Since I rarely go into the city since moving to the western suburbs of Melbourne 4 months ago, this blog will change in subject matter/style.
Not sure where its going, but hopefully I’ll wake up one morning and find some inspiration.
Simple subjects will probably take over from (mostly) street photography.
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!
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 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?
I haven’t done any Street Photography on the last 3 visits to Melbourne’s CBD and am feeling totally uninspired in my attempts at Black and White Photography at the moment.
There seems to be no ‘light’ in my vision.
With the warmer weather of Spring, I have no real excuse for not getting outdoors and experimenting, but this new blog of mine seems to be lagging in the new image department. This morning I converted this relatively recent photo to B & W to keep the ball rolling. But I need to fossick around for some new material.
I know. Excuses, excuses.
I debated whether to erase the scratches and marks on the glass case (holding the old teacups), but then decided it added another layer of interest to the image.
The Royal Arcade has all the architectural details painted in Black, with black and white tiles on the floor in a checkerboard design. I’ve taken many photos but never been able to capture the atmosphere of this heritage listed arcade, but you can read about it here. Or check out some photos on Google images. In the meantime, the bright sunlight was shining through the upper windows in the arched roof and highlighting some of the shoppers and cafe patrons. Definitely no need to increase the contrast or definition in most of these photos.
I shot in Monotone nearly all afternoon, yesterday.
There were 6-7 exceptions, and ultimately, I think I prefer the ‘Two Can‘ series in colour. I rarely shoot in B & W, preferring to have the choice of conversion in post processing when I can review the day’s shooting on the large 27″ screen, but forced myself to shoot in B & W yesterday using both my regular 18-200mm lens and my 50mm f1.4 lens.
Ultimately, I couldn’t decide which shot I liked best in this series. You can choose………..colour (in this post)…………OR, the B & W of the previous posts.
I do like the first shot in this post which had the temperature AND contrast increased slightly. I quite like the 3rd image in that the focus on the green can looks slightly sharper. I could play around tweaking the settings and exposure for hours in the Mac’s iPhoto editing software, as I like seeing how the mood changes within a scene with slight adjustments. But I haven’t the time or inclination to spend so much time sitting in front of a computer. I used to do it in 2010 & 2011 when I first bought a camera and took up Photography as a hobby, but my health, eyesight and lifestyle have changed a little and sitting for hours on end is not helpful when you have chronic back pain. (Note: the 3rd and 4th images have the shadow of a person walking past which reflected as dark shapes in the puddle of water.)
A few more sample shots of the aerosol paint cans.
I figured I’d fix the exposure on the computer………. (preferably when the natural morning light shines across my computer screen).
Too hard for me to see on the LCD screen in the dark alley. I tried a few shots on the AV (aperture priority) setting, but they were far too light and lost that ‘dark gloomy alley‘ atmosphere which I really wanted.
(yes, I know how to use the histogram, but I actually prefer my images to be slightly under-exposed so I’m often tweaking the contrast in PP. Most of these images are straight out of the camera).
PART 3 tomorrow morning………..hopefully………..with a good result.
As soon as I saw two aerosol paint cans lying in a puddle in the centre of the alley, I knew what I was going to photograph this afternoon. Results to follow.
(I’m sure the tourists and other photographers wondered what I was photographing while kneeling on the wet asphalt staring so intently at the ground. One Asian tourist came up to ask me and I showed her on the LCD screen. Then her partner took a photo of the two of us. Not sure what story would accompany that shot when the two tourists shared their images with family and friends when they arrived home).
Amazing light down at St Kilda late this afternoon.
St Kilda beach and pier are the closest beach side suburb to my home via public transport.
Shooting into the sun created mainly silhouettes as I headed back to the tram stop to go home at around 4.45pm. The images below are the last few I made before I crossed the highway to the tram stop. Most of the 235 images I made over an hour and a half were deliberately under-exposed as the bright sun turned the upper skyline completely white. I only had a 50mm f1.4 lens with me as I’ve been trying to wean myself off using a telephoto lens 99% of the time.
I might go back tomorrow with my 18-200mm telephoto lens as the calm, wind-free conditions are forecast for the next 3 days and I’d like to try again using the lens I’m more used to. It’ll be the best winter weather we’ve had in Melbourne for weeks. (note: I’m not sure that my B & W images look as effective on this new PhotoBlog of mine. Especially the 5th image down in this series which has a white sky. I think they looked better on my old blog which had a black background and clearly framed the images – don’t know what others think).