Sony A7III motorbike racing circuit test

Sony A7III motorbike racing circuit test

I was helping to run a taster day at Snetterton Race track for Wex Photo Video Events and was luckily enough to be loaned the new Sony A7mkIII camera and the Sony 100-400mm G master lens.

I am going to keep this very short, I am terrible at writing at the best of times. But since using the camera I was admitted to hospital via A&E with a massive eye infection that resulted in me nearly loosing one of them (not my shooting eye). I am on the road to recovery now though.  So expect very bad writing

I am no tech buff and all the gadgets on cameras that do this or that are not for me. I just like good old fashioned reliable auto focus and a crisp clear image. I had not used any of the Sony A7 range of cameras before this day, but I have shot a lot of fast stuff, so I went for a shutter speed between 1/125th and 1/200th sec and iso was stuck on 125 for the day, the Aperture value was fixed at between f/7.1 and f/9 through the day and these following shots. All the images were shot hand held.

I had the camera on Single point to start with then changed it to the option that allows you to change the position on the A/F point and also track within the set square, I cant for the life of me think what that is called and I blame passing out in hospital and my rubbish memory for that.

Once that was done the camera behaved exactly how I expected and was fun to shoot with and would happily have one in my camera bag if finances allowed.

Editing the shots was as nice as well, lots of range to be able to play with as you would be expecting from a full frame sensor and now that Lightroom has updated to be able to read the files on this camera it is all good

Sony A7III motorbike racing circuit test Images

                                   

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Fujifilm GFX50s Sports Photography

Fujifilm GFX50s Sports Photography with the 110mm f2 lens at Snetterton racetrack. 

I found myself helping a good friend helping to run a motorsport photography Taster day at Snetterton racetrack for the day. I have been a Fuji Shooter since day one of the release of the X-T2 and shoot everything from landscapes to architecture to boxing and even dabbled with the odd bit of motorsport and aviation with it. I have tried Both the 100-400mm and 50-140mm lens and have to say the 50-140 is my favourite of the 2 for shooting motorsport with, weight and the response of the auto focus make it a no brainer to me.

So when it was mentioned that my friend from Fujifilm might be able to make it down with the X-H1 (I have images from that too) I was very excited to get a play about with it, but then it was mentioned that the GFX was in the kit bag as well as the 110 mm f2 lens I have used this camera before back in October ’17 when I took it for a weeks hiking along the Coast and had so much fun with it I almost shed a tear when it had to go back. I found it did everything I wanted and a lot more, not just with the images but with the ergonomics and the menus and easier manual focusing along with dozens of other things.

I have 2 points I would like to make, first off I am not a motorsports photographer, I just love shooting cool things no matter what they are. Secondly Fuji have not given me anything to write this, all I have ever had from them is a hug from my friend at Fuji, amazing customer service when needed and a few likes on Instagram and Twitter… I like what they do with the gear, I have just used it again today and love it and have decided to spend a few hours (as I cant write well, cheers dyslexia) to let you see what the camera is all about.

For the hour I was using the camera I took a goods few photos.

The ones bellow are taken at the following settings and taken between the bridge and Nelsons corner if you know the area:

ISO 100 at f/14 and a shutter speed of 1/200th sec and shot in RAW

The autofocus was set to case 3 and was on C and with it on single point on 1 point from the smallest possible setting. It was set to continues low and shot handheld.

And then the following shots were taken at Murrays corner leading onto the Senna Straight with  the settings at:

ISO 100 at f/14 to f/18 to allow for changing light and a shutter speed of 1/100th sec and shot in RAW

The autofocus was set to case 3 and was on C and with it on single point on 1 point from the smallest possible setting. It was set to continues low and shot handheld

Fujifilm GFX50s Sports Photography

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Firecrest

Formatt Hitech Firecrest Ultra Landscape ND filters.

Mother Cap in the Peak District during gale winds with the Formatt Hitch Firecrest Ultra Landscape ND filters and the Fuji Film Xt2. Feb 2018

What are these filters all about and why would I go out and spend a load of cash kitting myself out with some?

Let me start this with a bit of a journey in my own photography equipment purchases and how I got to writing this today, so bear with me and read on.

