It’s been a little while since I last posted up on the blog (though not as long as on other occasions). I have been quite productive on the photography front, I just haven’t quite got it all ready to go just yet. So, I thought I would post up an image from the recent project and explain what I am trying to do.
This project is called Verdant. All of the photographs for it were taken during June in Grovely wood. I was out walking the dog one evening. I had a 70-200 telephoto lens with me as I was hoping to capture some images of the deer that can often be seen in the wood. I did get some photos of deer, but they were pretty average to say the least. Whilst I was there, I did capture some interesting images of the trees that caught my attention.
During the last month, I have tried to create a body of work using the greenery of the wood as a key theme. I have tried to construct images that work together using the idea of light, form and hue. The aim of the work is to try to build a series that is subtle in its focus, where the viewer looks at the images to see the similarities and differences between them. The work is about diversity, not in terms of the variety of images themselves but what they intend to illustrate.
I am quite a cognitive person, by and large. However, for this project I wanted to drop as many preconceptions as possible and go with the ‘flow’. I wanted all the images to have a family resemblance. The unpicking of what it all meant to me was to come later. For the project I just wanted to go with my feelings about the images. In my view, I think it worked well. It’s certainly an approach I will use again and develop more over time. Along with the winter images I took of the snow storms in Porthleven earlier this year, this has been my favourite work to date.
I will release more about the project, such as a video (and possibly some kind of Podcast), as I am looking to shake this blog up in the coming months and shift its focus a little. More on that to come…
Just found out that the Leica M7 has been discontinued. This is a camera that I had a lot of fun shooting until relatively recently, when I found that my street photography style [and eyesight!) was changing and more suited to a digital workflow. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I do actually miss that little camera…
For anyone who likes film street photography, the M7 is a very quick and accurate camera to use. The only real issue with the camera (apart from price, but hey it’s a Leica what do you expect?) is the somewhat shaky electronics. For me, as much as the Leica MP gets more of the plaudits, the M7 is actually better to use in practice.
Here are a couple of images that I took with the M7:
A little while ago I bought a micro four thirds camera as a pocketable decent quality family camera and a daily carry around street camera. In the time that I have shot with this small sensor size, it’s been great fun. As we are into long days at the moment, and I have been ridiculously busy recently, I haven’t had time to try it in low light. However, my hunch is that full frame will still be considerably better come the winter nights. I will test this out later in the year, and probably run a comparison between the two formats. Night street photography is my favourite aspect of the whole process, so getting a set up with fast auto focus, portability and decent image quality is important to me. Currently, the Sony A9 is the major front runner in this regard for me.
Back to micro four thirds though. I wasn’t sure how I was going to take to the smaller sensor size, as I have been shooting primarily full-frame for the 5 or 6 years now. But, for street photography, it’s not been a problem. I actually prefer it over the APS-C format of the Fuji’s. They are small cameras but not in the same ball park as the Lumix GX9. It looks more like a compact camera than a system camera. I haven’t really noticed too much of a difference in image quality for the work I do.
I have picked up a Panasonic Lumix GX9 to use as a portable family / street camera. Whilst my preference is for full frame images, even a camera like the Sony A9 is quite large (with the 28mm lens it’s fine, but the 24-70 G Master turns it into a bit of a beast). The GX9 is literally pocketable, which is great. It’s got a similar form factor to a film Leica / M10, well actually it’s even smaller. The lens is a 20mm (40mm FF equivalent) pancake lens. It’s a little long for me nowadays, but it does keep the camera very compact. No doubt, I will pick up the little 15mm (30mm FF equivalent) at a later stage. However, for the moment, I will just use the 20mm for a while to see what I can do with it.
Right now, I am just getting used to using the camera and how I need to use it to get the sort of images I like. Whenever I get a new camera (DSLR, Rangefinder or Mirrorless), it does take me a while to ‘get my eye in’ (i.e. to get used to seeing the sort of images I want to create). I find that by using a specific type of camera for a while, I tend to get into the swing of things. When I change from one type to another (such as from DSLR to mirrorless), it throws me out for a while. I am not sure if other people have a similar experience when they change cameras?
It doesn’t often matter about the camera, when I switched between a Canon DSLR and a Sony mirrorless, it wasn’t so much about the ergonomics – as I was used to them both (although ergonomically, the Canon was much better in my opinion). For me, it was more about the viewfinder experience and how that kind of messes things up for me.
Anyway, here are some test shots from my first little excursion with it this morning in Salisbury’s Saturday market.
One thing that I have mentioned before, probably quite a lot really ;), is the issue of having very little time to do photography amongst all the other demands of life. I was near Weymouth today and found that I had about 30 minutes to spare before needing to drive back to Salisbury.
So I went into town, found the local fish and chip shop and got myself a healthy standard British beachside meal (along with a full sugar-taxed Pepsi, just for added healthiness). Then, I thought, “I have 20 minutes, what can shots can I get in this space of time?” Turns out about 30 (most of which are complete rubbish). The best few I have posted up below. It was a quite fun to do and a good way to focus your attention when time is short (something that I really need to get better at in life generally, as my wife will no doubt testify to!).