84.5mm Filters - UK Ambassador

 Use discount code: MIH15D at  www.84dot5mm.com/shop

Use discount code: MIH15D at www.84dot5mm.com/shop

A year ago I tried and reviewed 84.5mm - 100mm ultimate and professional line filters and was really pleased with the results and quality I got using the filters. The other huge benefit was the cost! They are a fraction on the competitors.

Fast forward over the year I have been slowly building up my filter set with 84.5 and now very pleased to annouce I am working in partnership with 84.5 as a UK ambassador. Has a result you can enjoy 15% off on your orders using the discount code MIH15D.

In the future you will be able to purchase filters from myself and I will be running workshops and training for navigation and photography.

I hope you enjoy the filters as much as I have done over the year and proud to continue to support the company moving forward.
The must have filter to try out is the X-Stopper 10 stop ND. Here is some of the photos I have taken using the filters.

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Snugpak Adventure Racing Vest and Windtop

What Snugpak say:

Developed by Snugpak® with input from professional members of the outdoor community, professional navigators and meteorological staff, military personnel, mountain bikers and adventure racers, the new functional Snugpak® Venture AR Range creates an entire system of elemental protection and insulation to support you, whether you are working on completing couch to 10k at your local country parks, completing longer half-marathons across lowland moors, participating in longer mountain marathons, point to point racing and climbing, as well as XC and enduro mountain biking. The Adventure Racing range has been created for you, whether you are challenging yourself or racing for that elite medal.

The Snugpak® AR Softie® Vest and Smock is ideal for races with overnight camps, as well as mountain marathons and XC adventures, all year round, where the main environmental considerations are wind and inclement weather, and a smaller insulation layer is required for the central core of the body:

  • Adventure Races
  • Running
  • Orienteering
  • Cross Country
  • Point-to-Point Challenges
  • Endurance Events
  • Mountain Marathons
  • Mountain Biking

The Snugpak® AR Softie® Vest is a tri-layer garment and uses both Paratex Micro as a face fabric, and an internal Softie® Premier fill, encapsulated with a Paratex Light lining. Designed to provide excellent thermal protection against the cold, as well as high protection against wind, the AR Softie® Vest is available in Softie® 3 weight, for the following temperature range:

Comfort: 0℃ 
Extreme: -5

The Snugpak® AR Windtop is designed to provide excellent protection against winds, as well as sunshine and light rain showers. The windtop is much lighter than a normal jacket, using water resistant YKK zips, and packing down to the size of an orange, ideal for when size and weight need to be kept to a minimum.


On review with me:

The Snugpak Adventure Racing range is designed for those on the move, by on the move I mean in to running, orienteering, cross country, endurance, mountain races and cycling. However during my time with both the vest and smock I found more uses for them elsewhere, especially the vest so they’re not just limited to the ‘Adventure Racing’ title that Snugpak has given them.

Over the past month using the two we have witnessed a wide range of conditions but mostly cold and wet. The AR Vest has Snugpak’s unique Softie fill which is rated for comfort down to 0 and extremes of -5. Having used it in February and backend of January the vest did keep me warm but not on its own, accompanied with the Impact fleece or the ML6 Smock it was an amazing combination, especially during the Beast from the East.

The vest is also great as an over jacket when things do warm up. It’s a great comfortable and lightweight vest jacket and was suitable for pre work outs in the gym or walks.

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The AR Racing Windtop on the other hand isn’t made with the Softie fill. In fact it has no down or fill at all and is just the tough material you find on Snugpak’s Smocks and jackets so with this in mind and what our recent weather conditions have been like in the past month this jacket hasn’t been suited to being worn on its own. Even during some runs it was a touch on the cold side but this is why the AR range is designed to complement each other. The Windtop with the Vest was a great combination for longer durations outside whether that be hiking, navigation training or trail running.

When out running, combined with the vest was great as it really reduced the wind chill and due to its long length it was great for reducing mud up my back and would most certainly suit cyclists for this same issue. This Windtop is quick dry and incredibly easy to clean, just whipping it down with a sponge after use was enough to bring it back from mud bath to spotless.


Both the vest and smock are described to protect against the cold and against the wind which they both do very well, the Windtop especially with the added benefit of the hand warmers which wrap around your thumbs and wrist which added to further protection from the elements for moments when you forget gloves like I did when down at Durdle Door.
When it comes to waterproofing the vest lacks complete protection for obvious reasons with lack of sleeves but if you were caught in a short shower out running you would survive and would keep your torso dry to an extent. The Windtop is described to protect against light rain showers and does feature YKK zips on the chest pocket and neck and the nylon material has a water repellent finish.

