This is what counts as taking a break from working on the site, writing a blog post! I promised myself to go for a walk today with the camera, maybe later.
I think it was 2011 when I started to take a interest in photography, and in the last few years I have taken it up professionally. I photograph weddings and schools, events such as sports, theatre and orchestra. I also enjoy live music, street photography and portraiture.
History of camera gear
Over these nine years I have bought and sold a lot camera gear, in some kind of order
- Sony A580 – my first DSLR, I had a Sigma 30mm 1.4 ex and a Sigma 105mm macro with extension tubes and raynox 250, it lasted almost a year before I bought..
- Canon 5D Mark II – never thought I’d spend over £1000 on a camera, but I had become obsessed with shallow depth of field and the MP-E 65mm for extreme macro!
- Canon 5D Mark III – an upgrade in the AF department. I was shooting a Zeiss Distagon 35mm 1.4 which was hard to manually focus using the OVF, the Magic Lantern 3rd party firmware with focus peaking helped. I remember owning the 21mm 2.8 zeiss, my dream lens the 200mm f2 and 85mm 1.2 II. I even photographed a few weddings with this camera, though after a particularly stressful one I vowed never again!
- Ricoh GR – I was getting into street photography, loved the preset zone distance focusing, but it left me wanting more when it came to ISO handling.
- Sony A7S – great for being able to push ISO higher for narrow apertures and faster shutter speeds when photographing street from the hip.
- Sony RX1R – Another street related purchase, great quality camera, small discrete – but the auto-focus was too slow and manual focus was a huge pain. I tried to zone-focus with it, but there is no gauge and if the camera goes into standby it resets focus to infinity. The battery life was so poor you needed standby to help get you through a few hours use.
- Olympus EM-1 – I almost forget I had this, I bought it and a handful of lenses about two weeks later it was all sold again. Maybe I shouldn’t have pixel peeped.
- Leica Q – Oh wow, I love this camera – it was everything I wanted from a street camera. Full frame quality and ISO handling, good manual focusing with zone focus gauge, fast auto-focus. Relatively small and discrete. I was so sold by this camera that I started the Facebook group Leica Q / Q2 Photography which now has over 6.8k members.
- Nikon D750 – I had been second shooting weddings for a little while, I sold off the remainder of my Canon gear and bought the Nikon D750 with 85mm 1.4 lens to use alongside my Leica Q. The D750 had superior DR, ISO Handling and perhaps even auto-focus to the Canon 5d Mark III and I’d given up waiting for the Mark IV.
- Leica SL – I replaced the Nikon with the SL, and used that in combo with the Q. I loved the quality of this camera, but it was a step backwards in AF ability. The 50mm 1.4 SL was mechanically slow to focus, and it struggled with low light focusing due to contrast detection AF.
- Leica M10 – So I think I was in a position now where the cameras I owned were the M10, SL and Leica Q, unfortunately I never got to own the M10 for very long. At this time professional side of photography really started to take off, I had an opportunity to shoot a theatre performance and I used the M10 and 50mm 1.4 to do so. I made it work, but it was stressful!
- Sony A9 x 2 – I was about to start my career in professional photography, I had to purchase gear that could handle a wide variety of tasks without the added stress. It was a business decision, I sold off the SL and M10 Leica gear and bought a pair of Sony A9, the GM zooms and several fast prime lenses. The first time I shot an event using continuous eye detection with silent shutter, I was gleeful!
- Hasselblad X1D – The Sony cameras have never really inspired me when it comes to personal photography, not like the beautiful Hasselblad X1D and it’s gorgeous image quality. I’d rather struggle taking photographs of the dogs with the X1D, than use the A9 with animal eye detection and flip screen. Not that I bought it just for taking photos of my dogs, but I do that a lot.
- Leica Q2 – I was one of the first people in the UK to get a Leica Q2 when it was released in March 2019, I hadn’t pre-ordered, but I hunted around the stores and managed to snag the last one at Park Cameras. A worthy upgrade to the Q!
- Hasselblad X1D II – knowing the mark II was going to be announced I sold my Mark I before the significant price drop. The X1D II makes the X1D look feel the prototype it probably was. There have been welcome refinements, faster start up and larger LCD screen among them. Whilst before I had the XCD 90mm, this time around I opted for the XCD 80mm 1.9 and XCD 135mm 2.8.
- Leica M10 Monochrom??? – Not yet! I sold my Leica Q2, my kidneys and everything else that wasn’t tied down with the desire to buy a Leica M10 Monochrom and 28mm 1.4 Lux, which was to become my new go to for street photography and documentary. Unfortunately this was when the Covid-19 lockdown hit and I lost all my bookings. *sigh* I wonder if I can get my kidneys back.
So what I have I actually been doing with all these cameras? Whilst I have great enthusiasm for technological advancements, I do actually take photos.
I’ll start with the most recent, a little bit of lock-down photography, mostly limited to my wife Louise, our dogs Yuffie and Newt and the local area.
Street and Travel Photography
I do love street photography, but it’s going to be a while before I can feel safe about taking a train into London.
People and Portraits
An assortment of portraits, comic con photos taken at the London Excel, friends in Halloween costumes, portraits of musicians at the venue where they were playing. Oh and of course Louise, my wife, features in a lot of images.
I have photographed a lot of live music in the local pubs, as well as quarterly showcases and the odd festival! It’s a great community to feel apart of, lots of interesting people to point your camera at.
Wrapping it up
Thanks for getting this far, I hope you’ve found it interesting. I’d like to say I could have kept going, but I started writing the blog post a while ago now and I’m getting tired, it’s been a nice trip down memory lane.