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/


A day with “Scarlet” supporting “T’Pau” on their 30 Anniversary Tour

So last Friday I was asked by Jessie, lead singer with “Scarlet” to join them on their Shrewsbury leg of their tour as support for “T’Pau” on their 30-anniversary tour. Anyone, that old enough to remember “T’Pau” will know their hit single “China In Your Hand” well that hit No 1 in the charts 30 years ago! wow makes me feel very old (which I suppose I am to some folk!)

Anyway, what would anyone say who had a massive crush on Carol Decker (lead singer with T’Pau)... I jumped at the chance.

Jessie from “Scarlet” is a good friend of mine, I used to work with her and I’ve always loved her passion for music and life in general.

Jessie picked me and my camera gear up at 11.30 am on a Friday morning and together with Jessie's boyfriend Joe we made our way to Liverpool first, to pick up the band gear and meet up with the other band members.

After a quick coffee, the gear was loaded and we set off to “The Buttermarket” Shrewsbury for the gig. Listening to “The Spice Girls” on the way there!! Yeah, I did say “The Spice Girls”!!

We were told to get to the venue at 4 pm and guess what at 3.59 we arrived. That Jessie is one bloody good driver even if she does go round roundabouts three times just to make sure. Outside the venue just as we pulled up a big white van also pulled up and sat in the passenger seat I could see the red hair of Carol Decker, we had arrived at exactly the same time.

With the gear, all unloaded into the venue (Scarlets and T’Pau’s) it was time to have a look round the place. I had, as I always do with new venues, looked at some images online. It wasn’t as big as what I thought it would have been but seemed to have some good lighting (the first thing I tend to check out)

We then walked over to where they promoters ad set up some tea and coffee just as Carl Decker came into the place. Jessie introduced herself and Carol took the time to ask each of us our names and gave us all a lovely friendly greeting. What a lovely but very professional artist she is.

We all had a quick coffee and then a little rest while things were getting set up ready for the sound checks. During which time “G” the bass player with “Scarlet” had found “Hetty” the venues hoover and had decided to plug it in and give the place a little spring clean much to the amusement f the rest of the band.

With time getting on we all then decided to go for a bite to eat and found a nice Burger bar just around the corner from the venue. Jessie got what looked like a very tempting milkshake to go with her burger and I must admit to wanting to nick it while her back was turned.

Back at the venue after our fill up we caught the end of T’Pau’s sound check and then it was “Scarlets” sound check, which even though I don’t know that much about this sort of thing sounded very good indeed.

So with everything set up and ready to go It was off to the “Green Room” for a chill and a drink, water only for me, one of my rules when I’m shooting is never to touch beer, even though we had enough bottles of beer for us all.

After what seemed like a very short time we got the call that “Scarlet” was on so I then go into photographer mode and nip back in and start shooting the live music stuff. “Scarlet” smashed it as always starting off with “Alone” my fave track by them.

Before I knew it I was photographing T’Pau and Carol Decker. Carol still has it rocking away like a good un and the voice is still as powerful and clear as it ever was. Her fans lapped it up.

So, all in all, a very good day again with “Scarlet” Big thanks to all involved, “Scarlet”, “The Buttermarket”, “T’Pau” and everyone else I was lucky to meet that day. Good luck also with the rest of the tour Jessie, Adam, G, and Jake ……. Scarlet

See more of my images from the day here:-

As an after note, I did ask Jessie for her thoughts on us Gig Photographers, this is what Jessie said

“Literally, photographers document a bands existence, without them, bands would not exist in the public eye. They produce a vibe that people can connect or disconnect with- they help an audience have an opinion and bridge the gap between performer and audience making the performers almost accessible, yet their editing skills make the photographs/performer look untouchable at the same time”

Jessie, Scarlet

Warren

www.warrenmillarphotography.smugmug.com


Independent Venue Week

In my latest Gig blog, I want to write about our local music scene and the importance of independent venues but also some of the problems that they tend to create for photographers.  These are the places were new and up and coming bands learn their trade and gather a local following and the case with The Tea Street Band and The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool. Ask any music lover in Liverpool about The Tea Street Band and they could probably sing you a line from 'Disco Lights' or hum the melody of 'Fiesta'. So it was nice to see the guys back in their stomping ground headlining at The Zanzibar for Independent Venue week.