Whilst out on the Jurassic Coast we had nothing but rain all weekend and I used the Windtop as my main waterproof layer on top with the vest below and I remained dry all weekend. Better yet the Windtop remained light and was very quick drying and easy to take off avoiding everything thing else getting wet.
However if you are out for longer durations it is advised to have a hard shell waterproof, it’s also worth noting both the Vest and Windtop do not have hoods.


Although the Windtop has no fill it means it is very lightweight and super compact so you can take it anywhere with you which when out running or during races which is important. Whether cycling with a small rucksack or out on trails with just your pockets you need something reliable and compact.
I managed to roll the Windtop up so it was smaller than a 500ml water bottle and it weighs less than 300grams (Large) which is incredible and gives no runner an excuse not to bring the Windtop. Even the Vest can be packed down pretty small so it can fit comfortably into a small 10l rucksack.


Both the Windtop and Vest have pockets with the Windtop featuring the chest pocket only and the vest having two deep pockets on the sides and a zipper pocket on inside of the jacket which is large enough to fit keys, wallet, phone or food and a bottle or even the Windtop.
The Windtop does lack the side pockets but the chest pocket is the same size as the larger smocks so you can fit plenty inside – Map, food, jacket, GPS etc.

When it comes to breathability both have their advantages.
The AR Vest with the lack of sleeves allows more freedom and movement of the body and generous air flow around the body but the compromise is the reduced wind and waterproofing. The Windtop offers a great deal more protection and is still surprisingly very breathable. This being down to its longer length over the body and with the option to leave it as a floating style or pull the draw strings up to close off the bottom or neck line.

The two combined is still very comfortable and in windy conditions whilst running I didn’t feel like I was sweating or overheating. Whilst hiking with rucksacks with a combination of the Impact fleece or ML6 smock again didn’t feel like I was over heating or had issues with sweat with the Vest.


In all these two are great combinations with multiple products from the Snugpak range or even other brands to mix and match. They do the basics well, protecting you from the elements and allow you to continue plus both are tough, reliable and good tops for general use. Both are retailed at £107.50 on Snugpaks website which is a reasonable cost, however both do lack features that might be found on similar brands, the obvious missing piece being the hood.

Don’t let this put you off however, if like me I actually prefer not to wear hoods whilst running or cycling and if the weather turns I do prefer to use a waterproof beanie as I find them less restrictive and gives me more visibility and just because a jacket or top has been crammed full of the latest and greatest features does not mean it's going to be better - I've used some jackets and they can't do the basics well which at the end of the day is alarming nad useless when you need to continue being outside.

Out of the two the Vest has been my personal favourite, the Vest has been more useful in the recent weather conditions and is great on its own or combined with the larger ML6 smock in wintery conditions.

Now the weather is beginning to improve the Softie fill will not be required and the lighter weight Windtop will be of more use during Spring and Summer conditions.
That said throughout February and March the Windtop has been the better option when running for similar reasons above and gives great protection from mud splashing up or to keep me outside when it is raining.

Interested in buying yours? AR Windtop or AR Vest

Some of the photography whilst out with the AR Range


Getting into Photography and Digital Detox

For the people that don’t know you, describe yourself in 3 sentences.

Three sentences? I can do it in three words: Creative and Outdoors.
I don't really know how to do anything else other than be creative, whether this is painting, drawing, photography, video and so on plus I love the outdoors which stems from my years of involvement in Scouts and Duke of Edinburgh award. Both of which (being creative and working in the outdoors) I get to do as a living.


What do you do in your daily life?

My daily life mainly consists of being creative and sitting at a computer for most of the day. I make the role of a graphic designer sound so exciting! It is really, I get to enjoy a huge variety of work from video, photography, animation, products, websites and shows. Everyday has a new brief to fulfill which always keeps the work fresh and exciting.

The rest of my time is spent typically writing, photographing and being outdoors, enjoying getting away at weekends for micro adventures to new locations or old and just unwinding and escaping from the digital world I live during the week.

How did you get started in photography?

