Walking to work across Bristol Bridge, around sunrise in early December – and three things to talk about here.

First, I’m on her radar.  Although I was quite far back with a big telephoto, she looked up from her phone, the autofocus was already locked on (more on that below) and I fired a single frame. Awhile back, I’d planned to approach people in the street and ask their permission to photograph them.  But, although that may be something for the future, I’ve only actually done that once so far, and the resulting image was really not very good.  On the other hand, as those familiar with this Going To Work series will know, I’ve taken many more or less candid portraits on Bristol’s streets – and I like these better.

With this kind of photography, there’s often the fear/worry that people will object to having their photograph taken but, so far, the only comments that I’ve received have been apologies for getting in the way and obstructing my shots!  This may of course be due to the fact that I’m photographing early in the morning rush hour: the vast majority of people appear totally focused on getting to work, walking head down and with fixed expressions.  However, if someone were to say something, I would smile and say something simple like “Hello, I’m Adrian Lewis, and I’m here photographing the morning rush hour.”, and then await their response – putting the ball in their court in a way.  I’ve read a lot about this sort of photography, and the key strategies seem to be openness, an air of confidence, a smile and a readiness to explain further about what I’m doing.  I always carry some FATman Photos business cards to give out if necessary – although up to now these have been given to people who see me photographing anything and everything, and are just interested to see the sorts of photographs I take.

Secondly, the early morning was not bright, and the (now 10 years old!) D700 was working at its highest ISO – 25,600!  And so this picture, even though its not cropped, is extremely grainy – lol! >>> click onto it to see what I mean!!!  But I’m quite happy to have the grain and, in any case, I think that its ALWAYS better to have a go at a photo, no matter how poor the light conditions >>> its ALWAYS better to have a technically imperfect image than no image at all.  I strongly believe a photo’s subject matter / content is what matters, with technical aspects of the images coming quite some way second.

Third, I started digital photography as a full-frame Nikon user (D700, D800), but in the last couple of years have started using Fujifilm mirrorless cameras, including the excellent X-T2.  Most of the Going To Work pictures have been taken with my X-T2 or, indeed, my X-T1, and they have done a very good job.  But, if pressed, I would have to say that the Nikons are better for very rapid autofocus in poor lighting conditions.  But, you pays your money and you takes your choice!!!  The Nikons are bigger, bulkier, heavier, and their optical viewfinders – in most situations – are not as useful as the big, electronic viewfinders on the Fuji cameras.  And the Fuji cameras take beautiful pictures, and are smaller, lighter and very easy to handle.  For the moment, at least, I’m using the Fuji cameras a lot, but also holding onto my Nikon gear.  And, finally, Nikon (or Canon) is likely to produce a mirrorless replacement for their DSLRs soon: I’m looking forward to seeing this.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window >>> and if you have a thing for grain, click onto this enlarged image to enlarge it yet again!

Technique: D700 with 70-330 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 25,600 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 2 preset and adding a light coffee tone; Bristol Bridge, central Bristol; 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.

10 Responses to PEOPLE 343 – GOING TO WORK 73

  1. excellent capture, Adrian! ..a thrilling mood lays in that image.


  2. bluebrightly says:

    The response that’s in your pocket, ready to go, is excellent, I really like the way it states who you are and what you’re doing in simple, straightforward terms. I bet it would stop most people in their tracks. “Huh? Photographing the morning rush? He’s nuts! Well, I have to get going…”

    I find your remarks about it always being worthwhile to have a go at an image, because the subject, not the technical aspects, are the core – that’s quite interesting. I think I have a tendency to run through images after downloading them and cull based on technical aspects more than content or emotional possibilities, and the other way ’round is preferable. Something I can remind myself about next time.

    I also found your camera discussion interesting – smaller is really, really nice, I’m with you! But if I had all that Nikon gear I’d be hesitant to say goodbye to it too, and I’d be curious about the mirrorless cameras they’re bringing out. Me and a few other people are curious, right? 🙂


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      OH PLEASE DO BE CAREFUL OF INITIAL CULLING!!!!!!!!! 😦 😦 😦 Two points to make.

      1. ALWAYS look at emotional possibilities, and ALWAYS prioritise them over technical quality!!!

      2. Many, many times, I have found and read that its REALLY BEST, after taking some shots, to leave them for awhile – days, weeks – so that you come back to them with FRESH EYES, and maybe see attributes that you might not have been immediately aware of. Going through them, and culling them (quick! … nurse! … fresh underwear!!!!…..), immediately after taking them, may well lose you significant opportunities/potential.

      And yes, its ALWAYS good having a go at taking an image, completely irrespective of how much the light etc conditions are stacked up against you. A 🙂


  3. I really like this, Adrian, and think the grain adds to the situation. I looked at it a bit before I read your commentary and felt that she might have protested after the fact. It’s great that you are prepared with a response. I rarely take people photos but will keep your ideas in mind.
    I female street photographer I know was once chased by an angry guy on a bike to delete his photo, so I’m not sure I’d agree about it being easier for women. -:)


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Ellen, I’m glad this gets to you. It probably is a bit easier for women, and especially so where children are concerned. But here in the UK, I THINK I’m right in saying (and I won’t be sure til a magazine (AP) that should have arrived yesterday turns up) – that, legally, except in certain very confidential situations, we can photograph who we like – but of course this is not to say that such photography might provoke a response, irrespective of whether its legal or not. Thanks for your thoughts, Ellen. Adrian 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I suspect you are right about the law, at least when out in public, and the same here. And we know we all get recorded going past every gas station, ATM, store front…. 🙂


        • Adrian Lewis says:

          Oh don’t get me started on that one, Ellen!!! This is the thing, we talk about the possibility of people objecting to being photographed, whereas the reality of things is that, living as we so in Western societies, we are constantly being captured on CCTV wherever we go – and have those manning such TV been vetted for pure as the driven snow minds/motives??? And what about CCTV clips that appear on TV and, worse still, the internet??? And yet no one seems to mind or say a thing, we just take it for granted. We are in a strange world. A

          Liked by 1 person

  4. paula graham says:

    Marvellous photo, I rarely ask anyone, I just click and smile!!…easier for women, I know.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, easier for women I suppose. As I say, I ask once, but the results were not great. I think the smile is a big thing. Haha! I also wish I had a truly characterful place like Totnes on my doorstep! 🙂


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