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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Digital photographers

Saturday December 13 2014

Back when I took these two pictures (September 15th 2007), this was the camera that most impressed me, because its screen was so big:

image

Now, it is this camera that impresses me most, because its screen is so small:

image

More and more postings here, I predict, are going to be of pictures I took a while back.

Wednesday December 10 2014

Nothing, apart from this, here, today, but I did manage a posting at Samizdata entitled Anton Howes on the Golden Age that never stopped.

I say nothing, but here is a picture I took of someone in a woolly hat taking a picture at Piccadilly Circus:

image

Gotta love that Golden Age we’re living in.

Friday December 05 2014

When I got to that ASI Christmas Party the other night, I was already in a grumpy mood, on account of not being allowed to bring three Opera Babes to the party.  That’s right.  The Adam Smith Institute didn’t have room for three glamorous young women, two of them at the Royal College of Music (Goddaughter 2 and her friend) and one of them (another friend of Goddaughter 2) who was auditioning for the Royal College of Music (having already been accepted last year by the Guildhall).  I had already arranged to bring Goddaughter 2, but the ASI having spurned her two glamorous Opera Babe friends, GD2 not unreasonably preferred to be with them.  I don’t mean that the ASI said: Opera Babes? - No thanks.  I mean that they didn’t even allow me to say that they were Opera Babes, so oversubscribed were they.  Or so she said.  The ASI lady put their names on the subs bench list in case of cancellations, but your guests only get on the pitch if the ASI tells you so beforehand, and I heard nothing.

So instead I went to the ASI Christmas Party with Goddaughter 2’s glamorous elder sister.  When I got there, it was clear that although there were many persons present, there was most definitely room for three more Opera Babes.  But, two many mostly very non-operatic males of the species had already signed up to be there, and they needed room to stand around in all-male groups and shout their opinions at each other.

So there I was at the ASI Christmas Party feeling grumpy, looking around the room and recognising hardly anyone, and feeling bad about having dragged GD2’s sister to this ghastly do and being so grumpy about it, and for about the first half hour of being there, I continued to be grumpy.  Three things, however, cheered me up.

First, I bumped into someone I did know, Anton Howes.  And it turns out that he has a new blog.  How very last decade, I said, but really, I was truly delighted to hear this, and started to feel that the evening was not going to be a total write-off after all.  I had actually learned something of genuine use and interest to me.  Cheer-me-up Thing Number One.

Cheer-me-up Thing Number Two, I got my camera out.  I think I saw some other person taking photos and I thought: time for me to do some soul stealing.  Was this uncouth?  Probably.  Would I look like an old prick?  Presumably.  But I was feeling like an uncouth old prick anyway, so out came the camera anyway.  And immediately I cheered up.  Suddenly, people cheered up when I approached them, and ceased from only talking about what they were talking about and instead started presenting themselves to my camera in a way that would make them look approximately as good as they were capable of looking.  And, if they ignored me, well, that’s fine, because when people ignore you and just carry on enjoying themselves, that, if you are a photographer rather than a human being, is good.

Cheer-me-up Thing Number Three: Eamonn Butler saw me taking photos, and approached.  Oh dear.  “Brian, could you please stop being such an uncouth old prick?  And if you do insist on photoing, could you please make a point of not photoing him, or him, or her.” Paranoid rubbish like that flashed up in my brain in between Eamonn being clearly about to say something and Eamonn actually starting to say it.  And what did he say?  He said: “Could you please send us a few of your best photos?” or words to that effect.  Hah!  I was now an officially designated photographer.  I was someone.  Instead of me fretting about not knowing anyone (and about not being allowed to be The Bloke Who Brought The Opera Babes), everyone else had to feel bad that they didn’t know me.  Hurrah!

And actually, when I bustled my way through the throng some more, snap snap snapping, it turned out that actually I did know quite a few of those present.

Here we have, I think, another impact of digital photography.  Digital photography cheers up people like me when we go to parties.  But, shame I couldn’t photo the Opera Babes.

All of which began life as a mere intro to me showing you lots of the photos I actually took at this do.  But, people who might google their way to - or maybe even be steered with a link towards - such photos won’t be wanting a long ramble attached to them about how I felt before and during the taking of them.  So, I’ll stick them up in a separate posting.  This I promise.

Thursday November 20 2014

By way of proof that these people were not the only ones perhaps failing to behave in a way that would be considered by some to be entirely appropriate for the solemnity of the place, here are some photos that I took of Bald Blokes Photoing The Poppies:

imageimageimageimageimage

I too was being inappropriately frivolous.

