March 23 2015

More images shot in Milan. This first one created with the Fuji x100t (which is sick and recovering in the Fuji hospital in the UK – wishing it a speedy recovery) in a underground station in Milan. We had a marvellous time while we were there, but one of things I wish I had was more time to create photographs. The woman blurred out in the image is my good and patient wife whose holiday was punctuated with my photographing. Had she not been with me, I would stayed and worked these locations much more, but I had to work quickly here. Now, don’t get me wrong. I would not have changed anything about the two days we had in Milan. But of course, I do see photographic opportunities lost. 🙂

Punctuating Patience

Punctuating Patience

 

In Milan, I was struck by the strong characters I encountered. The men had such expressive features. This iPhone image is one of those. I saw this man in a stopped tram staring at me. As I approached with the camera, his gaze intensified.

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Milan

 

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March 20 2015

Posting two images from Milan today. One taken with the Fuji x100t (read my review here) and the other with the iPhone. News about the x100t – I had to return it to the shop. The focus is not working properly and it began to freeze. Looks like it is faulty. The shop have sent it back to Fuji so I will be without it for a period of three weeks. Just when I was growing to like it.

The first image here was taken on a platform in Cadorna metro station in Milan in the evening. Once we turned on to the platform, I was struck by the dazzling black and white horizontal lines of this man’s hoodie. Standing behind him, I shot about 10 different images – both in focus and out-of-focus, and also getting some with the iPhone. It wasn’t the easiest to get as the station was teeming with people and I had the impression that the guy knew I was photographing him.

The hesitancy scale

The hesitancy scale

The iPhone shot is super special to me. This was the moment when I fully realised that my photograph was on display around the world and the enormity of it all hit home. It was a beautiful moment and seeing my wife smiling at me when I became a little emotional about it all is a memory which will stay with me forever. The shot is another to add to the series of images I am doing on reflections. You can see me there – there with my shot on a billboard in Milan, Italy.

All lit up in Milan

All lit up in Milan

The Story of my ‘Shot on iPhone’ Photograph (Milan)

A week has passed since I last posted an update to this wonderful story. In this time, I have seen or been sent by friends images of my photograph on display on billboards or posters from cities all over the world: Santiago, San Francisco, Yokohama, Bógota, Bangkok, Berlin, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Berlin, Boston, Philadelphia, Hamburg – the list goes on. And I can say that it still is the most amazing thrill. Nothing I could ever have dreamed up. My photo on billboards and posters all over the world! And now the print campaign is starting too.

Seeing the image pop up in cities across the world and being sent photos of friends standing next to it has been so cool, but I had to see it for myself to believe it; I had to see it with my own eyes. A few days into the campaign my wife encouraged me to travel to get to see it. The options in Europe were Berlin, Hamburg or Milan. I had previously been to Berlin and Hamburg, so Milan it was. Checking airlines, I saw that Ryanair had an early morning flight out of Dublin into Milan on Saturday 14th and a late evening one back the following day. I booked it there and then. The only downside to this would be that I was travelling on my own. We have two small kids and no babysitter at the moment. So it looked like I would have to travel on my own. Luckily, my sister who lives in Dublin got on to us and offered to mind the two kids for the weekend so as to allow myself and my wife to go together. We were delighted.

Cork is about a two and half hour journey to Dublin. We left around 7 in the evening, arriving in Dublin at about 9.30. The kids slept most of the way up, but woke with excitement when we arrived in my sister’s house. After some time getting them to settle, we went to bed too. After getting very little sleep we were back on the road heading to the airport at 3.30 in the morning on our way to Milan to see my photograph on a billboard.

A little after 12 p.m, we arrived at our apartment. Our host gave us a map of Milan and my wife, who can read these things, worked out our route to where the billboard was. We would need to take the metro and change at one station and then exit at Moscova station on Corso Garibaldi in the centre of Milan. We were getting closer. The trip there took about twenty minutes and when we exited the metro station on to Corso Garibaldi we were unsure whether to take a left or right turn. Fabio, a guy I had met on Twitter had previously sent me  an image from there, so we had some idea of where to look for it, but take the wrong one and we could be traipsing this long street that runs through the centre of Milan for ages. We could not believe our luck when we turned right and within a matter of seconds we saw it. There it was. My photograph – huge on a billboard! We both looked at each other in amazement. I reached for the camera and began to click.

