Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography: Blog http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) Tue, 14 Mar 2017 08:23:00 GMT Tue, 14 Mar 2017 08:23:00 GMT http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-5/u264197114-o90077773-50.jpg Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography: Blog http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog 120 119 The Enthusiastic Eye http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/the-enthusiastic-eye Over the past 9 months I have been busy with putting together my contribution to the world of street photography in the form of an eBook. The Enthusiastic Eye is aimed at the beginner/novice and will soon be available. I am just in the 'last thrust' stages of making it happen. 

It's good to report that there are new waves of interest in street photography and that can only be a good thing if we are to keep the genre alive. It's a fantastic craft and I encourage everyone to give it a go. 

Sadly I have neglected my website for far too long and hopefully will have more time soon to get it up to date. Time just goes by so quickly I can't believe how old I'm getting.  Still, while I can get out and take pictures of people, I will continue to do so. 

Have a nice day and enjoy.

Keith

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keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/the-enthusiastic-eye Tue, 14 Mar 2017 08:21:18 GMT
It’s been a while http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/8/it-s-been-a-while Well it has been some while since my last post and believe it or not I have had the X100 for almost a year now.  Whilst I haven’t had a lot of time for photography since getting it, I have managed a few days out with it that have been totally dedicated to using the camera.  Some of the images I have taken can now be seen in my X File folder, and I will slowly add others as I go.  A few, but certainly not all, of the images I have taken with this super camera, have pleased me. Some have been less than perfect (a few missed shots down to focus) and others have been beyond my expectations. But the bad shots, I hasten to add, were (and still are) down to my technique and not the camera; and I am improving on that all the time. Perhaps I was just a little too nervous to gel quickly with it. And I say that because I was quite nervous at the outset. Mainly I was nervous about parting with my 5D MKII and superb L series lenses.  OK, it was hard, but  I'm fine with it now! We all need to take risks sometimes, and this was a big one for sure . So, where am I now? Onward and upwards I guess with this little Gem of a camera.  Actually, ‘gem’ is the right word for the X100. It is almost like buying an unpolished gemstone that you alone must polish for it to sparkle. And it will sparkle! And you can then be proud to wear it around your neck, or hang it from your shoulder - or even your wrist if that's your preference. 

It will take time to get the hang of all the pros and cons that’s for sure, and there are a few to get used to, believe me!  Just don’t be fooled by its simple looks and small footprint, because what it isn’t is a camera for the uninitiated.  So be well prepared for a learning curve of whatever length it takes. This will also apply to the newest kid on the Fuji Block – the X100S. Even so, the X100 is a lot cheaper and is no slouch just because a younger brother has hit the market place. Good on Fuji for their continued dedication to this kind of camera and it will be interesting to see what the future has in store for us all.

What Fuji has in fact created is a camera for ‘street’ photographers. It certainly isn’t a camera for those who are just in love with the idea of owning one. This camera is a photographer’s tool 100%!  To get a decent image you will have to work with it and not against it. You will have to overcome its odd little quirks and be patient! You can start doing this by dropping the notion that the camera is always to blame when things go wrong. If things don't look good, or seem right, just question your own technique first and ask yourself if it can be improved upon to suit.  The X100/S will not, and does not, react in quite the same way as an all-singing all-dancing DSLR!  You need to understand that it is neither a DSLR, nor a Rangefinder - period!  It is a unique blend of both and takes a combination of skills from both disciplines to become proficient with it!  So instead of getting frustrated by the quirks, and no doubt you will, you are best served by remembering that user input always needs to be questioned first. Just succumb to the Fuji knowledge bank and learn how to use it.  Join a forum where you can get solid info about your Fuji camera. You know it makes sense, and it will deliver all you need to know. Here's a forum you should consider joining: http://www.fujix-forum.com/index.php/index

I have likened the X100/S to that of a strong woman who will only give over her delights to a man if and when he knows how to handle her.  So anyone who thinks the X100/S is just a fancy point and shoot, they should get that nonsense right out of their heads before they even purchase one. It isn’t a point-and-shoot. Far from it! It is a camera for people who want, and deserve, much more than that.  If you are into sports photography maybe you should forget it and buy a DSLR!   If you are into photojournalism then this is what it is best at doing and you won’t be disappointed.  The X100/S is not in the Leica M league for sure (build wise that is), but they are as near as you can get to the experience for the price with the images it creates. Just enjoy the journey and good luck!

