WP01 – WELCOME TO WOODEN PEWS @WOODENPEWS

YOOO, hows life been since the end of the 3-a-day challenge? Boring? Nothing to read about more apart from the Metro or Evening Standard and let’s be honest we can all do with a little less serious news in our life’s, well please read below.

After a few weeks break and a lot of time spent watching Netflix and junk TV in the evenings, and instead of sitting down at my computer to edit photos and write these posts, Ive sat on the sofa just looking at my camera, Its now official I’m bored. Not bored of chilling out, just kind of board of not having something other than work to keep my brain ticking over, that’s why after a few brainstorming ideas, I’ve now set out on my next kind of photography adventure. The idea is simple take photos and try to connect with as many photographers as possible, plan and simple. The plans to now focus on black and white photography, seeing if I can take on my favourite form of photos and capture moments that most people would just walk past, helping to give you guys an insight to what happens over in the depths of East London. Its not all acid attacks and knife crime, we do really good food too.

I’m by no means a pro photographer looking to shoot the next cover of vogue magazine, I’m just that guy you see out walking the streets with a camera round his neck looking like he’s on a trip for the day, yea I’m that guy. My new means of connecting with people is going to be through Instagram, probably the most used photo sharing platform out there, the thought process was should I keep with my account or should I set up a completely new account and see where it takes me. I decided to set up a new account where its just photos I’m proud of and somewhere to constantly try to push my boundaries not interfere with pictures of the previous weekend.

Now comes the part where I spend ages finding a name, loving it and then finding out its taken and im not having a name like Love_Photography_1234. No. I want a name that is completely random but still has a pretty cool meaning and as I live in East London it was time to pull out the Cockney Rhyming slang dictionary and see what pops up, Apple and Pairs? Nope, Ruby Murray? Nope, all that obvious slang was too easy. Then I thought about what I wanted my account to stand for, I kind of what to inform people about London and especially East, kind of like the news, so I looked up “the News” in Cockney Rhyming Slang, and BOOOOM Wooden Pews, that’s the name. the logo you see below is kind of the first draft and I’m kind of happy with it for now but kind of imagine that it will probably get changed in the near future, I’m just all out of ideas and wanted to get something done so I could start this idea before I throw myself into work for the next three months. So If anyone is any good at design logos, I’m open to suggestions.

Wooden Pews, has kind of got a ring too it hasn’t it? and the best part is no one on Instagram has that name. My vision for the page is that I want it to be minimalistic and at the same time full of great content that I can do what ever I like with, no rules, no restrictions, just me and my ideas, not sure how dangerous that is, but I kind of like it that way. I also don’t really know how long I’m going to do it for but I imagine it will be a year, another 365 days posting, but this time how ever many times I want just not so much writing and don’t worry if you still follow me on here, I will be checking in probably every Sunday, and will probably share photos that I post that week on Instagram, kind of do like a weekly round up. But if I do start to go awol please don’t be afraid to tell me, mum / Dad. I’m kind of looking at you there, my number one fans.

So give me a follow so I don’t look like a complete loner @woodenpews. Ive also included below some photos that you can also see on my new Instagram. Its kind of exciting, I love this feeling of not knowing what will happen and seeing something hopefully grow.

Oh and yea if it does completely fail and turn out really cringy there’s a pub called the Sun tavern on Bethnal Green road, you’ll be able to find me there.

Heres some photos enjoy!

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– the new logo, what do you think? any good?
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– the future is here people! –
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– victoria park, one of the best places in london –
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– and some of the best chicken wings in london, if youve ever in shoreditch check them out! –
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– this is the kind of shop window I like –
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– im back guys and it feels good!

B364 – THREE STONE HEAVIER

ahh Tuesday morning and the end of the four day weekend, its kind of weird because I kind of feel like the four day weekend is kind of like the End and beginning of a new year, I’m not sure if its because of the end of the tax year or if its because the blog ends tomorrow. but for some reason its starting to feel like a new chapter. but before a “new chapter” starts I think its probably best if I just drag out some more easter photos just one last time.

