Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Ice, ice baby!

Early start, spikes strapped onto boots, hard hats on and we're heading in a monster truck for an ice cave under a glacier. Just magical!


Saturday, 28 January 2017

Spy vs. Spy on the dark side



So we've gone all stealthy today. This is my 50th London Street Photography Meetup and a welcome revisit to the imposing, brutalist architecture of the Barbican Estate. This time we were playing spy games. We are all disguised in black like sneaky photography ninjas, wearing hats and dark glasses, though a distinct lack of false beards, sadly.





We were set a series of challenges in various classified zones. Lots of classic looking up from below, looking down to those below, but coupled with surveillance, espionage, lurking, stalking and shooting from the shadows. Our themes today included looking for those leading lines framing little silhouetted people, negative space, and a Polly favourite - the odd random limb.




One of the joys of the Barbican is the multitude of textures. Around each corner there's rough and smooth concrete, long lines of bricks, tiles and the lighting can really emphasise those details. I'm particularly drawn to reflections off the shiny floor tiles, and the art deco style ceiling lights throwing intriguing pale pools to the lower levels.

The illumination beneath the handrails flanking the ramp leading up from the Barbican Centre makes me think of a runway or spaceship gantry, and I have to linger there for a whole hoping someone would walk up. Typically, there's no one for ages and then a little huddle of people make their way up the slope, and you sigh hopefully one would linger behind and make your image. I was fortunate that after being thwarted for ages, a passersby was happy to saunter down and up the slope. It transpired that he's an accomplished photographer as he showed me a couple of wonderful lit leading lines images taken at an airport. Obviously this wasn't very covert of me but I guess I'd been made by then!

For the second week in a row I grabbed a selfie. Good grief, what is happening to me? As I arrived at Barbican tube station I noticed the 'kids' were posing in front of the shiny panels alongside the platform with their smartphones. So figuring I was pretty anonymous in my ninja photography garb I thrust my Leica in the general direction of the big X and clicked!



We were seeking a film noir look for all our photographs today. So in post, I've emphasised the low key murky blackness especially for those shots inside the complex, where you're engulfed in all that towering concrete. I was hoping to evoke a spooky, mysterious feel, upping up the vignette and letting the inkiness creep into all the corners. Welcome to the dark side!


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

A good egg, and many lights

I promised myself that I'd get to Canary Wharf to the Winter Lights exhibition before it ended on Friday. I checked the website, there seemed to quite a few exhibits to explore and was particularly drawn to the colour-changing egg in Montgomery Square. I had to check where Montgomery Square was, not that I don't hang about Canary Wharf frequently, but I guess I'm generally visiting clients in one of the imposing buildings, and possibly the odd shop, so haven't ventured to this corner before.


I approached the egg from several angles, attracted to the reflection in the shallow pool it appeared to be floating on. I was then drawn to explore inside and shoot the view above the egg but it transpired, if your wearing high heels, is rather perilous as you are literally walking on water.


After surviving that and only getting a little wet, I explored the rest of Jubilee Gardens. There was a spot of poetry lurking in the foliage and several sets of neon wings and halos just waiting for people to step in and become angels. Luckily there was no shortage people keen to be photographed à la angel.

After that heavenly experience I headed for the new bit of the Wharf - Crossrail Place, as it seemed there was a little cluster of vibrant exhibits to check out.


I first came across a panel of rainbow lights, with people milling around. Luckily I could get behind someone taking a photo making an interesting silhouette. Outside I could spy tantalising glimpses of hazy lights seemingly in the sky so had to go and investigate.

It transpired that someone stood in a particular area could 'conduct' ever-changing dancing ghostly coloured shapes that I think were somehow being protected onto an arc of water droplets. It was spookily ethereal and tricky to photograph, but I was fascinated by it and stood mesmerised by this somehow both vibrant yet translucent image.


Close by there were towers of undulating lights which were drawing a crowd of eager selfie takers. It had started to drizzle and the slick pavement was adding some nice reflections, but I wasn't really dressed for malingering.

I didn't get a chance to visit all of the exhibits, but as the rain kicked up a gear I wasn't too keen to stay out in it. Afterwards when looking at friends' photographs, I wished I seen the giant coloured balls at Westferry Circus too, but never mind, I enjoyed the egg, the spooky colourful watery shapes and the pillars, and I got there before the exhibition ended. Score!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Humans, Art and Humans as Art

After loitering outside a gallery in the rain last week, today on a sunny but freezing Saturday the London Street Photography Meetup photogs headed for the Tate Modern with the theme Humans as Art. Our much loved "lights of stripe" (sic) were not present today due to the sun being in the wrong direction and them having bizarrely carpeted the Turbine Hall. The latter encouraging our potential art exhibits to do a lot of sitting about, lying about and rolling down the slope.



Our first challenge was to look for moments of stillness, possibly in monochrome, maybe a shadow or silhouette. I eagerly pounced on one light of stripe I had found, and was determined to extract every possible potential from it.


Our second challenge was to capture moments of interaction between the visitors and the artwork, hopefully capturing a moment of synergy. I spent so long staring at a yellow disc slowly revolving whilst hoping that somebody would walk in front of it at the precise moment, that I'm still seeing yellow circles a day later. Lurking in the shadows whispering "walk into the light" is perhaps a tad creepy and when a little boy appeared in the doorway clad in the perfect yellow jacket, I tried much too hard to convince him with my mind to stand in front of the reflected circle. His parents "kindly" restrained him from running in front of our waiting lenses, curses!

I had slightly more luck stalking a lady in a striped bobble hat, however, hoping to corral her in front of the Bridget Riley stripy painting. I also trailed a woman sporting vibrant dreadlocks. And being a fan of Antony Gormley's work, I was pleased when a girl stood in my line of sight. It would have been too much to ask to have her arms outstretched and probably would've looked too contrived anyway.

Whilst searching for shadowy subjects in the welcome sunshine, I captured a rare selfie, sliced by beams of sunlight bouncing off the doors.