Africa Oye 2018

So, the weekend in June very year that Matt, Richard and myself always look forward to arrive last weekend (16th and 17th) Africa Oye 2018.

For those who have never been or heard about Oye it’s held in Sefton Park, Liverpool every June and is a festival of African Music and culture. It’s been voted one of the best free festivals in the UK on more than once. I for one feel like a little kid on the lead up to Christmas Day once the end of May and beginning of June comes every year.

The Saturday came and I made my way to Matts to meet up with him, Richard and Claire, our “Oye virgin” (Claire was attending her first Africa Oye)

Once at Sefton Park we picked up our Photo passes from Ally, one top guy who always sorts us with passes every year. Ally we can’t thank you enough and of course the boss man himself Mr Paul Duhaney for all the help and assistance you have given us in the years we have been covering this wonderful festival.

It’s also nice to meet up with some fellow music photographers who I personally only meet in dark venues and have very little time normally to chat to. The first day got off to a great start by the brilliant “Movema” who now seem to have a permanent dance section to open up the festival every year.

We then had a heavy but thankfully brief downpour of rain just before “Kasai Masai” came onto stage. High light of day one for me was the return of the fabulous kora player and singer “Sona Jobarteh” who last played Oye two years before.

Claire seemed to have really enjoyed her first taste of Oye, dancing away with Matt at “Freetown” and “Trenchtown” but called it a day once the music had stopped to leave Matt still at it all night until the Sunday Sunrise at the Oye after party at Constellations in town!

The Sunday late morning came and Richard picked me up just as we got a message not to pick Matt up as he was still snoring in bed after his all night dance marathon. So we made our way to Sefton Park and got there with a little time to spare before the first artist so got some much needed breakfast from one of the many excellent food stalls set around the festival sight.

Highlight of Sunday and (for me personally) the whole weekend, was the Cape Verde singer “Lura”. This lady owned the stage with a beautiful voice. She made a lot of new fans at Oye without a doubt.

Headline were The Bad boys of Reggae “Inner Circle” who closed Africa Oye 2018 in fine style. If you not sure who these guys are search “Sweat” (A La La Long) or “Bad Boys” by Inner Circle and you will know who they are.

So what can we say about Africa Oye? well here’s one word AWESOME!

If you have never been you really should, in fact if you book onto my Gig Photography Workshop you can even be in with the chance of shooting at Africa Oye 2019 from the Press Pit thanks to the wonderful people at Oye I will be having a draw from everyone attending my work shop to shoot with me and my fellow Fujiholics with press pit access! link below.

Please also visit the Africa Oye Web site and buy some merchandise from the shop as it all helps to keep this amazing festival free

Love and Peace

Warren

 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/shooting-gigs-and-live-music-with-warren-millar-tickets-45972810915

 

https://www.africaoye.com/


With the Fujifilm X100F through Southeast Asia

When it comes to Travel Photography I hear a lot of questions which gear may be the best. Should You switch to a DSLR and a whole parade of lenses, or is something small and compact better?

Being Familiar with Your Camera

I prefer to use the gear that I am already familiar with and wouldn't switch anything. In Berlin, I use the Fujifim X100F and even though You might be scared to only have a fixed-focal-length camera with You and might miss some shots, this isn't really a problem. I am facing the same "problem" while photographing in Berlin and so far I have not run into a scene, that was impossible to photograph with this camera.

Instead of buying new gear just for a journey, use the camera that You are already familiar with and use it its maximum potential.

Hanoi

My first stop was Hanoi and I absolutely love this city and its small alleys as well as the characteristic of the sun.

Hanoi is famous for its train track which allows for some great leading lines, but also coffee and relaxation. Especially in the morning or evening hours when the sun is lower, the long drawn tracks are a great opportunity to get decent shots.

Normally, Hanoi is a very busy place and the train tracks are a great change of pace.

In this city, the Fujifilm X100F can also show its great versatility. Whether You are out shooting on the markets in old-town, the train tracks or visiting the Hoan-Kiem Lake at night, the camera always performs well. Crowded places, low light situations or directly into the sun, the X100F is suitable for all these situations.

