Strand Arcade is a small (by today’s standard) shopping mall, if you can call it that. It was built in the 1890’s and was refurbished in the 1980’s or 1990’s. It has 3 floors with a simple corridor and 1 row of shops on either side. You can walk through it in about 3 minutes. The shops are small. The ones on the upper levels are about 5m x 5m each. The ones on the ground floor are even smaller. It still retains its orignal features of sorts – brightly lacquered dark wood panels and an old tight iron lift that takes forever to go up 3 flights. Its tenants are mostly boutique fashion and some cafes. The roof is made of glass so natural light falls right through. I choose to go through this arcade whenever I can because of these features, even though I am not the sort of clientele for the shops (except for JB Hi Fi which sells cds, dvds and other electronics). Because of the glass roof, you cannot never be sure of the what sort of lighting it will be. You just have to leave it to the natural environments – so different to your enclosed modern malls.
I seriously hope it doesn’t get sold. If it does, the developer will simply keep the outside fascade and build some concrete offices on top of it.
From time to time, they dress it up. At the moment, they have various fashion photos hung up all around. I chose this occasion to try out HDR with the Fuji X100 handheld. It can only do +/-1 exposures but I think the inside atmosphere is more than enough for this setting. Being such a small camera also allowed slower speed. I think the fastest was 1/30th. All photos were taken at f5.6. ISO was between 800 and 2000. The negative I found was the write speed. I had a 20mb/s transfer sd card and found the 3 raw file writing was a little long for my patience. So this gave me the impetus to upgrade to a 95mb/s sd card as an early Christmas present. It was alot faster but you’d still have to wait about 10 secs for the writing.
Just as a test I took some photos with the Cannon 5D Mk II. I had to slow down the speed to 1/100. Exposures were +/-2. ISO was 800. Handheld as well. I think the x100 can give the 5D a run for its money.