A Sign Of The Times!

Last weekend I was in Liverpool for a street photography walk organised by the guys from Shoot Mirrorless. This walk was different as it took me to parts of Liverpool I’d never been before. So let’s get on with the photographs. After all that’s what you’re here to see…I hope. Oh! I should mention the walk was around an area where there is a lot of street art, so you won’t see, apart from one photograph, any people this week.

And this is the one. I saw these guys working and with a simple gesture to my camera and a smile they were happy for me to take a photograph. For privacy reasons I have blurred the registration number of the vehicle they are washing.

Car Wash

On the streets there is an amazing amount of art. Some people would call it graffiti. What do you think, graffiti or art?

White

Between the wall and the pavement, sidewalk for my American readers, there are a series of these little paintings that you can see below.  They stretch for some distance along the street with a little figure appearing every so often.

Hello

I think everyone must have heard of Banksy, but if not here’s a link. Go read for yourself.

Banksy

I love this one. It’s one of a series that I found when we were walking around the streets in the Baltic Triangle

The Fox

The Hobo Bazaar, now that sound interesting, but where is it.

Hobo Bazaar

Great sign but no real directions……and there it was just around the corner

Hobo

I love this one. But there’s always someone who wants to ruin the scene with that odd bit of rubbish spray painting to the right of the artwork.

Coke

Another reference to Banksy and there’s one of those little ladies just below.

Steal a Banksy

Well that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photographs. I don’t feel as though I spent enough time in the Baltic Triangle so it’s somewhere I’d like to revisit with my camera.

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Quick Night Photograph

Well not so quick, really. It’s a 50 second exposure. Last night the camera club decided on a visit to photograph the bridge over the River Dee from Connah’s Quay. It was cold night, plenty of cloud about as well. Not ideal for standing around whilst you take photographs. But here’s the result.

The Bridge
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens – 50s exposure, f7.1 aperture, 200 ISO

I hope you like it. – Mike

Oops! I Forgot

It’s 4;30 pm on a cold Tuesday afternoon, here in the UK. I’m sitting at my computer when it struck me. I haven’t submitted anything for this weeks challenge. Although to be fair, I’ve been busy testing new software and working on a new project.

Now here’s the other thing, I haven’t taken any photographs, that I can use, since my visit to Budapest nearly a month ago. For me that is really strange…….So for this weeks challenge I’m going to have to rely on past photographs, taken from almost the same spot at two different times of the year.

I’m standing at Cwm Idwal, it’s January, the lake is behind me and I’m looking over the Ogwen Valley to Pen yr Ole Wen. As you can see, there’s been quite a heavy fall of snow and I remember on the day I took this photograph there weren’t too many people about.

Pen yr Ole Wen

It’s also the same day that I and another photographer, whom I met that day, got caught in a blizzard white out. At the time it was disconcerting because you can’t see much in front of you. But despite there not being too much shelter up there we decided to stick it out and see if it cleared. and fortunately after about five minutes it stopped snowing. Time to get off the mountain as soon as possible. It’s no great panic, we were both equipped to be there, but when you can’t see where you want to go, then it gets a little bit tasty.

Then we have this photograph, from nearly the same spot. Taken just over a year later in the February. Considering the month it’s surprising there’s now snow.

Pen yr Ole Wen

So that’s it for this week. It’s a quick one and I hope you enjoyed them – Mike

It’s In The Bag!

Regular readers will know that I’m always willing to share how I took a photograph and  any steps I might have taken to develop the photographs that I publish to this blog. I even let you use the photographs for free as long as it’s not for commercial purposes. But one thing I’ve always been pretty vague about  is what I carry in my camera bag. “A camera, a few lenses, some filters and cleaning cloths” is my usual response. It’s not that I’m trying to hide anything, it’s just a pain in the rear end to say “Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2, Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens”, and so on.

A little while back I was contacted by Julie Williams from MightyGoods asking me about the kind of bag I used, what I carry in my bag and how it’s organised. An involved question that really required something better than the vague response, I usually give. Julie explained that it was for an article being written in MightyGoods and so I decided to send her a response. So if you really want to see what’s in my bag follow the link to find out “How 21 Photographers Pack & Organise Their Photography Bags” and you will see why I carry those little black bags that you can buy in pet shops.

