THE QUIET MONTHS by Morgan Roberts

Wedding photographers usually slow down in the winter. I love to make sure I shoot for myself and enjoy the process, without any ultimate agenda or expectation. Here are some images that I've also posted on my tumblr, so if you're in to that stuff please follow me there. These were all shot on a Fuji X100 or my D3s with the Sigma 35mm.

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Good things take time by Morgan Roberts

After reading Morgan's post on Facebook recently, I really thought it was something to share. I have known Morgan for sometime and I have seen him roll with the punches and always come out smiling. As we pursue whatever it is we feel is important, I think Morgan's Post is a wonderful example of getting on with things and not complicating the journey too much. Cheers Morgan!

Selfie by Morgan Roberts

As most of you would be aware, I tend to shy away from gratuitous Facebook status updates about personal achievements, excluding of course anything to do with Harry, our single greatest achievement. Today I'd like to buck the trend and share some statistics. 

It's been two years and a month since I left Apple. Two months prior to that, Emma and I got married, and in the time since we started a family and moved back in with my parents to make ends meet. I started working full time as a photographer, the craft I love so much, having previously spent about seven years doing it as a hobby with some paid work on the side, not to mention completing in that time a Bachelors Degree in Photography majoring in Photojournalism, which took four-and-a-half. Since making it my main income I have shot ten weddings and assisted on many others, as well as countless smaller jobs and an 18-month stint teaching with an exciting but ultimately frustrating part-time photography course.

The next wedding that I book will be the twentieth wedding I will have booked and/or photographed since making this my full time employment. Most (wedding) photography friends of mine already shoot more than that in a year, but I'm ok with that. That's two bookings in the current financial year for every one in the previous two financial years. In that time I've also shot about 50 commissioned portraits, again small compared to some people I know, but again... small steps. Growth and progress. 

Since April, I've lost 7 kilos. I can play 40 minutes of a team sport and not die in the ass. I can do 8km in 45 minutes on the flat, which is about 40 minutes more than I could run for, period, four months ago.

Harry is nearly two. Emma and I have taught him to kick a ball, in the right direction too. He's actually more accurate than me, which isn't hard, but... small steps. I could go in to more detail about him, but that's another story.

Don't beat up on yourself looking through countless photography blogs thinking you'll never be as good as them. You're not, yet... don't expect to shoot street like Cartier-Bresson tomorrow, because you will die in the ass. But don't stop. Don't give up on playing the game you love because you're unfit and eat too much shit. Make a change and do something about it.

Good things take time. Heaps of time. And I'm proud of what I've achieved.

Here's to all the people that were part of this journey. You all know who you are. Mostly, Emma. I could not imagine doing this without you.

And here's to the next ten years.

Leica M9-P vs Fuji X100s vs Nikon D40

35mm Lens Shoot-Out Yeeeehhaaaaaa

Nikon D40 Kit-lens 18-55 f/5.6 / Fuji X100s f/5.6 / Leica M9-P/35mm f/5.6 Summocron / ALL ISO 400

"Why?!" You ask.

"Why not!" We say.

So I had about 5 minutes to kill before a job and had all 3 cameras in my bag; the Leica M9-P, Fujifilm X100s and the always charming Nikon D40. How could I not do a crazy comparison just for the hell of it. They all had 35mm equivalent lenses and I had some time to spare so away we go!

  • I quickly set all cameras to the following settings: raw format, ISO 400, f/5.6. I grabbed the nearest tree & a friend and fired one shot each. Unfortunately the framing and distance was a little off for each which is my mistake but this isn't meant to be a scientific test.
  • Next I imported the files into Lightroom 5.4 and saved the untouched files as they were rendered by default.
  • I then took them strait into Photoshop CC, and applied a custom Silver Efex Pro 2 preset.
  • Back in Lightroom, I adjusted the exposure, highlights and shadows slightly to get a basic match (VERY BNASIC) then saved the files.
  • In Photoscape I ran Auto Exposure, Auto Contrast and sharpening at 0.8 (for the portrait no sharpening) then saved and combined with originals to create the image above and below.

