Someone told me that these are the sorts of things that people want to read on photography blogs so here goes..
In the Summer last year I found myself on a Shoreditch roof just before golden hour with my old friend, comedian/actor/all round entertainer, Jimmy James Jones. We were getting ready to host another instalment of the popular New Act Night at the Comedy Cafe Theatre.
I was going to be doing some video on the fly so I had brought only a Canon 70D and 85mm f/1.8 USM lens which was fortunate as the 85mm focal length might just be my favourite for portraits (even on the crop sensor body making it around 120mm I think).
We were up there just as the sun was dipping and were lucky to hit it when we did, because the roof we were on is probably the lowest in the area it means that we get great light but also that the shadows come fast and dark.
So we got to work and Jimmy being the pro he is fell over almost immediately. But once we got him on sturdy ground we were off. The light was almost perfect for what we were aiming for, warm and not too harsh, falling beautifully both on Jimmy and the bare brick walls of the surrounding buildings. We didn't have long but managed a number of great images in the short sessions we did. Jimmy is a pleasure to shoot with as he keeps things light but professional and this made the fact that we didn't have too long to work almost a non-issue.
The space gave us some good options with the different backgrounds and some interesting (or questionable) foreground interest around. Being right int eh heart of London's busy East end meant that on one side we had some wonderfully lit brick facades and on the other a beautiful, warm haze to work with giving us some variety in the tones available.
The images were lovely already in camera due to the quality of the light we were working with, I just had to make a few tiny adjustments in Lightroom (contrast and black values mainly) to get the desired effect in each image. You can see in the last image above how drastically the mood can switch in a scene simply due to the orientation of the sun. The sharper, more contrasted light from shooting with the sun versus the hazy, warmer and softer scenes shooting back towards it. This effect is also helped by the sun being obscured behind the taller surrounding buildings.
All in all it was a successful off the cuff shoot and Jimmy and I got some images we were happy with. I feel it's important to keep shooting for myself whenever I get the opportunity, no matter how small a window of time. The pressure of trying to deliver someone else's vision, whilst a welcome challenge, does not always allow for the freedom to experiment and play.