Quarantine, Eric Kim and more…

“If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.” — Jim Richardson

The Cao Dai

The above images are of the Cao Dai, in Vietman. The photos were taken in 2013, a time when my interest in Street and Travel Photography was just starting to bloom. The location definitely falls under the category of ‘interesting’. The women all wear white, which is always going to provide a repetitive theme to any photograph. In addition, the worshipers are set in beautiful symmetric geometric patterns. If you are thinking of a location for travel photography, the Cao Dai can be found in Tay Ninh, which is 4-5 hours outside of Ho Chi Minh City.

Travel and Quarantine.

Thinking about travel, and re-visiting old photos is about all we can do at the moment. I am currently one of the 1.3 billion people in India under lockdown. Fortunately, people are allowed to walk around their compounds, and allowed out to shop for essential items. My photography is focused on recording everyday life at home, and it is challengeing to make anything look particularly interesting (anyone want to see a photo of the 3rd cup of tea I have made today?).

Photos from my recent travels to the kitchen. Future travel plans include the bedrooms and lounge…

Eric Kim

I love Eric Kim, and have downloaded all his free stuff and subscribe to his blog. However, I disagree with his latest advice re Covid-19. I have paraphrased his email below.

We are currently going through a very epic time in human history. The question: SHOULD I be out shooting photos right now? Some thoughts:

First of all, if you don’t want to go out and photos, don’t. Only go out and shoot photos if you want … of course, legal laws permitting. Right now is history in the making!

Right now is a decisive moment in human history. It can be your unique chance to make some truly epic photos.  Your duty as a photographer — not just a snap-shooter of random stuff. No — you are a documentarian, a historian. Someone who is creating something epic for future generations of humans. Your photography is legitimate, important, and great.

Sorry Eric…

…but this may be an epic time in human history, but it is also a tragic time when people are getting sick and losing loved ones. The health advice is clear – staying inside is going to save lives. We can make the world a better place by sitting on our sofa and watching TV. Yes, the photos coming out of areas that under quarantine are awesome, but these images should be taken by people who are meant, or need to be there. Remember we are photographers, not doctors or paramedics and our photos are not going to save the world.

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Taeko Page, taking in our view that is for the next three weeks!

On a Positive Note

If you are stuck at home, then there are heaps of free courses for you to work through. Here are some of the offers that are out there for online leaning.

If you know of any other courses worth looking at, please share them in the comment box. That’s all for today folks.

Take care and keep clicking, Chris

If you enjoy following this blog, then please feel free to head over and buy me a coffee! Blogs take time and money, and your continued support is appreciated.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Raw Chicken is never a good idea.
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Introducing the Sony Mavica.

I think this may be the silly season for Street Photography blogs. As Covid-19 becomes more prevalent, many of us are finding Street Photography to be an increasingly perilous task. Today I tried going out, taking photos, and not touching my face. Firstly, I concluded that not touching my face is impossible. Secondly, the highlight of any street/ travel photography session is a cup of hot sweet Indian ‘chai’, or a cold mango kulfi, both of which include a lot of finger action. Anyway, I’ve been trawling through my archives, where my personal journey into digital photography started, in 2002 with the Sony Mavica.

Purchase one of these, and you will never have to worry about large file sizes again.

The Sony Mavica was the first digital camera I ever used. It saved the photos you took straight to a floppy disk and was powered by AA batteries. I don’t think the version I used would have been the first model, which came out in 1998. The camera was not mine, but was purchased by the school I was working at (Thornberry Middle School, in Lancing, UK). I can’t remember if I actually had permission to take it home with me, and suspect it was on an unofficial loan!

Floppy Disks

The photo I was going to post featured my eldest son, on the first day he rode a bike. This image appears to have been lost, which demonstrates the importance of properly backing up your work. Due to my negligence you are now presented with a photo of me and my rather fabulous looking wife. I’m not sure if my looks have improved, but the quality of digital images certainly has!

What is your oldest digital photo? Feel free to email them in and I can put them up on a page.

Take care and keep clicking, Chris

If you enjoy following this blog, then please feel free to head over and buy me a coffee! Blogs take time and money, and your continued support is appreciated.

Photography and Covid-19

Wow – what a click-bait title, obviously designed to create panic purchases of memory cards and lens cleaning wipes. Like it or not, the Corona Virus is now having an impact on many people, and it may be time to think about keeping yourself safe when out taking photos. Obviously, I am not writing as a medical expert, so don’t take anything too seriously!

I’m avoiding this for a while!