We as music fans must support places like this to make sure the Tea Street Bands of the future can have a strong start in their musical journey.

Now as a photographer, small venues like The Zanzibar can create real problems, most of which I encountered at this gig. The dreaded “Red Lights”, no press pit, so accessing both sides of the stage by the time The Tea Street Band came on, was impossible and security for your camera gear  (which I learnt was more of a problem locked up in your own home than in a small music venue, but that’s another story for another day)

The Red Light can be overcome by converting your images into Black and White. I personally use Silver Efex Pro2 to convert my images and with a bit of practice can prove invaluable with these “red Light” images but the magazine I was shooting far only use Colour images so I had to wait until the artist had moved away from the Red Light. This can be a bit hit and miss or almost impossible as I found out this night. One of the Support acts “Scarlet” a great St Helens based band who’s Lead Singer, Jessie happens to be a good friend of mine so I wanted to try and get some great images for her but her mic stand for some reason was placed directly in line with this one red light!. Nothing much really you can do about this. The good thing was that during one of the Guitar solos she did move out of the light so I did manage to get some decent colour shots for the magazine.

So to all music and photography fans what I would say is get out to your local Independent Music  Venue take your camera (the good thing is with small independent venues is that they really don’t mind you taking your camera as long as you don’t make a nuisance of yourself)

Treat the problems you may face at such venues as a challenge and not as an obstacle. Ohhhhh and post your images on Fujiholics, I love looking at gig images no matter who they are.

Gear used for images here Fujifilm X-Pro2, Fujifilm X-T1, 50-140f2.8 and 16mm f1.4

Love and Peace

Warren


Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show Liverpool

Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show Liverpool

Welcome to my second blog post from my gig photography series. In this post I'd like to share how I prepared to photograph Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show Liverpool at the 'Camp and Furnace'.


Getting the gig:

As a gig/events photographer you often spend a lot of time chasing jobs to cover, but every now and again, sometimes those jobs find you.

A good friend of mine who happens to know a lot about the work I do, and knows a lot about me as person, happened to mention my name to Craig Charles PR company, ‘Bite the Apple’, who was after a photographer to capture Boxing Day home coming Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show Liverpool in his home town.

After they reviewed my work, I was contacted and invited by Craig’s PR people to cover his show at the Camp and Furnace, which is in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, located between Liverpool’s Toxteth and docks areas.

Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle is a real gem of an area in Liverpool which really comes alive in the evenings with creatives and music events.

Research:

It is too easy for any photographer to accept an offer, pack their gear into their bags and head off to photograph whatever they have been asked to do on the day, but as this is a PR company I have never worked for before, I decided to research who ‘Bite the Apple’ are, what other people they represent and, more importantly, the style of images they use.

Often, their website will contain links to social media accounts, so it is as equally important to like and subscribe to those as you never know what other things this can lead to. Luckily, I was already a follower of Craig Charles ‘Funk and Soul Show’ page, so I already had some idea of what sort of images the client would like me to present.

It is also important to know where you will be shooting and what to expect when you arrive at the venue.

After speaking to the PR Company, I knew the venue was going to be the 'Camp and Furnace', I’ve covered various music venues around the Baltic Triangle but this would be the first time I have covered particular venue.

Fortunately for me, the person who referred me to the PR Company had also recorded a video for one of Craig Charles previous Funk & Soul Show's at the ‘Camp and Furnace’ venue. It also happens he is my partner’s daughter’s boyfriend.

We watched the video and considered the flow of Craig Charles Funk & Soul show; the lighting conditions at the venue, and what to expect.

The ‘Camp and Furnace’ is like other smaller venues, that is, the lighting conditions are very challenging but workable. I use the techniques to deal with the challenge of the lighting conditions that I teach attendees at my gig photography workshops.

