A change of tack!


On a recent London walkabout, whilst making my usual street photographs, I suddenly hit the proverbial brick wall and didn’t know what to take. Totally lost, I saw nothing of interest or the unusual to shoot. I tried all my other styles of using blur/motion, faces in the crowd, panning and street portraits, but I was totally blank of ideas! It was quite alarming to be honest something I have never experienced before. On returning home I checked over my images from the days outing and there were someIR_XE1_DSCF4410 ‘keepers’ to be fair, but overall it was a very very disappointing outing for me.

So I posted this conundrum on a facebook group site “Hit The Streets” run by Valerie Jardin much to my surprise I got a very good response from members with different ideas suggesting what I should look to do next time when out shooting…Valerie Jardin herself commented that this was a good thing! Based on the fact, that as your photography gets better you start to be more selective in your shooting and style! One other suggestion was to ‘change your mode’… I originally thought this was based on a change in the camera ‘mode’! ie. from Aperture priority to shutter or even Program. No, what the suggestion meant was change your brain mode shoot differently or genre ie landscapes or even change the camera!

A few days later my wife and I decided to take a walk where we could stretch our eyes and decided to visit Lullingstone country Park, Kent, UK… The Castle and grounds were closed but we had the opportunity to take a good longIR_XE1_DSCF4416walk along a footpath which lead to a view over the Golf Course. It was a bleak and overcast day, the view you could hardly say was stunning. But it served the purpose of us getting out, grabbing a coffee and making that walk.

When leaving I was thinking of the comments on the Facebook group and decided to take my Fuji X-E1 and the superb xf18-55mm lens. I haven’t used this camera for some time but it is one that has been converted to Infrared with a 720Nm filter. Let me give you some info at this stage for the settings on the camera. ISO set to auto. Aperture priority (which, I have to keep to between f2.8 and f4) – The reason for this is to stop the creation of a reflective spot over f4 to f16, which you can see in this screen share (right)! It’s not a major problem just a pain to edit in LRcc at the development stage.Finally the camera shoot mode was set to bracket in filter simulation for Raw, Monochrome Green and Monochrome Red..Screenshot 2017-05-05 10.32.59 As the camera has been converted it doesn’t render any colour ie. Standard, Velvia, or Superia mode simulations. As you can see from the screen share each image is taken simultaneously to give me the opportunity to check what had been taken and when I edit them in LRcc, I could either edit the mono versions or the Raw (red) file. I usually edit the Raw file switching that to B+W in the development module of LRcc and play with the sliders for the effect I’m looking to achieve. In may cases to resemble a pure film-like IR image,IR_XE1_DSCF4440I reduce clarity to emphasise the lack of focus and add a considerable amount of grain! Contrast, light and shadow all play an integral part of IR images; I literally play with these sliders, until I get the feel of the shot. As the clouds were non existent that day, I added a graduation filter and again played with clarity, light and shadow for the desired effect.

From this experience and the suggestion of changing ‘mode’ had the desired effect; It got my ‘Juices running” again, which is what you need in photography. It’s all well and good going out on a regular basis and shooting the genre you love. But there will come a time when your ideas and observations just dry up. Whether that’s because you are being hard on your self with the results or maybe going to the same place to shoot all the time, or yes using the same camera and lens! Either way to change your mode puts you in good stead to improving your overall photography. LettingIR_XE1_DSCF4409 go of your preferred genre is a good thing and look to create something different. By doing so rejuvenates your process thoughts of making worthwhile photographs and addition giving you challenges in your editing skills.

One thing is for sure after this experience and thanks to themany comments made in the Hit the Street’s group, if the ideas and observations dry I’ll be switching mode…

Maybe it’s something you will come to do in the future; Its certainly worthwhile!

My thanks to Valerie Jardin, Babak Hariri, Tony Palazzo,IR_XE1_DSCF4419 Jose Luis, Rob Cox, Andy Shields, Mike Branch, John Dillworth, my good friend Michael Rammell, all great photographers, for taking the time to make comments and suggestions and finally check out this Q&A episode on Hit the Streets #33 with Valerie Jardin.














A Post-it from London. Forever street walking.



What’s London all about these days?

Walking the streets last weekend around Brick Lane, Spitalfields and Leadenhall Market’s through the city to St.Pauls Cathedral, I witnessed a plethora of activity.It’s all there to be seen and recorded. Fantastic new Architecture, Hairstyles, Musicians, dress, hats, graffiti and market sellers. Not to mention the hidden love-locks!


Lloyds of London (Opened in 1986 – it was originally met with some consternation, but now widely appreciated as an iconic building in the City of London).













The entrance foyer to The Madison – A bar overlooking St. Pauls Cathedral and south views of London towards the Shard.








Graffiti line the streets,










and Art on the walls.














whilst love locks are hidden behind Spitalfields market!










streetDSCF9148Guys are either happy to pose,





















be spotted and attracted in a crowd,


or show do it yourself hairstyles!

London? Arguably the best city on this Planet.

My love for the street

As time has moved on in my photography life, its street and urban photography that calls me back each time. I’ve tried landscape, sports, nature and still life photography, but nothing beats getting out on the streets watching life and the people in an every day situation.

Out shopping

I have never known London to be so busy. Yes obviously on a normal working day thousands upon thousands of commuters are drawn to the City, acting like some gigantic magnet, only to be repelled at 5.00pm. But then it seems London adopts an attitude of “Don’t leave now! The ‘party’ must go on!” The hustle and bustle of the West End consumes everyone with late shoppers, restaurant and theatre goers, until that late hours of the day.MR_street-1204.jpg

You would think that the city needs to take a rest at the weekend. But no commuters become day outers and the streets are packed with visitors just out for a walk along the Thames or the main shopping areas and markets. Families, couples, joggers or simply residents enjoy their surroundings.

All this activity is the lure for the street photographer. It’s changing all the time. People come and go and are not worried about photographers. Making street photos has even become quite a familiar thing too – just be mindful of the young ones tho’! Seeing a gaggle of about 10-15 ‘toggers these days on a walk about is the norm. Street photography has never bee so popular and long may that continue after all we are recording life as it is today. And that is so important for future generations to see how we lived and went about our work and leisure time.

level18_decider-6723So if you’re not doing anything at the weekend, apart from maybe sit in front of the Tv and watch some football rugby tennis or a film being a couch potato, why not grab that camera that maybe covered in

dust and get up to London and do some street photography? You’ll meet like minded photographers, you’ll have some great conversations, meet loads of people, stop for coffee and
a cake, a beer or even a meal! Even though you have done all that you’ll get some exercise and that can’t be a bad thing either.


Go on why not try it? London is a truly wonderful city.