The hardest Challenge in Indonesia

After Hanoi, I visited Saigon and Jakarta, which were great cities also, but not that different from Hanoi when it comes to travel photography.

On the contrary, in East Java, a real adventure waited for me and my photography. I planned to stay for a few weeks in the Indonesian Jungle and wanted to document the life in a remote village, as well as the miners at the Mount Ijen nearby.

Already on the second evening, my homestay's host invited me to the wedding of his cousin. I didn't know what to expect and how a traditional Indonesian wedding would look like. So I brought also my external flash with me because it gets dark very early there.

It was the right choice and in combination with the X100F, I managed to get some decent shots of the bride & groom, as well of the wedding party.

On the technical side, I like to pre-focus my camera to around 1.5 ~ 2 meters and use an aperture of f/8 or f/11. In low-light, the auto-focus can be a little weak, but by pre-focusing, I can circumvent this problem and still get my shots.

Mount Ijen

Then I arrived at the main reason of my journey - the Mount Ijen.

The mountain is best known for its "Blue Fire" at night and the reason why tourists, usually go there at the evening and leave in the early morning hours.

My purpose was different as I wanted to document the miners and their incredible hard job.

Mount Ijen is a volcano mountain and home to one of the largest sulfur source.

The miners carry manually up 70kg of sulfur on their back up and down the crater. What is already a difficult path without the weight on my shoulders and takes more than an hour, is even more of a challenge for the miners.

But they aren't satisfied with this one load, they do this tour four times during a work day, bringing around 280kg to the buyer.

Going down the crater and photographing at the same time is a huge challenge. From the bottom of the crater, toxic sulfur smokes rises and the wind is very unpredictable.

Apart from my own health, I was already afraid how my X100F would work in this environment. I didn't take any precautions for the camera aside from a new lens hood.

Of course, I wanted to get close and dive right into the scene, which meant that the camera was also exposed to the sulfur smoke and the dust.

Gas masks are mandatory when descending to the bottom of the crater, but my camera didn't have any additional protection.

Arriving at the bottom I photographed the direct mining of the sulfur, which normally no tourist is able to witness. Standing for around 20 minutes in the smoke, I could feel my lungs and eyes burn, but at the same time was very happy with the performance of the camera.

Escaping this surreal place I was very afraid that the camera would have taken damage from a long time in the smoke & dust.

Two months later, the camera still performs very well and has endured this tour very well. Some buttons are a little stiff, but this is honestly not a big problem for me and I am confident that with a little more time they will also improve again.

My conclusion is now, that it doesn't take a lot of gear or different equipment for such a journey where You are facing a lot of different places and events. For me, my Fujifilm X100F was more than sufficient and even survived toxic sulphur smoke.

I am sure, with any other setup I wouldn't be as happy and wouldn't change anything for the next trip."

Website: https://streetbounty.com/


Lurking In Shadows

Photography and music have leapfrogged each other for almost all of my life. Photography kicked in during my early teens with adventures in the school darkroom. Music arrived not long after that in the form of the tenor saxophone and the battle to be my number one was on. Sometimes the photographer would be ahead, sometimes it was the musician in me.

Where the two overlapped was my love of music photography. Quite often that could be rock and roll photography in Rolling Stone Magazine form, but my true love of music photographs was jazz, especially work by the great Herman Leonard. But strange as it may seem I didn't think about mixing my two loves until April 2013.

I'm a member of The Kage Collective (pronounced Ka-gay) and I was looking for a quick project to use as content for our monthly output. I decided to contact Tommy Smith about going along to a Scottish National Jazz Orchestra concert (Tommy is the director of the orchestra) and documenting both behind the scenes and the actual performance. That one night developed into a long-term project that I am still working on to this day as their official photographer. I've also shot a handful of jazz CD covers and even had the cover of Jazzwise magazine too.

