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

Sunday, 15 December 2013

When the shops are all closed

I recently had the chance to wander around a shopping centre after the shops were all closed and the doors all locked (that's a 'mall' for non uk residents).  I normally shrink away from such places, due to my natural abhorrence of all things shopping; but visiting these places after hours is a totally unique experience. 

No People.   No Noise.   No clutter.   No movement.   Just an eerie calm.  A sleeping building.

I had a couple of hours of free uninterupted time to stroll around taking photos of whatever I wanted. Although I took my DSLR, with the intention of doing some architectural photography; I ended up being more interested in all the little details instead. Therefore the DSLR once again stayed in the bag, and I made use of the Ricoh GRD3 for all of these images.  Actually, like the majority of these places, the architecture is quite dull. I think this particular mall (Eastgate Shopping Centre, Basildon) was built in the eighties and nineties, with a few internal face lifts since then.  Most of the shopping public just need a bunch of well known shops connected with walkways, escalators, elevators, car parking and fast food outlets.

I feel that I should give quick nod to a fellow blogger at this point.  Michael Gatton has been running a blog for quite a while, which was partly influential on my ideas of this particular post. Michael has been carefully photographing the minutae of every day objects and images from his local neighborhood of NYC. He has a great eye for detail, and a perfectionists attitude to his art.

Photographing Trivialities

Anyway...   here are the images from Eastgate Shopping Centre, after the people have all gone home.

The first image was an example of the architecture, which I originally wanted to photograph. This strangely empty fast food outlet was an example of the functional easy clean design of the whole building. I liked the geometry and cold textures of plastic, stainless steel and glass.

 I moved a chair and placed it in front of the shop security shutters. I don't know why...  it just felt right.

How about something a little anarchic...

This was a macro of a small red warning light at the base of the escalator; actually only about the size of a bottle top. (2cm maybe)

These next few were all taken in a coffee place. Clichés of cafe design everywhere.

Although the penguin didn't seem to follow the clichés, I thought he was quite endearing.

Here are some more detailed images of things we often see but never really look at closely:

Perforated steel from a public seat

The interlocking teeth of an escalator

Perforated and formed steel of a shop security shutter.

I found these all in a Chinese shop window. They just drew my interest for more photographs.

Now when I said there were no people...   of course there are some people who do work through the night, keeping the place clean and pristine. So I still managed to get a little street photography done.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

It's been a long time.....

Yes indeed.  It has been a long time since I last posted anything.  My life has been hectic for several months and my little blog was the last thing I have been thinking about.  My photography hobby has taken a back seat while my work has taken over my life and has sucked all the energy and inspiration out of my body and soul.

That all sounds a bit depressing.  Well nothing is that bad really.  Just been busy as can be, living my life and working too many hours.  But now Christmas is approaching and winter is taking hold, I am finding a little more time to play.

I have taken several images over the last six months; some have been 'street', while others have been more locational. It's difficult to know which images to post first; so I'll just throw a few onto this post.

Here's a few street images...  totally unrelated.  But all square cropped.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Southend-on-Sea - Out of season

I took these images at Southend-on-Sea, a seaside town in Essex.  I don't particularly like English seaside towns; they are really quite tacky and noisy. In the summer months they are full of families, all trying to enjoy a low cost day out; which ususally consists of bad food (chips and burgers), drinking cheap beer, walking around and wasting money in amusement arcades.  I admit that I spent a lot of time in those amusement arcades as a kid.

If you visit these places ouside the summer season, they can seem quite desolate and empty. Here are a couple of arcades, still open and hopeful of luring in some unlucky lonely pursuers of coin operated fun. But they are virtually empty.

Ahh...  here's a skillful operator of a claw game, trying for that white teddy bear in the glass cabinet of soft toys.  How many coins will he spend?

In another claw game, this is what you could win...   Woody from Toy Story!   I remember a scene from one of the Toy Story movies, where a 'claw' game is full of green aliens.  

In the cold and the wind, a couple of friends enjoy the amazing spectacle of the pavement fountain. I apologise for my use of black and white; but I can assure you that the fountain changes colour, from pink to green and white. Southend should be proud of this wonder of the modern world.

I have to finish this series with a view of Southend Adventure Island.   It doesn't look scary at all...

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

More from the forest

While I am in the mood for 'quite out of character' wanders around my local forest; here are a whole bunch of photos I took one nice sunny Sunday morning two weeks ago. I had the strange urge to get my feet a little muddy and go walk about amongst the trees.  I think it is a natural reaction to my usual photography of hard concrete and tarmac, filled with monochrome people, all rushing around their hectic lives.  There is certainly some therapy gained from exploring your local nature, just as much from the local urban environment.

I left my faithful Ricoh GRD3 at home and took the old Nikon D80 with me. Also a Sigma 10-20mm lens for some of the shots.  The old Nikon may not be quite as clever as some of the new DSLRs around now, but I can't actually ever see a need to upgrade. I don't use it too often anyway. I know the camera well enough to get some nice images...   and that's all I want.



It's bluebell time again. Beautiful carpets of blue appearing in all our forests. Spring has finally managed to arrive. It makes a change to get off of the street, and back into nature. Early mornings are the best time for nature...  before the sun gets too high, and maybe a slight touch of mist here and there.

Here are some photos from my local woods. I have processed these a little through photoshop.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Lunch time - A time to think

London is a mighty city; an ancient, bustling and vibrant city.  Full of people, cars and noise. Lunch times in the city are busy times. People queue  for food and drinks, tables are packed with customers, much shouting and clinking of cutlery and crockery.  The cashiers' tills ring with sound of over priced orders.

