#Photography

London Fashion week Feb 2018 - Jasper Conran London Fashion week Feb 2018 - Jasper Conran

London Fashion Week Feb 2018

Posted by on Feb 23, 2018 in Photography

The Autumn/Winter collections at London Fashion week 2018 were great fun to photograph.  A host of top designers host catwalk shows and there’s plenty to see from up and coming creatives and younger hopefuls. I particulary dug the contrasting tartan looks of Marta Jakobowski who impressed everybody with a sassy show at the British Fashion Council’s main showspace in The Strand.

Marta Jakobowski

Marta Jakobowski – TArtans

Again at the Main Showspace in The Strand, London-based  designer Bora Aksu presented a variety of looks in a minimalist space and struck a chord with many buyers. No props or backgrounds here – just great use of empty space to showcase design, as with this striped two piece.

For anyone interested i’m shooting with a Canon 5D MKiv –  servo autofocus – 1/500 shutter at f4.5 and 2000 iso.

London Fashion week Feb 2018 - Bora Aksu

London Fashion week Feb 2018 – Bora Aksu

All is calm front of house but backstage and behind the scenes models, stylists, organisers and photographers are running around performing their various tasks. Models are going back and forth from hair to makeup to to styling  – it looks chaotic but it’s structured professional chaos where everyone knows their jobs and is working away as part of a bigger collective team.

As well as being photographed on the catwalk girls are photographed in various stages of preparation and the shots are used for reference, ‘look books’ and publicity. Quite often hair, make up and various creatives need to document their work and a photograph is the only way to do it.

Backstage at London Fashion week Feb 2018

Backstage at London Fashion week Feb 2018 – Temperley

 

The picture above was taken backstage at one of the week’s more surprising venues,  the Seymour leisure Centre in Marylebone.  The sports court there has high vaulted roof space and really gives you a sense of grandeur and ‘place’. The floor is  covered with grey vinyl to eradicate the sports courts markings and matching benched seating is placed around the catwalk. It’s amazing how a creative fashionable space can be manufactured so quickly out of this building. windows in the roof space flood the hall with natural light which is then added to by banks of flood either side of the runway.

London Fashion week Feb 2018 - Alice Temperley

London Fashion week Feb 2018 – Temperley

Back at The Strand, Fyodor Golan were showing off some really striking and colourful creations using bold colours set off against black or plain coloured canvasses. Still on the 70-200mm lens here tracking the model all the way up towards the end of the runway.

London Fashion week Feb 2018 - Fyodor Golan

London Fashion week Feb 2018 – Fyodor Golan

One of the more interesting venues this year was at The National Portrait gallery – where Erdem took over for a morning to show off some delicate florals and heavy use of veils and sheer material to cover the face. Erdem always has a very classy feel that’s effortlessly slick and doesn’t try too hard

Erdem, London Fashion week 2018

Erdem, London Fashion week 2018

Finale for Erdem – and a host of delicate pretty creations swamp the Portrait gallery.

Erdem, London Fashion week 2018

Erdem, London Fashion week 2018

Finally i’m back to Marta Jakobowski – finishing at The Strand with folds, frills, and some attitude.

Marta Jakobowski

Marta Jakobowski – 2018

 

金閣寺 - The Golden Temple, Kyoto 金閣寺 - The Golden Temple, Kyoto

金閣寺 – Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

Posted by on Feb 3, 2018 in Japan, Photography, Travel

Kyoto is brimming with temples of all shapes and sizes but one of the visual stand-outs is Kinkaku-ji, also known as The Golden Temple. The official name is Rokuon-ji  (‘ji’ Means temple) but hardly anyone calls it that. ‘Kinkaku-Ji’ translates directly as ‘Golden Temple’ and once you’ve visited it’s easy to see why the name sticks.

It’s a Buddhist Temple situated in fabulous gardens with sculpted paths and traditional gardens. You could easily be stepping back in time as you walk through the grounds and, as is usual for a temple, there’s a great feeling of serenity and peace about the place that gradually seeps into your bones as you stroll around.