This is all thanks to my dad passing down his Olympus OM cameras to me. I remember when I was younger picking up this silver box like object with funny dials and a windy tube on the end and just instantly wanted to keep it, well to play with it. At the time I didn't know what it was but this was the start. Growing up I would regularly use the Olympus OMs out and about and on holidays, eventually moving up to medium format then on to digital with the DSLR.

Now I shoot daily as a creative designer but alot of my work has shifted from photography to video.


Before we talk about the detox, how important do you think social media is for creative's and photographers?

In all honesty social media is something that can be a blessing and a curse. As I mentioned before I work as a designer and 80% of my work ends up on social media for my clients. Photography and products I review all end up on social media.
Everything basically ends up here, it's the quickest and easiest form of marketing and anyone can do it and if you're not on the platforms you kind of get left behind.

Well that's not strictly true, there are plenty of amazing creative's out there that don't use social media and are thriving and doing incredibly well which makes the prints and items you buy from them even more special I find. It's like finding a golden nugget, a piece of treasure that no one else would possibly have or posted a picture on Instagram.

Personally, I get frustrated at times with the overload of information and content on a daily basis which kind of stems to why I do my digital detoxes and switch off.
Equally I love it, being able to instantly connect with a community around the world and share amazing views and without my platforms I probably wouldn't be doing as well as I am today.


What inspired you to do a full-on Digital Detox?

The first digital detox came around as an accident really.

During Duke of Edinburgh expeditions we would need to keep mobile phones locked away in case of emergencies, nothing else so you'd dare touch them, especially as batteries weren't that good and the power banks hadn't come out at this point.

We were so busy enjoying ourselves and navigating, we all forgot about our phones, computers and the rest of what was going on with school or work. It was a real sense of freedom!

Progressing from there and what I do now is just get away for the weekend but picking locations where there is plenty to do in any weather. Photography is the easiest thing to do to keep myself busy and outside by a long shot.

With our whole lives pretty much revolving around smart devices, how hard was it for you to disconnect?

Hard, it's an addiction and with everyone getting busier and busier it will only worsen and as technology and are needs to be connected all the time continues our lives will only have more screens in them and be plugged in.

I heard the saddest thing the other day: "Because of my job, I will never be able to disconnect from social media. Social media is my life and my job and I hate that I can't switch off from them."

It's true however, I struggle during the week and I would love to disconnect more but due to the nature of my work I can't. If I want a roof over my head and food on my table I need to work and this means spending time on social media and at my computer.

However on the flipside I can easily disconnect at weekends and this is where the outdoors and photography really comes into play for me and allows me to have this disconnect and downtime from being creative and plugged in all week.


How hard was it to not look at your phone or check your e-mails within the first few hours of starting your detox?

Honestly not hard but I think this is a generation thing for sure. I'm 25 and I didn't get my first mobile until secondary school so I was 12 and this was a terrible phone. The most exciting thing it had on it was Snake and Space invaders. You see kids now and they have the latest iPhones, watches and all singing gadgets.

I feel because I've grown up with phones that could literally only call someone or send a dozen messages before running out of credit, I've always had that benefit and lack of pressure to check all the time. My smart phone doesn't have notifications switched on and I have next to no apps on it either.

If you were struggling to not look at your phone or emails then switching off notifications for sure helps also just switching off your Wi-Fi or data means you can't physically look.

What kept you from looking at your phone during your detox?

The easiest thing is simply keeping it away from easy reach, leaving it inside the lid of my rucksack or going to locations where signal is limited that the phone just becomes a block that is pretty useless.

And just keeping yourself pre occupied with other activities. Going to the beach, read a book, photography, making clay models just anything that keeps your hands and mind busy that you don't feel the need to pick up the phone.

A great one we do when we go away is "Ready Steady cook". We pick random items to cook with before we go away then the challenge that evening is to cook something up with whatever we found.

How did it feel to stick through it and complete the detox?

The first time I didn't really notice as much, it was nice don't get me wrong but I notice it more now than I did previously and the relief of getting away from a computer is great. I find my stress levels and just general health improves.

Going away over a weekend and not using a phone or computer for up to 5 days sometimes and going back to an office and working 9-5 on a computer. It's a shock and my body feels the affects, especially my head. I can get headaches, eye strain and I get grumpy almost as I have a desire to just get up and go run or do something else.

Fortunately in our office we are pretty keen and active and go for runs at lunch or classes in the gym together which is a huge unwind and micro detox in itself but previous to this I did struggle when returning.


