Food for thought

Markets are a photographer’s playground: so many different colors, patterns, contrasts, and textures to experiment with. Wherever I travel to, I try to visit the local markets. They are windows into the soul of the city. They display the spices and fresh ingredients used in local traditional food, but they also typically show the melting pot of cultures and influences in a town.

“Markets are windows into the soul of a city.”

On top of that, I myself love cooking with fresh and locally grown ingredients, so having a fruit and vegetable market stand around the corner where I live is my kind of heaven. It really is comforting and so important to support local, sustainably grown produce. Food for thought, in this age of globalization and mass production.

About every other time I pass said market stand, I will strike up a conversation with the very pleasant folks running the stand, and after some time I scrounged up the courage to ask if they would mind if I did a photo shoot of their produce. Ordinarily I would not necessarily go through the trouble of asking in advance if I am just passing by with my camera, but this time I wanted to really take my time composing images. The subject matter warranted some patience and attention. After all, George Bernard Shaw said:

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”

Now it turns out that on this particular day it was incredibly windy and rainy. This resulted in a very white and not particularly charming quality of light. It was not a day for bright color contrasts. Instead, I focused on patterns and textures in the soft light that was available. The blustery wind forced me to use short exposure times to keep things from getting blurry, and in the low light this meant having a very shallow depth of field. I decided to use this to my advantage and explore square compositions with a close-up point of view. I chose a natural overall atmosphere, which is enhanced by the white light and somewhat washed out colors.

Produce on a market in Cambridge, UK

Market Study I

Produce on a market in Cambridge, UK

Market Study II

Produce on a market in Cambridge, UK

Market Study III

Produce on a market in Cambridge, UK

Market Study IV

Produce on a market in Cambridge, UK

Market Study V

Bonus question for the reader: Any favorite recipes with the ingredients shown? (Not necessarily all in one dish!)

© 2015 Laura Jewell Photography. All rights reserved.

Architectural bliss

One of the most photogenic locations in the Los Angeles area is the Getty Center, with incredible architecture and, marine layer permitting, expansive views all the way out to Catalina Island. The shapes and textures are an absolute delight to compose images with. Every time I visit, I see new superpositions of architectural elements and new lines to be followed.

Here is a study focusing on the interplay of curves and straight lines, with shadows adding weight to the predominantly white features of the buildings.

Black and white study of curves and straight lines at the Getty Center, Los Angeles

Curves I

Black and white study of curves and straight lines at the Getty Center, Los Angeles

Curves II

Black and white study of curves and straight lines at the Getty Center, Los Angeles

Curves III

© 2009-2015 Laura Jewell Photography. All rights reserved.

In search of the perfect curve

Light trails in traffic are an often-photographed subject. Tricky to get right however, because you won’t really know what the shape of the trail will be until after you have made the exposure. Some trial and error is needed, because properly composing and pre-visualizing the images is not easy if you don’t have all elements in view yet!

Finding a good location is essential, and it turns out that the 6th Street bridge over the railway in downtown Los Angeles is one of those spots. The road has a slight bend in it leading up to the bridge, leading to nicely curved light trails. On top of that, the frame of the bridge provides context and structure. Another plus: there are many buses and other high vehicles passing by that have lights at multiple heights.

And finally, I found that it is best to shoot light trails when it is not fully dark yet: it gives much more depth to the image if the sky still has some color.

Light trails in downtown Los Angeles

6th Street Bridge Series IV

Light trails in downtown Los Angeles

6th Street Bridge Series II

Light trails in downtown Los Angeles

6th Street Bridge Series VI

© 2011-2015 Laura Jewell Photography. All rights reserved.