It’s Not Only Film That Can Hide Long-Forgotten Surprises . . .

. . . It’s often said (including by me) that one of the attractions of shooting film, is that until you actually come to develop a roll, you just never know what pictorial delights may (or may not) be waiting for you.

Well the same thing happened to me yesterday morning, but it wasn’t from a roll of film.

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Street Photography – Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Part One) – Fuji X-E1 . . .

. . . During my two days of photographing at The Fringe 2014, I used two cameras and lenses – the Fuji X-E1 with XF35 f/1.4 and a new to me (but used) film camera and lens. Consequently, I came back with a large number of photographs and so it happens, too many for one article. Therefore, this post is (for want of a better phrase) Part One, itself being made up of a chunk of the Fuji pictures, with the remainder for another article. My review of the ‘mystery’ camera and lens can be found here Leica M6 & Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 LTM Review – A Tale of Two Classics The images taken with the M6 and this lens can be found here Street Photography – Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Part Two) – Leica M6

. . . Imagine for one moment a place and time devoted solely to art in all its various forms – music, theater, dance, mime, painting, photography and even protest.

Now consider also that besides the countless thousands of acts performing throughout the event’s duration, there’s the added bonus of hundreds of thousands of spectators, many of whom also have a strong interest in the arts.

There’s more. Factor in that the whole area is swarming with amateur and professional photographers, wielding hefty DSLR’s and even more lengthy lenses. Who then is going to give a second glance to another lens pointing in their approximate direction (except the Ugandan Handbag Saleswoman of course 😮 ) ?

As a final nod to perfection, attendance of the 3 week ‘production’ is (by and large), totally free of charge.

The altogether inspiring result of this heady ‘gumbo’ is a Street Photographers Paradise, otherwise known as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – 2014.

As far as I was concerned – and whilst the greatest majority of cameras were pointing towards the colorful, impressive and noisy acts that seemed to appear every few meters – my Fuji X-E1 with XF35 f/1.4 lens was firmly aimed in the opposite direction. I was here to photograph the ‘real’ people.

double portrait edinburgh fringe festival 2014 street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale fuji x-e1 xe1 xf35

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Look Out, It’s The Ugandan Handbag Saleswoman !!! . . .

. . . There can’t be a devoted Street Photographer either past or present, that hasn’t experienced a sudden sinking feeling when faced with the likes of the Ugandan Handbag Saleswoman that I was (ahem), privileged to meet at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Somewhat refreshingly though, I was on this occasion able to turn the experience around (in my mind), and come away from it feeling both rejuvenated and somewhat jollied.

black woman in hat says no photography allowed in public edinburgh fringe festival 2014 street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale fuji x-e1 xe1 xf35

Looking back on events, I believe there were three key ‘ingredients’ that made this possible.

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My Fuji XF35 & XF60 Review Published In Street Photography Magazine . . .

. . . Many thanks to Bob Patterson of Street Photography Magazine for publishing my Fuji XF35 & XF60 lens review in the latest issue.

For the latest and past issues of the magazine, click here Street Photography Magazine and also available via Apple’s Newstand from the App Store here Street Photography Magazine

Also to come in a following issue, an interview (photographs, words AND audio) with myself. 😮

What’s In My Camera Bag . . ?

. . . A little over 3 years ago I did a short video for Youtube of what was in my camera bag at that time (video at the bottom of this post and somewhat embarrasingly shot in portrait and don’t get me started on the hairstyle. 😀 ).

Back then, my ‘weapon’ of choice was a silver-chromed Leica M8 with a 50mm f/1.8 Canon Serenar and a Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5 Color Skopar. My bag of choice was the ‘M-Classics’ messenger style bag.

Today, the bag remains but the kit has changed beyond all recognition.

kevin shelley street photography kit bag leica m2 voigtlander 50 1.5 fuji x-e1 xf 35 1.4 sekonic l308s light meter 35mm film m classics bag

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Chester – Street Photography Escape From the City . . .

. . . On the same weekend as the Manchester visit, I took the opportunity of spending a day with the Fuji X-E1 & XF35 f/1.4, perusing the classic streets of my ideal destination, Chester. The sun was out in force and the streets were awash with shoppers, tourists and local folk just soaking up the atmosphere and culture. 250 years ago, Chester was seen as an escape from the more industrial neighbouring cities such as Manchester and that still remains true, even to this day.

people with many poodles sat outside a cafe in chester street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale fuji x-e1 xe1 xf35

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Manchester (UK) – The Grit, Glamour & Tattoos . . .

GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING – This is going to be a long post. 🙂

. . . If the truth be known, I’ve never felt as mentally and physically exhausted after a day’s Street Photography as I did just last weekend in Manchester. Mind you, I probably didn’t do myself any favours by spending the previous day shooting on the streets of Chester and on both occasions wearing what are without doubt the most uncomfortable pair of boots I’ve ever owned. 🙂

old man rave dancing in manchester whilst young lad cheers him on street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale leica m2 jupiter 8 50 f2

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The Case For Side Profiles In Street Photography (or Who Wrote the Rule Book?) . . .