There’s a lot of history to the main golden pavilion – it dates from before 1400 and survived intact until it 1950 when it was burnt to the ground by a monk. It was rebuilt (obviously) but the episode shocked Japan and was explored by Yukio Mishima in his novel ‘金閣寺’….. which is usually translated as ‘The Temple of the Golden Pavilion’. (See Note 1 below).

Back to The Temple…..

I got there very late in the day and just managed to squeeze in before the gates closed at 17:00.  I was pushed for time getting there so took a taxi as the temple itself isn’t very close to any of the metro stations. There are good bus connections – but i can recommend taking a taxi there to save energy and stress then simply taking a bus  or metro home  – especially on a hot humid day in summer when you really want to conserve energy in getting to where you want to be.

 

Kinkaku-ji, The Golden Temple

Kinkaku-ji, The Golden Temple

When you arrive and get through the paying gates you’re quickly presented with the Temple in all its glory. It sits to one side of a central lake known as Kyōko-chi (鏡湖池) – or ‘Mirror Lake’.

I figure i wasn’t there at the best time for photography since the view across the lake at this late hour now took in the setting sun and blew the sky out considerably. I guess if i had a tripod i could have used a reduced exposure on one frame to then brush in later. Tripods are not allowed here though…. and these pictures are single exposures with very little post production.

The Temple looks surreal enough as it is without some kind of hideous HDR treatment … and foliage never responds well to high dynamic ranges. In short  the pictures look surreal enough without any processing so here is The Temple and the Grounds in all its single exposure glory.

Kinkakuji - The Golden Temple

Kinkakuji – The Golden Temple

Admission is 400 Yen  (about £2.50 ) which is very reasonable when compared to similar attractions in Europe and especially The UK where the National Trust charges an arm and a leg to visit old country houses just so its directors can fly around in helicopters, take first class trains tickets and eat croissant all day.

Back to Japan….. Getting to the Temple from Kyoto Centre is not rocket science  – From the main Kyoto Rail Station there are plenty of well sign-posted buses that will bring you here. Kyoto is surrounded on all sides by large hills / mountains and Kinkaku-ji Temple grounds and gardens are placed right at the edge of the north west of the city where it borders the mountains.

Metro stations ‘Kitano Hakubai-Cho’, ‘Tojiin’, and  ‘Omuro Ninnaji’ are are all walkable and all on the same line – the Green ‘Keifuku Dentetsu-Kitano’ Line. You can get to one of these stations via metro and either walk or hail a taxi to the Temple. Every taxi driver knows the big sights of Kyoto and will take you to Kinkaku-ji with ease.

In High season though it can get pretty busy as with many of the main attractions the place is popular with every nationality as well as Japanese folk. In particular you can expect to be competing for a view with coach loads of Chinese tourists hell-bent on the perfect selfie with the Temple in the background. My advice is to let the coach party pass and then stroll  around at your own pace in the gap between large tourists parties. After all being part of a massive throng is not conducive to that feeling of Buddhist serenity and peace you are hoping to experience.

金閣寺 - Kinkaku-ji Golden Temple, Kyoto

金閣寺 – Kinkaku-ji

Walking by the side of the lake and up to the rear of the Temple Pavilion you get a closer view. As you can see here the sun is still strong and in the west  and blowing out the sky. It’s also lighting up the temple pretty spectacularly.

From here you walk through winding gravel paths that snake through the temple complex to reveal a variety of statues, steps, and smaller temples.

Buddhist Offerings

Buddhist Offerings

Coins litter the ground here in an offering to Buddha. There are many smaller such statues and a number of different viewpoints that take in the central lake. The paths and gardens are designed in such a way that new sights are offered up at intervals and the gardens reveal themselves to you gradually as you walk through them.

