Roxanne & David

Fujifilm X-E2, XF35mm f/1.4, 1/125th sec, ISO-1600.

An image from the wedding of Roxanne and David captured at St George the Martyr  C of E church, Preston in Lancashire.  This was a very lovely marriage of a wonderful couple in a really sumptuous old georgian church – as I understand it, the oldest ‘original’ church building in Preston. I love capturing the aisle shots like this one. There is happiness and joy in abundance, lots of faces, eye-contact and, what are now the ubiquitous ‘smart-phones’ capturing images as the couple pass by…

Anyway check out the gallery opposite for more images from this happy occasion and the only other thing to add is my very best wishes to both Roxanne and David for a happy and blessed marriage for many many years to come.

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Dancing Queens..!

Fujifilm X-E2, 35mm f/1.4, 1/250th sec, ISO-200, Exp Comp +0.3 step.

On Friday I was doing a small favour to my friends in About Coffee.  Their milkman was retiring after many years serving the community and they wanted some images of him on his last delivery.  So I was on with this when from across the road the landlord at the Duke of Lancaster pub asked to speak with me about doing some images of a fund-raising event he was running for Prostrate Cancer awareness.  As it happens the landlord actually thought I was somebody else!  Anyway once I explained who I was he asked if I was available the following day as there was to be two specific things he wanted recording; firstly one of his regulars was going to have a major haircut and also there would be a performance by a local girls dance school ‘Stevie D’s’.  Never one to pass up an opportunity I agreed to meet the following day, camera at the ready and see what we would get.

The shoot was good fun and rewarding.  I captured lots of images of the girls, there is a gallery opposite if you want to see some more. It was an ideal shoot really.  The girls and their families and friends too busy to go ‘camera-shy’ on me, lots of opportunities to carry out candid shots in a pub with lots going on and with the consent of the landlord.

I used my favorate camera combo of the X-E2 with it’s wide-tracking focus abilities added to Fuji’s excellent low-light abilities married to the XF35mm f/1,4 which has served me so well this summer at numerous events.  The girls were great.  They danced well of course but also when I wanted posed images I got them and when I wanted candid I got that as well. I managed images of the dancing – although it is true that the Fuji systems one weakness – certainly on the older bodies I am using – is that they don’t do ‘action’ photography quite as well as some other systems.  Nonetheless I got some nice action shots and was able to capture some lovely candid images when they were resting, with their families and friends.

So in all a really worthwhile day.  The event passed off well, cash and awareness of an important health issue was raised and I added another gallery of images to my ever-expanding portfolio.

Louise & Adam

Fujifilm X-E2 & 35mm f/1.4 @ f/2.5, 1/125th sec, ISO-1600, EF-X20 flash @ 1/64th power.

I was asked to photograph the wedding reception of Louise and Adam, who had previously married in Malta a few weeks previously.  There is a gallery of images opposite.   The event was held at the Burnley Masonic Hall and was challenging in the sense that it was wholly indoors under artificial and at times, inadequate lighting.  It was the first occasion I was forced to resort to primarily flash photography, although one of the rooms used for the reception was bright enough to capture images without the need for flash; the image above however used the flash which I have to say, for a small unit is nonetheless a good little flash which I mounted to the camera via a side-bracket.   Anyway I was reasonably pleased with my efforts afterwards and the experience will I’m sure, hold me in good stead.

In the meantime, very best wishes to Louise and Adam, may your life together be happy and blessed in every good way.

Joanne & Iain

Fujifilm X-E2, XF35mm @ f1.8, 1/125th sec, ISO-1600. Also used EF-X20 flash, manual mode @ 1/64th power.

The wedding of Joanne and Iain was a wonderful affair for them and their guests and equally so for me photographing my first ‘proper’ wedding. It had been a long day, beautifully sunny and bright – too bright really – but this image came towards the end of the day – for me at least.  I really wanted to capture the day start to finish and you can see more of the images from the day in the gallery opposite.

