Tag: behind the scenes

A team of two halves!

Following on from our interview with Graham Hudson, we thought we should catch up with his Online Sales & Support team-mate, Lily Wan.

 

Graham and Lily work tirelessly to run the hectic online side of the business, keeping customer enquiries, stock, orders and shipping running smoothly. And that’s no mean feat.

Lily joined Wilkinson Cameras just over a year ago, initially visiting stores (both at Preston and Liverpool stores) to gain first hand experience of the business. Previously working in a range of retail and hospitality businesses, Lily had also taken some time out to care for a family member.

Lily told us: ‘I really wanted to get back into retail and in particular an online retail role.’

‘After working for brands including Next and Asda, photography was a new sector for me, but I’ve always had a keen interest in taking pictures on my travels, so it was an exciting opportunity.

‘In terms of my own photography, I’d say I’m still a beginner, but in this job I get to learn about a vast range of equipment and accessories – including all the latest product launches and new cameras. So in a short space of time, I’ve gained lots of product knowledge, helping me to help our customers.

‘As Graham mentioned, times have certainly been interesting! I’ve experienced the retail madness that is ‘Black Friday’, the festive challenges of Christmas and the Boxing Day/New Year sales, and then of course the one that no one could have predicted…the Covid Pandemic.

‘Our single biggest challenge was when the stores had to close – and at the same time we saw a huge increase in photography related enquiries and sales. But as a team, Graham and I work really well together. Graham’s store background and extensive product knowledge, together with my experience of the IT & sales systems here, mean that we’ve managed to keep the wheels turning really well!

‘It took a lot of juggling of stock from stores to HQ – and currently back again now stores have reopened!

‘We also manage pretty much all communication with customers – by phone, via email, messenger or web chat – so days can certainly be hectic. One of the really nice things though, is that especially during the lockdown period, we’ve seen so many new photographers getting in touch – even taking up photography as a brand new hobby, which is great to see.

‘Now (at time of writing!) that schools are back and more people are back to work, things are ‘slightly’ getting back to normal – but we’re still seeing high levels of enquiries and sales.

‘We’ve also see a few unique and interesting trends – for example a resurgence in film sales!

‘One of the nicest things is all of the positive reviews from customers – it’s really good to know people appreciate your advice and are happy with our products and service.

‘Also, I’m a family type person and with Wilkinson being an independent business, we do treat each other as family – which I really like.’

 

Lily’s Own Photography

‘Personally, I shoot a lot on my iPhone, plus, I also have an Olympus PEN and an older Canon 550D DLSLR.

‘I really love that photography freezes a moment in time that we can keep forever. After a hectic week I love to go out walking and most of my pictures are of the surrounding landscape.

‘One of my other favourite subjects, who is a bit of a star on my Instagram feed is Gizmo, our rabbit! We’ve had him just over 6 years, he lives inside with us, but has full roam of the house and garden and he’ll be waiting for dinner when I get home today!’

What’s Next?

‘For me, photography is a hobby, alongside other things such as travel, walking, etc. I don’t want to miss the experience by always looking through a lens. Equally I love to look back on those pictures of moments in time – so it’s a balance.

‘I’d really love to visit Iceland, to explore the amazing landscape there and of course experience the northern lights.

‘Kit wise I can’t deny (being surrounded by all this amazing photography gear!!) that I’m not tempted on an upgrade. My wish-list would include a Sony A7C as it’s full frame but still compact – or a Fuji X-T4. A great camera but also super stylish looking too!

‘I’m definitely a digital girl – I won’t be following the trend back to film just yet. But never say never – we’ve had some of the most beautiful vintage cameras in our office!’

To see more of her photographs, check out Lily’s Instagram account @Tiger_Lilstar

 

Meet other members of the Wilki Team and keep checking back as we plan to introduce many more team members in the future too!

 

Head of Online Sales & B2B, Graham Hudson

Company Director, Alex Wilkinson

 

Olympus offer us a glimpse into the future.

