image editing

Post Fools Day!

So April the 2nd got me out of Saturday’s ‘Monday morning blues’.

No banana for brunch!! I had a fab breakfast in bed up & out to shoot some rehearsal images for a mates band, out for dinner with the wife & a quick catch up with some friends. All in all a much better day, as were the third and today.

A little bit of axe playing at home, some reading, some photography and I’m almost ready to go back to work tomorrow. Its been nice to have some time off and even have a good nosy around the world wide web looking for a bit of inspiration for my 365 project. Its tough to do. Really tough and I have struggled.

I think it was on flickr or somewhere that I got directed to a blog of a fella that was doing a 365 of selfies. If you know me or follow my flickr, instagram or on here, you’ll know I hate being on the lens side of the camera so when I had a look at this blog here: Idiot with a camera. I did my norm and headed to the beginning. Why? Well I like to look at the images at the beginning and then see how their photographic style and content may have changed. It just makes sense to me, in fact the only reason I have a blog page is primarily so that I can look back over the pages and see how I have grown as a photographer, if at all…….

Anyhow I ended up getting drawn into the above blog partly because the selfies were not the kind that scream Hey! Look at me.

They also appear to be mostly normal day-to-day images and not the elaborately planned style found here. Again, great photographs but for different reasons.

One thing that is very clear reading his blog is that Australia and the UK appear to be worlds apart.

Another person whose life is worlds apart from mine is that of Sir Elton John. I went to see an exhibition at the Tate Modern today The Radical Eye.

Hells teeth he has a lot of important photographs and it was great to see some of these in this format rather than published in a book.

So, hopefully if you followed the links you are not all photo’d out for the day because here is one of mine from today:

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These people had become art as they walked around a smoke/dry ice installation. It was really interesting to see how different people behaved while we observed them.

As always, thanks for stopping.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

 

 

BT Tower

There is loads of stuff I could look up about the BT Tower and tell you. I can tell you about threats & concerns someone would bomb it. In fact I vaguely remember something about a bomb going of in the tower and that being the reason for the restaurant being closed. I guess I should add that it was actually The Post Office Tower at the time and this occurred long before I was ever aware of such things. I think it was in the very early 1970’s so I was either a baby or just a very young lad.

I could tell you facts like when it was built, how tall it is and lots more but I’m hoping you’re here to look at my photos rather than learn about the post office / telecom tower.

Okay, now I’ve mentioned those things I feel obliged to fill you in with at least the details from above.

The 33rd floor was bombed and it did result in the restaurant being closed. It has opened and closed a couple of times and was recently opened for a charity event.

The tower started to be built in 1961 and is 620ft.

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The images were taken on the Fuji XT2 © 2016 Jim Jimmy James

Thanks for stopping and looking.

 

Street photography project

I am about to start a street photography project. While I have shot strangers in the past, this will be different.

In the past I have felt a safe distance away from the subjects in candid shots and those that I have taken portraits of, I’d approached and sought permission.

Street photography is going to take me right out of my comfort zone, candid shots up close and personal. I have a great deal of anxiety about doing this.

Partly because I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. I wouldn’t say I’m a handsome chap and I’m not the ugliest creature to walk this earth. I’m not tall or particularly short. I’m a little over weight but I carry it reasonably well… With the exception of sometimes looking like I am stuck in the ’70s & ’80s I think look really very average. so why do I think I stand out..

I’m using a DSLR that is big and unsubtle. Even in soho and the west end of London people do notice the larger more pro looking cameras.

On top of this is body language. This is my Achillies heel.  I have watched a few videos and observed a couple of street photographers and for the most part I am the polar opposite. The photographers that who produce the images I like are almost anonymous in the crowd, even when they are the subject and the photographer are the only two people in the street. They have a way about them; their body language is relaxed, they look non confrontational, they don’t make eye contact, they are quick and agile leaving the subject wondering if they had just had their photo taken and then thinking nothing of it.

Conversely I often get asked if I was in the military and on occasions get asked if I am a police officer. I’m always the person that gets asked for directions; even when out with a group of friends, the baffled looking person that is holding their mobile phone or an A-Z makes their way directly to me.

I think I am observant and aware of my surroundings but I put that down to where I grew up as a kid. I do tend to make eye contact and I can’t help that, I come into contact with a lot of people in my working day, eye contact, facial expression & body language are important. The visual clue is an important part of communication and because I rely on this I may hold eye contact longer than the average person.

