Tag Archives: Wanstead

Battered…

World © Geoff Wilkinson - All rights reserved

World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

….and I’m not talking about fish. I have a pair of very old cameras, old by digital standards anyway. They are Nikon F80’s dating from around 2001, see what I mean by old. They have gathered a lot of air miles and have had a lot of film put through them. I don’t think this model was ever thought of as ‘professional’ but then again I have rarely used big heavy professional cameras.

The point of this post is that after 14 years both still work perfectly, for anyone starting out and wanting to use film they would be great. Interesting I have been looking on Amazon and secondhand they still fetch between £55 and £125 which surprised me.

The point I wanted to make was that the exterior appearance is still perfect. I have no idea what they make modern camera bodies out of, I expect I could find out with a little research, but this pair of bodies look pristine. When I was a staff photographer on the Daily Mail in the 60’s I had the original Nikon F bodies in black finish. It was amazing how quickly the black finish wore off, got scratched and scuffed in the day to day hurly burly of Fleet Street. Within a few months they looked very sad and battered, mechanically of course they worked perfectly and having a battered Nikon body with brass shining through the black was the height of professionalism, or so I thought at the time.

Have a look at my F80’s at the top of the page and then click here to see Elliott Erwitt’s Leica M3 from the 60’s and you will understand what I am talking about…which finish do you prefer..

As a point of interest you can now buy a brand new Leica, the Leica MP Correspondent designed by the singer and Leica user Lenny Kravitz. It arrives having had ‘an elaborate wearing process completely by hand has carefully rubbed, scuffed and scratched the black enamel finish away in several places on both the camera and lens to let the bright brass surface shine through’ The nostalgia almost brings a tear to my eyes but be prepared to pay $24,500 with lens for this limited edition beauty, you can click here to have a look…ah the price of the good old days…

A germ of and idea…

Branches overhanging in a churchyardWorld © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

I think this picture is becoming one of my favourites,  in fact I’m sure it is. It first appeared on my blog Wanstead Daily Photo as the post for Easter Sunday. It is also probably one of the quickest pictures that I have ever taken. I was looking for an Easter photograph that involved a church but wasn’t to obvious so I headed off to St Mary the Virgin in Overton Drive, Wanstead. This is a lovely church designed by the architect Thomas Hardwick in the late 18th century. The foundation stone was laid in 1887 some 70 foot north of the original medieval church and today the church still retains the original 1790 pews.

The churchyard lies behind the church, it’s one of my favourite places, and as I wandered along one or the paths it passed under the the branches of a low hanging tree with new growth on them. The contrast  struck me immediately  between the new shoots on the branch and the old gravestones behind, I knew I had a picture.

I knew however that I needed some separation between the two, because the branch was only about two foot from the camera and the gravestones were much further it would be easy to throw the background out of focus. I chose an aperture of f2.7 that combined with a focal length of around 50mm would give me a shallow depth of field. I focused on the shoots of the overhanging branch and framed the churchyard behind them, I took two pictures in quick succession, one upright and one landscape, the landscape composition won by a mile. The whole process took under a minute, I  concentrated thinking of three things, light, composition and depth of field.

So I started with a germ of an idea not really knowing where it would lead me and just by looking and a little thinking I ended up with a favourite. I thinks it’s quite subtle, not to obvious but it conveys what I was trying to illustrate for Easter Sunday..

 

Technical stuff: The camera was a Leica D Lux type 109. The shutter speed was 1/100th of a second and the aperture was F2.7 which gave me that lovely out of focus background. The ISO was 200 and the picture style was set to vivid. The focal length was appx 50mm equivalent on 35mm format.

 

 

Seize the moment !

Evening traffic on Wanstead High Street

Evening traffic on Wanstead High Street

Always carry a camera, there’s really no excuse these days. Approximately 93% of the UK population have a mobile ‘phone and there’s every chance most of those ‘phones have a camera. It’s said that the best camera in the world is the one you have with you at the time, so your ‘phone is fine. If you are serious about your photography there’s really no excuse.

I took this picture one evening on my way home from the Gallery. It’s actually taken from a car, I wasn’t driving, and shot through the windscreen. It first appeared on my blog Wanstead Daily Photo and received comment from both France and America, here’s what I wrote at the time.

“I shot this picture yesterday evening on my way home from the Gallery. I was in stationary traffic near The George pub.No particular reason for taking the picture except that I was really  drawn by the colours, lights and reflections of the traffic, it made me think of chaos. It was just a gut feeling. One of those moments in photography when it all comes together in front of you with very little time to think so you just react. As I often say ‘not everyones cup of tea but I like it…’

I am always telling student or anyone who will listen for that matter “always think your picture through’. Decide on the angle, the lens, the light, landscape or upright, I have books filled with notes, sketches and diagrams for every shoot, it’s kind of one of my rules. Rules however are made to be broken and this is a prime example where I just went with my gut feeling…

Most importantly you will see from the technical info below that I used my  Leica for this picture but I could just as easily used my ‘phone!

Technical info: Leica D Lux 6 camera with an ISO of 200. The shutter speed was 1/5th of a second handheld and the aperture was f2.3. The focal length was appx 75mm (35mm equivalent). Normally photographing with a shutter speed of 1/5th of a second would produce camera shake, however with a little care and the D Lux’s built in VR it was manageable, it’s always worth trying..

Print size ?

