This photo of a margarita and shaker was taken for an article on a website I was building. It was lit with a single off-camera flash bounced off a reflector.

Well, someone had to drink the margarita afterwards.

Richmond in January

I took these black and white photographs of Richmond, a nearby suburb of southwest London, on a chilly January day.

It’s been a long time since I went out with a camera just to take photographs, but some recent bits of photography for websites have given me a renewed taste for it. I’m pretty picky these days in terms of what I’ll shoot: time was when I would photograph almost anything that I thought would make a good composition, but now I’m interested in telling a more complete story.

These were shot hand-held in fading twilight. I was out to shoot the evening light as much as the scenery itself. Fortunately the weather got the memo.

Fast, Cheap and out of Control (1999)

Album art that I made in June 1999 for a DJ friend, Richard Human, for one of his trance mixes. It ended up on the front cover of a ‘mix-tape’ style CD; I also made a back cover.

The flying robot model was authored by hand in 3D Studio Max using polygon-modelling. The photo in the background is mine, and shows The Sentinel viewed from Chapman’s Peak, a well-known piece of Cape Town scenery.

The name, Fast, cheap and out of control, is coincidentally also the name of a documentary film made in 1997. In our case the name refers to a concept put forward in a 1989 paper whose full title is Fast, Cheap and Out of Control: A Robot Invasion of the Solar System, by Rodney A. Brooks and Anita M. Flynn. Hence the flying robots.

Brook Road

I had the opportunity to photograph an electrician at work for a website I was developing. The shoot was the first of a couple we did of a Victorian side-return extension in St Margarets.

I learnt that trained electricians move fast. This one can trim and strip three wires in about five seconds flat. I had my tripod, flash and reflector with me, but I soon decided to shoot handheld with available light, which was the only way to keep up.

The scene was lit by a series of Velux windows and a builder’s lamp, which had very different color temperatures. As Carter moved about the lighting would often change dramatically. As a result a lot of the exposures were guesswork.

I pretty much always shoot manual, with manual exposure settings and manual focus. Partly this is a matter of habit and partly it’s good practice because it means I know what compromises are being made. It’s also pretty much essential to use manual focus in situations like this where the depth-of-field is shallow and the ‘right’ focal point usually isn’t the closest object.

The flipside of shooting manual is that sometimes I get it completely wrong where the camera would have muddled through okay in auto mode. Fortunately Capture One, which I used to post-process the shots, does a great job of salvaging shots with dodgy exposure or color-casts.

Nightingale Road

I shot these photos of the ongoing renovation of a Victorian flat in Nightingale Road, Balham, as content for a website I’m building for an electrician friend.

We arrived at the flat quite late on a winter’s day, and the light was fading fast. I took a few close-up shots of wiring and socket boxes using flash bounced off a hand-held reflector, then used the tripod to take some high-ISO long exposures of the bare rooms.

You can check out some more of the shots here.

South Africa

Although I’ve lived in London for over 15 years now, I’m a South African by birth and by heart. Ania and I travel to SA as often as we can: usually only once every few years in practice because the flights are expensive enough that economically it makes sense to make longer trips less often. I always take photos when I’m there — or, lately, video — and these are a few of the pictures I’ve shot over the years.