Tuesday, 26 February 2013

12 minutes in Booysens

Yesterday I had to see a potential new client in Booysens, in the south of Johannesburg.

I hate to be late so I gave myself an hour and a half to get there. I stay in Centurion which is about 50 km from Johannesburg. With all the lovely 'controversial' new four lane highways I got there a good half an hour before the time. I stopped in front of the building and walked into the reception just to make sure I am at the right place...when I left the reception two minutes later I slammed my finger in the door. It was something I haven't done for twenty years or more and it was excruciatingly painful....

Click on images to enlarge

After 5min the pain subsided and I decided to explore the street with my camera. Booysens is a very old part of Johannesburg and this particular area was very industrial. It looked safe enough and I decided I had had my share of bad luck for the day. I almost always carry a camera with me. I have a small compact Leica X1 that I carry in a Billingham Pola bag, so I came prepared.

It was a very overcast morning with no detail in the sky. I looked at the times embedded in the files and it took just 12 minutes from the time of the first image to the last. I carry my camera with me all the time but I really don't use it everyday...sometimes a whole week will pass without me taking it out of the bag. but I suppose I carry it for days just like yesterday morning, when as luck would have it I arrived early for my appointment. 

My X1 like almost all modern cameras has a lcd at the back. I can superimpose a grid on the lcd to help me get the lines perfectly vertical and horizontal. My Leica X1 also has the optical viewfinder that slots into the flash socket. I can use the viewfinder and the lcd to photograph and on an overcast day like yesterday the viewfinder is actually quite easy to use and I actually prefer it to the optical viewfinder, especially for closeups where the framing is more accurate than the optical viewfinder.

So with camera in hand I took a stroll up and down 4th Street in Booysens. I made about forty exposures, quite a few very just multiple exposure of the same thing, and of those forty I chose four that I liked. A hit rate of just 10%. If I discount the multiple exposures of the same subject then I 'saw' 19 different things that I photographed, which increases my hit rate to 20%. So four 'keepers' in 12 minutes. 

Of course the location helped and my two favourite images out of the four was just pure luck of being exactly in the right spot at the right time. If I had arrived a little bit earlier or later I would have missed the guard looking through the gap in the gates (and  also the guy walking through the small pedestrian gate ). I made just one exposure of the guard...I just lifted the camera up and framed the guard via the rear lcd on the X1. 

My next favorite image of the four was more planned. I saw this guy walking trough the small pedestrian gate in the rusty vehicle gate and saw another guy walking towards the gate. I hoped he was also going to enter and put my X1 on continuous and framed the gate in the viewfinder and waited. As luck would have it he also walked through the little gate. I just pressed the shutter and six exposures later I had captured what I wanted. All this took place in a matter of seconds and I did not think of the process at all, it just came automatically. I did not need to focus either as my camera was set on 'zone focus' so it was really just a matter of point and shoot. 

Luck, preparedness, location and lighting. One out of three has got to do with the camera and the photographer...the rest was God's grace...

click on images to enlarge and please visit my website here at...www.ivanmuller.co.za/

I enclude both colour and b&w here. I think I prefer the colour...what do you prefer? 

The colour images were processed with Topaz Adjust, Lightroom plug in. I used the 'griity' preset as a strating point. The b&w images were processed with a Nik Silver Efex, LR plugin. I used the 'structure - harsch' preset as my starting point.

Regards, Ivan

Please visit my website here at . . .http://ivanmuller.zenfolio.com/

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