Daily Inspiration #355 by D.J. De La Vega

Hi Steve

Bravo on the great work recently on your site! You’ve been a busy man with all of the fantastic cameras released this year and I have loved the reviews and articles off the back of them. As always your site contains just the right amount of information balanced with inspiration.

I’ve recently just got back from a weekend shooting around London and wanted to submit a few shots I captured for your Daily Inspiration page (I’ve struggled to edit them down this far… if you can veto a couple, that’d be great).

I’ve been shooting a lot in black and white recently, inspired by all of the articles, debate and controversy surrounding the Leica Monochrom on your site. I set my camera to black and white, switch off the screen and shoot through the optical viewfinder. It really forces me to take photographs in a totally different way, seeing the light and shadows and composing around them not just the subject/object of the image. For me, the removal of the colour from the equation takes away a lot of distractions and helps me focus on what and why am I taking a specific shot.

1) London Aquarium (Crocodile)

 

 2) The London Eye

 

3) London Aquarium (Fish Sculpture)

 

4)  Natural History Museum

 

Thanks for lookig and keep up the good work!!!

DJ

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/06/22/user-report-a-photographic-road-trip-with-the-leica-x1-by-d-j-de-la-vega/

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/01/06/daily-inspiration-183-by-d-j-de-la-vega/

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2010/09/03/daily-inspiration-142-by-d-j-de-la-vega/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/djdelavega

27 Comments

  1. Wow, I only follow very few works on Steve’s site and DJ’s the foremost on the list. Well done!

    DJ, I’d like to ask what kind of metering you used in achieving the above photos? I would personally use spot and AE lock to achieve shots such as #3 photo.

    • When using the OVF I usually use matrix metering as you can’t see the exposure in the viewfinder. However on no. 3 it was spot as the brightest part of the image was in the middle so I knew I wouldn’t have any funny surprises with the exposure. It was so dark in the room and these things were spot lit, very dramatic.

  2. DJDLV,

    Thanks for the explanation. Coming from an ‘old school’ b&w film background and now using digital exclusively, I do not manipulate my images by cropping etc in Photoshop except for altering their light balance, contrast etc.

    The Natural History Museum really is a wonderful backdrop to people watch.

    … and I much prefer b&w. Can’t get my head around this new-fangled colour!

  3. Excellent images! I especially like 4; truly excellent composition, and 1 and 3 are quite interesting. Actually, 3 is striking in a way I cannot readily put into words. Beautiful monochrome effect in all four images!

    It is good to see you are still using your X1. (I have a soft spot in my heart for the X1, though I did not buy one, and the X2 now has my attention.) I remember the images from your trip to Scotland and the USA; I have bookmarked that article. Thanks for sharing!

    • OK, it is the light that is so striking in 3, or to be more precise, the shadows, which is the still the use of light. I love it!

      • Ah, number 1 is much better when viewer at a larger size! The reflection is not so visible at the smaller size. Wonderful capture!

        • I still love the X1. Like the X100, And a few more newer models, I think these cameras can now stand the test of time and compete with new technology for years to come. No more changing or upgrading every six months!

  4. Great set of pictures!
    Question on Picture #4-

    There are two lights in the picture above the stair case. The light on the right is on. The light on the left is out. Is there a way to turn ON the dead light??

    • Funny you should mention that. If you check out my Flickr page on the link, as Brian mentioned, I tweaked and manipulated this shot for a different project and one other thing I manipulated was that pesky light lol

  5. “…I set my camera to black and white, switch off the screen and shoot through the optical viewfinder. It really forces me to take photographs in a totally different way, seeing the light and shadows and composing around them not just the subject/object of the image…”

    The fourth b&w shot (Natural History Museum) is the same as your colour version on your Flickr page – apart, that is, from the two people bottom left removed in the b&w version.

    Judging by your article comment above, I’d be interested to know what’s going on?!

    • Just had another look… there are alot more figures removed in the b&w version… should have gone to Specsavers!

    • Well spotted. The picture of Flickr is part of a series of photos in a collaboration with another local photographer. I had to produce an image for the brief: “manipulation” for that month.

      I decided to play with that image because i love the building and love this shot. My idea was that the building is fixed in time spanning he generations, never changing. However the people who come to admire it are flexible, coming and going, separate and in some ways are inconsequential and interchangeable. That was my idea so I manipulated this shot very subtly to play with this idea of the repetition of people in the space.

      As for the colour, I shoot in raw and so was able to recover the colour information to totally make it a different piece of work from this un edited raw. Every camera except the Monochrom can do this.

      • I hope that explains it. Just to clarify, this shot isn’t manipulated, I haven’t removed anyone in this shot, I’ve added people in the other shot. This is the original.

  6. DJ,

    Great pictures, seriously. And I have to agree with your approach of turning off the screen when shooting, no more chimping 🙂 Truly, one can concentrate on taking photographs when there is no need for immediate gratification. My photos from my old film days are much better than my recent digital pics, not because film is better, but because I had more focus on the task at hand.

    BTW, we are all “tech heads” here, and I know it doesn’t matter but, what camera/tool did you use to create these images?

    I also want to make sure I understand your comment, “For me, the removal of the colour from the equation takes away a lot of distractions and helps me focus on what and why am I taking a specific shot.”

    Do you mean your focus in post or before you take the pictures…since you still see in color 🙂 just curious…again, I love photographs.

    Take Care

  7. DJ, these are SO different from your last (?) set of ‘street’ photos in Scotland.

    You’ve really got the composition knack here.. “..It really forces me to take photographs in a totally different way, seeing the light and shadows and composing around them not just the subject/object of the image..” ..and that completely different way really pays off!

    Previously – if you don’t mind my saying so – the photos were just a mish-mash of people standing around ..but who cared? THESE, however, are totally different! These give your eye something to look at and search around ..they are, as you say, “not just the subject/object of the image” ..and that makes ALL the difference!

    Sorry for so many capitals, but I’m knocked over by the difference between these and your earlier pics ..the others were just inconsequential “grabs” ..these are photographs.

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