Sunday, 24 January 2016

Two by two and seeing double

My sixth foray out with the London Street Photography Meetup group, the venue was the South Bank and theme was two - groups of two, mirroring, pairs, twins(!) and splitting the scene into two halves - either physically or by scene.

Firstly I was transfixed with pairs of shadows walking down the ramp or along the river. Then when the (all too brief) sun disappeared again, I became slightly stalkerish closely trailing two sets of twins, luckily I wasn't confronted by any angry parents. The resultant photos were not sadly worth the possible injunction.

There were some possibilities visible whilst hanging around the mural of the stick figures (by artist Stik) under the ramp, I just needed a likely pair to stride by the yellow wall to complete the picture. And similarly, the gap in the Rankin portraits was just waiting to be filled.

Then, wandering over towards the next bridge, the book stalls and browsing shoppers caught my eye. As I meandered about looking for scenarios using the bollards to bisect the scene, I received a message about Iceland. Our hopes that the Lapland gang might reunite and head off seeking the Northern Lights in yet another country seems like it will come to fruition next year. It looks like J is going to Iceland!

Back in the present, there was time for some more lurking and seeing double before we headed off for a couple of drinks...just to continue the theme of course.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Let there be more light!

I wanted to try and photograph the Winter Lights at Canary Wharf before they're switched off on Friday. I particularly wanted to see the light butterflies, "wings of freedom", though they look more like flowers to me. And I'm always a sucker for flowers and colours.

I started at the butterflies in their rainbow mode but realising you could interact by mobile phone, it was irresistible. The best was watching others taking pictures of them and registering shock when the exhibit was suddenly flashing red (my favourite, as they were reminiscent of poppies). The flashing red was supposed to symbolise a beating heart.
And of course, I liked the pink with the Thomson Reuters building in the background, though I believe TR are planning to up sticks and move into the old Bank of America building in Canary Wharf, not so picturesque or such a commanding profile.

Further into Jubilee Gardens is the neon sculptures representing Syrian refugees; and the large touch sensitive pads people were running and jumping on to change the hues.

Finally I went to see the newstream rendered in water droplets. I saw this at the Olympics but my then camera found it really tricky to capture. Because it was taking general words from the press, there were some curious ones. Kardashian and ISIS, for example, so sometimes you let them fall and thought that's okay, I'll wait for the next.

The lights were supposed to stay on until 9pm, but I was still shooting them at 11pm. There was more to see but I presumed they'd disappear any moment, so headed for the tube home. Certainly more enjoyable without the Lumiere crowds!


Saturday, 16 January 2016

Leica there be light...and crowds!

I'd been keen to check out Lumiere, as the images have been well splashed on social media, however, I have an abhorrence to crowds. But bravely after today's Meetup five of us, with some trepidation, thought we'd check out what was happening at King's Cross. And apparently, most of London seemed to have the very same idea.

En route I tried to capture the children light painting by holding my camera above my head, but it was very far from ideal.
We had to make do with cage structure that normally lives outside King's Cross colour changing with the seething mass of visitors surrounding it.
We couldn't get anywhere near Granary Square proper, which apparently would have yielded intriguing floor level lights (excellent for a large crowd to view, not!) I saw the edge of one of the walls but the surging spectators whisked you past it all.

We gave up and headed back to the station, and then had to suffer a drawn-out evacuation due to dangerous overcrowding. I heard later that lights we'd been attempting to view were switched off too, in an effort to facilitate crowd dispersal. So that would have been a major disappointment.

In a moment of madness, I said goodbye to everyone else when the station reopened and thought I'd venture to Oxford Circus for the flying from should thing. And I was glad I did, I thought it was beautiful, and rather awe-inspiring. Having the exhibit in the sky helped everyone who wanted to photograph it plenty of opportunity to do such that. The ones who wanted to look up and stare or photograph were led to the middle of the closed road, and those who just wanted to get elsewhere, were confined to the pavement.

I think it worked well. I would have liked to explore more exhibits but the horrible crowds at King's Cross had put me off venturing further, so I quit whilst I was ahead. Maybe next year...


Street Photography Tourettes and even Bruno!

Another fun and inspirational Polly London Street Photography Meetup, despite the f-f-f-freezing temperatures we took plenty of photographs around King's Cross and laughed so hard too. The themes were portraits and then we were to look out for details. I cheated and took many of my portraits from the hip and of my fellow shooters. It seems easier to sneak up on someone you know!

Whilst Polly was giving us some tips on zooming in on interesting features, demonstrating her point, she turned to the nearest Streettog and uttered the immortal line "even Bruno..." I think Bruno has a new name!

In case we missed any interesting details, Polly took upon herself to spin around inside King's Cross yelling out random words like "poncho", "interesting hat", "bobbles", "great hair" a kind of Street Photography Tourettes, if you will. I became obsessed with a woman in a big fur coat and odd socks. I pursued her around the station trying to get an interesting shot. I'm fairly surprised she didn't contact security.

The warm-up exercise was multiple hands, there was a minimum but no maximum. I thought I might be late so my furtive hand shot was taken on the tube. I'm sure my neighbour passengers thought I was behaving very oddly, twisting around trying to get my angle!

I opted for monochrome for the street portraits and then colour for the details inside the station. The hilarity of the day continued down the pub and a few intrepid soul opted to brave the Lumiere crowds, eek!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Meeting the Leica Meet

When I came to the Sarah Lee BAFTA show at Leica Mayfair last October, the UK head of Leica suggested I seek out the Leica Meet group. I discovered you needed the right sort of Leica camera to join (well, to be fair, to exhibit) and as I'd just procured my gorgeous Leica Q (not one of those Panasonic collabs) I could join that hallowed group.

When I heard they were showcasing their book I would return to the Mayfair gallery space and meet my first Leica Meet-ers.

One rather eccentric looking guy approached me pointing at my Q slung over my shoulder asking what it was. Then, looking perplexed, demanded to know when it was launched. My responses were met with "Bah, digital! It's people like you that kill photography for professionals", and then flounced off clearly disgusted.

Luckily, everyone else, however, was lovely and there was some great photographs to admire.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

I see triangles....

Wrapped up very warm we headed for a pretty chilly China Town on the London Street Photography Meetup, channelling Henri Cartier Bresson and, seeking out triangle shapes. One of Polly's inspirational photos include a guy sat with his legs rather far apart, rather anti-social if he was sat next to you on the tube, but a pleasing triangle shape. There was a weary looking Chinese chef squatting down on the edge of staircase, not displaying the legs akimbo stance, but at least a possible triangle!

We were looking for a stage and waiting (patiently) for someone to step into our chosen mise en scène! Though I learnt one disadvantage of lurking in alleyways looking for interesting people, you might just find them. And they might not be so interesting, more intimidating and downright scary!

I felt I had to embrace monochrome again, if you're paying an homage to HCB, you just have to. Now I have to pick my favourite three to post on the Meetup page again, I don't seem to get any better at the curating lark. I opt to embrace crowd liking and asking those on Facebook to help me make the final decision.