night photography

Improvising

Improvising and having a pragmatic approach is something I have learnt that photographers have to get used to. Especially if they are not the sort of person that sits down and writes a check list (note to self… consider a check list!).

Actually it might have been a bit sad to have done a check list when just heading out for a Ruby and a cheeky half  or two!!

I was very kindly invited along to my second meal with The Punk Rock Curry Club by Garry Bushell. I do try to carry a camera of some sort most of the time and decided to take my Fuji XT2 along for the night rather than my usual Canon kit. Partly because the Fuji is smaller and less intimidating for people and because I bought a new Godox flash & wireless trigger that I wanted to try out.

The flash is as big as the camera but it all fits rather neatly into a little camera bag. Something I would not have been seen with in my teens & twenties & perhaps even my thirties as it looks a little nerdy… Heck! Even just having a camera wasn’t really seen as cool….. Oh how things have changed!

[At this point I adamantly refute any allegation of standing in the mirror trying to figure out how to hold a small camera bag; trying to look a little less like I’m carrying a man bag.] 

You might be thinking so he has a camera, wireless trigger and flash, that all sounds good so where or why did he need to improvise? I’m getting there…

I forgot the bloody battery for the flash and unfortunately the flash does not use any of the batteries you can buy in any old corner shop or petrol station, so I was a bit stuffed. The available light in the pub & the curry house was not really sufficient to get any really good photos. I took a few but can’t say I was overly impressed with them. I thought a high ISO and then pushing the image a little in editing might work but nah! What I should have done was just set the ISO a bit higher and I might not have had such noisy photographs.

I did however decide to improvise a little as we were heading back to the pub.

I haven’t taken any portraits for a while and haven’t really given this camera a decent work out to see what I can do with it. Nor have I given any real thoughts to night portraiture. So here was an opportunity but I had to make the most of available light and spotted a fried chicken take away on the high street provided my much-needed improvised light-source (Looking back at older posts light seems to be a constant theme).

Jose Olan

Fuji Xt2 – Fuji XF35mm ISO 3200 f/3.2 SS 1/160

Jose Olan & Jet Baker : Jet Baxter

Fuji Xt2 – Fuji XF35mm ISO 3200 f/3.2 SS 1/160

Thank you & good luck to Jose Olan who is currently on tour in the UK with Bad Manners   I hope he has a great time. Thanks also to Jet Baker of Buster Shuffle for standing around in the cold to have a portrait taken.

As usual a big thank you to you for stopping, reading my sometimes rambles and for looking at the images.

I haven’t posted in a while and will be unlikely to post again before Christmas but will hopefully get a chance to respond to any comments. So based on that I hope it’s not to early to wish you a happy Christmas and a healthy fun-filled 2018.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James.

School boy error!

I have two projects on the go at the moment. One is a 365 day project, a photo a day for one year. Sounds easy but its not. Well taking a photo a day would be but taking something interesting every day is pretty tough. Tomorrow is day 14.

The 365 album can be seen on flickr.

This is one of the images I was really disappointed with today:

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While I wanted to use a bokeh technique to get a image of the London Eye, Westminster Bridge & Elizabeth Tower, I didn’t intend on cutting off the top of the wheel.

The photo still works but it really was a case a school boy error!

Thanks for viewing,

Jim Jimmy James

 

10 of 365photo project.

To see the album please follow the link: My 365 photo project on Flickr.

These following images are just three random photos taken on the way home.

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Images all taken on a Fuji XT2. Thanks for stopping and looking.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Street photography by day & night.

I have been set a little project to produce ten images in a documentary style.

Okay, its short notice and with work commitments the obvious thing would be street photography. A genre all of its own & not an easy one. There are some well respected and very talented street photographers out there, some well known and others just bumbling along doing their own thing.

I’ve done a little street photography over the last few months and have enjoyed it. However, I have done most of it from afar with a 70-250mm lens. I’ve managed to get some nice shots but they lack that intimacy that the really good street photographers capture.

I guess I looked a bit like this:

A not so subtle way of obtaining street portraits or very subtle?

A not so subtle way of obtaining street portraits or very subtle?

I guess its one way of getting street portraits. After all if you are taking the image from half a mile away; yes I’m exaggerating a smidge, you’ll always get a reasonable portrait but if you are a long distance away from your subject is it really street photography? I don’t know if it is?

Is it?

I decided its time to start trying to get up and personal and hopefully without getting a bloody nose!

One thing I seem to read lots is that the more comfortable you look with the camera the less chance there is of coming into conflict with the subjects I will be shooting. So in order to keep my good looks (He said tongue in cheek) I thought I would probably start off with the ‘shooting from the hip’ method. That doesn’t men snapping from hip level but is more of a term used for not using the view finder.

My first outings were disastrous. Really really really very bad. In terms of poor images but a good learning experience.

I read that street photographers prefer to use fixed 35 and 50 mm lenses. I wanted a new lens with a wider aperture so I headed off and got myself a 50mm lens. What I didn’t take into consideration was that on a cropped sensor that makes the lens an 85mm. Roughly! I’m not doing the maths nor am I overly concerned at this stage of my development.

A fixed 85mm lens still feels scarily close to strangers when you are photographing them on their day to day life. So getting the 50mm by mistake is actually a good thing for me, as it will allow me to build some confidence at getting closer to strangers.

So, off I trot. Only to find when I got home that a wide open aperture for shooting from the hip in street photography wasn’t such a good move. Perhaps for those experienced photographers that have a better understanding of their cameras and lenses it would work but not for me. Nope!

Back out again with an aperture of around 7 to 8 (Somewhere in that region) and better results and with some interesting angles.

 

This image is a little hazy but I’m reasonably happy with it as a shoot from the hip style capture. It also tells a story.

I like the angle of this one. Its much clearer and shows the opposite story the previous image where the guy is relaxing in the warmth of the building and the hazy sunshine while this woman need to get from A to B, do her shopping, drink her coffee and chat on the phone.

I’m just going to put in a couple more images that were taken in the evening. They are all a bit soft and I can understand why I don’t see a great amount of street photography at night. Its an entirely new ball game.

street 4 (1 of 1)

 

So what did I learn? Light! It always come down to light! Yep its light. Again!!!

Street photography at night needs to be done near well lit bars, restaurants or in areas with great street lighting.  I guess you could use a flash but that would be a tad obtrusive and would make me/you as covert as the chap in the first image. Not to mention irritating for the people you are photographing.

When shooting from the hip, closing the aperture down and increasing the depth of field helped massively.

People are so caught up and distracted by what they are doing that street photographers can actually get up very close without so much as a curious glance from many of their subjects.

The big lesson: Practice leads to improvement.

As always, thanks for visiting.

Jim Jimmy James.