London street shooting afternoon
Yesterday I attended an afternoon street photography workshop, organised by the MPA and headed up by Kevin Mullins. If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, this was quite a big deal for me. It was as much about meeting Kevin as it was the photography itself. Poor bloke must be beginning to feel that I’m some sort of crazed super fan (Think Jed Maxwell /Alan Partridge).
After meeting at Charing Cross station, we headed over to the cafe in the crypt for coffees and the forever awkward introductions (For some reason I decided to mention it was quite cheap and I wanted to meet Kevin… Thrifty and creepy). We then made our way to Covent Garden to work on a few assignments.
Firstly the colour red. The idea behind this was to give us a purpose for shooting. Street photography can encompass so much and by narrowing it down to a single subject matter (in this case colour) we were able to home in on specifics and filter out the chaos going on around us. We were given 10 minutes to go and shoot this.
Next we were tasked to look away from the obvious. Though we were in a very touristy area, we were encouraged to look at things from a different perspective. Shooting from the hip we used a single wall as our background to take candid imagery that were unconventional in the environment we were placed in.
After a short walk towards Covent Garden we were asked to flick over to black and white but still encouraged to look for colour, encouraging us to step away from our EVFs. My only disappointment here was that spotting a really bright spot of colour (I remember a lady’s coat) and then shooting in monochrome lost what made the image ping out in the first place. Having said that it was a great exercise in observing what’s around you, rather than being confined to the camera.
Next was a look at light and shadow, in particular using spot metering. This is a technique I love to use. I found it encouraging that many of the things I do were techniques being taught by Kevin on the day (back to creepy).
We also looked at zone focussing whilst shooting from the hip and in particular for when people are walking into our focus range. I admit I got this completely wrong. We were manually focussing and I got some pretty soft results, taking me about 5 minutes to twig that my focus point was too shallow for the distances I was shooting. I was also worried about constantly looking at my images as my battery was starting to run down so was very hit and miss. Having said that, it was a new technique to me and these are exactly the right situations to make mistakes, learn and improve.
Finally it was back to a coffee shop for a debrief and general chat. All in all it was a very worthwhile experience, both as a social exercise and for my photography. The only thing I possibly would have liked was the option to connect post-shoot with everyone that attended to share some of our images (Facebook group perhaps?). Other than that I couldn’t fault it, lovely weather, great people and perfect location.
Thanks for reading, feedback always welcome.