Tag: tony woolliscroft

Y Not Festival 2017: How Weather Resistant is the X-Pro2?

By Tony Woolliscroft

The ‘Great British Summer’… We all remember it, don’t we?

As a photographer, who makes a living from shooting music events, the summer time means swapping my cameras and lenses, from my rolling camera case, to a heavy rucksack that I carry on my back. ‘Why?’ you may ask. I think you’ll understand as you read on.

From June until mid September I’m often asked to shoot at different festivals up and down the UK. A dream job in most peoples’ eyes and, yes, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had amazing times and memories at festivals all over the world.

I must admit though, over the past few years the thought of shooting a festival for 3-4 days, as Y Not Festival is, does bring me out in a cold sweat. The great British summer time, we all know, is very unpredictable to the extreme, and I usually end up photographing these events in bad weather. Take this year’s Nottingham Splendour festival for example, an outdoor one day event where the weather was fine until 4pm, when the Buzzcocks came on, and the heavens opened up. The rain did not stop pouring all evening and in to the night it became torrential – even as I drove along the A52 home.

The first thing I do before I go to ANY festival is to swap my Fujifilm kit over from a rolling case to a rucksack because, quite simply, you cannot roll through all the mud and rain where the grass used to be!

I have learned over the past few years, and this is a tip for those reading this, that if you shoot mirrorless Fujifilm cameras, chose what lenses you use the most at a festival, and only take those. To cut down the amount of time spent changing lenses, I now carry three Fujifilm camera bodies with me at festivals. I always take my two X-T1 bodies with my XF16-55mmF2.8 (which is my go to lens) and my XF50-140mmF2.8. On my FUJIFILM X-Pro2 camera I take an XF14mmF2.8 as this is a really wide lens, perfect for close ups and backstage pictures.

Due to the amount of dust, mud and rain at festivals, I never take these lenses off. This helps keep my sensors in top-notch condition against whatever the summer weather throws at them.

Y Not Festival 2017

This year’s Y Not festival opened on the Thursday night with Feeder playing in the evening summer sun. I managed to grab some portraits with Grant and the lads before they went on stage and played a great set to the early bird festival goers, who had arrived on the Thursday afternoon to set up camp.

Did I mention the summer sun on the Thursday evening? Well, that was the last we saw of it! Come midday on Friday, due to a few hours of a very heavy, torrential downpour, the whole festival site had changed completely.

What was green grass had now turned into a muddy swamp. Maybe these are the perils of holding a festival on the Derbyshire moorlands, but I think the conditions on the Friday took everyone by surprise. The main stage was particularly badly affected, driving rain had soaked the stage and there were fears of the bands getting electrocuted if they plugged in and played. A few acts were cancelled as the rain did not relent, until someone had the idea to put up four gazebo type marquees on the stage for the bands to try and play under.

This did help provide some shelter and two bands powered on through, performing in the height of the driving rain. I was at the festival to photograph one of these two bands; Nothing But Thieves. While the band had temporary cover, I, however was not so lucky. As a photographer, I, and my kit, needed to be at the front of the stage.

When I’m shooting at festivals, I’m always being asked about how weathered my Fujifilm X Series cameras are. I will admit that I’d never pushed my equipment as much as I had before experiencing the conditions at Y Not Festival. The rain was just horrendous. For the first three songs (around 17 to 20 minutes) I was photographing the band at the front of the stage. I was then side of stage to shot another two songs from there – once again I was exposed to the elements and continued to get soaked.

I can honestly say that my cameras passed their weathering ordeal with flying colours! I had no problem with the bodies and lenses in this heavy rain.

The rain continued throughout the evening and the main headline act, The Vaccines, was cancelled as the weather became so extreme. Therefore, it was time to go home and give my equipment a good clean up.
Although Saturday was blue sky, the night brought more torrential and a decision was made to call off the last day of the festival due to health and safety issues.

The ‘Great British Summer’, as I said, I get the cold sweats just thinking about it!

Please note: Not all of the X Series cameras feature Weather Resistance. Please check the specification of each model before purchase.


