The great thing about cities and tall buildings is that you get shafts of light – natural spotlights. When I spot them, I stop and wait for someone interesting to walk into them – setting the exposure to be ready to press the shutter at exactly the right moment.
Sometimes that wait can prove fruitless and I get fed up waiting and move on to see if I can get something better. But at other times, the perfect person walks into the shot – or in the case of this shot, a person wearing the perfect clothes. This man walked into shot in the perfect position. If he’d been a little to one side or the other, the line of shadow wouldn’t have fallen down the centre. He could have walked through the shadow and I wouldn’t have got him at all. Or I might have moved my camera and snapped a very quick shot but it wouldn’t have worked in the way that this shot does.
As Trente Parke says: “Light turns the ordinary into the magical.”*
*Street Photography Now, published by Thames and Hudson
You always need one look out in a group.
I took the first photo in Covent Garden during an overnight shoot in June. The second is from a series I started work on this summer in Southend – London’s Colney Island as themofman commented when I shared some of the shots in a post in August.
Having switched from Aperture to Lightroom some months ago, I’ve finally got round to reprocessing some photos that I’d previously attempted to process in Aperture but wasn’t happy with the results.
This is the first of those. I don’t know why I resisted Lightroom for so long. I think it was a case of better the devil you know – or rather just not wanting to learn to use yet another piece of software. But Apple forced my hand when they dropped Aperture. And I’m so glad they did.
The problem with this shot was that there was a lot of noise. Switching it to black and white in Aperture didn’t give a satisfactory result. But de-noising in Lightroom and adding a bit of grain seems to have turned this into a half decent shot.
Though, having bought a new camera in April that is much better at low light, I won’t have this problem again. You’ve got to love technology!
I don’t want you to think I make a habit of this – taking photos of women in their undies. I came across this scene in Soho one evening. I think it must have been a promotion or a pop up shop opening.
Two women were sitting on a giant turntable in the window.
Looking through windows in Soho again. I took this about 6 weeks ago and initially dismissed it on first review. But looking through that shoot again, I had a change of heart. I like the mystery of this shot. We can see that two men are talking to each other but both their faces are obscured by parts of the window. It think it makes for a more interesting shot than if I’d managed to get both their faces in the shot – which, incidentally, I didn’t!
On an all night shoot in Soho recently, I got these shots of bikes – with bikers and rickshaw cyclists taking a rest, stopping for a chat, and lining up outside Ronnie Scotts. I don’t know what the occasion was for all the bikers outside Ronnie Scotts but I liked this image for the chatting couple in the middle. The man is clearly very interested in the woman. I love the expression on his face.
Indulge me here! Okay. I know it isn’t London. But it is where Londoners come to play on a sunny Saturday afternoon in August. It’s Southend. I went there with other Londoners on Saturday and bumped into yet more Londoners I knew who’d also had the same idea! It’s amazing who you meet in the fish and chip queue on Southend seafront.
Watching the Punch and Judy on the pier.
I was leaning over the railings, trying to get a shot back down the rail tracks and I heard “Cheeeeese”. The smallest boy had spotted my camera and was posing for me!
I took the photo below at about 12.30. It was very hot. People were looking for shade. I came by again an hour or so later and she’d taken off her jacket and headscarf.
The train back down the pier was very crowded.
Southend isn’t all seafront. There’s a town centre too! I used to come to Southend to get my hair cut as a teenager because the best hairdresser in Essex was in Southend.
This teenager was a virtuoso on the violin.
In my travels around London with my camera, I’ve been trying to get good shots of barbershops and hairdressers. I seem to see the shot when I’m too far away or at the wrong angle or with people in the way and by the time I get the shot, the moment has passed. I finally nailed one! I like this scene simply because of the amount of activity going on in it.