5 Choices to Make This Day - Mono or Colour!

In my last blog I talked about how I had got out of practice with my 'Street photography'. There is no doubt in my mind that street and possibly sport/action photography are genres in our art that need to be practiced, on a regular basis. Otherwise you get slow with your brain and eye reaction and you miss photo opportunities. But another thought occurred to me whilst writing that blog...

A decision at some time has to be made - Do I make the shot in colour or mono?

There have been very many comments made on this subject. The mono fans effectively say that the power of the image, the composition and the story is all the 'colour' you need. Some say that colour is a distraction. Whilst others demand colour to emphasise the point of making the photo, after all life is in colour! The masters Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassai, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank and Sebastiao Salgado to name just a very few are considered major exponents of mono work in documentarist photography. But consider the colour exponents; Saul Leiter, Joel Mayerowitz, William Egglestone, Ernst Haas and Steve McCurry, they certainly prove the argument that colour work has a place.

So a decision has to be made whilst out shooting or do you at the outset of your photography, decide on which version Colour or Mono. I must confess I cannot decide. Here are some examples from my recent London walkabout, with some comments of mine.

 

What do you think?

The point of this image was to show the light from the smart phone on the users face. Personally I think it works better in mono as the colour backgrounds and the rubbish in the bottom left corner, has a tendency to confuse the viewer and overpower the point of the image. The yellow walls and doors are bright with the blue lights from the shop behind, attract the eye away from the story of the smart phone and the users face...

What's he reading? A map? A message?

These two ladies are studying the photo of the Queen. Here again the mono works better for me as the text of the bus behind confuses the viewer of the photograph.

Once again I think the mono image works as there are some small signs of colour slipping into view. The strong dome colour in the background and the red lorry passing Trafalgar Square. It was the bird taking off that I wanted to capture!

I have a preference here for the colour version, as I like the strong colour of the signage and the pale lemon colour of the arched walls of the theatre.

Where you are looking to make the viewer of the photograph concentrate on a face or particular aspect of the image (the story), I think 'Mono' photography works best. Here you could say that both images work but it has to be said that the shop window display and the shelving behind the readers, has some bright colours and do cause a distraction away from the people on the bench checking their maps and smart phones.

 

Neither style is right or wrong. In the end its 'in the eye of the beholder' and of course what the photographer prefers to work with!

5 THINGS I'VE DONE (learnt) THIS DAY - Out street shooting!

So for the first time in a while I got out to do some street shooting!

The continued promotion of my workshops and the tours and tuition for London visitors, requires to get out on the streets and knock on some doors. This I did last Friday... It coincided with an opportunity to meet up with a good friend (Michael Rammell of Ready Steady Pro) who is helping with some 'techy' parts of my website and RSS feeds for future promotions and campaigns.

With the initial knocking on doors done before lunch, I had some time to spare which allowed me to do some street photography. So off I set with my Fuji x100s + WCL and TCL converters and my Nikon FE with a Nikkor 50mm 1.8 lens.

Oh and how out of practice I was! This was my first outing for nearly two months! And it showed. Look at the images, hardly inspiring!

The classic using the back ground wth a passing pedestrian.

The classic using the back ground wth a passing pedestrian.

Building works - looking for strong colour and lines.

Building works - looking for strong colour and lines.

Using the sharp lines of the back ground with blurred movement of the passers-by.

Using the sharp lines of the back ground with blurred movement of the passers-by.

Walking from Victoria station down towards Parliament Square there wasn't a lot going on just the usual passer by walking 'to a fro' from offices and the shops. The weather was flat, overcast with no harsh light to work with. Hardly interesting stuff to take pictures of! .... My eyes and my brain, were not switched on and that became very clear to me! As I approached Westminster Abbey, I noticed there were quite a few people standing around, taking a look round I spotted the Burgundy Bentley that gave it away! With the Royal flags flying from both car and the Abbeys Flag mast, I realised 'she' was present and everyone was waiting for a chance glance, a picture to take of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. You can't dismiss an opportunity such as this. So I pitched up on the railings and waited like the others very patiently. She will come to the doors soon we all thought.

Well we waited and waited for her to exit the Abbey wondering whether a Lorry, Van or Bus would block our view. Which those vehicles nearly did! As the bells rang out, The Queen exited the Abbey only for a Bus to park itself right in front of us, much to everyones cry of "Oh NO!" The Bus moved on eventually and revealed the Queen, thanking the Dean of Westminster, just before climbing into the Bentley.

With the x100s and TCL attached I made an effort to get some shots paparazzi style! - NOT! ... and What a disaster! As you can see.

"OH NO!" the cries rang out - "Move that bus!"

"OH NO!" the cries rang out - "Move that bus!"

The Queen thanking the Dean Of Westminster - Can you see her?

The Queen thanking the Dean Of Westminster - Can you see her?

She waves..

She waves..

... and is gone!

... and is gone!

The moral - you cant take photographs of the Royals from this sort of distance with a 23mm lens, you have to have a telephoto lens!

