Tag Archive: Photography

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365 Photography

363/2019, week 01

First week in the bag. It’s been harder than I expected remember and I’m trying to train myself to not forget each and every day, adding it to muscle memory if you will. Living in a an occasional and slight state of fear of missing a day or timing out on being able to record an image. So far so good though apart from sometimes struggling for inspiration as well as falling into the same old cliches. That’s the idea though, to take more pictures and edit down.

What’s great about it is that it does really make you want to get out more and see the world around you. From wanting to attend that art gallery with the show that you really like but is soon to close to simply just scanning every single part of a street as you walk down it. Sadly I’m on foot / tube / bus at the moment due to injury but I can’t help but think how much easier this would be on the bike. That will come soon though.

So far it’s been ok though and have enjoyed carrying a camera around a lot more. This article in the Guardian on street photography was really helpful this week and encouraged me to shoot from the hip rather than always raising the camera to my eye. All pics this week are shot with the Ricoh GR II with the night shot being taken on the D810 and 24mm PC-E. Image 001 was already posted on New Years day so here are the rest…

365/2019/002 - Elephant and Castle

365/2019/003 - Waterloo

365/2019/004 - MARVELOUS

365/2019/005- Hillcrest

365/2019/006 - Photographers

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365 Photography

365/2009 > 2019

I started to take a keen interest in photography again around 2007 and wanted to develop my skills a little further. At the time all I had was a little Fujifilm FinePix F31fd which was an incredible camera for its compact size and sensor. I soon upgraded to a second hand Nikon D70 and got quite obsessed with learning how to use it. I had also got quite obsessed with Flickr and sharing of images and the community based around it.

I’m not quite sure how I found out about the idea but I ended up starting a 365 project in 2009. The idea being that you take a photo every single day for an entire year in the hope that you get better at taking / making photos or just a nice way of reflecting on what happened that year. My images were all uploaded to Flickr at the time and remain there. What started off as a fairly lame set of pictures quickly improved resulting in a complete obsession with photography. It also resulted in purchasing all sorts of cameras and equipment as well as going on a course to learn all about MTB photography. I also learnt how to use my tools – Lightroom, Bridge and Photoshop, although I’ve since toned down the processing by some considerable margin.

One of the nicest things about the process was looking back and seeing themes develop – these included angles, shadows, night photography, some architecture, more abstract shapes, street photography, riding shots and also the occasional portrait once I’d begun to understand off camera flash.

There were also some pretty desperate times running around trying to find something interesting to take a picture of at 11.45pm after getting back late from work. Can I make this towel rail into an abstract image? More often than not, yes!

At the end of all of this I made a book with Blurb and have a copy of it at home still. I use it once a year to show students at Bath University why you should consider a photo project.

As modelled by...

Fast forward ten or so years and I’m still taking lots of photos and have a successful Architectural Photography business. When I say I take loads of photos I mean with a phone (iPhone X as of writing) and the chances or reasons to take a compact camera are reduced. Most of these photos find their way to Instagram after a quick edit in VSCO on the phone. Other photography is often work related and I felt I needed a reason to pick up the camera again and have it with me all the time and be more creative with photography and experiment a bit more.

As with all these things I’ve made some rules to consider:

It’s got to be taken on the day – obviously. No cheating.
No iPhone! Must be shot with a proper camera, currently a Ricoh GR II or Nikon D700 / D810 + various film cameras.
No selfies.
No work photos or commissioned work.
Minimal cropping or editing. I have an astigmatism in one eye so all my pics come out wonky by 2 degrees. I’m allowing myself some straightening and cropping.
No wholesale image manipulation. The only one I’m going to allow is stitching two images together with a shift lens. But no comping of people / birds / cloning etc.
Upload them all to Flickr each day to an album.
Post a weekly summary to Instagram and this blog.

And then there’s the things I want to start looking at:

People, friends, candid shots.
More street photos – be braver and more confident!
Documenting my local environment, the things everyone else walks by and misses. The oddities and wonderful things around Camberwell and Peckham.
Go to new places on the way to work / home from work. Break out of that bubble.
Use it as an excuse to shoot new and interesting Architecture on spec in and around London.
Documenting more interesting buildings, Brutalist, Art Deco, PoMo.
Low key / high key shooting / processing.
Shadows / form / texture / angles – the favourites!
And of course recording more cycling imagery but better than ever before.

And here’s image number one taken at the early hours of this morning of another photographer capturing the fireworks over London. Just got to try and not forget a day and get this back into my daily routine…

365/2019/001

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Photography

X100 out, GR II in

I think like a lot of photographers I’m always looking for that perfect compact camera to have with me at all times. The iPhone is great and is getting even better but I still want a proper sized sensor and a decent lens. Most images shot with a phone are fine viewed on the phone but often degrade a little once on a bigger screen. 

Previously my go to compact was a Panasonic LX-7 but I never really clicked with it and certainly never grew to love it. The files out of it were fine but the lens always seemed to get something on it that left a smear or mark on the image and I really didn’t need the zoom on it. That got sold a few weeks back.

Then there’s the Fuji X100T I had. A beautiful camera (in black), a lens to die for and incredible images straight out of camera. Lovely high ISO and plenty of character in the RAW files. It’s well made and looks the business too. But there was something nagging me about it in terms of the size. It’s just too big with my standard clear filter and lens hood on. Sure I could manage without the hood but it’s still quite big. It’s not fitting in a pocket and is always around your neck which is a bit of a pain really and draws too much attention. This has now been sold to make way for… 

One camera I’ve heard a lot about is the Ricoh GR range. People seem to swear by them and they started out as film cameras before developing a digital range. There’s a new model coming out ‘early 2019’ and I had read some previews. The main appeal to me is the size of it and the quality of the lens. It’s small enough to sit in a jersey pocket whilst cycling, a coat pocket or back of the jeans which drastically increases the chances of it actually being used for taking photos! I went for the GR II model as don’t really think that the new one will offer me any more and apparently reduces the physical controls available in favour of a touch screen. 