After waking up slowly yesterday and chilling out in the morning, it was time to jump on a train back to London and sort ourselves out for work. I think its fair to say that we all left yesterday weighing at least 2 stone more. Ive had an easter egg for breakfast two days in a row and now I’m not really sure what todo with myself, I kind of feel like its acceptable to have a chocolate bar before 9am today but then again that might not be the best idea. I think I can speak for both Amy and me when I say thank you Auntie Michelle for a really really good easter break and an even better spread of food. We didn’t have the best weather but in a way thats kind of better because then everyone just goes into sleepy mode and we all just sit around chilling out, instead of trying to think of a way to make the most of the weather. kind of what easters all about, even though I wouldn’t of minded some sun and maybe just maybe temperatures above 20. today is a short and sweet post as I really need to get dressed for work, so hope thats ok with you guys.

Anyway, heres some photos from the weekend. I hope everyone had a good Easter and did exactly what they wanted too with the four day weekend.

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– Heading back to london –
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– I wish this was desert every day –
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– weather wasnt on ourside but sometime that makes weekends like this every better –
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– My dad wanted me to post this photo the other day but I forgot, Release the Chimps Beer it made him chuckle –

B362 – THE ANNUAL SPEAR FAMILY TRADITION

First off let me start by saying Happy Easter I hope everyone is doing exactly what they want this weekend, I plan on catching up with the family and eating chocolate, lots of chocolate. Right now though I have ended up waking up at like 5am and decided that this is probably the best time to sit down and write a half decent post, in about 30 minutes I’m expecting the kids to wake up and a massive game of hide and seek or tag to kick off and I want to be in the best possible position for what ever game we end up playing and not have worry about getting this post done.

Today is the day of the Spear family Easter egg hunt and for those of you that have been reading this post of the past year will know from last year’s egg hunt, its not something that can be done lightly. It’s a full blown Egg hunt by which everyone (the kids) has their own bag and run around the garden collecting eggs, there aren’t any winners or losers just the person with the most eggs is what the adults tell the young ones Flo (age 4) and Phoebe (age 10) but that’s not the way I see it, right now its war and when chocolates on the line it’s every man or toddler for themselves. Watch this space people.

One thing that does feel weird when I think about it, is the fact that I was doing this blogging malarkey and this is now my second Easter post, its crazy to think how much my writing and photography skills have improved. I’ve gone from being that drop out dyslexic kid who struggles with all things grammar and can’t really write, to someone who’s now confident in the content I put out there and actually enjoying the process of writing and getting my ideas from my head. Don’t get me wrong there are still many mistake that make it through but when you think about the first posts I wrote, they were literally 2 sentences long and full of mistakes, to now writing mini essays about topics that I find genuinely interesting. It’s a massive change. I’ve gone from having a writing age of about 7 years old to now probably a solid 16/17 years old and that’s something I’m pretty proud of and I have a whole website where I can show the improvement. I just know that its something I need to keep up and try to push to new levels and see just how far I can take this whole blog thing, I’ve got some really interesting plans / ideas for when this 3 a day is over and I hope that I can continue to interest you guys into reading my posts.

I was going to leave those “cringy” reflection posts for the last day but to be honest I couldn’t think of anything else to write so I just thought I would give you guys an insight into what I think of my writing. Moving on from that, its time for my second cup of coffee and to get prepped for the Easter Egg hunt, they maybe family but its time to get my head in the game and find those eggs, may the best person win, good luck Flo and Phoebe, you’re going to need it.

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– Stopping off on the way to Michelles for a quick beer –
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– And relax –
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– I cant believe ive been doing these post of a whole year and havent taken a picture of Kings Cross or maybe I have and just forgotten –

 

B361 – THIS IS GIVING ME A MINI HEADACHE

you know how I said yesterday that I had a pretty cool place to go and check out, well, heres a kind of mini story the day. At the start Amy and me headed out for breakfast in Covent Garden, it had just started raining that really heavy and wet rain that gets through even the best gortex jacket. We had just finished our starter at brunch in this really cool little greek restaurant and the conversation came up about how we were going to get to the location and then we realised that trains weren’t stopping near by and the bus was just not really an option. I know what you are thinking, uber? but to be honest, it would just have been a pain getting one there and then getting one back would have been a nightmare. things really wern’t looking up for us and this plan, it was time to make an extreme decision, so…

