Street Photography Cliché nr. 2: Using anything other than a wideangle lens for SP is the spawn of the devil (sigh!)

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Floodings in Oxford, UK. 2007.

Before I start this latest rant of mine, let’s just be plain honest about it:

Don’t we all secretly (or openly, as it is my case) hate the so-called purists?

I mean, they’re everywhere: be them audiophiles (or, as the hydrogenaud.io community has grown accostumed to call them, “audiophools”) who make the simple and pleasant  habit of listening to music a thing only enjoyable by a few, golden-earred, middle-aged, rich, equipment fanboys… or then, middle-aged men (again!) who, just because they own an expensive, branded motorbike, think they’re in the right to sport a stiff upper lip, as if the road belonged only to their brotherhood, to whomever dare to take their “lesser”, low-HP, two-wheeled motorized vehicle for a Sunday afternoon ride, just to enjoy themselves.

In summary: these killjoys are everywhere! No matter what field of hobbies/entertainment you decide to take up on for the sheer enjoyment of the activity (just like it should be to every hobby), you’re bound to find such group of people whom, thinking themselves as some kind of Olympic demigods, think (better, are sure) they’re in the position to dictate the fashion; to shun whomever dare not to follow their gospel  (which they’d blindly absorbed from some other equally stiff-upper-lipped twat, no questions asked) just because that’s what they think you should do in order to enjoy said  past-time, hobby or craft you’ve decided you’re gonna take up from now on, in order to just have a good time.

Give credit to those preciosists (I also have openly hated this word since day one), and you’re bound to become just like them: a flock of trend-obeying, fashionistas who are in just for the sheer joy of pestering other people who dare to challenge whichever stupid jargon, cliché or blind faith they dutifully follow like sheep!

Yes, boys and girls, photography-wise, this time we’re gonna talk about that cliché  which is like religion to some “street photographers”:

“When it comes to street photography, only wide angle lenses will do!”

Oh boy! Where should I start at on this one?

First, thinking as the majority of people who could not give a rat’s backside to just another silly commandment meant to take the fun out of photography, this has obviously got its roots in the fact that, 99.99% of the great street photography masters of yore have used, said wide angle lenses 99.99% of times, in the taking of their ad-hoc masterpieces…

Of course they have! That’s what, they owned most of (if not all of) the time, to start with! It’s a simple fact of life that optitians have come a long way in terms of mastering long lenses’ weight, size and later, in the second half of these +150 years of photography (think Kodachrome) chromatic aberration as well! A quick read at the late and great Geoff Crawley’s  technical (but down-to-earth) articles in the pages of old Amateur Photographer or Shutterbug issues will show you just that.

We should obviously take into consideration that fixed focal lenghts were the de facto standard (arent all standards in fact, erm, de facto?) and that, zoom lenses, along with SLR cameras, were, till the beginning of the second half of the 20th century, still a novelty – and so were their spread-out use.

Fact is, we should all look up at the work of the old masters of the last two centuries for sheer inspiration, but we are free to go on and try our own technique – not just bl**dy emulate them!

And so the legend took wings in the hands of the purists…

Their usually blazé approach to not using zoom lenses with (glup!) telephoto ends have only contributed to the vast majority of portfolios looking like they were taken, apart from a few exceptions like Meyerowitz’s or Parr’s,  by exactly the same person! They just don’t want (dare) getting out of their comfort zone  – even though they claim it’s us telephoto users who are the cowards “by not getting up and close to our subjects” in the first place.

I (un)politely beg to differ: at least we dare shooting with a piece of equipment they’ve usually written off their gear list as worthless and, most importantly, come back home with a photograph we wouldn’t have taken in the first place, had we given ears to their gospel and only carried wide angle glasses in our bags in the first place!

I mean, at least we don’t bow to archane teachings that only a certain equipment will do (think of the audiophiles’ overly-expensive gear or stuckup bikers’ one-branded rides) whilst in fact, photography per se, should be all about going out and taking a photograph in the first place!

Some of my shots used to illustrate this article were taken with (preciosists, you should look away now) even a 400-milimeter lens!

Why? Either because that was the only glass I happened to carry at that time (on my way to or from a bird-shooting trip) or that, most importantly my distance to the subject at that very precise (decisive) moment happend to be dozens of yards and it was either taking that very shot there and then or coming home empty-handed! Zero! Nothing! Nada!

