Liverpool is steeped in history, which isn’t surprising given that it celebrated its 800th anniversary back in 2007. Tourism now forms a significant part of the city’s economy and I for one never miss an opportunity to go back and photograph it whenever I can. The photo walk started at 11am from Pier Head, the area of Liverpool, which includes the trio of harbor buildings known as the Three Graces: the Port of Liverpool Building, the Cunard Building (named after Canadian Samuel Cunard, owner of the first shipping line from Liverpool-Halifax-Boston), and the Royal Liver Building.
The 1.5 mile route followed the River Mersey East, past the new Museum of Liverpool, the Albert Dock, the Beatles Museum before finishing the walk at the Echo Wheel. Our final meeting place was back at the Waterfront Cafe at 3pm for a coffee and a chat. Despite being windy, we had lovely blue skies and sunshine all day long – brilliant!
Having made a move (not a complete switch) to shooting with a pair of FujiFilm X-Pro 1 bodies before Christmas, I’ve now added an X-T1 to my arsenal too. Photographing Liverpool again gave me the prefect opportunity to test the X-T1 along with the two zooms I purchased with it, these being the highly regarded XF18-55 and 55-200mm. As I’m sure you will agree, Fuji have yet to produce a bad lens, zooms included. Because of the SLR type styling of the X-T1 the zooms, particularly the XF55-200mm, doesn’t look too much out of place on it – not so sure I would use either of them on my X-Pro 1 bodies though, as I really love my original trio of primes (18/35/60mm).
As expected, neither zoom disappointed me on the day. However, of the two lenses I did prefer the 18-55, as this is more suited to the type of photography I do. I’m not sure how much use the 55-200 will get, maybe I should have gone for the XF14mm f2.8R instead?
Because of its history Liverpool has a considerable amount of variety when it comes to architectural styles , ranging from 16th century Tudor buildings to modern-day contemporary architecture, like the ships funnels; pictured below.
It’s an interesting fact that there are over 2,500 listed buildings in Liverpool, of which 27 are Grade I listed and 85 Grade II listed. Liverpool also has a greater number of public sculptures than any other location in the United Kingdom aside from Westminster.
This richness of architecture has subsequently seen Liverpool described by English Heritage, as England’s finest Victorian city.
Another lens I decided to take with me on Sunday was the XF27mm f2.8 (see above) this is a surprisingly very small lens and one that, more often than not, gets massively over looked. There have been moments when I’ve thought about getting an X100t, purely for its size but I just don’t see the point. Besides, I like the extra bit of reach the 27mm gives me over the 23mm fixed lens of the X100t. I can definitely see me using the 27mm more, particularly for street photography.
One of the very latest landmarks to grace the Liverpool skyline is the Echo Wheel. An awe-inspiring 196ft “Big Wheel” with 42 capsules including a luxury VIP capsule with glass floor, leather interior and DVD player. This attraction offers breathtaking views over the city for anyone with the stomach endure it. Being the coward that I am I decided to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground and offer a worms eye view, or should that be, “Fisheye” view, seeing that I used my 8mm (180 degree field of view) Samyang Fisheye lens.
This is the only non-branded X-mount lens I own, but believe me, it’s a great lens!
If I’m honest, I was a little sceptical at first about owning 3rd party lenses, particularly a manual focusing one. But right from the off, this is one truly fantastic lens, I can’t praise it enough. Let me just say, I’ve owned two Nikon Fisheye lenses, the 16mm f2.8 (FX) and the 10.5 (DX) and neither of them come close to the Samyang offering – regarding image quality.
Shooting with the Samyang 8mm, on either the X-Pro1 or the X-T1 is a doddle! Choose an aperture of f8 or f11 and set a distance of around 6ft and everything will be in sharp focus – and that means edge to edge sharpness too (something both my Nikon lenses struggled with).
Here are a few facts you may not have known about Liverpool:
Liverpool was the first city in the United Kingdom to have a School for the blind, High School for girls, Free school milk and free school dinners for children. It was the first city to bring about Slum clearance, provide Council housing – (social housing). A Juvenile court, a Lifeboat station and a Mosque!
Liverpool is the 4th largest city in Britain and was once one of the world’s largest ports. Liverpool is home to more top selling musicians and rock groups than any other, including the Beatles. The Beatles played at the city’s famous Cavern Club almost 300 times before being discovered.
Liverpool welcomes approximately 58 million visitors per year, which in turn supports a tourist industry of around 48,000 jobs. It’s popularity is thought to be due to The Beatles, its extensive maritime history and its flourishing art scene.