Jeddah – finding the right shot.

travel photography

While we were working our way through the back streets of the old quarter of Jeddah, shooting video for a TV documentary on Arabia, I saw the strong afternoon light catching this bicycle outside a bakery shop. It was around 3pm and very hot and quiet as many people were at prayer. I made the rest of the crew stop and wait, handed my C300 to the producer and shot a sequence of pictures. Even though I knew the others were waiting I tried to work the scene and to figure out the best shot. Looking back at them in Aperture, it’s possible to see how the sequence developed to the final shot which I think is the best.

First I tried working with the bright yellow of the bike’s rack and its reflection in the window, lit by the strong shaft of sunlight.


Then I tried switching to landscape format and including more of the street scene.


I liked the way that was working but wanted someone to bring movement and some back light into the top left of the frame. So I hung around for a few minutes and waited for some people to come by…


That seemed to be working well. But then I saw a small boy, wearing a yellow top, come out of the bakery and run off up the street.  I took a couple of shots, tracking him as he ran, switching halfway through from portrait to landscape, before capturing the final frame that I like the best.

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IMG_0746 (1)Canon 5Dii, 50mm 1.8.


Urban Landscapes – Saudi Arabia

travel photography

Our trip has taken us to several cities and locations around the Kingdom and wherever we’ve been there seems to be a boom in property building: from the massive projects of Riyadh, often several city blocks in size, to smaller housing developments in other parts of the country. These are some shots I’ve taken on recces, grabbed in the middle of shooting moving images or taken in the car.  


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Technical info, for those who are interested: Canon 5Dii, 50mm 1.8, Silver Efex Pro.



London & Riyadh, two cities, two recces…a world apart


It’s been one of those schizophrenic weeks that working in documentary and commercials occasionally throw up. I started the week with a recce for a commercial we’re to shoot in London later on in May: we looked at a location in Essex and then also the classic views of Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath. Then 2 days later, I’m on a recce for a shoot in Riyadh, exploring the viewing platform of a massive tower called the Globe.  See if you can tell which shot is from which city…. 539A0591

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snow train


Every year it snows in Britain. And every year we’re surprised. It only takes a couple of inches for chaos to ensue: roads are closed, schools shut down, drivers lose their heads and crash into each other and confusion rules on the rail system. In one notorious incident a part of the network was shut down by a tiny snow fall because, according to the rail company “it was the wrong type of snow”.

If it only takes a few inches to bring chaos, then that’s all it takes to transform the city. I’ve been dying to shoot some pictures in the snow but never had a camera to hand or the time to do it. This year, at the first sign of snow I managed to grab a few hours on a couple of occasions. The first time, I made it about 3 stops towards the centre of London, before things ground to a halt at Elephant and Castle. Because it was the middle of the afternoon, the place was deserted with just  a few people waiting around for a train to take them home.  The second time, things went a bit more smoothly but that was because the snow show petered out and it all began to melt.

These shots are mostly taken on the line that runs from South East London via the City and on to North London and beyond.  Some of the platforms – Loughborough Junction and Elephant and Castle –  are elevated high above the surrounding streets, like Chicago’s L or some of the Paris Metro. Others, like Herne Hill or Kentish Town are on street level, surrounded by streets and houses. In the centre the line dips below ground to City Thames Link, and Farringdon.


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