For the past few weeks the United Kingdom has been undergoing a period of turbulent, momentous and mesmerising political events. Rest assured I have no intention of discussing politics here; this site is not for that. But there are decades when nothing much happens for weeks on end and then suddenly a week when a decade’s worth of events thunders down in a blurry, breakneck deluge. Instead of trying to keep up with the speed of our evolving future I felt like taking a moment to revisit the past and seek contemplation and reflection in the company of some of the architects of our history (you can tell I’m a simple guy).
Parliament Square in London is a congregation of statues, monuments to statesmen who have shaped human or national history in some way or another.
Capturing them a couple of weeks ago provided me with some perspective and some time to relax and breathe. Far more than can be said for the poor journalists stationed around the place trying to keep up with the furious pace of events.
Now these were mostly shot with a DSLR, for no particular reason except that it was gathering a little dust and I felt like a change. As much as I enjoy (and prefer) my m4/3 gear, I have no qualms about committing infidelity to the format and I’ll use whatever imaging device is in my hands to get my images.
I can tell you that I quickly remembered why I don’t use the DSLR very often. The flip-out touchscreen on my m4/3 camera enables me to remain standing while using the camera to compose in all sorts of angles and positions and touch to shoot. Having to use the DSLR’s viewfinder, however, required me to make all sorts of contortions lying on the ground, standing on people’s heads or hanging from cranes to get my shots. Well, OK, it wasn’t really that bad but I had grown out of using the viewfinder. Touchscreens are my preference. Perhaps that means I’m not a ‘proper’ photographer but I don’t care.
Obviously the DSLR kit is much heavier than the m4/3 stuff and as fit as I am it was often a struggle to drag it all behind me in the trailer. Well, ok, it wasn’t really that bad but I had become used to a lighter kit.
Now before the DSLR faithful start verbally lynching me let me say that I am not complaining. I still like my DSLR; that’s why I’ve kept it. I also like both the lenses I used with it to make these shots, namely the 35mm F/2 and the 50mm F/1.8.
Furthermore, the phase detection autofocus and slightly greater dynamic range on the DSLR were potentially a luxury I had missed on my m4/3 kit.
A couple of days before this shoot, I had also visited Hughenden Manor, the home of former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. For these images I did use my m4/3 kit.
Again, looking for some quiet reflection and contemplation, this place is as serene and as welcoming as you’ll find.
Of course, there’s so much else going on in town that I couldn’t resist a little indulgence on the other side of the river.
The South Bank is always busy with street entertainers and bubble guys, and thus always full of opportunity.
This shot below was made a few months earlier with my m4/3 kit. I have included it here because the subject matter is similar and demonstrates one can get the shot regardless of the type of camera/format one uses. And I like bubbles.
It’s not just the entertainers that can be entertaining, of course. Passers-by and people who appreciate bubbles as much as I do deserve recognition too.
Well, I’m not sure I found any earth-shattering insights on this particular quest but it was nice to reflect and I had a good time taking photos as always. The sun might set on our glorious little island but I believe a brighter dawn always lies ahead.
Told you I was simple, didn’t I?
Nice photos, Which lens did you use?
Nish, on the DSLR I used the Nikkors 35mm AF-D F/2 and 50mm AF-G F/1.8. On the m4/3 I used the Olympuses 12-40mm F/2.8 and 45mm F/1.8.
Thank you for reminding the great personalities in simple shots
Thank you Ajay! :)
I am always amazed about creating a photographic story by the various authors who publish their work on PL. It is very inspiring and educational. Appreciate great time and effort spent by you guys. Wonderful work by Alpha Whiskey. I always enjoy your creative thoughts.
Thank you urodoc45! :)
You contributions to this website, including beautiful photographs as well as an upbeat, unpretentious, infectious enthusiasm make it stand out from all the rest. Keep them coming. (Right, Nasim?)
Thank you Anthony!
I think it’s only a minority of folks that like or relate to my work as I don’t wax lyrical about gear, but even if some of that minority is inspired to go out and shoot for themselves then it was worth it :)
Okay the statue photos are amazing… Haven’t seen people take really go photos of them. The Churchill one is the best!
Thank you Tina! :)
I am just reconnecting with my passion for photography and these posts are helping me think about how having an idea about a topic focusses the eye and the camera. As an expat Brit living in NZ and just returned from a visit to my “other” home, I found these pictures and the inspiration insightful. Its so easy to get caught up in the usual tourist images and then again I found myself trying to capture moments of my “home” to remember when I got “home”.
The images themselves here were great – thank you for sharing
Thank you Rosie! :)
great shots! Could you please share the equivalent and settings you used?
Thank you A shah. These were all shot in aperture priority between F/1.8 and F5, -0.3 EV, and ISOs between 200 and 1600 with the camera choosing the shutter speed. The mirrorless shots at Hughenden were made at ISO 1600 and F/2.8.
What a wonderfully intriguing selection of images. As someone who lives in London but doesn’t shoot this style of photography, it’s fascinating to see this take on some iconic landmarks and statues.
Thank you Alex! :)