There’s been a lot of speculation about Olympus’ future recently. We recently learned the OM-D camera and M.Zuiko lens side of the brand was to be sold to another company. The internet… in typical fashion… lost its mind and started speculating about the demise of the company! We were of course given a sneak peak into things way before the info went public and today Olympus have shared their future lens plans publicly.

The roadmap shows us that a new M.Zuiko 8-25mm F4 PRO lens is on the way (at some point) and a 150-400mm F4.5 with 1.25x teleconverter (winter) and we can even see some other exciting developments… 100-400mm anyone? Exciting stuff… keep your eyes peeled for future developments!

Below is a press release from Olympus themselves, discussing the future of their products

 


Olympus Innovation Update

Olympus is justifiably proud of its record of innovation. We looked at a few of these in our 100 Year anniversary last year and will take another look soon. Many were not taken seriously when they first came out but were then copied or attempted by others. They keep on coming and below are three announcements on exciting innovations coming now or in the near future that help explain why the Olympus range will not only continue but will grow.

New Lens Road Map

Below is the latest update to our lens roadmap, including a NEW 8-25mm F4.0 PRO and a telephoto macro lens. Further details on these will follow in due course. An already comprehensive range of lenses is set to grow over the coming months and years.

News on the upcoming M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens: this is set for delivery in the winter with exact dates to be confirmed.

News on firmware for the E-M1X

As a taster for what is to come, this winter will also see the first-ever Bird Intelligent Subject Detection AF as a firmware update for the E-M1X. Much anticipated as possible enhancement to the already very effective ISD capability, this will delight the many.

PRIME TIME VIEWING: OLYMPUS INTRODUCES OM-D WEBCAM BETA

Picture yourself on a normal video conference camera: not so alluring. Now imagine the same scene through an M.ZUIKO 25mm F1.2 prime lens, set to maximum aperture attached to a state of the art Olympus OM-D camera body and get ready for stardom. Keep your eyes open for the latest offers on OMD and prime lenses at www.enjoy.photo

In response to the rapidly expanding demand for high-quality web conferencing and streaming solutions, Olympus is pleased to offer a FREE value-add for many OM-D owners, a software solution to enhance webcam configurations. This beta software program transforms select Olympus OM-D interchangeable lens cameras into premium webcams for use with applications of video conferencing software packages. Experience high-quality video conferencing and livestream events simply by installing the software on a PC, and connecting a supported camera using your camera’s USB cable.

OM-D Webcam Beta software is compatible with five Olympus OM-D Models, the E-M1X, E-M1, E-M1 Mark II, E-M1 Mark III and the E-M5 Mark II, utilizing the USB cable provided with the camera at purchase.

OM-D Webcam Beta software is compatible with the Windows 10 (32 bit/64 bit) operating system environment and is easy to install. Simply download the installer from DL site, execute the .exe file and follow the instructions displayed. Once the software has been installed, connect any compatible OM-D camera to the PC utilizing the provided USB cable, turn the camera on, select the connection icon on the monitor, and turn the web conferencing application on and select “OM-D Webcam Beta” in the device settings menu in the application.

OM-D Webcam will be available for download and installation beginning July 2, 2020. It is available in the English and Japanese languages, only. Download link and installation procedures can be accessed at https://support.olympus-imaging.com/webcambeta/. Due to the pre-release nature of this beta software, it is not eligible for operational warranty or customer support.

Watch Olympus Guru, Lewis Speight demonstrate what it can do here @OlympusUK on Facebook.

In a new series, I’ll be sharing a few of my favourite shots and the stories behind the image, following the amazing response to a sequence of images I tweeted earlier this month. And, why not start with the most popular image from the poll: Life On The Edge. After spending countless hours with these enigmatic little birds over the past few years this image stands out like no other. In my opinion, it captures the beauty of the world these birds call home.

Check out Kevin’s Instagram and Twitter for more compelling images and exciting content!

Camera: Canon 1DX | Lens:  Canon 24-70mm @24mm | Settings: 1/320 sec @ f/8. ISO 640

 

Life On The Edge – The Story Behind The Photo

Each year, roughly mid-Summer, I grab my tent and start the annual pilgrimage north of the border to the Shetland Isles. This location is truly breathtaking – wild seascapes, rugged cliff tops, and of course seabirds. For me, it’s the holy grail of seabird photography in the U.K.

