ANNIVERSARY – FATMAN PHOTOS IS EIGHT – PLUS SOME PICTURES FROM KENYA

 

 

Maasai woman

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Well, FATman Photos is eight years old, and once more I marvel at its longevity.  I read that photo blogging is addictive, and think this quite possibly true.  What is certainly true is that I find blogging a wonderful source of creativity and self-expression and a vast motivation for my photography – and that I enjoy the contact with “all of you out there” very much.  As always, thank you for looking at my blog, for adding Likes and making Comments – all of which are responded to.

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And news?  Well, two things to mention.  First, I’ve taken to carrying the diminutive Olympus TOUGH TG-5 camera with me on my long, relaxing and (hopefully!) waistline-reducing walks around south Bristol – and so to the Outer Suburbs project, which now has over a hundred posts – there is a recent summary of this project here .

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And second – and perhaps at the other end of the camera/photography spectrum – I’ve started using one of Nikon’s new full-frame, mirrorless cameras, the Z 6, which is a joy to use, and which certainly looks promising.  More details here .

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Long ago, I lived in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, for 12 years.  I started off lecturing at the University of Nairobi, and then went into tourism, leading bird and general wildlife safaris.  To say that I liked both Kenya and its people, and enjoyed the life there, is vast understatement.  I’ve been back in the UK for 30 years now, but those 12 years in Kenya have undoubtedly affected me, they have given me different ways of looking at and thinking about many things.  I don’t think I was “mainstream” to start with (well, ok, the word on the street might have been that I was getting towards being a complete wacko … 😉 ), but my time in Kenya added other things, and I’ve never really totally fitted in back here >>> and I’m grateful for that.  Its both pointless and intriguing to think how I might have turned out if, rather than going to Kenya, I’d stayed in the UK and “settled down” …

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So, here are 12 pictures from Kenya, all of which have been posted before – all are colour slides (transparencies – remember them?) that I scanned into digital sometime back; mostly Agfa CT18 slide film, that could be bought and processed in Nairobi; most of these pictures were taken with a simply wonderful and beautiful Olympus OM-1 camera, and others with the more automated OM-2, both with Olympus’s small, excellent Zuiko lenses – and both dearly loved, classic cameras which – old and mouldy now – I still possess.

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I hope you will like these pictures.  Thank you again for looking at FATman Photos.

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Adrian

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Tsavo West National Park
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Gecko with prey – several of these lived in my flat in Nairobi: I lived a simple life, with no phone or TV, and one of my enduring and very fond memories is of sitting quietly at home with a book in the evenings, and hearing these little lizards chattering back and fore to each other from the walls on either side of my living room.

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Lion asleep on a track in Maasai Mara

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Shaft of sunlight in Amboseli Game Reserve, with the dark slopes of Kilimanjaro as a backdrop

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Rocky semidesert in northern Kenya: the woman is leading the camels, each of which is loaded with baggage and tied to the animal in front

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The huge skies which I miss so very much, and which I find some memory of when out on the Tealham and Tadham Moors, on the Somerset Levels

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Luo farmers in Kenya’s far west

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Settlement in Kenya’s bleak – and vastly attractive – northern deserts; note the rough thornbush fences around each dwelling, to keep the stock animals safe at night; on the horizon is the great volcanic massif of Mt Marsabit, and every hill in this landscape is volcanic in origin; I’d picked up a liking for such empty vastnesses some years before, in Oman

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Storm over Lake Nakuru, in the rift valley; flamingos in the foreground, and more of them, and pelicans too, in flight further away

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Sunrise at Lake Nakuru: cormorants (some with their wings spread out to dry) and a great scrum of pelicans; and bare trees, killed by this soda lake’s alkaline waters

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ANNIVERSARY – FATMAN PHOTOS IS SEVEN

 

 


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Seven years of FATman Photos.  Once again, WOW!!! >>> where has all the time gone???!  But I like to mark these mileposts – if only to marvel at the fact that I’ve reached them!

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What to talk about?  Well, first thing, as always, thank you very much for looking at this blog over the past year.  I’m grateful for your Likes and the Comments – its always good to be in touch with you all.

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News?  Well, not a lot really.  On the hardware side, having gone mirrorless with the very good X-T1 and (especially the) X-T2 the year before, I’ve now acquired an Olympus TOUGH TG-5 camera – waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, crushproof, you name it – but I’ve yet to realise its full potential >>> ha ha! which translates into >>> I’ve yet to hurl myself out into the rush hour on an early morning of pouring rain, freezing temperatures and howling wind, to try it out!  And I’m also not fully at one with its lack of a viewfinder and an articulated screen but, well – time will tell!