Have you changed anything in your daily life following this process?

For sure, might sound odd and it is connected in a small way but I've decluttered.
I've reduced essentially everything I own down to what I need and what I want removing distractions and this has led to reducing the number of tech I own.

I'm generally healthier too, actively trying to get more down time from the screen I go for more walks or runs. I changed my diet up as well and eat more fruit and veg, less sugar so I feel less sluggish.

The digital detox started a bit of snow ball effect on the rest of my life and how I look at things.

Any tips for aspiring #DigitalDetoxers?

The biggest tip I can say is small steps, little victories and build them up.

Going from computer and phone 24/7 to cold turkey for 5 days is hard so don't give yourself unrealistic challenges like this.
Even if it's not touching your phone for 5 hours whilst you do homework or when out hiking rather than relying on GPS use a map for half an hour and building this up gradually, over time you will notice a natural increase on time spent away from the screen.

If you do touch your phone in that time, don't beat yourself up. Start again and keep trying.

Using an alarm clock rather than your mobile phone to wake you up.
Leaving your phone away from the bedside table.
For 30 minutes each morning and an hour before bed you don't look at your phones to help sleep.
Switching notifications off on your phone and deleting apps you don't really need.

The list goes on so I'm going to point you to a site I first started off at and has tonnes of facts about social media, the affects and our addiction to social media - Time to Log off.


Behind the Lens

Click and Learn
"Hi Matt, tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been interested in photography and what drove you to pick up the camera?"


Hello, I'm Matt. I'm a full-time creative, whether it is graphic design, photography, video or writing, you name it I do it. I've been interested in photography pretty much my whole life and got into photography thanks to my dad who lent me his Olympus OM2 when I was little and we would go to airshows, wildlife displays and of course taking photos whilst on holiday so a lot of what I learnt and my style of shooting comes from what I was taught early on with film and darkrooms.

Ever since I just haven't stopped whether its with a mobile phone, those Olympus OM's still, medium format or the usual digital with DSLRs.

Click and Learn
"That's a pretty creative lifestyle, I imagine having that amount of different creative pursuits results in all the different mediums complementing the others? That would go some way to explaining your rather unique style of photography and processing.

For example, this particular shot has quite a graphic composition and a distinct style of post-processing. Do you think this stems from techniques and ideas picked up in your other work?"


Very much so, it can be a little overwhelming at times when you are permanently plugged in and being creative so sometimes my personal photos suffer as I'm just to tired to go out but I wouldn't change it however I love what I do and I feel I am incredibly lucky at times to have a job and hobby I enjoy doing 24/7.

In terms of complementing the others, less so believe it or not.
A lot of what I produce for my design and day job is heavily influenced by marketing and products so the typical product photography, portraits, interviews, candids, events and so on.
More of my personal work is a stark contrast being the outdoors, expeditions and landscapes. I just find this is much more refreshing and going from an environment I have every control over to no control is a great way to switch off between the two worlds.

Both areas of work have stark differences in post production and general way of editing.
Most of the work I produce during the day ends up online - Websites, social media and promotional content so I shoot slightly wider to accomodate these awkward sizes we have in social, for example the letter box sizing also the edits remain pretty much the same as they are shot as with product photography you spend so long making the scene, little time is needed in post as you've nailed it already.

My outdoor photography is a lot tighter and rather than using wide angles and fast primes I use telephoto lens to capture more of the intimate detail as you see from this photo which is from the recent Storm Emma in the UK. It's shot in one of my local forests and shooting with a wide angle wouldn't had picked up the difficulty of the runners in the snow but also how deep the forest is as a whole and the contrasts between the snow and wood above.

I love shooting in these extreme conditions with snow and rain, it gives you an atmosphere you just can't replicate in post production, you can only really achieve this result by actually going out and this is probably more so why I love going camping and spending time on expeditions.

Click and Learn
That makes sense. Like for myself and many others, landscape and outdoor photography is your release and a way to completely switch off from the digital world.

The atmosphere created by using longer focal lengths and taking advantage of the harsher side of nature is something I definitely agree with. It's worked wonders with this image - I love that the colours are so muted as to be almost monochromatic, with just a hint of those dark browns in the woods. It gives it an eerie, foreboding, but also beautiful feel to the image.

These aspects of your photography do go against the grain of what most landscape photographers are taught early on though, and is a theme present throughout your portfolio. Did you develop into this style from the more widespread style of wide-angle, golden hour landscapes or have you always been more interested in the intimate detail in nature?


