Water streaming, music streaming under the arch
Macfilos Weekender with Kevin Armstrong
As an acquaintance and I parted company after coffee at The Wallace Collection in London he asked if I was going to take photos that day, given that I had the X Vario with me, to which I replied that I doubted it. The sky was grey and completely overcast and I was not in the mood to photograph anything whether or not, technically, the sky was acting as a giant soft box. Brits don’t usually look up at such a leaden sky and exclaim “what a lovely soft-box, perfect for photographing details."
I wandered off to the nearby St Christopher’s Place for lunch. It’s a small quiet square with a narrow lane leading off bustling Oxford Street, that entrance being so small that most people walk right past, thus completely missing its boutique shops, cafes and restaurants.
My general approach to photographing in the street is to hang around places that look interesting and see if something happens. Sitting on a bench, I noticed the arched fountain and after a while a man sat within its ‘frame’. Good. I waited until someone of interest passed by behind him to add some depth to the composition and then took a short burst of photos as the woman in the red jacket passed through the same ‘frame’. The relatively small, discrete and quiet X Vario was not noticed as I held it on my leg but I had to push up the ISO a bit and then reduce noise in Lightroom.
Reviewing the photo on the MacBook Pro at home I noticed how the man was an island of calm as people — and pigeons — passed by. In London the pigeons can add a bit of action to a photo, if not glamour. My wife also commented that the arch of the fountain matched the man’s headphones, something I hadn’t noticed. The idea that both were ‘streaming’ came to mind.
Walking down the lane towards Oxford Street I was surprised by the decorations and stopped to try and capture their reflections and colours that contrasted so well with the general greyness of the day. I saw that in this case the overcast sky helped as there were no highlights to spoil the clarity of the reflections and so I learnt something new.