For shots like these, (or for their own peace of mind) quite probably the same preciosists have coinned terms like “candid” or “photojournalism” to designate said telelphoto shots – I still call them street photography! First because they’re mine and I dare call them whatever pleases me – the viewer though, is free to agree or disagree and call them the above or even “Gertrude” or “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” shots – it’s a free world after all!

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London black cabs at the traffic lights

My pickle with these people is that, from the height of their self-assumed expertise they see themselves in the right to justify their (usually) mediocre, monkey-see-monkey-do portfolios (just like audiophools do when having their purist concepts challenged into taking part in scientifically-sound ABX blind tests that would prove their hearing being none better than the average Joe’s) with jargons and teachings that seem to add nothing to the enjoyment of photography per see.

If anything with such attitude they’re only driving more newbies into this weird, downward spiral that street photography has seem to become: a series of cliché photos that day in, day out, make street photography look like a thing for a few good men only! That is, they’re paying a real disservice to street photography!

Wide angle obviously have great optical (and psychological) effects exclusive of their own (interaction, “being there”, etc.) but if they’re arent careful with their preaching, they be also contributing to subjects that end up being photographed as if they were rabbits in the headlights, and that’s definitely no good!

On the other hand, little said newbiews will know that they’d be probably missing on a few great effects inherent to longer focal lenghts, such as compression, subject isolation, etc.

So, one just have to ackonwlege that, whatever you use to photograph street scenes, can and will be called “street photography” – no denial about it. Fact is, purists won’t just acknowledge that and spread misinformation. And that, in my opinion, is a real shame!

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Teen gathering. Bristol, UK.

 

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Photographic Cliché Nr 1: Spiral staircases

We all have seen that kind of shot: an elaborate composition; lighting is always great; it’s a nice bird’s eye view of an everyday object that would certainly be a strong contender in say, a photographic contest, were it not for it being one our modern world’s most exploited, good-for-nothing, fat, shameless clichés!

Just to have an idea of what I’m whining about, on gurushots.com, (though over there, contests are not exactly bonafide contests per se), but a quick glance at its ‘challenges’ (as they call their mini-contests over there) will show you that, unless one of them  has for a theme something as specific as “Rotten Apples Galore”, you are sure to find said curvy subject by the truckloads on that site.

It’s not the administrators’ fault: unless a shot hurts their T&C, or doesn’t match the specifications required for a challenge, there’s nothing they can do to curb said cliché shots from being there in the first place.
My pickle is actually with the community (ie., the viewers) which at least, can simply educate itself in terms of what actually an original photograph looks like and forgo voting for said clichés – but it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere else anytime soon, I’m afraid. And us viewers, who cast votes/likes on said poor use of one’s creativity, are also to blame, as we simply carry on given these incentives to whomever is lazy/uncreative enough to still resource to them in order to get recognition.

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Copyright (c)2017, Nilson Bazana

I know that sits well with novices into the photographic business, but I’ve learned to detest it so much that I simply refuse to shoot one! So much so that this post’s image is meant to be merely illustrational to that which I think is the main culprit in this monkey-see-monkey-do afair of photo clichés: laziness! That’s the conclusion I got to after analysing several other cliché shots (which by their turn, are still to be shamed in future posts over here, so come back to witness more flogging).

So, to avoid it, a good start is to, first of all, learn to recognize its mediocrity and, if you really want to turn the tables, approach that very subject in a whole new perspective by shooting it from different angles or using other techniques – I dunno! All I know is, the earlier we start avoiding resourcing to clichés the better, as we’ll be doing the photographic (and our eyes) a huge favour!

 

My Canon 50D’s shutter count: 214,890 – and counting!

Many people consider a high shutter actuation count the spawn of the devil and try to avoid as the plague, having a camera with a high mileage.
My old 50D and I beg to differ…

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timer-32 ( 3 MIN READ)

If there is something that the photographic world is full of is assumptions:
“Anything other than shooting RAW should be avoided at any cost”;” if your creative output has reached rock bottom a new camera will sort it out straight away”; “street photography with anything other than a rangefinder camera and a 35mm lens is for the heathen” – the list is endless!

As if such concepts during the shooting stage, weren’t already dumb enough, there are others that are there to bug – whomever gives them any credit – even from the moment you’re still buying your camera! One of them is, as this post’s title implies, the “shutter count” – as many have grown used to call it.

