At the same time, I’m aware that by just focusing on trees, dogs and people who don’t know I’m photographing them, I am sitting slap bang in the middle of my comfort zone. So I had a think about what, IMO, are the key things that makeup East Sheen, SW14 and I came up with a list:
- Coffee shops – you are never more than two minutes away from a flat white;
- Hairdressers – ditto balayage;
- Indie interior shops – ditto distressed furniture in neutral tones of Annie Sloan chalk paint.
- Estate agents – ditto shiny-suited chaps called Christian.
And so I decided that, along with dog-fest, I will also hit the coffee shops of Sheen as it will force me to interact with other human beings. I am, despite how I might come across, pretty shy. I do not like making a spectacle of myself in front of strangers; I’m fine if I know what I am doing and am confident in my abilities, but as I am still a camera newbie, the chances of things going tits up are high. Wielding a camera in public is something I have to get used to, though, so forcing myself to get out and about in this way will hopefully knock out some of the awkwardness I feel. Plus, I have to keep reminding myself that nobody apart from me can see what I am seeing – so no-one else will know that I have completely ballsed up the exposure on those first few shots, left the auto-stabiliser on to begin with while using the tripod, etc etc. If I can only just remember to take the lens cap off I will be fine.
11 Coffee & Co is relatively new to the Sheen Coffee scene, so this was my first visit. It won’t be my last: food, coffee, staff, ambience – they’re all fab. Plus, it’s got loads to photograph, including enough mouth-watering cakes to fill a Great British Bake Off episode. The lovely owner has said I can come back to take pics as many times as I want, so I will go armed with my tripod and release forms next time as I reckon it will be perfect for some long-exposure shots, too. At the same time as we are welcoming new shops, so Sheen is being abandoned by others. Gails for one. So I’ve included a shot of where I used to get my caffeine fix, too. In Black & White. As it is quite sad looking.
Less sad is the walk home via Model Cottages. My favourite SW14 cut-through; the gardens are always immaculate and it is beautiful at any time of year. I think I’ll probably work on a set of MC images, too. Not least because it gives ample opportunity to a) play around with exposure times as there are always people passing by and b) experiment with depth of field and work on my bokeh technique. And there’s a word that I didn’t have a clue even existed until a few months ago.
Health & Safety protocol was observed at all times.
Learning objectives: 1.1; 1.2; 1.3; 1.4.