Saturday, 25 November 2017

First real cold of the winter

Breaking the ice this morning.
Cycling through an icy puddle
Back from the mornings ride. My toes are painful. Winter has finally arrived. And with it the problem of keeping warm on a budget. I'm sure there are a lot of expensive clothing solutions available. But cycling clothing is very expensive, what do I do with it if it doesn't keep me warm as promised?
I have tried some in the past. Pretty disappointed with it to be honest.

It's the fingers and toes that suffer. It can make winter riding almost a chore. Get out and back home quickly. But I like to chat to Matt, and take pictures. The morning light can be great. The golden hour coincides with the rides. It's such a shame to miss it. But stopping, gloves off take pictures, put gloves on again usually results in even colder fingers for the rest of the ride. I just don't feel like it. Should I suffer for my art?

Today was a little different. The gloves I bought last winter combined with an under glove kept my finger warm, even taking the top gloves off for some
picture taking didn't result in painful fingers. Now I just need to sort out my toes.
Two pairs of socks didn't work. it might have been all the layers restricted the blood supply a bit. Which wouldn't help with keeping the toes warm. I'll try something different tomorrow. I'm sure I have a lot more cold mornings coming up to experiment with my wardrobe.

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Saturday, 18 November 2017

How many is too many?

I was talking to a friend who has just booked a photographer for his wedding next year. He asked me how many photographs I thought would typically be delivered after a wedding. I thought back to the best day in my life, some twenty year ago. We had a book of proofs containing about 80 pictures. This was pre digital remember.

James, my friend, said the photographer promised a USB stick containing all the unedited pictures. He told to expect about 4500. A second USB stick would follow with a slightly smaller number of edited pictures. This would take six to eight weeks. I had to ask if he had heard correctly, 4500 seemed an excessive number. For easy maths, if the photography is on his own and covering the wedding from preparation to first dance lets says it's ten hours. That means an average of 450 per hour, or 7.5 a minute. And why show every shot? Isn't it part of the photographer's skill to plan each shot, ensuring composition, exposure etc are correct when the shutter is pressed, and then to be able to weed out the not perfect shots? Delivering only the best.
It appears to me to show lack of confidence. Taking a huge number, to ensure enough are okay, doesn't seem sensible.

I investigated what other wedding photographers provided in their packages. And read forums to get an idea about weddings in the digital age.

What I found surprised me.

It is now common for 300, 600 or even 1000 edited pictures supplied. To have even 300 pictures to edit after the usual cull during processing must mean a huge number were taken. What could they be of? How many set piece pictures can there be? Add some unposed moments, the speeches, the preparation and first dance. Doesn't add up to thousands.

I'm not a wedding photographer. I'm just remembering my day. If you do shoot weddings, I would like to know your view.

And then I thought about how long the wait for the proofs was. When we got back from honeymoon the proof book was ready for our viewing. So that's two weeks. We chose the ones we wanted, the other guests made their choices, and about two or three weeks later our pictures were delivered. I'm reading six to eight week waits, or longer for the proofs.

The digital age seems not to have made life easier, it has given photographers more work. Clients now expect hundreds of pictures. Why? Is it photographers justifying their fee by supplying huge numbers of pictures? Or is it the clients who think more is better? It appears to be accepted that the biggest part of a photographer's time is spent away from photography, sitting in front of a computer editing must take a lot of time if you have to process hundreds or even thousands of pictures for each assignment.

Isn't it better to produce 80 to 100 edited pictures for the client to choose from? I know if I had been presented with many times more proofs, I wouldn't have been many times more impressed. I was given good quality pictures that covered the day. Having lots more very similar ones wouldn't have made a difference.

As I said above, please let me know your thoughts. Am I completely out of touch?

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Sunday, 5 November 2017

Long winter MTB ride


Mountain biking group shot. The intrepid group

I try to keep my cycling fresh. New routes, bigger distances, different terrain. Of course finding the time is difficult. Life gets in the way. I can't always do longer rides with my mates. It's even more of a challenge to organise a group.

My local bike shop, Ross Cycles, organise Tuesday evening rides, no good for me. So when they posted about a Sunday ride I signed up.

It was 22 miles of trails and lanes. The best part is when I say local I mean local. They are about 30 secs from my door. Great if I need a bike repair or accessory. Even better that the 8am start meant I didn't have to leave the house very early.

It rained heavily most of Saturday, so parts of the ride were very muddy. It's been a while since my bike has seen so much mud. Maybe even as long ago as the South Downs Way.

Crossing fields was the worst, the mud quickly built up around the wheels and bottom bracket. But there were dryer parts where I could up the speed causing the mud to fly off.

The views made it worth it. The sun was out and the temperature climbed to a pleasant level.

Reigate Hill. Mountain bike cycling

Mountain bike cycling, stopping for a break

Mountain bike cycling, another group shot
Another team shot.


We had regular breaks so it didn't get too much.

Mountain bike cycling, waiting for people to catchup

And the autumn colour was still evident.

Mountain bike cycling, through the trees

The route was a big circle and we passed under the M25 a couple of times.

Mountain bike cycling, through a tunnel

There were a few obstacles that sometimes needed ingenuity to overcome.

Mountain bike cycling, through a gate

And then near the end, a pub that needs a revisit when it's open and a little warmer. It would make a very nice place for a pitstop.

Mountain bike cycling, pub stop. The Inn on the Pond


Can't wait for the next Sunday ride.




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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Team photoshoot

Alison checking the details


Up until now my shoots have been just the subject of the shoot, occasionally a studio, and me.

So they have been fairly easy to organise. It wasn't too difficult to get all the elements together. Pencil in a date with the subject of the shoot. And if it was a studio shoot, book it. Apart from checking a couple of days before that was it.

This time it involved the MUA; my niece Allison, Janayah the model and me. The location was Battersea Park. I had shot there before. So only the weather could cause a problem.

What made it a little more complicated was having three people involved. This meant plenty of texts confirming and reconfirming and chats about what to bring, who was responsible for what. I need to do more shoots like this, involve a team.

The main point was to give Alison a blogpost: what is was like to plan a shoot, style it and complete all of the creative tasks to deliver the planned look.

For Janayah: she would get more pictures and experience of working with an MUA.

And for me: working with a bigger team. Even if it was only one more person. It was good have a more focused goal for the shoot; to highlight and show off Alison's work. Choosing the best light, angle and pose.

The weather was the first potential issue. It was raining in the morning. After calling each other and checking BBC weather we decided it was going to clear up in time. So it was still a go on the shoot.

When we all met up in the park, the weather was great. A little overcast and not too windy.

There was a great vibe on the shoot straight away.

The results are brilliant. Janayah is such a nice person and a relaxed model. Alison is great to be around and did beautiful work. I hope we can all work together again.







Alison making sure everything was just right.


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