Quarantine and a Poetry

My two weeks of managed isolation in New Zealand has come to an end and I am currently free to roam. My current home in Blenheim (top of the South Island) will be a challenge for street photography, but there are heaps of interesting people around and some spectacular landscapes to capture.

During isolation I managed to carry out a little photography, and I wrote a poem. First, the photos, click on them to enlarge…

Managed Quarantine

Photography and Poetry

Alec Soth is a Magnum photographer who has discussed the parallels between poetry and photography. You can hear a little about his views on poetry here. With this in mind, I took pen to paper and had a go. Are there other photographers out there who have tried poetry?. Be kind, I have never published a poem before (yes, I know that after reading this there will be someone who begs me never to publish a poem again!).

Well that is it for now. In the meantime, some of you will notice that I have started a re-vamp of my website, and that at the moment it is looking very half-done. Not sure when this job will be finished as I have also got my hands on a old Cosina mechanical camera, and I may fulfil my goal of shooting and processing film. Taking photos is always more fun than maintaining websites!

Keep Clicking, Chris

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Fleeing India, Luminar 4 and shooting flowers (and potatoes).

This post is being writing from New Zealand whilst under ‘supervised lockdown’. This comes from the NZ Government’s superbly planned emergency exit from India. Supervised lockdown is turning out to be a life of luxury in a very nice hotel in Christchurch. The meals are so good I am considering taking up food photography. Freedom is limited for the next two weeks, putting street and travel photography well out of reach, so brace yourself for photos of an empty carpark!

On fleeing India, I did manage to take a few snaps of the airport, deserted streets, and Covid 19 signs. I also managed to bust the focus joystick on my Sony A7iii. This trip is going to be expensive.

An Empty Airport
Mumbai Street Signs…
Only One Plane Leaving Mumbai…

Luminar 4

If you look carefully at the photo of the Covid 19 sign, you may see something is not quite right. The photo is a ‘cheat’ as I changed the sky. I have also done this in the photo below. Changing the sky is a difficult task in Photoshop, and something I am unlikely to try. But this task is a breeze when using Luminar 4. Doing this feels like cheating, and is not something I intend to make part of my everyday workflow. For the two photos included in this post (the second image is posted below), the skies used are not even my photos. I guess for travel photography I may start collecting fantastic images of skies for use with Luminar 4, we will see. However, I can’t see this practice as something that can be undertaken for Street Photography. At the moment the juries out on how I feel about replacing skies. But it is a fun tool to play with whilst under lockdown!

Bus ride to Mumbai. Sky replaced in Luminar 4! You will probably see this sky in many other photos that are posted online.. I think the software loses something around the electricity pylon.

Nothing But Flowers (and Potatoes)

Well to round of this extremely exciting blog post I will fill you in with my current project. Flowers. Not normally a flowers guy, but I’m walking round a garden everyday and that is what I see, so that is what I will shoot. There are people, but there is an odd atmosphere around the place and I have not yet become courageous enough to ask the people guarding the facility for a snapshot!

One competition that has caught my eye is the Potato Photographer of the Year Award. This is judged by non-other than Magnum’s Martin Parr. The competition raises money for the Trussell Trust Charity and costs a fiver to enter, so a bit of a bargain. There is also a chance to win a camera, which would be useful since I bust mine on the journey to NZ!

A Flower on PagesPics?! Don’t get used to it. Here I am playing with some Lightroom Presets, curtesy of Trey Ratcliff.

Well that may well be the first and last photo of a flower you will see on this blog, but who knows, everything is changing at the moment! Next week I may have a photo of a potato to share. While you are here, please take the opportunity to support this blog through ‘buy me a coffee‘, a platform that helps support artists and bloggers. Details at the end of this post.

That is all for now folks, now I’m off to find a potato.

Keep Clicking, Chris

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If you enjoy following this blog, the feel free to buy me a coffee! Support is appreciated.

