Probably the Best Food Market in Ireland!
I’m in Cork for the weekend and I had a few hours free on Saturday morning – but what to shoot during the height of Storm Desmond? I didn’t have time to head to the sea but where could I take some interesting shots in all the wind and rain? Then it came to me – street photography in the English Market – nicely sheltered from the weather! I’ve shot there once before in 2012, where I got the Rule of Breads with my DSLR gear.
Much as I love my “proper cameras”, Canon 7D's I & II, there are times I don’t want to shoot with them because they are bulky and obtrusive. I’ve had a variety of pocket cameras over the years but none of them lasted long because I either broke or lost them. After I lost the last one, I started looking around again for a genuine pocketable camera to keep with me at all times. If you say, “isn’t that what your phone is for?” Well, I’d say “No!” – because phone cameras don’t shoot raw*, don’t have manual controls, and don’t have a zoom lens. Additionally in my case, my old iPhone 4S is old has a relatively poor camera.
The currently lusted after pocket camera is the Sony RX100 – “Some of the best image quality in any compact camera, ever” according to DPReview. The only problem is that the latest version IV sells for about a grand in Ireland after cashbacks – although the original version I is now under €400. I was wondering if I could stretch to this when I spotted a second hand Panasonic LFI from Conns Cameras at a little over half that - and this camera also been well reviewed by Cameralabs. OK it doesn’t have a big (for a compact camera) one inch sensor but it does have bright f2 lens at the short end and it’s even smaller than the RX100. And is has a much longer 28-200mm zoom . . . so I splashed out :-)
I’ve been getting used to it over the last few months and I hope to be blogging more of my shots with it over the next while. I decided it would be ideal for wandering around the English Market as a tourist – even if that’s an odd feeling in your home town! Because of the low light levels, I decided to shoot at 28mm to keep the aperture wide open at f2.0. Ironically, this is where the small sensor is an advantage because the depth of field with small sensors, even wide open, is much greater and I wanted to keep the backgrounds sharp to show the context of the shots.
Mostly, I wandered around looking for good spots to get people going past me and shot from waist level hoping to get the shots without people noticing at all, or at least until after I took the shot. Even at f2 I needed ISO 400 or 800 to get speeds of 1/125th of a second – and small sensors start showing noise after 200. Anyway for the first shot in the post, I had to start with one to show the natural modesty of Cork people!
Once I got the shots on the computer, I could see that even doing the best I could with the available technology, the images were noisy and flat – and I didn’t use flash to keep a low profile. So, as well as noise reduction, I added lots of contrast, clarity and vibrance in Lightroom as well as pushing the tonal sliders pretty much to the limits to get a grungy appearance. A vignette and some grain completed the look. Where necessary, I used the Radial Filter to put a little more light on faces.
This was meant to be a fun shoot but when I saw this sign, I realized that I was going to have to take things a lot more seriously!
Next I wandered around for a while trying different locations and getting a feel for the area – and of course getting in one with the wonderful roof.
Eventually I came to Moynihans Poultry and as their signs provided good framing I stuck with the location for a while first from one end . . .
. . .and then the other.
Then it was time a quick wander a few other locations around before my time was up.
And to finish up, did I mention to humble nature of Cork people??
*Actually camera phones do shoot Raw because that’s what all digital cameras do – but only some cameras allow saving in Raw format – something very few phone cameras had until 2015.
Keywords: Cork, English Market, John Coveney Photography, Panasonic LF1, pocket camera, street photography, www.johncoveney.ie
I love the way you captured some of the Really Cork characteristics in some of the faces, wanting to engage.. enquire..
Also like how you got the colour ( is it ebony) in the roof trusses in picture five and how that is echoed in the face of the African woman.
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