For those not conversant with all photo lingo out there yet, this feature implies in how many photographs your camera has taken since it left the factory.

Okay, common sense dictates that, due to wear and tear, mechanical devices tend to present a certain expected lifespan: it’s just like that with your car, your mobile phone and, for some people, even their marriage – sorry, I digress…

Anyway, as you may already know, the word on the street is that photographers looking for a second hand SLR body, should avoid, at any cost, buying a camera whose shutter actuation tally surpasses 50K or so – some go for 75 or 100k shots as a threshold – just like with cars, your mileage may vary.

A famous playwright in my native Brazil, Nelson Rodrigues, once said:  “all unanimity is stupid”. So, you, as anyone else, is free to follow whatever common wisdom you want, but as we’ll see in this post, gross generalisations thrive amongst photographers. This is just another one!

This generalisation, doesn’t take into account for example, that some people might be on a budget and, if they need an SLR body (probably the only one they might be able to afford for the time being) they’ll either have to wait for a newer body or bite the bullet and buy that apparently-worn out sample and try their luck. And this is exactly what I did a couple of years ago when snapping an online auction (in fact, a buy-it-now listing) of a 7-to-8 year-old Canon 50D SLR for a fraction of the price the “newer” copies of the same model were being sold at at that moment.

Fast-forward a few days and, on opening the parcel the camera came into, I was happily surprised to find out the seller had thrown in, without telling me so, not only a 4GB compact flash card (for the camera’s inherent 15 megapixel shots, that’s quite reasonable a capacity) but also a Canon EFS- 18-55mm kit lens. Okay, I already had a Sigma 17-70mm lens, but since everyone who follows this blog knows it, I use a telephoto most of the time, so, besides the huge savings I made on buying a though rather old, but great camera, and to top the bargain up a bit, I ended up selling the Sigma lens for a price twice that I had spent on the afore-mentioned camera plus kit lens! Oh! Looking in retrospect, that purchase also enabled me to sell my other newer 50D camera as well! So, if I paid something around 100 dollars for the camera+lens+CF card, I, on the other hand, sold the Sigma lens for around 250 dollars and the newer camera for another 300 – not bad!

Obviously the Sigma lens is miles ahead of the kit lens in terms of focal lenght and image quality – and, to be perfeclty honest, the cheaper len’s aperture is stuck so I only get to shoot it wide open, but since I shoot mostly, grainy street photography shots, IQ, sharpness and what-not  is more a concern of pixel peepers’ than my own.

So, only last night, on checking my camera’s shutter actuations via the EOSinfo Windows app, I found its shutter has reached the ripe old age of 214,885 photographs taken! Add to that tally the handful of shots for this post’s illustrational shot, of my home’s water metre, and there you go: 214,890 in total, as you can see below.

EOSinfo

I cannot recall where exactly I read that Canon itself estimates 100,000 actuations as the defacto for its XXD range (10D, 20D, 50D, etc.). But, I would rather take heed of the more realistic statistics (based on camera owners contributions) of the bare-bones but excellent Camera Shutter Database, which, according to hundreds of contributions, states that, for this camera model in particular we can expect:

“Average number of actuations after which shutter is still alive: 70,682.6
Average number of actuations after which shutter died: 100,398.9

I’ve already fed in my camera’s tally. Don’t be shy of searching for your model, as the home page only displays a small group of rather older camera models.

So, with this post, I hope to show you, once again, that (surprise!) whatever people usually take for granted in terms of camera lifespan, it is only to be used as an estimate and with a pinch of salt: do not shun a good bargain, if you see one, only because people told you to do so!

 

 

Photo story – “Green Park, London, Autumn 2004”

seila   2 min read. Three, if you give yourself time to take in the shots 🙂

With this post, I’m just kick-starting this series, where I try to reveal both technical details  as well as the story and inspiration behind some of my shots which either some of my social media viewers or buyers  have previously asked me about.

I it helps somehow illustrate whatever interpretation you make of them. Please drop me a few lines in the comments below, if either you came up or imagined something else or disagree with some of my ponderations. As someone said it more or less: (I promise that, given the time, I’ll reasearch whom)

Once published, the work doesn’t belong to the artist anymore.

The Story

There was I wandering in awe, at the more than usual plethora of umpteen shades of yellow and orange in Green Park, London in an clear afternoon (yes, clear!) of an drier-than-usual Autumn, as we were having in the capital that year.

