Shot of the Week 2019/08 – Millennium Bridge

Posted on 10th March 2019 by Admin under Comment, Equipment, infrared, Location, Shot of the Week, Street photography
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If one word sums up my photography for this week, it is “barriers”.  With a lot going on, there was just one opportunity for a photographic outing.  Naturally, I went where there might be some good prospects.  First stop was the BBC’s new headquarters at the end of London’s Regent Street.  Frustratingly, part of the iconic forecourt was sectioned off for filming.  Never mind, the Millennium Bridge across the Thames was a short bus ride away. That is always good for a few shots. Except this time it wasn’t.  Half of it was fenced off for the installation of new lighting.  Well, the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern Library has proved fruitful in the past.  You guessed it.  Closed off to the public.

Crowds on the Millenium Bridge
South end of London’s Millennium Bridge

Some days, photography is like that.  Come to think of it, life is like that and does not always go to plan.  Eventually I found my shot for the week at the southern end of the Millennium Bridge.  Thankfully, that section was free of barriers.  You might think it strange that many people are wearing light coloured clothing on a cold and dull day.  Except all is not what it seems.  This is a monochrome conversion of a shot from an infrared camera.

Infrared Monochrome

Infrared images are typically noted for effects such as foliage appearing lightened and skies turning dark.  Yet long ago I discovered through experimentation that in scenes where those elements are not present, an infrared camera is usable for monochrome.  Admittedly, unlike a true monochrome camera which records only tones and no colour, conversion to black and white is necessary.  With that proviso, it creates some interesting images.  The dyes in artificial fabric do reflect a lot of infrared light, which accounts for the appearance of people’s clothing in this shot.

A further example of a monochrome image from my infrared camera is below. I took it as I crossed the Millennium Bridge, looking across from the opposite side with all the fencing. Had the sky been clear instead of cloudy, it would have been rendered black. Which, all things considered, is not a bad idea for a future shot.

River Thames
View of London’s South Bank from the Millennium Bridge

Barriers to Photography

While I wrote about the barriers which appeared in the photos I would like to take, I did come across a hindrance of another kind. Namely my camera. I was using my Canon EOS 7D which, according to Lightroom, is the one I have used most. It accounts for around a third of the images on my hard drive. For a long time I have appreciated its ergonomics but not its bulk and weight.

In an effort to reduce the load, for a while I experimented with micro four thirds cameras but never really committed to the system. Then I discovered Fuji’s cameras. A X-E2 with the excellent 18-55 lens became my mainstay for a few years, being compact, light and versatile. It has been responsible for a number of my most recent successful images. Recently I added an X-H1 which has been a revelation. While it is a more substantial camera, it handles in a similar manner to my 7D. Put simply, it feels right and is at home in my ha In a way, I might add, that the X-E2 does not despite its many other virtues.

Using the Canon 7D again, it felt clumsy by comparison. That partly explains why I was shooting in locations which are not normally associated with infrared. Aside from my usual experimenation and wanting to see how things look in infrared, that is. The camera is a modified 450D which is smaller and it felt more convenient. One of my requirements for a camera is that it should not get in the way of my photography. That is a criterion which the 7D no longer consistently fulfils, which made me reluctant to take it out of my bag.

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