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In a previous post I wrote about St John Ambulance. However I still feel that although the Volunteers get most of the credit the Main Youth Leaders and Divisional Officers do not take much credit for running and programming activities and training each week for around 20 people as well as running a normal job (This is often in an Medical Profession like a Nurse or Paramedic which are awkward hours to work). Therefore what I am saying is that these people are kind of like the ‘Unsung Heroes’ of St John Ambulance as they go out their way each week to organise, run, an eye on certificate validation dates and then re-book any outside training that needs to be inputted to help maintain a high standard amongst the Badgers, Cadets and even in the Adults.
The above images show some of the Youth Leaders, Divisional Officers and NCO’s raising money for the Division by cleaning cars and some of the activities that has been organised to help the Cadets communicate with each other in team building exercises.
Do not get me wrong I still think that the volunteers out on the ‘front line’ doing the work of providing a public service and not get paid for it is still a great way to give back to the community but at the end of the day who (except those that are injured) actually notice that these people in the bright green uniforms are there at their own will, willing to help out anyone with anything… Who even thinks to look behind the scenes of all this to think about who organised the training.
Since I have been 8 I have been involved in an oraganisation/charity known as St John Ambulance (SJA). By going to this every Thursday evening I have learnt key life skills like meeting and making new friends, how to deal with people. To start with you go into the Badgers, which start to deal with basics of First Aid and learn more on Safety, Play games, do small amounts of other communication skills and generally less intensive items than the Cadets. Once you turn 11 or go into Secondary School you can then join the ranks of a Cadet where you do more intensive course than at the Badger level and then once qualified go out in the public and do Duties. Duties is where you would volunteer to provide First Aid at any event that SJA have been highered to help with.
Furthermore I have learnt way more new skills whilst I have been at SJA. These new skills include, Radio Communications Level 1 & 2, Fire Prevention, Clerical Skills, Casaulty Simulation (Fake injuries and how to deal with them), Various First Aid qualifications, AED Level 2 (Automated External Difibulator) and many more varying quailifications.
Since I have turned 18 however I have now moved up into the ranks as a sort of Youth Leader amongst the Cadets. This means that I now help out the main and Youth Leaders that are qualified to teach First Aid. I do this by going round making sure that the cadets know what they are doing or even show them if they don’t. Also by keeping an eye out over them and make sure they are paying attention when it is needed.
However by being in SJA it has given me some issues to think about. For example, as a Photographer I have to make the decision of either going out to an event and document it photographically or do a Duty and help out. (To be honest it is often neither as work gets in the way). A similar problem may occur when I am out and about. For say another bomb went off and I was near by documenting a scene or doing some street Photography, would I go to help or photograph it quickly then help? I think my answer would be to take ONE scene image of the area and then go and find a first aid kit to help out with what I can. (SJ Ambulances were actually called to the July Bombings, did you know that?)
Furthermore I am currently learning to drive and so this I feel gives me the freedom to go out and shoot more as I no longer have the restrictions of only going out to places when my parents are not working. This can also mean I can be available to do more payed Jobs at weekends or week days while I am at uni, if I get a car.
Lastly I have just took on a Job at the local B&Q car park which means I can get more practice talking to people I do not know, which can aid me by giving me more confidence in approaching people, either if it is asking if they want their picture taking or approaching other Photographers about how they work or for any placements.
The above images are of a Christening shoot I did for my cousin (The mother of the girl being Christened). She was overall pleased with the results that I produced, and you can decide for yourself with the above images. I decided not to look up any other Photographers that do Christenings as I thought that this would just stop me from producing my own style of working and photographing and therefore just be a mimic of that Photographer, whether I know I am doing it or not. The ‘client’ now wants a A3 print of the 3rd image in on the top row.