More so now a days, people are looking for different experiences from the norm and what they do during the day which personally I find really refreshing, especially the whole switching off from social media and the digital world. A digital detox is always a must for me when I get away.

Thank you. This image really lends itself to being very muted and when I was framing the shot as I do with a lot of my images I have a real style and look I wish to achieve after. Snow in general just lends itself to muted and monochrome.

In particular this image shows my new style of editing which is very dark - increased blacks, contrast and playing with the HSL sliders and taking control of individual colours. It can really take the image to the next level and as a whole this new style has had far more interest and engagement.

Everyone is really taught golden hour is the best time to go out, it's the best light but lets be honest it's a real pain to get up and go shoot at these times and unless the subject is really good it's just another sunrise or sunset. This is what I love about photography and just being creative as a whole, their is no real right or wrong way to do anything, we are told these rules but you soon break them and find your own style. It's not uncommon for landscape photographers to have this mix within portfolios now, many great photographers have amazing little side projects focusing on these smaller details of the landscape. Sam Gregory, Steve Palmer, Tom Lowe to just to name a few are all producing great projects to watch.

Finding these closer, smaller pieces within the landscape are in my opinion just that little bit more special and tell more of a story and mixed with the wider landscapes shows a journey of the trip.
Don't get me wrong I love to shoot a good vista and sunrise/set when I get the chance. It's also knowing what framing will work best of course.
Such as my recent trip to Durdledoor - Man o' War worked best on a wide angle, whereas this little tree in Dinorwic Quarry doesn't work on a wider angle and going close up is key.


Click and Learn
"The digital detox is a really interesting movement, and one that you've talked about at length in your blog. Obviously it's a great way to free yourself from the constant pressures of the online world but do you also find it has the additional effect of enhancing your creativity and allowing you to connect more with your surroundings?

You touched a little bit on your processing there as well - Is all your processing done in Lightroom or do you take your images over into Photoshop for more advanced editing techniques?

I can see how this approach would really open up your photography and allow you to capture images in areas and conditions that others may overlook. Although as you say, it's always nice to get a good vista at sunrise when the opportunity arises! It can also be a great way to start one of those side projects you mentioned, with Sam Gregory's 'Dolomiti' series being a particular favourite of mine. Are there any side projects that you're working on at the moment that we should watch out for, or is it simply a case of shooting what you feel drawn to on any given day?"

It certainly is and something that is continuing to grow as people become fed up with social and loosing out. The premise has definitely shifted to life experiences and getting healthier.
Couldn't agree more, disconnecting from the pressures of constantly sharing and always being connected really free's up your mind. I love it and always trying to find my next fix as such to disconnect and get out more.

A particular favourite location I keep returning back to is Elan Valley and the Cambrian Mountains, couldn't recommend a better location to visit if you enjoy camping, hiking and the outdoors. Not to mention some of the stunning views to be had. There is little in the way of much around the Cambrian Mountains, it's very remote in areas, there is no internet, no phone network and in fact no people! So much so, some of the farmers around the area aren't connected to mains power or water.


I confess I've only used Lightroom once and this was years ago when it first launched. I really didn't like it so quickly returned to the comfort of Photoshop and I haven't changed since. I much prefer Photoshop and ACR, I find it less restrictive and I have a lot more options to play with but I am speaking from a persective of a graphic designer as well.
Much of the processing is completed within Camera Raw but for the odd few I pull them into Photoshop and use Nik Collection for black and white or giving my ICM imagery an extra push, it's a lot more fun but you can easily get side tracked with the options within Nik Collection.

It makes for a nice mixture within a portfolio I feel. A lot of the time these more intimate photos are very restricted when you can capture them, for example when fog roles in and creates trees to sit alone or snow can create whole different scenes that are unique.
However the same applies to these wider views too, especially in conditions like snow and fog.

Side projects are always a must for me, I find I get bored midway through a long term project, again this is likely down to the fast paced environment I work within, with new projects in every hour.
As a whole however, I don't create a project until after several expeditions or trips away and these as a collective then become the project and these trips can be arranged or just completely spontaneous.
The spontanous ones especially are very fun, just pick a location and go. This was how Durdledoor happened earlier in the year.

