Photography in the streets of Nantes, May 2019

Now that you’ve had a bit of time to get used to me, I’m going to show you some of the usual photography I do, to keep my eye in. No fancy lenses. Just the Fujifilm X100F with it’s 35mm equivalent lens.

So basically I go into town with my small inconspicuous little camera that does the business, and, believe it or not, take some photos. I then find a café to sit in, take a few more photos just in case, and start editing.

That entails sending the photos from the camera onto my phone via Wi-Fi, and getting annoyed when I have to start again a few times… Then comes the editing on my phone with Snapseed, and there you are. Photos ready to publish on Instagram or Facebook etc.

Win I do this I have my own preset as a starting point and that allows me to finely tune the end result. I nearly always go black and white for this kind of photography. The idea being that o manage to get photos of the ordinary things and try and give the justice. You’ll be able to decide when you look through.

On this particular trip, those of you who know Nantes will be able to see exactly where I went…

Clisson in Black and White.

Clisson is one of those pittoresque little market towns that France is famous for, except for three days a year when Heavy Metal fans come for the Hellfest and celebrate the late demi-god Lemmie! When these photos were taken, it wasn’t one of those three days and you could “quietly” breath in the tranquility and history of the place.

On a Friday morning there is the weekly market that I love going to but haven’t been able to go for ages as I’m no longer doing shift work. I would wander along the food stalls and have a few favourite places to stop and be seperated from my money for some wonderful produce. I’m talking about the good stuff… The kind of stuff that makes a foodie drool with pleasure. The place not to go when you’re hungry… I’m so weak!

I spent about two hours in Clisson before going off to Nantes to meet other photographers for a “photowalk,” just to see what I could get and to try and see a familiar place in a new way. It ended up falling through but I met other friends for an impromtu picnic. I’d been wanting to see Clisson again and try out the X100F and the Canon 6D with the Helios 44-2.

This first series of photos were taken on the Fujifilm X100F, and the 35mm equivalent lens and I was after trying to get some wider shots so you can get a feel for the place.

The second series will be more about how I see the place, and more in my style. IE the place where I seem to be on my photographic journey at the moment. That doesn’t mean that these black and white shots aren’t me. They are. And the editing is a reflection of me too. But I do love getting closer. You’ll see when you read the next article!

The obligatory bike shot!

Do you ever get that shot that just seems to turn up on each of your films or series on an SD card? I do. Usually it’s doors, or door knockers for me, but I’ll leave that for an other post. This time I’m going to talk about the obligatory bike shot.

Now I’m all for being ecological and actually own a bike. I have even been known to get on it. Not only that but have been known to use it as a form of exercise and ride around my village. I keep telling myself to get my arse back into gear and get back on after a winter break. My body could use the exercise. Anyway, in Nantes, there seems to be a huge amount of bikes around, and you can see the Dilveroo, or Uber eats, guys riding around and they for an integral part of the city’s landscape. The city also has a large amount of cycle paths and I aim to visit Nantes on my bike one day. It should help me get to places that I can just can’t get to with the car, and it will diminish my carbon footprint, but maybe not my rubber tyre print…

The thing with a bike is that you can get up close and it won’t question your motives like you sometimes get whilst trying to do street photography portraits. You can take your time getting the angle you want without it telling you to get a bloody move on. You can get that depth of field that you like so much and it wont tell to Photoshop out any rust. They won’t talk back. No being accused of stalking.

The tools of the trade for these photos are: the Canon 6D Mark II, the Fujifilm X100F, and the Canon AE1. Can you spot which two photos were shot on film? And for the really keen ones amongst you, can you tell me which film I used?

Edinburgh at night

I knew there was something that I had forgotten… To finish the Edinburgh series. I seem to get distracted easily. Oh look, a shiny thing…. It’s like when you’re having a long conversation about something, then go off on a tangent, and then have to work out how to get back to what you were talking about, and at the same time trying to make it look witty, and intelligent. Needless to say, I often just loose track, and have a blond moment. A blond moment being where I don’t know what’s going on, but I don’t care because I’m blond, and therefore beautiful, and don’t have to think too much…

ANYWAY! Back to Edinburgh at night. I mean it’s not at as if I always do it. I mean Nantes is great and all that, and on my doorstep… I’ve gone and done it again haven’t I?

The photos in this series were taken on two consecutive nights after having spent the afternoon south of the border with my parents. As before in the other Edinburgh posts, I was using the X100F and it just goes to show how well it performs in low light. OK I was in Auto for the ISO setting, and yes there is noise but I still like the result and hope you do too.

Come to Nantes – It’s a riot!

Oooooh… About to get political. Well, not really, but for the last 19 weeks, the Gilet Jaune movement has become a reality and what was at first something pretty scary, has now become part of everyday life and people are just getting on with it! I love the way they just say “merde” which delivers a certain contempt that the English language just can’t manage to doso concisely.

I’m not going to pass judgement on the movement, or am I going to get into the politics of it all. However, as a piece of history, it has been fascinating to watch and photograph. I mean the French are ready to demonstrate about anything, and things can get quite militant, so we know what to expect. The police come out dressed in riot gear, an all of a sudden you some bangs. The first rounds of teargas have been fired. You get that strange mist that permeates the city and gets your eyes and throat. Not the most pleasant experience, but I’ve had worse. Streets get blocked off by rather large CRS (Compagnie Républicaine de Sécurité) or Gendarmes. And they know if you’re demonstrating or not and are quite civil. The ones you have to watch out for are the BAC (Brigade Anti Criminalité) who have less riot gear on but can be pretty brutal.

I watch from afar as elements of the scene fall into place. People are just going about their daily business.

A Manif (demonstration) from last May bout the proposed airport in Nantes.

Thes folowing photos were taken on the X100F and the Canon 6D Mark II, with a Pentacon 50mm lens.

On the market in Nantes

My name is Ian, I have a Jamie Oliver cook book. Hello Ian! Oh com’on. Gimme a break. We’ve all done it The recipes for the hamburgers were really good. Anyway. What was as appealing as much as the recipes was the photography of some of the food but the markets as well. These were of course English markets and therefore by definition largely inferior to the markets here in France.

So this thought had been in my head for ages stored away in a little cupboard in my brain. Since seeing these photos, the idea of doing the same has been working on me. I finally did it. Rémi was one of the guys on the Instagram walkabout, and said OK to accompany me. Helped make sure I didn’t do anything silly.

I wanted to capture the colours in the beautiful light on that day. Weapon of choice was the X100F .