London: A different take


Sunrise over my gardenRecently with more time available to me, I’ve had the time to get back into one of my creative passions, photography.

My love of the art came about in 2004, when without any prior thought on the matter I went and bought myself a ‘pro-summer’ digital camera.  At the time it was what one would call a considered purchase at just under £400.  These days you could get more pixel for your pound in a mobile phone.   But back then digital photography was only just coming to a point where everyone was ditching the tried and trusted film camera and going full on with digital media.

It boasted 3.5 mega pixels and a 10x optical zoom. Pretty decent going, and yet like with computers in the later 1990’s and early noughties, with ever faster and more powerful models so the digital camera has developed at alarming speed.  And like with computers being able to pack more MHz in a processor so the key selling point was ever more mega-pixels.

You can now get a compact digital camera with over 12 mega-pixels, but in truth your average Joe blogs will never need half as much.  Sure, over a given amount the pixel count does improve image quality and one gets finer details and crisper images.  But you really only need worry about huge numbers of pixels if you are going to blow up your images to mount on your walls.  It really comes down to a mix of pixel count and the optics.  I won’t bore you with details of such, but suffice to say you can have the same number of pixels on one camera and another with a a better lens will give amazing quality differences.

I digress.  I’ve amassed over the years a great number of images, and equipment.  I notice how my style is very different to the next persons, and firmly believe if one was to give 5 people the same camera and scene to photograph, you would have 5 very different images.  We all add our own ‘take’ on what we see and how we want that to be captured.  It is what makes photography to me so interesting and endless in terms of creativity.

It has been a long time since I have been out and about with a camera.  In recent months I experimented with time-lapse photography, where one takes several hundred or even thousand images and when stitched together and played back at 30 fps you will get a moving, speeded up film of what you have taken.  It works best if the main part of the frame does not change but traffic, people or the sky are dynamic and so adds a great deal of interest.  You simply do not see such changes go on normally, say from sunrise to sunset compressed into a minute of footage is something that happens every day around us, yet to witness as a single event is truly breathtaking.

I have produced three short films.  Two of them were made up of images taken between 2006 and 2009.  I wanted to bring some calm, beauty and wonder back to a city of which many who live here take for granted.  I am talking of course about London.  For if you are not a tourist, it becomes all so very mundane to see the same places, crowds and the like.  Yet take such in a different light and a whole new experience is created.

London: The Ghost City is in fact filmed on a small mini camcorder.  But by going around the city and it’s twisting streets and alleyways in the early hours of the morning one gets to see the city in a new way.  Once bustling streets now void of life, dark alleyways and mysterious  places come alive with wonder and what is lurking just around the corner.  Whilst the finished result was not as ‘scary’ as hoped would be, it at least gives a very different view point on what goes on after dark.

London. After Dark is a collection of photos taken around the capital.  I wanted to capture a electric feel to the city as it comes alive in the evening, I also used another technique around Greenwich using small torches thrown up in the air, or run around in front of the camera while using long exposures.  Because everything else is lit from ambient light, and because I am moving during the exposure – I merge into nothingness while the bright light traces ‘burn’ into the image as if bolts of lightning zig zagging around.  It is something I want to return to as there is so much fun that can be had and such amazing images that result.

London At Dawn is a collection of images taken over the years as the sun rises over the capital.  From near my home to one of my favourite places to photography, the River Thames.  Light is everything to a photographer as it changes so much what the final result will be.  Personally speaking, will sunrise and sunsets are seen by many as ‘cheesy’ they still hold a very beautiful warmth and comfort to the eye.  I also feel that sunrise is a very peaceful and still moment.

Unlike a sunset where the bustle of the day is still at full tilt, sunrise is calm, a clearer and cleaner light and something that can evolve into a myriad of colours and hues in a matter of minutes and then be gone.  There is also something satisfying about being out and about at such a time, you feel more in touch with what is going on around you and a feeling of calm which leads to excitement as a new day begins .

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