ARCHIVE 618 – EARLY MORNING 31

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Clear morning, early December.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 4 Dec 2019.

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ARCHIVE 617 – FOGGY MORNING 3

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Main road; early morning; fog.

Technique: selective desaturation of colour: the green lights are the main thing here and the morning was in any case very grey, but I’ve desaturated the yellows and blues of the crossing control boxes mounted on the traffic lights’ poles, and also the traffic cones standing on the traffic islands, to remove distractions and give the green lights greater prominence.  Another method would have been to convert the image to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2 and then restore the lights’ colours.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 640 ISO; Lightroom, selectively desaturating colour; south Bristol; 30 Mar 2019

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ARCHIVE 616 – MOLLUSC

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A Garden Snail (Helix aspersa … I think …), climbing a wall next to a busy road.  As usual, the internet overloads me with info about this beast, from which I can report that (a) it is very common, (b) that it is edible, (c) that its mucus has regenerative properties and as such is used in the cosmetics industry, and (d) that its top speed is 0.047 km/hour.

And why have I photographed it?  Well, I like the textures here, I wanted to try the TG-5 out on something diminutive, and I have something of a background in the Life Sciences, as well as being a total enthusiast for the Natural World.

The TG-5 also has a Microscope mode, in which the camera can be 1cm from the subject – and this comes with Focus Stacking, Focus Bracketing and other wonders – I’ve tried these out very briefly and the results are impressive but whether I’ll get into this frequently is anybody’s guess!

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: TG-5 at 74mm (equiv); 1000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; south Bristol; 28 Aug 2018.

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ARCHIVE 615 – HERRING GULL (MONO + COLOUR)

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Adult Herring Gull in the harbour at St Ives, Cornwall;  24 Apr 2012.

Rather than having the backdrop completely black, I’ve restored just a little of the sky’s blue.  I’d thought of a total colour restoration but, with the bright red and yellow bill,  the results were garish to say the least.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; conversion to mono and partial colour restoration in Silver Efex Pro 2.

ARCHIVE 614 – FLIGHT (MONO)

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Black-headed Gull, Chew Valley Lake, near Bristol; 27 Sept 2013.

This picture is about shape and design.  The bird’s head and torso, and the root of its left wing, are squashed down into the lower left of the frame – and just about to leave the frame.  We just catch sight of the dark bill, eye and mark behind the eye, which serve to give the creature some structure and identity.

But the real subject of the shot is the streamlined wing that cuts a diagonal across the frame, to end in those dark, pointed flight feathers (primary flight feathers, as birders know them), the longest of which look like the long, black, manicured fingernails of a woman – the end of the wing reminds me of a set of sharp fingers reaching up against the sky.

Click onto the image to open a larger image in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Holga preset.

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ARCHIVE 613 – BOTTLE, UNFORTUNATELY EMPTY, AMONGST RAILINGS (MONO)

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Exploring back lanes in the city, and finding an empty beer bottle jammed between railings: the reminder – along with that morning after feeling, no doubt – of a good night out.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: Z 6 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Graphite profile; Leonard Lane, in the Old City area of central Bristol; 3 June 2019.

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ARCHIVE 612 – FULMAR

 

 


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Fulmar flying around East Cliff; West Bay, Dorset; 23 April 2015.

Looking very much like a seagull, this is in fact a true seabird that spends most of its life out on the open seas and only comes ashore to breed – the reason why this individual was around the cliffs at West Bay.  It can at once be told from a gull by the little kink and ridge on the top of its bill that houses nasal passages, something that gulls don’t have.

Living out on the open seas as they do, and eating things like squid, fish and shrimps, these birds are up to their ears in salt – some of which they manage to get rid of by excreting it as a strong saline solution through their noses.  And, should one of these beauties feel that you’re approaching it too closely on a cliff, they will vomit their foul smelling stomach oils over you –  to give you a gentle hint …

And finally here’s a fascinating passage from Wikipedia: “Fulmars have for centuries been exploited for food. The engraver Thomas Bewick wrote in 1804 that “Pennant, speaking of those [birds] which breed on, or inhabit,   the Isle of St Kilda, says—’No bird is of so much use to the islanders as this: the Fulmar supplies them with oil for their lamps, down for their beds, a delicacy for their tables, a balm for their wounds, and a medicine for their distempers.  …..  James Fisher, author of The Fulmar (1952) calculated that every person on St Kilda consumed over 100 fulmars each year; the meat was their staple food, and they caught around 12,000 birds annually.”.  But no, before you ask, I’ve never tasted one!  And I recommend that St Kilda link – if only for the sounds of the sea! –  I’ve never been there, but it was a constant and brooding presence, far off to the west, when I was on the Western Isles some years back.