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keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) 100 Fuji X Zenfolio blog camera candid choice choose delightful forums people photography http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/8/it-s-been-a-while Mon, 05 Aug 2013 16:45:49 GMT
The x100 http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/9/the-x100 There is nothing like receiving a new camera and better still slowly undoing the parcel and opening the box it came in. I received my limited edition X100 last week and have had time enough to get used to its weird and wonderful ways, even though I have still yet to take it out for a serious shoot.  My heavy Canon gear is going (some gone already) and I am going to use this camera as my only tool.  Just one fixed lens – no zooms – no weight to speak of – freedom at last from the shoulder pain of a heavy bag, the irritating dragging coat sleeve, the awkward lens changes right in the middle of something exciting going on.  It will now be just me and the lens.  I will call my next folder the X-files and I can’t wait to get going with it.

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keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/9/the-x100 Thu, 20 Sep 2012 07:47:50 GMT
All Change http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/9/all-change In my last post on June 26, I mentioned about my photography being on the wane.  Well nothing has changed. My last couple of outings with the camera hasn’t produced much in the way of images I feel good about. 

I have come to the conclusion that in getting older I have become more inclined to leave my heavy camera bag at home and go out without it.  I have had it with changing lenses, and had it carrying the weight all day. I have my virtually unused EF 70-200 F4 IS on eBay and if and when that sells the rest of my Canon gear will be up for grabs.  What will I do?

My intention is to buy into the flawed, but incredible Fuji X100. I did think about the X Pro1 but really don’t want to change or worry about other lenses any more.  It will be interesting to say the least and with the cash that’s left over I will invest it into an exhibition of my work. 

Watch this space. 

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keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/9/all-change Sat, 01 Sep 2012 10:38:56 GMT
Lenses http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/6/lenses I’m not sure if it has something to do with the dreadful (2012) weather here in the UK, or that my interest in photography is on the wane, but lately I have been dissatisfied with my lenses - well one of them!  I don’t seem to have the same get up and go that I once had.  The main problem is the weight of the gear in comparison to what I love shooting most.  The truth is candid photography is my favourite kind and I don’t need a heavy DSLR for that. 

 

At the time of writing I own the EOS 5DMKII, a 17-40 F4 L and a 70-200 f4 L IS.  Both of these lenses are real crackers and I have taken street style images with both and they work.  However, there is always a ‘but’ isn’t there?  I still think the 50mm is the best for candid work.  It’s not an easy lens to use if you have been used to high quality zoom lenses for years.  It takes a bit of getting used to.  Even so, I find myself longing for one again. 

 

A few years ago I had two 50mm lenses: the Canon f1.4 and the Sigma f1.4.  Both lenses delivered well, but I sold them on to fund the lenses I now have.  Let me say here and now, it was a mistake.  As much as I wouldn’t want to part with my humble set-up as it is now, I wish I had a 50mm to take out on candid hunts, so that I can leave the heavy stuff behind.  I will just have to save my pennies and try as hard as I can to buy one again.

 

The moral of this post is never sell any of your lenses unless it is absolutely crippling you to keep them.  Camera bodies come and go, but lenses are the real heroes of photography and should be with us for life.

