Sunday, 23 October 2011

One photo a day in October 2011–Day 22

Yesterday I went on another photowalk, this time with my friend (and ex-boss) Rich. My aim was to take as many stranger portraits as I could but unlike the last photowalk that I did on Day 1 with Dave, I decided to take more than just people photos.  So this time I did some architectural abstracts and also some sunset and dusk panoramas too.

But first things first – the stranger photos.  Rich and I met up at the Peace Gardens and while Rich took some photos of the silver balls I roamed around taking my stranger photos.  I ended up taking photos of 17 different strangers.  They were all very photogenic and interesting people but in the end the ‘tache won out. This is going to be my choice for stranger of the day and my entry to the October 2011: a month in 31 pictures group:

I saw this man with his bushy ‘tache from a distance in the middle of the Winter Gardens and he was sitting talking to friends.  I hoped they wouldn’t mind me interrupting him and gladly no one did and I got my shot.

Here are the other 16 strangers, each with a little story.

I spotted this vibrantly coloured and striking young lady sitting in a crowd of teenagers.  I knew I needed to take her photo but the sunlight when I saw her was too harsh.  I carried on looking for other suitable subjects when I noticed the sun going behind a cloud which stopped the harsh shadows from forming on her face.  I headed over to her, asked her, she said yes, I started to compose the shot and the annoyingly, the sun came out from the cloud!  So there are more shadows on her face than I wanted but I am pretty pleased with it nonetheless.  As at least I got to photograph such amazing hair!  And once I finished and said my goodbyes she got a round of applause from all her friends which was nice I thought.

I spotted these two photography students taking photographing the silver balls.  I loved the colour of her hair and eyes and was really pleased when she and her boyfriend agreed to having their portraits taken.

My next subject was another redhead with beautiful blue eyes who I found inside the Winter Garden admiring the Victorian display:

My next subject had great hair but the lighting wasn’t so good where she was sitting so the portrait hasn’t turned out as well as I’d hoped.

My next subject was happy to have her photo taken but didn’t want to look at the camera.  A shame but it was nice to take a portrait that was a bit different.

Next up was a group of three lovely, and very photogenic, young ladies.  They took some persuading to have their photos taken but once they did I think they shone. 

Instead of taking a photo of the third lady they insisted that I took a group photo.  So I did.

It turned out that the first lady was the organiser of the “Words in Pixels” exhibition cube that was in the Garden.  So I was persuaded to take a photo of her and Michael, the man who provided the music for the exhibition, in front of the cube.  To be fair it didn’t take much persuasion as I am happy to help out nice people especially one with such a pretty smile.

Next up, were a lovely older couple who were admiring the Victorian display and were happy to become subjects for my challenge.  I thought she had beautiful large blue eyes and he was extremely dapper with his hat:

The next two were sat outside in the Peace Gardens and as both had very strikingly large eyes I had to ask them and I was thrilled that they said yes:

The next subject was sitting amongst a large group of teenagers.  I spotted that he had large eyes that ate up the light brilliantly so I was thrilled when he agreed. He had something of a young James Dean about him I thought.

Another redhead was next.  She unfortunately she tensed up when I started taking her photo so this was another one that didn’t turn out as well as I wanted.

The next subject was so engrossed in the Victorian display that I unfortunately gave her a little fright when I tried to attract her attention.  I felt sure I had blown it but she very kindly agreed to having her portrait taken.  She seemed shocked and couldn’t understand why I wanted to take her photo but it was surely obvious from her huge, beautiful blue eyes!

The last photo was my first of the month that had an element of danger attached to it.  We had left the Peace Gardens behind and headed towards the Hallam University campus.  Rich spotted some interesting architecture and started snapping away.  This man started posing but he didn’t seem to realise that he wouldn’t be in shot. 

