London

Museum of Natural History, London

On our way back to Newcastle, Jen and I had a couple of hours to burn in London so we went to the Natural History Museum. What an awesome place! 

The fossilised skeleton of a Diplodocus in the grand Hintze Hall. Natural History Museum, London.

Its been about 2 years since we last visited to see Dr. Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS: Animal Inside Out exhibition which was just incredible. But at the time we didn't have an opportunity to have a look around the permanent exhibitions.

During this visit we managed to see the birds, mammals and the breathtakingly massive whales.

A taxidermy ostrich waiting, along with other birds in a display case to be curated.

We also watched a couple of short films in the lecture theatres. The first was Nature through the lens which documented key breakthroughs in wildlife film-making over the past 100 years which I really enjoyed and appreciated as a photographer. The second film was David Attenborough: Life on Camera, which covered some of Attenborough's many achievements and clips of his best bits. It is amazing to see what he has experienced and his dedication to the field is such an inspiration. 

Photoessay: London with the Ricoh GRD I

This is a collection of images from my recent weekend in London. There is no theme here, just some observations that I made whilst wandering the streets.

These images were shot with the Ricoh GRD I compact digital camera, with a fixed focal length of 28mm. It first went on sale in 2005, meaning it contains some fairly old technology in comparison to the digital cameras of today. The screen is perhaps the most noticeably dated part on the GRD's stealthy matte black body. A low pixel count and poor viewing angles may put photographers off using this classic camera. But I find reviewing images on the GRD I a very pleasurable experience. The backlit screen really increases the vividness of the colours and makes every image appear sharp and in focus. It reminds me of looking through my dad's coloured transparency slides as a kid.

The poor viewing angles of the screen mean that slightly tilting the camera will appear to cause the image exposure and contrast to shift. Tilting one way will increase contrast and the other will decrease it until the image is almost inverted at the most extreme angles. Thanks to this undesirable characteristic I can 'edit' images directly on the camera with incredible ease and immediacy. Being able to increase and decrease contrast/exposure with the tilt of the wrist is a really precise and tactile experience. It really beats pushing sliders up and down on a computer.

When I transfer the images onto my computer, I am often disappointed with how they appear on my monitor. I'm sure that they are as the camera intended but having viewed them on the GRD I screen, I miss the vibrancy and contrast. I have attempted to recreate the look that I see on the camera in Adobe Lightroom. It's not really a true replication though because as soon as they are on the large screen, faults in the images become clear; out of focus, tons of noise and motion blur. All of which were unnoticable on the tiny GRD screen.

I hope to do a show one day where I can display all the images on Ricoh GRD I screens so that the audience can really see how beautifully it renders images and experience instant editing with the tilt of the wrist. 

The neon lights of Oxford Street

Even after the sun sets, Europe's busiest shopping street is buzzing with activity. Stores open till late and the streets are filled with people. 

As I joined the crowds, my attention was drawn to the bright neon lights that independent street stores had adorned their stands with. In the daylight I would imagine that these stores would go relatively unnoticed but in the dusk, they shone like beacons, enticing consumers to take a closer look.

World Press Photo 2014. Not just for photographers.

I wanted to make the most of my short weekend in the capital, attempting to divide my time between catching up with friends, photography exhibitions and wandering the streets of London whilst taking photos whenever I saw anything that caught my eye.

The exhibition of the 57th World Press Photo Contest opened it doors featuring work from some of the worlds best photojournalists, covering incredible stories. 

The exhibited work here is Toxic Beauty by Kacper Kowalski.

Some stories you might have heard on the news others have been covered by the media to a lesser extent but the images here really bring those stories to life. It amazed me that in many cases the photographers were essentially putting their lives on the line to capture these moments for the world to see.

I urge anyone who has the opportunity, to visit the show and give it the time that it deserves. 


If you are in or around London, the World Press Photo 2014 exhibition is on at the Royal Theatre on the South Bank until Wednesday 26 November. Entry is free.

If you don’t have a chance to go to the show you can view all the winning entries at http://www.worldpressphoto.org/awards/2014