Paddling Out to Sea

Over the weekend the biggest annual free beach festival returned to my hometown of Brighton, UK.  ‘Paddle Round the Pier’ features numerous events including DIY boats and paddle boarding out to sea and around the pier. Everybody gets dressed up, smothers themselves in sun cream and gets paddling..

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There is also a fair which comes with food stalls, rides and music stages. It takes place over the whole weekend, although most of us were indoors watching England at the World Cup on Saturday…

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Lines of a City Part III

I first shot ‘lines of city’ in Canterbury and then again in a Sussex village. Looking for patterns and repetition is a great way to take in your surroundings and as I am back in  Brighton for a few months before I start my MA in London I thought it’d be a great way to look at my hometown from a new perspective.

If you’re in a creative rut or struggling to find something to photograph try this out, it’s a great excuse to get out with your camera and enjoy exploring.

Other images in this series:

Canterbury 

Sussex

Photographing 100,000 People!

Two weeks ago, on my way to visit my grandparents I got given a leaflet advertising the ‘Peoples March’, a demonstration against Brexit, in Central London on the 23rd June. I am always on the look out for new photography opportunities and as I was already heading up to Birmingham to catch up with some university friends this proved the perfect pitstop.

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I arrived at the meeting place half an hour before the start, there was an air of both excitement and confusion among the people gathering to make their voice heard. It was clear the amount of people far exceeded expectations at over 100,000 and many had no idea where the march actually started..

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Through sheer luck and determination (and no logic) I ended up at the front of the march along with all the tv cameras and political figures.

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It was a purely peaceful protest with samba bands, face painting and people singing. With so much going on it was hard to know where to look let alone photograph. I aimed to capture a mixture of people along with incorporating the backdrop of Central London.

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The light was extremely bright so I used a ND filter and focused on shooting with the sun behind me.  If you want to see more images from the protest check out my latest Instagram story @madisonbeachphotos.

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And if you’re looking for some travel inspiration check out Emily’s blog. Emily is one of my closest friends; both my roommate in Bangladesh and travel buddy in Eastern Europe and has just moved to Australia! A great travel writer and even better friend, head over to her new blog and give it some support! 

Running Away to Join the Circus

When it comes to photography I am a great believer in saying yes to as many opportunities as possible to expand your skills. Earlier in the week I was invited by family friends (who have 10-year old twins) to come to the circus.

I have shot much performance photography in the past but thought it’d be an interesting way to stretch myself. Inside the circus tent itself I wasn’t allowed to shoot video or use flash, but I often find restrictions can make you think outside the box.

It was a small circus but this worked to my advantage as I could get a front row seat and get up close to the incredibly talented performers.

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Why You Need to Shoot Black and White

Shooting black and white has many advantages. Stripping away colour makes you concentrate on utilising the available light and how you want to frame your subject.

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And if you’re in a creative rut, although it feels counter intuitive, it can really help to place restrictions on your photography.  It makes you pre-empt the final outcome and what affect black and white will have on your image.

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It also provides a great opportunity to look over the work of some photography greats such as Elliot Erwitt, Cartier-Bresson and Vivian Maier who only had black and white to work with.  You should also check out the work of William Eggleston who was a pioneer and one of the first to make the switch from black and white to colour photography.

I shot all these images on my Olympus MJU II with Ilford 35mm film.

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Shooting Expired Kodak Film

Last year I won the Ginnel Foto Fest Analogue awards. Part of my prize was being sent a box full of film. Some I’ve used before such as portra and Agfa, but there was also a roll of Kodak Tri X medium format film estimated to be 50 years old.

I have always wanted to shoot it so last weekend when me and my cousin went to Peacehaven. A small suburban town on the English coast where my cousin, Harry, grew up.

I got some surprisingly good results..

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If you ever get your hands on some expired film be sure to double check if your local lab develops it. After walking 40 minutes to mine it turns out they don’t develop expired films. If you’re based in the UK I would strongly recommend AG Photolab who are super friendly and based in Birmingham. I sent the film off on Wednesday and got it back today!

Where to Shoot Street Photography in London

London has long been one of my favourite places to shoot street photography. No matter the time of year the streets are always filled with opportunities to photograph people. In this post I’m going to break down my favourite spots in London.

