Oxford has a very active Twitter community, and I’ve probably made more friends through Twitter than any other way since living in the area. It won’t surprise you to learn that many of my Twitter friends are also photographers (I feel a Venn diagram coming on…), and naturally Instagram has a growing community in Oxford.
So when I heard fellow Instagramers Natasha (aka Candy Pop) and Rosie (aka Oxford Rosie) were organising an Instameet, meet up of Instagram folk, I just had to go along.
I met up with Natash, Rosie, and lots of people I’d never met before at the Jam Factory. After a coffee we set off and walked along the canal and into the Jericho part of town. I saw lots of bits of Oxford I’d never seen before – doing this with a group of people makes you feel a lot safer when you’re walking around viewing the world through a lens.
Although Instagram is a mobile photography platform I decided to take my ‘proper’ camera to get the most out of the day. So I packed my Olympus OMD E-M1 along with 12-40mm and 70-300mm lenses, knowing that I could use the wireless function on the camera to transfer photos to my phone for editing and uploading in the Instagram app.
As Instagram photos are square (no, I don’t believe in the new-fangled non-square formats!) I set my camera to take photos in a 1×1 aspect ratio so that I was composing correctly. For the photos of flowers, below, I used manual focussing with the focus peaking function to get the focus and depth of field correct.
My ten photos from the day are below, and if you’d like to follow me on Instagram you can here.
If you’d like to see the photos others took, search for the hashtag #oxfordinstameet or look up @shotatanangle, @candypop.uk, @ibasicallytravel, @jazza, @charis.magick, @annamundayox, @independentoxford, @kinshipofoxford, @benm.photo, @igersoxford, @makingforliving, @byvanessaleigh, @bazmund, @gemblina, @lifesasneeze.
Not long after my VIP experience with Mazda and their new MX-5 and lots of tweeting about it, Toyota starting flirting with me on Twitter trying to tempt me to look at their sports car, the GT86. After many years of driving MX-5s I couldn’t see me switching my allegiance from Mazda, but I’m always open to trying new things. So last weekend the Toyota press team delivered me a GT86 to try out and photograph.
The first thing that struck me about the GT86 were the looks. There’s no doubting it’s a very good looking and photogenic car. It clearly takes some design concepts from its ancestors like the Celica and looks classic Toyota both outside and in. When driving around I got lots of admiring looks.
Upon starting the car I found another great thing, the boxer engine. Having previously owned a Subaru Impreza, which also has a boxer engine with its distinctive sound, the engine sounded immediately similar albeit without the swoosh of a turbo. The bucket seats also made me reminisce of my Subaru days.
All of this makes the GT86 a drivers car – it’s a nice place to be, a great car to drive, and perfect for anyone wanting to stand out from the crowd.
What disappointed me about the car were the rear seats and the lack of gadgets. The car is a 2+2, two seats in the front, two in the back. But there’s so little space between the front and back seats that they’re unusable. The lack of gadgets on the GT86 was surprising, especially for a Japanese manufacturer. The dual zone climate control, touch-screen bluetooth stereo with satellite navigation, and gear change indicator were all welcome. But things I’d expect as standard were missing. No parking camera or sensors, no puddle lights, and a clock which has been lifted straight from the ’80s. The only ‘old’ technology I was thankful for was the handbrake, the modern push button ones just aren’t my thing.
Photography-wise I really wish I’d had the car in summer rather than autumn when the daylight hours are limited. I didn’t have time to experiment with lighting, but maybe next time I do a car shoot I will. I tried to get photographs which are a bit different to the ones you’ll see on any car review website, ones which highlight the features which make it a GT86, which make it unique.
Over the last few years German Christmas markets have become very popular in the UK, with stalls selling traditional German food, drinks, and gifts. In a similar style local Christmas markets are popular too, like this one in Oxford.
The Oxford Christmas Market is run by Nicole Rahimi (who, ironically, is German), and for its first few years was run in the picturesque Oxford Castle complex but after a one year break popped up in Oxford’s Broad Street. Broad Street is much less photogenic but better for the market as it’s next to the main shopping area and attracts lots of passers by.
These photos were taken after dark, and next year I hope to spend a bit more time at the market to get some daylight photos too.
From recent blog posts you’ll probably have guessed that Just 10 Photos is based near Oxford, England. Oxford is magnificent – apart from its’ world famous university and tourist attractions, it’s a very photogenic place, has some great restaurants and bars, and has a very active Twitter community.
One of my longest and best Twitter friends is Becca Chaplin (@Ox_Bex), we’ve previously organised a few Tweetups (Twitter meet ups, where folk from Twitter meet in real life). Becca has recently joined forced with Jacqui Thorndyke (@FoodieOnTour) and Katy Routh (@Kalicer) to create Bitten Oxford, a website and blog to share information about the best and worst food that Oxford has to offer.
One of Bitten Oxford’s first ventures was a Tweetup at a new Chinese restaurant, Zheng, in the Jericho area of Oxford. Twelve Tweeters went along to share a big table and try lots of the dishes. I was lucky to be one of the twelve, and took the camera along with me to get a few photos along the way.
For once the taking of photos wasn’t my main concern, I was hungry! In fact, a couple of the photos weren’t taken by me. They were mainly taken with my macro lens (Olympus 60mm) and fisheye lens (Samyang 7.5mm).
After weeks of playing with various blog settings, the 1st June 2013 seemed like as good a date as any to write my first blog post. And what better to subject for my first blog than the wedding of two of my friends, Andy and Ellie, or Mr and Mrs Little as they are now.
Andy and Ellie got married on 4th May (or ‘May the fourth’ as the Star Wars fans, like Andy, would say), at Caswell House in Oxfordshire. The weather had been mixed, but just in time for the ceremony the sun broke through and a rare outdoor wedding was possible.
There was an official photographer, but all guests were asked to take photos and share them on Facebook. I’m no wedding photographer, I’m not sure I’d want the pressure, but always enjoy the opportunity to photograph people in an environment where they’re willing to be snapped.
I took 115 photos on the day, and here’s just ten.