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What am I doing this year?

This year sees me working on a number of long term projects plus anything which attracts my attention.

I started the year with some additions to the “My fellow passengers” blog where people on local transport grab my attention and I make a picture. I shall have to see where this takes me this year.

Lincoln. January. 2019.

That was the year that was 2018

As the calendar year draws to a close there is a temptation to take stock of where you’ve come from, how the journey has been and where you have arrived at. So here goes…


This has been a year of change. I suppose you could say that about most years, but I do feel this year has been about re-evaluation and change. Simplification and stripping back have been recurrent themes running through most of what I have done over the past 4 years but none more so than this year. That extends to camera gear, clothes (though don’t take the ‘stripping back’ too literally here), car, the accoutrements of daily life even my watch; all becoming as simple as possible.

Simplification even changed our travel destinations. Sue and I haven’t travelled long-distance this year. No trips to the far-flung. Southern Spain and Greece have been our chosen countries this year. That, in itself, was a sizeable change. However, more significantly, photographically I have been working on other projects.

For those who are curious: I have become more interested in shape and form in general rather than being fixated on people – though inevitably they will appear in my work. And yes, paradoxically, I still enjoy making street portraits.

I have started to see elegance in the everyday elements of our surroundings. That’s where I’m pointing the cameras gazing eye. At the ordinary, the mundane, yes, the banal.

Some of the works shown here stem from this drive to simplify.  What I see has been affected by that change in approach, though, as you can see there are many other images in our environment which interest me. I am truly a flaneur. Just passing by and shooting what I see.

This sounds very ego driven, doesn’t it? Please accept my apologies if that seems so, that was not intended, but remember; I take pictures to satisfy me. I don’t sell them or publish them, other than on social media.
I don’t profess to be anything other than a person who takes pictures of that which interests me. I’m the complete amateur I suppose. There is no pressure. It is true freedom.

As for “Level 1”?
It’s a good metaphor for where I’m trying to get back to. To a place where I’m unencumbered by artifice. Level 1.

Peter
December 2018
Lincoln UK

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In closing…
At the end of each year, I make a mental list of my mistakes, embarrassing gaffes, faux pas and other ‘general’ cock-ups. and it’s a pretty long list I can tell you.

I know failure in some things is inevitable. I just hope to fail ‘better’ next time. That’s all I can hope for.

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Set yourself free from the megapixel race.

The megapixel race, with its pursuit of sharpness, seems unending. Is this really important or is it just a callous marketing ploy used to make the last iteration of whizzy cameras redundant?

Here’s an interesting fact…

According to Thorsten von Overgaard, the Danish writer and photographer;

“When we were using film ( I assume here he is talking about 35mm film) those images equalled around 18-20 Megapixels.”

 

And I ask – didn’t those images set our perception of “Sharp”?

– Where does that leave us with modern digital cameras being 24, 37 and 100 Mega Pixels?

– Thorsten argues those extra pixels are simply “overkill”  because as he puts it  “What are we going to do with that level of sharpness – or detail might be a better expression”?

Making a print will not evidence those extra pixels. Thorsten argues the only benefit of such pixel size is when you want to use just a portion of the image.

He closes his argument with the simple statement of…

“If it looks sharp, it is.”

I would echo that.

As we have reached, surpassed even, what we could see with film then is it not wise to stop chasing the rabbit set loose by the camera manufacturers to get you to chase after it into the local camera dealer with your credit card?

If you must buy gear would it not be better perhaps to spend on lenses attached to a functional, if older camera? Though personally, I would argue. One camera, One lens especially for street-work.

Better to spend your money on photobooks, go to exhibitions anything in fact, except buying new cameras loaded with more megapixels – which will go unseen – thinking that is going to help you take better pictures.

I’m ready for your incoming… Seconds away!

Lincoln Steam Punk Festival 2018

Each year the ancient city of Lincoln in the East Midlands of England hosts the “Steam Punk Festival”.

I’ve been visiting for some years now and the event has grown and grown. Thousands now attend, even from overseas. This year the numbers far exceeded anything I have seen before.

There are some astonishing outfits created by the devotees in which they parade around the top end of the city, near to the castle and the cathedral. Those who are dressed in the most exceptional, outrageous even, outfits can hardly move for photographers who buzz around them, most with medium to long lenses. My choice is one camera and one lens, a short lens at that, so I have to get close. For example, this girl was deservedly mobbed. Quite astounding style and technical ability.

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This man was dressed as a Pirate, complete with a wooden leg. I asked if he had the leg strapped up. He said “I have no legs at all. Even the other is fake”.

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I saw a bus being filled with Steam Punk visitors. Before it started off I stepped on, said hello to everybody, took their picture and said to them all ” It is the most outrageous group of people I have ever seen on a bus”. I left, wishing them all a good day.
Great good humour from them all.

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Steam Punk visitors at the cash machines.

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Steam Punk market Stalls and visitors.

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In search of the perfect camera strap.

Those who follow my photo comments will know I don’t talk much (not at all really) about gear.

The mere mention of a camera brand or exposure details in a blog or Tweet just… well, you know.

It may come as a surprise, therefore, when I tell you I’m going to spout about a piece of sundry equipment which has wowed me recently. Let me explain.

Just like millions of other photographers, for years I’ve carried varying forms of cameras around my neck or over my shoulder and I’ve NEVER been satisfied with the manufacturer supplied straps, or any from the aftermarket for that matter. They were either too long, or short, difficult to re-size, they were too wide or too narrow. Argghhh. They drove me nuts.

I have a preference for a short camera strap – about 800mm – which, when the camera is draped around my neck places the camera mid-chest. These are not easy to find.

And, at the same time, I like to carry my camera across my body, hanging by my side. Sort of out of the way but accessible.

These two preferences would seem at first glance to be mutually exclusive, but no.

Add to this the fact I do not like branding, (I regularly black tape over the camera logos and name) and you can see my problem.

Well, I think after 40 years I’ve finally found the ideal strap, for me at least.

A company in Japan makes a strap which:

  • can be “easily” – and I would emphasise that word here – changed from short to long and vice-versa. By easily I mean one handed in a second or 2;
  • is medium width;
  • comes in a range of plain colours – I opted for a black strap- there’s a surprise;
  • is unbranded ( except for a small tag – which I cut off. Sorry. It would have been OK if it were black but it was red).

“I’ve only used it for a day or 2 but it’s a revelation. It’s simply great. Not cheap, but well worth it.”

I bought mine from Red Dot Cameras in London. What great service. I ordered it mid-afternoon and it came the next day.

The strap is beautifully made by Art and Artisan of Japan. You can see it here…

http://www.artisan-n-artist.com/product_detail.php?id=189

And the Red Dot site is here…

https://www.reddotcameras.co.uk/230-artisan-artist-straps?p=2

It’s that good I’m about to buy another for my rarely used camera.