It's hard to explain what I'm trying to capture in my music photography, but every now and then, when I squeeze the shutter button, I feel I've captured a true moment, something timeless that would sit perfectly in any of the jazz photography books on my bookshelf. These moments only exist for 1/125th of a second and they're gone. There is nothing before and nothing after...it's a heartbeat. I see a lot of these moments in my viewfinder, but by the time I see them, they're already gone. That's why they come once in a blue moon. Sure, there are hundreds of keepers during a gig, but these special moments are much more elusive.

So I'll keep trying to find these pure moments as I'm lurking in shadows and hoping my trigger finger is one step ahead of my eye. In this age of the smartphone and the constant snapping of hundreds of thousands of pictures each day, I think we all question the relevance of our pictures. But with an archive of over 47,000 jazz photographs, I have to believe there is historical value in what I'm doing. Time will tell.


Long Exposures - the step by step guide to successful long exposures

For me personally long exposure photography allows me to explore a sense of calm, a visual relaxation that matches the way I feel when I look at the landscape. But for some the technical side of this style of photography makes it incredibly frustrating and stressful.

Before we get into the technical side of LE photography and counting exposure increase on our fingers and toes, there is something that is far more important than the technical issues. It is vision, interpretation and connection with your subject.

Ansel Adams said “A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.”

You have to be able to connect your emotions to the landscape around you. It’s no good just shooting lots of images in the hope of getting one good one, shoot one good one that really captures how you feel and perhaps shoot a second image. If nothing else long exposure work will stop you shooting lots of images, the thing you’ll need in abundance is patience and not memory cards.

Let’s get down to business and make long exposure a simple creative exercise rather than something that seems baffling to some people because of the exposure calculations.

Here are my tips to get you shooting beautiful long exposure images.

1, the kit;

You’ll need a camera with a “B” setting in the shutter speed range plus either an electronic or screw in cable release with a lock and ideally a timer - although most Fuji cameras have built timers. You’ll need a sturdy tripod and a set of neutral density filters and some graduated neutral density filters.

The filters are the key bit of equipment that you should pay attention to, they will depend on your budget BUT and it is a big BUT, brands like Lee and Formatt Hitech are without a doubt more expensive but they are better both in manufacture, consistency of colour and density.

You can shoot long exposures on any lens, so don’t always stick a wide angle on and think it will make the best focal length for this type of work - lens choice is personal and entirely related to the subject. The lens I use most is my 35mm Fuji - equivalent to around 50mm.

2, Composition;

Many people seem to think that milky water or a blurry cloud will make up for a well-executed image, it won’t, so think about how you would normally compose your pictures and work with that, or allow yourself to start from the beginning again and use very basic compositional rules to help you. Long exposure will highlight every mistake compositionally, so make sure that all the elements you want in the frame are exactly where they should be before you press the button. The devil is in the detail and pay attention to the edges of the frame too.

3, Focus;

Obviously you need to focus your camera on the important part of the image - this is usually, with long exposure the object that will remain stationary. Once you have focused accurately turn the AF off, the reason for this is that many cameras struggle to focus with ND filters in front of the lens, remember if you can’t see through neither can the camera. Always take a moment to recheck your focus just before you slide your filter in.

4, Exposure;

This is the place most people come unstuck or wander into the world of guess work, this bit is important so let’s simplify it.

Exposure is a combination of shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

Each of these is important and each relates to and affects the other, but it doesn't have to be complicated.

Set your ISO low - 200 on our beloved Fuji X series cameras is the lowest they will go in RAW, so use that. Simple so far?

Choose an aperture that gives you the depth of field your subject demands - most people start off shooting long exposures at F22 because this will automatically give you a longer shutter speed. You can shoot LE images at any aperture, you just need to put two or three filters together to slow the shutter speed down.

The final part of the exposure triangle is shutter speed, this is the bit that can be difficult, but trust me it isn’t - I promise.

With your ISO and aperture set, alter the shutter speed until you get the correct exposure without any filters in front of the lens, use the EVF or the screen to judge when your exposure looks right. Take a test frame at that exposure - if it looks right on screen and you have clipped the highlights or shadows on the histogram your test picture will look correct too. For the sake of argument lets say that the exposure we took our test frame at was 1/4 of a second at F16 with an ISO of 200.

