I find myself in the fortunate position of not only working nearby several interesting and photogenic locations, but also photography being a small element of my job. This has been a relatively recent development, and the kind of photos being taken for work are not exactly exciting. But as part of providing such a service, those of us who are involved occasionally take the opportunity to get out and about with our cameras on photographic field trips. It is, I imagine, a little like what being a member of a photo club must be like.
We visited Borough Market last week, on another one of those special flat, grey days that Britain is so good at, justifying it amongst ourselves as being great even light that brings out colour. Which it is. And just as well, because as I’d already realised in my previous brief visit, the market is awash with all sorts of colours.
The first photo was an accidental overexposure when the camera metered to the darker, down-facing side of the red flower and so blew out the background. However, I find myself liking this a lot, not least for the slight hint of backlighting on some of the petals.
This actually serves to introduce a problem we all noticed we were sharing as we progressed, which was the strange over-saturation of reds in certain lights. Tomatoes and chillis in particular showed this up. It seems this may have been a result of the fluorescent lighting, competing with daylight, and in turn the cameras also trying to meter to the dark reds. In my case, I have tweaked the red hue level in Lightroom to bring down the glare a little.
Between us all, we opted for a range of different lenses, however I was a combination of boring and lazy and stuck to the 70-300mm zoom for the duration. My previous visit had been using the 18-55mm so I wanted to experiment a bit more with some food porn photography.
This was the sweet section, obviously. And I haven’t even included the ‘Uber Brownies’ – how on earth we made it around without actually buying anything, I’m not sure I’ll ever know. Then there was the savoury section, which may have been even more tempting, if this was possible. Our rumbling stomachs aside, there were lots of interesting photographic possibilities with bread (which was stacked artistically on nearly every stall) and olives and cheeses. I was quite glad of the zoom at this stage, as the lunchtime crowds began to approach and so you couldn’t always get a good position.
I still think the sharpness of this lens is quite something, it’s taken a while to adjust to using the auto focus and I’m still learning how to get the most of the sharpness by switching to manual focus. This was something that I got a fair bit of practice on during this trip, as the lens has a 1.5m focussing distance which meant from time to time that the AF refused to play. It seemed though that if I was on the 1.5m cusp, AF wouldn’t work but I could still get good photos on manual, as in the images below:
That lobster – which was alive, by the way – is one of my favourites from this set.
As a group, all using Canons, we observed another possible tendency which was for the AF to default to the left third of any view, and switching to Manual focus seems to be the quickest way of getting the actual photo you want. This is something I’ll be making a strong mental note about, as with this lens the focussing ring is always operable and in a fairly practical and logical location compared to some I’ve seen on Canon lenses.
In post-processing this batch I toyed some more with mono, as the lighting wasn’t spectacular and some photos weren’t leaping with colour. This time I went with the simple switch to black and white in Lightroom and then for most I adjusted the tone curve for medium contrast. I love contrast. I’m not sure how it appears to others, but I think a good b&w image needs the difference in light.
The obvious photographic draw on this trip was the food, but I made the odd attempt to recognise the presence of those working there. My default position when it comes to people in photos – aside from portraits, obviously – is that they get in the way and ruin things. Not really a good attitude to take, and something I’m trying to shout down, because there are a lot of interesting photos to be taken of the general public who don’t always realise they’re being photographed.
I particularly like in the middle photo that you can see the reflection of the customers in te glasses of the lady serving. And in the bottom photo, going mono did a great job for eliminating the enormously distracting FISH! logo, which was bright orange in colour and made the whole photo look cluttered.
Those final images have no real connection, other than I like them, and on that note I shall leave this post here as I now have to have some lunch or I will try to eat the computer screen.