SODEM Night

December 12th wasn’t really a day for taking photograph for me, more a day off to go out for a few drinks and a meal with some photographer friends. But as I sually do on such occasions I took a camera with me, just in case I wanted to take some pictures. Not one of the Nikons I usually use for work, but a Fuji X-E3, with the 18-135 lens fitted, and as something of an afterthought I also put the smallish 18mm f2 in my bag too.

The day out started a little late, as when we agreed to meet at the Tate. For some unknown reason (senility?) I had in mind Tate Modern but everyone else got it right and went to Tate Britain, where at my request we were aiming to start at a show by photographer Markéta Luskačová of her Spitalfields pictures. A couple of phone calls later I was on the Jubilee line to Westminster and then hurrying down past the Houses of Parliament, where I saw a bus coming and rushed to just miss it.

Finally arriving at Tate Britain I had to find the show, which wasn’t easy – the gallery does really need to look at its signage. Finally I asked one of the gallery staff who didn’t really know but gave me a map and pointed in roughly the right direction. The show does continue until May 12th 2019, so if you start now there is some chance of finding it by then.

Finally we were all met, and after I’d run around the show (worth seeing though I was familiar with all the work already) we left for the pub, a journey where I at least part redeemed myself by actually knowint the way as it was the same one I’d gone to meet Class War before their visit to the Rees-Moggs a few months earlier. We’d hoped by around 2pm it would be getting a little less busy, but approaching Christmas it was rather full, with several parties about to take place, and after a drink or two we left for the next venue, a theatre bar I’d often walked past but never visited,  which was quieter and cosier.

An hour or so later we’d had enough of expensive beer and got on a bus towards a Wetherspoons where we were also to eat. Not a gourmet location, but almost always edible and good value, with fast service. Spoons do differ despite all being a part of the same empire, and this was the preferred choice of our late colleague-in-arms Townly Cooke, who at one time was a part of their quality control, being paid to eat and drink unannouced at their pubs across London.

We finished early as one of our number had to get back to Oxfordshire for an early start to work the following day and I found myself going across Waterloo Bridge at around 6.30pm and realising I couldn’t use my Super Off-Peak rail ticket until half an hour later.  I remembered there had been quite a lot of Brexit-related activity outside Parliament when I’d run past earlier in the day and decided to return to see if anything was still happening.

I changed the f3.5 maximum aperture zoom for the 18mm f2 fixed lens and set to work photograph SODEM who were still keeping up their vigil, along with a rather impressive Brexit monstrosity on the back of a lorry. The extreme-right who had been noisy and disruptive were long gone, and things were pretty quiet.

I was interested to see how the Fuji would cope under the failry dim conditions, working at f2 and ISO 3200.  Shutter speeds varied, but were generally usable, around 1/50s and the camera usually focussed fairly easily on something, though not always exactly where I had intended, though I suspect this was my fault. As always under such conditions, depth of filed is always a problem, but the smaller sensor compared to full frame does improve this. Working in low light like this not everything works, and I always have to overshoot, but there weren’t that many absoluted failures. I’ve put most of the frames that didn’t have obvious problems on the web site rather than edit more tightly to perhaps half a dozen frames as I might usually have done.

Although I’ve decided the Fuji cameras I’ve tried can’t really replace the Nikons for my work, I’ve been wondering for some time about trying a micro four thirds system. I think my first step will be to evaluated using one with a telephoto zoom alongside the Fuji X-E3  with the wide-angle zoom.

As I walked back into Parliament Square I saw a bus to Waterloo just entering the square and ran towards to stop to catch it. This time I got there in time.

You can see the pictures I took at SODEM vigil against Brexit

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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

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