Urban allium

Across the street here in west London there is a community garden. An oasis in a built-up area and a precious resource for the many people without their own outdoor space. There are swings and slides for the children, a pond, and a wealth of plants.

It’s also a place for me to come and do some macro photography. Walking through the other day, I noticed a clutch of allium bursting into life. These little lilac pom-poms – members of the onion family – are a delight to capture at close quarters. The lens revealed that these ones were still coming into their own. Enjoy a taste of nature in the city…

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Nailed One

Nailed Two

This feature grabbed my attention on a recent trip to Newcastle and Gateshead in the north-east of England. It’s a street sculpture next to a modern building, seemingly a cluster of large nails artfully positioned on a plain wall. The angles and positioning made it a must-shoot, with different points to focus on. Sometimes it’s the small details that count in photography.

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The new joy of film

Olympus-35 ECI recently became the owner of an Olympus-35 EC, a compact film camera made in Japan around 1970. It’s close to pristine and its battery-powered components remain fully functional.

The proof of the pudding is in the shooting, however, so I quickly and easily loaded a Fuji ISO 400 colour film and went on my travels around west London with it tucked away in my pocket. Unloading the film was also slick and stress-free with this clever little gadget.

The first results have arrived after a trip to the developers. The bad news first – some close-ups I attempted were out of focus failures, simply beyond the range of the little Zuiko lens.

But that was the only downside. I’m impressed that a 45-year-old camera is still able to produce such clarity, depth and colour with that authentic granularity. Film definitely rivals digital on this evidence – and has its own magic too.

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The Photo Shop


Tyneside on mute

Tynemouth phone box

Don’t be fooled by the brash, cheerful red of the phone booth at Tynemouth on the north-east coast of England. It was a dank and overcast day, too wet for photography at first.

This is a place where Newcastle’s River Tyne flows into the North Sea, and is marked by piers and lighthouses on both sides. Against a misty, grey sky it cuts a dramatic sight with the muted captures holding their own strength. Meanwhile, the only colour came from a series of tokens and tributes tied to the railings near North Pier.

A little further up the coast lies Whitley Bay, a slightly faded seaside resort. Towards the end of the day, some light was breaking through, acting as a backdrop to coastal street furniture and a few hardy walkers.

When I go back, I hope to see this area basking in summer sunshine and beaming under a cobalt blue sky.

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The Photo Shop


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