ARCHIVE 330 – BOYS AT A WEDDING (MONO)

 

 


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Young boys – curious, uncertain –  at a wedding near Thika, Kenya, in the late 1970s.

I think I was the only non-African at this ceremony, and so an object of great curiosity to all the youngsters there.

There is another image from this wedding here.

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

Technique: OM-2 with 75-150 Zuiko lens; Kodak Ektachrome 200 colour slide (I think!); Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Landscape preset.

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ARCHIVE 329 – LOOKING DOWN INTO A GR1v (MONO)

 

 


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Going home on the bus after work:  12 May 2010.

This was taken with a classic film camera, a Ricoh GR1v.  I cradled this fantastic little machine in my lap, looking down into its 28mm lens and hoping that it would automatically find focus on my face – so how many other people do you know who take photos of themselves on public transport?  Without being arrested???  Oh, I forgot, this is The Age Of The Camera Phone – maybe people are doing this all the time.

My intent (and grumpy???) expression derives from concentrating very hard on trying to ensure that the auto focus was locking on.

This Ricoh is a beautiful little camera  but, sadly, its no longer in my possession – there is a picture of it on the “My photography” page in this blog.  Staff in a well known camera shop started salivating over it as soon as I showed it to them, and it became part of a large part-exchange deal that enabled me to own the latest piece of Nikon DSLR wizardry.

I hadn’t actually owned this Ricoh for a long time but it was beautifully made and a joy to use.  I was sad to part with it but, since I’m never going to shoot a frame of film again, why keep it?  I have however held onto the Olympus OM SLRs and (the few) lenses I used in Kenya as these really are of great sentimental value.  The camera bodies are mouldy now after years in the tropics but that in no way reduces their meaning and value in my eyes.  And, every so often, when I need a camera fix, I wind on the OM-1 and fire it, just to hear the wonderfully soft click of its shutter – what a great camera! (its also illustrated in “My photography”).

If you have a thing for pain or the bizarre, you can click onto this image to see an enlarged version in a separate window.

Technique: Ricoh GR1v with Ilford HP5+ black and white film push processed to 3200 ISO; commercially scanned; conversion to mono and copper toning in Silver Efex Pro 2, using the Film Noir 1 preset as a jumping off point. 

UPDATE: And so, having posted many pictures of other people going to work (for which, search on “work” in my tags), here is one of myself in said scenario >>> although actually I was on the bus going home from work, and so sh***ed out as we Brits have a way of quaintly putting it >>> although still with the energy and sheer eccentricity to take a selfie – I must have been mad … thank goodness …

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ARCHIVE 328 – AUTUMN ON THE HILLS

 

 


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Autumnal colours, lit by early morning sunshine, at the Priddy Mineries Reserve, high up on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 15 Nov 2003.

The picture consists of three distinct layers. A band of golden reeds forms a thin strip across the bottom of the frame; and above this a band of slightly greener reeds, with their reflections in the still pool.

Above this, and occupying the rest of the picture, the black silhouettes of the trees stand up in front of a bright, straw coloured background with strong, greener vegetational elements (bracken) running upper left to lower right.

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

Technique: OM-4 with 300mm Zuiko lens; tripod; Fuji Velvia 50 colour slide rated at 64 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 327 – THE THREE KINGS ARRIVE IN THE WRAITHS’ CITY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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FANTASY: three tall kings, resplendent in richly coloured robes, enter the spectral city of the Wraiths.  I’m influenced by Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings perhaps – not perhaps >>> most certainly!!!  These three are in Tolkien’s Minas Morgul, the city of his Ringwraiths, walking into its deathly glow.

REALITY: three furled sun umbarellas and an old streetlight outside a pub in Perranporth, Cornwall; 25 Oct 2012.  The impression of robed beings was immediate.

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

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono and re-colouring in Silver Efex Pro 2; further processing in Capture NX2.

UPDATE: the first of this blog’s Fantasy posts, from sometime back.

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ARCHIVE 326 – IN A FIELD IN SOUTH BRISTOL (MONO)

 

 


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In a field in south Bristol; 28 Aug 2010.

This was one of a group of these beautiful animals that lived in a nearby field.  Our neighbours used to love feeding them – carrots were a firm favourite.  One day I went along with them, and took a few shots.

Once again, I like to get close in to large animals, filling the frame with them.  This isn’t the whole of the horse’s head, but I like the way the rough, tough and very textured harness frames the upper part of the face – this could be a picture of Nature bridled or firmly restrained.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 75mm; 3200 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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ARCHIVE 325 – ELEPHANT (MONO)

 

 


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Elephant at The Ark, a game viewing lodge in the Aberdare Mountains, Kenya; June 1980.

I particularly like the effect produced when a large animal completely fills the frame; there is something of the abstract about it, and also something massive and impressive.

Here the textures of this elephant’s hide have purposely been exaggerated by Nik Software’s SEP to help emphasise the vast strength of its huge, looming, rough presence.

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

Technique: OM-2 with 75mm-150mm Zuiko lens at 150mm; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro.

