Back alleys, buskers and bling

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.

Just off of Marylebone High Street is a tiny network of cobblestone alleyways. Just wish they still had old gaslights to complete the scene.

Just off of Marylebone High Street is a tiny network of cobblestone alleyways.  Just wish they still had old gaslights to complete the scene.

This way a fun shot. During the exposure and old man tottered along and into the pub. You can just make him out entering as it took him a while to manage the door.

This was a fun shot. During the exposure and old man tottered along and into the pub. You can just make him out entering as it took him a while to manage the door.

I loved this Busker. He tis such a talented violinist. I could have stayed and listened to him for ages. Hope this is his regular spot. so I can listen to his beautiful music again.  Well worth paying him a visit.

I loved this Busker. He is such a talented violinist. I could have stayed and listened to him for ages. Hope this is his regular spot so I can listen to his beautiful music again.
Well worth paying him a visit.

South Molton Street has their regular Christmas arches out again.

South Molton Street has their regular Christmas arches out again.

Old Bond Street's lights are as flamboyant as the jewelry on sale beneath them. The whole Street sparkles!

Old Bond Street’s lights are as flamboyant and delightful as the jewellery on sale beneath them.
The whole street sparkles!

Tiffany's window displays are amazing little scenes. I highly recommend having a butchers if you are in the west end.

Tiffany’s window displays are amazing little scenes. I highly recommend having a butchers if you are in the west end.

And of course Chanel

And of course Chanel

Really liked this mannequin alot.

Really liked this mannequin a lot.

Finally my local corner shop where i buy my vegetarian haggis whenever I find myself wandering along Piccadilly.

And finally my local corner shop where i buy my vegetarian haggis whenever I find myself wandering along Piccadilly.

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