Thursday, 30 August 2012

Impressions of... Barcelona

Barcelona is a fascinating city; you could spend a week just exploring the Barri Gótic and La Rambla, but there's so much more to see, especially if you're a lover of art or history.

The architectural influence of Antoni Gaudí is everywhere. His most notable mark is, of course the Sagrada Familia - that great, as-yet-unfinished cathedral that's as much a temple to the moderníste movement as it is to the divine.
From Barcelona

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Colours of... the seaside

Among my fondest memories of childhood are those summer days spent in Margate on the Kent coast. The seaside was a magical place, especially when the sun shone brightly - hot sand between your toes, bright, whitewashed buildings, getting soaked on the water rides. Ice cream, candy floss and sticks of rock. And over it all, the raucous din of the fun fair: the rumble of the roller coaster puctuated by delighted screams as it began its vertiginous descent, the clangs and whistles of various rides, all overlaid on the background chatter of thousands of happy people.
And then you grow up and you start seeing the peeling paint, the tattiness of the souvenirs, the world-weary cynicism of the owners of the rides. And yet... so what? Isn't that the glory of the seaside, that it can be a bit tacky and yet be a source of fun and a good day out? The next time the sun shines, get down to the seaside - forget the grown-up ennui and buy an ice cream, kick your shoes off and paddle in the sea. Wear a 'kiss me quick' hat and go for a ride on the ghost train. Remember, for a while, the simple of joys of being a child...

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Colours of... Spain

On a recent trip to Spain, I was struck by the way the feeling of being 'somewhere else' was highlighted by the difference in colours from those that I'm used to. Here in the UK, it's mostly green (and grey!), whereas in Spain I was struck by the earth colours (ochre, terracotta), the blue of sea and sky and the rich hues of fresh fruits and vegetables.

From Colours of...
From Colours of...
From Colours of...

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Axe

Onosa'i Auva'a is a rugby player currently with Sale Sharks, but he's also no mean guitar player.
He recently performed some of his songs at The Boardroom in Wilmslow, so I took my camera down to try to get few photos.
I had expected the light levels to be fairly low, so would need to shoot at at a high ISO setting (1600) to get reasonable shutter speeds, even with the 50mm f/1.8 wide open. High ISO is a prticular problem with the D200, since it gets very noisy. In anticipation of this, I had already decided that I would process any usable images as fairly low-key black and white and turn the noise to my advantage as pseudo -film grain.
The other problem facing me was viewpoint. He was positioned at the top of a flight of stairs on what can only be described as a mini-mezzanine. So, not only was the front view looking up from below, but a chrome bannister rail interfered with just about every other angle. Fortunately, a sofa in the stairwell gave me a bit of a leg-up so that I could poke the camera through a gap at the top of the stairs and get some reasonable close-ups.
So, two basic viewpoints, one of them less than ideal. Sometimes you have to accept that this is going to happen, so I chose instead to go for expression and focussing on things like the guitar to emphasise the nature of the performance. Photographing people singing is always tricky, since they tend to have their mouth open and can end up just looking silly. Timing and lots of rejects are the key here.
The end result was about 120 pictures taken edited down to eight (of which I could probably lose another two or three). The full set is here, samples after the jump.