In all, 1650 images were captured with 3-cameras; my X-E2,  X-Pro1 and the X-M1.  I used 4-lenses; my XF-18mm, XF-35mm f/1.4, XF-60mm and finally my wonderful Samyang 12mm for some lovely wide shots of the church ceremony.  The majority of my images were taken with the 35mm lens; this is really a very beautiful lens built for the documentary photography I am attempting to achieve.  I also managed to capture some lovely images using a flash.  I have used flash before with mixed results and I confess that this is not my forte as a rule, but needs must; the sun was as good as gone by the time this image was captured and the only available light with provided by the disco lights on the dance floor.

I’m really pleased with this image and indeed with a whole range of images captured later on in the day.  The flash has worked brilliantly in my assessment with a very natural exposure offered up as in the image above.  Iain and Joanne take centre stage on the dance floor as their guests clap and cheer them through their first dance together.  The lighting appears quite well spread and consistent with no significant blowing out of detail.

So many congratulations Mr & Mrs Taylor.  May your marriage be long, blessed and happy and I sincerely hope that my images will long bring joy to you as you grow old together!

High on the Moors

Fujifilm X-M1, XC16-50mm set to 32mm @ f/7.1, 1/1700-sec, ISO-400.

After the business of  a summer capturing people in various portraits and events, the weekend saw a long-overdue return to some late summer sun and the great outdoors of Lancashire and Yorkshire.  Captured high on the moors in West Yorkshire beneath Top Withins – the imaginary location of Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’.

New Life…

Fujifilm X-Pro1, 35mm f/1.4 @ f/2.4, 1/125th sec, ISO-1600.

After the celebration of a life now over on Wednesday, Saturday saw me back at my home church, New Life Christian Centre in Colne, photographing the dedication of little Zoja – there is a gallery of images opposite.  Another little one in the congregation that day was little Ruby-Rose who was kind enough to offer me that lovely inquisitive look only little babies can offer as I was shooting away.  Very sweet and very rewarding to…. thank you Ruby-Rose.

Farewell to Gwen…

Fujifilm X-Pro1, Samyang 12mm f/5.6, 1/80th sec, ISO-3200.

It was early in August 2016 when I heard the sad news of Gwen’s passing, her fight with cancer finally over and for her, peace at last.  She was an exceptional woman I had known since I was in my early 20’s, a wife, mother, foster-mother, friend and a wonderful example of genuine Christian love married to a good dose of northern common sense! Gwen was a person one could always look up to – though her nature was such that I dare say she would be embarrassed at the thought and would probably bat such a notion off with with her customary retort of “Oh give over!”  I had been a frequent visitor and guest at Gwen’s home in those years before my move away from Manchester.  I was close friends with her children in those days and had cause it various points in more recent times to meet up with her and her husband Geoff and chat – usually at Criccieth in north Wales, a place close to all our hearts and in fact it was here where I had last spoken with her almost a year to the day of her death.

Anyway it was with some surprise that I was then invited by Gwen’s family to photograph her memorial service in Manchester later in August.  I was certainly a little unsure about how this would be received.  I have photographed many events in many places including my own church and as an aspiring professional photographer I positively look forward to capturing those lovely shots of the blushing bride walking down the aisle all lovely and radiant. But this was different.  This was going to be Gwen’s last, formal farewell and however much the feelings of celebration for her life – and there was much to celebrate – feelings would also be very mixed, joy tinged with sadness and pain.  I was reassured to some extent by the fact that this was a ‘memorial service’ not a funeral; there would be no casket, I’m not sure I could have done this had there been. Nonetheless, emotions would I was sure be running high and from experience I know grieving people can act in all manner of ways and may not take that kindly to their displays of grief being recorded by me.

In the event the day went well.  The service actually opened with a notice about my presence and role and a reassuring plea from the vicar for people not to thump me!  I think I managed to capture the spirit and tone of the event quite well. It was nice to be back at my old church, seeing people many of whom I had not spoken to in nearly 20-years in some cases and in capturing both the joy and the sorrow on display.   I used two camera bodies – the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and X-M1 – and 3 lenses, these being the XF 60mm f/2, the XF 35mm f/1.4 and the Samyang 12mm for some wide shots of the church, looking down the centre aisle – you can see examples of these above and also in the gallery on the right of this page.  The 60mm was employed exclusively in the church, it’s focal length and wide aperture being sufficient in the available light to capture some lovely candid images.  In the following reception after the service I reverted to the lovely ‘documentary’ style images offered by the 35mm f/1.4. Both cameras were used in fully manual operation with ISO ranging from 400-1600. Files were jpeg format captured in Velvia or Pro-Neg H and converted to either monochrome or my favoured very muted colouring during edit.

