Black and White

365 challenge update

Don’t sound like much of a challenge does it?

Take a photo every day for a year is as easy as pointing the camera and click! I guess it should be that simple but there is that personal desire to capture an image that I am happy to put onto the World Wide Web. 

This is a personal project so on one hand it doesn’t really matter to me if anyone likes the photos or not. On the other; well its rewarding to feel that your efforts and work is appreciated. 

I have been posting black and white images onto tumblr so that I can keep the album together in one place. 

I have lots on at the moment and the biggest issue isn’t taking the photos but finding he time to get them edited and onto the site. 

If you’d like to have a peek at the album so far here is the link Right Here.

As always, feel free to like, comment, email questions and so on….

Kind regards, 

Jim Jimmy James 

Did you miss me?

Maybe? Yes – No. Probably not!

But someone did. I got a message from someone that never comments and never clicks like but follows the blog. They said that I’ve not posted in a while and they hoped everything was okay.

I read somewhere that if you are blogging and going to have a break you should announce that break. The reasons they gave were because people that follow the blog may think you’ve just given it up and remove your blog from their follow list. But also an online community is a community; that even though it is a virtual community, people will still wonder what happened to that man or woman that used to post about this that and the other. I’m very grateful for the message and I will try to remember to announce my absence in the future.

The reason I have not posted is because I have been distracted. It has all been very busy. Lots going on with life in general, work getting in the way of college and my projects. Projects and more projects. Ideas and more ideas and then work again….. I’ve been juggling so much I should apply for a job with the circus.

Actually I would love to live with and shoot a circus for a week or two. That would be pretty cool.

So, I have just finished college and am awaiting confirmation of grades but the preliminary result is a distinction for both projects.

We have some work on show at The Morley College Landing Gallery Although that does not run much longer. I believe there should be a link on there for image sales if anyone wants to check out some other photographers.

I’ve been to a few gigs and recently shot Mood Six who were/are a band made up of existing Mod bands. They have reformed after thirty years and were supported by Miles over Matter. Another old band ‘The vagabonds of psychedelia’ that have been putting themselves out there again. Both bands were excellent and it was nice to be shooting live performances again. (Note to self, when shooting concerts take ear plugs)

However, as much as photographing my punk singers book has been a massive highlight & good fun. The Crème de la Crème this year has got to be ……………. Sorry but like all good TV soaps I am going to leave you on that hanger and you’ll have to come back later in the week.

For now, here are a couple of shots from a recent gig.

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Phil Ward: Mood Six. ©2016 jim jimmy james

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Miles Davis Landesman: Jola: Steve Council: Miles over Matter. ©2016 jim jimmy james

As a side note, Miles had links to the dance company that I had the pleasure of photographing last week.

Thanks for stopping, reading, looking and thank you for the DM.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Glengoyne Distillery

It feels a little wrong to leave the G5X without showing some of the better shots.

On a recent trip up north we visited The Glengoyne Distillery en-route to the highlands.

Actually Glengoyne is on the outskirts of Glasgow and is considered to be The Highlands. It is located on the most southerly point, right on the boundary of the highlands. In fact, the whisky is distilled in the highlands and then matured right across the road but in the lowlands.

We had a tour that was very kindly arranged by my wife’s cousin’s husband.  As you would expect, this included a few tipples for myself and my better half was the nominated driver that had the joys of driving a tipsy back seat driver.

At the end of the tour we (I) had a couple more generous drams in the old watchman’s house while we were told a bit more about the distillery’s history, their whisky and a few funny stories.

Its a much smaller place than I expected it to be but I’d say its worth a visit.

Here a couple of shots taken on the day. This time if there are any focusing issues it could be down to the whisky!

Glengoyne Distillery

 ©2016 Jim Jimmy James / Glengoyne Distillery / Canon G5X

The main entrance to the distillery and visitors centre.

Glengoyne water!

©2016 Jim Jimmy James / Glengoyne Distillery / Canon G5X

The small pond at the back of the site is fed from the hills above. This water was once used in the whisky but is now only used as part of the cooling process in the whisky production.

Glengoyne single malt

©2016 Jim Jimmy James / Glengoyne Distillery / Canon G5X

One of several vats used in the magical process of distilling the whisky.

Glengoyne casks

©2016 Jim Jimmy James / Glengoyne Distillery / Canon G5X

Casks on the lowland side of the Glengoyne Distillery. I believe they said they are used a maximum of three times and that this gives some difference in flavour and colour but I’d have to ask someone that wasn’t drinking.

