Re-Edit: Praying, Hands, a Gun at a Church Tent Meeting

Photos John Robinson

Tented revival meetings are a staple of the worldwide Christian evangelical movement. Amid the fears of general collapse on the eve of the year 2000, many churches in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa gathered together to see the new year in whatever it held for them…

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The Plastic Pickers of New England Road Landfill Site

Photos John Robinson

At the New England Road landfill site in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa the plastic pikers continue to pick up things of value in a landscape dominated by a sea of plastic waste.

Through the smog and dust of the New England Road landfill site city waste department trucks are followed around by some of the city’s informal waste recyclers on the landfill site you can ask any of these people that days gold, aluminium or going mild steel price, these people will tell you what it is. These people are here for a purpose and that is to put something to eat in the mouths of families living in informal settlements in the area.

Our thirst for plastic is seen in each step I make through the waves of incoming plastic and other waste that these people pick through for value on this site. Plastic wrappers, foil snack packets that did not make the grade at some fried food maker in the city, spoiled food soft underfoot in yet more plastic and wet in the soft rain and pungent in the heat of the day just after.

Day in and day out the plastic pickers come to sift through what others did not want. Young women that in another’s life could be beauty queens but in this life are pickers of someone else’s house waste and plastic wrappers. A young man who still wears his school passing out shirt with the good wishes from classmates across his back only to wind up on one of life’s literal dump sites. Others take refuge in the inhaling of the sweet smoke of a local cannabis variety.

The New England Road landfill site landfill has a history of mismanagement. The toxic mix of plastic, domestic waste, cardboard, old computer parts burnt for four days from 20 July 2020 engulfing the city of the origin of all this waste in a toxic cloud for days.

If you like what you have seen and read here, you can always buy me a $3.00 coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JohnRobinson or PayPal.Me/jrphotographer

Re-Edit: Ghraham B, Being HIV Positive

Photos John Robinson

Antiretrovirals or ARVs only became available in South Africa in early 2004. These drugs are the cornerstone of modern HIV and AIDS management… ARVs have been consistently proven to reduce death due to HIV/AIDS and to reduce the development of AIDS-defining conditions. These AIDS-defining conditions are a range of infections, cancers and illnesses that can occur due to advanced stages of HIV infection. – Courtesy of healthengine.com.au

In 2001, Ghraham B and many other HIV+ people in South Africa did not have access to Antiretroviral drugs to manage his condition. Instead, Ghraham B used his job as a hairdresser, ballroom dancing lessons with a dance partner, meditation and stress relief techniques in a support group for HIV+ people meeting at a Johannesburg shul. Ghraham B also used alternative remedies for his condition.

In 2020 we have COVID-19. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a virus that we will most likely have a working vaccine for in early 2021. In a time obsessed with COVID-19, we must remember that ARVs have just made AIDS a chronic illness, with ARVs you can expect to have a prolonged life. Before ARVs, this was just not the case…

The first case of HIV infection was in Kinshasa Congo in 1959, as yet there is currently no cure nor vaccine available for HIV.

If you like what you have seen and read here, you can always buy me a $3.00 coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JohnRobinson or PayPal.Me/jrphotographer

 

Fight Club, MMA fighting…

Photos John Robinson

Fight Club, 11 May 2003, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
High kicks and punches smack into bodies as these fighters compete.
The seconds shout instructions to their fighters.
The fancy outfits that clothed their men on that walk from the change rooms count for nought once the fight begins.
Only hard kicks, punches and submissions will stop the other man.
The meek might gain the world, but in here only the hardest man will get the purse.

Coffee & Camera Sessions, Working With Light

The Sensor or Film in the Camera is the Light-Sensitive Surface That We Draw On

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Photo John Robinson

Order coffees

Photography means light drawing or drawing with light. The sensor or film in the camera is the light-sensitive surface that we draw on, it’s like a sheet of paper if you like. The camera is a pencil or pen with which we draw our drawings with light or photographs as they are commonly called. Light is the lead or ink with which we draw.