After our meal we headed across the road to a coffee shop to think of a new game plan, we were both pretty clear that we didn’t want to head back to the flat and spend the rainy day inside watching movies and eating food, we wanted a mini adventure and to see something new. it has been the first time in like 6 weeks, where we literally have the whole day to spend together, one of us didn’t have to work in the morning or disappear in the evening, so we wanted to do something fun and make the most of it, but every idea we had didn’t work out, see a last minute west end musical? not one on at the right time. London Dungeness? Nope, just nope. Then, just as we were about to finish our coffee’s, Amy had the idea about going to the design museum in Kensington and boom we had a plan and somewhere to go!

For yesterdays mini adventure I decided to take the 28mm lens, its something that I think has real potential and one that I want to get to know better. I like to think that I know how to get a lens to focus and can take an OK picture with basically any lens you put on my camera. After all, I have been doing it literally every day for the past 361 days. but for some reason I just cant get the focal length right for really any picture, its so annoying. I cant seem to get it perfect, its giving me a headache. But Im not just going to put this lens on the side and not use it again. it must have been made for a reason, and I’m sure its portraits and street photography, maybe I just need to spend some more time with it and get to the bottom of what it can be used for.

Heres some of my shots from yesterday, I hope you like them and just so you know, I will be using this lens again today and will do my best to figure it out!

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– us sitting across the road trying to make this day work out –
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– we found a big puddle with some water fountains so I decided to jump in it –
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– see I just cant work out the focal length of this length, maybe I need to use the aperture to make these photos sharper, but this is a stair case inside the design museum –

B360 – AND SO IT BEGINS

Thursday and the start of a four day weekend, what more could you want? Yesterday was a filming day so I didn’t get any chance to run off on my lunch break and take some cool photos, it was more about chasing Amy around Tesco’s trying to get some cool photos with a 28mm lens I’ve got this weekend.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the 28mm, it’s basically a wide lens that is really good to street photography and I would say nights out, it’s a f1.8 so that basically means it’s really good in low light.

But less about the lens I will probably dedicate a whole post too over the next few days. Yesterday I met Amy in Tesco’s for fish Tacos night, which was an experiment and something that definitely needs an improvement, not sure what happened but both of us weren’t happy with the result, luckily we had a big bag of Doritos and some cheese to make cheesy nachos while we watch a movie, only 10 minutes in and Amy’s fast sleep and that meant that was the end of movie night, time to hit the pillow. You know someone’s working hard when they fall asleep at 9:45 on the first night of a bank holiday weekend.

Today though we are up early before heading to a really really really cool place this afternoon, I’ve got all my camera batteries in charge so I can take some sick photos. I would say more but I quite like leaving it a surprise and trying my best to take some cool photos. but first I need a coffee and some breakfast. I’ve also just realised that this is my last weekend before I’ve finished this 3 a day blog challenge, so I really need to start thinking some of cool way of finishing! but dont worry, Ill have a little brainstorm and come up with something.

Here’s my photos from yesterday, enjoy.

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– sometime shop fronts give you really cool lighting, but shooting with red lights is never easy –
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– taking the lift down to meet amy for movie night food –
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– after this photograph the security guard came and told me off –

B359 – THE CANON MACRO LENS, WORTH IT?

So today I had more of a play with the Canon 100mm f/2.8 L series Macro Lens, its basically a lens that can magnify objects close up and give you a view of something that the human eye might not necessarily be able to see. Now the lens RRP is around £900 which for a Canon L series Lens isn’t really too bad, its like of a mid price lens and something that I think every photographer should at least have access too, its a great lens to have a play with and is the perfect lens to just pull out the camera bag one day and mix your photography game up abit

For this review I decided to do it as fair as possible, so I set up some lights and created a kind of mini studio, with a black bounce board and a magic arm to hold up the object. My plan was then to tether my laptop to the camera and after each shot go through the image and work out if I was happy with the point of focus. I wanted an object that had different textures and something that no matter how close you could get you would always discover more and more detail, my object of choice was trimmings off the plants out the front of the office.