My home in Bangalore is now affected and primary schools have been closed. India is obviously not immune and new cases are popping up daily. Looking further afield, Sony has reported that it is struggling to make new sensors. Fujifilm are having issues manufacturing parts for its new camera line up, and Canon are unable to fulfil orders for some of their latest lenses. Finally, numerous photography conventions have been cancelled. It looks like 2020 could be a year not to purchase new gear.

On a personal note

I was due a trip to Bangkok for a convention this month. This has now been cancelled. My plan was to photograph the iconic Central Train Station, which would have been a progression from the Bruce Gilden style of photography I usually practice along Soi Cowboy and the like (getting over that phase now…). At home, the advice has been to avoid crowds, so I will not be heading to the downtown markets for the foreseeable future.

Budha @ Nana Plaza/ Bangkok

Covid-19 is no reason to quash our passion for photography, so without final ado, here are 5 ways we can survive the Corona Virus.

5 Alternative Photography Ideas

  • Work on a home studio.

If you already have a flash for your camera, then it does not cost much to build a home studio. A simple backdrop, light stand, softbox and umbrella will cost less than $100. Stay at home and work on getting photos of your family. The photo below was created using one speedlight and a softbox. When I finish with my studio it all packs away and fits under the bed.

Taeko Page – One of my first home studio family portraits.
  • Head out of town, not into town.

This is my current plan. Heading out of town means less crowds and more space. In Bangalore there are 100’s of locations within an hour drive. My market project is now on hold. The image below is of a Holy Bull Walker. The bull was born in a temple, it will be dressed and decorated, then used to collect offerings.

Rural life has less people and may be a safer location for photography
  • Product and Macro Photography

This has never been on high on my list of priorities. One exception is the classic photo of a piece of fruit splashing into water. I may go for a strawberry splashing into milk if I get quarantined for long enough. This option is for when boredom seriously sets in. I also need to create a new selfie for my social media sites.

  • Enter competitions.

Every cloud has a silver lining, and not going out is going to save lots of money. This money could be spent on competition entries. Is this an opportunity to focus on winning an award or photography grant? F Stop magazine features a comprehensive list of available challenges for various photographic genres.

  • Work on a blog site

I cannot help but notice my own blog site is starting to look dated. In the next few weeks I may get time to delete older, and out of date posts. There are photos in my project collections which need to be re-sized. I still need to move my site from wordpress.com to wordrpess.org (which I tried with Bluehost, who were a huge pain in the bum). Blogging is a rewarding experience, and something I believe all photographers should try. Most sites will have a free, or very cheap option to get you started.

Bonus Idea – Read Books!

Stuck for reading? Here are three books that may get your photographic juices flowing…

  • Photography Masterclass. Creative Techniques of 100 Great Photographers, Paul Lowe, Thames & Hudson
  • Fifty Paths to Creative Photography, Michael Freeman, Octopus Publishing Group
  • Larry Fink, On Composition and Improvisation, Larry Fink, aperture

Are you affected by the Covid-19, and if so, how are you keeping sane? Feel free to drop me a note below.

Take care and keep clicking, Chris

If you enjoy following this blog, then please feel free to head over and buy me a coffee! Blogs take time and money, and your continued support is appreciated.

5 Pieces of Street Photography Advice You Should Ignore.

Street Photographers are not known for their reserve. We are happy to give advice on gear, framing and technique. But I believe the best photographers are those who also seek advice and look to learn from others. But not all advice is equal, and some ideas are outdated, narrow minded, or just plan wrong. In this article I am going to go question some of the advice that has almost become folklore in Street Photography, and pose the question, is it time to move on?

Colour or Black and White?
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Angalamman Festival

A Festival of Pain

The Angalamman Festival is held Kaveripattinam, a smalll town in Tamil Nadu. On the day after Maha Shivratri, the festival sees tens of thousands of people from the town converge to worship the deity Angalamman. Obviously, this was not a festival to be missed, and I knew from the start it would be a special event to photograph. Shiva had one night to sleep, and things were going to get wild when he awoke.

Extreme body piercings are one way to offer pain sacrifices.
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Editing a Photo Collection

For the last few weeks it appears I have been doing nothing but editing photos! But first, let me define what I mean by ‘editing’. What is it you thought of when you read the title to this post?

  • Using Lightroom or similar editing software
  • Photoshop
  • Using a darkroom (v. old school!)
  • Other

If your choice was ‘other’, then full marks to you! When I refer to editing photos, I mean going through our archives and selecting only the best images. There are many reasons you may wish to do this, which include photo books, competitions, upgrading social media feeds, or writing an article. For this blog post I have chosen some of the photos for an article I’m preparing on the Central Flower Market in Bangalore, locally known as KR Market.

View From Above
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