An underexposed photographic image is a bit like a sheet of paper with only faint lines or marks on it. An overexposed photographic image is a bit like a sheet of paper that is black with lines and marks on it. The trick is to let a combination of light, dark and shades between leave an image on the sensor/film that we call a photograph. 

The photographer controls the ‘marks’ the camera makes on the sensor/film through the ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings on the camera its self. 

As we are drawing with light we set the ISO setting on the camera first. The ISO setting sets the sensitivity of the sensor or the sensitivity of the film we are using to the brightness of the light we are going to work with. It is no use to the photographer if the sensor/film and the light brightness is miss-matched. If the light we are working in is bright daylight an ISO of 100 or 200 is a good point to start. If the light we are working in is general shade or indoors an ISO of 400 or 800 is more inline. If the light that the photographer is working under is low light an ISO of 1600 or 3200 will be more appropriate. 

Have a coffee break now.

By first matching the ISO to the lighting conditions, the photographer will have a fuller range of apertures and shutter speeds on the camera at hand to work with. 

Aperture or f stops and shutter speeds work in tandem, they work together. For example, A photographer is working in the general shade at 400 ISO at f4 and shutter speed of 1/60 of a second and is getting a good exposure. The photographer can change to f5.6 and 1/30, by increasing the aperture by a stop and decreasing the speed of the shutter. The photographer will still get a good exposure but increase the depth of field and with the decrease of shutter speed will gain more movement in the photograph. 

In a second example, the photographer could have changed from f4 and 1/60 by a stop to f2.8 and 1/125 and again get a good exposure but this time decrease the depth of field but increase the freezing of movement in the resulting photograph.

By understanding how ISO, aperture and shutter speed work together, the photographer is in a position of strength and can make a well-exposed picture with more of the depth of field and ‘movement’ aspects in mind. To know more about quality photography, I am at your service.

If you like what you read here you can always buy me a $3.00 coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JohnRobinson or PayPal.Me/jrphotographer

Visiting Mom

Images Of an Old Lady At the End of Her Life and a Girl Who Is Starting Out on Life

Photos John Robinson

At the time when my mother’s independence failed her, my daughter Erin’s (1) was just developing. These seven images are aspects of an interaction between an old lady at the end of her life and a little girl who is only starting on her life. We are all somewhere between these two points. These images were taken during family visits to the frail care centre where my mother spent the last few months of her life on this earth.

My mother Lin Robinson had an Astrocytoma grade 4 tumour removed from her brain, after the operation, the surgeon said to my dad and I that mom had 3 to 6 months to live. Lin Robinson went on to live another 10 years or so. After one more operation, my mom opted to have no more surgery done in her head. The last years of her life were quieting ones, there were the visible effects of brain surgery and the invisible ones too to be detoured around by the whole family.

My dad cared for mom at their home until the point came where mom had to be cared for in a frail care centre. Lin Robinson always liked to walk around in the garden with her husband holding the flowers that he grew for her. She died in a room with a wheelchair beside her bed and had to rely on my dad to get food into her mouth. The last time I saw her alive she knew that I was taking pictures and she smiled at me, it was too late for words.

I feel that my mother just got tired of what is, my father and mother were people of great faith and she wanted to move into the great beyond.

That night I drove home under a starlit night after taking the last photograph of my father’s hand and my mother’s now dead face.

 

Camera & Coffee Sessions, Depth of Field and Capturing Movement

Depth of Field and Capturing Movement are Byproducts of Aperture and Shutter Speed

MOUNTAIN RISE GRAVE YARD - GRASS CUTTER II
A worker pauses from clearing graves for a smoke.

Photo John Robinson

Order coffees.

A photograph is an aspect of a moment in time. Through the found control of the camera’s aperture, shutter speed and ISO as learned in the Camera & Coffee photographic basics session we can now emphasize a photographic plane through the depth of field and capture a sense of movement in a static photograph. Depth of field and capturing movement are byproducts of the skilful use of aperture and shutter speed in photography.