Do visit the centre if you have an interest in the distilling process. Its a quick tour but interesting and the staff were really very nice.

Thats my final images I will share that were taken on the Canon G5X. For a one inch sensor I think they are pretty good. However if you are thinking about buying this camera, it does have limitations so please take a moment read my other posts.

As always, Thank you for stopping, looking at the images and reading my waffle.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

 

 

More Canon G5X

If you follow my blog you will remember that I got a tad frustrated by always seeming to have an unsuitable lens with me and not wanting to carry lots of kit around. I think it was Traveling Light.

Anyway, the Canon G5X looked like it might just fit the bill and after doing a small amount of online research I headed to a few shops to tell them what I was looking for in a camera. These shops were independent of each other and one is a place I have used frequently and had really good advice; London Camera Exchange on The Strand in London.

I tried out the camera at a concert in Berlin & didn’t get any results I would consider half way decent. That said, I had not had much of a chance to get to know the camera.

The big problem I had was a noticeable lag with the electronic viewfinder. The result was that when I was pressing the shutter release the frame I was seeing in the viewfinder had already changed by the subject or light changing.

The auto focus had some real problems in low light too.

That said, when the light was fine and the subject was not moving, I managed to get some nice images like this shot taken at The Nhow hotel in Berlin.

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The above image was taken at a photographic exhibition called DO NOT DISTURB by Olaf Heine. Some great images and I bought the book.

I also had some images focusing on this toy bandit that I found while walking along the river spree. For some reason the auto focus kept trying to fix on the background. Although I wasn’t that close and do not think I should have needed to go into the macro setting  I changed the settings to macro and the focusing was fine.

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A quick trip up Berlin’s TV tower and really no issues with this little compact at all. In fact the fully articulating LCD screen really came into its own for framing this shot. I ended up using this screen frequently and its a useful tool on this camera.

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Back in London I headed out with the compact G5X again. Managed to get a few photographs of a protest but found the lag with the viewfinder to still be an issue.

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So it was over to the pond to try and figure out how much of a framing lag there was with the viewfinder. These two swans were perfect for this and at time they made the perfect heart shape. Unfortunately this was the closest I could get to capturing it. I think with a bit more practice with this camera the time lag can be mostly overcome, however Canon have definitely got room or improvement.

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Its not often you see the exotic out and about in London but this chameleon was alone the canal (with its owner). It took a few shots to get this nicely focused with issues being that the camera seemed to want to lock focus onto the background.

I’m going to preserver with this camera a bit longer. I can see that it has potential to be that good quality general purpose, small, easy to carry, every day camera.

If you’re thinking about buying one of these, the problem I have mainly experienced are  with auto-focusing. It really does not like things close up.

Do look at lots of reviews and even see if you can try one out before parting with your cash.  That said, I am looking forward to playing around with this little camera a bit more and will be putting it through its paces to see how useful it might be for street photography.

Thanks for stopping and reading my blog.

Kind regards, Jim Jimmy James.

Ps. You can see more images on Tumblr  Flickr and Instagram

A very personal project

If you’ve been here before you’ll know that I have college projects to get done in very tight timeframes.

You’ll also know that I often pick assignments that could & should take months to plan and months to shoot.

I don’t make life easy for myself and friends think I am a typical aires that thrives on pressure. I’m not entirely sure I would agree.

For my next submission I could have picked product photography, landscapes and various other genres of photography but this will be a very personal project based on portraiture and the subjects, although not personal friends have influenced me in various ways over the years.

Some of the subjects will be in their mid 50’s and the eldest I hope to photograph is in his 70s.

Last night I took the first of ten to twenty portraits and I am very pleased to report that I am very happy with the result.

Everyone has a vulnerability about them and this person has an extreme confidence; for good reason as he is very talented as a performer & people display a lot of affection towards him.

As usual I did not take anywhere near as many frames as I should have but I believe I have caught more than this persons public persona and that was intended.

I was also able to confirm another two sitters that I had already spoken to. I have an idea how I’d like to light and shoot them. If I am successful I think I will capture a blend of their personal self & the personality they publicly display.

Regardless of getting good grades at the end of this project it is important for me to get this right purely because of what these people mean to me.