I have a few projects in the bag I am current working on, one of which is rolling out now which is around the digital detox premise and I will be doing more on locations and getting outdoors.
Several other projects are in progress too but I am not ready to share any details on these yet as it will spoil the surprise at the end. A tease I know but it makes it more worthwhile and rewarding for everyone that way.

Click and Learn
The Cambrian mountains definitely sound like a dream for those wanting to get away from it all, and is a lot more accessible to those of you in the often overcrowded south of the UK than, for example, the Scottish Highlands. I'm not surprised you find yourself revisiting the area!

Do you have any criteria for starting a project, or is it just a case of being aware about what you're drawn to within nature and building on that? Many photographers, myself included to some degree, have difficulty coming up with a cohesive project (whether it be long or short term) and as such end up with rather muddled portfolios. What advice could you offer for somebody struggling to formulate an idea for a photographic project?

It really is and highly recommend anyone who hasn't gone to go check it out, it's the perfect place to go try astrophotography, being one of the darkest skies outside of Scotland. In general I find myself visiting Wales a lot more, there is so much to do here.

My projects really come together after a few trips and I find common themes within the photos taken or an overall theme and condition to use when creating a project.
My recent large project I've pulled together is about the Cambrian Mountains and combines three expeditions, wild camping and witnessing the environment and how quickly it changes in the weather conditions, the underlying theme is despite the poor weather it remains a beautiful landscape whatever the weather.


My advice for others looking to produce cohesive projects would be to start small and build up from here.
During A levels and university we were always taught start with 3, 4 or even 5 elements/photos/sketches etc, pause and start on the next project. Pause and reflect on the previous two and build up a journey between them.

I myself still stick to this. Start with a micro projects and build up over a period of time. My Cambrian Detox project I've pulled together, I never imagined would accomodate three expeditions and still be growing now. It started off as a handful of photos I took during my expedition to capture the conditions during the DofE Gold exped.

Other micro projects I have which won't go any further right now are "Slate", "Little Kew" or "Beast from the East" and these are literally 3-6 photos from days out.
In time "Slate" will expand and I'll add sand formations for example or "Beast from the East" will combine with other snow imagery from the area so each micro project will interlink in same way but could be over the course of a year or even two years.
Just be sure not to set yourself unreasonable time frames but set however big a project you wish but if it takes you 2 days or 2 years to complete, the process you'll go through will still result in a project you're proud off and ultimately you had fun doing it.

Click and Learn
Hopefully we'll see this featured image in a project in the future then! That's a good way of getting projects off the ground. Rather than consciously trying to think up an idea for a project you can actually compile the start of one from your existing images and build an idea around them to work on. Thinking back, I actually did a similar thing with a "Riverscapes" project that's in the works.

Obviously you've got a lot of cogs already in motion photographically speaking, but is there anything in particular you're working towards in the near future? What, if any, are you photographic goals for the year ahead?

I would hope so, thinking off the top of my head I have a number of extreme weather conditions around my home town so it might work within this but for now I am not thinking to much about it.
I find once you try to force something it's clearly not going to work, just let it be and give it time. Even if it doesn't work as a wider project and remains as a micro project it was still a fun days shoot with some great photos out of it.

I personally think it is and something I would recommend to others if they are struggling to start projects.
If you think back to how many individual photos you really liked or areas and conditions you've witnessed it's surprising how many you actually have. The problem then is you have to much content and trying to wittle it down. You should certainly pick back up your "Riverscapes" project, I would be interested to see where you develop it. I love seeing others thinking and perspectives on the environment.

There is a couple of bits in the pipeline which will be become clearer in the next coming month or so but again I don't want to ruin the surprises of it all so it's just something you will all have to stay tuned to find out more in the future but they're all exciting, that I can promise!

Photographic goals for the future and year ahead. Ha! This is a tough one, it's forever changing.
The beginning of the year I was going to be travelling more and visiting more locations which is still happening but other elements have come in too so it is forever chop and changing. The big goal is to build up a platform to start teaching, running workshops and continue teaching, working with more brands and covering equipment with my reviews and writing.

Click and Learn
Thanks for speaking to us Matt, the coming months sound very exciting indeed and we look forward to seeing more of your work!

One Month on - Unsplash

It’s been one month since I joined Unsplash now and to put it simply I’ve been thrilled with the results which isn’t a surprise, considering my comments in my first piece writing about my experience on Unsplash.

