Month: May 2014

Boxing.

If you are a new photographer or an old hand, it is important to have little projects.

They keep you practicing and this means you should be learning and getting better.

The more exposure you can get (Pardon the accidental pun!) to different situations and environments means that if and when you get to the point of earning some additional pocket money or making a living from photography, when you come across problems you have the tools to overcome any snag you are faced with.

You can get ideas from anywhere, reading other blogs, not necessarily photography blogs. You could join a local camera club, ask friends for suggestions or enroll on a short college course. You could, if so inclined even earn yourself a masters degree in photography.

I set out to blog about a boxing shoot and have gone totally off course and started what looks like I’m prepping a presentation on Photography Projects. So please excuse the sudden change of direction…… Boxing!

Actually it was a little project where I had to get ten to twelve photos in an editorial style that could accompany an article. My choice was to hit a boxing gym (Another accidental pun!!), get a mixture of portraits, people working out, sparing and the general feel of the gyms.

Most boxing gyms that I have visited might be considered a bit rough and ready. They are not like your posh gyms where you pay a fortune every month and hardly ever use. Boxing gyms are much cheaper and they are working environments. You’ve heard the term ‘Fighting fit’. Well if you think you are fit and want to know the difference between gym fit and ‘fighting fit’ you should go to a boxing gym.

I’d probably add gymnastics and cross-fit into the seriously fit people and working gym category, so please don’t bombard me with emails about how good this or that is…

Boxers get a bit of a raw deal, I remember growing up and hearing things about boxers being thick thugs with no prospects. Guess what? Its not true.

If anyone has those perceptions, again I would say that you should visit your local boxing gyms and you will soon change your opinion.

Most of the boxers that I have come across are absolute gents. Probably more courteous and patient than most of the general public that I commute with.

Boxing gyms also do great work in pulling their communities together, even the police started to get involved with boxing gyms because they realised that if they got young herberts into the gyms, those herberts would learn self respect, restraint and discipline.

Still not convinced? Go see for yourself.

The two gyms I focused on (Yet another one of those accidental puns. Sorry!) where Fitzroy Lodge on Lambeth Road, London, SE1 and The All Stars Boxing Club on Harrow Road, London, W10.

Fitzroy Lodge is located within some railway arches and was founded by M.r Mick Carney in the mid to late 1940s.

All Stars Gym is in a grade 2 listed former church and was founded by Mr. Isola Akay in the early 80s.

I am told both Mr. Carney & Mr. Akay were friends and both have a well deserved MBE for the work they have done within their communities.

Both gyms mentioned are charities and rely on donations and local support to keep running.

Both also have a great deal of history. Much more than I could squeeze into my short photography blog so please click on the name of the gyms for more information:

Fitzroy Lodge.

All Stars.

Without further waffling from me here are a selection of the images from two brief visits to the clubs.
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IMG_9015

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I kind of know my weak points with these images and unfortunately my flash started to play up with the image of the Akay brothers that happened to be in the darkest part of the gym (Typical). If you have tips, tricks or useful suggestions to help me improve, I would like to hear them.

If you like the images, please also feel free to tell me 😉

A massive thank you to Mark Reigate of Fitzroy Lodge, The Akay Brothers of Harrow Road and the boxers that agreed to be photographed.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Critiquing!

I know the importance of being able to critique my own work and I also know that sometimes I am probably my own worst critic.

It is far easier to have someone else look over my work but then sometimes I can feel a little defensive when small things are picked up on.  A friend commented on one of my landscapes recently, the one with the swan, sort of in the middle of the frame, that was where I wanted it. He didn’t really comment on areas that lost detail but did comment on the amount of foreground. I can see his point and would have preferred to set up a bit differently, exposure, composition…. but, here comes the defensive bit….. As I was setting up I noticed the swan, I had limited time to get ready, in fact it was a big rush to get set up as the swan was swimming by.

I could have cropped some of the foreground out of the image but then I would be changing the feel of the picture too much, even if I cropped it constraining the crop to the same aspect ratio: it just would be a different image all together and perhaps one that I would not have shared on the world wide web?!