That alone allowed me to be lucky enough to take some “keepers” home that day, but my then-shoddy “bridge camera” (cameras that were neither a digital compact nor an SLR were called that, back then) due to its inherent low pixel count (3 megapixels!) ended up compromising another one of a jogger (runners hate being called that, apparently) amongst nothing but dried leaves – the texture of the leaves proved to be too much for the low-res sensor to handle and it came out rather pixelated in some areas – which you can check out by  yourself by clicking on the thumbnail below.

Jogger Amongst Leaves

‘Jogging Amongst Leaves’ early Fujifilm Finepix S500 – f/5, 1/80s, ISO 200 – 320mm equiv. focal length.

But, exactly 51 minutes earlier (the shots’ EXIF data has been properly taken care of) at 12.03pm, I had stumbled upon the following scene, which is in fact the one this post deals with:

Hero Father

Same Finepix S500, same ISO (the minimal the camera offered but quality was still dreadful) but this time 1/100 for the shutter speed on f/9 for aperture (later I would learn diffraction would make matters even worse on these small sensors). Focal length was 31mm (roughly 135mm on full frame)

I must say I was already starting to plan my shots in advance at that early stage – either at home or, in this case, whenever chance came upon me; so, I just waited a few minutes, luck me, for someone to walk into the scene – one person that is, as the place at that time of the day (and on a Wednesday, mind you) was nothing but emptied of groups o both Londoners on their way to/from their lunch breaks, or tourists bound to cross the park, coming from Buckingnham Palace, towards Hyde Park Corner.

The Inspiration

I cannot recall whether the idea for the title sprang to my mind there and then or later on, in front of my then Pentium III computer (“Hero Father”, for those whom didnt’t bother reading the captions) but it was down to my early years in my native Brazil where an eponymous soap opera opening credits dealt with a jigsaw puzzled being assembled, which turned out to be this:

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Go figure the archane matching processes our neurons go thorugh to come up with a memory of the latter triggered by the earlier shot!

Do you agree with me on that?

IPTC Keywords: Do it on all your photo library, but not on all of your photographs.

seila  ( 4 min. read)

Or “How I Learned to Stop Inserting Metatags on Each  Photograph I Took and Automatically Improved My Search Results”

Any blatant reference to the classic Blake Edwards comedy aside, it is probably the sheer elation I felt recently, after I stopped being unrealistically fussy about how to properly use meta tags on my photographs, and decided on the course of action I’m about to tell you about, that has compelled me to write these lines in the hope I’m somehow striking a new ground of sorts here. Why?
First of all, because saying I’ve been on this road before for quite long a time (ie., searching for a magical serum that would suddenly get me rid of all of my meta tagging ailments) is perhaps, the very definition of the word understatement, as  rewinding my mind back to the now-distant years of 2004-5, I am reminded that’s when I first bought a digital camera (they were more frequently called that, with a deliberate emphasis on the “digital” part),  as well as a a boxed copy (another expression going in disuse) of ACDSee image organizer, (then o version 5.0)  I already was in the impression that proper metatagging of my then-budding “digital” collection from the word go, was, erm,  the way to go.

What followed after that as the decade progressed, was a parade of different PCs (another oldfashioned word, perhaps going the downward path of “digital”), laptops, operating systems (mostly Windows, sometimes, but in moments of lucidity, Linux) and consequently, changing from ACDSee to another piece of free software, be it Digikam, Xnview or paid (Adobe Lightroom) software.

So, to the first conclusion I got to?

Well, that whatever software you happen to use to help you out on that endeavour matters less than, first, finding a method and sticking to it!

So, asI think  I cannot stress this last statement’s importance enough, I’ll write it over  again, but this time, rewording, capitalizing it (no shouting intended) with the ad hoc double exclamation marks: CREATE YOUR OWN METHOD AND STICK TO IT!!

Why?After reading and watching related videos ad nauseam, I came to the conclusion that whatever method I created, it should solely meant to facilitate my finding my own images quickly, not all those people’s! I cannot say I got to it straight away: by a very long time I was in the fruitless hope someday, somehow, the clouds in the sky would clear up, heavenly rays of light would shine on me and the angels would blow their trumpets – the moment I learned something magical from someone in particular. Useless to say that moment has never actually happened!

Photoshop CS6 screenshot.

