The Farm

I’m really pleased to announce the arrival of my latest book, ‘THE FARM’.

The Farm continues the rich tradition of recording the visual history of the Australian bush, that I started way back in 2011  with Woolsheds. So if you love our farm culture and ways, I’m sure you will enjoy The Farm. You can order your personally signed copy of The Farm here.TheFarm-fullcover_1200pxl

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Giving Life – a new exhibition by Andrew Chapman

I’m pleased to be able to announce my latest exhibition ‘GIVING LIFE’.

‘GIVING LIFE’ charts the pathway of the organ donation process, the people involved and their dedication to applying the gift of life. This exhibition has been developed in conjunction with Donate Life Victoria and is open to the public between 31st July -10th August 2016 at Magnet Galleries, 2nd Fl 640 Bourke St Melbourne.
Available organ numbers are low in Australia, so if you are interested in becoming a valued donor, you can register at www.donatelife.gov.au and most importantly, when you do it, make sure that you let your nearest and dearest know of your intentions. Don’t put it off, do it NOW!!!!

Gallery_Invitation_General_V1

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Having fun with Politics

Here is a new video on Political Vision I have produced with my friend Jaime Murcia, with a soundtrack by Alan Price from the soundtrack ‘O Lucky Man’. Actually the whole album is really good and I urge you to check it out on iTunes. Anyway, the track ‘Look Over Your Shoulder’ suits my picks to a tee, I think!

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Political Vision

The First of August 2015 will see the release of my 7th book, ‘Political Vision’

Political Vision is photographer Andrew Chapman’s journey from the heady days of the Vietnam Moratoriums and the election of Gough Whitlam, through to the current day politicians and their quest for government.

Andrew  witnesses the passing parade of Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders who have plied their wares to the Australian public. He takes a ‘fly on the wall’ approach to documenting the changing political climes, photographing not only the politicians, but the minders, media and public that have surrounded them along the way.

Political Vision is an invaluable social document of our recent political history, from the idealism of the 1970’s through to the immediacy of today’s digital age.

Forward by noted historian and Keating speechwriter Don Watson.

Cover 900 pxl

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Ballooning Around

I love ballooning. I’ve been flying since around 1994 when my good mate Chris Franklin introduced me to 2 pilots he knew, Chris Shorten and his (then) boss Kiff Saunders. Well, since then I’ve done over a couple of hundred flights and been to some wonderful places. Balloonists are a bit like photographers in that it’s more than a job, it’s a passion (you could say obsession). I love  all those great pilots who skilfully fly over Melbourne  and The Yarra Valley, most fine mornings. I’ve flown with most of them all over the past 20 years and I don’t like to pick favourites, so if you are thinking of flying, I’m happy to recommend them all. In no particular order, they are http://www.balloonman.com.au , http://www.globalballooning.com.au , http://www.picturethis.com.au  . I can guarantee you’ll get a great flight with any of them and I wouldn’t plug them if not.

Flying in a hot air balloon gives you a stable platform to shoot from unlike a chopper or aircraft, the downside being that you can’t choose the flightpath with any precision and you cannot go around again if you don’t get that shot! But, you can shoot in lower light and at lower altitudes than conventional aircraft. For any photographer, you have to be quick, reactive, on the ball.

 

Hot Air Ballooning over Melbourne, Victoria, Australia ALCP_14_15554Global Balloon Flight over Melbourne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canberra Hot Air Spectacular

 

 

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Framed Prints Available

OK, time for some serious decluttering. I have a number of framed prints for sale from my 2013 show, ‘Nearly A Retrospective’. Beautifully printed on Museo Silver Rag paper and framed in museum quality Fini Frames, these prints represent outstanding value at only $550 each. Typical image size 530 X 350mm (rectangular) with white matt and in a black square edged frame, sized at 750 X 550mm. You can email me at andrew@bigcheez.com.au to enquire about any of myFish Use Side Door A Ford Cortina on Fire Street Protest, Nov 11th 1975 Alec Pearce inside Hudson Stores images.

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The Long Paddock

The image of the drover on his stockhorse moving cattle along a dusty bush track evokes the very essence of Australia. Enshrined in folklore, celebrated in verse and ingrained in the national psyche the droving tradition is alive and well. It flourishes along the vast network of travelling stock routes that thread their way across rural Australia.

These public lands, many of them famous stock routes, are known colloquially as “The Long Paddock.” They date from colonial days when herds of stock were moved from the boundless plains of the inland to feed the cities and towns along the eastern seaboard.

Photographer Andrew Chapman and journalist Tim Lee have followed the pathways of the present day drovers to capture in words and images people whose nomadic lives are governed by the seasons and whose main concern is the welfare of their animals. The characters they meet are hardy, colourful and resilient. They are a repository of bushcraft and wisdom, a connection to colonial Australia.

Andrew and Tim, in conjunction with The Five Mile Press are pleased to announce the arrival of their new hardback book, “The Long Paddock”.
ISBN:9781743467268.