Depth of field in photography is connected directly to the f stop of the camera’s lens. An f stop of f2 will give a much shallower depth of field then an f stop of f16 on any lens. A wide-angle lens set at f2 will have a deeper depth of field than a telephoto lens set at f2. The closer the focused subject is to the lens the shallower the depth of field is across the range of f stops of that particular lens from the widest f stop to the narrowest f stop.

The depth of field of a photograph aids in where you the photographer want the eyes of the reader of your photograph to visually settle.
A photograph with a very shallow depth of field could have the eyes of your subject in focus but the ears and the background and most of the foreground out of focus. This makes the eyes of the subject the primary focus of this photograph.

A picture with a very deep depth of field could have the eyes of your subject in primary focus plus most of the background and foreground in acceptable focus too, giving the subject context by including more in focus detail of the environment to this second photograph.

The photograph is a framed static moment in time. Skilful use of shutter speeds can make a photograph have a sense of movement too.
The sense of movement in photography is directly linked to the shutter speed in the camera body. Slow shutter speed will record more of the ‘travel’ of the movement while a fast shutter speed will more likely freeze the movement of the subject in front of the photographer and camera at the time.

There is a lot of fun to be had with cameras and movement. There is more than one way to record movement with photography.

The recording of movement is dependent on shutter speed, the speed of the movement and the direction of the movement concerning the position of the camera.

Slow shutter speed will blur movement a faster shutter speed will reduce the blur and fast shutter speed can virtually freeze a moving object.
As an example, I am going to photograph a person riding a bicycle past people on the pavement and cars on a road. The shutter speeds I will use are 15 or 1/15 of a second, 60 or 1/60 of a second and 125 or 1/125 of a second. I will first position my camera so the person riding the bicycle will go from my left to my right.

At 15 or 1/15 of a second, the motion of the bicyclist will be accentuated, there is a broad blur across the frame. In the photograph at a shutter speed of 60 or 1/60 of a second, my person on the bicycle is more distinct with some blur to show the movement of the bicycle to my right. 125 or 1/125 of a second makes the person on the bicycle distinct with little or no blur at all, while the car driving along beside the bicycle is still somewhat blurred in this third picture. In the first picture at 1/15 of a second, some of the people standing on the pavement have no blur at all while the bicycle has a broad brush of blur.

In my second camera position, I want the bicyclist to travel directly to me and my camera. In all three shutter speeds, the blur will be minimal, in photography, it matters how much the subject travels across the sensor or film plane and not towards the camera.

The aperture and shutter speed work together not only to produce a well-exposed photograph but can also produce interest with a combination of depth of field and the capture of movement.

I am outside in late afternoon light with my camera and take a light reading, at ISO 400 an aperture of f11 and shutter speed of 1/25 gives me a well-exposed picture. This combination also gives me with my camera a tripod a deep depth of field with a lot of blur in movement. Or with staying with an ISO of 400 I can move my aperture to f5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/125 of a second, I still have a well-exposed picture. Now, this combination allows my camera to come off the tripod at a shutter speed of 1/125 of a second and reasonable capture of fast movement.

And finally, in this set of options I stick again with a 400 ISO and as I wind down the shutter speed to 1/1000 of a second I in an equal measure I open up the aperture to f2 which is the widest in my system camera setup. With this option, I freeze the movement but depth of field wise the focus is now really only on what I have focused the lens on.
If you shorten the time the shutter is open you have to compensate by opening up the aperture in an equal measure.

Finish the coffees and take a breath…

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Photography a Middle Brow Art

MOUNTAIN RISE GRAVE YARD - GRASS CUTTER II
A Worker Pauses From Clearing Graves For a Smoke.

As JP Sudre States in Photography A Middle-Brow Art. “The Subject That I Photograph is Ephemeral.

Photography alone captures a precise moment, which disappears and which cannot be brought back to life, hence my distress and also the essential originality of my profession. What could be more transient then a facial expression? Within these words of Sudre lies the importance of the cameras we as photographers use. Alongside the importance of the ephemeral moments that photography alone can capture, revisting the technology inherent in the camera systems that we use, as photographers trying to capture these moments, is of great importance too. I as a photographer use a ‘M6 rangefinder camera for important personal projects when possible.