Olly Headey Photography

Captured Issue #01: January 2024

Welcome to the first episode of Captured. A monthly email newsletter about street photography. This issue will also be available on the web because, well, I have very few email subscribers right now and I can use this link to encourage people to subscribe. Maybe you could help me out by forwarding it on to people and recommending they subscribe to Captured too? 😇

I’ve heard photographers complain about the winter months in Edinburgh. Of being uninspired by the weather, that relentless onslaught of grey. There is a lot of dreich grey, sure, but it’s not every day and when the clouds finally clear, that low light in the winter months can be something else at 56 degrees north.

I don’t necessarily avoid the grey days (only the wet ones), but I prefer to chase the light. If the sun is forecast, I’m game.

As time goes by I’ve been lucky to able to get out more with the camera. Not every outing is a success in terms of getting photos I’m pleased with, but the act of going for a wander around the city is enough of a dopamine hit and stress-buster for me. If I was a Leica-toting millennial photography YouTuber I’d be calling this “enjoying the process”, but I’m not so I won’t despite it being true.

My photos from January 2024

A lot of what you’ll read in the photography world is about “finding your style” and sticking to it. We’re told you won’t get a following on social media if your feed is full of haphazard images. Maybe, probably, but fortunately “building an audience” isn’t the main driver for me. I just want to get better at taking photos. I won’t deny it’s a pleasure when people say nice things about them, of course.

I can’t help but think about this style thing though. Do I have one? If so, what is it? Maybe you’re in a similar boat. Looking through my photo library it’s hard to say, unless “haphazard” is a thing (I actually like this – “haphazard photographer” ™). There’s certainly a theme of solitude in my work – framing single characters in scenes – and I like to use them to highlight the scale of the architecture around them. Not exactly a style, but maybe a theme now and again.

Basically though, I just like the way they look.

Here are some photos I took this month following this theme, and there are plenty more in my Instagram feed. The first one was particularly popular, and it’s definitely one of my recent favourites. The light was just beautiful that morning. If I had to pick a favourite photo from the last few months, this would be it.

January 2024 Photo 1 January 2024 Photo 2 January 2024 Photo 3

I’m not consistent with black and white versus colour either. Some photographers go all in with one, but I just prefer to use whichever feels right, or whichever matches the mood I’m in that day. I always shoot in RAW and it’s easy to flip between colour profiles in Lightroom. I have to say though, I’m increasingly intrigued by the Leica M11 Monochrom but that’s probably because I love absolutely everything about Alan Schaller’s work (including his new YouTube channel).

Here are three more photos from this month with the same theme, but in monochrome this time. Something about highlighting the scale of architecture really grabs me. Maybe that’s my thing.

January 2024 Photo 4 January 2024 Photo 5 January 2024 Photo 6

As well as the solitude/architecture vibe, I’m interested in street portraits, both the covert and the overt. It’s clearly easier to approach this covertly by taking surreptitious photos of people, but I do kinda feel bad and creepy about this at times. Below are some I took on Leith Walk this past weekend, all in monochrome. The first two I think are ok, not too creepy. The third one is rubbish, and the final one is an overt shot where I asked the guy if I could take his portrait. It’s not going to win any awards, but it starts a street portrait journey. I took one of his Scottish Socialist Party flyers as a thank you.

It’s definitely something I want to explore more this year. Street portraits that is, not the Scottish Socialist Party.

January 2024 Photo 7 January 2024 Photo 8 January 2024 Photo 9 January 2024 Photo 10

A quick photowalk timelapse video hack

I went on a photo walk last weekend and took around 250 images (I use burst mode quite a lot). I was flicking through them on the back of my Fujifilm camera and I thought the speed of it cycling through the images looked pretty cool, like a timelapse.

Rather than spend hours trying to edit the photos into a movie, I just used my phone to video the back of the camera. I really like how it looks! It’s a nice way to remember the day, so I’ll try doing this more often.

Check it out on Instagram.

Reading matter

A couple of things I’ve been reading this month which are worth sharing.

Some Instagram accounts I’ve enjoyed this month.

Listen Up

Colouring - Wake cover

Colouring - Wake

I often listen to music when I’m out shooting. This month, Wake by Colouring has been on heavy rotation. It’s a couple of years old (a new album drops next month) but it has a timeless sound to it. A perfect soundtrack to those winter wanders.

And with that, I’m out until next month. Please let me know if you found this interesting, and please do suggest future content ideas or your own recommendations. I love to hear about this stuff!

Finally, if you know someone who you think would like Captured, please let them know! ✨