Sunday, 31 March 2013

Walking On Water (Peverill Point Long Exposure), Swanage

Via Flickr:
I've still got a couple more strangers shots to post from Venice, but thought I'd mix things up a little. The project is already overwhelming my Photostream!

Here's a quick long exposure from last night, out on Peverill Point in Dorset. I used a flashlight/torch to paint in the seaweed and spray - it could certainly be more even, but I only got one go before the sea reclaimed my vantage point.

The light from the left is a mix of blue hour and Bournemouth's light pollution. The shots that followed were a little too orange from sodium vapour lighting.

UPDATE: This is my second upload of this shot. The compression on uploading the first brought out a lot of banding, that was unapparent in the Lightroom version. I get a lot of issues uploading skies, and note contacts saying the same thing, so hope it's an issue the magic donkey is working on. I added 2% noise and a brush>splatter filter to the sky in an attempt to protect it this time round. It looks fine on iPad, but if I lower my head on the desktop monitor it still looks a little harsh. Commentary on this front would be hugely appreciated.

Hope everyone is having a great Easter!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Spindrift (Jessica In Snow), Rickmansworth Aquadrome

Via Flickr:
Quick post from recent snow. Jessica is reasonably keen on it, and somewhat tolerant of the cold.

It's the last week of the quarter, so my Flickr access is sporadic at best this week. Look forward to catching up with people on the other side.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Naomi (Stranger#18/100), Venezia San Marco

Via Flickr:
The Venice trip marks a milestone in my (early) 100 Stranger's Project; the point where my approach has (perhaps temporarily) crystalised to (a) find a background (b) determine exposure (c) wait for a stranger (d) shoot.

In some cases that gobbled up a little too much time, waiting for the right stranger to come by. In this case, Naomi turned up and kindly agreed to join in.

She was over from England on a photography trip with 100 others, and had just taken a solo trip out from the rest of the group. This is just inside one of the side alleys running parallel to the "Bridge of Sighs". Naomi is holding a gold striped reflector and I've shooting with an on camera softbox, to get a decent exposure in the shadows. It was a little tricky to judge - thank you Naomi for being patient on that front. It felt important to make sure the distant light of the alleyway was darker than her face, to make sure the emphasis was correctly balanced to give her centre stage.

Thanks Naomi for taking part in the project - as per our chat, I can't recommend it enough and really hope you decide to start one of your own. In any case, hopefully you got some great shots of Venice on your trip.

This is portrait #19 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Giovanni (Stranger #18/100), Venezia Arsenale

Via Flickr:
I met Giovanni on the Riva Ca di Dio, at the turning up to the Arsenale. He saw me spot him from some distant, and watched me walk the few hundred feet up to him with a sombre smile.

Whilst he was mid Sunday morning ritual - a walk up the Fondamenta Forni to stand and smoke looking out at the busy channel - he agreed to stop for a moment and allow a portrait for the project.

Not wanting to disturb his ritual I took a couple of steps to get a nice smooth background of Venetian building front. The chalky orange seemed to fit with his shirt and tinted spectacles neatly. I took a couple of shots straight on, but with the curve of the glasses it was impossible to avoid being reflected. A couple of steps to the side allowed for their reflection to shift to a nicely Venetian bridge - hence going with this shot without the eye contact.

A little while later walking back along the front I saw Giovanni smoking and we exchanged a solemn, but friendly, wave that made me feel a little 0.5% more rooted in this fantastic city.

Thanks Giovanni for allowing me to intrude on your morning - I hope you enjoyed your meditations on the lagoon.

This is portrait #18 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Apologies to my contacts for my sporadic presence - we're working quarter end at an Amercian company, so things are very exciting, but outrageously busy!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Niamh (Stranger #17/100), Venezia Arsenale

Re-edited version. Thanks to everyone who advised on Flickr!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Pietro (Stranger #16/100), Venezia San Marco

Via Flickr:
I'm a bit of a slave to backgrounds for my stranger portraits, and having seen this ace shop front glowing through the grey pillars of San Marco square, I camped the spot for half an hour waiting for an appropriate stranger.

Pietro was that man.