Right to this weeks challenge, which is all about experimentation. One of the great feature of the E-M1 is a mode called Live Composite which allows me to shoot a long exposure, which is made from a series of shorter exposures, combined in camera after I press the shutter release to stop the exposure. In effect what happens is the camera software only applies the brighter areas, which make it perfect for shooting light trails, light painting, fireworks etc.

So in the photograph below. The first time I click the shutter button the camera takes an exposure for all of the static items. It’s just like a normal photograph. Now this is where the magic comes in. Because the next time I click the shutter the camera then takes a series of photographs, at an interval set be me, but this time it only reacts to light changes.

Saint Anna Parish Church

As the building and street lights are static and their light is not changing they don’t get included. But moving vehicles with their lights on will be recorded in the series of photographs which are then combined to show the light trails.

Lion

Sounds complicated, but it really is just three presses of the shutter button, One to record the base exposure, one to start the light capture.

Riverside

Now the other good thing about this is, being a mirrorless  camera I can watch the Live View and see the picture build. When I’m happy with what I am seeing, the third press of the shutter button tells the camera to stop recording and show me the final photograph, which by the way is a full size RAW file.

Light Trails On The River

So where’s the experiment in this. It’s in the time that you set the camera to take the different exposures and through experimentation I have found that 1 second interval works great for light trails, where vehicles are involved.

Buda Castle

From a safety point of view, you have to be aware that you are photographing moving vehicles and I’ve had some strange looks from drivers who see me there with a tripod taking photographs. Some will even beep their car horns. But the main thing to remember here. Moving traffic is unpredictable and in the dark, even on well-lit streets, it’s harder to judge their speed. Also be aware, drivers are not expecting to see you standing on a traffic island in the middle of the road, so try to blend in. or be really obvious. However through experience again I have found wearing a bright day-glow vest does not go down well.

In the photograph below I wanted to catch the symmetry of the vehicles entering and exiting the tunnel and fortunately a convenient traffic island gave me the vantage point I wanted. It’s a well-lit area and I was standing under a light with bright clothes, well the jacket was bright, so they could see me well in advance of exiting the tunnel.

The Tunnel

I hope you enjoyed this little foray with me to capture light trails of moving vehicles at night.

Chain Bridge

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

This is Another Story Photo of the Day!
Kings Canyon National Park – MERCEDES CATALAN
Experimental Angles! – Travel. Explore. Sparkle. Shine
Anita Sikorska – artishorseshit
Experimental- Bokeh Lights – Rebecca Wiseman Portfolio
Simply Photos Shake It Up A Bit
Half a photograph Turn, turn, turn
Experiencing, recognising, learning – picturesimperfectblog
Experimental – By Sarah
The Land Slide Photography Experimental

Architecture And More Architecture

During the time we were in Budapest we experienced some really dramatic weather. High winds, torrential rain, bitter cold days. But you still have to get out if you want to see the sights, These photographs were shot over several days and you can see that in the skies.

My plan with this set is to show you some architecture, both inside and out. Once again you can’t get away from tourists, hey I’m one myself, but in this set I decided in some cases to make use of them. So let’s get on with the photographs. This is the back-end of the Parliament Building in Budapest. It was the only place were there were very few tourists and it serves my purpose to show you the intricate work involved in the building’s architecture.

Parliament

And the same building from the opposite side of the river

Riverside

One of the places we visited, and we visited a lot in our 3 and a bit days in Budapest, is the Fisherman’s Bastion, high on the hill above the Buda side of the river. You can walk all round the bastion walls. But On the day I visited it was so busy.

Fishermans Bastion

We caught the bus up to the Bastion but if you’re fit enough and fancy the walk then you can always climb the stairs up from the riverside.

Passageway

You know I said it was busy the day I visited. I had sort of got this photograph all lined up, minus the young lady. It was pretty obvious what I was doing, yet she decided that her need to be photographed by her friend far outweighed my needs. Couple of seconds and I would have been finished. But no, she just walked right into the frame and sat down. Pretty girl, so I decided to photograph her anyway and feature her in this post. I’d waited long enough to get the photograph so if she wanted to add that little bit extra, fair enough. Come to think about it, it does make the photograph, so thank you.