Corso Garibaldi, Milan

Corso Garibaldi, Milan

The billboard was located in  a little area with a newsagent’s kiosk and some benches for people to sit – and admire my photo :-).  We got down there and surveyed the area, walking all around, trying to see it from different angles. It was very cool to observe people passing by looking up at the image as it got their attention. I had in mind before coming to get a shot of myself standing in front of the billboard with my iPhone in hand showing the original image on the iPhone next to the billboard, to convey the idea of ‘from a screen of four inches to a billboard in a major world city’.

Now, like many ideas this is all very well in concept, but to convert this to reality can prove tricky. My wife is a very patient woman. For the longest time, she tried. What I wanted was to have the iPhone to the right of the billboard, showing the original image and the scale. But to get them both in focus was difficult and to avoid a glare from the iPhone was also not so easy.  One I particularly like is the one below. I think she managed a fine job in getting this one of the scene.

Milan

Milan

Nowadays, selfies are obligatory and while I may not be the biggest fan of them, I think I am entitled to get one on an occasion like this.

Me and my photo

Me and my photo

While we were there a few people stopped to take shots of the photo and normally, I would not be the most boastful of people, but I could not help myself in asking if they liked the photo and to tell them that I was the photographer. ‘No!?’ they replied. ‘Yes!’, I replied, showing them the original. One guy, Marco, even took a photo of me under the image.

After that, we set about seeing as much of Milan as we could in the short time we were there. Travelling with a photographer must be like having a dog on a long lead. You think they are next to you and then turn around and see they are miles back, perhaps not sniffing a lampost like a dog, but there they are, camera in hand trying to get that shot. How she puts up with me I do not know. I know I would not be as patient. We got to see sights, Duoma, Galleria Vitoria Emanuele, La Scala theatre, Sforsa Castle and we spent the evening in Navigli, which is a really cool area, before heading back to see the main attraction in Milan; this time to see it lit up at night.

We only realised it would be illuminated when my wife saw another ‘shot on iPhone‘ photo near our apartment all lit up. With great excitement we got back to Corso Garibaldi and seeing it in the dark of night brightly lit up was something I will always remember. We found a cafe with window seats that allowed us to look out directly at the billboard. It was very cool when the waitress seeing me with three cameras set up facing the billboard asked if I liked it. She was so surprised when I told her it was mine. She called the other waiter to tell him also. I got many shots and little videos while there. This was the easily the highlight of the trip, sitting with my best friend and love of my life and sharing this magical experience.

All lit up in Milan

All lit up in Milan

The next day, we returned to say goodbye to the billboard. We continued with our tour of Milan, having a wonderful lunch by the canal in Navigli and later strolling along the banks of the canal. We arrived back in Dublin at about 11 at night. Drove to my sister’s house, collected our kids and drove home to Cork. Got snapped by a police car patrolling for speeding on the way (the wrong kind of photo), but got home safely. Milan will always have a special place in my heart.

The image being on display around the world is so cool, but the things I will remember will be the delight of family and friends in sharing this with me. There have been so many little incidents along the way of this story which I will never forget. So many examples. Here’s one. I get a comment on a blog post from Christelle who tells me she has seen the photograph on the back of a French photography magazine, Polka. I make contact with her and she offers to send me the magazine by post. I tell her I will pay for post and packaging, but she declines the offer. Fábio, one of the 77 photographers selected by Apple, sees it on a Swiss national newspaper and tells me he will send it by post to me, also free of charge.

Then there is Marta, from Colombia, who was on the lookout for my image. She sent me an email with lots of photos of my shot on a poster at a bus stop in her hometown. I had asked her to see if she could find it in Bogotá, bus she is from Medellin. In the email, she tells me that she was on a bus passing this bus stop when she saw the image. Paré!! (Stop!) she shouted at the driver! Got off and took this photo to send to me.

¡PARÉ!

¡PARÉ!

 

Please click here to see more of Marta’s work.

From Chicago, my friend Michael sent me this shot taken opposite the image in one of the main train stations in the city. I like the human element in this. Please click here to see more of Michael’s work.

Chicago

Chicago

Then there have been ones from total strangers who have been kind enough to make contact with me and send me images. This one from Sydney, taken by Norman Ma, is a particularly cool one.

Sydney

Sydney

And this one from Santiago, Chile is my favourite. Chile, for so long, has been one of my dream destinations. I would so love to visit and to get there now to see this would be a dream come true. Anyone want to send me there!? A huge thanks to Roberto for sending me this. How big is it!?

Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

One other really exciting thing was to see that the world famous Saatchi Gallery posted my photograph on their Instagram page to represent Apple’s Shot on iPhone campaign. I was really pleased with this. To catch the eye of this gallery is something cool. Maybe someday it will be hanging in one of their galleries.

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

On Thursday, a newspaper article in the Irish Independent appeared with the photograph of my two ex-students sitting in front of the photo in Shibuya. They will be delighted when I send them a print copy of the newspaper, and a little surprise also when I get to see them next month.

Again, I would like to thank everyone for their kindness and support. It has made this so special.

You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Visit my website. 

 

March 3 2015

First of all, a very big thanks to all who passed on their good wishes to me yesterday in relation to my photo appearing in the Apple iPhone World Gallery. I really appreciate it. Thanks!

If any of you are in any of these cities, you might get to see my shot. If you do, please send me a photo of it. I’m told it is on display in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Charlotte Lousiana, Bogota Colombia, Berlin, Hamburg, Milan and Kuala Lumpur. I still cannot believe it, to be honest.

Back to my daily posts to Flickr. Here is a shot I got in Dublin the weekend before last. I am still learning with the Fuji, but I do like its colours. With this shot, the strong shadows and the vivid colours of the shop display caught my attention. It wasn’t the easiest of shots to get because it is on one of the main streets heading into the city centre in Dublin and the traffic, as you can imagine was very heavy. I like the shadow of the little boy who had just run across the street.

Dublin

Dublin

This iPhone image is another in my series of reflections. I have been to this location in Cork a lot and still am not fully happy with the shots I get. But isn’t that what it is all about?

IMG_7203

River Lee Reflections

 

Apple iPhone World Gallery

I am always on here talking about how much I love my photography and the enjoyment I get from it. Ever since I joined Flickr and began to post with regularity I have been lucky. The truth is that Flickr has allowed me to learn so much, and in turn, it has brought my own photography to places I could never have dreamed of.

One of these is my inclusion in the Apple iPhone World Gallery which went live today. As part of this, iPhone images were selected as part of a campaign promoting the photography done on the iPhone. My image, I have been told, will be seen on billboards in 77 cities in 24 countries. How cool is that! Here is the photograph they will be using.

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Back to today and back to the Fuji and this image taken in Dublin the weekend before last. If I find a location or a scene that I like, I tend to work it and nearly always will try to get shots with both cameras. This scene is just crying out to be photographed. I was lucky that I could get behind the woman as she picked out bread from her plastic bag to feed the birds. I tried to get both hands of the man and woman in the frame.

Things to do on a first date

Things to do on a first date

 

The iPhone image is another from this same scene. This one is taken with the iPhone. I rarely would post two photos of the same scene on the same day, but wanted to as this shows the way I tend to work when out shooting.

Things to do on a first date

Things to do on a first date

 

March 1 2015

I began this post by writing February, then realized we have stumbled into March. The year is almost gone! Well, the winter is. And how I hate the winter. The dark, the cold, the wet, the short, short days and those trees. Those trees that need to cheer the fuck up!

I am still struggling to get the hang of the new Fuji X100T (read my review here). Its slow responsiveness is the main thing for me. Often on the street I will have the camera set to take multiple images. It is especially helpful as it is a split-second scene you are dealing with and getting four or five frames can be great. The Fuji, when it is set to take a few frames per second, also seems to take a few seconds to store these frames and you get this damn annoying storing message while it does so. Why? Just do it! Let me get on with shooting.

And if I want to manually focus, don’t think that I cannot be trusted with this and refocus for me. Please!

I know I just need to readjust the settings somehow and all will be resolved. I hope. Solutions in the comments box. Thanks.

Anyway, rant suspended. (It is folly to end rants, just suspend them. Leave them, marinating. You can add to them later. You know it makes sense.)

Today’s photos were taken on a photo walk in Cork last Friday evening. It was a wet, miserable evening. We get this deceptive, misty rain that seems so light and harmless, but it falls in sheets and soaks you. I started off the walk down by South Gate Bridge and while I was waiting to cross the road I saw this character appear. Not having much time to get the settings right for the shot (note to self: get this done at home before you head out), I got the Fuji out and having no zoom I tried to get as close as I could to him. The result is below.

Cork

Cork

The iPhone image is a similar shot in many ways. This was taken in Dublin the previous weekend. The iPhone really is a wonderful camera. For me, it is the best there is for street work. I weave with this camera in my hand. Weave and swerve in the crowds getting those shots. I like this character.