Photoshop’s metatag window (press CTRL+ALT-SHIT-I for it) with its many tabs, can be undeniably overwhelming as well as an overkill for most of us; making it therefore the last resort when it comes to metatagging your files. There are indeed better tools for that.

Only when I realized the monkey-see-monkey-do approach wouldn’t do me any favours, I realized I had to change, before any piece of software or tagging system, my own mindset about it.

Reaching such an “epiphany”, so as to speak, would require from myself (and no one else, first of all) to be able to answer a few, honest questions, such as “what do I really wante from keywords?” or “Are titles or comments really that important for me, as long as keywords enable me to find what I’m after?”, and so on. And it was answering questions of that kind, that I concluded, among other things, that:

– No fooling around with keywords I’d propably not be even looking for, such as those exclusively aimed at stock photography submissions – only those I’m prone to look for later on, are the ones I care to include.

_ I don’t have to be as specific with location as having to input, for that matter, IPTC fields such as city, state/province or IPTC country code, because, in the end of the day,  all I need to find my beloved photographs is the precise location where I was positioned when I took the photo (and the GPS coordinates will do just that) along with the location of the subject being shot, and those fields will more than suffice for that purpose.

– If all I want was to be able to find this or that shot representing a sequence of whatever theme, subject or whatever popped to my mind, it’s just about time I stopped tagging all similar photographs within an specific series and only picked and chose one or another from that series that would represent it (in the search results) as a whole.

The more than welcome side effect to this last decision was that I could bypass XMP   sidecars, for instance, because I simply dreaded the fact some programs in the future might have a mind of their onw (and they usually do!) and decided to give a rat’s backside to whatever .xmp sidecar file I’d carefully crafted a few years back. So to that, I decided I would keep my RAW files (or DNG, for some time) in subfolder of that particular photoshoot (mine are organized by whatever day they were shot on) and would create a duplicate JPG file from only a few selected shots that I may (or not) be processing/editing in the foreseeable future.

As I said, that’s my very own system – regardless of how daft or crazy others reading this might think it is, it simply works for me. And that’s what this article is all about after all; regardless of how radical you consider some of its ideas if it inspires you to go on and find your own method, I’m pretty certain it will have served its purpose.

With that in mind, I won’t even delve into more details of the bis and bobs of its workings, but I’ll just summarize my own method for the sake of illustrating this text:

1 – On two external hard drives I keep a synchronized (not a backup, mind you, as I want my storage method to be as platform-independent as possible) of a generic “Photographs” folder, in which subfolders respectively for year, month and day are created and, inside the latter a subfolder with all my RAW files for that day, but on the upper one, JPEG files from said RAWs – but only from a few representing shots – not the whole damn series!

2 – These JPEGs are then renamed by YEAR-MONTH-DAY HOUR-MIN-SEC plus a serial three-digit number (I used by sometime the in-camera filename, but that turned out to be a bit confusing) in order to avoid any namesake conflict.

3 – Said JPEG files are then give their appropriate IPTC keywords (which unlike the past decade, are now in fact store into the XMP section of the files. Plus: their respective IPTC title, sometimes a headline, altitude and latitude coordinates (easily done by the likes of ACDSee or Geosetter, for a freeware option), location (which is the actual place the shot takes place, not where I was positioned when I shot it, which usually are two whole different beast when you use a long telephoto lens! For this later, the GPS coordinates will take care of easily. The copyright disclaimer, which, in accordance to the IPTC guidelines is something like: ©2012 Jane Doe, all rights reserved. and sometimes for the hi-res TIF files created from processed RAW, the number of megapixels (it gives me a quick assessment of whatever restriction a particular photo might have for any photo contest or even print size) – which is something XNVIEW image organizer quickly shows on one of its EXIF fields.

XnviewMP screenshot

XnViewMP customized to my own needs. 1) My folder structure 2) A subfolder within a day with the untouched RAW files 3) Information literally at my fingertips 4) Colour and Star-rating system 5) Where I get the megapixel field from.

4 – I also take advantage of the colour-taggin system (ever more present these days in the same XMP field for apps as varied as ACDSee, Adobe LR and XnView, for instance, plus the 1 to 5-star rating system, itself usually read by all of those same software titles.

And, that’s it! I’ve got only the shots that really matter physically organized on my hard drives, appropriatelly keyworded, tagged and ready to be put to good use  whenever I need them. What else could I ask for apart from more patience time for doing that to a +30K photo library!?