My idea was to shoot with both a high ISO and also bring the ISO right down and use the shutter speed to control the light, and because I was using a Tripod I could now minimise camera shake. for those that don’t know the ISO is basically something that you make higher for low light conditions and decrease for well lite shots, my idea was to use a high ISO and a fast shutter speed to see how that effected the shot, and I definitely lost detail when close up and in full Macro mode, it made the shots a lot more “grainy” but once I lowered both the ISO and shutter speed, I noticed that my photos were a lot smoother and the level of detail had gone up ten fold. I was now capturing light in even the darkest areas of each photo but because I was shooting with an amazing lens, I could pull focus on the areas I wanted too and blur completely out areas I didn’t think added anything to the photo.

I also have to agree with canon that an aperture of 2.8 is probably right and thing lower and the depth of field would become way to shallow. At the same time I wouldn’t mind seeing what a 100mm macro would look like with an aperture of f1.8, I know that would be very shallow but that mixed with something like a medium format camera would mean you could see even more than the human eye. Anyone out there heard of a f1.8 100mm macro?

All in all this is a great and lens and something that really mixes up not just my photography game but photography in general. Its a lens that I would love to add permanently to my lens collection and something that I think will help me to improve the overall look of my future photos.

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– this is a photo I wanted to take and show the whole head of the leaf and show how the focal length handles a wider shot –
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– close up, Im pretty happy with this but if I had a higher megapixel camera I would definitely would have cropped in further –
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– shooting something thats been out in the rain means I get to see how the macro lens handles reflections and contrast, I really think this lens is worth £900! –
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– This was my set up for this shot, probably the most effort Ive ever put into shooting a leaf –

B352 – EDITING PHOTOS

As I’m writing a fair bit about my photography techniques, then I though one good thing to touch on for todays post is how I edit my photos. The main piece of software that I use is a program called Adobe Lightroom, I think its one of the best programs out there for editing loads of photos at once, in fact I cant really think of a different program out there that might be just as good, to me it seems like Adobe have this corner of the market locked down.

What I tend todo with my photos is import all the stills I took that day into Lightroom, literally its just a drag and drop thing and then start working my way through the photos. one thing that I have noticed with my editing is that I like to play around with the highlight tool a lot and play around with the exposure. i start by going from one extreme to the other, playing with the dials on the right hand side going up and down the dial till I get to a point where my happy with the photo. once Ive played around with the lighting, I then move onto the colour in the photo and because this is an iphone photo, the White balance is auto so I cant really play with that,  but the saturation, vibrance and clarity can all be messed about with. The clarity is something I don’t really like to change to much, I find that it makes a photo too grainy or too blurry and I normally use it a lot more if a photo is out of focus, kind of like a safety net. Saturation and vibrance are something I normally like to bring down, i love taking colour of the photos and give them that faded look and if you have read some of my previous blog posts you will have read the reason why I like faded photos so I wont go into those details now, just read some of my previous post and im sure you will see why.

I hope thats helped you to quickly understand what I do to my photos and maybe if you guys want to know more I can do a more in detailed post about this.

heres my examples and also some print screens of the editing process.

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– a less saturated photo, really wanted the smoke to blend in to the sky –
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– have a look at the setting to the right, look at where the saturation and vibrance dials are –
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– this is just a black and white photo –
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– not a big fan of high contrast street photos but thought I would show you want it looks like –
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– I tried to keep the tone settings basically the same as the saturated photo and then just change the presences settings –

B350 – NOTHING BEATS HOME

Yesterday was one of those days where you just dig deep and keep on pushing till the end, it all started at 5:45am yesterday morning when we had to move kit from the hotel to location from there it was just about staying warm outside in elements. Its days like that which really make you appreciate you sofa, a kettle and sitting at home writing these posts. After driving back from Birmingham last night and not getting home till 9:30, it was nice to walk through the door and soup to be available for me to eat, so Amy cheers for that girl!

its now Tuesday morning and im just happy to be sat at my table drinking tea and writing this post, it feels like im having one of those day where I just sit at home chilling out, I am working today but its slightly more relaxed so i dont have to go into work too early. What is mad, is the fact that Ive only got 15 days left and how crazy it is that Ive managed to make it this far, and that I still haven’t planned anything for the final post, maybe thats what I will try and plan this weekend or something. but for the next hour and a half im just going to sit on my sofa and slowly get ready for work.