. . . There’s a craze currently doing the rounds of many photography websites and forums. You know, the one concerning the ‘holy book’ of Street Photography Rules?

Usually served up in groups of 10, they often contain a wide ranging array of stifling and dumbfounding restrictions. Don’t show color and black & white in the same set. Don’t show different angles of the same subject. Don’t use a focal length longer than 50mm. Don’t post photos without consulting someone else. Above all else, only show shots with people in and more importantly, make sure they’re facing the camera. The list goes on . . .

When were these rules written, by whom and what fate awaits those stupid enough to ignore them?

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Fuji XF35 f/1.4 and XF60 f/2.4 – A Street Photography Review . . .

. . . In my previous post I wrote that I’d purchased the XF35 & XF60 Fuji lenses as replacements for the XF18-55mm Zoom. I couldn’t wait to put them through their paces and discover if this was indeed the right choice . . .

. . . Living as I do in the UK’s equivalent of the Australian Outback (Cumbria), Street Photography would appear to be an odd choice of hobby. My predicament was recently made all the more unbearable with these two new lenses that desperately needed trying out. Fortunately, a 30 mile trip to Barrow-In-Furness appeared unexpectedly, so I jumped at the chance to spend a couple of hours taking photo’s with the new ‘tools of the trade’.

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Hey Folks, I’ve Gone And Done Something Rather Rash (Possibly) . . .

. . . You see, since giving up Film and especially Leica’s, I’ve missed the simplicity and speed of operation of Prime Lenses. Zooms are great (the XF18-55mm especially). Afterall, having a specific focal length on-call whenever you need it saves all that faff of swapping lenses, right? Further, as the image quality is above and beyond what you would expect of a simple ‘kit’ lens, it sounds like an optical nirvana.

However, with regards the 18-55, I had a few minor (and major) niggles that I just couldn’t ignore.

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Barrow-In-Furness, A Town The Weatherman Never Mentions . . .

. . . Hear the words ‘Up North’ and for most of us, places such as Manchester, Newcastle and Hull spring to mind.

With progress however, these areas have become more Southern-like in their appearance and attitudes. Living standards as a result of investment in modern industries, retail, inner city regeneration, arts and culture, have improved immeasurably. Additionally, as the cost of living in the South has increased beyond the pockets of many, thousands now move to the once ‘grim North’, bringing their cash and lifestyles with them.

Barrow-In-Furness on the other hand, tucked away in an extreme north western corner of Cumbria and miles from any major motorway network, is all but ‘invisible’ to the rest of England.

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Chester Is Fast Becoming My Favorite Destination . . .

. . . For the hungry Street Photographer, Chester can cater to a wide variety of photographic tastes. The Fuji X-E1 with XF 18-55 proved its worth again as I enjoyed a relaxing stroll.

The City is a popular stage for Buskers and Performance artists, including (as it turns out) world famous Electric Violinist, Ed Alleyne-Johnson. Having one of his albums on my iPod, I was amazed to hear a familiar music echoing through the streets. Imagine my astonishment as when rounding a corner, there stood Ed repleat with his famous home-made purple violin, a plethora of effects pedals, a phrase looper and drum pad. A small crowd had congregated, watching in awe as he ‘built’ a tune from the basic riff to a crashing symphony, then launching into a rendition of Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’.

Ed Alleyne-Johnson.jpg

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Why I Won’t Be Upgrading To The Fuji X-E2 Anytime Soon . . .

. . . Please note the title of this post is “Why I Won’t Be Upgrading” and not “Why You shouldn’t upgrade”.

To quote a much used though oh-so-relevant phrase, we do indeed `live in a throwaway society`. Whether it be a car, a TV, or a camera, there is an underlying (almost genetic) predisposition to commit oneself to a lifelong search for the holy grail of perfection. That indefinable something, that x-factor which (once found) will bring skills you never knew you had and an (as yet) undiscovered nirvana.

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Edinburgh – New City, Old Style . . .

. . . Edinburgh was a new city to me. I’d never been before, but I’m glad I did. It’s a large, imposing place, the main central and surrounding areas being spread far and wide, with no apparent order to their layouts . . .

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. . . However, Edinburgh had a very warm and welcoming feel to it . . .

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Fuji X-E1, Initial Impressions as a Manual Street Photography Camera . . .

. . . The decision to return to digital was the result of several months of inner debating. My reasons for abandoning film were covered in a previous post I’m Moving Back To Digital

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Now as you’ve no doubt guessed from the title (and the photograph), the camera I have purchased to take over the role of my ONLY street camera is the Fuji X-E1 with the Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8 – f/4 XF Mount Lens.

I hesitate to use the phrase ‘kit lens’, as traditionally such lenses included with a new camera are of questionable quality.

This lens is most definitely not one of those as will become apparent (I’m talking Leica image quality here).

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