I found myself starting to shoot less of the abandoned buildings I had always shot  and was spending more time shooting landscapes, but I think it was after about 2 years of shooting them I decided to mess about with some filters…

I started of as most people do with the EBay special £15 filter kit, I was well chuffed with my purchase and then it arrived. I was a little miffed at the fact the graduated line on the filter was wonky, not even all the way across as it was shown in the picture and when I held it up to the sky it turned the sky purple, very purple, so much so the filter kit went into the bin.

£50 on a filter kit?

I knew I wanted to have a play about with some filters, so I then nipped to Wex where I am lucky enough to only live a few miles away from and purchased a load of filters in the form of a landscape kit. It cost me just over £50 and I got 2 adapter rings and a holder with it as well.

Now these filters I enjoyed, I had a 1, 2 and 3 stop graduated filter and neutral density filters. The Graduated filter if you did not know is for making the clouds more evident in the shots by darkening the usually over exposed sky and the ND filters can be used for things more like smoothing out the sea or making a waterfall go all milky. These were great fun and I learnt a lot about them and how filters work and create different affects within image making. It did not take long to unfortunately find out that if you stack 2 or 3 of these filters together you start to get a very odd colour cast and your top spec lens starts to produce results that are as sharp as a kids toy knife. As you can see in the shot here, the trees have no definition in them in the middle of the shot and the clouds are looking a rather interesting shade of purple.

Taken using a cheap budget set of filters in Suffolk at Sunrise on a Canon 6d with a 17-40mm lens

I found the filters I was looking for.

So I looked about online and read a good few magazines and I came across the company that produced some nice looking filters that were at the top end of my budget, they were made by a company called Formatt Hitech Filters. They are a small UK based company, so I asked about and nobody had a bad word to say about them.  I took the plunge and got myself a Soft grad and ND filter set in the kits they do, from memory the filters them self cost me £300 and the filter holder Wex had in the used section for £20.

This proved to be a purchase I liked a lot, the kit was what I had been hoping for. For the 1st few trips out I went on I was genuinely blown away by the difference in the results to the previous filters I had been using. I still think that from those 1st few weeks I produced some of my most favourite photos.

.9 nd resin filter to slow down the water to a 4 second exposure and a .6 soft grad to reduce some of the light that was ruining the image at the top of the bridge.

As a example, the thing that I liked about the image above was the amount of detail that is retained within the brickwork and stones, something I had not been able to see before while using the cheaper filters, the biggest difference had to be the colour that was let through, everything seems to be as it should be.

After using these filters for a year and being honest, with the resin filters I would say that if I took photos in different all different types of locations the colour would be very nice in them. It goes to show you get what you pay for.

Welcome to Formatt

After about a year of shooting with these filters and having just completed my Degree in Photography I was asked if I wanted to join the team at Formatt Hitech Filters as a ambassador

Now I get the fact you will be thinking I am only writing this as a thank you for them giving me a ton of gear to play with (please refer back to the last part, re I spent £300).  I bought the gear, I had to save up my hard earned cash for it. I knew through my photographic training, reading reviews till I was blue in the face I was about to make myself a well informed decision to make 1 last purchase. I would then stick with a brand of filters I knew would produce the results I required for my work.

I went ahead and purchased some of their filters, I tried some of them out and I liked what I saw when it was in the back of the camera, on my screen and in print on a clients wall. I would not have joined the team if I did not believe in the product as it was only through me using the equipment and tagging them in a post and then by pure chance they decided to have that initial chat with me.

The few and I mean few filters I have been given to play with by the company get passed around on my workshops for people to have a go on.  To this day I have not met one person who has been disappointed, they can then get to see what the difference is between a filter that costs £15 or £150 in the case of the newest Formatt Hitech Firecrest Ultra Landscape ND filters on the market.

Firecrest and Firecrest Ultra

 Sitting way above the resin filters that thousands of photographers  have in there bag are a glass type of filter called the Firecrest and the new on the market Firecrest Ultra. They are a step above anything else I have ever had the privilege of playing with. The Firecrest 3.0 ND or 10 stop was one of the 1st filters I was  given to play with in this range, it blew my socks away, the sharpness and the colour that was achieved with shooting with it. It was not long after I got my hands on that filter I went and bought myself the 16 stop ND. If you want to be able to shoot a 6 min exposure at noon, this is your filter.