The crowd then dispersed and everyone started to compare their images on their iPhones, their compacts and DSLR cameras. I missed some chances here, of more photos, as I was disappointed with what I had got, rather than thinking what's gong on around me. Another lesson learnt! Keep looking out for shooting opportunities, don't chimp after every shot!

It was time to slow down reconsider what I'm going to shoot - back to the drawing board and start again. Looking for some interesting angles with a little exaggerated editing in Lightroom cc..

President Lincoln.

President Lincoln.

Our very own - leader - Sir Winston Churchill

Our very own - leader - Sir Winston Churchill

Slowly but surely the aspect of being out on the street photographing, was beginning to slot in. I was starting to 'look and see' again. Looking for opportunities - remember as a street photographer you are 'almost' the hunter - well you are really. The hunter for that special moment looking for a story. It was whilst walking through the west end that I really started to get into the 'moment' and used the bright lights and signage as people walked on by through the image that I was taking. I started to ask questions in my photos, what are they doing? Where are they going? With at the same time a somewhat dynamic background.

Where does that yellow arrow point to?

Where does that yellow arrow point to?

Passer by with a theatre background, but what are they doing with that bag?

Passer by with a theatre background, but what are they doing with that bag?

Nothin' was happening on the streets so what's happening through the windows?

Nothin' was happening on the streets so what's happening through the windows?

More through the window - a chef prepares!

More through the window - a chef prepares!

... and waiters as well, this time working.

... and waiters as well, this time working.

Another chef preparing...

Another chef preparing...

Strong colour with the sixties diner look...

Strong colour with the sixties diner look...

What I Iearned from this days shooting was that you have to practice this art. Street shooting is never the same, from day to day. New opportunities occur every time and every moment. Stay in one place for a while and see what shooting moments arrive for you. It's not the same as landscape photography (apart from cloud or sunset/sunrise formations), a scene generally will be the same next time you visit a site. Remember this - footballers, rugby players, golfers, tennis players and guitarists - They all PRACTICE! So should us photographers... 

So from this experience, 5 things I've learnt on this day of shooting..

1/. Go out shooting more! Practice more!

2/. Look for the story line.

3/. Keep looking don't chimp too much - you will miss an opportunity for sure!

4/. Look through windows and set up natural frames.

5/. Don't try being a paparazzi!

5 THINGS I'VE DONE THIS DAY - Those damn social sites!

For me, now is the time to start promoting and marketing.

Immediately you think of the social networks out there: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Snapchat and You Tube not to mention the blog sites such as Wordpress, Tumblr, Medium and many, many more. Which one to choose? Each one offers a different option for you, with a different style for different audiences. So, can you operate all at the same time?

One tool which is very useful and successful is IFTT.com (If This Then That) and it's easy to set up! Making this site to do the 'leg' work for you could 'possibly' make your social networking an easy task. Simply put you select your base social site to trigger a link to another using IFTTT.

Sounds simple? Well it is to a degree. The problem arises when you have different named sites within a blog set up, which for some reason, you may have been testing to see which one gets the most attention and best reaction or what is more suitable offering a different aspect to your business. To be honest I haven't seen much difference in the responses to the blogs and one isn't any significantly larger (in terms of followers )than the other.

Here's some examples of the problem... I have three Tumblr blogs! One for my photography based articles one for my street and commercial work  and one that links to this site and blog. Plus I also have three Wordpress blogs, two on Blogger and just the one on Medium! I also have 500px, a Flickr and of course a LinkedIn site. To be honest there is far too much here. So I have got to do some culling! I have got to work out a process that serves each side of the blogging requirement. In other words set photos to go one route and articles to go another! The main point to remember is that all this social networking activity is created to point to one site - PHOTOGRAPHY LIVE and UNCUT! 

Thats where the business is at. That's where I want my audience to look.

 

So 5 things I have done this day.

1/. The Photo route will be from 500px to Twitter and Flickr and onto Pinterest albums - Instagram will post to Flickr as a separate case - it has to go this way because of the analog and filter settings in Instagram.

2/. The 'article' route from this sites blog page and the show blog, will post out to Tumblr, Wordpress and onto Medium.

3/. Decide which blog works the best! Tumblr and Wordpress have huge advantages, (They have the biggest audiences) but Blogger links direct to Google+ and Medium is starting to make inroads - (there's a conundrum, all of its own!)

4/. Another site Ello.co is ideal to do both a Photo display with an article - it may be I have to treat this one as a separate issue.

5/. Finally, I don't use Snap Chat but my published You Tube videos (which is the main Marketing tool, I will post out to Wordpress, Twitter, Facebook Page and Tumblr - it automatically posted to Google+.

 

 

That I think will cover the social networking. An important and an integral part of marketing to show my activity promotions and the latest photographs.  

5 THINGS I'VE DONE THIS DAY - So much to do - so much going on!

Monday 7th Nov. 2016.