The location of this image is Fair Isle, Shetland – measuring at just 3km wide and barely 5km long it is Britain’s most remote inhabited island. It can be found marooned in the North Sea between Shetland and Orkney. Due to its location, it is not the easiest place to get to. But once you set foot on the island, it truly is a puffin paradise and with almost 24 hours of daylight during summer, it is a photographer’s dream.

The coastline that borders the island may not necessarily house the biggest population of puffins in the UK, but it is difficult to argue that it isn’t the most beautiful. Over the past few years, I have led many tours and workshops to this amazing location. Sadly in 2019, the island was hit by a devastating disaster, a fire that burnt down the Fair Isle bird observatory the main accommodation on the island. Thankfully, apart from material belongings being lost, there were no major injuries or loss of life. Efforts are now in place to rebuild the accommodation, hopefully, by 2022 the observatory should be back up and running.

Out of all the Scottish islands, Fair Isle is my favourite – I often find myself seeking solitude on the cliffs there, whatever is going on in the world seems so distant whilst sitting watching birds glide effortlessly below. The island brings back so man childhood memories, sitting looking out to sea, dreaming of what lies beyond the horizon. It is where I feel most at home

Over the years I have racked up countless full-frame portraits of puffins, showcasing countless forms of behaviour. But for me, true beauty is taking a step back and including the dramatic landscape they call home. So, on this trip, my goal was to compose a wide-angle image of a puffin, showcasing the iconic Sheep Rock in the background.

Life On The Edge – Composing The Image

When you break this image down, many elements have to come together for Life On the Edge to work. Firstly, the pose of the puffin is critical. Had the puffin being looking to the left, or away from the camera, the image would not work – the classic over the shoulder pose allows the viewer to engage with the puffin. Composing the puffin in the bottom left of the image, allowed me to frame a pleasing composition as the puffin stood tall in this wonderful vista. This image was shot at f/8, which was enough to keep the subject sharp but also keep the background in focus.

When composing wide-angle shots, you need to be constantly thinking about how the image will all piece together. This image is more than just the puffin, all the elements composition, landscape, clouds have been carefully considered before the shutter has been pressed.

First Attempts

Below I’ll highlight a few of my earlier attempts at the image and explain their flaws and why they never made the cut.

Attempt 1 – The Flaws

  • Composition is flawed, the bird is too central in the frame
  • I find the clifftops to the left overpowering. Your gaze is drawn to the cliffs and not the stunning vista beyond
  • While the birds pose is fine, it doesn’t carry the same engagement as the over the shoulder
  • Overall, I find this image unbalanced and uneasy on the eye

Attempt 2 – The Flaws

  • Composition is better, but still not right
  • The cliffs to the left of the birds are still too distracting, which overpowers the image
  • While the birds pose is fine, it doesn’t carry the same engagement as the over the shoulder pose
  • Overall, I find this image unbalanced and uneasy on the eye

Attempt 3 – The Flaws

  • Composition for this one is perfect
  • The main issue is the birds pose: by looking away from the camera, the puffin does not engage the viewer.

Looking For More Inspiration?

About Kevin Morgans

Wilkinson Cameras Ambassador Kevin Morgans was born in Cheshire, UK. Kevin is a multi-award-winning wildlife photographer, tour leader, and photographic guide with a passion for UK wildlife. Widely published and with a formidable social media following, Kevin was last year a category runner up in Nature Photographer Of The Year and was proud to see his mountain hare image grace the cover of the prestigious British Wildlife Photography Awards collection in 2018. He’s also had multiple awarded images in international photography competitions such as the Nature Image Awards, Environmental Photographer Of The Year, Bird Photographer Of The Year & Natures Best to name a few.

Specialising in the British Isles, from the highest mountains to the coast. Kevin’s work celebrates the beauty of UK wildlife across the seasons. He is an experienced guide who has been running 1-2-1 and group workshops for many years, using his experience and passion to pass on his knowledge of photographing the natural world. You are welcome to join Kevin on a photographic tour or workshop to explore this beautiful land.

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