working london's soho with a nikon d750
My street life photography work often takes me through London's Soho district. Of course in the 1960s that area was famous for a somewhat different reason, but today it's very much a tourist and restaurant area. There's always something going on that might yield interesting images, and for quite a time last year I was using a Nikon D750 to capture snippets of London Life.
The Nikon D750 fits in the Nikon range between the D610 and, now, the D850. Offering a full frame 35mm, 24mp sensor, with only a uni-directional anti-moire, anti-aliasing filter and an excellent auto-focus system, it produces images that are very comparable with Nikon's pro level D810 - giving especially clean images at up to about ISO 3200 with a very useable dynamic range of over 14 stops at ISO 100. This only falls to 11 stops at ISO 1600, with minimal impact on image quality according to my tests, which, for me, all adds up to a great street photography camera if you don't mind using a DSLR sized body and lenses. It makes a great partner for the f1.8 prime lenses.
Being relatively lightweight, with that level of image quality, it's no wonder the Nikon D750 has become very popular with wedding photographers, both as a primary and as a second body camera. I like the way the RAW files take post processing and, in particular, the way that highlights roll off to white, enabling you to keep more graduation in the brightest highlights - no doubt due to the extended 14 stop dynamic range at base ISO. In the street, moving from shot to shot, the body itself feels great in the hand, sporting a relatively deep grip, which helps the handling when using longer, heavier lenses. It's a little thinner in the body than earlier models and the use of carbon fibre has made the body light enough to carry for a full day's shooting. The D750 also offers a tilting screen for framing that occasional, discreet, waist level shot.
So, enough of specifications - time for some images. I'm aware of the arguments against using 'other artists' creative endeavours as a backdrop to unremarkeable,passing people; and if the result is mundane or un-engaging, I agree, where's the spark? But, now and again, since the poster or advert is in the public space, as a part of the environment we inhabit every day, such backdrops can make an impact and contribute to the visual theatre of city life in particular. Hence, now and again, my eye is caught by the interplay of actor and scenery, such as this shot below. I really enjoyed the net effect of the composition - an ordinary billboard on it's own, yet the actor somehow creates more of a 'scene' for us to think about.
Further on, in an alley we won't mention, there are a number of small shops and surprisingly, a Barbers. This chap looks as if he really is the Demon Barber. Shot through glass in very low light conditions.
Emerging on to a side street I caught this scene. Watching this fellow for a while, it dawned on me that the dog's expression and body language summarised the whole story and the indifferent gaze of the onlooker in the background reinforced the feeling that the owner was, once again, whining on about the same old stuff. Patience is a virtue.
Then, not too far away, in the area still somewhat famous for interesting shopfronts, I came across a chap who was clearly riveted to the spot. I was just thinking - I wonder what's going through his mind - right now?
Just off Compton Street there's a pub where regulars sit outside in the street, especially on Sundays. I caught sight of these two gents engaged in 'conversation' but you can see that one was rather more assertive than the other in his 'Sunday Sermon'. The story is quite obviously told by the expression on their faces and the position of their feet. The chap on the right seems to be suffering under the onslaught - deep in thought, or just tired of hearing the same old tirade?
You know that feeling when you're walking down a street and you catch something out of the corner of your eye which doesn't immediately register but you know you just missed something important? Well, that happened here. Shop window mannequins have always fascinated me, but I've not been able to capture one that really sold a story before. This one stopped me in my tracks. It looks like some slinky Super Hero lurking in the shadows ready to pounce! I couldn't resist the shot.
Every now and then you stop for a moment and think - there's a bit of a visual joke here, if only ....... and before you know it the picture is completed by pure chance. Bust(ling) Home seemed such an obvious title for this shot!
Finally, the last image; to 'bow out' on. This just tickled my sense of humour and it shows yet another example of the 'what if' photographers' rule; 'what if I wait here patiently?'. Maybe someone will come out of the stage door. I wonder what could happen?
I have thoroughly enjoyed using the Nikon D750. The images it produces are just gorgeous and at 24 megapixels the film sizes are just right for Street Photography. The rendering from the sensor is excellent and the RAW files take post processing very well with deep shadow detail and nicely rolled off highlights. You can't go wrong with this camera, and of course, right now, the Nikon D750 is at a relatively bargain price. Highly Recommended.