and some instruction on composition, lighting, aperture and focus.

So we set off and found an ultra secure car park with excellent lighting, 24 hour security and barriers just incase some elements from the 80’s have not changed.  This car park was underneath Liverpool One a new shopping and leisure complex nestled between the main shopping street and the waterside.  This centre is bright and airy with glass and steel walkways shooting off at jaunty angles above and below to create an ultra modern and clean feel.

ImageLiverpool One

For this trip I brought along the Fuji X100s with its fixed 23mm f2 lens.  No bag just attached to my wrist via a soft leather umbilical strap.  A couple of spare batteries and a polarizing filter in my pocket snuggling up against the spare 16gb Sandisk Extreme Pro SD card.

The X100s is perfectly sized for a day trip giving me loads of flexibility for the many different photographic opportunities that awaited me.

Although Liverpool has much improved there are still pockets of dereliction and neglect and on exiting Liverpool1 a single turn of the head brings into view shiny glass and aluminum ultra modernity, hand crafted stonework then total dereliction and neglect which no doubt in the near future will be transformed into more glass and aluminum modernity.

Our first destination was the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral which was completed in 1978 and sitting atop a hill with commanding views across the city and beyond.  Sir John Betjeman said the cathedral is one of the finest buildings in the world.

The cathedral tower stands 500 feet above sea level and on a clear day provides some jaw dropping views.

Inside the cathedral it is difficult to believe that it is so young having been completed just 35 or so years ago.  But behind the main areas the modern building methods become more apparent with cast concrete, trunking and cinder blocks nestling against the traditional block work.

Here are some images from the trip.

ImageImageImageImageImageImage,ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage No escape from derelictionImage Liverpool MuseumImage

Image Lambananas !

ImageTall Ship moored up for the winter

ImageLiverpool Museum

 

Left or Right Eye

I  use a pen and mouse with my left hand.

I play golf (badly) right handed

I eat with a fork or spoon in my left hand

If I kick a ball it goes further and with more control when I use my right foot

After a childhood illness I am 100% deaf in my left ear.

I am colour blind and suffer with earth tones brown, green, red.

On a recent left brain / right brain test my results were 50/50.  It has been commented that my landscape compositions tend to be dynamic.

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With NLP (neuro linguistic programming), when determining whether I am visual, auditory or kinesthetic this was also broadly equal pointing towards me being Auditory Digital

People processing in this system use words and phrases that don’t indicate any particular representational system. They are words that NLP calls “unspecified” such as, this makes sense, logical, understanding, criteria, appreciate, aware, analyse, believe, comprehend, choose, decide, reason, system, experience, integrate, learn, consider, perceive, process, realize, remember, sense, think, vague, wonder

Someone with a preference for AD processing may:

Talk to themselves a lot, as they make sense of their worlds with internal dialogue. You can tell they are doing this by their Eye Patternsand sometimes mouth movements

Seem to be debating something inside their head – head will tilt slightly one way and then the other.

Talk things out with others, or use them as a sounding board for their ideas.

Find it difficult to stay uptime (will want to go inside their heads to process). People can feel tuned out – the lights are on but no one is home. Uptime has an absence of internal dialogue

Be critical of self and others

Like to think plan and analyse

Need to “make sense” of things.

Have a strong secondary representational system or even have some aspects of all major systems. This is a second layer for some other sensory processing.

Be good at categorizing and summarizing

Be fond of lists, flow charts and writing things down

Can be very logical – this does not necessarily mean they think in sequential step-by-step ways.

AD look down to the left when we talk to ourselves.

My left eye is dominant to the point that in a portrait it appears slightly larger than the right.  This is usually obscured or masked by my glasses which I have worn since being a toddler.

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If I look through a viewfinder my left eye is dominant.  With a standard DSLR with the viewfinder in the middle my nose squashed up against the screen leaving a greasy print.

Since migrating towards the rangefinder style Fuji X Series cameras I have been conscious that the viewfinder is on the rear left of the body.

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One of the things I like most about this style of camera in use is that it is less intrusive than a professional DSLR and creates a more intimate and personable portrait experience for the sitter especially when a small prime lens is used.  This has led me to think that if I used my right eye more of my face would be visible during the session amplifying that personal and intimate feeling.

In a survey undertaken by Digital Photography School 57% of respondees predominantly used their right eye and 37% used their left.

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There is a school of thought that our chemical and biological processing of information is affected by the visual or auditory pathway.  There is another theory that this is rubbish but sticking with the thought for a moment.  If I change my viewfinder choice my photography could be different.  I will most probably search around the viewfinder more and in doing so might find things in the composition that are appealing or otherwise.

So my personal photographic challenge over the coming months is to actively use my right eye more and see if results are markedly different.  The worst that will happen is that slightly more intimate relationship during portrait sessions.  There will also be less of a greasy mark on my camera screen.