So, self critiquing is important but also remembering not to be too harsh on oneself. Not taking it to heart if someone makes a suggestion is also something to take on board. Lee is a very good photographer and if he had been there on the morning of the shoot I am fairly sure he’d have done the same as me, took a chance to capture the image rather than have nothing at all. We just have a different view on post processing and cropping. Check out his work, he uses a lot of photoshop but has a good eye. 

I don’t get much feedback on my images, I get a little on my flickr account and some useful feedback on here. A while ago, photographer Zack Arias was advertising a project where he was going to pick subjects and critique the work. I put my name in the hat but was not picked… Gutted!

However, I do still get access to his critique of the images that are submitted. I spent over an hour and a half watching the first critique on you tube. I found The Zack Arias DEDPXL Critique very useful for highlighting composition, talking a little about lighting, the importance of getting out and practicing rather than posting archived images to websites.

It also gave me some insight into what judges might be looking for when judging photography competitions.

Anyway, if like me you want hints and clues and a little pointer in a direction that I think will help you self critique your own work, go back a few lines and click on the DEDPXL link.

TTFN

Jim Jimmy James

Landscapes. Again!

So As I said before landscapes are not my thing. Again, I like other peoples images but it is not a genre of photography I thought I would enjoy because I guess its not exciting, not sexy like gig photography or cut and thrust like reportage.

Oh boy way I wrong!…. Sort of!!

I decided that I would get up early and get out to practice a bit more. We are told practice makes perfect and my logic is that practicing any area of photography, including that which does not excite me, will ultimately improve my ability to capture images at a later date.

So the plan; up at 04:00 hours and then off out to London’s Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens.

When I first started to look at landscapes I was not really sure what that was; I kind of just thought it was trees and a bit of open land. But looking up what makes a good landscape there was plenty on composition rules and the use of filters but the useful…really useful information was that landscapes are an ‘image that captures the environment and atmosphere of a scene’.

That sounds obvious but it actually made a big difference to me and what I was looking for.

So a fresh perspective and definition of landscapes and the joy of going to bed late and that 4a.m rise. (A bit more planning next time I think).

Arriving at the park I started looking for somewhere with a nice easterly view. I spotted some mist and found it a little frustrating trying to really show it off….. A swan heading towards me that I thought would be good on its own and it was a rush to get the camera ready. Of course, had I of thought about it I would have taken some bread with me and thats all mentally noted for when I get around to future landscapes.

There is no real detail in the image with the swan but if I’d flaffed about getting my exposure right I would have missed the shot.

Shoot and get a shot of mess about and get no shot. No brainer!

So its not detailed but I do like the image as a silhouette. I had bought a polarising (British Spelling. The correct way!) filter and a cheap graduated filter set. I had fun playing with the filters and getting set up quickly… I was really surprised how fast the light changes and alters everything. I thoroughly enjoyed myself this morning and have learned loads from the experience.

Here are a few of the images I caught:ImageImageImageImageImageImage

I hope you liked the images?

As always, constructive comments are always welcome.

As a side note, if you are one of my American cousins or you are from elsewhere using American or international standardised English (British Spelling. The correct way!) please don’t take my little dig about correct spellings to heart. They are disposable comments made very much tongue in check.

Besides, my spelling and use of grammar is definitely not as good as it could be.

Thanks for stopping and looking.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James.

Just too busy!

I have a few photography projects I want to do but I have just been far too busy.

The joy of shift work with unsocial hours being the primary commitment from getting my teeth into something.

I managed to drag myself out today and headed over to Richmond Park with the intention of getting some Landscape images.

Due to time constraints I could not get there for the golden hours of sun rise or hang around for sun set. Besides, the weather was pants!

However, I managed to get a few images that I like. Landscapes are not something that particularly interests me, I like a nice view, I enjoy the countryside, I like looking at other peoples landscapes and appreciate both the painted artwork and images captured by photographers with a better eye and understanding than myself.

That is in part why I headed out to get some practice. I have been wondering if I should concentrate on areas of photography that I am interested in but decided in order to improve I should not restrict myself to one or two genres at this time and I really need to get out and practice; after all, the more pictures I take the better I should get. Thats the theory behind most things isn’t it?!

Well I’m a way off of having a tacit knowledge of photography that allows me do things automatically. I would have loved to spend more time out and about today, but…. anyway, here are a few images that I am reasonably happy with:

ImageImageImageRicImage ImageImage