Click onto this image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used at 300mm in DX (= APS-C) format to provide 450mm; 400 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 611 – UPSTAIRS IN THE VICTORIA TEA ROOM, PENZANCE

 

 


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Upstairs in The Victoria Tea Room, Penzance, Cornwall; 25 Apr 2012.

We returned yesterday from a few days in the far southwest of Cornwall, based between Penzance and St Ives.  And in a week of awful weather all over England we were far enough southwest to miss it all – it only rained at night, and the days were dry and even sunny!

Whenever we’re in Penzance we always visit this tearoom.  Amongst many other tasty goodies it serves up 11 item English breakfasts – which I hold a profound reverence for – and we like to sit beside the windows upstairs, looking out over Penzance’s main street.

In this cafe there are many bentwood chairs in a beautiful green, and the place has an over all low key, Minimalist, green and grey decor that I like very much.  This cup and saucer provided a good foil for its low key surroundings, and the chairbacks on the right resemble the curving stems of some exotic plant.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot; 400 ISO.

UPDATE (SOMETIME AGO): this excellent eatery has closed down – a great loss.  And while I’m talking about this image – I can say that its a great favourite of mine.  I have always loved its vast simplicity.

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ARCHIVE 610 – MAN IN A BASEBALL CAP (MONO)

 

 


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Man in a baseball cap; New Quay, west Wales; 23 Sept 2014.

He was standing on the harbour wall, lost in thought as he intently scanned the sea for dolphins.  I was doing the same.

I’ve processed this as low key, quite far from reality.  Its very much in our faces.  The intent gaze and slightly open mouth, the bitten nails and morning stubble.  What emotions, if any, does this provoke?

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

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ARCHIVE 609 – A DISTINCTLY CIVILISED FULL ENGLISH

 

 


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I’m quite a fan of Full English Breakfasts.  They are of course eminently unhealthy food, full of fat and calories, and they can also be very bland – the ingredients can all be there, but they’re cheap, pallid affairs, and really not worth the effort.  Sausages can be the worst culprits, cheap, bland, with not a trace of texture and with almost no taste – might as well be eating cardboard, really; probably just as nutritious too.

But in other instances Full English Breakfasts are rich explosions of taste, and one pointer that I’ve discovered to this greatness is their colour – the more colourful (but not garish) ones have better ingredients and tend to taste better.  And so it was with the distinctly classy repast pictured here.  It has been another long morning of walking and photography in the city, and so into Browns eminently civilised restaurant, and a breakfast to warm the spirit.

So, what is here?  Well, the usual suspects – taking it clockwise from the top, fried eggs hiding just right of the sourdough toast, tasty sausages, thick smoked bacon, mushrooms, tomato (real, not canned) – and then that dubious black chunk trying to hide under the toast is black pudding, a pudding made with blood – truly repulsive, unhealthy … and tasty!    And then some baked beans and those thin strips of greenery – which were tasty too!  All in all, probably 1600 calories or so …

This food was indeed delicious, but the icing on the cake for me was in the semicircle of supporting accoutrements   Butter of course, and tomato sauce not in the ubiquitous plastic bottle.  And then a teapot and  small jug of milk >>> and because actual tea leaves were used instead of the ubiquitous teabags, sitting on top of the cup is a tea strainer and a little round metal cup the strainer sits in after use, so that it doesn’t drip onto the table.  I am not any great connoisseur of food nor do I have any great eye for style, but for me that tea strainer and its little receptacle were just the icing on the cake.  In a world where money rules, quality is often forsaken and there is a general race to the bottom, this tea strainer and its little holder turned a good meal into a really quite restful, elegant and special experience.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 26mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Browns restaurant, central Bristol; 28 Apr 2017.  Use of a wide angle lens pointed down at the subject appears to lift the plate of food slightly so that the objects to either side appear to be tilting outwards slightly.  This effect may be correctable with software but I’m content to leave it as it is.

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