A very tech savvy comparison to say the least. I just wished to see what the simple differences with a quickly adjusted and filtered image would look like for each. I hadn't bothered doing crops or anything as the process was hardly ideal for the likes of DXO .... but then I changed my mind and did a crop section of each any way. 

A Detailed Crop

Above are the three raw and untouched images cropped as close as I could in Photoscape. 1. Nikon D40 2. Fuji X100s 3. Leica M9-P

The 3 final images above have been processed in Silver Efex Pro 2 using the Kodak Tri-X preset with no other adjustments, taken into Photoscape for Auto Exposure, Auto Contrast & 0.8 sharpening applied then saved at 72dpi as a JPEG. If you click on the images you can see them in full screen to get a better look at the detail. The same applies for the crops below.

Morgan also took 3 shots of James with each of the set ups we mentioned earlier. only change to the setup was using a 'Kodack TMax 400' preset in 'Silver Efex Pro 2' with no sharpening in 'Photoscape'.

Nikon D40 Kit Lens | Raw File - Processed File

Fukifilm X100s |  RAW File - Processed File

Leica M9-P  35mm Summicron | RAW File - Processed File

So there you go, a really quick look at three totally different cameras and their 35mm equivalent focal lengths / lenses. Totally unrelated really but I had them all with me and thought hell, why not. One thing I thought about while doing this test was how well the old Nikon D40 held up. Considering it has only 7 megapixels and relatively old sensor technology and, we used the kit lens. What a gem, so much so that I am actually going to do a portrait test with the Nikon DF and the Nikon D40 using the same lens a Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 so stay tuned.

Cheers again and just remember to take this review test thing with a grain of salt. It was done for fun and in no way is an accurate technical test of the cameras and their lenses against each other. However, it may get you thinking about the gear you use and the practical quality and abilities of so called "out of date" equipment. If all you'r doing is posting things to Facebook or Flickr, then as they say, "The best camera is the one you have with you."


WECC member Morgan Roberts has a knack for capturing some beautiful images of people. His subtle yet striking portraits are always worth a mention, particularly  the image below. Great use of light and a gentle post process have helped create a wonderful final image ...cheers Morgan.

Simon P M Johnson

image by Morgan Roberts

Being comfortable with your photographer is the most important thing for me, with any type of shoot, but mostly a one-on-one portrait like this one. The other day I was talking to a model on a shoot I was assisting for about who some of my favourite fashion and portrait photographers were, and two names come to mind  - Peter Lindbergh and Mark Seliger.


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Gear Review // The Fuji X100 and 2012... A Year of Change.

WECC Member Grand Puba 'Morgan Roberts' wrote a great review on his thoughts and experiences while using the Fujifilm X100.  It originally appeared on his blog site about a month or so ago. I felt I would give you guys the heads up and tantalize your retina with some of the images Morgan posted .... oh and one sentence from his post to get the ball rolling ....

image by Morgan Roberts

image by Morgan Roberts

I was shooting in the street the other day and this little hipster punk asked me what camera it was that I was using
image by Morgan Roberts

image by Morgan Roberts

image by Morgan Roberts

image by Morgan Roberts

image by Morgan Roberts

image by Morgan Roberts

Head over to Morgans site to read the great article in full, and enjoy the visual feast. 

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Gear Review // Crumpler Flaked Extravaganza by Morgan Roberts

Today Im reviewing the Crumpler Flaked Extravaganza, part of a new pro range from the Melbourne based bag company. This is my first bag review, so feedback is welcome. I make 90% of my income directly from photography, so consider this a practical 'real world' review...  and a bit of a DISCLAIMER: I work for the company too, part time, so just letting you know. But if I find something I hate, I'll tell you straight up. No bullshit here.

Until recently I used a Lowepro Vertex 200AW for jobs where I needed pretty much everything, which I still own. It is a great bag. However, carrying 15kg or more of camera gear on your back (when you're not walking up a mountain or traversing a glacier) is not a very good idea 5+ days a week. Especially around airports, in and out of cars and so on. Also, I don't traverse glaciers 5+ days a week.