As I said before, these are my two cents to a personal meta-tagging system that do work for me. Go and find your own!

 

 

 

Project #1: The City of London at Its Quietest – continuation

timer-32 ( 4 MIN READ)

As stated in the previous post that actually kick-started this urban photography project blog, ‘The City of London at its Quietest’, I furhter my impressions as to why this may be an interesting project to endevour into after all. Specially if you take into consideration the blatant fact that London’s own financial district can definitely be, during business hours, a daunting place, to say the least, for photographing less busy scenes. I mean, scenes devoid of all the hustle and bustle one typically finds taking place in that area during business hours. Not that us street photographers mind busy pavements and thoroughfares. It has notoriously been quite the opposite actually; as we usually have, for a century and a half – when film became fast enought to (kind of) freeze movement – tried, whenever possible, to include in our shots, as many people going by their business in public as possible – either for context or to help us tell a story.

But, (a sound ‘but’ here) sometimes, all we want to include in our shots is the odd single passer-by (or a small group of them, moslty) ‘interacting’, so as to speak, with their surroundings, or “no person at all”, as renowed street photographer James Maher rightly puts it on his ‘The Essentials of Street Photography‘.

In this post’s particular case, I couldn’t agree more with that assessment!

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Fleet Square, with an oddly-shaped sculpture whose colours, in my opinion, complement beautifully those of the flower bed’s – colours which were obviously maximized by the marvelous Kodak EBX positive emulsion I used to take this picture. Copyright (C) 2005 – Nilson Bazana

So my point is, for the sole purpose of “staying in” in The City, when most have gone away temporarily, is a great way to look at The Square Mile under an wholly different perspective.

That is, “The City”, as Londoners usually refer to it, under a much less crowded point of view than the one we are usually used to look at it from. This may proves, as it has to me, to be a great source of photographic opportunities, where that, weren’t for well-known landmarks (by Londoners, at least), might as well not being recognized as belonging into the Square Mile, at all – even by a cab driver!

Out of hours, The City’s dwellers play hide N’ seek – it’s up to us to search them!

The Wikipedia entry for The City, informs us its population shrinks, by the time the last desk lamps are switched off, or office cubicles’s real estate start to be taken over by the armies of dutiful cleaners, from hefty 300,000 inhabitants (actually commuters) to a much humbler 7,000-resident figure! (a recent documentary presented by Stephen Fry claims those numbers to be 400,000 and 8,000 -a more up-to-date figure, perhaps?

Statistical differences apart, it’s obvious this abysmal shift deficit of its inhabitants’  tally, does account for the quietness, solitude (even eeriness, sometimes!) you might feel, by literally losing yourself in irs umpteen roads, alleyways and narrow passages.

Coming Across a True Phenomenom

I personally came to think more of this phenomenon in particular, when I was freelancing, in the mid noughties, not as a photographer, but as a chef for the freelancing division of world-wide catering giant Sodexo. (I still make no secret that I’ve always been a proud amateur snapper – with the odd weekend assignment – without ever becoming a full pro).

As that job took me everywhere in London (one week I’d be in the London Underground’s head office  – which unbeknownst to even seasoned Londoners, is underneath St. James’s Park station – to popping into to the massive kitchen in the UK branch of PricewaterhouseCoopers in The Embankment, or the to Fleet Street, in a much smaller kitchen for the cafeteria for a law firm – I’ve seem them all!

So, I recall leaving my job mid afternoon (start early, finish early, that’s one of the few perks of being a chef) on Fridays usually, and, after dealing with one or another personal engagement, strolling eastwards –  camera loaded with some 36-exposure transparency or B&W film ready to fire hanging from my neck – thinking: “I’m gonna walk at my heart’s content till the lights get too dim.”
Thinking in retrospect, security guards in those days were definitely more lenient on those pre-July 7 Bombings days, than it is the case nowadays, as I walked freely in and out of said buildings during working hours, without even a single eyebrow being risen as to the contents of my rucksack!

So, what really struck me was how different the district in question looked as the afternoon advanced towards its end: private owned sandwich shops, unlike the likes of  Subway, were, by 4 pm, all shut; there were less buses, taxis… and, above all, much less people on the streets. Cleaners and other contractors – whom you usually saw during the week mostly through thick glass windows, and only after dusk had settled in – were now outside, washing the pavement, putting the rubbish out (trash, for you lot across the pond) or having a fag. In summary: both quietness itself and contractors had, by late afternoon, almost totally taken over a large chunk of the Square Mile!

