Quite a few people have emailed me in the past to write about shooting cityscapes with a long exposure and I have repeatedly asserted that while it is not especially complicated, I am certainly no expert on the subject. In fact, finding the time to write an article about it was a much greater challenge!
There are probably more entertaining ways to spend a Sunday afternoon but this stunt display in a field in London was reasonably diverting. I had shot stunt shows before using a Nikon DSLR and the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8. But I knew my EM-5 had only contrast detection AF and was not really camera for shooting action. Nevertheless, there was only one way to find out how it would fare and I took it with me, along with the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 and 12-40mm f/2.8.
What do you do when people get in the way of your photographs, blocking the view and sometimes ruining your composition with their unwanted presence? Do you wait until they leave and make the area suitably vacant for your photography and ideal composition? Do you ask them to leave? Or do you use various photography techniques with filters and multiple exposures to remove all subjects from the scene? While all these methods can work, sometimes it is actually better to wait for the right moment and incorporate people in the scene.
It’s supposed to move you; to generate an emotional response. It’s about how it makes you feel, not just about how it looks. Anything from a single plain colour to highly complex dendritic patterns will have an effect of some kind. As photographers our judgement is sometimes so clouded by adherence to the strict parameters of good composition that we forget to see the subject and think about why we shot it. Was it really just about neatly filling a frame and fitting golden proportions? Or maybe something or someone intrigued us in that moment?
Let me first be clear. Anyone who knows me well would tell you I’m not a materialist and money is not my primary aspiration. I have food on my plate, a shirt on my back and a photographic imaging device around my neck; believe me, I’m happy. But if I had a pound (British Sterling) for every time someone asked to use one of my images for the reward of ‘exposure’ I could probably make a decent living as a photographer. Well, no, probably not. But often enough I get such a request from some organisation or company to use one of my images with the promise of ‘great exposure’ for my generosity. Presumably in the same way that a lottery ticket would expose one to the possibility of winning?
Just as the market is once again graced with higher resolution cameras, so too is the Internet awash with salivating consumers desperate to lap them up. Surely having a 50-megapixel camera will make them all much better photographers than they were 44 megapixels ago? The extra resolution must be the push they needed to take them from mediocrity to greatness.
A very warm and merry Christmas and upcoming Happy New Year to all readers of and visitors to Photography Life! Below is a selection of Christmas lights in London that I photographed tonight to celebrate the festive spirit (with the exception of the first image which was shot 2 years ago). Warm congratulations to all contributors and readers on their photographic endeavours this past year. May your success continue well into the New Year, with greater focus, passion and undiluted pleasure. Here’s hoping Santa brought you all the gear you asked for!
So this time of year in the United Kingdom, many people will be enjoying fireworks displays and bonfires to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night. For those who aren’t familiar with the night, Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses Of Parliament (Westminster Palace) on the 5th November 1605, but he was caught and executed. Thus every year on that date he is burned in effigy (less so nowadays due to health and safety concerns) and a fireworks display usually accompanies.
Back in May of this year Nasim visited London and kindly invited local followers of PL on a photowalk. All the participants greatly enjoyed that experience and came away with pleasing images. Well, a couple of months ago, I met up again with one of those participants, Theresa, for a photowalk in London and we decided to challenge ourselves to take the same route again and capture new images from it.
Let me show you what an old man can do. I’m not talking about myself, of course; rather that’s what my 8-year-old DSLR said to me before I went walking in Epping Forest yesterday. Given the rate of change of digital technology, 8 years may as well be 28 years. And most consumers are conditioned into thinking that only the newest and latest gear can deliver the best shots, and anything old is obsolete. But just because something is old doesn’t meant it’s not useful.