Friday, 23 March 2012

Tête Moderne (part two)

Off we went, then, a quick hour brandishing cameras with like minded fellow snappers. Four Canon DSLRs, four blokes not being very cool wandering round a gallery together. Really, we're old enough to know better, but this didn't stop us.

The mission was simple: take the best photo of the day. That was about as complex as the brief got, and even then I'm not really sure it was the brief. For whatever reason, we ended up at the Tate Modern feeling pretty stupid, standing their with our cameras dangling, discussing which lens may be the most well-suited to the task. My friend Dave (not his real name -- his real name's Peter) was standing there with a huge 175-300mm telephoto lens ready for action. It was bigger than him. I was wondering what on earth he was going to do with that indoors in the bulb-lit museum, but off he went anyway. Presumably he intended to photograph the first floor exhibits from the third floor or something.

I opted for a 50mm fixed focal length lens because it was already on the camera. (Camera nerd factoid -- my 50mm lens has an aperture that opens up to f1.8, so takes good low light pictures indoors at fast-ish shutter speeds. Sorry -- deadly dull -- I won't do that again, promise...)

Meanwhile Anthony (not his real name -- his real name's Dave) was doing battle with the Auto point-and-shoot settings. He's new to his DSLR camera and we swarmed over him like flies, relentlessly poking him to tweak a setting here and a parameter there, switch the flash off, fiddle with the white balance. Having ground him down into photographic submission, it then remained for my last friend Peter (not his real name -- his real name's Anthony) to go off and show us what he could do. He was lens-switching -- unable to decide whether to go with the same fixed lens as me or a more general purpose wide angle zoom.

If you're still reading this and have followed me so far, you'll have realised that none amongst us was actually very interested in the wonderful art the Tate Modern has to offer. Instead, it had become a Canon Geek-Fest. Interestingly, what actually occurred was that we took a huge amount of photos of each other. It was much funnier to watch each other in action than it was to catch photos of static (and largely copyrighted) art. An abundance of portraiture was produced -- here are a couple of examples from those that I took.

No Expert -- Still Keen

Funny, But Not As Funny As Your Rubbish Pictures

In the end, the best picture was taken not by me, but by Anthony, or Peter, or Dave, or someone. It actually is an outstanding portrait, and, frankly, I'm really annoyed it wasn't me who took it since I'm such a camera geek I fancied my chances. But credit where due; here's the winner:

Yep. My friend took this. Damn him and his "I know what I'm doing" smugness! We need a rematch -- another London landmark to ignore as a team (suggestions welcome). Then I'll get him. You just wait.

To see the rest of Siddie Nam's photo highlights from the day, go here: "Crack Photo Team at the Tate Modern" .


  1. I got a fixed 50mm lense for Christmas :) and I'm loving it! Espec for low light as you so rightly point out...

    1. It is brilliant. I'll send you a link (via Facebook) do you can see some of the kids I got recently with this lens. I'm glad you're a fellow geek and actually found that but interesting! Ha ha!

  2. "So" even. Great blogger who can't spell and doesn't proof read his work. Sigh...


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