The Travelling Canon AF35 Project - Custodian #4 - Rob Edgerley

The humble Canon AF35 Sprint continues it's world trip, delivering photographic enlightenment and frustration to each of its custodians and I hope you'll agree, creating some pretty passable images in their hands.

So, to introduce custodian number four; Rob Edgerley. I count Rob as a friend, although we have never met IRL! His street photography has a strong visual style and he's consistent with it; all killer, no filler. 

You can see a selection of his fantastic work here on his website and follow him on Instagram here.

You would probably forgive me for being jealous of Rob's ability with a camera; his transformation from a keen hobbyist to burgeoning street photography master has been rapid and really enjoyable to witness; keep up the good work Rob!

In my opinion he's one to watch for the future and his story of using the thrillingly mundane Canon AF35 Sprint is below.

Rob Edgerley

Rob Edgerley

Well, that was fun! I must admit though, it’s also a huge relief, as my first attempt at capturing three worthy images ended in total disaster. Read below to find out why, but first I will introduce myself a little.

I’m an ASIC design engineer living and working in Switzerland with a passion for photography. Growing up in an increasingly digital world, my only exposure to photography has thus been purely digital. My first camera was a Canon 7D, so the idea of taking a £1 camera out for a spin was daunting to say the least. What if I discover that I am only capable of taking a ‘good’ photograph with multiple attempts? What if I fail?. With this camera, I had nothing to bench mark against and the only things I had control of were composition, focus and when the shutter was released. A good image then, is almost purely about the photographer. Gulp.

Our journey started in Asia, where I endeavoured to capture the beautiful scenery and more importantly, the wonderfully vibrant colours that are so synonymous of this stunning part of the world. Well, erm, turned out I was shooting in B&W all along, which I only discovered after the images were developed. But that really didn’t matter anyway, as I knew already that it was unlikely I would have a single image to submit.

After shooting just a couple of images per day for the three and a half weeks we were there, my film and our time in Asia was almost spent. I was saving a few shots on the film for the last day, where we’d planned to take a walk through the thousands of red Japanese gates marking the path to the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine in Kyoto. The sun was high, and there were tons of people making their way up to the shrine. I wanted a single shot of the gates, without hundreds of tourists blocking the view, and I got lucky. Despite the numbers, I somehow spotted a break in the crowds up ahead, just enough for me to grab my shot. With the camera hanging around my neck, I ran. Literally ran, and to my horror, mid sprint, the camera back flew wide open exposing my film to the bright sunlight. I quickly closed it but it was too late. I thought perhaps I’d get away with a few images still intact, but alas, all images in the set were either completely or partially exposed. Here are two images in the set which show the extent of the damage.

The thing that caught my eye with these images was colour. The bike was vibrant orange
and the trees a whole range of beautiful autumn colours. Not to easy to tell in monotone,

With the second attempt, I was certain not let that happen again so I taped the back of the camera shut with gaffer-tape - which I repeated for the next custodian. My original idea was to load another black and white film, but the shop didn’t have any in stock, so I went with whatever the lady in the shop recommended there and then. Honestly I hadn’t a clue either way, so it didn’t make much difference.

All images below were taken in Bern, Switzerland, over a few days and have had the following minor post processing steps done to them. A contrast boost, very very slight colour correction (towards blue) to one or two image, noise reduction and then sharpened for web at export. I just love the tones straight out of the camera, though. Just one or two were a little too warm for my liking.

The first image was taken at the rear entrance to the train station. I’ve taken an image or two here before, as I love the way the light hits the steps. It’s the first time I’d gone for this composition though, and I particularly like the way the steps help lead the eye to the left of the image.

The thing that caught my eye with the second image was the shadow cast by the people crossing the road. The sun was quite low early afternoon which usually makes for an interesting shadow, somewhere. I realise if I’d been able to review this image immediately, I would have taken it again and have my subject just entering the crossing. This is the beauty and skill of analog photography though.

Again it was a the shadow that caught my eye with my third image. A bit of growth behind a cordoned-off section of the parliament building, which is currently undergoing some partial renovation work. Simple yet intriguing and those tones!

This is my fourth and favourite shot out of the set. I was wandering around the parliament building when I spotted this guy out the back. A traveller taking time out to have a smoke out of the ice cold wind and with the setting sun on his face. I walked passed and we exchanged a glance. I was immediately thinking ‘I want a shot of him’ and with the camera in my hand, he knew I was about to ask. I approached cautiously, with a smile and a racing heart. I told him the story behind the travelling camera (in German) and he reservedly agreed to the shot. I thanked him and left absolutely buzzing. I knew, if all other shots failed, I’d at least have one I could be proud of, if I’d judged the lighting and composition correctly that was.

The next image is again taken at the train station. It’s a new office building with a few shops and restaurants on the lower levels. I quite like the perspective and also the numbers displayed in the windows, a huge advent calender, thus marking the time of year the shot was taken. I was also really curious how the AF35 would handle this shot. It was very bright and I wondered if it would would warp the perspective at all. It didn’t and the AF35 performed admirably in these conditions.

My final image is again a favourite of mine and more towards my preferred style of photography. Again the AF35 performed exceptionally well in these conditions. I really didn’t expect this one to work as well as it did. My idea was to time the step of the guy crossing the road with the statue. I was a fraction too eager, but I’m still very happy with the shot.

To conclude then, I learned that, although I pressed the trigger each time with a great deal of caution and reserve, I can submit these images with certain amount of confidence that I indeed do know how to take a photograph, and don’t need to immediately review or to have multiple attempts at an image for it to be considered ‘good’. I learned to trust my eye and my ability.

Read more in the Travelling Canon AF35 Porject series:

See the first post here.

Custodian #1 - Gavin Wares.

Custodian #2 - Dimitri Hon.

Custodian #3 - Hamish Gill.

Are you interested in getting involved? If so please get in touch!