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thinking time

I woke up on the Saturday of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and thought what should I do today!  I had no children to think about, the sun was out and I had nothing planned.  Of course it would involve a camera but where?  National Trust properties on a Bank Holiday weekend aren’t the best places, parking at the coast after 2 hours driving might try my patience and the nearby Warwickshire towns of Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick didn’t appeal, so how about where I could get to by train – and were the trains running?  Yes they were, so a choice, Birmingham or London?  What the hell!  Let’s go to London for the day!

My most recent camera acquisition, a Fujifilm X100T, was my choice for the day, along with the conversion lenses.  So my favourite bag, a Billingham Hadley Pro, was packed with camera, spare sd card and batteries, and other essentials for the day out – water, headphones and chargers!

My challenge was to try some street photography, before now when I have done it I’ve been very cautious and tried not to be noticed at all and subsequently I got distant shots if they came out at all.  But priorities first, to put me in a good mood, I needed  to get a decent cup of coffee as soon as getting there! So I went directly to a good coffee shop off Carnaby Street.  After chatting with another customer, a brightly dressed, very friendly lady, I asked if I could take her photo – she was quite happy to oblige, and so began the day.

The underground gave me the ideal opportunity to take photos, as the rule seems to be that we shouldn’t look at anyone, let alone make eye contact, so I took photos and it didn’t matter if they were bigger than me!  I have found out there are things I’ve got to watch out for, mainly ISO and shutter speed, it’s amazing how much you shake on a tube.  I had a good day with my camera and did go back into my comfort zone of buildings and landscapes.

Having my own camera is very liberating.  I could choose a camera that just needed to meet my requirements so no compromises, and make decisions that would just affect me.  So I chose my Fujifilm camera, X-T1, the lenses and accessories for me.  The bag I chose to keep my kit in is a Billingham Hadley Pro, it’s the right size for me and the handle on the top was essential! It is big enough to contain enough stuff and I can still carry it, no point in having a huge bag and not be able to use it just because it can fit the kitchen sink in it!  I have a macro lens because that is what I like doing, not only great for the macro work but challenging myself to just go out with one lens sometimes and work within those parameters that lens offers.  Maybe at some stage I’ll get some more prime lenses but at the moment I’m using the 18-55 lens for all sorts of things and seeing what prime, if any I would use.

My next purchase will be a tripod, again one that will suit me.  I’ve used a few tripods and I think I’ve got a list in my head as to what I want. So many things to consider – weight, folded size, max height (I’m only 5ft4 so I still need to be able to see the camera controls!), min height and type of clips.  I’ve found that I struggle with the screw lock ones so will deal with the inconvenience of the bulkiness of the flip clips so I can use it.  So with all these things in mind I’ll be off to the The Photography Show in Birmingham to see what I can find!! Let’s see what I come back with.

Also at The Photography Show is The People’s Gallery organised by Loxley Colour.  I took a bold step and decided I’d put an image through to it.  This is a new world to me, up to now I’ve have only kept my photography online and now showing other people is a big hurdle I’ve decided to overcome.  So far it’s only been a local photography competition in my childhood home town in Cheshire and this at The Photography Show but it’s a start.  The images in this post are from the photography competition, the Silver Birches came first in the landscape category!

As I said at the start, I’m finding having my own camera liberating.

I’d been looking at getting myself a new camera for a while, but what to get? Do I go for another Nikon or take the plunge into a newer system – mirrorless/compact system camera.  Lots of advice was given by friends and a great deal of reading by me.  We all have our own criteria for a camera, some more unusual than others! A requirement of mine is that I need to be able to hold and use it – only a small matter. I choose a mobile phone with that criteria too, as well as being good to take photos with.  I have small hands, I could use the Nikon D7000 OK but when looking at the full frame versions I was becoming limited.  I could just about cope with a D750 I thought, then all these compact system cameras came into the equation.  My son had had a Sony NEX5N which he had really enjoyed using, I couldn’t get over the lack of a viewfinder, but the size was ideal.

The Fuji cameras were establishing themselves, had great reviews and people turning to them from the larger Nikons and Canons.  So I decided to find which one maybe within my budget and do what I wanted it to do, the very latest would be a little too costly for me to justify.  Black Friday came and a big grin was on my face.  Fuji were doing double cashback on some of their range.  So I thought I’d just pop into my local camera shop (yes we still have one just 10 miles away – London Camera Exchange, Leamington Spa).  That day I came out with my new camera, a Fuji X-T1 with a 18-55mm lens, and it was the graphite version too.

Over the past month I have had a great time, taking it out with me to cities and countryside.  I’ve now also got a 60mm macro lens to enable me to carry on with that side of my photography.  I am, of course, looking at what lens to get next.

My Canon AE-1 Program and Fuji X-T1 make a very handsome pair, who would have thought they were three decades apart in design.

NorfolksmallThis is the first time I’ve used a SLR camera, other film cameras have been more point and shoot and if I was lucky they had a zoom!! This Canon AE-1 Program SLR has been under the stairs at my parents’ house for at least 10 years without a lens or cover on it. So I hoped I’d cleaned it up enough to get clean images. I was surprised and relieved at the results I got.  I had bought myself a second hand 50mm lens and also had a zoom lens. I tried it with a colour film first to see how clean the camera was and the cost and ease of processing was OK i.e. Boots! I will be more adventurous next time, I’ll take it off the program setting, and it will be a black and white film I’ll be using next.

It has been fun using it and will continue to, I’ll always have my phone camera with me but the SLR is so much more pleasurable to use. This photo is taken on the North Norfolk Coast when the light was breaking through the clouds onto the wind farm and the birds were settled on the water’s edge.


The beauty of the nature that surrounds us is very special.  Countryside walks let us watch the amazing change into spring, a newly born lamb, the first bluebells, the unfurling of leaves and the longer days giving the opportunity to see more.  Longer days as well as some respite has allowed me to go slightly further afield into Derbyshire and Yorkshire.

This shot was taken when I took my camera for a walk along the Ingleton Waterfall Trail in Yorkshire.  The two rivers were very different, with the higher falls being on the River Twiss.  I preferred the River Doe with its cascades of swirling, jumping water, fascinating to watch running down the deep gorge lined with old trees.


  • Les - Nice blog, please have a look at mine, as mynpartner Sue & I are lovers of the countryside of Derbyshire, where we live.ReplyCancel