To secure your autographed copy of “The Long Paddock” click here.

TLP 1000pxl

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Some initial thoughts on the Fujifilm XT 1 camera

Ready for the ANZAC Day parade outside the Melbourne Town Hall on Collins St.

Ready for the ANZAC Day parade outside the Melbourne Town Hall on Collins St.

If you have read my earlier post about the Fujifilm X Pro 1, then you will know that I have had some serious reservations about it, but, equally, I also love it to bits. I’ve been waiting for the announcement of the X Pro 2 to no avail and watched with envy as a friend purchased an XE2 and took it shooting along the Camino in Spain.

Then the announcement that Fuji was bringing out a retro camera based on earlier Fuji SLR film cameras.

Along came the Fujifilm XT 1 with all the associated hype about faster autofocus increased start up times and a wonderful viewfinder. Could it be true, could Fuji have finally released a magical new camera that suited most professional photographers needs.

Fellow professional, Noel Butcher, http://thedigitalimage.com.au , couldn’t resist and dived in to get one. Noels been an early Fuji adopter and I have followed his enthusiastic response to the X series of cameras. So we spent a bit of time together, shooting with my kit of lenses and his new 55-200 lens, before I made the decision to buy.

So, am I happy with it? Well, it’s my usual yes and no answer. Firstly, don’t swallow any hype about the autofocus being super fast. Sure, it is way better than the X Pro 1 and Fuji have worked incredibly hard to improve it. But, my other camera is a Canon 5D mk3, and boy, does that camera know how to autofocus!

An unfair comparison you might say? Well I’m a professional photographer and I’m looking for a professional solution and alternatives to the problems that exist within the generally wonderful Canon system.

Those problems, in my opinion, are size, weight, and a lacklustre line up of wide-angle lenses; coupled with Canon’s refusal to do what Fujifilm does so brilliantly, software updates. Fujifilms attitude to continuous software upgrades is to be highly commended and I hope in the long term, that strategy that will be adopted by all camera manufacturers.

Well I’ll stop whinging for a few pars and say what I love about Fujifilm and the XT1. It’s relatively well appointed layout for ISO, shutter speeds, + and – compensation and shutter advance modes are to be commended and I am constantly running into pro’s who are falling in love with the various X system cameras for these reasons. I know about a dozen pros using this system and plenty more interested, so Canon and Nikon had better take note!

The electronic viewfinder is supposedly the best to date. I’m not a camera reviewer, so I wouldn’t know what else is out there, but it’s pretty good – good enough for me to have taken the plunge and bought it anyway. Is it as good as an optical finder? Well that’s a yes and no answer in reality.

It’s bloody good in low light situations, but there is finesse to it that I sometimes find it lacking in critical and fine compositional situations. It’s not a deal breaker if your eyes are in good shape, but at 60 years of age and after a couple of eye operations it’s something I’m noticing.

It’s the lenses and the sensor that blow me away. Just about every lens that I have tried, including the zooms are excellent, certainly they feel way better than my canon equivalents. Now that’s an anecdotal comparison and not one done on a test bench, but most of my professional friends are reporting the same feelings to me. The one lens that is widely reviewed as being below par remains my favourite all the same and that is the 18mm.

Another benefit to me is that my old Leitz lenses fit, via the Fuji adaptor and unlike the X Pro 1, they work quite smoothly on the XT 1.

I only shoot RAW and process with Lightroom 5.4 and am more than happy with the results. I’m no pixel peeper, but I am comparing the day to day processing of thousands of 5D mk 3 files and I can only say that both the X Pro 1 and the XT1 stack up really well on this score. There is also good file crop ability and the high ISO capability is excellent. Makes me wonder if the days of ISO being important are coming to an end in the near future. The combination of better sensors and improved software seems to be bringing into play better file elasticity, greatly improving the recovery of highlights and the opening of shadows.

There is still the perennial problem of pathetic battery performance, one that can probably be addressed by software. Canon has this down pat and anyone who owns a 5D mk 2 or 3 knows what I am talking about. You can just about shoot all day on a Canon. Many is the time I have filled a 16GB card on one Canon battery. It is time for Fuji to pay a bit more serious attention to it. There is nothing like sudden battery failure when you are in the full swing of shooting to get you pissed off.

I have a love hate relationship with the size. I suspect that in the long term I will come to wish it were just a little bigger. I don’t see why we need to be buying a grip, just to get the camera to the size it probably should be in the first place. That said, I love the fact that when shooting in the street, people notice you much less and you can get what you want much easier. Very few people take you to be a pro photographer, generally a blessing. I know I can get the large adapter with the double battery holder, but then the XT 1 is starting to look like a pro camera again and I don’t want to be noticed when I am out on the street (I know, I know, some people are never happy!).