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And speaking of the morning rush hour, thank you for the good things said about the Going To Work series which, again to my surprise, continues onwards.

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Enough rambling from me – here are some pictures.  Although certainly not a motoring enthusiast, boy racer (except in my dreams …) or petrolhead, I enjoy looking at cars, looking at their shapes and how light plays on them, looking at them in various situations.  Here are a few pictures, many taken some years back – as usual, clicking onto them once or twice will enlarge them.  I hope you enjoy them – thank you again.

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Adrian

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ANNIVERSARY – FATMAN PHOTOS IS SIX

 

 

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Another year has passed.  Quite where it has passed I’m not sure.  Retirement and (ever!) increasing age are seeming to make Life roar by at an ever increasing pace – but that’s fine by me!  If that’s how it is, that’s how it is, and I’m certainly not going to waste my time consciously trying to buck the trend!

And so to another year of FATman Photos, six years in all, which I find quite astonishing.  But, I do it and, very much, I enjoy doing it.  On the creative side, I enjoy the photography – and have no doubt that producing this blog acts as a substantial boost to my endeavours.  And I enjoy all of the writing that goes into the posts too.

And, equally so, I very much enjoy the contact with you all – it is so good communicating with like minds all over the planet!  I’m grateful when you Like my images, that’s always encouraging – but most of all its good to receive Comments from you, I very much value hearing your thoughts and views – and please be assured that ALL viewpoints, negative as well as positive, will be entertained.  THANK YOU ALL, VERY MUCH, FOR YOUR INPUT!

(here are portraits, pictures of faces, in black and white; they can be opened in separate windows by clicking into them; and the title links under them will take you to the actual posts)

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Great Grey Owl portrait

Great Grey Owl

These past 12 months have been notable for two photographic initiatives.  First, last May, I followed my heart rather than my wallet and bought a mirrorless camera, the Fujifilm X-T1, and a zoom lens.  I have been, as you may know, an out and out full-frame Nikon user, and so this purchase was quite a step.  And on the back of that, I then needed software to process the X-T1’s Raw files, and so to subscribing to Adobe Lightroom.  Finally, I’ve added another Fuji zoom, and recently their X-T2 camera.  And, in summary, I have to say that all of these (not inexpensive!) moves have worked out very well indeed.  I find the X-T cameras wonderful photographic tools for most situations, and I do think that they have given my photography something of a lift.

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This man is photographing you!

Selfie

And the second initiative has been the taking of early morning buses into Bristol, to photograph morning in the city and, in particular, the morning rush hour.  And this initiative has been significantly helped by the X-Ts’ smaller size and greater portability than the Nikons and, I do think, by people feeling more at ease – less threatened – by being confronted by smaller cameras.  I haven’t really tried to categorise it before, but I suppose this is candid street photography, and certainly a departure for me.  The next thing to think about here, is whether I can summon up the courage to start approaching people in the street, to ask if I can take their picture – most accounts of this hold it to be productive, and far less intimidating than it might initially seem.

HAHAHA!!! >>> and a truly wonderful offshoot of these early morning forays in the city has been the (really quite numerous) visits into various eateries – “to keep my strength up”!  Listen, if you believe that last bit, can I sell you a bridge???  And here I must of course mention Harts Bakery near Temple Meads railway station – the food is extremely tasty, the staff are very pleasant and working their heads off – and I’m simply a total, total fan of the place!

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A young friend

So, to conclude, what has this blog done since 26 April 2011?  Well,  over 2,100 posts, and there have been over 21,200 comments >>> I (virtually always) make it a rule to reply to Comments, even if only to say a simple “Thank you”, so around half of these are my grateful responses.

Thank you again for taking the time to look at my blog.

Adrian

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  Woman from Somalia
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ANNIVERSARY – FATMAN PHOTOS IS FIVE

 

 

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Hard to believe, but FATman Photos has stumbled through half a decade.  I certainly can’t believe it – but then again I must also say that blogging seems now to have been always there, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t doing it.

As always, I’m very grateful to those who take the time to look at my photos – and especially so to those who take the time to comment upon them – THANK YOU ALL!  Your interest and support are very encouraging, and I have not the slightest doubt that your encouragement has pushed me forwards and improved my photography.

