St George’s Market, Belfast.

Rainy Day Photography

Saturday 9th September 2019 – the morning was wet, for heavy rain has been lashing the British Isles, causing flooding.  Thankfully Northern Ireland has been spared the worst effects, unlike parts of England, where flooding has ruined homes and even led to loss of life.  It’s too wet to go out on the streets, but I had a sort of a back-up plan.  In Belfast is an old Victorian Covered Market, ‘St George’s Market’ (built in the 1890s)  – and I thought a visit might bring one or two photo opportunities.

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I liked this image.  It was captured in RAW and converted to monochrome, the combined with the original colour image. The metal girders are converging on the sign, while to two people in monochrome are like bookends, giving the photograph a sense of completeness.  It’s interesting that the woman on the left is pointing at the sign.

The market has changed a lot over the years.  When I was a boy, back in the 1960s I would have visited the market with my grandmother, when it was a place to buy vegetables, fish and other fresh produce, and a smattering of cheap fancy goods stalls. But now with investment from Belfast City Council, the market is a tourist attraction, a place to drinks coffee and eat, to buy art, to sample artisan foods and confectionery, to seek out unique gifts, – and to listen to guest musicians and artists who perform in the central space – if you can get through the crowds of visitors from the cruise liners.

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The centre of the market is now a table area, where buyers at the many artisan food stalls can relax and enjoy the fine food that they have bought.

No cruise ships in Belfast on this rainy day though, and not too many people in the market.  I was surprised though to see that some of the stalls had ‘No Photography. signs, which struck me as strange for a tourist attraction.  The law is on the photographer’s side, for a public view in a public place doesn’t belong to anyone and can’t be copyrighted, but as aways, the best thing to do is to respect people’s wishes.

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Shot on the Fujifilm X-T30, in Neopan Acros Film Simulation, these two girls were admiring the gifts on this Irish souvenir stall.

Like all modern markets catering for tourism and more, St George’s has a variety of stalls and vendors, selling all manner of bric-a-brac, giftware, crafts and haberdashery.  With well packed stalls, it’s a good place to get out of the rain and into a historic setting with lots of human interest.

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The market was awarded BEST LARGE MARKET  in the 2019 NABMA Great British Market Awards.

In the market, I carried the small but powerful Fujifilm X-T30, with ISO1600 selected for most of the images, and a shutter speed of 1/125th sec (with people movement, I didn’t want to go any slower).  It meant that most of the mages needed a wide aperture, around f/3.5.  As is my usual practice on the streets, I shot in Fujifilm Neopan Acros Film Simulation mode (black and white) with back-up files in RAW.