I’d arrived in the city centre by bus at 0700 – at this time of year well before sunrise.  It was night time still in the city, empty, echoing and with garish lighting, dark corners and certain cold.  And so to the plan – I had a plan!  Hart’s Bakery, nestling under a Victorian railway arch next to the railway station, opens at 0700 (I don’t even like to think about the hour that the bakers must get in there to start work), and at 0705 I barrelled in through its rather plain and unobtrusive door – only to find myself already seventh in the queue!

And so to a second breakfast – as proof against the cold – well, that was my story anyway.  None of their absolutely wonderful sausage rolls (the best I’ve ever tasted) being available at this early hour, I ordered a toasted cheese sandwich and was confronted by four slices of  sourdough bread made into two whopping toasted sandwiches filled with molten cheese – and a large black coffee too.  I never thought I’d manage it all, but when food tastes that good its easier to be resolute with oneself …

And so, brimming with warmth, back out onto the cold streets (and slowed down a bit from the weight of food …), I very soon had the realisation that, since I almost never use a tripod – they get in the way far, far too much – the D700 was going to have to be firing at 25,600 ISO – and so to a test shot, to try things out.

These three are standing at a bus stop on the main road going southwards out of the city, staring back down the road, waiting for their bus to appear.  The actual bus shelter is between them and the camera – you can see its scratched, transparent perspex on the left.  And the bright red object in the lower left corner is the shelter’s seat – you can sit on this bench ok, but homeless people are not able to bed down on it for the night – which says much for our caring society.

The D700 is now over eight years old and, speaking in terms of the digital era, not far from being a museum piece.  When it appeared in 2008, the world was astounded at the 25,600 ISO it (and its “parent” D3) could provide – but of course such high sensitivities are commonplace today – Nikon’s current flagship DSLR can get up to over 3 million ISO.

Working at 25,600 ISO, the D700 does produce grainy, noisy images but it still does the job and – maybe this goes without saying – it is an absolute joy to handle and use.  So, grainy and noisy it may be but, as always – and this is a fundamental article of personal faith – I’d far, far rather have a noisy image than no image at all. 

And back in the “old days”, i.e. pre-Lightroom, I’d have either gone with the image as it was, or tried to reduce its noise via Nik Software.  But now, following the explanations in my great big, wonderful Lightroom book (The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC/Lightroom 6 Book; Martin Evening; ISBN 978-0-133-92919), I’ve attacked the noise with Lightroom and am certainly impressed.  I’ve most likely not done as good a job as I might have but I can certainly live with that – and, anyway >>> here’s the (cropped) image.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

There are other images from this Going To Work series here, here, herehere, here, here and here.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 165mm; 25,600 ISO; 1/60th, f5; Temple Gate, central Bristol, sometime around dawn on 2 Dec 2016.




About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

13 Responses to PEOPLE 240 – GOING TO WORK 8

  1. Meanderer says:

    Love this image, Adrian. It has a strong feeling to it: the thoughts and emotions of waiting for a bus for school or work and the associated anxiety.

    A second breakfast eh? Like a Hobbit 🙂 Anything with cheese is fine by me – although I’m seriously trying to cut down on the wonderful stuff.

    Your poignant comment about the homeless not being able to rest struck me also. Just like the spikes that are put out in cities – treating people like feral pigeons.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      I’m glad this picture gets to you – yes, the anxieties of waiting for a bus – which may be late, non-existent or full up, or simply go sailing on by! And yes, I’m definitely into Hobbit eating habits – on the days that I’m not dieting!

      Your analogy with anti-pigeon spikes is good. On a night of appalling rain, the bus company evidently feels that homeless people using its shelters might offend its customers’ sensibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good composition… great for a low light setting. I was in Bristol in September…. first time. but I’ll be back.


  3. bluebrightly says:

    I see very little noise! So, the question is, aren’t you going to work, too? Just a different sort, and a bit more on your own schedule…


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      You’re absolutely right, I hadn’t thought about it like that! But on my own schedule, that’s the thing, isn’t it. I just wander around looking, enjoying the moments, and if pictures appear I’m grateful – but it can be a little strange, and absorbing too, to be in the middle of what might be termed an environment of necessity – few would be their of their own volition – and everyone bustles by in a very intent and intense way. I’m friendly with a retired lady who gives out free newspapers in the early morning on Bristol Bridge and, although she is herself working, she notices just the same things about the passersby. Work of course is a must, we have to do it, but it can be uncomfortable. I very much envy those who really enjoy their work. I was within that cohort from time to time, but was more often outside it, especially in my later working years. A


  4. Terrific shot and the story behind it!


  5. paula graham says:

    Wow, that was energetic…up with the lark…and you got yourself an interesting shot with…a very high iso….I never even works.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      I’ve used this high ISO before, although only occasionally, and it delivers – and as I say, I’d used it grainy if I had to – and in some instances radical grain would be the thing, would enhance the effect – but Lightroom’s grain reduction tools really do the business!


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