More from Tony Woolliscroft

Website: http://tonywoolliscroft.co.uk

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Capturing Captains with the Fujifilm X-T1

X-Photographer strip BLACK

tony-woolliscroft-jul-2014Think about it, it’s your dream job. You’re a Liverpool season ticket holder and supporter and as a professional photographer you are asked if you’re interested in photographing the portraits of a number of former and famous Liverpool FC captains for an upcoming book.

Of course I jumped at the chance!

My brief was pretty simple, make all the captains look good, but the harder part of the brief was to make all the pictures look like they had been shot in the same session at the same time ……. Of course this would mean shooting on location in ten different locations!


The first captain on our list was perhaps the hardest logistically to set up as when we arrived at Ron Yates’ home there was simply nowhere to set up my studio and Ron’s wife was not too pleased at the thought of moving everything around in her living room!

But we soon persuaded her that it was ok to shoot with a simple one-light set up and so photographed Ron on his sofa right there in the front room.

“One of the great advantages of shooting with my Fujifilm X-T1 camera system is that the camera is not overwhelming in size and this makes it easier to communicate with your client.”

Ron Yates
Ron Yates

I was not given a lot of time to take Ron’s portrait as he sadly suffers with Alzheimer’s so I needed to work quite quickly. This meant going for my trusty XF16-55mm f2.8 lens. This lens is amazing at times like these – it’s versatile in focal length from wide angle to zoom, sharp and very fast to focus.

From here I worked quickly, taking as many different portraits as I could in as short amount of time possible.


Over the next few captains that I photographed I was given more time and space to get what I had in mind for the book.

Robbie Fowler
Robbie Fowler

One location I was given was to shoot in was Jamie Redknapp’s garage at his home! It was a big space to set all my studio backdrop and lights in, plus I received refreshments from Jamie’s lovely wife Louise!

Jamie Redknapp
Jamie Redknapp

Also having the luxury of more time and a bigger working space is that I got to use my different Fujifilm prime lenses. And let’s not forget that with each different portrait sitting you have to come up with a variety of posed shots, I tend to shoot a full length sitting down shot, a ¾ length standing up shot and then a selection of close-up headshots. The lenses I use in my shoots are the XF16-55mm f2.8, XF23mm f1.4 and my XF56mm f1.2.

“I really love the 56mm as it’s pin sharp, fast to focus and gets a great headshot in a limited space.”


And the locations where quite varied too – from conference suites in Southampton Airport (amazing what access you can get in these places dropping Graeme Souness’ name) to removing furniture from Ronnie Whelan’s dining room so I could set my studio in there (Massive table and chairs out!).

Graeme Souness

There was also the time aspect to all this as each Captain was giving their time for free, so I was very conscious that my photoshoots didn’t drag on.


In my experience with these types of shoot I’ve come to know and trust the equipment that I use. From my portable studio set up to my Fujifilm camera and lenses, I know I’ll get great results each time.

Paul Ince
Paul Ince

One of the most common questions I get asked is which Captain was the most difficult to shoot.

It’s an easy answer really – Steven Gerrard.

On the day of the shoot Steven was very pushed for time as he had a big appointment in Milton Keynes for Adidas. To compound matters further the interview for the book ran over as well…… So in the end I was given just 60 seconds to get as many portraits out of the shoot as possible.

Lucky I had just enough time to set my studio up and was ready as he walked in. I used my Fujifilm X-T1 camera alongside my XF16-55mm lens to create the shot.

As I said before, in times like these you need equipment you can trust and that will simply get you a great result.

That’s why I shoot Fuji!

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard

 

 

XF100-400mm Vs Bruce Springsteen

By Tony Woolliscroft

tony-woolliscroft-jul-2014For music & concert photographers, restrictions have meant it’s become harder and harder over the years to get those great shots. So seeing the Fujifilm XF100-400mm lens come into the fold is a very welcome addition to the Fujifilm lenses lineup.

