Birmingham is one of the largest and most racially diverse cities in the country.
Each year it hosts the Frankfurt / German Market and it’s visitors increase greatly over this Christmas period.
What we perhaps don’t see are the number of homeless people tucked away…I say tucked but that is perhaps inaccurate as they are in plain sight – just ignored by the majority of passers.
Their are many reasons why these people find themselves living on the streets, some due to an unfortunate set of circumstances leading them to a place they never expected , others cannot hope with the confines of buildings and find a certain comfort in the lack of restrictions. Who are we to judge? Sadly there are also the organised gangs that professionally beg….the ones who arrive an hour or so before the early morning commuters to set up their little sleeping bags to give the pretence of being there all night. Perhaps these are the worst, they are preying of the real street people – next time before parting with goodwill, have a talk to them… find out their story and make sure you are actually making the difference you believe you are.
Charli had been sponsored in the Miss Every Model competition by i-want-that-dress.com. She asked me to shoot some promo pictures for both her and their use and as Charli is a total pleasure to work with I agreed.
We used Spencer Park in Coventrys’ Earlsdon area, and whilst the sky was a glorious blue it was bitterly cold. I had of course read the weather forecast and was wearing my shirt to bask in the promised 15 degrees of heat…..note for future – do not trust BBC weather forecast!!
Black and white gives drama with the clouds menacing in contrast to the carefree image portrayed by Charli
On a bitterly cold February I was fortunate enough to spend a day with the lovely Jeanine who is an Argentinian fashion model who was visiting for a few days. I think the bitter cold was a surprise even though she was studying in Switzerland at the moment!!
Once many years ago I had a lens and it’s name was 50. It was a very groovy guy and cost me £50 for a 50mm lens. It was made of plastic but had an aperture of f1.8. It was known as the nifty fifty.
Then one day as it sat on its shelf it looked longingly at the world beyond and stepped hesitantly into the abyss betwixt shelf and floor….fleetingly it caressed my hand before landing with a sickening thud onto the carpet. Its front and rear elements went in separate directions and alas it was a lens no more…
Recently I decided that perhaps it was time to replace that little workhorse and had a look at the various offerings. Canon were now selling the 1.8 for around £90 which for such a sharp lens is pretty affordable.
Sigma also sold a contender but a little voice in the back of my head whispered f1.4….
Canon sold this for around £350 and researching it told me that it was a very good lens for the money, however Sigma also offered the same lens but around £370 or so…decisions decisions…
I was able to sweet talk Sigma into lending me the lens for a few days and so spent this lunch time wandering the arctic temperatures of Birmingham.
This was to be a scientific test so I ensured that I didn’t have a tripod with me and had made no forward plans.
I wasnt interested in how good it was in a controlled enviroment, I wanted to know how good it would be in the real world.
I also tried shooting buildings with lots of hidden detail, for example on this picture I saw the vapour trail from the plane but only when editing did I see the bird flying high over the roofline.
So far the little Sigma lens is performing remarkably well. It also comes with a little petal hood, not sure how much use this would be in reality as it is quite small – but it is not offered with the Canon version…
As a totally unscientific test I wanted to catch some lens flare, I was interested in the way it presented itself across the lens. I think you will agree that it is quite pleasant?
So after a couple of hours play what did I think?
Beautifully sharp lens, cute lens hood AND has a 77mm front element – which matches the filters I already own…
Its about £30 more than the Canon equivalent but I would probably spend that on a new filter for it….it also has the lens hood…
Dear Sigma I appear to have misplaced your lens……I think I may be raiding the piggy bank!!!