For this shoot I also wanted to experiment using the SB-900 on the camera and off camera. However I wanted to try off camera flash by using the D700 pop up flash to trigger the SB, but this was not the case as it did not fire. I later found out that the D700 flash was not set in ‘Commander’. Havng the flash on camera and pointing at the subject I felt was a little harsh and therefore I tilted the flash backwards and used a bounce card on the end of the flash to reflect some of the light back on the subject. This is something that I got off Joe McNally on some video tutorials…
What I learnt from this experience:
- 2 year olds really do not sit still or stay still for long (no brainer really).
- Again check the settings on the camera before using.
- TTL is not as bad
Within this film John Walters follows a small part of a boys life. Though this boy goes around photographing anything interesting to him and what he thinks will make a good photograph. Therefore he photographs things from rats having sex to home and work life of him and family members, including the people within these environments. He is inspired by these day to say things and so takes his camera everywhere with him capturing things between travels, even if it means getting in trouble by club owners or getting sworn at by neighbours, yet this does not put off his determination to still carry on photographing.
Pecker’s life however changes dramatically by people hating him and his work as they find it intrusive to their lives (an issue that is brought up many times within the world of street and documentary photography) once his work was found by an art director who published his work in New York. On the other hand at the end of the film everyone (even his art hating girlfriend) finds something interesting with his images and all come round to his way of thinking and all become friend with each other (the art dealers, photographers and buyers from New York and the town folk Baltimore who are not so keen on art and seeing the images as art).
This film makes every photographer think about how much they are missing on the street, photographically and makes them think about what can be found out on the street or around the home just by looking hard enough.
Furthermore Pecker’s technique can almost be similar to that of the ‘Decisive moment’ thought of by Cartier Bresson. However Cartier Bresson would sometimes wait for that ‘Decisive Momement’ whereas Pecker would walk around and just see or find a moment and capture it how he sees it. Some of his images may not have been sharp but this sometimes added to the ‘artistic’ state of his collection and images.
As said before in todays society Pecker would have a hard time photographing the streets and people within as more and more people are becoming more aware of how images are handled like being posted all over the internet. Also some seem to think that you can not take their picture in a public space out on the street. Plus they are being recorded everyday by CCTV and are getting fed up of it.
Yesterday I went to Coombe Abbey to try out the Nikon 70-200, 50 f/1.8 and the 24-70 at doing some portraits and bird tracking. The day quickly turned in to a more wildlife shoot than portraits. The bird tracking did not really work either and when it came to move on I found I had the camera on the wrong setting. (It is always the way isn’t it!). But now next time I come to do it again I will now know what to have the camera on.
However the best images out of that day are the ones below. (click for bigger size)
The top image was taken with the nifty fifty f/1.8. I saw the leaf and sort of knew that I want a great amount of bokeh so the 50 was great for this. Also be the shot I knew that I would turn the shot into a monochrome picture as there was not much colour around. I think it works in the monochrome and with the monochrome effect on it to add interest. Also the vignetting around pulls the viewer to the centre of the frame. Furthermore I chose to do the central composition as I just basically thought it would not work if I used things like ‘rule of thirds’, makes it stronger too. Although I feel that the image could be a tad sharper and may have got away with using f/2.
The next Image is just a robin that landed in front of the bird hide window I was sitting at. I shot it with the 70-200 at 200, f/2.8, 1/400, ISO/ASA 640. For the Bird and other wildlife shots I tried out the 3D tracking in the Nikon. Over all it works very well and managed to lock on the subject pretty much every time. To edit this photo I warmed it up a bit, kept it in colour to show off the Robin and again added a slight vignette to close of the edges of the frame and obviously the tweaking of blacks, exposure, contrast etc etc in Lightroom.
The past few months I have been quite frustrated with having these ideas and plans yet nothing I can do to make them real or work. So for now and most likely forever they will just be sitting there, catalogued in my mind and on paper stashed away in the corner.
However one day I would think that they could work and then the next, thoughts that they would just disappear or not last a year.
One can dream hey…