Now you can work out what your exposure will be with you 10 stop filter in place, you have ten fingers so you can count it out - or you can make life easy for yourself by using the exposure that comes with the filter or download an app for your phone. I use the Lee Filters App, it’s very easy, click on the filter you are using, then on the left hand wheel dial in your unfiltered exposure it will work out the exposure with your filter for you. Simple, and lets face it photography is meant to be fun not an exercise in how good you are at maths!

Using the Lee app - 1/4 second becomes 4 minutes with a 10 stop ND filter

Our new exposure is there 4 minutes at F16 ISO 200.

5, Filters;

When it comes to filters buy a system with a holder and adapter rings. Don’t buy the variable ND as you can’t accurately predict what density you are shooting through or screw-in filters as you may inadvertently alter the focus of the lens, and don’t buy cheap brands of filters because the colour of a neutral density filter is meant to be neutral not pink or green.

What filters will you need? To get you started you should buy the following; a 0.6 (2 stop) graduated ND filter, a solid 10 stop ND filter and a 3 stop ND filter.

The graduated filter will control the contrast between the sky and the land or water. The solid ND will allow you to slow down the shutter speed to give you the ethereal feel to your images.

Compose, focus and set your exposure without any filters, I always set my exposure to achieve detail in the dark shadows, I then add a graduated filter to darken the sky and finally when I have the exposure balance I want I add the solid ND filter. I then re-calculate the exposure depending on what filter I am using and shoot.

Left to right; Set your basic exposure with no filter remembering to expose for the dark areas, add a graduated filter to bring the sky back in and finally add your 10 stop filter and re calculate your exposure.

6, Shoot the image;

Before you press the button there are a couple of things to do, firstly turn the Long Exposure noise reduction off in camera - this can be found in the menu of the camera. The reason for this is because the camera records a second frame which takes as long  as your original frame to take, so a four minute exposure takes eight minutes in total - believe me you won’t want to wait the extra four minutes so turn off the Long exposure noise reduction before you start.


Attach the camera to a sturdy tripod and attach the cable release, this will avoid any shake or camera movement.

Finally check everything, you’ve focused the image, worked out your exposure, turned the AF off, attached the filters.

Now with everything in place turn the shutter speed setting to B or Bulb, this will allow you to leave the shutter open for longer than 30 seconds as long as you press and lock the button on the remote shutter release cable.

So what are you waiting for press the button, lock it and watch the timer in either the view finder or on screen, when you exposure time has been reached unlock the button the cable release and review your image.


In the bag - Warren Millar's Gig Gear

Who am i?

I am Warren Millar, Fujiholics newest team member. I have already run some workshops for Fujiholics over the last year as well as regularly attending Fujiholics events and I am also looking forward to contributing to the Fujiholics blog. A little more on my photographer background can be found on my Fujiholics profile page.Read more


Fujifilm X-Pro2 + X-T2 Graphite Editions

Fujifilm launches Graphite Silver and Graphite editions of their X-T2 and X-Pro2 cameras.

Following in the steps of the Fujifilm X-T1, the X-T2 Graphite Silver is now available to preorder and is supplied with stylish tailor made accessories. The X-Pro2 is the first X-Pro camera to now come in Graphite. The X-Pro2 include the compact, fast and lightweight interchangeable lens of the same colour, Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR.Read more


A Fujiholics Story Revisited, Warren Millar

A Fujiholics Story Revisited recently caught up with Warren Millar to see if anything has changed since his A Fujiholics Story at the beginning of the year and to see what he planning to do in the future.

When we last caught up with you, you owned a Fujifilm X-Pro1 & X-T1, is this still your current setup?

I still have, and use my X-Pro1 and X-T1 but have added the X-Pro2 which I now use for most of my gig photography alongside my X-T1. My X-Pro1 is now the camera I carry around with me everywhere I go usually with the 27mm attached. The X-Pro2 is a great camera and I have grown to love it.

Fujiholics Story Revisited

You stated that the 50-140mm 2.8 zoom lens was your favourite lens, with other lenses available since, is this still your preferred lens?