A few simple stats.  Since 26 April 2011, this blog has put out 1,818 posts, and there have been 18,342 comments >>> but since I (virtually always) make it a rule to reply to comments, around half of these are my grateful responses.

And the image?  Well its me photographing me, standing beside a metal spiral staircase, reflected in a shop window.  I looked in the window and thought “Who’s that nice old man?”, which just goes to show how first impressions can be misleading … 😉 …..

Thank you again for looking at my blog.

Adrian

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ANNIVERSARY – FATMAN PHOTOS IS FOUR!

 

 

This man is photographing you!

(Image: People 199)

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My first post on this blog was on 26 April 2011, and that seems a very long time ago now.  In fact I seem always to have been blogging, but of course that’s not true.  Well, what to say after four years?  “Unaccustomed as I am to speaking in private ……..”

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First,  THANKS! THANKS! THANKS! to everyone who has looked at, liked or commented upon my pictures –  and especially to those who have chosen to press the “Sign me up” button.  I’m very grateful for your support and good words.   The blogosphere is a big place, starting out in it can be a distinctly lonely experience, and I can very well remember putting out that first, tentative post.  Now, four years down the line, its very good to have good friends and colleagues –  like minded people – around the world.

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Do I have any regrets about starting blogging?  Definitely not.  It can be quite hard work, particularly for those who choose to post frequently and to follow lots of other blogs.  But there is no compulsion.  Everyone is free to do as they please, to do just what suits them – and that is a wonderful state of affairs!

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What do I like most about blogging?  A real priority for me at this time in my life is to use photography and the written word creatively, and a blog is an ideal vehicle for such endeavours.  I have been taking photographs for 55 years or more, but creating images has really been my thing since 2003.  The vast creative potential unleashed by the arrival of good quality digital photography has been a great help – albeit that it took dear old conservative me until 2009 to switch to digital working >>> oh and by the way, that’s definitely conservative with a small “c”!!!   And blogging has provided vast amounts of motivation – without it, I just don’t think I would have had the (at times quite insane) energy and drive.

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As you know, a photograph can be circulated to the world at the touch of a button – and, being old enough to remember life without even a television, I never cease to be amazed at how fast people on the other side of the planet can have opinions on something that I’ve only just posted – it can be a matter of seconds and I find that very impressive indeed.  And, to me, my photography has improved over these past four years: this probably reflects a combination of capturing better images and better understanding how to use processing software.  Re these things, I’m grateful in particular to a 70-300 zoom that is my almost constant companion on photographic sorties, and to a 12-24 zoom that has enabled new outlooks on the world – oh, and to a very quick 105 too, which is just wonderful with people.

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And I very much enjoy writing about my and others’ images, and about photography generally, too – the contact with like minds is a vast stimulant.  Finally, making hard copies of my blog in photo books created on Blurb has proved ideal – and especially so in a world where the future longevity and accessibility of digital images appears increasingly uncertain – for which see this post – put simply, if you really value an image, make a hard copy.

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So, where to from here?  Well, my years are catching up with me a bit and I no longer have quite the energy I once had – I suppose you could say that I’m retired and, sometimes, tired too.   But, I have no forecasts – as usual I suppose, let’s just play it by ear … 🙂

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Finally, and once more, thank you all for your friendship and support.

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Adrian

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Spectacled Owl
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Selfie in the Magic Carpark
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ANNIVERSARY – FATMAN IS TWO YEARS OLD!

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A WordPress Notification tells me that I registered with them two years ago today.  Initially, I can remember being terribly confused by everything!

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My first and very tentative post appeared on 26 Apr 2011 – it featured some photos from Sand Bay, near Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, and you can find it here .  I’ve apparently made 833 posts in total, and answered thousands of Comments – one of my very few policies is to always publish and answer Comments, good or bad – I very much enjoy the contact with others.

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Three things to say.

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First, there’s not the slightest doubt that producing FATman Photos has been a great stimulus to my photography, and the same is true of the vast flexibility and potential for creativity that digital brings.  I feel that these two factors have added to my photography immeasurably and I am extremely grateful for that.

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Then second I very much enjoy the contact that the blog brings with all of you talented people out there – I very much enjoy communicating with you all.  I have learned so much by viewing, thinking about and, equally, discussing with you all, both your and my images – thank you!