So I started looking for rollers, and there were a few options. Think Tank Photo and Lowepro both make good rollers of different sizes, and space for a 15" mac or similar. Almost as soon as I started looking, Crumpler brought out the new Extravaganza range of pro photo bags. I took it as a sign.

Initially, I was doubtful. It looked lovely on the outside - really, this bag has an 'attractive-yet-no-frills' look that Crumpler does quite well. But inside - THIN padding, UNEVEN bottoms. The specific way the padding must be configured. It all felt a bit gimmicky.

But I threw caution to the wind, and thought to just give it a shot.

Lets start with how much I can fit in the thing:

Two Pro size bodies. Pictured is 2x D700's with MD-10's


70-200/2.8 (under the speedlight on the right)



3xSB900 Speedlights (the other two on the left, one on top of the other)

Cables, Macbook Charger (in the top, not all pictured but it fits)

And let's look at the front compartment:

Pretty much all the things that you would put in a place like this. 15" Macbook Pro, memory cards, cables, a Kensington lock, notepads, filters, pens etc. For the size of bag I find this really impressive.

The key here I think is the thickness of the bag. Whilst it shares a front profile with a 17" laptop briefcase or something like that, top-down the bag is very deep. The 70-200 is lying down, and I can lie a speedlight on top of it (in its own bag so as not to scratch the lens body), or a few tshirts, spare socks... whatever.

The front has a pair of straps for a tripod (i've removed these), but I think a compact lightstand is a far better fit and more practical for my work. I've been using it with a Manfrotto 5001b stand and it's great. Tripods suitable for the larger cameras/lenses in this bag do not go well in these straps - they fit fine, but they extend out far beyond the edges of the bag and make it unwieldy. Great idea, but perhaps an afterthought for the pro user who needs a larger tripod.

Ok, so, it fits all of the things. So what, big deal. Is it safe?

Yes. The padding that I initially thought way too thin to do the job well has turned out to be very protective of the gear. It IS thin, but what do you get when you trim the fat inside a bag? MORE SPACE. Makes sense. The material is actually quite sturdy and pretty much stops the gear moving at all, if you have it configured well for your setup. It's a really neat design that has quite a lot of cushioning and enough give that gear doesn't bash against it.

I have used the bag for about 6 months now and I am confident nothing has been damaged. I've flown with it twice in that time, I 'got away with it' for carry on (the weight is the issue, not the size), used it on countless shoots around town and really beat the crap out of it. Still looks great. You may notice that I've added some suspicious lowepro looking grey padding to the bag in a couple of parts... this is not because the supplied padding is bad, I just wanted to minimise movement as much as possible. Supplying more small and medium dividers would help, and for the tinkering pro I say this is where the bag needs improvement.

Now, what about this uneven base business? Well, you all know how a suitcase works with the retractable handle and all that. By containing that inside the bag, Crumpler have arguably made this more durable and less susceptible to being smashed if the bag falls over on a hard surface. What it does mean is the camera compartment has an uneven bottom and this seems initially to be a problem for placing stuff. As you can see in the photos, I found a way. I don't think its a major problem and it may even help out in some instances - there is no 'one' shape for any cameral or lens. As I said before, it works well to minimize the outer profile.

A couple of extra things to finish off: the shoulder strap is handy for quick carrying up stairs and the like, but with such a heavy load it's only for a short distance. For everything else, the wheels (the whole point of this bag!) are smooth and never jam, except for one time when I was on one of those stupid small pebble driveways... easy fix though.

Overall, this bag does fantastic job of keeping a fair bit of gear safe whilst on a job. I use it nearly every day for weddings, portrait shoots, whatever. It gets thrown in and out of cars, dragged along footpaths, jumping curbs... if you like Crumpler stuff and you need a roller, just buy this bag.


           *Morgan Roberts is a Brisbane Based Wedding Photographer and a member of the AIPP &                 ALC and  of course from the humble beginnings of West End Camera Club.