Firecrest 2 stop grad, 10 stop ND and the polariser allowing for a exposure of 240 seconds on the Fujifilm XT2
Sunrise using the 3.0 Firecrest ND and also the 0.6 nd  and the resin 0.6 soft grad to allow for a nice long exposure of 125 secs (2min and 5 secs).
Shot at sunset on the Fuji X-T2 WITH THE 10-24mm lens and using the Formatt Hitech 100mm filter system with the resin 3 stop hard grad and the 10 stop Firecrest allowing for a 160 second exposure

And then we have the fun that is the Firecrest filters

Here is my 2p’s worth on the Formatt Hitch Firecrest Ultra Landscape ND filters. I print a fair bit and I also shoot with a fairly high resolution camera. When you print you start to see details in the image that you will never see on the monitor. I don’t print big, I think my biggest prints in the last 2-3 years have been A1 in size, but I know that they look good. The work needs to look sharp and have no hidden imperfections in it, or these get amplified when the image is made bigger, this is the problem with cheep filters and why all I now have in my kit bag is a mixture of the Firecrest and Ultra filters.

The  Firecrest Ultra have no cast whatsoever, regardless of what subject you are shooting, you get no stray colours in the shots, ssubtle tones you see with your eye remain there when you get home and upload images to the PC. The biggest thing to consider is the detail and sharpness you get from shooting through these filters, when you are shooting on a camera such as the Fujifilm GFX or even the Nikon D850 you are going to get that sharpness you are used to. No oh it might come out all right…. It will come out all right

I was told the Ultra filters were going to be good, but it was not until I had to replace my 3.0 ND  filter I realised how good. It was at this point I pushed the boat out and went for the 6 and 13 stops as well. It is all great being told this is great and this is amazing by somebody on a blog, but I was being told this by people who I personally knew so was excited about it all and my only gripe is that I waited far to long to get my hands on them.

If you don’t want to cough up the money for some filters and think this is just a marketing ploy, then feel free to join one of my workshops or even join me out shooting on morning on the beautiful Norfolk coast and I will let you have a go on them., just don’t drop them as I kind of like them….

I have included some RAF (raw) files as they were taken and also some slightly tweaked in Lightroom shots as screen grabs, the after shots are just shadow lifted and highlight dropped and cropped with a drop of clarity, there is no white balance or tint adjustment at all, anything else I do to edit I take into Photoshop after this part of the editing process so it is all very basic.

Southwold Pier with the New range of Filters Firecrest Ultra. I used the 10 stop ND and a 3 stop soft grad and the circular polariser for a 20 second exposure
The edited shot
How Hill wind Pump with the Firecrest Ultra 10 stop ND and a Firecrest 3 stop soft grad allowing for a 80 second exposure.
The edited shot
Southwold pier. This was shot with the 6 stop Ultra, 3 stop soft grad and a circular polariser giving a 5 second exposure on the Fujifilm UK X-T2 and 10-24mm lens
Southwold pier zoomed into 100% or 1:1 ratio so you can see the before and after. This was shot with the 6 stop Ultra, 3 stop soft grad and a circular polariser giving a 5 second exposure on the Fujifilm UK X-T2 and 10-24mm lens
The edited shot

What Formatt Hitech Firecrest Ultra Landscape ND filters do I have in by kit?

The filters of choice for me are the following:

The .6 (2 stop) and .9 (3 stop) Firecrest Graduated 100 x 125mm filters for correcting the sky and the clouds within the shots.

The 1.8 or 6 stop Firecrest Ultra 100 x 100mm filter is for using with subjects such as waterfalls or streams or at the first light of sunrise or last light at sunset when you need a shutter speed of around 1-3 seconds.