Even wearing “normal clothes” I’m just the sort of person that does not blend into my surroundings. So, the reason I have chosen street photography is the challenge. As a genre of photography I have a huge range of options open to me.

I want to shoot soho life, the buildings, the people, the characters, the transient population and the resident community.

My big question at this point, and it really isn’t something I should be concerned with at the moment, is whether to shoot in black & white or colour.

Naturally as I go through the images I will get an idea of any theme in the content but here is the thing:

Lots of street photos are in black and white, often high contrast.

Some say the colour should be as seen and the image processed in a way to reflect the reality.

I personally like slightly desaturated images and this is likely to be my preference for the project but I’m just not sure it will show the grim or vibrance, the poverty, the glamour or the undercurrent of the area.

There seems to be no obvious consensus and it is really just a matter of taste.

If any readers can point me in the direction of any street photographers that use desaturated colour that would be extremely useful but I’d also like your opinion. What is your preference?

Black & white, Coulour: Desaturated or realistic?

No need for postcards, you can answer below…

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy or James

Photo compression

This is a further blog about testing the Canon Powershot G5X. Some of you may be getting a little fed up with reading G5X as that is all I seem to have blogged about.

I’m trying to get used to my new camera, there are things I like and things I don’t like.

One of the things I like the idea of but in practice has been a bit annoying is the touch screen. I like to use the view finder rather than the live view LCD screen unless I physically can not take the shot using the review finder; here the articulating screen is great and really does come into its own. However, if you do not turn the screen around so the LCD is inward facing there is a chance of changing your camera settings.

It was a rare occurrence but frustratingly it happened. Its also a shame that the manual focus is on the LCD screen and not on the front lens ring.

With the exception of a fe focusing issues I have been relatively happy with this camera and the more I use it, the more I like it.

Something I do like is the zoom lens. It has a 2.7 crop factor and offers from 24-100mm as equivalent to a 35mm camera with f/1.8-2.8 (variable throughout zoom range).

Used wide angle there is some obvious softness around the edges. This is particularly noticeable when used in the macro setting. However, throughout other focal lengths the lens is relatively sharp, in combination with the sensor some nice images can be produced.

One thing that I like about just carrying one lens is convenience of not being bogged down with bags and kit. It offers some freedom in composition.

I took the following image while walking along the river spree in Berlin.

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I like that someone decided they would do something artistic with spray can lids and went around to gather them up to make their own bit of art.

I zoomed to a longer focal length to pull the molecule men and lids closer together. While the focusing could be a bit better (user not camera) I think it is an okay example of how compression can change composition and an example of how the Canon G5X fixed zoom lens makes the camera convenient to carry around.   IMG_0254

The Molecule Men can be found on The Spree River close to the Oberbaum Bridge. They are thirty meters high and the sculpture are by American sculptor Jonathan Borofsky, They sculptures also found in other cities are filled with holes that represent the molecules that are bound together to create our existence.

In Berlin they also symbolically represent the intersection of the then three districts of Treptow, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Copyright question?

Yep its a copyright question again. Actually maybe its more of a ethics and false advertising type of question. You’ll need to decide and I would really like your opinion.

I have had at least one trip to Berlin over the last few years (except last year). Most times I stay at The NHow hotel.

When I stay elsewhere I am just content with a clean bed, room and half decent shower but when I’m in Berlin the NHow get my cash. Why? Because its clean, modern, a bit funky, has a late(ish) bar and for the most part the staff are really friendly and happy to accommodate a Londoner speaking German very badly.

But I’m not doing a hotel review or a review of the staff, its about photography!

So the NHow has a little twist. It is a music hotel, I’m told they have recording studio facilities and they also had some Mini cars for hire by their guests. Thats pretty cool.

Anyhow, I took a photo of one of these cars with the parking space sign. What can I say, it just made me smile.

I  was treating it as a little composition exercise. There is a lot that can and should be done to improve the image if it was a publicity photo but its not. The image was also shot on a compact point and shoot that I was testing (for myself).

When I was going through some files I found the image below and was going to post it onto Instagram  and then thought I might stick a watermark on the photograph. Not for concern about it being used or re-blogged but to direct people to this page in the hope they’d look at other posts and perhaps like, comment or even get an idea for a project of their own.

So the reason I did not post it elsewhere as it is in this post is for the simple fact that I do not know if it is wrong.