Unsplash has a great little (rather large) community and it is growing fast with some very exciting collaborations coming up and plans. Most recently Unsplash have announced a collab with Timberland in which 10 photographers will be commissioned and work will be shown globally.

That for one is exciting but better yet is Unsplash’s other plans and collabs.

Unsplash and Medium are now in sync with each other – Medium if you don’t know what it is; is essentially a writing platform and this collab with Unsplash means writers and those putting articles together can now tap into the huge wealth of photographs available on Unsplash’s platform, now before you ask by DEFAULT the photographers photo is credited and you can’t take this down or hide it so Unsplash have been very keen to make sure the community is recognised.
Which shows they care about the community and not just out to fill their own pockets.

Another big announcement which is a long term plan and will take a year or more to implement is the new model around photography and to introduce blockchain but rather than me explain I’ll let the guys at Unsplash explain this so click here.

But it’s big news!

With big news and exciting collaborations comes big numbers as well. Without a doubt the views, downloads, likes and click throughs is unmatched. This is bigger than social media, bigger than Instagram dare I say it.

Within one month most photographers will hit 700,000 – 1 million view, thousands of downloads and hundreds of likes. Which is crazy numbers and a great way to get your work seen and viewed, it’s very motivating to know your photo is loved that much.

Name another platform you can get that reach and exposure in the first month of joining.

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Now some who will be reading this might be think well that is all good and well you getting 1 million views but where is the money?

Granted, you won’t be making a living on Unsplash but is the same with other photography stock sites. Photography as a whole is big and everyone can take a good photo. We live in an age where bad cameras don’t exist, every single camera on the market today will take a well exposed picture and be sharp and in focus. It’s the lemon behind it that makes it special.

Now moving back to money and how is this going to help?
Ask yourself are you actually making a living from your photography now? Do you really get that much exposure and how many other amazing photographers can you name.

My answer to these are:

  • I work full-time as a creative designer and work with photos and videos daily.
  • I don’t get that much exposure on my work, I’m too busy helping my clients get this; this is what they pay me for.
  • I could name hundreds just look at Twitter in the WexMondays and FSPrint competitions for example – Our recent group trip in October (Snowdoniatogfest) all of the togs on this trip have amazing talents.

It shouldn’t always be about getting money out of something and personally if this is what you are after then we won’t get on. I believe in giving and helping others and Unsplash is just a little way to have some fun, get your photos out there.

The some 5000 downloads I have one my 12 photos I’ve uploaded, I have no idea where most are but 2 who came to me and tagged me on Twitter very kindly which is very rewarding and interesting to see where my landscape photographs are being used.

 Credit to  @bash.hj

Credit to @bash.hj

 Credit to  @porthmorkumco

Credit to @porthmorkumco

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Now this past month has been interesting to see what style of photos work on Unsplash and what doesn’t. I can tell you now monochrome and black and white images don’t work at all well.
I uploaded this photo below which has been in magazines, published, loved on social and continues to make people go wow but on Unsplash it dived.


Am I disappointed? A little but you have to remember where these photos are likely being used – blogs, articles, online presences for writing so what could this photo relate to inform of words? Not a lot when you actually think about it.

Orientation? Landscape format is king, again pretty obvious when you think about where these are being used but this doesn’t mean ignore the portrait format. It does work still just expect greater things from landscape.

Tones and colour? Unsplash community are a fussy bunch ha. I’ve found high saturation, rich colours and some of my older style of editing like this photo below again haven’t performed very well but then earthy tones, more muted palettes have exploded! But as always photography is weird like this and flip it all around some that have worked in this muted tone on social have had nothing on Unsplash and this London Shard photo is my top image on Unsplash with a quarter of million views. This was also my first photo I uploaded to the platform.


So to conclude, no one style is best, neither orientation, editing and just general photographs will be best on Unsplash but do avoid black and white, that said jump over to the trending board on Unsplash and you will see the odd black and white image.

Basically ignore everything I said on that note and just upload and have fun. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, I couldn’t think of anywhere better to start in photography to expose yourself to a wider audience, give you motivation and also see the inspiration of thousands of other photos.

Now I won't give you another update on my progress with Unsplash for a while but do expect me to continue uploading to this great platform, I'm in this for the long haul and along with my Twitter is a platform I won't delete or disappear from.

But seriously, give Unsplash a go and if you do, send me a comment on Twitter on how you are getting on. I'd get interested to hear others thoughts.