Little Dominoes

One by one they fall.

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No drama, no doctors, no ER, or specialist consultant required.

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A couple days of rest (and surprising quiet) and they are on the mend.


With Sookie Sonsaras keeping a watchful eye.

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NOT Elena Shumilova


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Here is the link to what I consider to be astounding portraits:

(Thanks Mrs Miller)

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Now……what would I need to start off with? A Canon 5D Mii and 135mm (L branded?) lens. There goes £1800. Luckily, i’m not a Canon shooter, i’m a Fuji/Sony fanboi – and, even luckier, Fuji don’t list an equivalent lens and the Sony variant 135mm F1.8Z is (of course) £1,200 all by its lonesome.


Right, scrap that then.

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I do have  dogs and two little boys but that Russian farm with scenic views is a little different to that which surround Deadville.

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Sod it.   I will do like Casey and make good with a smartphone.

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Can you tell which are which?

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You gotta kiss a lot of frogs

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As they say. And sometimes it seems like frog overload.

As is the case of the backup/second body to the Fuji XPro 1. It’s awesome, not much can touch it in my eyes, but it certainly has its foibles.

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AF  that is perfectly acceptable in a general sense, but too slow for fast moving kids or sports, and, the bug bear of most mirrorless cameras, lens cost. The 55-200mm in Fuji land is about £500, in Sony A mount I just bought similar (in FL, not optically) for £60.

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So I traded a Sony A77 for the budget model A58. It does sport fast AF and cheap lenses are widely available, but it is a frog. Of the worst kind. Has everything I need, looks the part, is ergonomically good, but its just not delivering…

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…….in comparison to the XPro that is.

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Still, I cant let it go. it does what I need it too, but it has sparked conversation in the last couple of days between me and a photog friend, who really does want a second body with the same options as me, but is loath to buy a big ole’ DSLR due to the OVF and lack of live exposure preview (and breath).

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The options are frog like. An SLT like the A58 with flawed IQ due to the fixed mirror, or m43 with the compromised sensor size, and seriously pricey lenses – fast standard f2.8 zoom += £1,000! (and its not a true f2.8 in terms of DOF, although it still gathers the same amount of light in terms of low light shooting).

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What’s a girl to do?

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P.S I did sneak a couple of Fuji shots in.


The Girl Next Door

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(well, next door but one actually)

I have, unitil recently only ‘shot’ my own kids. My friend and neighbour asked would I take a few pics of her daughter for her, as xmas pressies for the rellies.

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I was a tad nervous, as it is unknown territory for me and I didn’t have a clue what the expectations would be or how to really go about it to be honest.

I decided the same approach I took with my own children would be best, just let then do what they were doing and snap away.

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I also decided to use the Sony for mono shots and the Fuji for colour, as the skin tones are undeniably fantastic from the XPro 1, not that any five year old doesn’t have flawless skin anyway!

The model. What can say? What can’t you see? Didn’t exactly make it difficult did she? A beautiful little girl by any stretch, she also translates undeniably well in digital. She exudes expression and poise. She is but a little thing, but has a certain maturity about her that you don’t often see in kids this age.

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She took direction well, moved around the room playing and intermittently posed for certain shots when asked. Fantastic stuff.

How did it expand my horizon? I gained an insight into what other people might want to see in pictures of their children, how each individual may vary and how they will vary from what I envisage. That was the most important. Secondly, in taking pics of my own children framing and composition is not my primary objective. I either get a shot I love or I don’t.

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With other people a laissez faire attitude will not suffice, you HAVE to make the shot happen, the way they want to see it, which invariably means clean backgrounds and faultless composition.

I will work on that.

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The images here are not necessarily the ones my neighbour would choose for herself, they are my favourites from the shoot. Max chose the last one with the partial colour, the model herself quite liked this one too.



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So, it’s that time again. Xmas done, the New Year is upon us.

What does that entail for you?

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The general rule of thumb appears to be that you have to torture yourself in January – no drinking, three miles a day on the treadmill (ok, that’s a minimum), eat sensibly and whatever else a person can dream up.

Photographically at least the plan seems a little less daunting; strobes, continuous lighting, seamless backgrounds and a little more varied clientele.

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After the ‘Miss Gardner’ shoot it seemed pretty simple, buy a decent quality background and train, diffuse the bounced light from hotshoe flash and we are in business.

Er….not quite. I forgot the Degree in Physics, which I don’t have.

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So, back to square one. I returned the Lastolite HiLite background and have decided to concentrate on the flash system first. Once I have a better working knowledge of what is required for studio style portraits I will address the issue of portable studio and progress accordingly. Hopefully before the summer as I have a charitable idea that may be of interest to ‘The Friends Of Deadville’

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Until then the growing database of potential clients will have to suffice with ‘lifestyle’ portraits.

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(I’m sure environmental is a little different again right Nianys?)

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P.S Nianys did laugh when I mentioned a return to a more puritanical form of the hobby – one camera (entry level) couple of portrait lenses and a flash – for a year. Surely that would show exactly the ratio of gear to talent/skill.

She laughed. A lot.

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All the best for 2014 Mr H. xx