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Finally, excellent though blogs are, I never lose sight of the fact that they are insubstantial, they are out there on somewhere on some remote server, and they only exist on our computers, tablets and smart phones.  I want something more tangible and longlasting, something to look at perhaps in my dotage (which starts tomorrow).  And so I’m continuing to compile photos that I really like into Blurb books – to have hard copies to keep!

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And mentioning photos that I really like raises a point.  I read that blogs are not only for one’s really favourite photos, and this certainly applies to me.  Every photo that I post I consider worthwhile at that moment, but (1) my opinions may change over time, and (2) because I think a photo worthwhile doesn’t necessarily mean that its one of my favourites.  And, compiling my next Blurb book, I’ve been interested to see which photos I really value – those where “I created that!” brings a real buzz! – those that I definitely want to hang onto.  I may make a post of that book’s images, those recent images that really get to me.

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Anyway, two years old – and its still very good to be here!  Hello to all of you, and thank you for your friendship!

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Adrian

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A BIRTH, AN ANNIVERSARY AND ANOTHER THING

USE YOUR PC’s F11 KEY TO VIEW THIS BLOG FULLSCREEN

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RIGHT >>> BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FIRST!!!

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Our third granddaughter was born yesterday evening, and mother and baby are doing well.   Words can’t describe our happiness!

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TODAY’S ANNIVERSARY

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Today also is special for me.  I’ve been taking photos for over 50 years, but until 10 years ago it was just something I did.  I saw good looking things and pointed the camera at them.  Some of the results looked good and that was fine.  Then, 10 years ago, after completing decades of really quite enthusiastic and energetic birding and ornithology, I decided that enough was enough –  and promptly found myself at something of a loose end.

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Then I gave a slideshow (remember slideshows???!) of old photos from Kenya, and those seeing the pictures suggested I take up photography again.

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And so, a decade ago today, I bought a second hand Olympus OM-4 film SLR, and got into photography in a very conscious way.  In the previous decades I’d taken photos without really thinking about them, but now I was going for definitely more conscious and composed, “arty” things.  I’d thought that landscapes were my genre but my initial attempts were atrocious, and it was only when I started photographing built environment abstracts in Bristol’s city center, in the September of 2003, that things started coming together more.

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You can read more about ensuing events under “My Photography”, in the black menu bar near the top of this blog’s pages.

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Now, a decade later, I’m certainly passionate about photography, and revelling in the creative possibilities that digital provides in such abundance.  I also very much enjoy blogging with all of you out there – its really good to be in contact with you all!

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Mannequin in a shop window, Penzance, Cornwall; 14 Sept 2011.

We were in Penzance on a brilliantly sunny day and potential pictures were all around.  This dummy was in a window facing straight into the blinding glare, and the combination of her extravagant hat and the patterns that the rim of this hat spread over her blankly staring face drew me towards her.  Post-capture, I thought of enhancing the whites of her eyes but decided that they’re ok as they are.

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2.
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THE OTHER THING

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And I’ve retired from work and so am about to live a very different life, in which photography will play an even greater part than it has before.  I’m very much looking forward to it! 

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Talk about everything happening at once!

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Adrian

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ANNIVERSARY – ONE YEAR OLD TODAY!

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26 April 2012

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Hi!  This blog is one year old today! ->>> but it feels like I’ve been >>>Keeping On Keeping On>>> far longer than that!

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What to say? Well, producing this blog has been hard work at times, but I’ve learned a lot and – >>>most importantly – I’ve been brought into contact with a whole lot of very friendly and capable photographers around the world – it is certainly a real pleasure to know and to communicate with you all, and thank you for the comments you’ve sent!  I hope, likewise, that you’ve enjoyed being in touch with me.

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A year ago, my first –  and very tentative – post showed photos from Sand Bay, which is just to the north of Weston-super-Mare, in Somerset.  And to celebrate one year, here is a picture from that post.  This is in fact the third time that I’ve shown it, but its a favourite of mine – so what the heck!  I hope you enjoy it.  Here comes the blurb:

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Sand Bay, Somerset, March 2007: a tree on the sand dunes, bowed over by years of the westerly winds that batter this coast, slowly disappears into the dusk.

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I can imagine this tree as tangled plumes of smoke erupting from the ground into the teeth of a wild gale, which immediately sweeps them off in tatters to leeward.

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OM-4 with 21mm Zuiko; Fuji Provia 400 colour slide rated at 800 ISO; converted to mono in Alien Skin’s Exposure 2.

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