Steps lead the way

Steps lead the way

A Smaller Temple at Kinkaku-ji

A Smaller Temple at Kinkaku-ji

I was there at a late hour so the smaller temples were closed off – usually you can walk around the Temple pictured above and make an offering. In some ways it’s good to be there at closing time because it does calm down as people exit the complex… however it’s at the cost of some areas being shut. For my 400 Yen though the gardens and Main Temple were more than enough value.

White Snake Pagoda

White Snake Pagoda

Turn a corner and at the centre of the tranquility pond (Anmintaku), and framed by foliage, the stone White Snake Pagoda is revealed. It’s a shrine dedicated to ‘Hakuja’, (白蛇) the White Snake who controls the waters of the complex. At the base of the Pagoda there are four Buddhas – each carved into a face of the square – you can just about make them out here.

Gardens at Kinkakuji - The Golden Temple

Gardens at Kinkaku-ji (金閣) – The Golden Temple

gentle steps

Yet more gentle steps

Walking through the shaded woodland is a real treat, especially early morning or late afternoon when the heat of the day has subsided. Cicadas buzz incessantly here and the humidity makes your clothes stick to your body….this is something photographs can never capture. As a rule Japan is best to visit ‘between the extremes of high summer and deep winter, but whatever time of year you choose – it’s just a matter of adapting your timing to fit the weather. In summer, although the temperature really doesn’t drop too far in the night, it’s still cooler in the mornings, and you can get a lot of walking in before things really heat up.

Lantern Stone at Kinkaku-ji

Lantern Stone

The exit of the temple gardens is an obvious place for Taxi drivers to pick up fares… and you can find a taxi at the exit pretty easily. jump in a cab and make your way back to the centre of town. Kyoto is flanked on both sides (East & West) by rivers; Kamo Gawa (鴨川) to the East and  the broader, less channelled,  Katsura Gawa (桂川) to the West.

I find that that Kamo Gawa and its bridges makes for a great reference point and I often ask to be dropped at a bridge from where i can stroll back downtown along the path that follows the banks of the river. On a hot summers eve you can dip your toes in the cooling waters and folks often have barbecues and picnics here. I can’t think of a better (or cheaper) way to end a day in Kyoto than by dangling your feet in the water and watching the world go by.

鴨川

Kamo River, 鴨川 – Kyoto

If the idea of The Golden temple interests you, there’s a live Picture feed here.

 

 

Notes

1 – Mishima was an interesting guy….. a bit of a hangover from a feudal / warrior  way of thinking with some major hang-ups…. but then who’s perfect? He wrote a gazillion books and plays but I can easily recommend ‘The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea’ – it’s as fresh today as it was when first written and knocks the socks off some modern authors. If you think Ian McEwan invented a style – think again because Mishima was there 50 years before him. You may on the other hand find Mishimas masterpice tetralogy ‘Sea of Fertility’  to be heavy going…..

At least Mishima had the good grace to commit Seppuku after he thought he’d written everything he had to say….. instead of bothering us with crap novels and appearing on late night chat shows.

Copenhagen Harbour Copenhagen Harbour Area

Copenhagen, Nyhavn Walkabout

Posted by on Jan 26, 2018 in Europe, Photography, Travel

With only a few hours to kill in the port of Copenhagen i was still able to take in a few of the more obvious ‘picture postcard’ sights and attractions. The mermaid statue of course is on of those ‘must sees’ but it’s surprisingly small and would be easy to stroll straight past but for the hordes of tourists from cruise boats that congregate around her taking endless selfies. If you need to find her – you simply look for a crowd.

I had to get my feet wet by jumping closer and onto some boulders before i could frame -out the tourists for this photo……

copenhagen mermaid statue

The Little Mermai, Copenhagen

After taking your obligatory shot of The Little mermaid in the harbour it’s easy to walk straight to the cafes, shops and tourist centre of copenhagen, best represented by the iconic area of Nyhavn….

Nyhavn

Copenhagen – NYHAVN

Even on a fairly crappy day and with a constant fine drizzle in the air you can enjoy the covered cafes and small shops that line the streets here.