This experience shows the value of having contacts and a portfolio of work online. Potential clients then have the opportunity to review your work, so it really is worthwhile recognising the value of keeping the online content to a reasonable number of quality images rather than seeking quantity!

So what do you do when you do not have a video available?

Most bands and event organisers use social media. This a valuable research tool, where you can review images already taken or see footage people have recorded on mobile devices.

Preparation:

Before covering an event, I always run through a checklist:

  • What camera gear do I need?
  • Are my batteries fully charged?
  • Make sure I have a notepad/pen

Talking of preparation, I also make it my personal ‘golden rule’ to set up folders for storing the images as soon as a I return from a gig.

In Conclusion

  • Research who you are working for
  • Research who or what you will be photographing
  • Research the venue
  • Anticipate any potential issues that could arise
  • Make sure your equipment is ready well in advance

A big thank you to Craig Charles and Bite the Apple

Love & peace, Warren


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


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


A Fujiholics Story - Warren Millar

About me

From the day, way back in the mid 70s, when I first picked up a camera I have been amazed and inspired by the whole world of photography. Its was a fun thing to do then and still is now.

In 1986 I landed a job as one of the first civilian Police Photographers/Scene of Crime Officers with Cheshire Constabulary and this started a 20 year career as a Police Photographer working for four forces including Gloucestershire Constabulary for eight of those years. I was working there during the Fred West Murders and although based in Cheltenham I did have a small involvement in the case. I have photographed some scenes that most people would never see in a life time !

In 2006 I was forced to give up photography for a few years in order to look after my wife full-time due to her ill health from M.S. So from 2006 to 2008 I wasn’t doing much photography at all. I lost my wife to ovarian cancer very suddenly in 2009. This was a big turning point for me and my son and I decided that life was too short and since that day Photography has been my life.

Although I don’t rely on photography for a living (I have a part time job) I have been there and done it . Live Music and gigs are now what I love photographing and im Lucky to be the resident photographer at a local music venue in my town called “The Studio” . After photography Music is my second passion. Im quite new to Fuji after Matt, Jim and Rich ( who are guys I always love being around) battered me into submission !

I'm bloody glad they did, I love the Fuji system now.

So you’re a Fujiholic?

Without a doubt, hell yeah I am! And I have to also say a big thanks to Sarah at Cambrian. She was very kind and loaned me a X-T1 for a three day music festival I was covering. I must admit the first day I did keep going back to my DSLR gear but by the third day I left all the DSLR gear at home and just shot with the Fuji. I now shoot with an X-T1 and X-Pro1, 18mm, 27mm, 56mm and 50-140. Would love to have the chance to try out the X-T2 for my gig work  if and when it comes out.

Which is your Favourite lens and why ?

Would have to be my 50-140 f2.8 ……. Its just stunning !!

When you next go travelling, what gear will you take?

For just traveling or walking around the streets I would just take the X-Pro1 18,27 and 56mm. When I'm at “The Studio” or music festival I can afford to take all my gear and with no complaints from my back !

When out shooting, what are your settings? Why?

At gigs and festivals it's 99% Shutter Priority and RAW and as lighting can change from one second to the next, I find that auto WB works very well for me. This may also sound strange but I do prefer single point AF when shooting gigs over zone AF.

 What kind of tools do you use for post processing?

Again this is where I differ from most photographers , I use almost exclusively PS. Its what I'm used to and what I've been using since the digital age. I do have LR and have used it but just couldn’t get used to it. Black and White I use the fantastic Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

What's Next?

What I've always done I suppose just loving photography and what I can do with it. I have quite a few gigs at “The Studio” to cover and also getting together with Matt, Jim and Rich at Africa Oye 2016. I am also really looking forward to holding a “Fujiholics” workshop at “The Studio” on Music and gig photography complete with a great live band to photograph in the afternoon with full sound set up and stage lighting - 25th June 2016

 

Website - www.warrenmillarphotography.com

FB -  www.facebook.com/warrenmillarphotog

Twitter -  @Warrenphotog

Flickr - www.flickr.com/photos/warren_millar_photography/