I also tried to get some band portraits last night with some success but as things had over run at the sound check we had a bit of a distracting audience which made things harder to direct. Added with the time constraints for the venue opening the doors to the venue it was a bit of a rush. I had hoped to get about four different images that the band would be able to use and I’m sure they’d be happy with the results but the reality is I have one that I would personally be happy to share.

The gig last night was fantastic and I made a point of not taking lots of photos. As far as I’m concerned that was a good decision. I had a cracking night and the management of the venue offered me free entry to another gig that I was planning on going to. Result!

I got to play around with the camera last night. I wanted to try some things out so that is what I did…..

The 100 club are selling a locally brewed lager which is great to see them supporting a brewery that produces a rather fine lager.IMG_0093

Do be aware though that too many pints may cause the following results…

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That was a mild attempt a humour, like me, I am sure both The 100 club & The Camden Brewery would promote ‘sensible drinking‘.

The gig was very rowdy which made it difficult to get clean shots last night but fortunately that was not what I had intended.

I like a particular female photographers work. I’m not going to mention her by name because of “Google statistical gold” or what ever its called.

(Okay, if you really want to know… follow this link)

I love the look of images caught on film but its expensive. Digital just does not produce the same texture but I thought I’d try getting the settings a little wrong and see what I could come up with.

I’ve pushed the ISO a little, selected what would be an incorrect shutter speed if I wanted to freeze motion and I opted for a depth of field appropriate to put the exposure triangle into what would ordinarily be less than perfect.

The two bands I photographed last night are energetic and pretty intense. I wanted to show that in the images by capturing some movement with only a little blurring. So no flash & I made no effort to correct the white balance in camera or in software; with the intention of making adjustments to contrast, whites, blacks & luminance.

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Info Riot – 100 Club – 18th Dec 2015

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Info Riot – 100 Club – 18th Dec 2015

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The Last Resort – 100 Club – 18th Dec 2015

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The Last Resort – 100 Club – 18th Dec 2015

I am sure that there will be some software out there that would get me closer to the intensity I wanted to produce but maybe I am just going to have to invest in a film camera, film and a home dark room!

As always, thanks for stopping and taking a peek at my images. Please feel free to comment.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Just two photos

These two photographs of the same scene were taken while in Berlin. I love Berlin. The place and the people remind me of London and New York City.

That sometimes gets some odd looks until I explain that Berlin is much like my London of the 80’s and it has a familiar feel about it; from the slightly run down areas, redevelopment, music scene and so on………

Anyway, the photos.

They are early attempts at night photography and although technically I would execute the capture differently today… Exposure would be different, focusing would be different and I’m sure the composition might be different; I still like them both.

Maybe when I head back to Berlin I will take these images again although it would be unlikely to have a car parked at the same spot and therefore the story would be very different.

Although I would have done things differently, as I said, I still really like these two images. Mostly because of the mood they create rather than anything else. Personally I have problems picking a favourite between the two; they both have their own weak points but more importantly, their own strengths.

It makes me wonder how photographers ever manage to pick an exhibition set?

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So, I hope you like the images.

As always, your comments and thoughts are welcome.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Busy but still plugging away.

It feels like ages since I last posted anything.

I’ve not gone away, I have just been busy with those life things (like work) that get in the way of us doing the things we want to do.

I have also been loosely planning a 50/50 project. 50 images on a 50mm lens in 50 days. I’d like to give this a go but need to have a few ideas in my head and maybe even a note book. Otherwise I will just be taking random shots and not learning from the challenge.

I have also been helping an artist with a long term project of theirs. They studied at St Martins and is still moving forward with a long term project with particular links through differing themes.

This time in the style of ‘film noir’. He had seen my work and asked me to take part.

I am not in a position to show any shots that might make the final selection but I can show you a couple of images taken on location while checking exposures and looking at the background environments.

Sunny!

This is a man made beach in Brent Cross. Situated along the A406, near the M1 and A41. It has a huge shopping centre and the local environment is fairly industrial looking. Not wanting the surrounding area to spoil the aesthetic of the images was a really good exercise in composition.

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This image does not tie in with the overall feel and theme of what was being shot on the day but does link in with my previous noir images. I took the opportunity to make this image while the next shoot was being set up.

I’m normally pretty critical of my own work but I actually really like this photograph.

I think the position the image was taken in, the simplicity, contrast of the main subject against the sand and cleanness of the shadow give it a movie still feel that I like a lot.

