I’m a great lover of the mundane, (or ordinary), moments I see in Melbourne’s CBD. Somehow, capturing a small space, or person/people going about their everyday lives, in a photo, seems so much more than the sum of the whole street scene before my naked eye. The following 2 photos are of the same little café, but I couldn’t decide which image I liked best. Both look a little soft in focus as I had the shutter speed far too slow for a hand-held shot in the dimly lit arcade. I can’t normally hold the camera still below a shutter speed of about 1/40. The images below were at 1/8.
I love the stillness of the empty café with no human life visible. I love the soft light as Darkness falls. I love the suggestion that the day has ended and everyone has gone home to rest and recover from their activity.
In their own little space.
Feeding their Body.
Calming their Mind.
Replenishing their Soul.
I cannot imagine the internal workings of people who live at a frenetic pace 24/7. If I didn’t have time to Think – sit in Silent Contemplation, or listen to the Wind outside my window, I wouldn’t feel fulfilled or content.
Not many people seem to be comfortable with their own company these days. They are always ‘plugged in’ to a piece of modern technology that ‘talks’ and ‘entertains’ them. Well, in the inner city, anyway.
I’ve photographed this collection of old pharmacy bottles in a city arcade many times over the last 4 years.
It’s always a challenge that I enjoy. This display is in a small window box and has a mirrored back, mirrored sides & mirrored ceiling (of the box). The challenge is to photograph the bottles in a pleasing composition without your face/hands/camera showing in one of the mirrors.
It’s not as easy as it looks!
(A random shot across the city square while I was waiting at the tram stop to go home. Now if only waring countries could reach out a hand/arm of giving and sharing. Is it really so hard to stretch out an arm of friendship to a stranger?).
All I can say is working with a 50mm f1.4 lens (since the autofocus on my 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 telephoto ‘walkabout’ lens started going downhill), is proving challenging.
I think the hardest part is trying to decide where to put the focal point on an object (or flower) that I can’t see clearly. For 4+ years I’ve been zooming in with a telephoto lens to take close-ups (unless I’ve got my macro lens with me of course).
The image above has been rotated 90 degrees, but it wasn’t until I converted it to B & W that I decided where I’d crop the image and erase some distracting bits.
I’m still not up to shooting in monochrome yet. I just can’t see the potential in-camera. Perhaps I never will. But then I haven’t used my 50mm lens very much in the past. Practice. Practice………….Practice (says my inner voice).
I’m always looking for people or faces to photograph (having no friends or family living close by who are willing to be ‘subjects’).
But yesterday, down a pretty dark deserted lane way in the city, I was trying to make some images of the street art on the opposite side of the lane with NO people within the frame.
This young man talking on his mobile phone constantly kept walking in triangles opting to be in the frame when I raised my DSLR to my eye – no matter what direction I pointed the camera, he walked straight into the area.
So I made a random shot of him. The image is straight out of the camera but I figured he, finally, deserved a photo.
If you don’t know why I made this photo, then you’re just not looking hard enough.
I’m in the middle of reading Freeman Patterson’s book Photography and the Art of Seeing.
Freeman Patterson writes about Thinking Sideways and Breaking the Rules AND “Chance”. “Give many happy accidents a chance to happen”. So I did!
But it wasn’t until towards the end of this afternoon, just before I left Union Lane in the city centre to go home, that this image suddenly appeared before me and I had to share it with you. I must admit I hit the shutter button pretty quickly and didn’t bother to check the camera settings (or where the focal points were aiming).
I wondered who the legs belonged to and why this young female was standing behind a half-closed roller door in a dark dingy freight loading bay with her teddy bear, baring a generous length of slim shapely legs.
And to give you an idea of where she was standing, here’s an image I made on Monday of the same freight delivery entrance and roller door – this time the roller door was completely open and there were NO legs anywhere to be seen 😀
My theory………..she was making an illicit transaction………. as I could hear a faint male voice nearby. After a few minutes the roller door went right down to the ground and I decided to head for home, none the wiser as to whom the legs belonged to.
I have a few other interesting images to share, but I’d better check them tomorrow morning in the light of day to check their exposure and contrast, as I was shooting with my 50mm f1.4 lens most of the afternoon and “broke a few rules” (as Freeman Patterson puts it).
I think I prefer the colour version.
It’s been raining a lot in the last week or so and even a few thunderstorms. Monday, when I made these photos, had plenty of blue sky when I went into the city centre, but today, it’s dawned overcast again.
So it’s a toss-up between going back into the city to check out the ‘puddle-life’ OR household chores and laundry?
The more I view this image in colour this
morning afternoon (I slept in!), the more I am intrigued by the blend of original and modern features, so I thought you might like to have a second viewing. If you’ve only got a tiny computer screen, I guess the details won’t be as clear.
Note the modern electricity pole reflected in the window, the CCTV attached to the brick façade and the bulb (?) in the old gas lamp. Obviously the electricity and tram wires in the top right are modern too. Although trams were operating in part of Melbourne in the early 1900s. The modern brick wall repairs are obvious. We can see just a few bluestones in the brick wall on the ground floor.
Another interesting note – early Melbourne architecture is mainly bluestone quarried from nearby in the early 1830s when Melbourne was established and yet the 2nd storey of this building looks very much like sandstone (on which Sydney’s early architecture is based).
Altogether an interesting image for the early Australian history buffs out there.