I have been told that it is always good to revisit older blogs and especially when you set yourself photographic challenges it is good to go back to your older pictures and compare with newer ones to see the progress.
I wrote a blog last year ‘Summer at Southbank‘ with pictures from the ‘London eye’ area.
We go often to the Southbank and because it is such an attraction there are so many things one can photograph. A couple of weeks ago, the Festival of the Neighbourhood was on (it continues until 8 September for those Londoners who haven’t been yet), giving me plenty of subjects to photograph.
One year on, what has changed in the way I take pictures and are this year’s pictures better? Le’t see.
This was taken with a small-ish aperture value of f7.1 so that I could have most of the scene in focus and very high shutter speed 1/1600 (I could have used an even smaller aperture f11, f16 to have more detail in but as I was shooting the photo I didn’t think of such level of detail).
Strong colours are attractive, especially the vibrant yellow of this mexican restaurant complimented by the banners of the Festival of Nehighbourhood. Here I have used the same aperture (f7.1) but a slower shutter speed (1/125).
I wanted to be able to capture the whole image with the sweepers and where they stand (on Queen Elizabeth Hall’s Roof); that is why I shot this vertically.
I took many photos of this installation but chose to show a close-up of one of the barrows, with the growing plants falling out. I haven’t changed the aperture, so I am still at f7.1 (!!) which again shows that I wasn’t being very careful; technically I should have used a larger aperture (f3.5 for example) for a close-up photo, so that I could get a stronger ‘shallow depth of field’ effect but I wasn’t mindful of that at the time!
I can see this being a key difference between the professional photographer who is shooting for a specific project or for work and the non-professional (like me) who is wandering about and practicing.
I have kept the same value for aperture all along these pictures, so again the difference between the theory and practice is a real one when it comes to taking pictures on the go. Something to be aware of!
An amusing image below from Southbank’s website.
These sisters were singing in what sounded a slavic type of language and were very sweet. I like the effect of the sun light reflecting from the left on to their hair.
So what is the verdict? I don’t think pictures from this year look much different to those from last year. Perhaps what is different, is the way I feel about photographing and what I focus on. I have learnt to pay attention to the detail and make my choice of the subject clear, so that it stands out. Although I would like to think that I have learnt to be quick at adapting my settings to a particular situation (last year I would get overwhelmed when I needed to take a picture quickly and so would turn to automatic mode), this series of photos shows that I have stuck with one value for aperture for all the images. I could have played more with different values for landscape or close-ups, but sticking with one value for aperture, and playing with shutter speed and ISO, is still a step forward from using the automatic mode (I like to be positive)!
In photography there is no right or wrong way, so the best is to keep practicing while being aware of the different choices of settings and the effects they can help you create.
I have one favourite image from last year, the grass in slow motion and from this year, the Queen’s walk window gardens.