However, for me the key element is the tension I feel as a viewer. As the photographer this surprises me but I look at the image and find myself asking what is going on just out of the frame.

This feels like one of my most rewarding photographs I have taken. So based on that, for once I am not going to ask for any critique from you.

I have also visited a couple of exhibitions and popped into a handful of shops.

Tailor Mark Powell has some great portraits on his wall at the moment. They were taken from a photographer local to The Soho area of London.

I have also visited Getty Images and been to The National Portrait Gallery to see Audrey Hepburn portraits of an icon. 

So I haven’t been far. Just busy but still plugging away.

Thanks for visiting.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

City & Guilds Photography, Level Two, Part Two.

So my first submission was based on portraits.

For part two we had the same options again, portraits, landscapes, still life and so on…….

I don’t like labels and am aware that the gig photography or portraits are my stronger areas.

Although portraiture was a complete accident and a total surprise to me that I enjoy it.

Anyway, I wanted to move away from these areas and try something a little different. I also wanted to really challenge myself to learn about lighting.

So we are in class and the teacher asks people what they want to do. So far he hasn’t really questioned anyones decisions and then he gets to me.

“How about you Jim, what are you thinking of doing?”

Really I want to do a mix of things, I am happy with my first submission and confident that whatever I pick, if I screw it up, the first images would be strong enough to at least guarantee a pass grade.

Being me (Apparently a typical Aries…If you believe in that stuff) I don’t want to do one thing…. My reply was more of a question; because with tutor approval you can step outside of the suggested genres.

“Can I do some landscape/cityscapes, portraits and still life?”

The poor teacher has had to put up with me for two terms and I can see him thinking to himself ‘where is he going with this’. He asks me how I plan on tying the different images together.

I suggest ‘Film Noir’. I get a smirk from the lecturer who says “Go on then, lets see what you can do”.

Instantly I think I have made a huge mistake. But I have to say I loved this project so much and had a massive learning cure.  Not only technically with the camera and lights but with UK firearms regulations, having to be creative and getting organised.

Due to time constrains I was unable to complete all the images I had planned. I was finding it difficult to find particular props and rather than rigidly sticking to the 1940s and 50s film noir props I had to improvise and settle for the overall mood and feel of those classic movies.

Due to the time of year I was unable to arrange for friends to get city scape shots. Yes cityscapes don’t need people but this is Film Noir, I need shadows, silhouettes and so on. I guess I could have taken some without people and they would have added an element of suspense and danger but I had my plans…… So the long days and light evenings defeated me with regards to that aspect of the planned cityscape submissions.

Budget also played a big factor. I would love to have time and a budget suitable to tackle this project again.

One or two of the still life images may have been posted earlier; prior to making my final submission. Some of the images didn’t make it into the final submission because I wasn’t happy with them or I had stronger images.

As with my portrait post I am going to post two examples of the work produced:

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The image above did not make it in to the final body of work. I do like it and think it has all the right touches of Le Femme Fatale from the era. The silhouette of legs going up the stairs only add some mystery and intrigue to the image.

I was torn between this and another image, my C&G photography peers helped me select a couple of images.

You can see the stronger image that was chosen from this shoot on my flickr page.

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As you can see from image one and two (Along with other images taken in the series) lighting was an important element for the project. I learned a huge amount and feel like I have only just scratched the surface of how to sculpt an image with light.

I hope you like these enough to visit flickr and see the other images.

If you are wondering what grades I got; it was a distinction for submission one and…….. distinction for submission two.

I’m not really sure how the grades work to be honest. I have seen some people call it a ‘double distinction’ but I think the overall grade is just a distinction. Thats good enough for me.

One last thank you to everyone that modelled & provided props. Without you it would not have gone so well. Thanks also to everyone that provided feed back and encouragement. Especially Mrs.M. PJ. & my working photographer friends, Teacher & Classmates whose blogs and work and be found by clicking the links: PJ, Caz, Seb, Ian, Tim, Matt, Hannah, Paul & Sara.

As always, thanks for looking. Constructive feed back and your thoughts on my photographs are welcome.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Diversity

At college we were asked to print a large poster sized image that was going to be displayed along side images from other photographers attending the college.

It was really good to see the diversity of subjects shot. Although I think it would have also been nice if the lecturers had displayed an image that they’d taken over the year.

Anyway, I was thinking about diversity and style.

I have been told a few times by a few people that I have a consistency with my portraiture and gig photography. This is intended as a compliment and very much taken as one.