This should have given me a sign but like a fool I went up to him and said I’d take his photo if he wanted.  His reaction and words made it obvious that he was drunk, and worse than that, a tramp too.  Half way through me taking a series of photos of him he started insisting that I gave him £2 for the privilege of taking his photo.  I refused – he admitted he wanted the money to buy another drink – and he then got angry.  I was worried that I might have to use some of my karate skills in self defence but luckily we managed to make a swift exit and he staggered about and didn’t chase after us.  Think the photo was just about worth it however:

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I didn’t only take stranger photos, I also took some other photos.  It was nice, after 21 days of taking the same style of photo to take something completely different.

First up, was an abstract shot I took of the cheese-grater car park (that was once known as The Borg).


The next architectural abstract I took was up at the Park Hill Flats. We headed up there because I knew from my last trip up there that there was a wonderful panoramic view of Sheffield from up there that just begged to be shot at sunset.  Before that we both shot views of the flats.  I went down an abstract route for my shots:



Finally, the main course of the photowalk, the sunset panoramic view over Sheffield.  The view didn’t disappoint but the sunset did a bit.  So I cheated and used my Cokin sunset filter which turned the whole scene a golden glow.  Much better!

I made this first one using not only my sunset filter but also my two graduated filters too.  It is a stitch together of 6 shots.  In the foreground is a newly created amphitheatre which will make a great venue for outside theatre and music events.  I am unhappy with how the sun has come out here and the flare is a bit off putting but the colours are great and the view magnificent.

Golden panorama 2000px

This next pano is a stitch of 12 photos, all taken at 41mm on my 17-50 Tamron lens.  With hindsight I think this would have worked better at a wider angle, perhaps 30mm or so.  But anyway, the colours are great and, as the sun had just gone down below the horizon, no distracting flares. Oh, and can you spot Rich?

thin golden 2000px

Once the sun left us, the sky turned a glorious dark blue.  I took off all my filters and took a series of natural 30 second exposures to make this 3 photo stitch which would probably be my choice of photo of the day if I wasn’t entering only stranger portraits to the flickr group.dusk pano 2000px

Once most of the light had gone Rich and I headed to the pub to reflect on a great day of photowalking.

I am not planning on taking quite so many photos today so expect to see just one or maybe, at the most, two photos on the blog post about today!


  1. this is fantastic photo .I take it you didn't get hassled there?

  2. Hiya, I'm the girl with the rainbow hair - managed to get the name of your Flickr from Rich after you ran away to photograph more people. I was running on about 2 hours sleep at the time so I didn't think to ask you!
    I love the portraits of strangers you have, it's really interesting to just people-watch through them and attempt to guess their characters, and the colours in the panoramas turned out beautifully.

  3. @ Dave - thanks, glad you like it. No, I've never been hassled there. The security guard seemed to be more interested in chatting up the girl behind the fancie cake stall than bothering about me.

    @ Alissia - glad that you found me via Rich. Sorry that I didn't give you my details. I only usually do give out my details if my subject asks. The details are on business cards that advertise my wedding photography business and I don't want people to think that I am only doing this project as a cheap way to advertise my business. Because that is the last thing on my mind.

    Thanks for agreeing to be one of my subjects. I loved your hair and knew you would make a great subject. I'm glad you liked the rest of my stranger photos.

    Rich said you are a photography student - do you have a flickr with your photos on? I'd be very interested to check out your work.

  4. Hello its Carleton,
    Alissia and her boyfriend are my friends from school and I too studied photography with her. These are brilliant photos and I too like how each one has a small story behind it.

  5. Hi Carleton - thanks for your comment. Glad you like the photos.

  6. Don't worry about it - like I say, wasn't running on enough sleep to think about asking. I can understand being a little reluctant to hand the cards out in that case, not everyone would understand that the photographs are personal and not business related.

    I didn't have a Flickr until I read your question and wondered myself why I didn't xD I've quickly made one and added a few - unfortunately most of the photos I have on my computer are more in a school-based direction. Our teachers tend to let us choose a starting point, then spend the rest of the project saying 'oh no, don't take it in that direction you need to take photos of this like this!' so I don't particularly like much of the work we do there.