New Year

2013 has now officially started on My London Diary. Somehow I didn’t quite get around to making New Year Resolutions this year, didn’t quite get around to doing most things I meant to do, but I did more or less finish updating My London Diary for 2012 before the clock began to strike midnight on 31 December, which considering I was out taking pictures on the 27th and the 30th took a little doing.

Google search t-shirts: ‘israel – Did you mean: Palestine

December 27 was, I was surprised to find, the fourth anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli attack on Gaza which lasted around 22 or 23 days and killed at least 1400 Palestinians, mainly civilians, including many women and children. I wrote a little about photographing the event in 2012 – My Own Favourites – December, and of course you can see the pictures at Gaza – End the Siege.

I don’t often pose pictures, and I didn’t really pose the one above. I’d been photographing a small group of young women including these two, and had noticed the t-shirts with the Google logo, but couldn’t really see them well in the pictures as it was a fairly cold day and they were mainly hidden under their jackets. I sometimes feel a little embarrased about asking women if I can photograph their t-shirts, but when I asked about them, these two immediately pulled back their jackets for me to make this photograph, with one of them pulling hers out flat to show the text more clearly.

I was almost giggling too much to take the picture – and it was pretty crowded so I couldn’t move back any more, and they nicely filled the frame at 20mm (D700, 16-35mm, ISO 640 1/200 f7.1 – or rather press the button on P). I’m told that ‘I Googled Israel and got “Did you mean Palestine”‘ has been around for a very long time – and as a Facebook group since July 2010, and I had a vague recollection of having seen it before, but if it had been on a t-shirt I’d forgotten it. Perhaps its an advantage of old age forgetfulness that you can see the old freshly.

I don’t think it was the best picture I took that afternoon, though it was good to see it getting several thousand ‘shares’ on Facebook – probably more than any other picture I’ve taken. I liked several other pictures from the afternoon more, including another with these two and others, waving a Palestinian flag and shouting towards the embassy from the front of the crowd.

By then it was around an hour later and quite a bit darker, and I had changed to ISO 1250, taking this picture at 1/125 f8 and needing flash as they were in shadow from the flag. I’ve not yet taken the Nikon flash in for repair and was using a cheap Nissin unit that works a little differently. This time the 16-35 was at its widest both aperture and focal length, 16mm f4, and I’d rushed around to the front of the protest and got down on my knees to take this and several other exposures.

The Nissin Di622 is a little strange and seems to give less even coverage than the Nikon unit.  It is a dedicated Nikon iTTL flash, and is supposedly controlled by the camera when set to TTL in just the same way as the built-in flash. It has a diffuser you pull down for wide angle lenses (it claims to zoom to cover 24-105mm without) and sometimes works well, though like the Nikons it gives me problems on P setting, and is best used on S or A. The design of these units has improved a little since I bought mine and they have become more versatile (and the price has roughly doubled, but is still half that of the more or less equivalent SB700.)   But given the rate at which I go through flash units, perhaps I might buy another Nissin rather than an SB700 next time I need a flash.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated are by Peter Marshall and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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