The 3.0 or 10  100 x 100mm filter is the one a lot of people will use for getting subtle cloud movement on a day when you can see the movement in the clouds is fairly evident, so when you use the filter you get that lovely streaked movement and smooth water in your shots

The 13 stops Firecrest Ultra 100 x 100mm Filter is perfect for during the day in the UK. I have found this filter will usually give you a exposure of up to 2 mins of a typical British not to bright day. It is perfect for removing people from the streets in your architecture shots right through to having the smoothed of sea shots

The 16 Stop Firecrest 100 x 100mm filter is the big one. This filter will allow you to shoot 5-8 min exposures during the middle of a sunny day very easily. Perfect for if there is a few fluffy clouds about and next to no wind as you will get that shot you long for

The 105 mm ultra slim Firecrest Circular polariser and adapter ring cuts back on the unwanted reflection from water and also adds that much needed punch to the clouds and sky

I still use the Metal 100mm 3 slot filter holder and wide angle adapters as I just like the feel of it

I also have the Firecrest 100mm Holder with built in polariser and adapters, If I have to travel light this is the kit I will go for as it fits into a much smaller bag

This is my thoughts on the Formatt Hitech Firecrest Ultra Landscape ND filters in a nut shell.

Remember you can always grab a bargain by using my discount code DIBSM10 on the Formatt Hitech website when getting your filters.

If you ever have any questions about them then feel free to just comment on here or ask

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244 Days with the Fuji X-T2

During this review I will talk about the fuji x-t2 Samyang lens review and show plenty of images I have shot

If you told me this time last year I would no longer be lumping around my 21kg camera bag full of Canon gear, I would have most likely have laughed at you. Thanks to a loan of the Fuji X-T2 over a long weekend in September 2016 and a promise I would not be disappointed, here I am now with my second blog about the camera. You will notice a few things with my blogs….. I am rubbish at writing (cheers dyslexia)…. I dont like writing a lot…. And I do not write blogs very often.

 It has been 244 days since I got my Fuji and had sold all My Full frame Dslr gear and still to this day I do not miss it in the slightest. The only thing I miss is the lens selection that I did have, but that is only due to me having not built up my collection of Fuji lens yet, they are getting there now though.

I have used the camera primarily for Landscapes, cityscapes, seascapes and night sky shots. I have been using it out in all elements and it has not given me any issues. I have had it out in the rain and high winds of the Peak district in the middle of winter and it keeps on going fine. The camera has even been knocked about while using it and I have still not noticed any scratches on it yet.

The best user functions on the camera for me have to be the very responsive Live view, viewfinder and the tilt screen. Next up has to be the dual slot sd then it has to be the Focus peaking. This I have found to work best for me in  low red. It would appear that you can get the focus most accurate with that

My X-T2 Loves having a photo taken in the local environment as you can see below

Padley Gorge Febuary 2017… Raining
Holme Pierrepont Hall, Nottingham. Febuary 2017. Hiding away from the rain.
Holme Pierrepont Hall, Nottingham. Febuary 2017. Raining
Torside Reservoir, Peak District, March 2017. Nice and sunny
MamTor. Peak district. March 2017. Very very windy and raining

Here are a few of the images that were shot at the locations above.

These were all shot using the Fuji 10-24mm Lens. In my opinion if you are going to be going out to shoot a lot of landscapes then make the investment, it is reliable, sharp and most often found on the front of my camera.

Fuji 10-24 mm @10mm, iso 100, f/11 and 1/8th sec. Shot with a Formatt Hitech Filters Firecrest .9 (3 stop) soft grad on the older 100mm
Fuji 10-24 mm @11mm, iso 100, f/8 and 0.5 sec. Using the with the Formatt Hitech Filters 0.6 soft grad Firecrest
Fuji 10-24 mm @10mm, iso 100, f/9 and 30 sec with Format 10 stop Firecrest and 3 stop soft grad resin filter
Fuji 10-24mm @10mm, iso 100, f/8 and 1/3 sec. Also using the Formatt Hitech Filters .9 resin nd and .6 soft grad

 

3rd party lens

I also mentioned earlier that I shoot other subjects too. I like to shoot a lot of night skies and architecture.

For this style of shooting I have found the Samyang 12 mm f/2 lens to again be worth every penny I spent on it.