It may be true amongst my own peer group but I suspect in the wider world of photography my images would not necessarily carry a definite style that would be associated or credited directly to me. Naturally I would love someone to look at an image and say “that looks very much in the style of JJJ’s portraiture”. I’m a very long way off from that & I think it is something that just happens, we find our feet, capture what we like, when we like, how we like and then develop & process those images to our personal taste.

Some advice I was given was to do what I want to do; what I like rather than try to conform to ‘the norm’. Not to do what I think people will like or want to buy, but, to do what I do and let the people that like what I do find me.

I think this is good advice to maintain an enjoyment of photography. However, to sell images, either to cover costs of equipment and trips or time and effort, certainly to make a living, there is also a need to produce and be able to consistently produce images that a wider audience can appreciate.

Where am I going with all of this….. well, along with my class mates I took about eight images to college and had to select one for the end of year exhibition.

The image that was picked was a gig photo, black and white, high contrast with low key lighting. It was also a bit gritty with the subject being heavily tattooed and looking a bit rough & ready.

The image was selected because my peers felt that this best summed up the images they are used to seeing from me. Its not the one I intended to go with but I’m actually really pleased that its the one I had printed.

Why?

Because its the one I had the most fun getting. It was also, by far the most challenging to take.

I guess I should post it? I will.

My class were surprised at the other images I had brought along; a swan, landscape, still life…….. Its kind of nice to be pigeonholed into a particular genre and style but the truth is that I take a range of photographs in a range of styles because I think selecting a diverse subject matter will ultimately improve my images.

It would also be nice to produce images that would fit into the stock photography bracket and this is something I will have a look at towards the end of the year.

Below is the live performance photograph that was printed and displayed at college:

Oi! Roi!

Below is a still life that I did not take as one of my selections but I feel still has a slight dark and gritty element that I like.

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I wish digital photography had the same feel as film. I’d love to shoot film but its an expense that I can not justify.

Two further still life images follow. There is some further editing that should be done but I have included them just as examples of stuff I have been working on.

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A number of things could be changed in this image. I could have ironed the backdrop or dealt with the creases post production. I could have selected bananas that were more yellow and some fruits that was a little less natural without dents and marks. However, the fruit was bought to be eaten and not with the intention to be photographed.

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The cropping on this image is a little tight and there are a few other obvious little tweaks I would make. Again the food was not selected to be photographed but to be eaten. Very nice it was too.

Fortunately everything I have done around photography has been a really fun learning experience. Some of it has been a little stressed but still fun & I hope to see even more of an improvement over the next year.

As always, feel free to comment, email, add constructive criticism and thank you for stopping by.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

You can See, Like and Comment on images at My flickr account

Rejected image

Please take a look at this image.

Take your time and critique it (to yourself for now).

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This is one of my rejected images that I wrote up for my city & guilds submissions.

If you have finished having a look at the photograph I will tell you why I rejected the image………

Firstly I will say that when I first looked at this image on my computer I loved it. I felt I had caught a really nice portrait and I was really pleased. Actually I was chuffed!

  • The model is slightly off when using the rule of thirds. That was intentional but as other images were not slightly offset, would the examiner really know the intent of the composition. Probably not.

If I had three or four images slightly offset this would show intent and the composition would be perfectly acceptable.

Naturally rules are there to be broken. However, not when I don’t want little things to distract from the image and my grades.

  • The wall paper has damage or creases.

Obviously this is something that can be easily rectified.

  • The chair rail is not totally straight.

To be fair I could live with that and again, it is an easy fix.

  • Some loss of detail in the black areas but hey, its supposed to be in the mood of film noir so thats okay and not really a problem.
  • The image was taken in landscape view and not in portrait view.

Well, every image was shot in landscape to show intent.

Many were also shot around the 30-40mm range. Again to show intent.

Unfortunately only once the image was printed did I notice the false perspective of the models left hand.

That was the point that I felt the image had to be discarded from the final selection.

I suspect you spotted all of those and perhaps one or two or three or more others.

I like the light, the depth of field, the composition, the catch light in my models eyes; generally speaking I like the pose and her playing with the pearls but I kept seeing the hand and feeling negative about the image.

Please feel free to take another look and critique it openly this time (constructive comments are always welcome).

You could also head over to my flickr page to see more images.

Thanks for visiting.

Jim Jimmy James