A Few Observations Life through my eyes

Evening wanderings with my camera always makes for some interesting imagery. This was on a cold wet January in Cambridge, England. I love using lines to draw the viewer in, the gutter lines were mirrored by the buildings sweeping around to the right.

Shopping Life

There's nothing better as a child than spending time with your Mum. The Winter sun was shining and I saw this mother with her daughter walking towards me in the distance. I made full use of the tiltable rotating screen on the back of the GX8, chose a low-ish vantage point to achieve long shadows to use as leading lines.

Seventy

I was sitting opposite this lady in a local cafe and knew I had to get a photograph of her. I was using the Panasonic Lumix G7 so connected to it's internal wifi, popped the camera on the edge of the table and shot this remotely via the Image App. This was just one of a series of images I took. She seemed like a fantastically interesting lady who swayed between taking sips of her coffee, watching the world go by and falling asleep. Her hands were full of rings (a lady after my own heart) and her nails were perfectly manicured and painted. I'd love to know what she was thinking.

Big Breakfast

Another taken at a local cafe, I walked in and saw these workmen which I immediately thought would make for a great photo. My daughter was sitting directly opposite which meant my back was to them. I shuffled my chair over slightly, set up my GX8 beside me and connected to the internal wifi. Once the Image app was opened I was then able to take this image remotely.

I love the differing expressions on their faces as the last plate was being brought in to their table.

Phone Companion

I got back late last night from working a FANTASTIC four days as a LumixG Ambassador for Panasonic UK at The Photo Show, NEC, Birmingham. Although I didn't get a chance to take many photos this is one of a couple I was able to grab.

When sitting and observing I'm continually taking in the scene around me. This is another image taken remoteIy on my phone via the image app. I spotted this man sitting opposite and took the photo, selecting one area focusing and using my 20mm F1.7 pancake lens. I chose to include the shoulder of the man sitting to the right of me and a little of my empty scrunched up hog roast bag to give some interest in the foreground. Throwing out the foreground makes the eye go straight to the man.

Taken on my Lumix GX8.

Pondering

With my middle daughter away over Easter and my youngest son not feeling a day trip out, myself, my eldest daughter & our springer Oz had a wonderful day at the coast on Good Friday. Weather-wise it was pretty perfect, sunny, warm yet windy.

As we were leaving to grab a coffee at the local pub I noticed these two standing atop the dunes looking out and taking in the spectacular view. I chose to place them off centre as I love using dead space to create a different feel.

Through The Round Window

I love hanging out just watching the world go by. I noticed this window at a local cafe and thought it would make an ideal frame. I know "noise" in photographs is frowned upon by the majority but in this instance I feel that it adds to it not detracts.

Time Out

Who doesn't like or NEED some time out, just you and a good book*

*electrical device.

This was taken remotely from my phone connected to my camera with silent mode turned on. A fairly shallow depth of field (f5.6) was used to give some interest in the foreground with the Lumix's one area focus selected.

Dusk in Cambridge

I was standing on the opposite side of the road when I saw this family about to emerge out of the museum. I really wanted to catch them closer to the doors when they were more centrallly situated between the entrance pillars but my hand eye coordination seemingly let me down on this occasion and the first frame I was able to take was this one when they had practically exited.

That said, I think it still works framing them against the lightness of the interior.

Conversation

It's always lovely to see to people meeting, chatting, catching up over coffee and food. Again I chose to include some interest in the foreground with the edge of the table and part of the chair backs to ensure that the viewer's eye was drawn into the image.

Hotel

I love people watching and hotels are always both great and interesting places for it. I spotted this gentleman sitting opposite engrossed in his paper. I used the curve of the sofa back opposite me to give foreground interest, I also moved my position further to the right so he was then placed off centre and infront of the lower curve which balanced the image.

Cigar

The first thing I noticed about making this image was the print on the wall of the lady billowing smoke from a cigar, I loved how she appears to be watching over the man drinking his coffee. I'm pretty sure that he hadn't noticed as the entire time he was there he seemed to be deep in thought. Wouldn't it be interesting to be able to mind read?

Security

This gentleman was one of the security team at the recent Photography Show at the N.E.C. Birmingham, every time I walked past he was having 40 winks which made me smile. One second before taking this he was soundo which is the photo I REALLY wanted to capture!

The lesson learnt? ... keep the lens cap off at all times so photos aren't missed!

Customer Services Central.

In my humble opinion airports are THE best places for a spot of people watching and observational photography. This couple looked like they'd already had a long haul journey under their belts with more to go.

In this instance I was sat relatively close and as they were snoozing I didn't worry about remote controlling from my phone, instead just thought about the composition before pressing the shutter.

In A World Of Their Own.

Another airport shot. The vignetting to the right of the image was the edge of my bag handle, I positioned my camera on top of my bag using the edge of the handle as a frame (I realise it looks like vignetting)

Everyone apart from the boy walking past in the background was on their phones, I mean what on earth would we do now without them?!

Through My Eye.

Another view of the same boy using the tiltable LDC screen, this time however as I was deciding on composition it struck me that the shape of the bag handle resembled an eye which I thought worked pretty well.

Glass So Clean You Could Eat Your Dinner Off It.

Although there's so much going on in this image with all the different shapes and lines I still think it works, what with the contrast of the dark and light plus the reflections in the glass.

Metro Life, Paris.

Because I was in such close proximity to this man on the Parisian metro (knees practically touching), I chose to use the remote control option and shoot from my phone whilst holding my camera in approximately the right area for the composition I wanted to achieve, using one area focus.

Train travel.

My recent birthday called for a treat of a little short city break in Amsterdam with my middle daughter Ella. We flew from Stansted to Schipol then caught the train from the airport to central station which was super easy, good for the wallet AND a great chance to people watch.

