I thoroughly enjoy a bit of street photography and always carry a camera alongside my phone wherever I go. But I always struggle to get the shot. When I do it’s more by luck than judgement! So this event, the WelshotRewards Day – Chester at f1.8 was a reward too good to miss – street photography with a bit of a twist.
Eifion issued a challenge: To go out with a single fixed length lens and a single aperture setting (as wide as possible) and try to photograph the city in a different way, using bokeh.
Now this was a task ideal for me – no need to think about shutter speed or aperture (that’s taken care of by using aperture priority) and just the occasional adjustment for ISO, exposure compensation or white balance. Being me, I added a private challenge for myself – to try to get images that I was happy with, in camera without the need for any tweaking apart from, maybe, the occasional bit of cropping.
Our small group hit the streets. It was all a bit surreal. The city centre was packed with apparently zombified people all walking around looking like Quasimodo, staring at mobile phones connected to their pockets by wires. Singly, in groups, in families, young and old and totally oblivious to their beautiful surroundings, they shuffled around, occasionally tapping their phone screens. It wasn’t pretty, but what a photo opportunity! We eventually had to find out what was going on … a 3 hour Pokemon Challenge.
A stroll along the Rows took forever as we stopped, discussed, composed shots, drew each other’s attention to things, helped each other with the vagaries of their cameras and chatted.
This is Welshot at its best – a group of like-minded people in non-competitive mode, sharing tricks and tweaks and doing what we like to do while attempting to put a different swing on things in our photography.
Eifion had given us an ideas sheet to help our photography along – signs, street performers, carvings, the clock, street furniture. Wherever I could I threw in reflections just because I love them!
The generous hour for lunch, which three of us took together in the Cathedral, gave us time for a bit of indoor snapping, still adhering to the brief. Now, I have a thing about carvings and wrought iron so in the choir I was like a pig in muck. I could have spent the rest of the day in there but the afternoon session down by the river beckoned. This time a challenge sheet was handed out – 20 images showing location – check, 5 images with green in them- check, 5 graphic images – check, a stranger (with permission) – check, a Welshotter at work – check and an image of the bridge that is “different” – check.
Don’t get me wrong, the day was not without its problems. First, the sky was flat, bright and grey so it burnt out your shots. Solution, try not to include it. Second, my height (or lack of it). “Come and look at this shot Adi” said one of my fellow Welshotters. It looked great on his screen but could I get the angle? Could I heck! And that flippin’ sky got in the way. You have to recognise when you are on to a loser and move on. Lesson learned. Another height issue – “What’s that bird down there?” asked Scarlett. The wall was too high for me to see over but, hey, my camera has a flip and tilt screen. Hold the camera over the wall, find the bird in the screen, take a shot then zoom in on the screen. It was a moorhen on a nest. Not a great photo but satisfying all the same. Necessity is the mother of invention!
And then the rain started to fall, hard. Time for a coffee and then home. The drive home was fairly ghastly but then it always is. “How was your day?” ask the OH. “Great. Is there anything on TV? No? Good, I can review my photos, all 500 of them.” And I can truthfully say that apart from a few discards, I can get away without any post-processing on any of them so, personal challenge fulfilled – check.
The next WelshotRewards Day is – WelshotRewards Day – Three Lighthouse Challenge