Last weekend was the York Motor Show, it has been held every year since 2004 and usually draws a big turn out of cars and visitors. This means that a walk down Avon Terrace can be a hazardous matter as the pedestrian is blinded by the sun glistening off of the duco and the gleaming chrome trim. Unfortunately this years event was marred by the weather – it was a cloudy grey day with occasional drizzle. Drizzle is a weather form I don’t really associate with Western Australia, it’s more a dank dour dreary weather form for the UK, or Tasmania. Western Australia is all about big blue skies with occasional heavy rain storms in winter. Anyway I digress – 18 months in Tasmania has meant that I think and talk about meteorological conditions far more than I should. So despite the fickleness of the weather those who did turn up were very enthusiastic and had a good time.
Although my late father worked for many years in the car industry selling luxury cars such as Jensen, BMW and Mercedes , I must confess that I have virtually zero interest in them. What I do enjoy is the spectacle of events such as these and the photo opportunities they present. I enjoyed a fun couple of hours walking up and down taking photos and talking to people. At events like this people are only too happy to talk about their pride and joy and photographing it is a form of showing how you appreciate their efforts. It’s almost rude not to take a photo. Photographically speaking shooting events like these is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. I used one body, a 15mm ultra wide-angle, a 35mm moderate wide-angle and a 75mm short telephoto. The two wide-angles seeing the most action. A couple of spare batteries (not needed despite over 300 shots taken) and a large empty memory card completed the kit. Travelling light means that walking up and down is an enjoyable experience.
Todays musical reference was a single by British group Madness. The band burst on to music scene in 1976 as part of the ska revival channeling such influences as Prince Buster and their first hit in 1979 directly referenced him and their later track Al Capone was another reference. By the time “I Like Driving In My Car” came out in 1982 the band had abandoned their Jamaican inspired groove and had become more mainstream pop occasionally breaking out into quirky songs such as this one.
Apologies to the late, great JJ Cale, who wrote the absolutely sublime song “After Midnight”, but I have been prowling around after dark with my camera and tripod. Every summer I do this because endless blue skies and fields of sun bleached wheat stubble do not make for very interesting photographs. Shooting at night can make the mundane look strangely beautiful and ethereal.
Most of the time the images are straight, i.e. I just set the camera up on my tripod and make an exposure, like the two images above. Sometimes I like to play a little with light painting and flash to make something a little more out there.
This image and the one below used flash with gels attached and fired by a set of el cheap “Poverty Wizards” I bought off of Ebay. I keep meaning to get a couple more old manual speedlites and some more wireless receivers to achieve more complicated lighting effects, but what usually happens is that summer ends and I stop going out at night and I quickly forget about it. Maybe this year.
What makes this fun is that it is experimental, you’re never completely sure how the image is going to turn out. Also with exposures knocking around 30 to 240 seconds it is a slow process and that makes it a more thoughtful exercise as it is not just a case of blazing away and hoping. I find because it can take up to twenty minutes making test exposures and then the final image I become thoughtful about composition. It is not unusual to have been out for a couple of hours and only make four or five images.
As always clicking on an image will take you through to my online gallery.
I haven’t been up to much over the last week, just mainly catching up on processing some photos and distributing them. The other evening the light had a beautiful delicate quality to and I knew that I must get out and take some photos. The thing was that the evenings are very short here, twenty or thirty minutes and it is all over. So I decided to just walk out of the front door and see what I could find.
Western Australia has seen very little of the events of global slow down caused by the GFC. China’s insatiable demand for the minerals that can be found here has meant that the economy has been going gangbusters. Well up until now that is. Five minutes walk from my house is the town’s industrial estate and up until very recently it was a hive of activity, but now it is a very different story. Most of the units and yards are now up for either sale or lease and the first mortgagee sales are happening. All that is left is a couple of car wrecking yards and even they are showing the effects of the economic slow down. The weeds are slowly, but steadily, reclaiming the yards and the wrecks are starting to disappear under the vegetation.
The light was a beautiful counterpoint to the decaying cars, such potent symbols of our consumer culture, and the flowers showed that everything can become new and alive again.
As usual if you want to buy a print click on the image and you’ll be taken to my gallery.