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keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/6/lenses Tue, 26 Jun 2012 07:50:40 GMT
B/W Digital vs B/W film http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/5/b/w-digital-vs-b/w-film There is no beating about the bush with this one is there?  B/W digital photography has really come a long way from the early days and really into its own in the last couple of years.  Contributions to its evolution have come from the software designers, the ink and paper manufacturers, and not to forget the world of printer manufacturing and has brought this aspect of photography into the 21st century in a big way.  That this has happened in such a short space of time only goes to show that digital is here to stay.  Silver Efex Pro and Pro 2, for instance, have gone a long way in giving us as near as possible the silver halide effect that all b/w digital, as well as film photographers are aiming for.   But can digital b/w give the photographer that same subtle look that black and white film manages to do so well?  I look at my digital b/w stuff and often think that it is too in-your-face.  Sometimes I just want to get a similar look to say that of Alfred Stieglitz’ Spring Showers c 1900 and that’s where digital lets me down.  http://www.robertmann.com/artists/stieglitz/image_01.html

I will keep trying until I do though, that you can count on.  The image below was converted from colour via Photoshop.

 

Bicycle Riders - Seaview Isle of Wight

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keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/5/b/w-digital-vs-b/w-film Mon, 14 May 2012 14:41:16 GMT
Wild life http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/4/wild-life I am not an avid wildlife photographer by any means, but it does give me a certain amount of buzz when I find the opportunity to capture it on film or digital media, as most of my work now is.  For me, living where I do, most of the wild creatures I have contact with will be at wildlife centres and zoos! Even so, these places do provide an opportunity for those of us who can’t readily find it in the true wild to whet our appetites for it.  I found that using a long lens, (in my case a 70-200 with image stabilisation), to be best for this kind of situation.  At least you can get past the wire mesh of fencing with it.  Using a good stout lens hood is always an essential for pressing close to glass screens to avoid reflection.  Also, demonstrations with wild birds, like the Eagle Owl and other birds of prey allow some good opportunity to get in close.  Give it a go for yourselves and enjoy.

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keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/4/wild-life Fri, 06 Apr 2012 10:20:43 GMT
Filters 2 http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/4/filters-2 I would like to state here and now that as far as filters go I rarely use them any more.  My Polariser has not been on my camera for a couple of years now, and my ND X8 has been used twice just to dull down a day or two of bright light. 

I have never found a lot of use for filters to be honest.  I still shoot as though I have a roll of Fuji Velvia in my camera and nearly always use exposure lock, with the exposure being taken from a midtone area before recomposing.  It works that way for me.

However, things may change! Why?  Well, because I simply love shooting for black and white, and am forever trying to improve my technique, I came across Joel Tjintjelaar, a photographer who shoots long exposure black and white stuff.  ( see him here http://plusonecollection.com/blog/2012/3/15/joel-tjintjelaar-how-he-thinks-and-creates.html )

I have to say that I have been totally smitten by his work and now long to give it a go for myself.  I have never been disciplined to use a tripod in all my thirty odd years of photography, so now is the time to start taking my hobby a bit more seriously.  It also means using at least a ten stop ND solid filter to get the three minute exposures I will need, and as I have the ND X8 to stack on top I can start achieving exposures of up to five minutes.  Well, I never thought I would get so enthusiastic about doing something so very different to what I have been used to.  Now, who was it who said one can’t teach old dogs new tricks?

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keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/4/filters-2 Sun, 01 Apr 2012 15:30:38 GMT
The weather http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/3/the-weather There are two types of weather I hate most as a photographer: Dull with a sky of blanket grey (UK spelling here), so no point in going out; and bright sunshine with cloudless blue skies and sun high overhead for hours and not budging.  And then, when the air temperature changes later in the afternoon, as the sun lowers with full promise, black cloud swiftly moves across it, contemptuously blocking out the light and adding further to the frustration of every photographer who has waited patiently for the evening light to warm things up a bit.  Now here in the UK we get quite a lot of this kind of weather, so I really ought to be used to it by now you would think, and perhaps I should try to work with it a bit more.  But no! I always seem to hanker after that small and very narrow window of opportunity we get here in early spring and late summer and sometimes running into autumn - when the beautiful Isle of Wight shows its best side and isn't just covered in green foliage, brown dirt, harvest dust, or jam packed with tourists hugging all the coves and beaches to themselves.  Thank goodness 'street' photography is still alive and kicking.  The weather isn't an issue where that genre is concerned. So you tourists to the Isle of Wight should be very careful what you get up to on the beaches. My lens may well be pointing at you.