Pretty Girl

Up on the hill again. Looking over the River Danube to the Parliament building and the Pest side of the river. Budapest is one of the cities that gets regular visits from ships cruising the river. That’s one you can see now. Floating hotels that sail down the European rivers making stops along the way at interesting places. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not complaining, I’ve been on two of these ships myself. The trip I did through France and one through Germany and the Netherlands.

Danube Panorama

So let’s get down closer to that bridge. It’s one of many that cross the river in Budapest. In another post I will show you this bridge lit up at night.

Chain Bridge

Whilst we were in Budapest we paid a visit to the Great Synagogue. It was a really grey and miserable day, fair bit of rain around so an indoor location was ideal.

Two Domes

Outside the synagogue is not that exciting but step inside and you’re in a world of fantastic architecture. Tripods weren’t allowed, but here’s a hint. Find a pew, and if you can rest your camera on it. Use a wide aperture like f2, set your timer for two seconds delay to avoid shake when you press the shutter and hopefully you will be able to get a reasonable photograph without bumping up the ISO too much.

Great Synagogue

During the WW2 the Great Synagogue formed part of the Jewish Ghetto and it was used as a shelter for may of Budapest’s Jews. In the courtyard of the synagogue is a cemetery in which over two thousand people, who died from hunger and cold during the winter of 1944-45, are buried.

Memorial Garden

OK! Lets go underground. The transport system in Budapest is fantastic, trams, buses, underground all link seamlessly and it’s my favourite way of getting round. As an added bonus, if you are an EU citizen and 65 or over you can travel for free. Just make sure you have a valid identity document with you at all times as the inspectors are pretty keen. I used my passport whilst we were in Budapest. Although there seem to be no checks don’t be tempted to not buy a ticket if you are under 65. The inspectors don’t wear a uniform, most are dressed very casually. First time you know they are there is when they put on a red armband and show you their identity card. No ticket, big fine. Not worth it.

Anyway the underground is pretty modern but some of the escalators are pretty steep and move really fast and they go deep, real deep underground. But on our travels we found this quaint underground line, where the stations look quaint and they’re just below ground. A few steps down and you’re on the platform. Even the trains are old and rickety.

Underground

….and this is where we ended up. At Heroes Square.. As usual you aren’t going to get a photograph without tourists so when these lovely ladies lined up for a photograph it was too good an opportunity to miss. So with a smile and pointing to my camera they nodded Ok and I took some photographs of them. The gentleman as totally unaware that I was there, that’s why they are laughing.

Heroes Square

Across from Heroes Square is Vajdahunyad Castle, which is now a museum. That concrete area in front of it becomes an ice skating park in Winter.

Vajdahunyad Castle

As you wander around Budapest you find many little hidden courtyards behind the facades of the big buildings. This one leads to a hotel. I love finding them and having a look, just to see what is there.

Secret Garden

Very often the doors are closed and then as you are walking around someone will open the door to come out. I’ve seen beautiful garden courtyards, stark concrete ones and even hidden shops.

Shoe Shops

Well that’s it. I enjoyed my visit to Budapest, despite the weather and the inability to capture photographs without tourists. It’s one of those things about travel nowadays, everyone does it and unless you are prepared to get up at dark o’clock you are not going to find any popular location without people. On this trip I decide in the end to embrace people, not literally, and use them with my photographs.

So I’ll leave you with this photograph taken at Fisherman’s Bastion. The young lady was standing there looking out over the city. I quickly changed to spot metering and exposed for the sky which more or less pushed her to be in silhouette. I quick touch up in Lightroom to complete the darkening down and there you have it.

Silhouette

It’s unlikely that I will visit Budapest again, which is why I was so determined to get out and about no matter what the weather. We walked miles, got drenched by a heavy downpour at one point, not much you can do when you are stuck on an exposed bridge halfway across the river. Travelled extensively on the public transport system and I took over 1000 photographs in the 4 days that we were there. Admittedly I was in tourist mode and knowing that I most probably wouldn’t be back I was determined to record as much as possible. Quantity over quality, probably, but it’s a one time shot. Better to have something to work with than nothing at all. At least that’s the way I see it. How about you?

Does this post meet the weekly challenge, probably not, but there again it’s all down to interpretation……..

The Great Market Hall, Budapest

Last week I was lucky to be in Budapest for a short break. Although photography would be a part of the trip the idea was to enjoy some downtime with my wife. See the sights, taste the food, you get the idea. Unfortunately we were not always blessed with good weather and during the photography times, tourists were everywhere. So the photographs always tend to have people in them. There’s not a lot you can really do about either the weather or people, so just get on with it.

