Monday, 28 May 2012


I love to shoot portraits and record activity on the streets but there aren't always crowds and hustle and bustle where I live so, having arrived early last Friday, I decided that I needed to find something else to keep me amused.
Summer has finally arrived in the UK and I had clear blue skies and strong sunshine to light the day.

Living on the East coast, the sun was shining directly on the seafront buildings and they were extremely photogenic so I decided to expand my focus and start to record the manufactured environment in the town, with or without visible humans and also to look for interesting details round and about. These will be new projects to run alongside my candid portraits.

Here are a few of the keepers from the day which are best viewed in large format.....

Walking Great Yarmouth Promenade

Who's Watching Who?


A Holiday Couple


Great Yarmouth Seafront Vista

Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Great Yarmouth Atlantis Tower

The Empi..

Man In Fedora

Three Angels

Man With A Bag

On Hire

Thursday, 24 May 2012


Yesterday was the first time that the Olympus 12mm f2.0 ZUIKO Digital ED Micro Four Thirds (24mm equivalent) lens had been used on the street.

After shooting with the 45mm for the past few weeks it requires a complete change in style to use. Instead of the few yards between myself and the subject for a full length candid portrait I realised that you have to get really close with the 12mm. With the angle of view being so wide you can almost stand next to the subject to take the shot.

Of course, the advantage here is that so much of the periphery is in view that it's not entirely necessary to point the camera direct at an individual and the depth of field, even with a fast aperture, ensures plenty of the scene is in focus.

I found myself taking plenty of pictures 'from the hip', even as I or the subject moved past one another since the light was bright and this afforded a fast shutter speed - technically at least....please read on.

This lens also opens up whole new opportunities for group and scene shots which are more restricted with a slightly longer lens.

It will take a fair bit more experimentation to become truly proficient with this lens but I really enjoyed the change and the new challenge and it's going to get used a lot more. I think I will probably cover the same ground on a session, interchanging the lenses as I go.

Now for a word of advice to myself and anyone else who becomes engrossed in composition and forgets about the camera settings.

My personal preference when out on a session is to set my camera to Aperture Priority, select a value and leave the camera to work out the shutter speed. It was a bright, sunny day yesterday so I dialled in f2.8 and ISO200 and went about my work.

Today's lesson is to always check your camera settings at regular intervals.

I proceeded to merrily snap away for over an hour afterwards only to discover that I had inadvertently moved the wheel on the camera and changed the aperture to f22. Result = lots of unintentionally blurred images.

We live and learn!

Still, there were one or two reasonable shots from the earlier ones I took and I persevered for a while afterwards. Just a shame that a few good ones were rather spoilt.





Friday, 11 May 2012


A combination of weather, transport and work have kept me away from the physical act of photography for a few days so I've been studying other people's work and developing my presence on a couple of the main photo sharing community sites.

I joined 500px a week or so ago and I really like it. Whilst it doesn't possess the biggest community of photographers in the world, the site is clean and easy to use and displays your work very well. Another nice feature is the opportunity to buy and sell images, either as prints or digital downloads. Simply opt-in and the site takes care of things for you.

The big daddy online, though is Flickr. With over 50 million registered users and 1 billion + images on it's servers it is huge. Getting noticed amongst all this 'noise' requires time and effort on the user's part. It is no use simply to upload a  picture and expect people to notice it; you have to work at it!

That means for each shot you should be adding as many relevant tags as you can think of, including a description and a title and posting in appropriate special interest groups where you will be reaching an audience that will be more appreciative of your work or be able to offer constructive criticism.

Another important way to attract attention is through association with like-minded individuals. Search for other members who produce similar images and add them as contacts. You will be learning and gaining inspiration from them and with a bit of luck they will also add you as a contact and see your new posts when they open their 'Contacts' tab. By visiting their pages you can also see what inspires them by accessing their favourite images and adding these photographers as contacts if they also appeal to you.

That's my brief overview of a couple of the most popular sites and I will return to this subject in the future when I have more user experiences to report on.

My Flickr

My 500px

My Facebook Page

Monday, 7 May 2012


Just a few shots taken on a cold and blowy May Day afternoon.