Tango in the Big Mango

This week I received an email from Peter Nitsch, who is looking for support of his Kickstarter Campaign, which he is putting together for his book ‘Tango In The Big Mango’. I usually ignore these emails, but I checked out his website and it all looks legit. The book is based around Bangkok, one of my favourite cities for photography (and a location that I missed this year due to Covid-19). Have a read, check out his website and the kickstarter campaign. It looks like a great book and I am delighted to support the campaign. Alternatively, scan down to the bottom of this email for a link to his website.

Take Care, Chris..


‘Tango In The Big Mango’ – a Baudelaire-like photo documentary about Bangkok, working at a ground zero of now-ness. 

Photo Credit: Peter Nitsch ‘Tango In The Big Mango’

ABOUT THE BOOK

I tend to see this group of works as ‘documentary’ in a unique sense of the word. We tend to think of documentary as something like a capture ‘that is highly instructive and explanatory’, but I see Nitsch’s use of the ‘documentary’ as something far more Baudelaire-like, a split second in time that lends our eye something prior to narrative meaning and description/definition.“ – GREGORY GALLIGAN, Director Thai Art Archives.

A distinctive and raw portrait of contemporary Bangkok and its inhabitants that remains as complicated as inscrutable. Like Tango, Bangkok has influences from many countries. This photographic documentary concept explores the question of identity, and the boundaries between growth and angst – ‘a finite attempt at conceiving of the inconceivability, that is life.’ — RETO F. BRUNNER, Curator photoMÜNCHEN
The photo book ‘Tango in the Big Mango’ shows Bangkok as a city in which the coexistence of different cultures and people from different countries, despite their peculiarities, have found a way to live together. 
The photo book is a mixture of documentary/street and conceptual images. Therefore the book is split into four parts: The main part is documentary/street photography, the other three minor parts are concept based around the themes GREED, GROWTH and ANGST. Together they form the documentary concept ‘Tango in the Big Mango’, that captures the intensity of urban life and barrage of consumption, culture and eccentricity in Bangkok.

Specs

English Hardcover 25 cm by 30 cm100 colour plates, 160 pages

Print run planned Release Date: April 2021

WHY KICKSTARTER

For over 2 years, I worked on my own dime for this project. Now, additional funds are needed to complete printing the photo book and to exhibit. I would like to produce the very best book possible: a book without compromise and one whose quality will do justice to the many years of work which went into it’s making.
If you are interested in the book and the story of it, this campaign would be a perfect opportunity to support the project by posting the Kickstarter project:


https://kickstarter.com/projects/peternitsch/tango-in-the-big-mango-photo-book-and-exhibition

With your help, the legacy for ‘Tango in the Big Mango’ will be the stunning, collectable photo book that I’m hoping to produce. Your support will make this book possible!  


ABOUT MEPeter Nitsch’s background is located back in the late eighties of the German Skater scene. He studied communication design in Munich, to later graduate as designer from the University of Munich, department of design (specializing in motion design). As on air designer he worked for clients such as Universal Studios, ProSieben, 13th Street, SciFi Channel and United Nations. After that period of time, he returned to concentrate to work on corporate design and photography.
Nitsch has won several international awards both as designer (New York Festival, BDA…) and photographer (Los Angeles International Photography Award, Hasselblad Masters semifinalist…). He is co-founder of the ‘Playboard Magazine‘, ‘RUPA‘ and the former culture blog ‘get addicted to…‘.
In 2020 Nitsch became a life time member of The Royal Photographic Society of Thailand.

Contact Peter Here

https://peternitsch.com/monographs/tango-in-the-big-mango/

Instagram: @peternitsch.gram

LockDown Projects

It is a challenge keeping a travel and street photography blog running when you can’t travel, or go out on the street. However, photography is my form of meditation, it keeps me sane and is not something I can just stop doing because of Covid-19! At the moment I am keeping a visual diary running. Obviously a diary is a little more personal than most of my projects, and I am including photos of family and friends who are locked down with me. This will be something I can look back on in the future, and is a project I encourage everyone to try.

The Selfie

Selfie

For my selfie project, I worked on setting up my home studio for Rembrandt lighting. I think in this image I am turned a little too much to my left for a perfect ‘Rembrandt’ shot (if you google this style of photo you will know that there should be a small triangle of light on my left cheek). I spent an evening rigging the lighting, tripod and remote triggers. It is technically not a selfie, as I had my son Taeko press the shutter once the setup was complete. He now claims this photo as one of his own! This pic was processed in Photoshop using the ‘Damn Handsome Brush’. No comments please!