Click to get the bigger pictures.

Those snaps are picked because the focus, such as it is, is on the bald heads, rather than on the cameras or what the cameras are pointed at.  Bald heads are, I am learning (more than I ever did before), infinitely bizarre sites, like maps of strange deserts from the air, full of mysterious marks and indentations, with subtle changes in the vegetation.

But, inevitably, after picking out those snaps, I came upon other pictures of Bald Blokes Photoing The Poppies that I considered also to be deserving of notice.

This one, for instance, is one of the burst of about half a dozen that I took of Bald Bloke Number 3 above.  This one focuses on the picture he is taking rather than on his baldness, and I particularly like how it came out:

image

Or how about this one, which is a first, in my quest for Bald Blokes Taking Photos.  Two Bald Blokes taking photos!:

image

Does the Bald Bloke nearest to me also like to take photos of Bald Blokes Taking Photos?

Finally, a bloke photoing The Poppies who is only pretending to be bald:

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Note that he hasn’t shaved his head for a few days, but a few days ago, he did, entirely.

This is the snap that proves, as all who care already know well, that this totally bald look is a fashion statement, rather than just bald blokes pretending to make a fashion statement, to disguise their partial baldness.  Because here is a guy who is not bald at all doing it.  He has nothing ignoble to disguise, yet he adopts this look anyway.

Saturday November 15 2014

Classic photo of photoers (which I found here):

image

It’s the new see through walkway at the top of Tower Bridge.  All the reportage concentrates on what you can see looking down through it.  But when I visit, I am going to check out what you can see photoing through it from below.  Which will have the added benefit of being far cheaper.

Zoom lenses are rather good these days.

And guess what, I actually want other people to have the same idea, so I can photo them photoing upwards also.

Wednesday November 12 2014

One of the problems of big arrays of Poppies is that, like at funerals, you feel a certain pressure to adopt the proper tone of solemnity, like you being solemn is going to stop the First World War having happened, or something.  No, really, I do get it.  It’s very sad, what with all those soldiers having died, and what with lots of the people present perhaps remembering particular departed loved ones.  You probably shouldn’t be enjoying yourself too obviously.

And in particular, you probably shouldn’t be doing this.  But, you do it anyway:

image image
image image

But maybe that is just me, being a bit grumpy, and using my grumpiness as an excuse to violate the privacy of strangers who really weren’t doing anything very wrong.  Nobody else seemed to have any problem with these selfie takers.  The feeling seemed to be: This Thing means, to you, whatever you decide it means to you.  If what it means to you is a chance for you to take a smiling selfie with lots of bright red in the background, well, okay.  And I think I agree.

I certainly had fun photoing these people.

Tuesday November 11 2014

Doing photography makes me happy, both as something for me to do and as something for me to photo others doing.  Before digital photography, I had the usual dislike felt by people of my nationality and with my approximate level of upbringing and education for crowds of tourists, barging their way around my city, bumping into me and making me feel insignificant, like they owned the place which of course they sort of did and sort of do.  The Masses were bad enough as a mere idea, but actually seeing them, Massed, made it even worse.

Tourism, I used to tell myself, unthinkingly, is not “real”.  But tourism is every bit as real as an Amazonian rainforest, just as affluent suburbs are as real as inner city sink estates.  And ever since I discovered the joy of photoing these crowds of tourists, tourists taking photos, photos of my city and of each other, and of themselves, I have deliberately mingled with these crowds, which basically means that I have become a tourist myself, in London, the city where I live.  A state of silly and unthinking grumpiness has been replaced by a far more thoughtful and philosophically elevated state of happiness and smugness.  Happiness and smugness are also just as real as misery, and my happiness and smugness is all the happier and smugger because provoked by the exact same things as I had formerly been making myself miserable about.

Crowds like those pictured below, in other words, are just as real as the events that all those red Poppies that everyone has come to see hark back to.  One of the many remarkable things about these Poppies is the huge - truly enormous – scale not just of the Poppies themselves, but of the crowds of people who have journeyed to the Tower of London to look at them.  Here are a couple of my better Poppies crowd shots:

image image

My single most unforgettable Poppies Crowds Moment did not happen to me when I was actually there being a part of one of these crowds, but in a tube station in some other nearby part of central London, the weekend before last.  I was on an escalator, and an intercom voice started saying that if I intended visiting the Tower of London to see The Poppies (I didn’t – not that day), then I should definitely consider using another tube station besides Tower tube station, because Tower tube station was jam packed or words to that effect.  I should go instead, said the voice, to another nearby tube station (the voice offered several suggested alternatives) and walk from there, from only a little bit further away.  That’s how big the crowds have been.  And instead of snarling with silly rage at that announcement, I instead said to myself: I must remember to put that on my blog.  Which has been another source of great happiness to me, and would have been even if I had not got stuck into photography.