It’s still my favourite lens. For what I normally photograph its ideal. In my time I’ve used quite a few great pieces of glass and the Fuji 50-140mm f2.8 is right up there amongst the best. I have recently got a Samyang 12mm which will be getting used a lot I think.

Fujiholics Story Revisited
Out of the current Fujifilm X series line up, is there anything you have got your eye on buying?

Oh yes I would love to own an X-T2 , I was lucky enough to use and have a little play with the X-T2 before it came out. Alongside my X-Pro2 at gigs and when working at The Studio (a music venue where I’m the resident photographer) they would make a killer combo. I live in hope that sometime soon I will have one.

Fujiholics Story Revisited
You made the switch to mirrorless from DLSR a while ago, has using X series cameras changed the way you approach your photography?

Without a doubt, I think I said this in my first “Your Story” for Fujiholics. The X Series brings back the magic of photography for me and makes me think more about the images before I even press the shutter, even in what can sometimes be a fast moving environment like the press pit at a festival.

A while back you ran a gig photography workshop for a group of photographers, how did that go?

It was a great day, I loved every second of it and I got some great feedback from the guys and girls who attended. Take a look at the blog post that Jim very kindly posted from the day. I must thank my fellow Fujiholics and good friends Jim and Richard for turning up on the day and helping me out, I know for a fact their contribution to the sessions were well received by all in attendance. Also a big thanks to the lovely guys at “The Studio” where we held the workshop, anyone that knows me also knows how much I love working there. A great place for local live music and art. Not forgetting “Faster Than Bulls” who played a great set for us all.  Look out for another gig photography workshop there around February next year which is in the planning with a great band lined up to play for us.

What are you future plans?

Things are looking up, like I said I am planning another gig photography workshop in February 2017 again at “The Studio” and also looking forward to working with Liverpool's great music webzine “Get in to this” starting this October. I will also be covering “Shiine On Weekend” at Butlins Minehead for these guys with what looks like a great line up including “Echo and The Bunnymen” “Black Grape” and “Cast” just to name a few ( I may need to pack my dancing shoes!) So not too bad considering I no longer do this full time but to be honest I have never enjoyed myself so much and I do think Fuji and Fujiholics have a lot to do with this.Fujiholics Story Revisited

Any advice for anyone etc?

Only to get out and shoot more. Shoot what you enjoy shooting and have fun. The best way to do this is to get to a Fujiholics “Photowalk” the people you will meet there are great and a lot of experienced photographers who are more than willing to help and freely give advice. So just get out with your cameras and enjoy.

Love and Peace x

Warren

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A Fujiholics Story Revisited - Rich Waine

Fujiholics Story Revisited last caught up with Rich Waine back in April 2015 when he explained to us why he was a Fujiholic. In this article we ask what he has been doing, his opinions regards the current X Series line up and what he has planned for the future.

Since your featured 'A Fujiholics Story - Rich Waine' has anything changed much?

Good question, well I am still a active Fujiholic. I am still employed full time in the IT outsourcing industry so photography is still a hobby for me. But over the last 18 months I think I have found my comfort zone with photography.

As some people know, I am not the most outgoing or confident person unlike how I may appear on social media so I try and keep my photography within genres that I feel comfortable photographing. The last 18 months I've been encouraged to boost my confidence by follow Fujiholics Matt Hart, Jim Moody and our new convert Warren Millar as well as many other great friends such as Elaine, Jude, Sarah, etc so I have been trying to get to as many Fujiholics events as I can.

I fear these people are starting to see a dry humoured side of me they probably didn't expect after first meeting me.

2016-river-mersey-festival-1863

In your last article you stated you had a Fujifilm X-T1 and a Fujifilm X100T, has your equipment changed much?

It has, I still own my Fujifilm X-T1 which I still have a great fondness for. It has been my main camera for my music photography, it has been soaked with rain & beer and been knocked and dropped countless times so it's never let me down, but since the last article I have traded the X100T in for the Fujinon 50-140mm f2.8 zoom lens which is just simply out of this world. The X100T is to me, probably the best fixed lens camera i have ever used but I was always conflicted if I should keep it in my collection or not mainly because I didn't have the time to use it and as the 50-140mm got released, it made sense to trade it in for that.