Couple of examples of more intimate and personal portraits achieved with the Fuji

Cassidy taken with the XPro1 and 18mm prime lens – natural lighting

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Nat taken with the Xpro1 and 35mm prime lens – LED lighting

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Straps, Cases and Water Protection

I’ve been shooting with the X Series cameras for a while now and as with my full frame Nikon kit I have never found a camera strap that doesn’t get in the way.  Consequently most of the time I risked dropping my cameras and didn’t use any form of strap at all.

They come with three primary frustrations:

1 – They are bulky and sit in the wrong places

2 – They have horrible logo’s that scream ‘photographer’

3 – They go round my neck

I have tried to use the screw mounted rapid straps but don’t like straps across my body.  I’ve even tried the rapid wrist straps but have found these to be clunky.  The worst bit being if I need to move to tripod I have to remove the rapid bit.

Finally, a discreet leather wrist strap that is supple enough to stay out of the way, unbranded so I don’t look like a mobile advert but above all sufficiently sturdy to protect my camera should I happen to drop it.

The XPro1 and the XE1 are both fitted with thumb and hand grips so the wrist strap just adds to the camera security without getting in the way.

The X100s also has a thumb grip fitted but no hand grip to the wrist strap works even more effectively.  It also puts a little space between my palm and the body affording additional purchase.

Leather umbilical cord between XE1 and my clumsy hand

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As with most photographers I am on an eternal quest for the perfect camera bag and primarily use a Billingham Hadley Pro when more than a couple of things need to be carried and an ONA Bowery when just a body / lens combination is needed.

I recently acquired a camera protection insert which is padded fleece which has movable dividers and a drawcord top.    This holds two bodies, four lenses and spare batteries / memory etc.  The insert can be dropped into any bag I need to carry including my laptop rucksack.  My X100s usually lives in a thin fleece sock like bag or directly in my pocket.

Now the interesting bit about the above ramblings is that the insert cost less than £20 and the wrist strap less than £10.

Prices of camera accessories is usually high:

Hadley Pro £180

ONA Bowery £100

Black Rapid £50

Not to mention the Think Tank Retrospectives, Lowepro’s and Domke’s all over £100 that I have procured and sold over the years.

I have also owned various types of water resistant housings but stil find the humble showercap stolen from a hotel still offers the most effective water protection in the rain.

The X Series has really helped me rethink my photography and this journey is only getting better every week.

These three were shot on Exmouth beach in the rain with a shower cap protecting the X100s and a wrist strap ensuring I don’t drop it.

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Slip Sliding Away on Exmoor

Tom and I popped to Tarr Steps last weekend to get some long exposure shots of the higher than usual river.

It was a sunny day nestled between some of the worst weather of the winter so far.  The roads were icy in places and I had some fun keeping the van steady as we navigated through some of the rather steep single track roads that weave their way through Exmoor.

As we slid inelegantly into the car park and stepped out onto the tarmac it became apparent just how slippery it was with both Tom and I walking like toddlers down the hill towards the river.  We made it without incident but the adrenaline was certainly pumping.

I had minimised my kit for this trip taking only the bare essentials:

Fuji XE1

Fuji 18-55 lens

Fuji 55-200 lens (not used)

HiTech circular polarising filter

Hitech Graduated and Neutral Density Filters

Manual Cable Release

Three Legged Thing Eddy Carbon Tripod with Ball Head

All packed into the Lowepro Sport 200 rucksack

I usually use a Velbon travel tripod but wanted rock steady performance for the long exposures.  Some of the shots were taken from the water and the Eddy has spikes on each of its three legs to get an extra grip.

This is one of my favourite shots of the day

Fuji XE1, 18-55 Lens, F11, 4.3s, ISO 100 Polarising Filter + 3 Stop ND

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On reflection I would have liked to make the angle more acute across the frame to add more dynamism.  With this and the other shots from the day rendering them monochrome really worked.

The next series of three show the effect of using different shutter speeds

Fuji XE1, 18-55 Lens, F2.8, 20th of a second, ISO 100 Polarising Filter + 3 Stop ND

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Fuji XE1, 18-55 Lens, F11, 1.5s, ISO 100 Polarising Filter + 3 Stop ND

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Fuji XE1, 18-55 Lens, F22, 6.0s, ISO 100 Polarising Filter + 3 Stop ND

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You have to get quite low to get a clean shot of the bridge

Fuji XE1, 18-55 Lens, F16, 15.0s, ISO 100 Polarising Filter + 3 Stop ND

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Fuji XE1, 18-55 Lens, F18, 30.0s, ISO 100 Polarising Filter + 3 Stop ND

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I like the way the sun highlights are glinting off the wet rock

On the way home we stopped off at the ruins of the West Somerset Mineral Railway and will explore this some more over the coming months.