In all then a satisfying day if also a sad one.  The joy lay in re-acquainting myself with people not seen for far too long and also in knowing that my record of the occasion will bring some happiness to Gwen’s family and others, I dare say, when the pain of her loss has maybe eased a little…

Something New….

‘Suburban Symphony’

fujifilm X-Pro1, XF35mm f/1.4 @ f/2, 1/125th sec, ISO-1600.

I confess to feelings of self-doubt and skepticism when I was approached last week about photographing the bands playing at The Venue in Colne for the annual Blues weekend…  I am not afraid of trying something new but to be honest I’m not good in large crowds, I’m not comfortable with drunks – even friendly ones and my hearing is not great…. so spending a bank holiday weekend in a crowded venue, with lots of well-lubricated people and a whole lot of live – and loud! – bands was probably getting fairly close to what I would call my ‘perfect storm’….

Well in the event, the weekend actually passed off without too much bother at all for me and actually resulted in some really good images.  Yes the music was loud, but the earplugs were employed and the effect of the volume on me reduced to the extent that I was able to get very close to speakers and amps without too much bother.   There was plenty of drinking but no one bothered me or got in the way in any sense…. to be fair I had some good crack with a few people, so all was well there.  The Saturday evening crowd was – due to the inclement weather outside – very large and in fact too great for me to be able to work so I gave it up that night, however the rest of the time the venue was very busy but not to the degree that I couldn’t get around.

In terms of style and delivery, I decided I wanted images that were as ‘up-close and personal’ as I could get, allowing for the fact that the bands themselves would also probably like the wider ‘stage-shots’ as well.  For the most part I achieved both.  I positioned myself either side of the stage, right by or even behind the speakers and also found some wider positions allowing for different perspectives to be gained.

I exclusively used my XF35mm lens during the whole weekend.  Its the fastest one I posses at f/1.4 wide open although in the very reduced lighting on offer I was still able to work at f/2 at 1/125th sec shutter and with the ISO set at 1600 across every image. I did attempt to use both my Fujifilm XF27mm ‘pancake’ lens but found it to be too slow  and the Samyang 12mm which at f/2 was about fast enough but handicapped in other ways.  I operated in fully manual mode both in terms of the camera settings and focus although I also employed the back-focus button a good deal of the time.

Roughly half of my images were taken in monochrome with a red filter with the rest captured in Velvia colour and then reduced down to something closer to Fuji’s ‘Classic Chrome’ setting which is not available on the X-Pro 1. I really like using very muted colouring across a whole range of  image genre, almost to the point where the image is borderline monochrome.  Incidentally on the Friday evening I shot with my Fujifilm X-E2 as this has a more up-to-date processor and is deemed better in low light conditions.  However my experience was that actually the X-Pro1 offered more than adequate speed married to the 35mm f/1.4. Focusing did ‘miss’ on occasion although the number of unusable images was I think very low.

The image here is of the lead singer in the local band ‘Suburban Symphony’ giving the mic some welly.  I guess this image sums up my favorate style of image. High-contrast monochrome and using the ‘landscape’ perspective of the image to present a sense of ‘intimate space’; the band were performing to a packed house on the Sunday afternoon when this image was captured.

All the acts were really good to be honest although I found the best ones for me were those where the lead singer could ‘perform’ as well as sing – the Band Mojo Filter were probably my favorate in musical terms also the Dana Ali Band, both had really good lead singers. However like I say, none of the bands I saw and captured here were anything other than brilliant and I hope to be able to photograph them again in the future…

Mojo Filter

Fujifilm X-Pro1, XF35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, 1/125th sec, ISO-1600

The band ‘Mojo Filter’ played The Venue at this year’s Colne Rhythm& Blues Festival…

see more images of bands performing at The Venue at –

martinmurrayphotography.com