First impressions are good and I can’t wait to be back cycling to take it out with me on the trails / round the local lanes. I’ve been carrying it around for a week now and am slowly getting more and more out of it. A few of my favourites below and more over at Flickr. I’m hoping to use this a bit more in the run up to 2019 and before I have another go at a 365 project, more on that soon. 

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Cycling Photography

Rapha + Herman Miller, city ride

I had the pleasure of shooting some images of a city ride put on by Rapha and Herman Miller on Sunday. For some reason I was a little worried about shooting this.. People, no tripod, doing it on the move, no chance of a re-shoot and so on. I toyed with using the X100T but instead went for the Nikon D700 with an old 28mm AF-D lens. Ancient kit by anyones standard but I knew that the focus would be bang on the with Nikon and the 28 would be wide enough for most of the shots needed. I really should buy a 24-70 but there always seems to be better things to spend money on.

It was a scorching hot day and I really enjoyed shooting it. I’ve felt really constrained from the rules of architectural photography so it was lovely to shoot something a bit more free and journalistic as well as try and not worry about verticals being vertical. Super hard to do!

A few of my favourites below.

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London Photography

Afternoon as a tourist

A bit of time off from work to enjoy London and taking photos for pleasure.

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Photography

Durdle Door geology

Not very good at sitting down and editing images these days for pleasure. It always seems like a bit of a waste to sit down at another computer after spending all day on one at work. I briefly had a scan through my Lightroom last night and found a few I wanted to spend some time on and edit.

I really like this little series of images from a brief trip to Durdle Door with Emma towards the end of the summer last year. They’re all shot on the original X100 and I just love the variation, texture and shapes in the natural stone. The little information board said there were five different types of rock which all come together in this area with obviously impressive results. I also like looking away from the obvious views and seeing what else is around.

Durdle Door geology
Durdle Door geology
Durdle Door geology
Durdle Door geology

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Photography

Taking photos again

It seems strange for a part time photographer to talk about taking photos again yet here I am tapping this out. I love taking photos, editing, sharing and so on but then somehow it all got to be a bit of a formality. Work is with a tripod, shift lens and big camera and doesn’t lend itself to spontaneity. I spend a lot of time using Instagram but then that had become largely about taking photos of cycling events, friends and silly things. To some extent I felt like I had lost that eye that searches out for a photo at every opportunity. It all sounds a bit daft but I missed that feeling of wanting to take photos I got when I did a 365 project in 2009. That is an eternity away but somehow but after that phones got a lot better and I spent less time using a ‘proper’ camera of sorts.

My favourite camera was the X100 I got in 2010. This was the original one and although a bit sluggish in places it was still very capable. The firmware was updated by Fuji and a fast SD card resolved most of the issues. But then again I stopped taking this out with me. The problem being that sitting down at a computer to edit the RAW files seemed more like work than pleasure.

An opportunity to get hold of a modern X100T came up the other day and I snapped it up – if you will excuse the pun. Whilst it’s familiar it also felt like I was learning something from scratch again. I realised I had lost that desire to see things through a viewfinder and go and hunt those pics out. It also felt strange using a camera in that way in a more social relaxed way. I’m comfortable with pointing my phone at anything yet using a camera felt a little strange.

I’m hoping that built in WiFi and a few other more modern features will help me use this to its full potential. It’s taken a day or so to get all the settings to where I like them but it’s such an incredible tool. The only downside is that the files sizes are three times the size of the original which means a little bit more of spinning beach balls when importing.

Had great fun using it yesterday and hoping to continue enjoying photography again.

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London Photography

SE1

I took this shot last night and it says all sorts to me about this whole area and how much it has changed since I used to live and work around there – 2005 to 2008.

Millionaires playground

Nice to be out with the tripod again.

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Photography

It’s difficult to make pictures these days

I have a whole host of dusty cameras now sitting at home largely due to the iPhone 6 camera being so incredibly good. So it doesn’t do ISO 2000 or won’t spit out a RAW file but it’s always there and you know like Chase Jarvis once said

“The best camera you have is the one you have with you”

And the iPhone is always with me.

One of the ones I look at longingly is the Fujifilm X100. It’s the original one and is a bit slow, a bit battered and not the latest by any stretch of the imagination. For a long time it was a permanent fixture around my neck or nestled in my hand ready to use. For some reason I stopped using it. I stopped thinking I’d see anything worth taking pictures of. Part of it was also that I take pictures for a job, albeit part time, and there’s an association of work with using a camera. Whilst work of most forms is good you often don’t want to associate with it at weekends.

So it was nice a few weekends ago to grab it for a walk round town. Emma was surprised to see it, I was surprised I was using it and I was surprised I enjoyed using it again so much.

Bin party
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Pleats
Studio
If only they were 90 degrees the other way

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London Photography

Waterloo Sunset

I’ve ridden over this bridge most weekday nights for the last seven or so years. It’s always a treat to glance left and right at the best view in London. I’ve posted more photos of this view to Flickr and Instagram than I should have and yet it’s still able to surprise you with its beauty.

Tonight I cycled back after a shitty day at work and was blown away by the colours in the reflections of the glass on the towers of the City.

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It’s a terrible photo and sadly doesn’t do the scene any real justice. After I’d taken the photo I put my phone away and just admired the sheer beauty of it all. The fade of the light reminded me of 80’s and 90’s airbrush art where there was a super exaggerated chromed look in a lot of the work. Strangely it also reminded me of the Les Rhythms Digitales artwork.