Watermarking ones own work is a photographers right and is done for various reasons. As a photographer I can shoot whatever I want in a public space (To the best of my knowledge this stands in the UK but I am not sure about other countries so please do not quote me).

Here is the dilemma: If badly done I think watermarks can spoil a viewers enjoyment of an image. They can be huge and really ugly but they can also be easily removed. So, getting to the point of this post, this question; take a look at the photograph:

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Taken with the Canon G5X

To the best of my knowledge I can do pretty much what I like with this image. Its mine; my intellectual property and my copyright. That is the case the moment I pressed the shutter release and took the photo.

That is also provided I do not use the image in anyway to misrepresent any of these companies or their associated organisations.

I have chosen a pink watermark for aesthetic purposes. The same reason for choosing this position of the watermark is for it to be subtly in keeping with the image but also visible.

I have chosen a different pink to that used by the NHow chain and kept a particular vibrancy so that it does not look like part of the cars paintwork.

For the record I have not paid for advertising or been sponsored by NHow or anyone associated with the Mini Cooper. However, if either would like to sponsor my further photography education please do get in contact.

I have also not intentionally set out to mislead in anyway.

I’m not sure if the question is one of law or ethics or something else…

If you are a photographer, lawyer, interested party or any other, What is your opinion on watermarks and what is your opinion on this particular copyright mark (© relates to the image only).

I’m sure I am not the only photography student to be concerned about copyright and image use. So comments will hopefully benefit more than me.

Thanks for stopping.

Kind regards, Jim Jimmy James

Another example….

 

Book review #8

Photography: The New Basics: Principles, Techniques and Practice. By Graham Diprose & Jeff Robins.

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You’ll notice in this quick iPhone snap that this book is rather dog eared. I’m not sure why they call it ‘dog eared’ but there we are.

The reason it looks a little tatty is because it has been well used. It is one of those books that I have worked through and revisited a number of times.

Used in conjunction with a good book that is specific for your particular camera this is a suitable learning tool for all students of photography.

As well as providing technical advice on most aspects of digital photography, setting tasks and encouraging creative ideas, the reader is guided through storage and post production editing.

A well written, well laid out and easy to understand book.

Although this book is a few years old and could be updated with regards to newer cameras currently available on the market, I highly recommend this book and would go as far to say its a must for anyone learning photography.

Disclaimer: I was not given this book. As far as I know I have not met either of the authors & I do not know anyone involved with the production or distribution of this publication. 

 

Jim Jimmy James

No photos in this post…

So I popped into Rock ‘n’Roll Rescue for a pre arranged photoshoot with Knox and I now have four of the twenty images I hope to have for my college project.

I’m a little concerned about the time frame because I need to have the edited images ready to send for print in mid February to allow time for any re-edits and printing if needed.

Its going to be a bit of a push to get this done while working full time & that also being shift work…. I start a three week training course at work and that is either really gonna screw me over or work out very well by freeing me up in the evenings. Positive thoughts….

In reality I need ten portraits but twenty would allow me to produce the project in a way that if the results are as good as I hope, I might even be in a position to raise some money for two charities.

You might be wondering who I’d pick? Personally it would crisis but in this case maybe Jail Guitar Doors would be one. I hadn’t heard of them until I attended a gig & film screening in Camden earlier in the year; ‘I need a dodge’ They (the charity) recently started doing some work in the UK and I’m guessing it seems to be a worthy charity that the subjects I am photographing would all agree on.

The other that I assume would meet the subjects approval is Rock ‘n’ Roll Rescue.

As I said, I popped into the Camden shop on Wednesday to photograph Knox. I had an idea of how I wanted to shoot him but the shop does not offer much space. At the time I visited there was a lot of coming and going so the shoot was a bit quick with only eight frames being taken. My lecturer will have something to say about that.

I had a good chinwag with knox after and a great photo opportunity arose when he was sat on a small bench seat with a very friendly dog called “fatty” that he was dog-sitting.

Unfortunately I had already packed my kit away as I was heading off to see someone else. My lecturer don’t need to say anything about that! I didn’t even have my point ‘n’ shoot handy. Ahhrrggg!!

Disappointingly the later shoot fell through at the last minute.

It was an interesting visit to the shop. I met Johnny Deluxe not to be mistaken for the band with the same name. Mr JD would be an awesome voice over for my film noir images. I may well have to approach him about potentially doing a collaboration project. I think he’d also have some cracking stories to tell; some outrageously scandalous and some very very funny. An interesting character.