Panning

At the moment I am allowed out the front of my compound. The usually busy road is strangely quiet. However, there is still traffic passing, which provides the opportunity to practice my panning skills. Below is my favourite photo so far. If this is a challenge you would like to try, then there are heaps of great articles on how to achieve this style of photo. In India many people ride without a helmet. Having no helmet is certainly not the safest way to ride a bike, but it makes great photo opportunities.

Movie

Finally, I am trying to make a short 5 minute movie on my time in lockdown. I can’t say this is going particularly well, as recording video is not something I often think of doing. I have made a hyperlapse of the sunsetting, as viewed from my balcony. Watching the sun go down with a decent brew of tea is a highlight, and something that helps me get through each day of quarantine. Unfortunately, watching this clip it becomes obvious that my camera sensor needs cleaning. I have always left this to the professionals, but with the current state of affairs I may have to try this myself!

New Zealand…

Lastly there is a chance my next blog post will be written from New Zealand, so there is hope for my travel photography. The NZ government is rather ungenerously put together an emergency flight for Kiwi’s and their families at only $5,500 per person. There are three of us in the Page family that need to head home, and the thought of how much gear $16,500 would get makes my eyes water! If you enjoy this blog, then this is clearly a great time to buy me a coffee. The ‘Buy Me a Coffee’ app is a simple way to keep creatives creating, and caffeinated!

Please stay safe out there and let me know in the comments section of any lockdown photography challenges that are keeping you busy.

Keep clicking, Chris

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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.

Sony to Quit Digital and Return to 35mm Film.

In a leaked document from Sony, plans have been revealed for the company to pull completely out of the digital market and to focus on the production of a range of film cameras. Whilst this may appear crazy, we must remember that Sony purchased the camera division of Minolta in 2006. Minolta was never one of the ‘big boys’ of the camera industry, however, the company led the the field technologically with innovations such as Aperture and Shutter Priority modes. With a Sony/ Minolta return to analogue, the industry has to ask itself, is this the next game changer for the photography market?

Backward Technology

Sony’s own Mr. Araki, was keen to dispel worries from those invested in Sony technology, indicating that the new range of film cameras would still be compatible with Sony mounts, would work with in-body stabilisation, and current auto-focus mechanisms. He further added, that whilst the mechanics of the camera would be analogue, there would still be an option for an integrated digital menu that nobody understands.

Mr. Araki

New v Old

Sony cameras have never been know for their stylish looks, but this is now set to change. The analogue range is rumoured to be based around the XD-11, a camera regarded as ground breaking when first released. Unlike the original XD-11, Sony is reported to be looking at fully weather-proofing the entire range of cameras, whilst retaining a plastic faux leather look.

The Minolta XD11

Film

Sony have been working with Steve McCurry on developing a range of colour films. McCurry is known for his use of Kodachrome, and there are early indications the new film range will replicate the fine grain and rich colours Kodachrome produced. Sony’s current range of digital cameras are renowned for producing beautiful skin tones, and it is likely that this look will be replicated with the new film.

Inspiration

Sony’s shock move from the digital market has been partly attributed to a number of board members currently under lockdown due to Covid-19. Many board members have been spending time going through old photo books and sharing slide shows with their families. One insider, who asked to remain anonymous stated, ‘I was sat with my two sons watching a slideshow of our camping holiday, back in 1977. As I was viewing the slides I realised that our image sensors would never match the beauty of slide-film. In addition, there is nothing like the sound of a slide carousel click-clicking in the background’.

Will we see a return of the Slide Carousel?

Advance Retro Signature Engine

Obviously, Sony will not be throwing out all their technological know-how. The new analogue range will be based around their ‘Advanced Retro Signature Engine (ARSE). The industry is now asking, ‘can Sony’s ARSE kick Cannon and Nikon’s Butts?’

In the meantime, I wish you all a happy April Fools.

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.

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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