Using a Ricoh GRD III and a Nikon DSLR to photograph streets, people, architecture and anything else that catches my eye.

Friday, 25 May 2012

London - The West End

One of the great things about blogging is actually meeting up with fellow bloggers. I have been following Iesha Small's blog, One life, many shots, for several weeks now; especially as she is a Ricoh GRD3 user like myself, and also because her images are accompanied with well written explanations and back stories.  Check her blog out.  We finally arranged a meet up in the West End of London this week, where she also introduced me to yet another photo enthusiast, Nick.

At 6.30pm, life around the West End is still full of day time people, shoppers, workers and commters. Here are a few shots I grabbed on arrival:

After meeting up, first visited the new Photographers Gallery, which I would highly recommend. After this, we wandered around the back streets of Oxford Street and Soho, which are amazingly vibrant and colouful, packed with after-work drinkers and early evening club arrivals. We walked by a constant stream of bars and restaurants, with tables and customers flooding out onto the pavements outside.  It was the hottest day of the year so far (27 degs in May); and even though the light was fading, and the evening became night time, the air was still warm and the public dress code seemed to reflect this.


We had about one hour of very useable day light before I was restricted to making use of low light and high ISO.  My two friends were making use of their flash units with fair success, which I was a little apprehensive about at first. I have never used or owned a flash unit in recent years, and haven't really been interested in flash photography. I am slightly shy about my street photography, and have always thought that those who use flash for street portraits are rather brave or just plain confident.  Although, after a few drinks in a Soho bar, I decided to just try and use the tiny built in flash on the GRD3, to see if I could get anything reasonable within it's 3 meter limit. These are somewhat 'walk-by' shots, taken mostly from the hip, with the little Ricoh flash doing it's best to get me some kind of image. I still prefer to have images of just one or two people in a shot, and so I tend to avoid crowd shots.

You can see that my very first attempts are not exactly great, but I quite like the slightly uncontrolled movement blur, considering I have got some sharpish facial features. I am looking forward to my fellow bloggers' flash assisted photos from this night, as they seemed to know what they were doing! I think I will keep my eye on ebay now for a cheap and simple flash unit for my Ricoh, even though there is a dedicated TTL flash for the GRD3/4, as I am not yet sure if I would use it often enough yet.


ismall said...

Great to meet you at last Bill!

My favourite shot is the chefs in the bar- really intimate capture and I also like the first street scene picture- I don't think I even noticed them!

Flash is fun and I think it's cool to experiment Like you I'm not sure if it's my preferred method as you cannot remain invisible but I do enjoy being out of my comfort zone sometimes.

Will post some of my pics from our walk when the film is developed.

Bill Wellham said...

Thanks Iesha, it was nice to meet you too. It was a fun shoot, in a very lively area. I was quite impressed with your Trip... looks like a tidy classic.

I think I could get into flash photography for the occasional night out, although I need to get a little braver.