I live about a mile and a half away from the nearest tram stop. It’s a long, straight road, with houses packing both sides. In fact it’s a pretty dull road all in all. And long. Walking it takes about 1/2 an hour. Did I mention that it’s straight? And Dull?

So following a successful Christmas shopping trip, I decided to walk home from that tram stop. The whole way, in the rain. To be fair, it wasn’t pouring down, but my coat wasn’t waterproof, I had no umbrella or hood. Of course I DID have my camera with me, so I set out to document my walk home. It was a little harder than I expected (mainly due the lack of anything but houses and pavement), but I think I did ok.

I tried hard to get the image I wanted in camera, and this time I feel like I got it bang on. So every image is straight out of camera, and the only thing Lightroom did, is organize and resize.

If you fancy a gander at the 9 chosen images, click the pic below. If you have something better/else to do that’s fine too.

Have a superb Christmas, and an awesome week.

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That time again…

The Christmas Markets have arrived in Manchester (Actually, they’ve been here over a week!) and as I was in town on Sunday, and had 40 minutes to spare so I thought I’d better take some pictures. It was a little easier than usual, as I was Wife free, so I could wander, and stop and take pictures as I pleased. It was also a good opportunity to get put a manual focus lens on, and get back to a slower way of shooting, waiting for the right opportunity, rather than trying to grab shots.I have to say I enjoy this style of picture taking. I feels a little more like ‘real’ photography. I also set myself the challenge of minimal post processing. It should all be done in Camera, if at all possible, and with one exception, I’m happy that I achieved my goal.

The markets are a great opportunity for some proper street photography, which is something I normally shy away from. My 100 Strangers project is starting to help me find it a little easier, and using the Fuji X-T1 I’m also really quite invisible, so unusually for me this time, there are people in my pictures. Not many I’ll admit, but I’m getting braver :-).

I don’t think there is any doubt as to whether these are documentary or not. For me, they fall very squarely in that camp. They tell a story of the Christmas Markets, and (some of) the people visiting them. Click on the image below, and see the full gallery if you fancy. No hard feelings if you don’t…

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After dark.

I had an hour to kill recently in Sale, so of course I took along my camera. By the time I was free to kill my hour, the light was starting to fade, and by the time my hour finished there wasn’t much light left at all. As the light faded more and more, I was reminded that Black and White photography is not just about the greys, and the tonal ranges, and patterns and textures, but it is also about Blacks and Whites.
By which I mean we mustn’t be afraid to let the blacks go black, for the shadows to be too dark to contain any detail, and for the highlights to blow out, leaving nothing but pure white. It adds a sense of drama, which is usually a good thing, especially in black and white.

It’s hard to find much to blow out the highlights at twilight, so I decided to let the shadows block up instead. It makes it look later and darker than it really was (who says the camera never lies?) but I don’t think it’s to the detriment of the images.

It may not be very clear cut, but I’ve decided that this is going to sit in Documentary. It tells the story of the light drawing in and the little town of Sale entering the evening. It may be strictly more photo essay than documentary, but I’m pretty sure the line between the two is blurred anyway.

You know what to do with the image below….

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London Calling

We spent a few days in London during the summer. Largely to show Small Child the sights, but also for the grown ups to catch up with some friends. Due to the animosity between Wife and Camera, I took the decision to take just one lens, as I knew stopping to change lenses was not going to be an option! My heart said the XF-56, but my head said the XF-27.

I knew the 27 would be the more flexible and versatile lens, and as I also had to take some holiday snapshot type pictures, it was no contest. This was after all a family holiday, and not a photo expedition!

So my challenge was to take pictures that were not only a record of our family holiday, but that I was happy with. I can’t say I did very well with the second part of that,but I’m happy with the first. And of course it’s important for me to remember that sometimes I don’t always have to take pictures that I like from point of view of a photographer. Sometimes I just have to take pictures I am happy with as a husband and father.

Documentary? Well they document our trip to London. You may not care for them, and they may not evoke any emotion in you, but for me, (and as the photographer I claim the right to choose the category), they are a lasting memory, and that’s the most important part. And it also asks questions about what is documentary photography. After all, if holiday snapshots can be documentary photography, then what else can?

Click on the image below to see my holiday pictures…

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Graveyard Shift, Part 3

The final part of my Graveyard images. There are a lot of angels in this churchyard, and I really enjoy photographing them. They can be quite a challenge, as the larger ones are mostly high up, and so difficult to present. There are some very small ones, which you might miss if you weren’t looking out for them. Unusually for me, some of these are also in portrait format. As usual click on the image below, blah blah blah…

(This post is mostly a filler. We got back from holiday late last night, small child can’t sleep, and I have a lot to do tonight. Maybe when I’m not so tired I’ll rewrite this properly, but in the meantime, thanks for reading.Especially if you got this far!)

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Is it right…

When Wife and I took a visit to the Tatton Park flower show, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to challenge myself. How to photograph a subject which is all about colour, in black and white?

It really is quite a challenge, but I think I did an ok job. I think the trick is to realise that most flower pictures depend on the colour to separate the various elements of the image. Converting a colour image to black and white can leave an image which is to busy,and simply looks messy.

I have tried to keep this in mind both during shooting, and selecting my final images. Some of these do actually work better in colour, but I think they all work well enough in black and white. In fact you could simply argue that the colour images are not better,but different. They have impact for another reason. and that is what I like about black and white photography.

Are they Documentary? No, not these. Again, there is no story, no coherence. They can be viewed individually, or in any order and nothing changes.

As always, click the image below, for the full gallery.

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It’s not about the camera…

The other day, whilst lusting after the Fuji X-T1, I was reminded that it is not about the equipment, it’s about the image. The final, finished image. No matter what kit was used, and how it was post processed (or not) so long as it lives up to the photographers vision (or clients if it’s paid work) then that’s all that matters.

So this past few days, I have used my phone to take some pictures, and edit them in camera. Lightroom was used purely for cataloging and export.

They are not great images, but I had fun making them.And I like them enough that one or two will be hanging on my wall shortly.

I still want an X-T1 though…!

Click the image below for the full gallery.

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