ARCHIVE 621 – LOOKING DOWN, THIS MORNING

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Haven’t done much photography in the Outer Suburbs of late.  At this time of year, both the darkness and the sun’s rise are long gone by even the early hours when I’m about; and maybe I’m not keeping my eyes sufficiently open – familiarity breeds contempt perhaps???   And there are also the Long John Silver impressions resulting from aging legs – enhanced by last Friday’s fall on the Levels – the effects of which, I’m relieved to say, are slowly but surely diminishing >>> and so, I hope, to another early Levels morning this Friday!

But I still carry the little Olympus camera around the Outer Suburbs and this morning, warily crossing a rush hour road, I stepped off the kerb, looked down and saw this.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 43mm (equiv); 1000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 9 July 2019.

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ARCHIVE 620 – EARLY MORNING MIST, MAIN ROAD

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Walking amidst early morning’s dark uncertainties, the wild and welcome screams of gulls my only companions. 

And, alone still, reaching a road – with trees, mists, lights, and the sky slowly brightening.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 38mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 30 Dec 2019.

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ARCHIVE 619 – CITY LIFE

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City life – faces, images, media, messages, noise; hurrying, multitasking, crowding in close, claustrophobically close; all around.

There are two little bits of the Natural World in this photo.  She is at lower right and hurrying to get through it all, and the sky is at upper right, calm, serene, and tainted only by our fumes and emissions.  And the rest is, well, the rest.

Photographically, I enjoy the city, I love being there with a camera, this human environment has so much of interest to the lens.  But in other terms, to me, the ability to access peace and quiet is one of the most valuable things on this planet.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 30mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Temple Gate, central Bristol; 28 Apr 2017.

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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.

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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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