Hello Amsterdam.

There's nothing better in my opinion than exploring new places, whether it be in your home country or travelling further afield. The little hotel we stayed at in Amsterdam was in a perfect location for walking to all the sights, nestled on the edge of canal (of course) on beautiful Bloemgracht, in the heart of the Jordaan district, full to brimming with quirky and independent shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. A definite recommendation if you're planning to visit Amsterdam, see link to their site below.

Flight.

There's something about a bird in flight. I shot this through the glass of the Mr Jordaan hotel bedroom window early one morning. Although we were a little disappointed not to have had a canal view, this to me was still beautiful in it's own right. I chose to edit it in black and white as it seemed to fit with the cloudy sky.

The Year Of The Rooster.

I took a day trip down to London on Saturday to soak up some Chinese New Year atmosphere in China town. As ever it didn't disappoint, the restaurants and shops were super busy and the red lanterns which were hung in their hundreds across the streets were so beautiful!

Not being Chinese myself, I'd always heard "gong hei fat choy" being uttered around Chinese New Year and assumed it meant Happy New Year however after a little google, found it's a wish for prosperity.

Prettiness.

Couldn't resist popping this hit of gorgeous colour up. These were hanging outside a cafe in Soho, London and looked so beautiful swaying in the wind.

Starbucks Study.

Coffee shops are a favourite place of mine to hang out and people watch. It's always interesting to see how many people are using it for a place of study, somewhere they can be alone but surrounded by company.

Peaceful Demonstration.

The beauty of using a mirrorless camera apart from the obvious weight difference is the ability to turn the shutter to silent, this is pivotal in all my observational work.

Going Up.

Aren't lifts just the most awkward places, a small confined space packed tightly with strangers who more often than not do their best not to make eye contact or social engagement. This was in the Willis Tower, on way up 103 floors.

Individuality.

A break from wandering the streets of Chicago, this guy rocked up on his bike complete with Smurf and came sat down close by. What a character! I was immediately drawn to him as I love individuality and think it should be celebrated, I mean who wants to be a follower, be INDIVIDUAL!

Steel.

This was out in the Chicago suburbs, I've always adored structure, lines and form. Shot through the opposite handrails of the train station I waited until the man was in frame. The light from the floro provided a really lovely highlight to set him apart from the background.

Passing By.

One of my favourite ways to take photographs is to find a window spot in a cafe and quite literally watch the world go by. This was on a very rainy and grey day in the centre of Dublin so I plumped myself down, decided on the composition then waited. More often than not, people are all too keen to take as many photos as then can and hope they have one useable image. Why not have a little patience, wait and get one great shot, "the shot"

Sandals & Rain.

Another shot from the same window (through the glass) this time I chose not to include the window decal. For me I wanted to keep the scene static and in focus and keep the passersby in motion by having them blurred as they walked. This enhanced the rainy day feel of people being keen to get to their destinations, no window browsing.

Reusable Shopper.

Those of you who are regular readers of my blog will by now have realised that I love sitting and watching the world go by from cafes and coffee shops. If at all possible I choose a table by the window where i can sit back, camera at hand and watch for possible photographs. This was at a local independent cafe in Diss.

Commuter Life

Another favourite spot of mine to take photos is on public transport. I'm not sure I could go back to shooting on a camera which doesn't have the ability to be popped into silent mode as I find I use it more and more, even on portrait shoots .

This was on the train down to London, I chose a wide aperture of f1.7, selected one area focus and as has become my style, made sure I included some out of focus foreground interest. I wanted the man to be sharp but the rest to fall off which meant the viewer's eye would be drawn to where I wanted it to be drawn.

Watching the World Fly By.

This is my son caught in a rare moment not looking down at his phone or ipad!

Again taken with my longstanding observations lens of choice the prime 20mm pancake. I love this lens especially if I'm wanting to travel light.

When shooting people, you generally want to keep the eyes sharp, this was lit purely by available natural window light and again on silent mode.

Lunch Break.

If you're eating alone it's so easy to fall into the trap of getting your head down and into your phone, I can be a culprit but always try not to if I've got company. It drives me crazy when people do it to me.

What's In My Camera Bag?

Anyone who's into photography will know that the annual Photography Show was held recently at the NEC Birmingham and is THE place to be. I was thankful to be asked back again by Panasonic UK to be on their stand along with some of the other Panasonic Ambassadors and of course their lovely imaging specialists. This is always a full on but enjoyable event and also a chance to have a quick scoot around, see what's new and catch up with friends.

With a trip to Bangkok a couple of days after the show finished, I was in the market for a new camera bag suitable for my MFT kit, as my current one was older than the hills. I toddled off to see the lovely Helen of Snapperstuff and after a little discussion I opted for the ThinkTank Urban Approach 15 rucksack.

I'm aware my dividers are in very odd positions, just haven't had time to set it up properly!

Build quality & finishing is fabulous, loads of dividers (is it just me or can you never have enough), two internal pockets, SUPER comfy padded & ergonomically shaped shoulder straps, external zip pocket (perfect for passports), rain cover, tripod side strap, side pockets, suitcase handle strap and separate zipped compartment for a 15" laptop and tablet.

So what's currently in my rucksack? GH5 body, GX8 body, Leica nocticron 42.5mm, Leica 15mm, 20mm pancake, 2 chargers, MacBook Pro 15", 2 x WD Passport external hard drives, spare batteries, various leads & adapters, lens cloths, laptop charger, tripod adapter plate and spare memory cards.

I've now got my eye on the ThinkTank Signature shoulder bag, I mean, a gal can't have too many bags can she? ... a different one to cover all eventualities!

Visit Snapperstuff & ThinkTank at the links below.

Created By
Esther Ling
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