studiojoslizen

The photography of Alex Baker

Category: Travel

Acquainted with the night

The background photo is fromĀ  a visit to Barcelona. The poem is just a current favourite.

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Building composition

This is not recent. It’s from a trip to New York in 2008. But on a very sunny May afternoon I stood outside the Whitney Museum and indulged in the classic exercise of using building shapes and lines to create an abstract image. The rule of thirds is in operation although the window does sit right in the middle. Having worked as an architect I can safely vouch that when architects design facades they are all dreaming of the day a photo like this can be taken of it.

Zebra time

Zebra crossing

Zebras really are made for black and white or sepia photography. Their natural contrast make them stand out from the colour. In this case I was driving through the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve in South Africa when I saw these two making some sounds. (Click on the picture for larger image)

Diving into the moment

Frozen water

My Christmas present from Chantelle was a GoPro camera. If you aren’t familiar with them they are 1080HD video cameras which fit inside the palm of your hand, are incased in waterproof/shockproof containers and are able to take 11MP photos. What this meant was that I spent a lot of time in the waves at Kleinbrak River in South Africa trying to find those moments which catch the thrill of riding (and ducking) the huge waves which head towards the beaches.

There can be only one

There can be only one

Look familiar? A fan of the film Highlander? This is Eilean Donan castle which was used during the movie. I was standing on the banks of the Loch at about seven in the morning on a cold Autumn day. The sun could barley be seen through the clouds. There wasn’t much light but at least no one else was around and so I took the photo.

Finally, a postcard

That's fake, surely?

All my life I wondered whether I would ever be able to take a ‘postcard’ photo. Not that I necessarily think they are aesthetically pleasing nor fine examples of good design. But they are a particularly unique branch of ‘pop’ photography. And would I ever take one? Well, on a trip to Bruges this year – in between tracking down all the scenes from the Colin Farell movie – I was strolling along the banks of the canals on a late summer evening when I came upon this scene. Out came the tripod. I knew that I would like the evening sky to shine brightly so a long exposure was key. Setting the ISO to 200 avoided camera noise/grain. Opening the aperture to 25 meant the whole scene could be in focus. And finally, a nice long exposure of 30 secs during which passers-by looked at me shielding my tripod and wondering what sort of street theatre I was engaged in. I took two shots both of which came out perfectly first time. That almost never happens.

Where do I stick the stamp?

Under Blackpool Lights

Under Blackpool Lights

It’s late at night on a May evening by the South Pier in Blackpool. The tide is coming in faster than I am used to. I tie my camera bag to the tripod so it weighs it down. I wait and watch the big wheel turn. The camera is set to ISO100, F25 and a shutter speed of 15 secs. The result? Smooth water and spinning circle.

Late night lights

We’d just finished a meal at a restaurant by the name of Les Quinze Nits on the Place Real in Barcelona when we took a stroll down the Carrer de Ferran. In late January, the nights are milder than in the UK but there is still a distinct hint of winter’s presence in the air. My coat kept out the cold while I loitered on the street corners waiting for a moment like the one above. At first the side alley was empty which seemed so desolate. Then, a couple began to walk down as the composition took shape. Late night lights are some of the most atmospheric.

Colourful Gaudi

I recently returned from a 5-day trip to Barcelona. Antoni Gaudi’s designs are a black and white photographer’s worst nightmare. You can’t ignore the colours. That would be criminal.

Island doorways

Naxos numbers

In the vibrant light of late afternoon sunshine I found this doorway down a side street on the Greek island of Naxos. Initially I thought the seven was merely the number of that house but as I examined the street I noticed it appearing all over the place, like some kind of graffiti tag. I’ve been back to Naxos on other visits where I’ve seen that number spray painted on rocks, trucks and trees. I still have no idea why.