The slowing tick tock

The slowing tick tock

 

 

Fuji X100T

Buy books not gear. That’s what those with all the best gear tell us. People owning Leicas costing thousands and thousands of Euro and they tell us not to have G.A.S – gear acquisition syndrome. So often these are the very same people who get gifted new cameras by the manufacturers. Buy books not gear, they tell us, but imagine all the books they could buy if they sold their Leicas.

Anyway, for a quite a while I had been thinking of getting a more compact camera for street work. I was tired of lugging the heavy Nikon around with me and the idea of having a  little, discreet light camera appealed to me. I did my research and the camera that kept popping up as the best in the category was the Fuji X100T. The reviews all seemed to say the same thing: If you have the previous model – the S – then there is not much point in the upgrade, but if you do not have the S at all, then separate yourself from your cash (all €1,200 of it) and get yourself closer to that camera of your dreams. The reviewers raved about the X. Ken Rockwell calls it “The world’s best digital camera“. Eric Kim, who was gifted one, loved it. The Fro Knows Photo guy claims he “can’t say enough good stuff about this little camera”.

So, what do I say about it?

It is light! It looks cool. It fits in my pocket, a little uncomfortably, but it fits. I like that I can use the LCD screen to view an image as I am taking it (but that eats up the battery). If you want you can switch between the OVF and EVF, and there is even this little box that can appear on the bottom right hand corner which allows you see a zoomed-in-close detail of the image. The customisable function buttons are cool. You can operate the camera on silent mode which allows for better candid shots. The image quality straight out of the camera is impressive. Images are crisp and sharp. I like the fact it has a fixed lens and that there is no zoom. This forces me to compose with greater care and to zoom with my feet. This will make me a better photographer. The WiFi allows for remote control access, but I cannot, as yet, imagine a scenario to use that. Apparently, it is great in low light, but I have only been out twice with the camera, both in daylight, and I haven’t had the chance to check it out at night yet.

What I don’t like?

I find myself asking did I get a shot there. I like the silent mode, but it is a little unnerving. I think I need to get back to the clicks to signal a snap.

Image review – I like to see the shot I have just taken pop up on the LCD screen once I have seen it. This does not happen with the X100T. You have to press the play button and wait until a second or two for it to appear. Apparently, I can mess around with the power saving options and this will speed up the process.

The WiFi – it does not allow me to send a RAW file, and I like to only shoot in RAW, so I can’t see the advantage of this. I can put the settings to RAW + fine and the fine file is transferrable. But this would get very messy later on when uploading files to the Mac. I would have duplicate copies of images and need to manually sort the RAW files out. No. I think this is a gimmick which I will leave alone.

Battery – having being so used to the Nikon D7000 battery and hardly ever having to worry about it, I was pissed off to see how quickly the x100t’s battery quits. I have ordered two spare batteries, but why should I need to?

Purple haze – I love shooting into strong sunlight. I love high contrasts and shadows and again was annoyed to see that not unlike the iPhone 4 you get this awful purple haze when you shoot into strong sunlight. So, I have ordered a lens hood, but again why should I need to?

Can I blur the fuck out of things? Can I do it with the ease and grace of the Nikon? Not really. I am still learning with this camera and even though I had in on MF the other day, for some bizarre reason the camera swept back into auto focus and the blurred image I was trying to get disappeared, leaving me damn frustrated as I tried to fix the settings.

Overall, I do not like the camera. It is very different to the Nikon and I am a creature of habit. I want my old camera back! But, and this is the thing, all of this is good, it will make me learn. It will make me see the world in a different way when I am out shooting. It will push me along in my evolution as a photographer and that is why I wanted it. Comfort zones are all fine and dandy, but I need to be challenged. I want to experience the frustration of not getting the camera to do what I want; it will make it all the sweeter when I get it right. This camera will drive me crazy, I know that. But I also know I will grow to love it and that it will be with me on many great adventures to come.

Sure, it is a good thing to buy photo books and not spend all your money on gear, and I do see the point those with the already-acquired expensive cameras are trying to make, but at times it is nice to buy some new gear. Here’s to the new adventures! Here’s to the Fuji X100T.

This is one of the first images I took with the X100T.

16625643965_04a5bb2f9e_k (1)

Photographic Serendipity

 

And here’s an iPhone image taken in Dublin last weekend. A blurred one. Got to love the blur.

This future cannot wait

This future cannot wait