Along with bad photography contracts thrust upon us as we collect our photo passes, and image right grabs on the pictures we capture, we’re now being forced further and further back within a venue, which restricts what we can actually capture due to the distance we’re expected to shoot at. This makes the XF100-400mm essential to achieving good results.

 


Bruce Springsteen – Manchester

With Bruce Springsteen performing in Manchester, I looked forward to using Fuji’s new beast of a lens the 100-400mm. Even though we were expected to shoot from the ‘Golden Circle’ barrier at around 50 meters (164 feet) from the stage, it’s still quite a distance.

DSCF5436

The size & weight of this new lens was inline with all the Fuji X series cameras/lenses, well made, light in weight and weather sealed.

The one thing that did concern me though as I arrived at the City of Manchester stadium was the weather…… It was absolutely pouring down. I knew this would be a good test for both this new lens and my Fuji X-T1 camera!

DSCF5199

Once in position, I had 3 songs in which to capture images from the ‘Golden Circle’ barrier. Even from here it was difficult to gain a vantage point above the sea of waving arms, mobile phones and homemade signs that swam through the crowd as Springsteen performed.

Even though it is a larger lens than other Fuji lenses in their range, in comparison to Full Frame it’s still relatively light and having to shoot without a mono pod (as I was constantly moving to dodge the arms blocking my shot) I was able to do this and keep my camera steady without much shake.

The camera and lens handled the heavy rain perfectly, no problems there, and I also found that the lens focuses very quickly and especially when Bruce was standing directly in front of the big video screen (which can be challenging for cameras).


Once home and after a bit of time spent editing the pictures, I was extremely happy with how the 100-400mm lens performed.

It helped me capture some great moments in the allotted 3 songs slot I was given to shoot in, and the distance the lens covers from 100mm to 400mm was a massive plus as right at the end of the third song Springsteen stepped onto the lower stage and I was able to capture that moment too!

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Springsteen on the lower stage platform

Interview – Tony Woolliscroft talks about his recent portrait shoot with Jimmy White

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How did the shoot come about?

The shoot with Jimmy White came about through a long running association I have with a media company in Liverpool that specialises in sport personalities biographies – basically I shoot the book covers for them. It’s a collaborative thing on some of the shoots we both think of ideas/concepts etc ideas for the shoot and book cover and how it should look.

Kit used and settings?

This shoot was slightly different as I was out on tour with The 1975 at the time, so my car was packed full of equipment. My Fuji bag was packed full as I took everything with me on tour! But the main lenses I used on the shoot with Jimmy were my trusted 23mm & 56mm lenses, combined with my XT1 bodies. I love both of these prime lenses.

How much time did you have?

For this shoot, I had a couple of hours. Unfortunately things never go to plan and although I left Glasgow at 5:45am to drive to Liverpool for 9:00am, I hit major road works just outside Liverpool town centre, which made me half an hour late.

Luckily for me, Jimmy was late too.

The worse thing I can find as a photographer is rushing to set up while the client is waiting for me to start shooting. It’s my pet hate if I’m honest. I like to be ready and waiting as the subject walks in, with all my lighting tests done.

How accommodating was he?

Jimmy was fantastic. A really nice guy, he went along with all the ideas that we asked him to do.

Did you use any additional lighting?

I have to set up my portable studio whenever I shoot a book cover like this, so I carry everything with me. Backdrop stands, backdrops (white and black) light modifiers and finally my lights, which I carry up to 4 Bowens heads with me.
I’m like a pack horse!!!

How much interaction do you have in a situation like this with the subject?

There was a lot of interaction with Jimmy on the day. He was totally up for the ideas that I asked him to pose for. He was truly a great guy!

Would you do anything different next time?

Yes, I’d make sure to get there earlier and set up before the subject arrives haha. Even look at the traffic reports!

Any tips for amateurs trying to get this style of shot?

Make sure your lighting ideas work! It’s no good changing your mind on the day when your subject arrives. Also, do your research; try replicating lighting techniques that you have seen on other models shoots online or in magazines.

About Tony

Tony has shot some of the biggest rock bands on the planet today – Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The 1975, with over 20 years photographic experience.

Click here to check out his website