As you can see on the below image, edge to edge sharpness and the colour that flows through the shot makes it a great wide angle lens that is not going to cost you a fortune. This lens is always in my bag and normally comes out at night.

Samyang 12mm at f/8 iso 100 and 15 sec exposure

My Masters uni shooting

For part of my Masters studies work I am shooting some odd subjects that you can read about else where on my. For this it involves a lot of studio light and a nice wide angle lens for the job. Luckily Samyang have just launched the Fuji fit tilt shift lens that is now next on my list to add to the collection

RAF Colitishall with the 10-24mm lens
RAF Colitishall with the 10-24mm lens
RAF Colitishall with the 10-24mm lens

I like to shoot a lot, but who does not. I also like to take my time, creating work for me is not about taking as many photos as possible, it is about getting the right one. That is what I like about the Fuji, it is is small and discrete but still produces that image you need. I have found that people dont notice you with it as much. Having Just shot a local festival in Norfolk where I used the Canon 5dmkIII and the Pentax 645z last year, if I am completely honest I was a little interested and also worried about how well the camera would perform with fast moving subjects in varying lighting conditions

So next stop was the Norfolk and Norwich Festival

For this I had a selection of lens but I found I was mostly using the 16-55mm and the 100-400mm as this was covering most of what I was needing to shoot.

I found the camera to be responsive with keeping up with the action and when I needed it to take a image it was ready. The nicest part of the shooting for me has to be the detail and the colour that is captured in each shot

100-400mm lens @243mm. iso 500. f/5.6 and 1/1600th sec
35mm lens. iso 200. f/1.8 and 1/2500th sec
100-400mm lens @115mm. iso 200. f/4.6 and 1/640th sec
16-55mm lens @53mm. iso 100. f/4 and 1/640th sec
16-55mm lens @16mm. iso 640. f/4 and 1/2000th sec
10-24mm lens @10mm. iso 250. f/6.4 and 1/160th sec

Fast things.

Raf Marham and Raf Conninsby

A good way to play with lens is to head to the nearest MOD airfield and have a session with the lens there. Fast yet, lots of noise and  a great subject to shoot. It was after shooting here that I realised that I was going to have to think a bit more about how the Auto focus would work at its best.

Fuji 100-400mm @ 243mm, iso 250, f/5.6 and 1/1000th sec
Fuji 100-400mm @ 158mm, iso 400, f/5.6 and 1/1600th sec
Fuji 100-400mm @ 400mm, iso 250, f/6.4 and 1/800th sec
Fuji 100-400mm @ 153mm, iso 400, f/6.4 and 1/1250th sec

British Super Bikes

The next stop to talk about was the British super bikes free practice at Snetterton Race circuit

For this I took the Fuji 100-400mm lens

For this session it was going to be a challenge. It was a very nice warm day but the wind was blowing a good one all day. To the point that it was bowing you about when trying to pan. Having now had a good mess about with the focus settings on the camera, I concluded that best for me to shoot with the lens were the focus set on Af-C and then set on zone 5 with single point focusing being the way I got the best results. And if I am honest I also found that  with the burst rate on CL it was more than adequate for what I needed

Fuji 100-400 handheld at 132mm.  Iso100. f/8 and 1/250th sec
Fuji 100-400 handheld at 148mm.  Iso100. f/8 and 1/320th sec
Fuji 100-400 handheld at 301mm.  Iso100. f/7.1 and 1/320th sec
Fuji 100-400 handheld at 400mm.  Iso100. f/8 and 1/320th sec
Fuji 100-400 handheld at 400mm.  Iso100. f/8 and 1/320th sec
Fuji 100-400 handheld at 176mm.  Iso100. f/4.8 and 1/320th sec
Fuji 100-400 handheld at 400mm.  Iso100. f/7.1 and 1/500th sec
Fuji 100-400 handheld at 124mm.  Iso100. f/4.6 and 1/400th sec
Fuji 100-400 handheld at 138mm.  Iso100. f/7.1 and 1/500th sec
Fuji 100-400 handheld at 312mm.  Iso100. f/5.2 and 1/500th sec
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Swapping over to the Fuji X-T2

Back in early September I borrowed my friends Fuji X-T2 and a few lens to see what all the fuss was about. I knew how nice the colour came through in their images as I had got myself an X30 for a family holiday in 2015, so I had been keeping a careful eye on what they were manufacturing since then.