So a quiet, but busy and a really enjoyable weekend has passed, with some reflection on what I have achieved this last week and considering the next steps. Friday was spent finalising my keynote speech on Marketing, which is to be presented to a year 11 class studying Design and Technology. After working in the Exhibition industry for over 18 years it's interesting to record what actually is entailed when a product is to be marketed. The 'keynote' is set for 30 mins and on my last rehearsal it was just over - so a little trimming to do? Or, maybe talk a little faster without losing the students concentration!

Marketing covers so many aspects and is a major part of my work load now as I prepare my photography business (London Tours and Tuition) and bring it to market. Letters have been completed to send out to the hotels, leaflets are next to be printed and dates are to be set for future Meet-up groups for tutored street photography walkabouts.

View from Greenwich Park Observatory across to Canary Wharf.

View from Greenwich Park Observatory across to Canary Wharf.

This weekend I enjoyed the autumnal weather taking a walk with my wife (Jane), through Greenwich Park - a fresh cold wind with warming coffee, bacon sandwich whilst watching everyone enjoy a beautiful day out with their families and dogs. One small problem though occurred whilst taking some photos, a 'speck' appeared in the viewfinder! It's not on the sensor, it doesn't appear on my images - So, its on its way back to Fuji for repair - thankfully under warranty...!

5 Things I did this day.

  • Reviewed my keynote presentation.
  • Answered emails from show invitees acceptance! (The list is growing nicely.)
  • Edited the photos from my Greenwich Park Walk.
  • Made the third log fire of the Autumn!
  • Came across an idea to improve my 500px voting!
Autumn breaks out!

Autumn breaks out!

Waiting for a warm coffee

Waiting for a warm coffee

Out Walking

Out Walking

Autumn against the blue sky

Autumn against the blue sky

The Maritime Museum with Canary Wharf in the background.

The Maritime Museum with Canary Wharf in the background.

5 THINGS I'VE DONE THIS DAY - Taking my Time!

Millennium Bridge.

Millennium Bridge.

2nd November 2016.

I'm taking my time, setting up my new adventure and it's not going to be easy and by any stretch am I going to rush it.

Planning is at the forefront of my thoughts right now and timing as well, is so important. Do I rush the letters out and capture the visitors to London for this Christmas holidays or wait? It's important to also check what is happening financially... Today the Bank of England will announce reports of their expectations of how the UK will perform over the next year. This is significant... Hardly photographic but for someone (like me) looking to establish a business based on tourism it will be. Right now the UK is experiencing a low rate against the dollar. An important factor as visitors especially from the USA, will be looking to come to our country on a lower budget than say last year. This not only applies to our friends from over the 'pond' but also to European tourists as sterling struggles against the Euro as well. So Tourism is at the forefront of my thoughts... Not withstanding obviously, any exportation opportunities for UK's other industries. The conundrums that we have!

We get the strangest of texts!

We get the strangest of texts!

 

So timing has to be right..

Let's think whats happening for the New Year festivities? In particular, we have our London New years Day Parade with a vast quantity of American students over taking part with their bands and dance troops. No doubt Mums and Dads will be over too! January could be a great time to start.

 

Photography Tours and Tuition offers you the visitor to London an opportunity to see my great city in a different light - Away from the usual Tourism routes, plus you get a chance to improve your Street and Architectural photography!

 

5 things I did on this day.

1/. Had a meeting to discuss future plans for website, RSS feeds and portfolios.

2/. Continued work on my Arcanum Level 26 which nears completion.

3/. Started a new list for guests to appear on the Photography Live and Uncut show.

4/. Reviewed the online workshop Flickr Group for comments and critique to be made.

5/. Added more photos to Ello, 500px and my Facebook page.

Silver Ghost.

Silver Ghost.

5 THINGS I'VE DONE THIS DAY - Starting up!

1st November 2016

San Remo - Catch Light.

San Remo - Catch Light.

A new chapter in my life has started today, as I moved on to a new career. It's been of keen interest to me that once my regular 9-5 work came to an end, I would have the chance to follow my passion in Photography and set up several working opportunities in this field.

My Photography Live and Uncut show, over this last month had to take a back seat, as my day to day job came to a close ( I simply could not confirm any dates with would be guests), but now the transition is done I can now start to send out new invites to guests. My online workshop also took a break and that will start shortly (online as before) making comments on photos in the Flickr group and passing on tips and ideas to photographers.

 

So this blog has been set for me to write 5 things I've done on this day.

Sunset - Dubrovnik

Sunset - Dubrovnik

1/. Started my level 26 presentation for the Arcanum sphere2... This level is all about preparing workshops, schedules pricing and content. Plus showing furture marketing activity.

2/. Post some new photographs to my 500px and Google+ and Ello accounts.

3/. Set out a survey for my recent one to one workshop.

4/. Checked that my IFTTT account was up to date with the latest links to new social media such as my FlipboardMediumWordpress and Tumblr accounts.

5/. Letter writing. These letters will go out to a select number of hotels in London to start the initial stages of advertising/marketing my Photography Tours and Tuition for visitors to London.

Suns out - Shades are on.

Suns out - Shades are on.