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keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) autumn beaches cloud dirt dull dust green photography skies spring street summer sun tourists weather http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/3/the-weather Wed, 14 Mar 2012 09:23:11 GMT
Filters http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/3/filters The only filters I tend to use are my Canon CPL and an x8 ND solid.  Other than that I have never thought it a good idea to cover good optical glass with maybe not so good filter glass.  I did relent when I purchased my 17-40L and my 70-200L IS though and purchased two Hoya HD Protector Filters, one for the 77mm lens and the other for the 67mm lens.  Why did I do this?  Well, to complete the weather sealing of the 17-40 it needed a filter (why can't Canon seal the whole lens without having to resort to a filter on the front end?) Can it really be that difficult to work out how to seal the whole lens, what with their level of technical expertise?   The 67mm filter was purchased to protect the front element which is frighteningly close to the end of the barrel.  And before you tell me I should always use the hoods for protection - I do!  And not just for lens protection, but for better colours, and deeper saturation.

Right, now on to the problem with the 77mm filter!  After a short trip out I decided the filter and lens should be cleaned and prepared everything for the task of doing so.  When I angled the filter at around 10 degrees from the plane to look for marks, there appeared a perfectly circular spot.  I then noticed a couple more and proceeded to clean the filter as one does.  They wouldn’t budge however.  On further investigation it turned out that they were tiny imperfections in the glass (air bubbles probably) and not on the surface at all.  Maybe they wouldn’t be noticeable on the image, but I couldn’t live with a filter like that myself. 

I checked the date of purchase and realised it was almost a year to the date.  Fortunately for me it was inside the warranty date by just 10 days and so the filter will be changed.  How lucky is that?

The moral of this story is to check our lenses more thoroughly than many of us tend to do.  And because we trust a particular manufacturer to provide top quality workmanship, we take it for granted that everything will be OK.  The truth is, some duds will always get through the net, at our expense if not vigilant, so keep an eye on your gear, and check it thoroughly after each trip out.

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keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/3/filters Mon, 12 Mar 2012 15:14:41 GMT
Why such a simple website http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/3/why-such-a-simple-website Why doesn't my website have all the bells and whistles of a modern website?  No 'flash'. No 'slide shows'. No 'fancy' pages. Well, it's because that's how I wanted it to be - plain and simple.  My idea was to slow down the viewing process so that visitors would actually spend a few seconds more looking at my images.  After all, if one goes to a photographic exhibition, or gallery, one tends to savour the moment rather than rush through the process of looking just to get to the bar for a quick snifter before leaving.  What I have found with a lot of websites is they look pretty, and even super functional, but they are not condusive to the same kind of display one gets with gallery exhibitions.  I have tried to create that same kind of atmosphere with my simple site, so please enjoy it and let me know if I have got the philosophy all wrong in your opinion.

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keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) blog day exhibition gallery opinion post simple slow down text http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/3/why-such-a-simple-website Sat, 10 Mar 2012 11:36:02 GMT
Welcome to my Blog. http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/3/welcome-to-my-blog- Hi

I am so glad that you have taken the trouble to look through my humble portfolio.  As you will probably have gathered, my favourite genres are black and white and Street photography, but I am open to almost anything that enables me to be creative in a photographic sense, and if a shot is better in colour, then that's how it stays.  Having said that, I do shoot with black and white in mind, but one can never really tell how it's going to turn out until one is ready to process the raw file! 

I just love the challenges that photography brings its way; the uncertainty that a capture may not turn out as I had first visualised it; the excitement when it does; processing the raw to get an optimum final image that one can live with. 

I hope that my work is different enough to have made it a worthwhile visit for you.   Please leave a comment, or contact me personally. The website will be a "work in progress" from now on, so please visit again when you get the time.

Regards Keith

 

 

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keithtowers@hotmail.com (Keith Towers Fine Art and Street Photography) http://keithtowers.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/3/welcome-to-my-blog- Fri, 09 Mar 2012 15:43:55 GMT