As a London wedding photographer, it was great to escape the innards of the M25 yesterday and head out to Oxford for a stroll and a bit of street photography in between the crazy weather we’re having in this April. Warm sunshine one minute, then sudden cold weather with lashing showers sometimes accompanied by hail during the next 10 minutes, all to be repeated multiple times each day! I lived in Oxford for two years about a decade ago and have fond memories of it for sure. Besides for the magnificent and very picturesque colleges, there is a famous old cafe which is the site of England’s first coffee shop many hundreds of years ago. It is called the Grand Cafe, on High Street, and unfortunately it was busy as usual so we couldn’t get a seat. In desperate need of a cup of coffee we headed to the nearby Quod Brasserie just a few doors down. After two cups of the best coffee I’ve had in years and an abatement in the April showers, I decided it would be nice to get a good shot of the Grand Cafe.
Instead of a boring view of the cafe, I decided to mix it up with another of Oxford’s famous characteristics, the cyclists. Having a cyclist in the frame, riding past the Grand Cafe would be great, but to add more interest I decided to slow down my shutter speed to create a sense of motion. All I had with me was my Canon 5D Mk ii with the excellent Sigma 50mm F1.4 attached to it. Dodging into the middle of the road in between the traffic I framed the grand cafe and then waited for a cyclist to come riding past. The shot below is the end result and the exif info is as follows:
ISO 50, F5.6, 1/30th. As my ISO was lowered to the minimum possible level, I increased the aperture until I arrived at a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second. This is slow enough to be just about manageable to keep the Grand Cafe crisp but to blur the moving cyclist. If I wanted to freeze the cyclist I guess I would have required a shutter speed of around 1/2000th of a second, so my final camera settings were perfect for capturing the sense of motion in front of the famous old cafe.
I am looking forward to the wedding I will be photographing in Oxford later this year!