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.
I only have my own images to present here, as I would never presume to display anyone else’s. And if Theresa decides to share her excellent images that is of course her prerogative. One change we made to the route was to start in St James’s Park instead of Trafalgar Square, but then continued the same route up the Strand, along Waterloo Bridge and down to the South Bank.
We decided not to restrict how many shots we could take, but I added a further challenge to myself by using only one lens (mounted on the Olympus EM-5) for all the photowalk shots, the Olympus 60mm F/2.8 (120mm equivalent FOV). The two long exposures at the end were taken with the Olympus 12-40mm F/2.8.
Even though I felt that I took a stronger set of images on the photowalk with Nasim, I still think this was a worthwhile exercise. Visiting the same location and trying to capture new scenes is good training for the eye, especially should the mind become jaded with it. As I have said on previous occasions, it is a challenge to be inventive and see different things in the same place over and over again.
Developing this skill allows you to apply it to any number of places and situations, even your own home, until eventually you instinctively see a potential photograph almost anywhere. Developing this ‘eye’ is what will set us apart from the merely ordinary, and dare I say, mediocre.
This can be a bit of a curse too, as many times while walking or driving somewhere, my eyes have seen something that my brain wants to turn into a photo, and I have deviated from my route. I don’t always succeed, sometimes staring at a scene for age while I try to eke out an interesting composition from it.
Sometimes I simply reconsider if the scene doesn’t hold my interest. “It just doesn’t move me enough,” is what I hear myself saying. In other words, an emotional connection to the scene, even if slight, will undoubtedly inform your perception. Don’t worry about what other people might think if they see your shot; haters will always hate. It’s your shot and has to resonate with you first. When it does, it will almost always be evident in the image. Finding this connection should also help you worry less about such things as corner sharpness and lens fringing and enable you to appreciate the image as a whole.
I’m perfectly happy being solitary in my photographic pursuits, but undertaking it with other people, as I often do, encourages me to work just that little bit harder and can be a lot more fun. Before Theresa and I sat down for a coffee and cake to compare our images I helped coach her in taking some night time long exposures, something she hadn’t tried before (don’t worry, I’m not claiming to be a teacher). Again, I only have some of my own examples to present here but she definitely got some excellent shots. It was a worthy endeavour.
Well, I’d encourage you to re-visit your usual or old haunts and try and see new things. It’s good training for the eye and when you visit someplace new you’ll be glad you had the practice. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my shots from the walk, and I hope you enjoy them.
Warm Regards, Sharif.