From time to time I’ll take photographs that just don’t sit with the others I’m taking alongside it, so they end up cast aside when I’m writing in order to not disrupt the flow of the post with a completely tangental image (I often have enough trouble keeping things on track as it is). Other times, I’ll only take one or two pictures of something and not have enough to justify a whole new post, so the images end up sitting in my archive.
Nevertheless, the images are often good enough to share, so I tend to save them up and release them in batches in my Random Gems series. It’s actually been over two years since my last entry, which could either be testament that I’m focussing better on what I’m shooting, or that I got out of the habit of putting the black sheep aside for later.
As the name suggests, the images in these sets tend to be a bit varied, featuring all sorts of types of shot from all sorts of places. Let’s start with this one from outside my flat, a dewy spider’s web one morning.
Next, even closer to home – by which I mean inside it – we find Zelda taking a nap in a stretched out pose.
One sort of picture that I’ve not posted much of lately is portraits. This isn’t really through lack of shooting, more that I’ve simply been a lot more reluctant to share them, instead sending them directly to the people in them. Although I could yet change tack again and eventually the now four-years-in-the-making Portraits III may see the light of day, I figured it would hurt to add at least one shot to this batch, so here’s a picture of one of my cousins from a couple of Christmases back.
Another tradition that has fallen by the wayside is my End of Xmas shots. For several years running I would take some sort of symbolic shot to mark the dismantling of our Christmas tree for the year, up until Christmas 2015, at which point I was in a creative rut and couldn’t come up with a shot that was suitably different to what had come before it. I did, however, take a few pictures of the tree before it came down, which I didn’t feel worked within the ‘end of Xmas’ remit. One of those shots was a little more experimental, a throwback to something I’d tried a few years before in Covent Garden., in which I changed the zoom whilst the shutter was open for an interesting
Aside from pictures of people and my own animals, I often end up taking photos of other peoples’ pets too. This one of two my sister-in-law’s more traditional animals reminds me of an early seventies folk album cover.
I also sometimes just take random pictures. This is just a candle, if memory serves in the same room as the photo above. I put it through Analog Efex Pro to give it a bit of an interesting look.
Jumping to something completely different, whilst I was in Swanage last year (as I am at least once every year), we caught sight of the town’s new lifeboat towing a yacht into shore.
Also in Swanage, this sign proclaiming to have the ‘best burgers in town’. This is unfortunately a fact I can’t verify, but I do know they face stiff challenges from the other burger-supplying eateries I’ve frequented whilst there.
It’s back to people for the closing shots of this post, firstly my niece holding a balloon.
Another reason why Portraits III has never seen the light of day is because whilst there was still hope of me completing it (and I was still putting aside portrait shots into a separate pile to that end) I was asked by my employer to take a few shots of management for profile images, and quite unexpectedly they turned out to be the best portraits I’ve ever taken. Unfortunately, although the shots were taken with my own camera on my own time and so I therefore own the copyright of the images, I’m reluctant to share them just because I don’t know how various bosses would feel about me plastering their images all over my website (especially bosses that could conceivably get me fired in a worst-case scenario). I’e since been asked back on several occasions to photograph people in the department, so now my portraits file contains a bunch of great images of people I work with and then all the other portrait which simply pale in comparison. Regardless, I’ve decided to be brave and share my favourite of the shots here (if you notice over coming weeks that I’m posting a lot more than usual, that means I’ve suddenly found myself with some more free time for my hobbies).
A few notes about this image. It’s one of a set of about a dozen people shot exactly the same way, and despite how it may look was a completely ad-hoc shot with little setup. Lighting is provided simply by a huge window behind me, and the background is just a relatively plain wall a fair distance away, blurred into smoothness by distance and a large aperture.
What I love about the shot is firstly the sharpness, which I’m not always great at getting, especially at large apertures (and I was pretty nervous as I was somewhat winging it, shooting staged portraits for the first time especially with people expecting results). But most of the other shots I took were sharp. This one stands out because of the subject’s big smile and the texture of his face which really works well in monochrome.
Maybe some day I’ll feel in a position to release the rest of them.