my photos from yesterday were all taken in the late stages of yesterday or a few moments ago before I had eaten my toast for breakfast, I need to thank red bull and a good supply of chocolate and snacks for just getting me through the drive home, also coming home to a really comfy bed last night which gave me a solid 10 hours sleep. I know this post might just sound like a blabbering on about work and stuff but in all honestly I have no other topics to talk about at the moment. so for that fact im sorry, just appreciate the fact that Iphones are a solid piece of kit for taking photos when your up against it.

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– thank you Red Bull –
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– unloading this van last night was not great –
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– breakfast this morning, while writing this post, hope it hasnt been a complete waste of your time and yep my toast is brunt, I probably need to buy a new toaster  –

 

B347 – FIRST TIME IVE EVER PHOTOGRAPHED THAT!

So after the bad Thursday I decided that Friday wouldn’t be the same and that the only thing I could do was to smash it pants off the last working day of the week and book in for an afternoon sports massage, my thinking behind that was I needed to sort my back and arm out after a busy 6 weeks of work and instead of me trying to sort it out, just give my body to a professional and get them to work on it and to be honest, it was the best decision, I came away from the massage feeling like I had given my body a full workout but without burning any energy and just laying face down on a bed, from now on im going to try and book at least one massage every month just to keep everything ticking over properly. the masseuses did say i needed one every two weeks but unless I take out a loan or start selling stuff on the black market I don’t think that is going to happen, but if you are in london and want to get you body fixed up and working to full capacity again or even just give your muscles some lovin then definitely check out Ten Health and Fitness, they are magicians. (they are the guys that also helped me with my leg) they are literally the perfect one stop shop.

Heres a link to their website: https://www.ten.co.uk/

After that my plan was to get off at Liverpool street and walk home taking photos on the way which turned out to be a great idea, because just after Brick Lane it started to rain quite heavily but at the same time the sun was shining so i managed to photograph my first every rainbow, and in such a cool place. It was literally right over an old Church inbetween the spire and the roof, making for some pretty cool photos. after all that it is safe to say that Ive properly managed to turn this week around. Now im spending my saturday doing fun things like bills and some DIY, what else are Saturdays for. I have to admit its just nice to be sat on my sofa not moving.

Heres my photos, hope you like them.

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– can you see the Rainbow? how cool is that?
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– I love it when the rain comes but its still sunny –
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– these guys are magicians –

B339 – PEOPLE DEEP IN CONVERSATION

Firstly I just need to say that I have no idea how I’m going to get through the last 25 days of this photo blog challenge, about 100 days ago I was trying to think of a cool way to finish this, one idea I had was flying to somewhere like Mexico for the day or doing a big finale, but not my goal is just to complete 365 days. Days like today make that challenge harder than thats been for the past 339 days. I dont mean to go on about it but today has been especially hard because the whole day has been spent somewhere I cant photograph and then by the time I get home its 9:30pm. but I suppose thats there winners win right?

the past couple of days Ive been thinking of a new game plan, and ways that I can keep the photos creative and at a high standard, one idea Ive got is to make sure I take loads of photos on the weekend and then ration them out throughout the week. I know, thats not techincally three photos each day, but it still counts right? I think thats going to be my only way of getting through this without having to post terrible Iphone photos that lets be honest no one really wants to see.

If Ive learnt anything so far, it would have to be that I absolutely love photographing people and capturing moments between people mid conversation or if I can, while they day dream. So I think what ill do for todays photos is show you some other shots from Speakers corner, a place where people are deep in conversation with strangers about literally any topic.

I think this whole thing has become a group effort, if you keep reading the post and enjoying my photos. then maybe, just maybe we will come out the other side of this blog. right now Im scared that one day Ill just sleep for 60 hours non stop and miss few days. but until that day heres some cool photos of people deep in conversation.

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– I would love to know if this conversation was based around a Macdonalds coffee cup –
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– I dont think this man agrees with the statement made –
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– this guy was just happy with life –