Having shot Canon since 2009 and all my equipment being set up for that I did not think that after a weekend of playing with the XT2  I would find myself putting all the Canon gear up for sale just a few weeks later. I even had a 5d MK4 sat there waiting for me to buy and collect from Wex Photographic where I work, but to be honest I think after seeing how well the Auto focus and ISO performed and let’s not forget how much less the weight of the Fuji is in comparison to the Canon that order got cancelled and I found myself parting with my money for a whole new experience with the Fuji system.

2 days after it arrived and I had only had time to mess about with it in the house due to work and UNI commitments, but on the Friday I was running a workshop with the model Bernadette Lemon taking centre stage and managed to find time to take a few handheld shots with various lens. One thing I found easy to use was the Wifi and the fact that all the dials are just in the right place to allow quick use, just like they are with the Canon I had been using.

From this I instantly realised that the A/F on the camera is reliable and also not a problem to be using either .

Shot with the Fuji 14mm

Shot with the Fuji 14mm and a Bowens Light and beauty dish off frame to the left

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Shot handheld with the Fuji 14mm and lit using the Westcott Icelight 2

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Shot on a tripod with the Fuji 56mm @f/1.2 and lit with the Westcott Icelight 2

Next stop with the Camera was a Full Day Landscape workshop I was running with my 2 good photography mates on the Norfolk Coast with Through the lens workshops. I will hold my hand up here and say when I like to shoot landscapes I am probably like the rest of you all and like to spend plenty of time composing and thinking about the shots I am taking, quality over quantity and all that…..

We had paying customers on the session so the time aspect was not going to happen and since that session time nor the weather has been on my side to get out and have a real play about and shoot my favourite style of photography. All the shots I took were with the Fuji 10-24mm and using a selection of different Formatt Hitech filters.

The thing I really struggled with on these shots was getting the focus pin sharp so that when I go into the shots in Photoshop and zoom into 100% the focus is bang on. Some were really good and I was happy with, some were just ok and below what I would be happy to print off. But hey I have just changed camera system completely and I reckon it will just take a bit of getting used to.

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters 3.0 firecrest nd to slow down the water and a .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters 3.0 firecrest nd to slow down the clouds .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters 3.0 firecrest nd to slow down the clouds .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters .6 resin grad

If I am honest I will say when I got home I was a little worried about how well the focusing had performed, I was having a few doubts about what I had done buy moving over to Fuji. But in for a penny and in for a pound as they say. The fact that I had got images as sharp as I like did reassure me a little that the camera is going to do what I wanted it to do, so all I needed was a little more time to go out and shoot some more and get up to scratch with how I want the images to look.

I  just purchased the fully manual Samyang 12mm f/2 lens for shooting astronomy images over the winter and landscapes and I am a bit of a wide angle junky so this lens will sit well in the kit bag. I look after my gear so the fact that it is not weather sealed is not an issue for me in the slightest. So what is the 1st thing you do after 12 hrs at work, you take the lens and photograph anything that will let you. In this case it was the dog that I had just woken up. I used the Icelight2 in my left hand to illuminate her and held the camera and focused the shot with my right hand and captured this.

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Samyang 12mm, @f/2, 1/200th sec, iso 400 and handheld

My next trip out was scuppered by even more rain so I opted for a day of photographing church interiors instead of some nice landscapes with the autumn colours. This time round rather than just relying on my eye for the focus being spot on I used focus peaking, I highly recommend this to anybody that uses manual focus a lot. I set it to red high and away I went with photos just how I like them.

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Shot with the Samyang 12mm at f/8 on a tripod

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Shot with the Samyang 12mm at f/8 on a tripod

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Shot with the Samyang 12mm at f/11 on a tripod

So for me did I make the right choice…….. Well, one week after the camera getting delivered I could not be happier. You just have to remember….Like any new bit of equipment or software we use for work, you have to get used to it and this camera is no exception to that. You can’t just expect to pick it up and get the results in an instant. Reading the manual (something I have never done before) was a great help to me even though I am dyslexic.

