With 5 days to take 2 strangers’ photos to keep to my grand plan I was in no hurry and indeed was heading back to my office quite content at not having got my camera out, quite simply not a single person interested my today … then I spotted Umar looking quite cool in the distance. He was sporting a pair of white Oakley sunglasses that even from behind with only the odd glimpse still smacked of style and confidence. His brisk walk took a fair amount of overhauling, but I made it and my request was greeted with an instant "yes" with no explanation required but nonetheless given ;).
I asked if he would mind crossing the road as the curve of the street would work better on the other side to provide lead in lines but ultimately these gave way to light issues as I struggled to get any light onto his face. I shot both up and down the street but with no direct sunlight at this exact point, the results were similar and disappointing so in the middle of May I dug out my speedlight, slapped on my Pocket Wizards, took a test shot and was really pleased to see the flash fire with no hassles at all. Oh, this is getting interesting commented Umar and his smile broadened even more than previously so I took a few fairly quickly before the novelty wore off – I remembered to hold the flash lofted as high as I could manage and I switched to manual with 1/250 dialed in so I was pretty pleased with my technical approach at the time.
I was slightly less pleased when I got home though and realised that I had failed to spot flash sync issues yet again and my camera’s meter would have been screaming overexposure at me had I checked – nonetheless it also became clear that the early shots were much better than they first looked on my camera’s LCD. The main shot that I have posted after all that faffing is one of the earlier natural shots but I have to include below one of the flash shots just to show the fun side of Umar ;).
Talking of whom … so, who is Umar?
Well, Umar runs a small start-up business with 5 others bringing together technology and hospitality and when I asked how specifically those two areas fit together he replied that that was the point – their business is about using technology to deliver hospitality. Specifically mobile technology, end to end from offering through bookings to payment. Good luck with that Umar & co … mobile technology is an exciting avenue that has yet to deliver its full potential so plenty of opportunities for the visionaries of the world.
Outside work Umar’s interest lies in music but rather than just listening to it, Umar writes his own stuff – describing it as "lounge". I don’t really know what that means so perhaps I should have asked who his likes and influences were.
I also learned, via a chance question about being photographed, that he has done some modelling in his time – some TV work (Barker & Stonehouse in 2009) plus advertising carpets, beer and rum for Bundy’s – a huge Australian company that for some reason decide to shoot commercials in the UK.
The last thing that I learned about Umar is that he has just booked a holiday to Zanzibar but doesn’t know where he will be staying or who he will meet – mad!
Umar it was a pleasure to meet you today and thank you very much for your time and patience. I hope you have a great time on your holiday and everything works out smoothly. Good luck with your business.
Please feel free to provide constructive critique on the technical aspects of this photograph.
This picture is #98 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page