 

Copenhagen Harbour Area – nyhavn

 

Nyhavn Copenhagen

Copenhagen Harbour Area – nyhavn

The pretty coloured houses are what we’re all here to see – but there’s also scope to get your ‘art’ on and photograph smaller sights and oddities. I seem to have some kind of fixation with signs and stickers….. a semiotic fetish. This picture is artistic… you can tell because it’s in Black & White…. if i collect enough of the shots I should open up a Fine Art Gallery and fill it with stuff like this for some sucker to buy.

Of course the real question here is….. who is Reverend Screaming Fingers ?

Copenhagen Harbour Area B&W

Not really the weather for it today … but you can take a very pleasant harbour cruise …. the one below is (strangely enough on this sodden wet day) completely empty.

River cruises Nyhavn Copenhagen

Nyhavn Copenhagen

Moving on ….  who wouldn’t point the camera at a wall with lifejackets stuffed into it…… very colourful… but could do without the building skip in front of it.

Copenhagen art

Copenhagen Nyhavn

A hop skip and a jump from Nyhavn is Frederik’s church (Frederiks kirke). It’s also known as the Marble church and is a pretty prominent part of the skyline and a good reference point for when you’re wandering about. It’s slap in the Frederiksstaden District and pretty much neighbours the Amalienborg (see more on that below).

Frederiks Kirke

Frederiks Kirke

Frederiks Kirke or church

Frederiks Kirke

Another of the sights to tick off your list is Amalienborg.

This is the winter home of the Danish royal family, and features of four symmetrical palace façades facing around an octagonal cobbled courtyard. It’s literally right next door to Frederik’s Church – just due west.

Amalienborg

Amalienborg

Entrances are guarded by some splendid  looking soldiers or guards, dressed in royal blue and sporting the busby style hat. Perfect for that cold winters day. It’s not a look i could pull off though.

Amalienborg guards

Amalienborg Guards

By this stage i had only been walking around for about an hour… but the constant fine drizzle had got through my rain cover and was starting to creep through the seams of my clothes. It wasn’t a cold day either so i felt hot and wet… like a race-horse. Time to go home.

Event Photography Bath Editorial & Event Photographer Bath, Bristol, London

Fashion Runway Shooting

Posted by on Jan 22, 2018 in Photography, Photography Tutorials

Editorial & Event Photographer Bath, Bristol, London

Le Intro

Crikey it’s been a while since i had time to upload anything for a blog – but i thought i’d post a few belated pictures from last Septembers London Fashion week.

So – how do you shoot a fashion runway or catwalk?…… What even happens at one of these shows?

At a major show like London there is fierce competition and you’re lining up with some very accomplished photographers from all over the world….. best charge your batteries and be on your best behaviour.

The set up is that spectators line the runway and photographers bunch together at the very end  – the models therefore walk continuously towards you….head on & at a brisk pace before turning on their heels, casting a moody look, and motoring off back down the catwalk.

This alone tells you that you need a fast focusing camera and lens combination. At this even there were zero mirrorless cameras, and you can make of that whatever you will….. there’s a a whole heap of overworked, competitive, and well seasoned photographers sitting at the end of this runway and they want results all the way up the catwalk. The ladies move fast…. and through about a 25 metre distance in varying degrees of light and shade (more on that later).

To put it bluntly your camera focus and lens better keep up.

Ladies & Gentlemen – grab your positions

The floor at the end of the runway will have been marked out with tape into various little boxes. This has been done previously by the ‘House’ photographers and various agencies who, for reasons of editorial reach, will take some kind of precedence. But hey, various individual photographers can also tape-out a square for themselves and effectively stake a claim. Don’t do this square at the front and centre….. because the house photographer or videographer will simply ignore it….and they have the right to. What you can do if you’re willing to get there a little early is nestle down under the tripod of the house videographer though…..and this will give you a great ‘square on’ position looking right down the barrel of the runway.