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Only a stone’s throw from Fleet Place, short, crescent-shaped Limeburner Lane starts up just off Old Bailey criminal court – only to end up, a few hundred yards ahead, on Ludgate Hill, opposite the City Thameslink station. As this was taken during the same photographic stroll of the photo above, the film is the same Kodak EBX. Thought not a great photograph, and this scanning in particular not making justice to the emulsion’s dynamic range, one can easily tell the lonely figure is all but a blue-collar city broker. Copyright (C) 2005 – Nilson Bazana

And so I proceeded to shoot, as you can see by the diversity of places and different times of the day  the shots illustrating this and the previous post show, and on on my website on www.nilsonbazana.com or Instagram feed.

So, what are your own experiences in this charming place? Do you concur with what I’ve just said or had a totally different experience there? Feel free to drop us a few lines and let us all know it, if you like.

On the other hand, if this somehow inspired you to make incursions into the City of London with the sole purpose of photographing its inherently-quiet weekends’ and holiday’s loneliness, I couldn’t recommend this enough, as great photography project.

Project #1 – The City of London at Its Quietest (or any other busy urban area you know, for that matter)

Edit – November 2016: Entry’s title changed to reflect the new direction this blog heads for from now on. (Come on! We all are allowed to change now and then, arent’t we?)

Roaming the streets of London, camera hanging from the neck, occasionally snapping the odd street scene, is certainly an experience many a British or cosmopolitan photographer (myself included in this latter group, as I left London for other shores quite some time ago) won’t easily forget:
Brushes with tourists ever avid to make the great capital in a couple of days; your own wondering of where the heck those pickpockets the police sign tells you to beware of,  are actually lurking from at that precise moment; the odd overzealous London cop (bobby) inquiring the heck of you as to your actual purpose (if any) for photographing a certain government building – the list is endless!

But before anything, a little disclaimer of sorts: please, mind you who may not have had the honour/pleasure/heart (your mileage may vary) of visiting the well-known capital of Buckingham Palace, Harrod’s, black cabs and red buses yet (you definitely should!):

The “City of London” referred to in the title of this entry and along its lines, is not London itself, but its very own financial district instead, which is called just that. So, think of The City of London to London, what you’d think of Wall Street to New York. Cappice?

Moving on with the post itself, on my own personal level and keeping to its photographic theme (lure), something I’ve got accustomed to, when it comes to photographing The City, is eagerly awaiting for weekends in order to catch a rather different glimpse of “The Square Mile”, as it’s also known as. Don’t get me wrong: I love getting lost among the bubbling crowds of tourists and execs alike – from Fleet Street to Liverpool Street:
It’s just that, by only sticking to photographing it during those busy hours/days, you might be missing a certain character of that area seldom seen on the average “street photograph”, so as to speak.

So, as I start at this moment pondering over the pros and cons of said habit, I invite you to wait for the weeks to come for the next installments as to why shooting scenes in one of London’s busiest neighbourhoods – but at its quietest time – was by some time, a rather hard-to-break habit of mine.

So, I’ll be naming, on those oncoming entries, the right time, nooks and corners of that adorable concrete jungle which may as well strike the same creative chords in your photography – as I’d like to think it did to mine, back then.

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I know, the example above is not exactly a technically-perfect one to illustrate this brief introduction (more serious ones are still to come, promise!) but it does depict that solitude I strive to contrive (haven’t  I just come up the loveliest rhyme?) when being there at the right time (wrong for most) of the day and week. It depicts Carter Lane, at its narrowest alleyway-like part, on a quiet Saturday afternoon.

o-o

TECHNICAL BIT (USUALLY SEEN BY PIXEL PEEPERS ONLY!): The film I used for the shot above was the now-defunct (what a surprise!) Kodak Elite 400, pushed to 800 – hence possibly, the low dynamic range (even for slide film) that ended up curbing my attempt at not having a washed out sky – I’d obviously exposed for the shadows, on the handful of frames I shot of this scene (I’d always do exposure bracketing with my Canon 50e – even though that camera’s light meter is a notoriously outstanding one). Nonetheless, I think it conveys the theme I’ve been on about in the last few lines.

More on that later! Continue reading