One of the sights in Budapest that was on our bucket list to visit was The Great Market Hall on the Pest side of the river. From out hotel it was an easy visit. Four stops on the tram, walk across the Liberty Bridge over the river and you’re there. This isn’t a small building, by any means approximately 10,000 square metres floor space. It’s the sort of place you could spend all day in, just wandering around.

Great Market Hall
Bracket set of 3 using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/50s, f7.1, ISO 200

As all market halls should, there are a large variety of goods on sale. Fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, bakery products, spices, liquors, tourist tat, fast food, no, not Mickey Dees, or anything like that, Hungarian fast food, as you’ll see later.

Fruit and Veg
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/100s, f5, ISO 400

Hungarians love cake and sweet pastries. I do as well and it was very tempting but I’m supposed to be cutting down, Hungarian meals are large, very large.

A Bit Of Cake
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/60s, f5, ISO 400

Down on the ground floor of the market it’s mainly produce for sale. I was told that many Budapest natives visit early, around 8am before the tourists descend on the market. They know what they want and they go right for it. No time for messing with dilly-dallying tourists.

Shop Floor
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/6s, f7, ISO 200

If you like Paprika this is the place to go. It comes in all types, sweet, hot, smoked, There’s chillies as well, everything priced but you do have to shop around, prices for the same items vary from stall to stall.  What’s cheap on one stall will be dearer on another and when you want to buy several items you’ll find that at least one of them is less expensive on the stall next door. Swings and roundabouts.

Paprika
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/25s, f5, ISO 400

There’s all the tat a tourist could ever want. Head on around the corner though, don’t go for the fancy presentation and you’ll get better and fresher products.

Tourist Tat
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/320s, f5, ISO 400

Now for those Europeans amongst us. Would you believe there’s an Aldi store in the basement of the Great Market Hall. I kid you not. That’s the advert for the stores weekly bargains that you can see in the background.

Meeting Up
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/25s, f3.5, ISO 400

Still on the ground floor, there’s a whole section of the Great Market Hall devoted to meat. Hungarians love meat, Duck (Kacsa) is a speciality in many restaurants. We went to a fabulous restaurant called Kacsa on Kacsa Street, where the speciality was duck and boy was it good.

Meat Eater
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/125s, f5, ISO 400

On the upper floor of the market there are long narrow terraces along the sides of the building with a few crossing from one side to the other. It’s here that you will find all the tourist stuff. Walking along these passages is quiet tight, there’s so many people walking about. I don’t know how old this lady is, a gentleman never asks, but she was there doing here best to sell, sell, sell.

How Old?
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/13s, f5.6, ISO 400

With open stalls, I don’t suppose you can just walk away and leave it for any time. So it’s a drink on the spot for this stall holder. There’s a lot of lace and embroidery here on this floor, but nowadays I’m always wary. After all the three most used words in the English language nowadays are “Made In China”. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t, but the cynical me is always about.

Drink Time
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/30s, f5.6, ISO 400

On the opposite side of the Great Market Hall is where you get food. Lots of food, large portions as well. It ranges from Goulash, to pasta, to sausages, there’s all sorts, hot and tasty

Food Glorious Food
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/60s, f3.5, ISO 400

You know I said it was lots of food. That’s a bowl of Goulash those girls are photographing. Full of chunks of beef with a paprika sauce/gravy. It’s hearty and filling that’s for sure.

Photo Op
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/100s, f3.5, ISO 400

Ok! So that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed this visit to the Great Market Hall, Budapest, Hungary with me. Later this week I’ll be writing about the architecture and hopefully by the weekend I’ll be able to show you some night photographs from Budapest.

Underground, Did I See Anything in Budapest?

I’ve just got back from a short trip to Budapest and am still looking at all of the photographs I have taken there. But as this is Wednesday and it’s almost time for a new challenge I’ll just include a couple of quick photographs from the trip.

First up is this one of a tunnel under the main road on the approach to the Chain Bridge. It’s used by trams which run along the riverside.

Grafitti

Second is this pedestrian tunnel under the same road.

_.jpg

That’s it for this week. But look out for my post of night shots from Budapest and if I have time this week I’ll be writing about the Great Market Hall as well.