I currently own a Fujifilm X-T10, which has become my everyday camera when out and about, it usually has my 35mm lens attached all the time. The X-T10 also doubles as my 2nd camera at music events where I use it with my 12mm Samyang lens, 18mm or 35mm Fujinon lens. I find that the X-T10 is great for walking between crowds at festivals and as a street photography camera.

I am also a proud owner of the compact X-Q2. I have been after one of these since Richard Wan from Fujifilm dangled one in front of me at The Photography Show in 2015. The build quality on it is very impressive and the focusing is very fast. It is nice to have it in my laptop bag or keeping in the glove box of my car.

Out of the current line up, is there anything that you have got your eye on?

There are many exciting products in the X Series line up at the moment. Over the last 18 months it has been great to see Fujifilm engage with customers and develop and further enhanced their product lines including the recent announcement of a medium format camera, the GFX 50s which stole the show at #Photokina2016

Fujifilm have also released the X-Pro2 and a X-T2 which feature bigger sensors and even better colour reproduction. I do not own any of these cameras at the moment but I have tested them on many occasions while attending various Fujiholics events/photowalks and I do intend to purchase a X-T2 when I have done enough dancing down at the social club to pay for it.

One of the surprise cameras I owned was the Fujifilm X-A2. Dubbed a 'Selfie' camera it was actually pretty good and the XC kit lens, although the outer case was made out of plastic it was a very good lens. It was a nice camera to use and at the time made a perfect starter camera for the younger photographers who are active with the likes of Facebook and Instagram. Fujifilm has since released its successor the X-A3 which I  thinking about purchasing as they have upgraded the sensor size in that.

Hopefully, some time in early 2017, I plan on upgrading my Fujifilm SP-1 printer to the new SP-2 which is supposed to have better print quality and is now powered by AA batteries. These are cool to have at gigs/events as you can print someones photo and write your contact details on the back. They are also very cool to use in a wide range of photography projects.

You seem to have been doing a lot of music photography over the last 18 months, do you have anything else in mind?

Yes, I have been really interested in my music photography and I try and shoot as many local music festivals as possible. One of my long term projects I refer to as 'Low Key Artists' has really developed over the last 12 months or so. The project is probably a marmite sort of thing with some people but to me it is a way of showing a artist or musician isolated with a instrument etc. It has been great that many of the festivals I have been covering this year, I have been in the company of fellow Fujiholics Matt, Jim & Warren, but I do think that they should be thanking me for bringing a element of humour and wit to the group.

 

During 2017 I am hoping to do a lot more colour music photography and I am hoping to do more landscape, long exposure and motorsport photography.

I am also excited that I was recently asked to be part of the Fujiholics team. Fujiholics has really grown over the last 18 months and it is nice to be able to use technical skills towards helping to rebrand Fujiholics to help continue taking it forward and to give something back to the community that's been a great confidence builder for me.

There is also some very exciting events & workshops planned so I am really looking forward to being part of those. I am quite looking forward to 2017.

Richard Waine,
http://www.fujixmad.com
e: richie@fujiXmad.com
Instagram: @fujiXmad
Twitter: @fujiXmad


Fujifilm XT-2 - The perfect wedding camera?

I’m not much of a gear head, but when I was given the opportunity to try out a pre-production X-T2 I couldn’t resist. I’ve shot this entire wedding season on the fantastic X-Pro2’s, the image quality and high ISO performance of the latest X-trans sensor is phenomenal. The focusing system of the X-Pro2 was also a huge leap forward from the XT1 so I had high expectations of the X-T2 and it didn't disappoint.Read more


Photowalk around Liverpool with Matt Hart and the NEW Fujifim X-T2

Rob Sanderson takes a look at Fujifilm's new X-T2 mirrorless camera while on a photowalk with X Ambassador Matt Hart. For most, this is the first time they got to see Fuji's new camera in the flesh and more importantly get their hands on it.Read more