So if Fuji wants to get it right, to improve and pick up market share it will need to get the confidence of the pro market happening. And in getting that confidence it needs to improve in the areas of battery and autofocus performance and ensure the build quality and ruggedness of a pro system. I feel that it’s getting there fast and the next year or two should see if it lives up to it’s early promise.

Shoe Shop

Shoe Shop

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The Dog Pack

Announcing ‘The Dog Pack’ Our new set of 12 beautiful working dog gift cards.

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Featuring 6 images from me and a further 6 from my fellow friend and photographer Melanie Faith Dove. Available from this site at the Woolstore.

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Some thoughts on the Fuji X Pro 1 camera system

Photo frenzy in Paris

With a little time on my hands recently, I decided to drop into see the friendly Leica dealer on Ave Beaumarche in Paris and with SD card in hand, try a few shots with the new Leica M (240).

 

I’m no pixel peeper, so I won’t bore you with my results, but what struck me right away was how well it worked as a camera and how much quicker it felt than my X Pro 1. I do own an M6, but all the same, this camera felt intuitive in my hands.

 

Heresy I hear you Fuji owners say, but let me explain. I had been pounding the pavements of Paris over a few weeks and daily taking many hundreds of photographs in what I would call a street style. I’ve had some good success, but I’m bothered by the amount of shots I’ve missed whilst the camera is getting up and going or deciding on it’s point of focus. Street photography is by it’s very nature reactive and quick and I admit, that after 40 years in the business and a number of eye operations, I am slowing down a bit.

 

What struck me when using the Leica, was the speed, manually focussing and all, between seeing and shooting. So I thought I would make a few observations to Mr Fuji about his sometimes wonderful machine.

 

The positives of the X Pro1 we all know well, a great feeling camera, well made and with some great glass, as good as a Leica, I’m told. Compact, lightweight, a good optical/digital viewfinder and a great future lens roadmap. It’s a seductive list and it seduced me to lay out for the body and 4 prime lenses.

 

So, why aren’t I completely happy? Well here is a list of things that bother me that I feel should not be happening.

 

Battery life is woeful. I rarely use the EVF or leave the rear screen on and am constantly getting caught out with a flat battery. Ever owned a Canon 5D mk 2 or 3, then you will know what great batteries can be like. You can just about shoot all day with 1 Canon battery and I cannot see why the X Pro 1 with only a single processor and no mirror cannot match this performance. I’ve been caught out so many times by sudden battery death and I never leave home without them fully charged.

 

Whilst on the subject of batteries, why are all the Fuji models using different sized ones. There must be a heap of pros and advanced amateurs shooting both X Pro 1’s and X100’s and I bet it frustrates the hell out of them, having to run two sets of batteries and chargers. And who was responsible for designing a battery that could be put in backwards rendering the camera inoperable? DESIGN 101, a bit of forethought would have gone a long way.

 

Now we come to my real bugbear, the menu layouts. Is it just me or does everyone find themselves all of a sudden shooting away, only to find that the camera setup has changed, the auto level has gone, or the EVF won’t shut off. What the hell is going on and why does it have to be so hard???????

 

I’m an Apple Mac user and despite what my jealous PC mates tell me, I use Macs not because they look so much nicer than a PC, but because of their functionality. Macs work, simply, efficiently and generally with little fuss. Once you get the swing, there is an obvious logical workflow to using them and it’s that obvious logical workflow that seems to have gone astray with the X Pro 1….. It shouldn’t have to be so hard. Software engineers seem to think, that because they understand the logic of a process, their customers will too. Well using the X Pro 1 can be a bit like recording your favourite program with the TV remote and I’m sure you all know what I mean here.

 

Hey Fuji guys, why not second a few of those Apple software designers for a few months and rebuild the interface from the ground up. I’m feeling decidedly unsure of explaining myself properly here, but I know in my heart things can be a lot better. Fuji are known to listen and to regularly make software improvements, something that stands them well above all other camera manufacturers. Let’s hope they keep this process up.

 

And is there any point to having a whinge about autofocus speed? You betcha there is. If we are going to have a serious contender as a street camera, then things have got to change. I know there is a rumoured X Pro 2 in the wings with a rumoured twin processor inside it, but there must still be a fair bit of latitude via software upgrades to improving things on the current model (the same goes for battery performance I suspect). Those of us who have put their faith in the X Pro 1, should not have to put our hands back into our pockets when the X Pro 2 arrives, just to get what we thought we were getting in the first place! When you look at the heritage of Leica cameras, even the 1939 model 3A I have still works well, albeit a bit bruised and battered. Fujifilm is hardly a small company with little resources available to sort out these teething issues.

 

So, finally, what’s in all of this for Fuji? Well, they are sitting on the edge of greatness here with their cameras and they need to start asking themselves the hard questions. Do they want to play in the big sandpit with Mr Canon, Mr Leica and Mr Nikon, or do they want to be consigned to the trashcan of camera design history, just another camera manufacturer that nearly made it, a could have been…..  The ball is in your court guys. Greatness awaits.

 

 

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