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ARCHIVE 324 – STRUGGLING UP TO THE LIGHT (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Plant, in Boscastle, Cornwall; 10 Sept 2013.

Just as I emerged from the Witchcraft Museum, full of intrigued and surreal thoughts, this appeared at my feet.

All else is harsh black and white, manmade, angular and strong, but these few green leaves – soft and eminently vulnerable – are pushing up through it all, into the light.

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

D800 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 40mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro’s Film Noir 1 preset.

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ARCHIVE 323 – A CONTINENT SPLITS APART

 

 

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In today’s cheap and superficial hype – too often the triumph of style over substance –  many things are marketed as having various specified advantages “and so much more”.  Well, here is a photograph that really does have “so much more”.  It was taken from the eastern wall of the rift valley, near Kijabe in Kenya, looking down westwards towards the rift’s floor, sometime in the late 1970s.  The rift wall here is not a single escarpment, but a series of small escarpments that gradually descend to the rift’s floor like a flight of huge steps.

This photo was taken from the top of the escarpment, looking down upon the top of the first of these steps which, because it still has sufficient altitude to attract rain and mist, is green and fertile.  This green but restricted area of land is covered in a close patchwork of cultivated plots, and dwellings roofed with thatch or corrugated iron. Beyond this step, the floor of the rift can be seen, browner and drier, many hundreds of feet below. Rising from these pale, dry lowlands is the dark and jagged bulk of Mt Longonot, a dormant volcano which last erupted around 1860. In the far distance, behind Longonot, the abrupt line of hills is the rift valley’s western wall.

So far so good, but there really is so much more here, for the fact is that the eastern edge of the African continent has been breaking apart for a long time.  The island of Madagascar broke away from the rest of Africa many millions of years ago and, during this lengthy isolation from the mainland, many unique (i.e. endemic) forms of life have evolved there, e.g. the Lemurs.

But that is not all. The Eastern Rift Valley (the one in Kenya) and and the Western Rift constitute further incipient splits in the eastern side of the African continent and, as I took this picture, I was standing on the western edge of another part of the continent that may split away to become an island like Madagascar in (the millions of) years to come.  The rift’s western wall, that misty escarpment in the background of the shot, might then become Africa’s east coast.

The floor of the rift is new crust that has moved upwards from the Earth’s extremely hot interior to ‘seal up the cracks’ in the disintegrating continent.  And hence the reason for the many volcanoes (including Mt Longonot) in this area – these were formed where the molten rock (magma) moving up from the Earth’s interior burst out (erupted) onto the Earth’s surface, as lava.  There are also numerous natural steam vents on the rift valley floor – these are the result of rainwater and groundwater coming into contact with the extremely hot rocks present not far below the surface of the ground.

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

UPDATE: I became an enthusiastic collector of rocks, minerals and fossils from somewhere around the age of five and went on to become a professional geologist – lecturing and research.  I’m very grateful for that background because it has given me a very solid idea of who, where and what I am in what might be termed “The Grand Scheme Of Things”.  To put it another way, if I’ve reached the “grand old age of 67”, then the Earth’s lifespan of 4,500,000,000 years make my lifetime seem like less than the blink of an eyelid – which is exactly what it is.  A knowledge of geology  also makes for new insights into landscapes.

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ARCHIVE 322 – FLAMINGOS AT DAWN

 

 


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Dawn at Lake Nakuru, central Kenya; July 1978.

At around 6,000 feet above sea level, even this close to the equator, it was a cold dawn, and especially so for those of us who, living in Kenya, were becoming acclimatised to the place.  I had taken many pictures and was feeling the cold and sleepy, when suddenly this flamingo flock glided down over birds already in the water – and I just fired at them –  a very lucky, single snapshot with a 400mm telephoto.  I very much like the combination of the pale blues of the early morning light with the whites and pinks of the flamingos’ plumage.

The birds in the water are mainly Greater Flamingos, which are a little larger than the Lesser Flamingo, with less stridently pink plumage and paler bills.  A few Lesser Flamingos, very pink, are at the left hand end of the flock in the water.  The dark bills of the birds coming down to join those in the water identify them all as Lesser Flamingos.

Two dark Cormorants (the same species as in the UK) are flying right to left, low over the water, behind all the flamingos.

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

Technique: haha! can’t remember! >>> except that the great hulk of a 400mm telephoto, which I still have, was made by Vivitar.
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ARCHIVE 321 – LAGOON AT MAGADI (MONO)

 

 


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Alkaline lagoon at Lake Magadi, on the floor of the rift valley in southern Kenya; Nov 1977.

The water is made alkaline by high concentrations of sodium bicarbonate which have been leached out of the rift valley’s volcanic rocks.   This water is so alkaline that it feels soapy to the touch, i.e. it starts to dissolve skin on contact, and its high soda content gives it an awfully rank, chemical odour.  Add to that the fact that this is a very hot, low lying area of the rift, and Magadi becomes something of an acquired taste.  But, to anyone interested in the Natural World – wildlife, geology, landscape –  it is also a fascinating place.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens;  Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO;  converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro.

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