Customising the Q menu is so straightforward.

Using the wifi is easy and as I shoot a lot of events over the year and I can see this will be very handy for myself and my clients with social media.

The flip out screen is well designed and handy, you dont have to get yourself into funny position to see the screen and that is a blessing.

The dual slot sd cover is nice and rigid and the rest of the camera feels like it is built like a tank.

But the 2 most important things I like the most about the camera are the Quality of the images you can produce if you put your mind to it and the weight of the camera system in comparison to my old 5dmk3.

And I would just like to say thank you to the few mates who I have pestered quite a bit over the last few weeks with some questions being very daft but needing to be asked and answered… So if anybody reading this has any questions you would like to know (remember it is just my opinion) then feel free to send me them over

 

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Former S-125 AA missile base. Slovakia

After seeing bits of this pop up online I thought I have got to have a little look at this site, so roll on a few months (about 12) and a drive across Europe to check it out we found ourself km at the bottom of a hill with a locked gate.

 

About 2km up a very nice relaxing steep hill we had made it to the 1st of the remains of the base and also into a hostile mosquito breeding frenzy.  Every 10 seconds I could feel another one biting me. We had 2 hrs to check it all out, walk back to the car and get into the city and pick up my wife and daughter.

 

So we just rumbled through all the woods and kept finding more and more underground buildings, tunnels and other structures all over the shot, so I just decided to photograph the stuff that interested me.

 

History wise there is not a great deal to on on other than ‘ Built in the early 1980’s, though originally conceived as a possible radar / SAM site as early as 1972.
It’s purpose was monitoring of air space over Bratislava and antiaircraft missiles were stored here.
Base was closed in mid-1990’

 

 

Bottom of the hill1A8A0178 1A8A0167-Edit 1A8A0169-Edit 1A8A0170-Edit 1A8A0173-Edit 1A8A0174-Edit

This tunnel entrance takes you into the back of the main large storage tunnels1A8A0163-Edit 1A8A0160-Edit 1A8A0162-Edit 1A8A0136 1A8A0145

 

There is somebody living in here, recently lit fire and his fags were just laying there with food and water, not  a bad crash pad I guess1A8A0138-Edit 1A8A0142 1A8A0149-Edit 1A8A0150 1A8A0151

Oh look. I found Ben1A8A0153 1A8A0154 1A8A0155

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Sedlec Ossuary. Kutna Hora, in the Czech Republic. August 2016

This is another one of those sites that I have wanted to visit for a long time. So it would have been very rude not to have made this photo stop number one en route to slovakia. A mega tourist spot that meant you had to squeeze in and try and take pictures made it very fun to try and get some photos.

After here we headed across the road to the little cafe where we managed to score food for 3 people 2 rounds of drinks a extra milk shake and a extra coffee for under 20 notes so all in it was a great stop.

This is what the website has to say about the location and you can click here for more info

The Sedlec Ossuary also known as the Church of Bones is one of the most unusual chapels you will ever see.

If you think that you saw everything in your life, think again!

The Sedlec Ossuary is nothing spectacular in the outside. It is a small chapel located in Sedlec, in the suburbs of Kutna Hora, in the Czech Republic. You would think that it is just an average old medieval gothic church.

As you enter the Sedlec Ossuary though, you will soon realize why it is one of the most amazing and unique churches in the world.The Sedlec Ossuary is artistically decorated by more than 40.000 human skeletons.

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Hunstanton Sperm Whale 2016

When the sad news came along on the Friday that a large Sperm whale had beached on the North Norfolk coast at Hunstanton all I could hope was that it would be able to get back out to the sea and be on its way. Unfortunately despite the best efforts of lots of rescuers I just guess there is no way to move a mass of over a estimated 30 tons and nearly 40 ft in length quickly and in a way that will not harm it.

To make a sad story even sadder it was a shock when more whales ended up in the same position further up the coast at Skegness only a few days later.

I debated for a few days if I would actually go and photograph it and when my mate Tom messaged me and a few other people said I should I though I will go and have a look and see how I would do it.

