Private gardens or sheep?

Yeah that title is a bit strange isn’t it…. Sorry about that.


I was planning on doing a bit of a post about London’s private gardens. The squares that should in my opinion be open to the public to enjoy but instead are there for the privileged that can afford to buy or rent homes in the areas that have these large open green spaces within our concrete jungle. There just for those that can also afford to pay the annual key costs; not the average working class person, not your average Londoner.

This beautiful looking green space is Eccelston square in London, SW1. Increasingly it feels like I need to move away from my city. Increasingly it feels like you need to be earning a huge income or next to nothing – topped up with housing benefits, tax credits, child allowance and other benefits that people wouldn’t need if they were given a decent London Living Wage.

Increasingly I find things like these private gardens frustrating. Perhaps its my shifting political opinions, perhaps its because I just think its bloody unfair the way hard working people that fall within that middle income seem to be the worst off in this bloody city I love.

These park areas are dotted around and closed to the hoi polloi; God forbid that the elite should have to mingle with commoners… Don’t get me wrong here, I have nothing against wealth but I do have what some might call ‘a chip on my shoulder’ about particular issues.   I don’t have the time to do a full personal project on these gardens and perhaps that is just as well.

You might be wondering where do sheep come into this? You might have even forgot that the word sheep is in the title?

I read a post on one of the blogs I follow, how this chap came across some fish leaving the  water as they ate, he stood and watched for a while because he had not seen this before. His post reminded me of seeing a long line of sheep walking across a field. One by one they stopped under a tree and looked up before they carried on with their journey across the field. Have you ever heard of the saying ‘People are like sheep’?

Well its true. I stopped to take the image above and people stopped to see what I was photographing. Its not the first time; it happens a lot. It amuses me that I will stop to take a photo and then two three or more people will stop to take the same photo. I’m not talking about the tourist attractions or something spectacular but just normal things like concrete stairs. What is that about, why on earth does that happen and what do they think they are missing?

Want to try an experiment?  You and a friend stand in the street and look up at something and I guarantee people will join you.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Travelling Light!

I’m not much of a travelling person. I like what is familiar and its familiar because for the most part I like routine.

So when the time comes to hop over to Europe, I say that like I’m not European; truth be told I’m British and everyone speaks English. Even The Americans; sort of! (Yes I know its not Europe its a tongue in cheek, light hearted pop at my American cousins).

Where was I? Yes Europe! I do try to speak a little bit of the local lingo and actually this trip has been the first time where people have been patient enough to let me try; really try. The Spanish and The Germans have been awesome. However that is not what I am blogging about; its what kit to pack as a photographer.

So my last visit to Germany seen me packing two cameras and a few lenses.

My start up camera is a canon rebel T3i / 600d. Fab little camera but I felt it wasn’t meeting my needs as I have developed. On advice I purchased a Canon 6d and have been slowly upgrading my lenses.

So the 600d and the 6d. Cheap-ish zoom up to 200mm EFS lens and a EF 50 along with an EF 85. It seemed a good combination but it was to bulky and cumbersome to carry everything around.

This time I thought I will go light…….. My 6d, 50, 85 and Tamron 24-70mm.

It hasn’t worked very well and I’ve not taken many photos. Though I shouldn’t let my kit stop me. Other photographers would get a great deal of use out of the equipment I have with me. I can but just felt a little uninspired. Hey, it happens.

A few times I could have done with some fill flash…. 6d has no on camera flash and off camera kit just adds to luggage weight and stuff to carry around all day. The T3i has the flash but even with the fast lenses it will not cope with the low light stuff I want to shoot later in this trip.

I don’t want to carry to much because apart from it being a pain in the arse, my wife and I like to wonder around cities and end up wherever we end up. I feel its the way to get a real feel for a city.

This sometimes lands us in neighbourhoods that are not necessarily the safest to advertise that I am a tourist with lots of camera gear. So this time I trying one camera one lens….I have some good kit but none the less one camera one lens has left me a bit limited. I can live with this, its not the end of the world and its a holiday, not a paid assignment!

However as an example:

I am currently in Frankfurt and wanted to take a picture of this Euro symbol in the financial zone with the office buildings towering over it. Nope! That does not work with a prime 85mm lens. Not the way I visualised it anyway. IMG_3497

The composition is not what I wanted to achieve and could have been executed much much better with a different lens.

It was only as I was walking away I really started thinking about this and how as photographers we either do not get the shot we want or go back another day…… That or carry a number of different lenses but what is the optimum lens for being out and about for a day and only wanting to carry one lens?

The next two shots show how different images can be while standing in the same spot.


This image was taken on a Canon 6d with a Canon 85mm lens. Its not a great image, its not very technical and it is hand held when ideally it should have been taken while on a tripod.

It is really very unremarkable and is only being used for illustrative purposes. I had to stand some distance from this art piece to fit it in with the camera and lens I was carrying. In contrast I could have taken the same image much nearer to the object if I had a wider angle lens.

Stood at the same place, the next image was taken on an iPhone:


Ignore the quality and don’t consider shutter speed, ISO and so on; that is not for discussion here. Its the composition. Same shot, different lens size.

What is the answer? What is the most practical lens we can carry?

On days when I had a wide angle, I wanted something with a longer focal distance and always seemed to be carry the lens I didn’t want or need for the shot I could see in my head…. My ‘photographers eye’. My own “artistic vision”!

You know the most practical lenses I had were the two I got with the T3i but why can’t I get those two lenses at the same size but with the better quality glass. Maybe I can?! Maybe its just a matter of cost?

Maybe I’ll find out what to do sometime? Hopefully sooner than later or I’ll discover that one lens to get me almost anything I want in one day…..

What do you do when you need or want to travel light?

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Ps. Canon and Tamron  have not sponsored this post but if their reps want to contact me and give me some kit to review, contact me and I will consider your offer.

That goes for Phase One too. 😉

s and this was the best shot I could get. Therabout it but it highlights that my composition options were limited.