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

Friday, 28 September 2012


It's a youth culture which is celebrated and frowned upon by different members of society. Some people see skateboarding as a true art form, a skill, a worthy sub culture; even if they don't fully understand it.  Others see it as an annoyance, a noise, a danger, another form of youth rebellion; especially if they dont understand it. I personally, find it interesting on many levels.  Like graffiti, it is performed by a small group of kids and young adults; and is surrounded by a whole culture of fashion, music and attitude.

Every town has areas where the skaters hang out and perform tricks and crashes; often with a surrounding group of hangers-on, listening to hip-hop or skate rock...  or whatever.  They often film each other and upload to youtube. The general public pass by or sometimes watch with amusement or disdain; sometimes ensuring they keep out of the way of those noisey speeding boards.

The local town councils are always trying to move them on or spoil their fun, seeing the activity as dangerous and damaging to the walls, rails, steps and paving; which maybe be true in some respects. Out of town small skate parks are often financed and installed, which are usually used by the younger kids; while the older and more 'hardcore' skaters prefer to make use of their urban surroundings.

Whatever side of the fence you stand regarding these skaters, they are here to stay. I see them as an opportunity for a little photography. 

These first two shots were taken near 'First Site' a new local contemporay art gallery in Colchester. It is a controversial £30million building, which has already raised enough anger in a town, let alone the fact that it is now a skaters paradise! (I would just like to state that I fully support the building, whatever the cost.  I'd rather have contemporary art than more shops and houses...  but that's all for another blog post).

So here are the shots...  all taken with my beloved Ricoh GRD3.   SkaterZ Rock, Dudes!

As for these next shots, I wanted to focus more on the boards and the ground, resulting in anonymous lower body shots of London and local skaters. I like both of these, even though it is essentially the same shot a few seconds apart.

Taken in London, a city center in-line skater. These guys speed around the pavements, weaving effortlessly through the pedestrians. Alternative transport indeed.

Check out the skater's elbow scabs...

My final shot of a London skater; who manages to combine street fashion, a wicked hair style and the 'skillz'.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Mersea Island

A few weeks ago, I took my old Nikon D80 down to a local beach at Mersea Island.  It's a fairly empty beach most of the time, with just a few dog walkers.  I needed a break from phtographing busy streets and city locations.  Mersea Island is a ten minute drive from my home, and it really is an example of quietetude and natural coast, without all the bells and whistles of the typical English seaside holiday retreat.

I used a 10-20mm Sigma lens and got the widest angel possible, allowing nice huge vistas of open coast. The lens is good for these kinds of landscapes where there are no obvious signs of 'barrelling' or vertical distortions near the edges.  Nothing straight and vertical here.

I captured the evening sunset with the standard 18-70 Nikon lens.  This is a small estuary where many boats are mored up.  It has a nice sailing club and a huge annual sailing event.  Mersea is also famous for a small specialist fishing industry, and there a few places in the small village where you can eat real fresh and fantastic tasting oysters.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Brick Lane - Part 5

Last time I visited Brick Lane, I noticed that there were quite a few photographers wandering around getting shots of all the cool and crazy trend setters.  Obviously, it is common knowledge now that Brick Lane and its connected streets are the hub of all things cool; whether it be fashion, art, music and publishing. I recently read that it has also recently become the centre of Britain's digital media industry.  Wow...  fascinating.

I am probably one of thousands of enthusiastic photographers then, all doing roughly the same thing. I hope though, by presenting them in a blog, I can at least try and explain why and how I got these images.

Most of the people I have captured in this series are not necesarily cool and trendy.  I just like to try and capture all kinds of people from the area, and I have generally tried to frame them with some thought and appreciation of the background.   For example, in the following image of a guy in a blue jacket, blue jeans carrying a blue shoulder bag, whilst pulling along a blue case; I have framed in on a large plain brick wall, and positioned him a third of the way in (rule of thirds zzzzzzzz).  

Here we have another person who seems to lack any cool trendyness.  He is delivering stock to one of the shops, straight from the back of his car. A well suited delivery man maybe, or actually the shop owner; he was the only guy I saw that day in a suit.  Maybe that makes him more alternative than the rest of the regular visitors.

Peeking through the glass window of a strange little boutique of expensive designer thrift and articles of fashion requiring an acquired taste; we see a member of staff (or owner) alone in the empty establishment. Nice beard and bald head combination. I don't think he is looking at me...   hard to tell with those eyes.

Brick Lane is also one of the most famous places in London for street art.  It is a constantly changing canvas of renewable art.  Some murals last a long time, some get ruined by graffiti, others get posters pasted over them.  I am not going to post many images of this art, especially as there are some web sites and flickr members who specialise documenting this art.  But here are two that I really like:

See that street photographer with a Canonette rangefinder? 

This gal's not for sale.  I am not sure if the original art was graffitied at a later date, or whether it is part of the art.  Whatever way, it seems to work.

So finally, here is a person who has got the 'cool' working properly. Or has my photo just made him cool?  Is it the cigarette and the shades?  Whatever they say...   smoking can still be cool (as long as it is done right).