Bridge, Chester

A Photographer’s Diary (2017 #01)

I had a thought that it might be good to start doing more regular updates on what I’ve been doing, what I’ve been thinking about etc. I’m not going to make any promises on how often I do this, some weeks are quieter than others, but if I’ve got something semi-interesting to update you on then I’ll write one of these diary-style posts.

I’m two weeks into ‘Dry January’, which probably explains my sudden improvement in productivity with my blogging. I did promise to blog more and to try and live a more healthy lifestyle as part of my new year’s resolutions so I guess it kills two birds with one stone. I can’t say as I am enjoying the sober experience, I generally love nothing more than to relax in the evening with a cold brewski or two.

Beer, Oludeniz

Beer, Oludeniz

For a couple of years now I’ve been saying that I’d like to do a year of shooting only in black and white, but I never quite got around to it. I’m a bit anal about consistency in my photography and I didn’t want to end up with my annual photo book being mostly colour with a little bit of black and white thrown in. That was the reason I decided it needed to be the whole year, and probably the reason I’ve never quite managed it. A couple of weeks before Christmas, the idea popped into my head again and I decided I should give it a try.

Gelert's Grave, Beddgelert

Gelert’s Grave, Beddgelert

My friend Joe (@j0brazil) who normally shoots black and white told me he was toying with the idea of a year in colour. I suggested we could both write about our experiences on my blog, and help each other out etc. I was fairly serious about it.

Angel, Chester

Angel, Chester

Anyway, after discussing it with several more friends, the resounding majority said it was a stupid idea for one reason or another. Anyway, having already sewn the seed of doubt in my mind, I spent a couple of days between Christmas and New Year experimenting with black and white and it didn’t take me long to come to the same conclusion. I suck at black and white. I just don’t see the world that way. I never have, and I doubt I ever will. So I’ll be sticking to colour for the foreseeable future. Sorry Joe!

Mannequins, Chester

Mannequins, Chester

If you read my blog about deleting your photos, then you’ll know that at the end of the year I have a big clear out of my Lightroom catalogue, leaving only the best shots. I’ve now completed the 2016 cull. 2016 is the first year in my catalogue that is 100% jpeg only. All the shots were processed in the Snapseed app on my phone/tablet before being imported. The thing I like about this is that I am no longer tempted to change the post-processing – because now I can’t. It’s kind of similar to working with film in that respect, you get what you get and you’re stuck with it. I’ve just started the process of converting my 2015 images to jpeg for the same reason. The less opportunity to I have to fiddle with my photos the better really. I have zero self control.

Being sober has given me more time to think and I think it’s led to a bit of G.A.S (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I’ve had the Fuji X70 for a while now, but I’m not really using it all that much. It’s a fairly small camera, but it’s not pocketable. I’ve found myself shooting with my little old Sony point-and-shoot most of the time, just because I always have it with me. The Fuji is usually in my bag, but the Sony is always in my pocket, and so it wins because I’m lazy. It’s convenient and takes decent pictures that I really like the look of. Unfortunately, the focus seems to be on the fritz and sometimes it fails to read the memory card when I turn it on. I have another one of these cameras as a backup, but that one’s pretty beat up too.

Car Park, Chester

Car Park, Chester

I’m lusting after a Sony RX100. Jimmy Sng (@momofuku) was kind enough to send me some files from his camera and I really like how they look. Watch this space to find out whether I cave in and get one. I still have my old Ricoh GR stored away so I might have to get that out again – it will require cleaning the sensor though, which I am a bit loathed to do as it’s a complete pain in the arse. In truth, that camera still holds a special place in my heart, just because it’s so well designed (apart from the dust issue), it’s a joy to use and it fitted easily into my pocket. I just don’t know if I can put myself through the stress of not knowing whether a whole day’s photos are going to get ruined cos dust got in there again.

I’ve also started featuring the work of other photographer’s over on my instagram feed every friday – which I have cleverly named ‘Feature Friday’. If you want to have your work considered for a feature then just tag your images with #myendlessproof to join in. The idea is I want to build up a bit of a community of my own of documentary photographers and street photographers, where we can talk, check out each others work etc… This image below is the latest feature, from Kelly Graham (@kellygrahvm). I love the atmosphere and the juxtaposition that the snow adds to the picture.

Ice Cream Van, Photo by Kelly Graham

Ice Cream Van, Photo by Kelly Graham

Anyway, I best get back to work. I’m working on a few things at the minute – more to come on that at a later date – so for now I shall bid thee farewell. Happy shooting!

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Filed under: Journal

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I am an engineer, graphic designer, documentary photographer and blogger based in Chester, UK. I blog about my experiences of photography with the hope of encouraging you to start documenting your life and the world around you.

Comments 7

  1. george January 15, 2017

    I started out shooting with a Nikon D5100 but now shoot with a RX100M2, its a great little camera once you get your head around the menu system.

    I set the memory recall menu to 35mm, B&W, RAW and that is it.

    If you do go for one of the RX100s make sure you get a couple of spare batteries as one won’t last a whole days shooting.

    G

    • Matt January 15, 2017

      Thanks for reading again George, and thanks for the tips on the RX100. I like the fact that it has a 24mm equivalent lens at the wide end – I’m a big fan of wide angles. Shooting interiors a lot I find it very useful when walking backwards isn’t always an option.

  2. Chris J Roe January 15, 2017

    Hi Matt. Great post! I follow you on Instagram. Have you considered shooting with your smartphone? I transitioned from a Canon 6D to an x100T to my iPhone and enjoy photography and shoot more than ever. I would say 90% of my work is smartphone only!

    Keep creating!
    Chrisjroe

    • Matt January 15, 2017

      Hi Chris, thanks for reading. I do still shoot with my phone, on the rare occasion I don’t have a ‘real’ camera with me. I just enjoy the experience of holding and shooting with a camera more. I don’t know why. Also, my current phone (LG G4) has a terrible flash. I’m thinking of switching to an iphone when I’m next due an upgrade. The photos my friends get with theirs are very good – the only thing I don’t like is the 4:3 aspect ratio – I’m stuck in my ways and prefer 3:2. I guess I’ll just have to eyeball it and crop them later.

      • Chris January 15, 2017

        Hello! That’s cool. Maybe it’s worth waiting until April time to see what Samsung brings out if you are used to and happy with android.

        I didn’t think ablht the ratios to be honest you make a good point

  3. Alex Ragalie February 24, 2017

    Matt, why don’t you go out and get the Ricoh GRII, the GH-3 hood+ adapter (you don’t need the hood, just the adapter) and a normal clear (UV) 49mm filter?

    You compromise very slightly on the pocketability, but the adapter+filter added to the front of the camera ensures there’s no dust getting inside the lens housing. And then you’ll be back to a camera that you love without the hassle of taking it apart 😉

    • Matt March 23, 2017

      Sorry for the late reply. I have toyed with the idea of getting another gr for a while but I can’t myself through the pain of it again and having to use the lens hood makes the camera too big for my liking.

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