What The Flock?

I've been taking some reluctant time off from writing this blog, the decorating of the house (promised seven years ago) seems to have taken over my life, it's all consuming. This last week however it's has been too hot (31c is very hot for England), so no decorating, but I haven't exactly over exerted myself in any other endeavour. I did at least add a new Project - Las Vegas Daylight . The last professional shoot I did was three weeks ago, for a lovely family staying at a local Hotel celebrating an anniversary. Three families in fact, here's one I liked of the parents/grandparents taken with the Noctilux which was pretty much wide open -

Client Portrait

You need to be fairly confident and "on your game" shooting at f/0.95 in manual focus and for paying clients. Move on three weeks and I feel rusty, "off my game", about time I got out and shot some Street Photography. My gut feeling was correct, I was rusty and not only that, my "photographers eye" just wasn't seeing. I rode down to Bath on the GSA 1200 and clicked away at what I saw; What I saw in fact was a procession of clichés, easy photos that shouldn't be called Street and most importantly don't tell a story. You know the kind of thing, people walking along or sat on benches, even a seagull got my attention and seagull shots are a sign of...well...I'm far too polite to say!

Now, I was going to move on to the next part of this post, but once again and just to demonstrate I'm not concerned with posting crappy shots on this blog here's some of the results from Bath. Don't judge me too harshly, I put them up only as a punishment to myself, to remind me to improve and teach me a lesson - "Sit down Harper and write two hundred lines boy... I must stop taking photos of people sat on benches". "Yes Sir" -

I got on my bike and rode, rode through the lanes of beautiful Wiltshire, just enjoying the scenery. It is, by the way, very beautiful. I stopped on a bridge and took two photographs, one from each side looking up and down the river just to illustrate for you -

Perhaps a Lone Tree would appear, but alas I know these roads far too well and therefore already knew there were no lone tree shots to be had. I decided to head for home, winding my way back something caught my eye, I say something, more like a huge amount of somethings. I turned the bike around, parked up in the lane and looked over the wall...What the flock? - 


I watched as the farmer and his hands took control of this herd. I spoke to one of them, actually the guy in the shot above. You'll notice that some have been sheared and others not, this is due to abandoning shearing through two of the shearers passing out mid-shear with last weeks heat! I asked how many were being rounded up and he told me there were around 1,800 ewes plus lambs. That's a lot of counting. I swapped from my 35mm to the 50mm to see what I could get. Not bad , but this is where we need to be taking photos all the time, my focussing (wide open again) was out on a shot I particularly liked. The first here would have been my pick, I thought I had it, didn't even bother to check, clicked the second which is in focus, but compositionally not so good and moved on. A pity, anyway here are the Noctilux 50mm images -

I suppose one thing to take away from this trip was that there is always a shot out there somewhere, it's just a matter of getting out, not giving up and keeping that photographers eye open. My favourite is "Flock" with our friend shepherding, arms outstretched, almost preaching to his flock. It was taken with the Summicron 35mm which once again proves itself to be my preferred lens.

I enjoyed taking these photos of the farmer and his sheep. I would definitely be keen to take some environmental portraits, just need to find some people with interesting jobs that would allow me to follow them around for the day, an hour would possibly do.

As usual I would be delighted to read any comments and my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read my blog.

All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with Summicron 35mm or Noctilux 50mm fitted.

Just as a footnote, Lin Zee mentioned in his comment below about a youtube video that I recommended by the great photographer Sam Abell - if anyone is interested here's the link , well worth a watch Sam Abell - The Life of a Photograph