First up: Trafalgar Square. The square is home to both the National Gallery and Nelsons Column. This provides a great space to photograph people interacting with the architecture and environment around them.
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Leicester Square/China Town

Located next to each other, Leicester Square and China Town provide plenty of colour. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of people and finding it hard to spot scenes to photograph, try and focus on shooting one thing such as dogs, the colour blue, people wearing hats etc. Whilst I was here I focused on photographing couples..

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Leading you from Oxford street to Leicester square is Regent Street. It’s a wide road filled with shops such as Apple and Hamleys. If you get there during golden hour the light hits just right through the buildings to create some striking portrait opportunities.

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Outside of Buckingham Palace you’ll find the full spectrum of emotions from vloggers and excited tourists to stressed parents and tired children..

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Street photography takes lot of patience and you have to be prepared for people to watch you taking pictures. But its a great way to see a city and when you take your shoes off after a long day walking theres nothing better than flicking through the photos you shot and coming across your new favourite photo.

More Street Photography

Camden  Prague Golden Hour  How to Use the Background in Street Photography

Dougie Wallace When the Subject Spots You  East London

Visiting Camden Market

As a street photographer I have a few favourite spots around London; busy places with interesting characters (and good food is always a plus!). Camden market ticks all these boxes so with an hour before I needed to be at a meeting in central London I hopped on a tube for 10 minutes and explored Camden.

 

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Despite being a week day, Camden was packed with tourists, businessman and market traders.

There is almost too much choice when it comes to food. There are hot food stalls including pizza, Indian and Chinese, but there are also more street food-type options such as burritos and burgers.

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Of course you can avoid the British art of queuing and save yourself some money by bringing a packed lunch.

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I would definitely recommend a packed lunch if your staying in London for a few days and on a budget. As delicious as most of the food is- it’s not cheap. Camden also has a river running through the market, it acts as a great picnic spot.

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If you want to check out Camden I would also recommend heading north and walking to Primrose hill, after a sweaty walk up the steep hill you can see my favourite view across the London skyline..

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Returning to Medium Format Photography

It’s been way to long since I last picked up my Yashica 635 and shot a roll of film. So long in fact the last time I shot medium format was with the Diana F+  back in February. But after flicking through one of my favourite photo books (Vivian Maier) I was inspired to go out and shoot a roll of 120mm.

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My Yashica 635, a beautiful camera with a temperamental focus. 

For the last few years I have been focusing on street and travel photography so I thought I’d try my hand at some portraits.

I was shooting on Portra 160 film which is always my film of choice for portraits. And as the sun set we headed inside..

The film performed incredibly well considering I was shooting at ISO 160 in such limited light.  If you’ve never shot medium format photography- I highly recommend it! Although it comes at a higher cost than 35mm and on average you only get 12 shots, the detail you can capture with a good camera and the experience is well worth the extra pennies!

Portraits: How to Utilise your Location!

To take a great portrait you don’t need the latest high-tech equipment or a studio- although this can help. All you need is a camera, a model and the time to experiment.

I took all these shots within 1km of my flat using my Pentax K1000 35mm camera (around £100/$139).

Light

When shooting outdoors always look for where the sun is in the sky- light is a vital factor in creating a striking portrait. Golden hour  is a great time to shoot photography outside but if the light is strong it creates lots of interesting options..

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With great light comes shadows, always be on the look out for unusual shadows to add some depth to the portrait

BUT if you live in England or somewhere similar, the chances are if you’re waiting for sun you’ll never take a single photo. So if the light is dull look for an interesting composition or location to detract from the lack of light.

 

Background

Think about your background wether it adds to the image or detracts the focus. Graffiti can be a great way to add some colour to your image. If you just want the subject to be in focus make sure they’re standing at least one step away from the background to allow some depth in your image.

 

 

Framing your subject

Use what have around you; trees, building, graffiti etc. For example, in the image below by looking up at the building it not only frames the image it makes the subject more imposing. Flowers are also a great way to add colour and fill the frame.

 

Have fun and experiment

Photography is all about enjoyment and learning from the mishaps. When shooting portraits on film I would always recommend shooting different angles of the same shot.

 

Thankfully I took two shots in this location, despite the frame counter telling me different, the first image just happened to be the first of the roll.