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’

 

 

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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

1A8A2080-EditCaister -on-Sea pillbox 1 hour before sunrise

1A8A1688-EditWeybourne Pillbox to the right of the carpark

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Children In Need-Aviva Call centre.

Another one of those phone calls from my mate saw me popping down to do my bit with the camera. My wife and daughter even decided to pop along and have a look as well and that was rather nice too.

This time it saw me popping to the Aviva call centre in Norwich to photograph some of the 150 staff who had volunteered to man the 100 phone lines in just this building. It was nice to get in while it was still nice and chilled, but by the time we had finished photographing it was evident that the show had started and the phone lines were now very busy so we decided to disappear and go watch the show at home.

 

I hope you enjoy the pictures

 

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Joe Ringer Band at Potters Leisure resort, Norfolk.

Getting a nice phone call while at a shoot asking if I could shoot a very known local band that can blast out some rather cool music. The following words taken from their website, this is what they have to say about themselves. So it was off to the  Potters Resort in Hopton Norfolk for a night of top entertainment.

‘We’re not your run-of-the-mill wedding band ‒ our set is built around the songs YOU love and put together in such a way to guarantee your guests will be up and dancing all night. We play all the party hits from the 1960’s through to today’s chart toppers, from The Beatles and Stevie Wonder to Bruno Mars and Daft Punk. We keep the band’s repertoire up to date, with our sets always featuring new songs by current artists’ 

An absolute pleasure to be shooting and also getting to listed to the amazing set-up on the night, so here are a few images for you to have a look over

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The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. Norfolk 2015

What is it all about then, taken straight of the website of this great charity

http://www.gentlemansride.com/

‘I SAY! WHAT A SPIFFY BLAZER. WHO IS YOUR TAILOR, SIR?’

Sadly, sentences like these are not often declared anymore. For one day a year, thousands of distinguished gentlemen (and genteel ladyfolk) in hundreds of cities worldwide don their cravats, press their tweed and sit astride their classic-styled motorcycles to raise funds for prostate cancer research and awareness. It’s a day about spreading merriment whilst raising awareness of a pressing issue.

DAPPER FOR A CAUSE: WHERE WE’VE COME FROM AND WHERE WE’RE HEADED

On Sunday September 27th 2015, more than 30,000 smartly-dressed gentlefolk in over 400 cities will straddle the saddles of their café racers, bobbers, scramblers and other marvellous custom motorcycles to raise awareness and help fund the cure for prostate cancer.

In grand style, dapper gents and elegant ladies shall ride their steeds spreading merriment and joy throughout their communities whilst raising awareness for men’s health.

In 2013, over 11,000 participants in 145 cities around the world raised over $277,000 for prostate cancer research.

In 2014, over 20,000 participants in 257 cities in 58 countries raised over $1.5 million (USD) for prostate cancer research. Our fundraising goal for 2015 is $3 million (USD).

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was founded in 2012 in Sydney Australia, inspired by a photo of Mad Men’s Don Draper astride a classic bike and wearing his finest suit. It was decided a themed ride would be a great way to combat the often-negative stereotype of men on motorcycles, whilst connecting niche motorcycle communities together. That first ride brought together over 2,500 riders across 64 cities. The success of the event encouraged the founder to consider how it could be used to support a worthy cause. And the rest, as they say, is eloquently attired history.

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