We arrived just as the tide was going out and the whale was still rocking about with the waves so we had to wait for 45 minuets for it to be stationary so we could shoot it with long exposures. In that time I was shocked at the number of people that were coming to have a look even though it was now nearly 9 pm. Some were just having a look and others were talking a selfy while hugging it. I could not thing of anything worse than hugging a whale that had been dead for 4 days.

The shots we lit using the Wescott Icelight and painted it with light and I have to say I think this has to be the biggest and strangest thing I have light painted so far.

We then packed up and began the 20 minute walk back to the car and half way back we heard this almighty explosion and 30 seconds later the worst smell you could imagine. So I can only guess that we had had a lucky escape and not been covered in parts of the whale, unlike the 10 people who we left at the whale.

Sorry about the shortage of photos but each one took about 30 minuets to get right as we were having to run around on slippery rocks and it was for sure a interesting but yet difficult subject to be illuminating.

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Bawburgh R4 ROTOR Bunker / RGHQ. November 2015

There is always a site that you pop back to over the years, you know….. That site that is round the corner from your house that you visit 3-23 times a year to see if it is open…. BUT ITS NOT. In fact as the years pass it starts to get less and less likely as they have then placed thick plate steel over every entrance, so the chance of turning up after some vandals have smashed a way in is just not going to happen.

So what a shock it would be that when I am out shooting for my last Blog post the night Bunkers that I get a phone call from one of my regular exploring buddy’s saying the site is wide open and it is a case of come on in through the open door.. So what a surprise when the same night we are then walking around inside the site enjoying it and photographing it.

What then really shocked me was the fact that four weeks after our visit I then get shown images of the access somebody else has done who did not want to wait for several years to get lucky and get in and have actually smashed their way in…. Not cool in the slightest.

What it is

R4 three-level Sector Operations Centre bunker built as part of the ROTOR programme. A fourth floor was later added and the bunker became SRHQ4.1 and later RGHQ4.1

Site was closed and stripped out in 1992. Now owned by Highpoint Communications, who use it as a radio site. They do not use the bunker, and visits are discouraged.

Find out a little more info here if you wish

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Night Bunkers. Norfolk-2015

My Uni project for the start of year 3 started off with a rather chilled out walk around Orford Ness in Suffolk back in September… I have always had a fascination with the remains of war and in Particular WW2.  3 months into a project I have loved shooting and I am now going to carry on further. You know you are enjoying what you are doing when you have spent many nights out in the cold  seeing some great sights and very moody skies with good mates who have helped me out and kept me company. If the weather looked calm then I would head out after 8pm armed with the camera and a map of approximate locations of the buildings I have photographed and would ask on social media if people were up for keeping me company and helping to carry photo equipment.

So thank you  Phil, David, Amanda, Ben, Davy and Faryal

The idea of this project was to just go around and document the structures in a way they have not normally been seen before…. Normally because sensible people are at home keeping warm and sleeping. But I decided to have a go at this and illuminate as many structures as I could.. I made myself a map and would just drive for 4-6 hours each night and stop at each location. All together I have driven all around Norfolk looking for the nicest looking buildings. I have even managed to upset a few landowners late at night who in the end turned out to be fine with what I was doing and even confused a few police officers who thought I was rather odd until I showed them the images and then they had to go and have a look at the Pillbox for themselves.

All the images were lit using the Westcott Icelight 2 that I would to say has become a good friend of mine now and also the Elinchrom rx2 lights and a powerpack. So a nice variety of lighting for a lot of the shots. So roll on after the christmas holidays when I will be ready for the next load of bunkers to go and shoot.

And thanks to Richard at UK Airfields for his help in identifying some of the buildings too

Happisburgh Battery 1
Happisburgh Pillbox 1
Happisburgh Battery 2
Happisburgh Pillbox 2
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RAF Ludham Airfield Watch Office
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RAF Ludham Airfield Watch Tower
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Hulver Pillbox
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Guist Pillbox
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Lenwade ROC Post
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Bawburgh Pillbox
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Bawburgh Buildings 1
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Bawburgh Buildings 2
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Corton Pillbox 1
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Corton Pillbox 2
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Cley Next The Sea Pillbox
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Corton Pillbox 3

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