But sometimes all you want is some time to yourself.   Lunch time is a time to stop working, sit and relax, drink something simple, smoke a cigarette if it helps.  A time to put that iphone in the pocket, take those headphones out of the ears. A time just to sit and think...  or not think.

A time to switch off.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Not a lunchtime relaxing read

This guy hasn't learned the art of a relaxing lunch outside of a cafe.  He doesn't seem to have anything to read apart from his iphone. He hasn't a coffee or a pint in sight.  He is probably too healthy to partake in the filthy smoking habit.  In fact, he is sitting outside the pub, talking loudly at his smart phone, in public; whilst gesticulating with his only free hand.   

He needs to learn to detach himself from everyone else, buy a novel or newspaper, sip a long pint or slow coffee... and have that relaxing lunch.   

Taken with the Ricoh GRD3 around London Victoria area. 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

A lunchtime relaxing read

Following on from my last image, I thought I should show another similar style photo.  (Actually I think the image in my last post was a better one).

There is something that appeals to me about relaxing outside a cafe or pub with a pint and a read. It's something I do myself whenever I have the time.  This one is a little over exposed, especially as his shirt is white. I still get it wrong on a regular basis but that is why I keep trying to improve.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Blogging from a smart phone

I haven't blogged much recently. I have been working many hours every day and have had little time for photography. I am determined, however, to not let my blog fade away into a lost cause. I am currently writing this while sitting on a steam railway carriage at a Thomas the tank engine day out. (The things we do to entertain our little family members! ); but the fact that a technologically inept person like myself can actually write a blog while away from my computer is in itself a mile stone in the unstoppable march of human advancement.

I am using a Samsung Note 2, which I have to admit is quite an incredible smart phone. I have always resisted buying into the whole Apple world of iphones and ipads. Their phones are far too common and the screens are way too small to be useful for writing. The ipads, although very sexy, are not really pocketable for a chap on the move. Actually, the Samsung Note 2 only just fits in the pocket due to it's five and a half inch screen; although jeans pockets are definitely of the question.

The big screen is beautiful and displays my images wonderfully. Flicking through Flickr, surfing the web, tumbler, 500px, blogs etc is just a pleasure. I also enjoy writing with the included stylus. It seems to recognise my written scrawl really well, with just a few corrections here and there. 

I am not really likely to be taking photos and posting them straight away, as I still prefer to do a little post-processing on my big screen before publishing. That is not to say that I definitely won't stick to that rule.  I may from time to time, post some instantaneous shots, straight out of the camera, just for the heck of it.  I am not a real fan of instagram or iphoneography; I will always want to use a real camera with full controls over aperture, shutter speed and ISO. I still cannot see how a phone camera can ever match a real camera's capabilities considering the tiny size of their lenses. I also don't really like the idea of effects and filters all decided by instagram etc. In my opinion, it is just a way to make photo 'snaps' look mildly interesting by making them look like lomo style images etc.  On the other hand; the whole iphoneography scene has reawakened people's general interest in taking pictures.  Some of those people may go on to buy real cameras and discover the addictive hobby that is photography. 

Oh dear...  I'm rambling on and on, while it's time to change trains.  (Henry the green steam engine is ready on platform three)

Here's a photo of a chap enjoying a Sunday morning coffee, cigarette and newspaper; taken at a local cafe. Taken with Ricoh GRD3.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Japanese Gardens & Temples - Part 5

These are some images taken of some of the quieter places in Japan.  It's not easy to find such places amongst the noise and frenzy of the megapolis.  Actually, even these places are tourist orientated, and my images may decieve the true nature. In all of these shots, I carefully waited until no people were evident. Sometimes I had a long wait.

These are taken within the Kyoto or Osaka area. 

Friday, 1 February 2013

Local People - part 6

Here's a bunch of images taken late last year from my home town of Colchester.  Every High Street in every town in England is a great landscape of photo oportunities. For sure, London has some very cool and trendy locations, full of uber-cool folk; but your 'every-town' is full of real people going about their daily business.  It is easy to overlook your own local area when people shooting. I think it pays to take a stroll around and see who you can capture.

This first shot features two men pushing their wives (assumption) along in wheel chairs. I can see grim determination on their faces. Life can be tough as we get older. Old folk can always do with some respect and help.

Not quite so old, keeping warm with a hot drink. I like this guy's expression and somewhat tough looking features. To be honest, I'm glad he didn't catch me taking his photo.

Towards the 'boutique' and quainter end of Colchester, I spotted this well dressed older lady. Check out her cool hat and stylish mirrored shades. I hope I can still carry a touch of style when I reach her age. This image definitely needed to be processed in colour.

This old fella looks a little worried and weather worn. Looks like he's got the worries of the whole world above him, weighing him down.  I was tempted to crop some of that sky and back ground out; but finally decided that they add to the overall effect.  This was my favourite image of the day.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

London People - Part 2

All these pictures have one thing in common. They all contain two people.  This maybe a tenuous method of linking images; but it's the method I am going to use. Most of my shots have usually been focused on one individual.

This first shot is taken through a window into a cafe kitchen. A couple of staff are preparing something for coffee loving lunch time public. Harmony in the work place.

A couple of staff having a friendly chat at the entrance of a small fashion boutique near Bethnal Green in London. Uber style conversations and coffee.

A couple of old timers enjoying a beer and a fag outside a proper pub. 

A couple of educated artists discussing an approach to social realism through the works of revolutuionary Marksist modern art.  Well...   I don't know...   could be complaining about the price of coffee.

Berwick street market stall holders discussing the best methods of stacking fruit...   or the virtues of the traditional shop keepers working attire.