And I've now got my Flickr account set up : Public Places - David Hodgson's Flickr Account

The Drink Seller

The Jewellery (Jewelry) Man

A Helping Hand

On The Move

Itching Eye

That Kitchen Sink Is In Here Somewhere

Sunday, 6 May 2012


I'm finding that when I go out it takes me a while to get shooting. Generally, I see very little in the first half an hour, start to take shots in the next half an hour and find more of a rhythm after that. I think it's to do with getting 'in the zone' as I remarked in a previous blog. After a time I find a pace of moving and observing that works and gets results - the best pictures always seem to come towards the end of a session.

I managed to get out today but I had less than an hour to spare before my dinner finished up in the dog.

This was a bit too much of a rush for me. I think a couple of hours produces both greater quantity and quality of output.

Of the limited amount of work that I got through I think these were the most interesting...

Queue Here - Outside a local Health & Fitness Centre


Saturday, 5 May 2012


The sun finally shone for a time today and I got out for an hour or so

Despite the existence of crowds brought out by the combination of dry weather and the holiday weekend I found it difficult to find material to shoot and a lot of what I did take was rather blown out by the bright conditions.

Of the limited shots I took these were about the best of a bad bunch and I've attached my own comments to them....

A lower angle would have worked much better.

Neither one thing or the other this. In either silhouette or full light this could have worked. 

Two strangers standing uncomfortably together. It's just a bit flat. 

Born to dance - she was moving out of shot so unfortunately I couldn't get any more of the musician in the frame.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


Anybody living in England will know that there has been a deluge of biblical proportions here for about 3 weeks now so opportunities to go out with a non-weatherproof camera have been limited.

Still, I did manage to get out for a couple of hours at the weekend and get some practice in with the new gear. I live just outside the seaside resort of Great Yarmouth and when it's off-season like it is now we really need decent weather to bring the tourists in for the weekend. Needless to say, this past weekend was very, very quiet. This limited my subject matter and whilst I did manage to take a number of shots I found that when I got home and put them on the computer there were no 'keepers' amongst them. I can blame it partly on my unfamiliarity with the equipment, partly on my own ineptitude and a considerable amount on my lack of confidence and experience at Street Photography. As someone who is happy to melt into the background on any occasion I still felt very conspicuous in my endeavours, although towards the end of this first session I could feel a little bit of confidence starting to develop.

To train myself for the next session I reprised the YouTube videos of street photographers I'd watched previously and these helped. Observing how others deal with the situations that arise with their subjects and how they communicate with strangers is priceless and I would recommend it to all the other novices out there.

It seems to me that there are 3 main ways to photograph strangers in public spaces. 

Firstly, you can ask their permission and a 'yes' gives you a happy and relaxed subject who will probably allow you to take a number of shots which should be well focused and composed. The main drawback is that they will be showing you what they want you to see, rather than the way that they really are. However, if taking profile pictures of interesting faces is your thing then why not.

Second, you can take the picture and then interact with them afterwards. I don't personally like this approach as it confirms what they suspected; that you took their picture and provides them with the opportunity to object. This approach might suit your personality but not mine.

Third is my preferred option - just take the shot and avoid eye contact. The subject is unlikely to be sure you took their picture, unless you're Bruce Gilden and just aimed a flash in their face, and you can move straight past and look for the next shot. To me, this is the easiest technique to learn and eventually master although I wouldn't discount using the other methods as my confidence grows.

Armed with all this new knowledge I ventured out again today and I was far more successful. 

I found it far easier to point and shoot, albeit at a very 'safe' distance to begin with but as time passed by I became more and more comfortable with the equipment and what I was supposed to be doing. Some people I've read talk about being "in the zone" and I think I could feel what they are talking about. After a while walking around you find a rhythm of walking and seeing and shooting which becomes almost automatic. I started to get closer to my subject and became almost oblivious to the people around me. I wasn't in-your-face close but I stopped feeling conspicuous and relaxed.

Today, I bagged some keepers. They're probably not going to win any prizes but it's a start and something to build on and I'll probably upload a few for peer review and criticism (constructive I hope) on the photo sites and on here.