A2 photographic print coming off Epson printer

A2 photographic print coming off Epson printer

We have been making prints this afternoon to go on the Gallery wall. I’ve come to the conclusion that A2 in my favourite size, it’s big enough to look impressive but not too big to be a problem with where to hang. Hopefully by the end of the weekend they will all be finished and on the wall. As you can see from the picture we use Apple computers and Epson printers, we think it’s a great combination and produces lovely print. If you are not to far away you are more than welcome to pop in and have a look at the final prints on the wall. What’s your favourite size of print? let me know…

Technical info: nor very much I’m afraid, I shot this picture with my i.pad and processed the image with Snapseed

I’m back…

As Arnie said in the film Terminator ‘I’ll be back” and then in Kindergarten Cop ‘I’m back’…

A bit like me really, after a year’s absence, I can’t believe it’s been that much time, I’m back on the photography blog. Sorry I’ve been away for so long. As some of you will know part of my time has been taken up with the Gallery where there is now a new craft shop, Craft Boutique 84, as well as everything else that goes on photographically, generally it’s just been really busy. The Wanstead Daily Photo goes from strength to strength, as I look at  todays figures I see readers from the United States, France, Canada, Australia, Germany, India, South Korea, Lebanon and of course the UK. I am amazed how what was started as a very local blog for the immediate community is now read worldwide. I have taken lots of pictures in the last year, some for editorial assignments, some for commercial jobs and some just for me, I’ll bring you up to date on the thinking behind them and how they were done. I’m in the middle of a big rethink with regard to cameras, tripods, filters and equipment generally and you will get my thinking on that. The workshops that have been on hold will start again next month, although I have been doing lots of 1 to 1’s, some will be walks others will be studio based. I’ll be tidying up this site, paring it down and generally keeping it a lot tidier. So we’re off running again, thank you all for your patience and the new posts will start in just a few days so please check back in a day or so…

My tip of the week – camera and tripod plates…

LR DSC_0477 copy

World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

Following on about tripods here’s one last thing, it’s only a quickie so bear with me. When I first started photography the camera body or telephoto lens screwed directly on to the top of the tripod, seemed fairly simple to me. Now on most tripods you need to screw a plate onto the camera and then the plate ‘clamps’ into a mount on the tripod. Is this a better solution than screwing the camera on directly, I don’t know but it seems the way it is these days.

LR DSC_0472 copy

World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

As far as I can see this system has two downsides, the first being that if you don’t clamp the plate securely home in the mount on the tripod your camera can take a tumble. The second is that if you forget to take the plate when you are going on location basically you have a problem, you have no way of attaching the camera to the tripod.

So here’s my solution to both problems. 1. I always make sure the camera strap is around my neck when I fix the camera to the tripod. That way if it is incorrectly fitted and takes a tumble it’s not going to go very far. Maybe just bruise your chest a little! 2. buy spare camera plates and keep one in each of your camera bags in addition to the one on your tripod. I take it one step further. I keep camera plates permanently attached to both my Nikon camera bodies and another on my Nikon f2.8 80/200mm zoom lens, hopefully now I never get caught out, paranoid or what.

 I know what your thinking and your right, I was once caught out!

LR DSC_0480 copy

World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

Technical info: All photographs taken with my Nikon D7000, handheld in Aperture priority mode, the lens was a Nikon 50mm F1.4. The aperture for all pictures was f2.8 and the shutter speed varied between 1/100 of a second and a 1/50th of a second. The ISO was 200

 

 

Tip for the week – Wait for the sun

 

LR L1010093 copy

World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

LR L1010094 copy

World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

I really like cold, clear winter days with a blue sky and a low sun, perfect for photography.

I took these two pictures just before Christmas, it’s of Christ Church, Wanstead looking across Evergreen Field, not remarkable images in themselves but look at the difference between them, look at the light. They were taken just a minute or so apart but what a difference the sun on the church makes, look how much warmer and better the stonework looks.  It brings the whole picture alive. So whether you are shooting landscapes or cityscapes try it on a day when the sun is out, if a cloud comes along just be patient.

Tech info: Leica D Lux 6 hand held with 28 to 90mm zoom (35mm equivalent) The exposure was 1/2000th of a second with of f2.3 aperture. Both these images straight out of the Leica, no Photoshop or other adjustment.

 

Happy New Year..

 

Christ Church, Wanstead as seen from the High St looking across Evergreen Field with barbed wire in the foreground.

World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

I took this photograph a few days before Christmas. I had intended to just get a good shot of Christ Church looking across Evergreen Field, Wanstead and that worked successfully. However, as I stood reassessing as I usually do after the first photograph, I was drawn by the three strands of barbed wire across the top of the fence. For some unknown reason it stirred memories and emotions of less hospitable places and camps that I have been to in my career. Maybe it was the time of year with everyone getting ready for Christmas, I’m not sure. How lucky we are to live where we do, lets bear that in mind for 2014.

This photograph also appears today on Wanstead Daily Photo.

Technical info: Leica D Lux 6 with 24 to 90mm zoom (35mm equivalent) at 24mm handheld. The exposure was 1/125th of a second at f8, the ISO was 200.

Happy Holidays…

Snow covered tree on Christchurch Green Wanstead, London E11

World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

Hope you are all enjoying the holiday surrounded by family and friends at this special time of the year. This photograph is one of my favourites, I took it in February last year in Wanstead, no such snow at the moment just rain, rain and more rain. I really like the little dog and the solitary figure above it, they are an important part of the picture for me.

As from January 1st I am hoping to publish a lot more photographs, stories and tip’s on this site so please keep watching. In the meantime enjoy the rest of the holiday and prepare for a great New Year.

Technical info: Nikon D7000 handheld in Aperture priority with a Nikon F2.8 17 to 55mm zoom lens at 17mm. The shutter speed was 1/125th of a second and the aperture was f5.6, the ISO was 250.