Friday Zombies

Since it was Halloween weekend, it wasn’t that surprising to have two zombie-themed protests on the streets. The first, by the ‘Government of the Dead’ led by Christ Knight was meant to catch bankers and other city workers going home, but work now seems to stop pretty early on Fridays, and the part of Fleet Street where Goldman Sachs have their office was dark and deserted by the time the small group of protesters arrived around 5.10pm.

Considering that the Facebook page for the ‘Goldman Sachs Giant Vampire Squid Trick or Treat‘ had 97 confirmed guests and 389 ‘Maybe’s, the actual attendance of six was rather disappointing. The idea for the event came from Matt Taibbi who wrote  in Rolling Stone and Goldman Sachs:
The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money…

The group met in the Old Bell pub a few doors away, and lighting in there was low.  Using the D700 I was able to shoot by available light at around 1/8 or 1/10s at f5 – stopping down from f2.8 for more depth of field. At 24mm a reasonable proportion of images were reasonably sharp if I chose moments when people weren’t moving. I was shooting at IS03200, but at -1.33 eV, which I think means ISO 8000.

© 2009 Peter Marshall

Colour isn’t great, but that’s mainly down to the lighting, and viewed at 1:1 one of the guys has moved just a little too much, but otherwise sharpness is fine and my default (low) settings for noise reduction have done a pretty good job, though if I needed to I could improve on it.

Outside it was darker still, and flash was the only answer.  I should have switched to aperture priority perhaps working at around f5.6, but I left the camera on program and it chose f10. Which was fine for the flash but meant I picked up less than I would have liked from the ambient light even though I was working at ISO 3200 and 1/60 s.

© 2009 Peter Marshall

The second group of zombies were ‘The Parliament of the Dead’, protesting at the Houses of Parliament, calling for a referendum to create a fair voting system. There were certainly more of them.

© 2009 Peter Marshall

By now I had switched to aperture priority and was working at f5 (still at ISO 3200, 1/60) and Big Ben in the background was reasonably sharp when I was working at the wide-angle end, but perhaps got a bit too out-of-focus at the long end of the 24-70 zoom.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.

The floodlighting on Big Ben is just a little too weak for it to really stand out against the night sky, though perhaps an extra stop – working at 1/30 rather than 1/60 would have helped.

Some of the pictures aren’t bad, but I didn’t feel anything I took quite gelled. Perhaps there were too many rather similar zombies, and too many mainly amateur photographers getting in the way.

You can see more pictures of both Goldman Sachs and The Parliament of the Dead as usual on My London Diary, along with more details about the two protests.

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