I also bumped into Sulo Karlsson (what a nice Fella) of The Crunch who incidentally played at the Camden gig mentioned above.

He told me about a project he has completed with Gary Johnson Punk/Oi! Poet who is on some of my old compilation albums. They put some of the work to music and I had a chance to listen to a couple of the tracks. I am under strict instruction to not reproduce any of the work here.

I have mixed opinions on what I heard. The reggae style tracks sound very polished and are not to my personal taste. I do like old ska, two tone and I guess what we might call third and fourth wave ska-core but there is something very European about what they have produced; its almost to well timed if that makes sense? That is not necessarily a bad thing and I can see a lot of people liking this very polished sound.

There are a couple of tracks that really stand out for me and I think the album will get the rightfully deserved attention from those that like this style of poetry (There are still some spoken word tracks) and the genres of music produced.

Sulo said he was meeting Garry Bushell in studio to produce a podcast. Garry is also on my list of people to photograph for this project and I would have loved to have been able to take a portrait in the studio environment.

I would guess that he will be reviewing the reworking of Gary Johnson’s work with Suol. I’m also very sure it will be a much more considered and in depth than mine. As you’d expect with him being the professional. You can follow the link to find out what he has to say.

I caught up with Garry prior to this blog post that failed to post so the title should be changed…

No photos in this post…. Okay maybe one.

This is not the photo of Garry that I will be using for the project but one I thought would be fun & thankfully he was up for the challenge of holding a guru style pose.

The location was cluttered so I had the challenge of removing Garry from one image and using another background. Easy! I can hear a huge number of photoshop, gimp, (other software brands are available) say… well yes if you use those tools frequently. My general photography is more honest and you tend to see what I shoot. So this was a challenge. A time consuming challenge when I have numerous email to fire off and a deadline that seems to be closing in faster than I imagined it would.

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Garry Bushell.  Oi! Oi! The Guru.

Garry is the man to ask about punk, oi!, ska & such related subjects. He is also the front man for The Gonads. Making him an obvious candidate for the project. I’m also very relieved to say that I can report to y’all that Garry is a sound bloke.

I am going to have a few busy weeks ahead of me… so may not be back for a couple of weeks. However, please feel free to comment or share any handy editing tips.
TTFN
Jim Jimmy James

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

Skipping class

In some professions illness and injury are just a hazard of the job.

For the first time in my 40+ years of life, I have caught the ‘dreaded lurgy’. Not man-flu or man-bola, I have won the battle of those harsh illness’ on a handful of occasions but this time its a chest infection; leaving me short of breath, pyrexic, lethargic and coughing up nasty thick green phlegm.

I’m not a sickly person but this time I have just had to go with it and give in. Two different lots of antibiotics and various over the counter medications with plenty of rest and use of my very rock ‘n’roll hot water bottle (it has a faux fur cover).

This also means that I have not been taking photos for a couple of weeks and this will be the second week I will show up at class without completing the homework assignments.

To be honest I’ve been feeling pretty sorry for myself and didn’t want to go in last week, nor do I want to go in this week. Problem is, the course feels very much more geared towards the commercial side of the industry and I already have a sense that I can not afford to skip any classes.

I still have a bronchial cough and feel fatigued but there is no more yucky stuff being expelled. I believe my infectious period is over so if I go into class I am confident I’m not going to be passing The Dreaded Lurgy onto my class mates.

Although I have been stuck indoors I have done some work towards planning my next two projects, purchased a .com domain name and had a little practice at some retouching images on photoshop.

Portraiture is going to be one of my topics and one of the genres I have started to really enjoy.

Sometime ago I was thinking about buying a mannequin so I can practice different lighting and really start to nail certain looks and moods.

Why a mannequin? Anyone that takes photos and has needed to practice portraiture will know that friends and family only have so much patience; mannequins don’t fidget, need to run to the loo, want a cigarette break and don’t give that ‘I’m bored now’ look. 😉

Using a mannequin would also give me freedom to take my time or break up the day with a stroll to the shops or to pop out for lunch. Something I might need to give more thought to. In the mean time here are a couple of mannequins from a trip to Barcelona earlier in the year.

Its possible I may have posted them before because they are so much more fun than what we tend to see in the UK. However, I have done some minor retouching as I think post capture processing is going to carry more importance this year.

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The retouching was very quick and intended to just familiarise myself with the functions rather than being a finished product.

Thanks for looking.

Jim Jimmy James