Friday November 07 2014

The way to photo “iconic” buildings is to muck around with them.  You can’t just stick up your basic passport photos of them, so to speak, because everyone’s seen that, even the foreigners.

You have to put your iconic building next to something else, perhaps iconic in a different way ...:

image image

… or, you bounce your IB off a non-iconic building covered in slightly bendy glass.

Or you photo it through a Riverside Thing …:

image image

… or behind an Iconic Bridge (the one that wobbled (see the posting immediately below)).

Or you put something else in front of it, like a photographer, and have the IB itself behind and way out of focus.

image image

That works fine because the whole point of an IB is that you can recognise it even if it is ridiculously blurry, the way you never could a regular building.

Or, you photo it on the screen of another photographer, perhaps even a bald bloke photographer.  I am now collecting bald bloke photographers, and believe me, the species is now very abundant.  And by the way, if you click and look at bit carefully, you can see that the bald bloke had the same idea as me about photoing the reflected version of the Shard, rather than just the Thing itself:

image image

As the autumn light fades, the screens of other photographers shine ever more brightly.  (LATER: And, on the right there, I see cranes.)

I picked those four snaps of snappers entirely because I liked them.  But, they are all pictures of snappers using their mobile phones.  Mobile phone cameras are getting better and better.  But of course.  I mean, would they be getting worse?

But having said all that, I do like this:

image

No frills, no complications, just the top of the IB itself, with a bit of orange light from somewhere.

All of the above photos were taken on my way to and from the Tower of London, about tendays ago, to see all those poppies.

LATER: How in the world could I possibly have failed to include, in this, this?

image

Shard on camera screen, and poppies.  But, this time, a clunky old camera camera rather than a mobile phone camera.

Shard shots
Why I am a point-and-shoot photographer rather than a Real Photographer
My chance to ride a bus almost as old as me
In which I quotulate from a photo of a Canadian train
Godot nearly ready
Bald bloke taking a photo
Two guys on Westminster Bridge photoing ice creams in front of the Houses of Parliament
Big cat advertises guide dogs
Bag ladies
The man who photoed the CDs in Gramex this afternoon
Photographers in Tate Ancient
Out and about in the sunshine
Xxxx-ie outside Xxxx-ridges
Cat photo and cat news
Quota selfie from 2006
ASI Boat Trip 7: Other photographers
Umbrellas!
Photoing with a mobile with a gap in the lid
Photographer photoing photographer photoing Big Ben
Hartley waterlily
A Real Photographer does a shadow selfie
Moving picture
Looking good for the telephone box smartphone
Photographing while on a skateboard
Ten years ago today
Another photographer photo from the archives
Sam Bowman on Bleeding Heart Libertarianism
Photographers in the spring
Remembering another Christian name (and flagging up another talk)
Colour photography
ME Hotel Radio Rooftop Bar
Popography
The text of my talk for Christian Michel last night
Digital photography as telepathy
Taking photos with Big Flat Things
Confirmation that map use has seriously declined
Digital photographers holding maps
Polish girls in Moscow doing a selfie
Sidwell (and me) on selfies
Wedding photography - old and new
Here are two photos I took earlier
Photoing each other - and photoing stuff in the canal
Google Nexus 4 wedding photography!
Cassette iPhone photographer
Phablet news
Google Nexus 4 photos
Pictures of LLFF2013
More March 5th photographers (and more spaces between pictures)
Wandering about afterwards
Digital photographers outside Westminster Abbey
An earlier tablet photographer
More photographers photographed
Halloween flash!
Piccadilly Halloween
Patrick Crozier has just arranged for accessing ancient comments here to be much easier
More digital photographers
Celebrity photoshoot?
Usain Bolt takes photos of photographers!
The top of the Shard
Bomber Command Memorial pictures
A camera in each hand
Snaps (in Paris and London - and of the Millennium Footbridge)
Photographers at Eros and Art in the tube