guitars

Two Pauls and a Phil.

Did you hear the news? The famous Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow.

That means according to Groundhog Day lore, that spring is going to take a bit longer to arrive. It certainly felt like that in chilly London town yesterday where the urbanites clung to scarfs, hats, coffee and cigarettes to get them through to 5.30 and the weekend.

The Groundhog Day theme ran through to some of my locations for shooting too, as I revisited bits of Soho and Chinatown.

The axe-drooling spot of Denmark Street is still undergoing it's 'transformation' due to Cross Rail, and every time I visit the number of guitar shops shuttering is increasing. However, I was pleased to see that a new excellent looking place called Sixty Sixty Sounds had opened, and on a less rushed day, I'll be in for a proper visit.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to where I began at St. Pauls Station.

I'd wanted to get up on the roof of One New Change opposite the catherdral for a while having heard of its amazing view, and yep, it's got it all with a vista encompassing most of the main London landmarks. It was slightly marred by an over-zealous security guard asking me why I'd taken a picture looking back upon the building, telling me there was a 'security issue' and only 'outward looking views' were permitted.

Right.

I gave him my best Paddington hard-stare and with a whisk of my imaginary cape flounced out of the (admittedly interesting) building.

Another spot I'd not visited in years was The British Museum. I don't go for a proper walk around - that's for another family day - but I did pop in to get some shots in the packed Great Court. It was packed yesterday with school trips and - due to the assumably weak pound - thousands of Japanese tourists.

These very same tourists seem to be following me around all day in semi-comedic circumstances, as by the time I'd wandered to Covent Garden they were all there enjoying a pidgeon interrupted lunch. How did I know it was the same group? Well, I'm not sure if it's the Paddington Effect but they were all dressed in a uniform which included a swish Duffle coat.

Following on from Chinatown, I ambled around Soho for a bit where I inadvertently caught a shot of 60's DJ Paul Gambaccini walking through the market.

Finally, my second battery gave out just as I got my favourite shot of the day of the lady in front of Paddington (...him again...), so with cold-tipped fingers, I headed off on the tube and home to await 6 more weeks of winter.

Thanks Phil.


Tech Corner:
Mostly the 85mm Batis yesterday with the odd bit of 25mm for wide architectural shots. Something else I tried was using the A7r ii's 16.9 option to frame in a more cinematic fashion, which is ace as you can do this on-shoot then as you're shooting RAW go back and fiddle with the full frame shot later. Magic!
 

Rectangles and Right Angles.

They're everywhere. After my last trip up to town to go a shootin', I mentioned that one thing that resonated was the sheer number of people spending all their time staring at a little bright rectangle made of plastic in their hand. 

We're all guilty of it.

Yesterday was no different. Every stealthy street shot seemed to be so mobile-centric, I started to look for people who weren't glued to an iPhone. And it's difficult. Really difficult.

But apart from avoiding the screen time, the mission this time out was to spend some time exploring my old ITV years haunts of the South Bank, walking from London Bridge station along and across and through Soho to my evening at the BFI offices hosted by the RAW Brothers (check em out).

Along the way, as a little challenge, I decided to work on some interesting angles for shots at the new extension of the Tate Modern, which is made for these things with its odd shape and interesting light. 

I don't know if it's not living there now, but London seems brighter, smarter and more expensive than it used to be. Even the cheapest restaurant or bar is extravagantly themed or decked out now. Oddly, most of them around Soho and Charlotte Street seemed a little empty, but offices still appeared to have people slogging away in them at 6 in the evening. No change there.

Maybe it's a city thing - not London per se - but after another day walking around documenting life, everyone seems a little disconnected, which is ironic considering the rectangles in the palm of their hands.

Perhaps we need a new angle on things.


Tech Corner:

Sony A7RII
Zeiss Batis 85mm
Sony Zeiss 35mm
Sony Zeiss 55mm