Drawn by the sparkle of the Christmas bright lights, the girlfriend and I ventured into the freezing cold night armed with the Leica M3, Voightlander 21mm, a couple of rolls of Ilford FP4, cable release, Lunasix lightmeter, tripod and a hipflask of ‘winter warmer’ brandy.
The plan was to shoot Oxford Street and capture slow shutter streams of shoppers bustling along laden down with bags of pressies against neon signs inviting them to spend. But the place was absolute mayhem, there was no way I could set up my tripod without us being trampled under foot. So instead we made our way to the relative peace of Marylebone to a couple of alley ways I’ve been planning to shoot for ages. From there we meandered our way through the back streets via St. Christopher’s Place, South Molton Street and onto the more civilised delights of Bond Street. Of course there were the mandatory occasional coffee shop stop too.
I love shooting at night with a tripod. You get the strangest of looks. People often think it so odd that I’ve even had ‘selfies’ taken next to me and my gear. – Its odd, if you take a photo of someone with a handheld camera then you run the risk of them taking offence, but when the camera is on a tripod with a cable release dangling from it, the same people find it amusing to make sure they are in the photo! Thankfully my attention span is longer than theirs and I wait for them to get bored and move on. When I first started night shooting I was weary about how people would react but in fact an old film camera on a tripod at night is thought so eccentric that it almost gives you absolute carte blanche to take photos of anyone, anywhere.
Anyway the photos – All taken on the M3, Ilford FP4 and developed in Rodinal 1:100. Most were taken with the Voightlander 21mm except a couple of the Chanel mannequins that were taken with the Elmar 50mm 2.8.