There’s a lot of etiquette to these things….  but don’t despair if you can’t get front and centre…. some of the more interesting shots are often made when you arrive too late to get in the throng…. maybe even after the show has started ….. look for the big wide taking in the whole spectacle or an interesting long lens shot from a not so obvious angle. It’s all good.

learn to shoot runway fashion

Editorial & Event Photographer Bath, Bristol, London

At the end of the individual walkthroughs the models all troop through together and all of a sudden being to one side and off-set isn’t such a bad place to be. I was late to this show because it clashed with the previous one, so here i am at rear, offset to side and standing on a box. It’s still a nice shot that shows the atmosphere and size of the show.

Gear

A staple lens is 70-200mm which is used to track the model up the fashion runway. There is a lot of travel involved so focussing is going to be moving and continuously servo-driven. The good news is that there is a good degree of predictability to the subject movement, in that it’s linear and not erratic.

You will want a good wide angle (24-70mm) zoom to capture both wides and the models when they get close to you at the end of the runway…..and they WILL get close. To close for a 70-200mm to make much sense of.

Runway Fashion

Editorial & Event Photographer Bath, Bristol, London

Models start way back and sashay up the walkway  – ending up very close to you and your long lens.

Settings

An agency photographer is not shooting raw.  I man, they can be shooting raw – but they’ll be planning on using the paired jpg and getting it out fast.

You’ll be wanting to nail the settings then…..

The bad news is that despite being ‘lit’ by continuous lighting  – those the runway lights aren’t particularly powerful and areas of the runway may be better lit than others. Consequently there will be varying areas of exposure value that you’ll have to ‘ride’ either manually ‘on the fly’ or using Av or Tv Priority. Personally i ride the exposure manually and that way i know what Dof and shutter speed i’m at.

Runway Fashion

Half way up the runway

Shutter speed will need to be pretty quick – 1/400 – 1/500 up the runway and possibly dropping sharply when the models hold position and pose momentarily at the end of the runway. The movement here is not so pronounced and you can drop to 1/100 or even 1/60 believe it or not… Risky though.

End of the runway – about face, and turn

As you can see from the shot above as compared to the models in the background at the start of the runway, and at mid-point, the exposure is very different. This is still a relatively narrow aperture so i’ve dropped the shutter speed to provide a quick fix while the model isn’t moving too fast. It will sometimes be a toss-up between DoF and shutter speed … you pay your money and take your choice.

I try to get settings in my head for the start , middle and end points and capture those. The ‘grey’ areas in between are still useful and it’s not an exact science.

Colour temperature

Whilst the lights vary in intensity – they don’t skew too much in colour temperature. You’ll set this in K by taking a few test shots before the models move down the runway. If in doubt ask another photographer what the light is at – they’ll most likely tell you.

Don’t be surprised to find the colour temperature is very warm….. set designers often use tungsten and at low intensity the tungsten is even more orange than usual. A K value between of 3000 – 3800 is not uncommon.

Fashion Photography

Editorial & Event Photographer Bath, Bristol, London

To be honest this last shot could still be at 70mm – but she’s close and therefore you do need to be prepared to grab another camera if you have one and use a wider lens.

Fashion Photographer

Editorial & Event Photographer Bath, Bristol, London

Lights in the show above were bright – more uniform in intensity and closer to daylight…. but still tungsten.

event photography

Editorial & Event Photographer Bath, Bristol, London

Models above are making their way back down the runway in a long line….. there’s enough DoF to make it interesting but still ‘read’ the scene. The framing is uncropped and i think makes for an interesting quirky shot. Too much of the bottom on the left would make the picture wrong somehow. The show is basically finishing and you have all your fashion shots….. so there’s now time to be playful.

 

Fashion Photographer

Editorial & Event Photographer Bath, Bristol, London

Congratulations – you are now one of the ‘beautiful’ people and may sip Campari and Soda on a gondola in Venice. Now when someone asks what you do you can tell them you shoot fashion and have every right to be wearing some kind of stuffed animal as a hat or a pair of leggings.