When the Olympics started just over a month ago, I pretty much dropped everything to photograph it; starting with the Torch Relay and running through four events and some random images, all but one of the last ten posts on this blog have been Olympics-related.
With the posting of my last Olympics post almost two weeks ago, I set about going over the non-Olympic photos I hadn’t yet gotten around to posting, and discovered, slightly alarmingly, that my unposted photos date back to the start of June. I’ve been shooting pretty excessively over summer, but I’ve not always found the time to process them, especially as I have the habit of postponing some posts in favour of the ones I find more interesting. I’ll often shoot some images, transfer them to my computer, then go out and shoot more a few days later, and get sidetracked with processing the new images and forget about the old ones.
The reason, in fact, why I’ve not posted much at all over the last two weeks is simply because I discovered hundreds of unprocessed and unposted images when returning to my pre-Olympic work, and got deeply engrossed in sorting through them all.
It should give you an indication of how far back some of my images go that I’m back to talking about Jubilee festivals. With all that has happened since the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations it seems like a distant memory. The Twickenham Jubilee Festival was actually opened by the tug of war I covered closer to the time, and the day after I headed down to the riverside with my wife, brother-and sisters-in-law, and niece. That was part of the problem – I’d processed the images of them like I normally do, and never finished off the other images.
Another problem, save for my rusty segueing skills, was that the tide was quite far in when we arrived. Although obviously that had little to do with me not getting round to processing the images. Look, I’m a bit out of practise, okay?
The Thames is still tidal at Twickenham. At times – like in spring – the water levels can get quite high. It wasn’t affecting the festival too much, however; the stalls were still open, the impromptu gazebo bandstand was kicking out music, people were still happy, the rides were still going.
In this next shot, I tried to take a photo of one of the rides, but for some reason my camera misjudged the exposure and completely blew out the image. However, by dragging back the exposure a couple of stops, and tweaking brightness and contrast a bit, I was able to bring out a few details, making for an image I think is quite interesting.
I stayed with this merry-go-round as my niece went for a go. I love the look of the lights in the middle.
I’ve removed some of the colours from this image, leaving the yellows and greens. I like the grotty look that results.
Fortunately the high tide did nothing to deter the ice cream van. Or wash it away, for that matter.
There wasn’t just ice cream on offer – there were stalls selling various foodstuffs, not unlike Borough Market or the South Bank, albeit obviously on a smaller scale. And, as you’d expect, there was a slight smattering of royal pride as well.
This was in early June, in the middle of a largely damp, grey summer, so I had to push the ISO to four figures, and the grey day made for dull lighting.
I still from time to time have issues with red with my camera. I don’t know if it’s something to do with the camera or the RAW processing of Aperture, but usually a slight tweak of the red hue solves the problem.
The Jubilee theme has been relatively subdued so far. Fortunately the owner of this next stall put a bit more effort into things.
Unlike other markets, there are a few other sights to be had at a festival by the river. There was, for instance, this old boat, although the image was affected by this woman who decided to step into it just as I was taking the picture.
I leave it up to you to decide if having a person in the shot improves it or not. I’m inclined to say no; I would have preferred a ‘clean’ shot of the boat without a slightly grumpy-looking woman in frame, but as ever I’m open to opinions to the contrary.
Shortly thereafter we stopped into a pub for a quick drink. It’s always nice to sit outside in a pub on the river with a festive atmosphere, it’s one of the best ways to imbibe fluids. It was quite a traditional pub, or at least it looked it. It even had a sad dog hanging around, although he might have been with one of the patrons.
After our drinks we wandered off towards York House and its gardens, photogenic as ever.
When we got into the grounds, the sun began to peek through the clouds, and for a brief time it actually felt like June. A bit of a cloud June, but June nonetheless. I snapped a picture of York House itself, but decided to put it through some processing to bring out the sky. I’ve talked before of the process I use to split a single image into three exposures for HDR processing, and it is this method I used in the following image.
As you can see, I still haven’t quite ponied up the cash for the non-trial version of the HDR processing plugin I’m using. I guess three months of reasonably regular HDR photography should now count as more than a passing fad, which is my concern about making the purchase. Fortunately, for all of the HDRs I’ve done that are ‘true’ HDR images, I’ve kept all of the original exposures so I can reprocess all of them without the pesky watermark if I eventually put my hand in my pocket and buy the full software.
After the gardens, where I took plenty of pictures of my family, the best of which will turn up in an oft-cited future portraits post at some point before the heat death of the Universe, we headed back into Twickenham proper, where I was able to get my final images of this set; a few good, backlit shots of some Union Jacks.
That final image didn’t come out too badly considering that I clearly had the ISO too high. I didn’t need to be shooting at 1/8000th of a second for a small flag, no matter how breezy it was (technical side-note that I think I’ve mentioned before; what my camera calls 1/8000th Aperture seems to call 1/7999th, for reasons unknown).
For all of my talk of sports photography around the Olympics, I still really enjoy finding these small, market-like places to shoot, especially food. Especially cupcakes. Cupcakes are awesome. In fact, I’m going to go eat one now.
Don’t be surprised, by the way, if the posts start coming thick and fast over the coming weeks; there’s at least half a dozen posts of various lengths all backlogged, and I’m finally at a point where I’m working through them at a decent pace. Conversely, don’t be surprised if the posts aren’t that frequent, because I am still finding old images and sets that I’ve missed, and many of them haven’t even been processed or edited yet. Too much shooting, not enough processing – time to get the balance back.