He was smoking a black cigarette with a look of focused thought. Unexplained the project to him, and how so far I'd taken portraits of Londoners and New Yorkers. He gave an exact nod, and stated "...and Venetians." Flicking his cigarette straight into a bin three of four metres off with effortless precision, he straightened his jacket and we started.

He didn't want to check his shot on the LCD, saying he was too old, with a wry smile.

There's a car colour for the Fiat Punto in Italy titled "Intellectual Grey". If I didn't name my shots by formula for my project, that's what I'd call this portrait.

Thanks Pietro for letting me take your portrait, and for the elegant intelligence you shared.

Camera wise, this again used on camera fill flash with a little softbox. Perhaps I over exposed the right side of Pietro's face, but generally the flash is serving me well. It's fun to have a portrait in Lightroom and play the "shadows" slider end to end without noticing a change to peoples' faces.

This is portrait #16 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved. I can't recommend it enough.

Hope everyones having a great weekend.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Renato (Stranger #15/100), Venezia Fondamente Nove

Via Flickr:
Renato's another Venetian local; kind enough to break his Saturday walk to chat for a couple of moments and take a portrait together.

He was a superbly no nonsense chap, with intense, polished style - as hopefully illustrated in the shot.

Renato - Thanks for taking part in the project. Your style is immense.

We only had time for three frames, and I was thinking chiefly about getting the flash settings right (even eTTL it's a new ball to juggle), so I wasn't at all sure with the composition of this. It felt at first like the wall was running the wrong way, but it's really grown on me. I think the hat line and collar somehow threads it together with the soft diagonals. It'd be interesting to know what people think.

Hope everyone is having an incredible week.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Greta (Stranger #14/100), Venezia Fondamente Nove

Via Flickr:
Greta was walking to work along Venice's Fondamente Nove as I leapt off the ferry from the airport. I'd just fitted my new flash and softbox, and looked up, saw her walking past at point blank range and asked if I could take her portrait. Which kind of surprised us both, it happened so quickly.

She was very unsure - noting that her hair was in a state and that she was running to work, but she agreed to one shot. That meant no reflector, carefully chosen background or checking of the LCD. Having never used the flash for a stranger portrait before, you can imagine I was just a little relieved with how things came out.

I'm a huge fan of purple and turquoise as a combination, and so the combination of the hazy Venetian canal and Greta's insanely appealing hair really pleases me! In the little chat we had Greta explained she was a Venetian local, so I'm really happy the shot places her there.

Greta - I hope you like your portrait. Grazie mille! Thank you for being part of my 100 Strangers Project. I really appreciate your stopping on a busy morning.

Greta spoke English, but the whole trip was made massively easier by my kind colleague Davide Bussola who invested a lunchtime translating some key 100 strangers project phrases with me.

Monday, 11 March 2013

100 Strangers Project, Venice

Thank you to Greta, Renato, Marco, Peter, Davide, Pamela, Giovanna, Agata, Niamh, Giovanni, Onai, Angela, Tristan and Naomi - it was great fun meeting you in Venice. I'll have your pictures ready through the week, so please do email me if you'd like a copy. I hugely appreciate your taking part in the project, and hope you like the results! Have an amazing week!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Nimbus Of Winter (Pair Of Swans In Snow), Rickmansworth

Via Flickr:
Another quick, recent shot to show I'm managing to take some pictures beyond my 100 Strangers Project - though I'm finding that incredibly addictive.

Shot from the water - good wellingtons are part of every photographers essential kit, I reckon. I really like the nimbus of snow around the lead swan's intense expression, and nearly went with a hard close up to emphasise that. However, unusual as the diagonal out of shot feels, I really liked the main image as it was.

Hope everyone's having a fantastic weekend.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Box Room (University of East London), Tower Hamlets

Via Flickr:
Despite a complete obsession with street portraits at present, I'm still shooting my usual long exposure stuff too. This is one from a night out in Docklands with Seitrams, looking across a puddle at the University of East London. The white balance in this was a bit of a challenge. In the end I just left it pretty much as shot - a dirty light polluted glow, slight green from all that fluorescent lighting. It feels somehow Soviet to my eye.

The low POV is just with the camera sat on the floor. Sitting your camera on the floor, with a cable release, is one of my favourite long exposure options and great for travel shots when you might not be taking a tripod everywhere.

Hope everyone is well and enjoying a bright end to the week!