ARCHIVE 595 – WINTER SUNRISE

 

 


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Winter sunrise – sharp, hard, bright, cold, and with scant cheer or comfort –  at Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day. 

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation. 

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ARCHIVE 594 – STILL LIFE, IN FLIGHT

 

 


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

A still life?  Really?  Well, one way of looking at this is that, since the camera shutter was only open for 1/1600th of a second, it has effectively frozen this instant in the life and doings of this living being – and so it is “Life”, yes, but it is also “Still” – or, more correctly I suppose, “Stilled”!    And living things e.g. plants can of course be included in still life assemblages – if their movements are too slow to register in the resulting image.

But the real reason for my calling this a still life is that when I looked at the whole of this image and saw this powerfully down-sweeping wing, I was struck by its beauty, and so cropped the image to make it the main feature – with the bird’s head just peeping into the picture to add a little context.  So that, ok, it is a bird in flight, a moving object, but to me it has now become more of a design, or a set piece if you like. 

The fundamental difference between this image and a conventional still life is that it is not supported on anything that we can see, like a table top for example.  All support here is provided by the whirling and invisible air.

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; Color Efex Pro 4.

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ARCHIVE 593 – HER VERY FIRST WRITTEN WORDS (MONO)

 

 

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We were visiting friends when their elder daughter, whom we like very much, suddenly started asking her parents about how words are written.  She knew how letters and combinations of letters sound and how they look when written down, but she’d never equated the two before.

A few words of explanation from her parents and –   to the vast astonishment of everyone present – she just started phonetically pronouncing words and then writing them all over large pieces of scrap paper on the floor!

I had my camera to hand, and a unique occasion was recorded.  This is not a good picture photographically, but in this sort of instance that doesn’t worry me at all – and I love her tentative, slightly doubtful expression.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; south Bristol; 26 Apr 2009.

UPDATE: yes, photographically, in technical terms, this is not a good picture.  But it is nevertheless a very valuable picture, and especially so to the girl and her family – here is a fundamental achievement on her part, a fundamental moment in her life.  Which feeds into one of my core beliefs about photography – that by far the most important aspect of an image is its content – have interesting / striking / meaningful content, and the technicalities come a very, very long way second.

So, ok, let’s turn this on its head.  Here’s a meaningful image that is technically imperfect.  Who would rather have a meaningless image that is technically perfect? .

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ARCHIVE 592 – LOOKING INTO AN EMPTY BUILDING

 

 

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The FATman has you in his (actually rather wonderful) electronic viewfinder!

Or, then again, I’m pointing my camera into an empty building.  There’s really not much here.  My (double) reflection is given substance by a dark pillar in the building’s interior, and the rest of the picture shows a desolate and completely empty room – left by a business that has moved on –  with a large window on the left through which a building in the next street can be faintly be seen.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; Quay Street, central Bristol; 20 Apr 2018.

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ARCHIVE 591 – FARM CAT

 

 


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Cat beside the road at Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral V2 profile; Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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ARCHIVE 590 – HERRING GULL

 

 


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Adult Herring Gull, Porthleven, Cornwall; 18 Oct 2016.

A big, meaty bird, a bird to be taken seriously – and particularly so if its trying to steal your lunch!  The dark streaking shows it to be in winter plumage.

Looking at this now, in 2020, I wonder how I might characterise him in human terms >>> big, feathered, aggressive, opportunistic hooligan might do it – and, in my eyes, absolutely wonderful too.  Well, I am after all a birder but it goes back much further than that: I grew up on the coast and these birds were a constant and noisy part of my younger years, they are in effect a part of who I am, I think.  I can well remember taking my first job away from the coast, in Milton Keynes of all places: there were no gulls there and I really felt their absence, it was somehow like being in a very different place.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom.
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ARCHIVE 589 – SWAN, PREENING

 

 


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Mute Swan reaching back behind its wing to get at an itch or readjust its feathers.  

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom; Herriots Bridge, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 3 Apr 2017.

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ARCHIVE 588 – SELFIE ON A BRIDGE

 

 


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Selfie on a footbridge, Lynmouth, Devon; 24 Sept 2009.

The striking shadow and backdrop were too good to miss, and I angled the camera so that, instead of being horizontal, the footbridge’s shadow cuts a powerful, stark diagonal right across the photo, more or less from top left to bottom right. The background, a dry overspill channel, is quite rugged and textured, and also variously green – this shot also works in black and white.

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

Technique: F6 with 24-120 Nikkor lens; Fuji Provia 400X colour slide film rated at 800 ISO.

2016 UPDATE: its almost unreal to see that this photo was originally taken as a colour slide/transparency – taken on 35mm FILM!!!   And I was having the film push processed, which means that although the film was rated at 400 ISO, I asked the company who were going to develop it to treat it as if it had a speed of 800 ISO.  The firm were (and still are, I think) based in Cheltenham in the UK, and sending the exposed film to them – and receiving back the developed colour slides in a neat plastic box – all took place via the UK postal system. 

Provia 400X was a wonderful film, excellent colours, fine grain, and I had no hesitation in having it push processed up to 3200 ISO or even higher on occasion.  Had digital photography not come onto the scene, I would certainly still be using 400X (or its descendants) now (but see below).

And film?  Well its only 7 years since this photo was taken, but all that seems such a long time ago.  Would I ever go back to using film?  Definitely not, absolutely certainly not.  The creative advantages provided by digital photography simply cannot be ignored.

2020 UPDATE: regarding Provia 400X colour slide film, time moves on and I now read that it is no longer produced, and that all existing stocks are past their expirey date – this does not of course make them anything like unusable but, as I say, time moves on …

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ARCHIVE 587 – FOGGY MORNING (MONO)

 

 


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Foggy morning along a main road in south Bristol; 13 Mar 2014.

The huge Plane tree in the foreground has had its branches pruned many times, including recently, giving it its bare, knobbly appearance.  At top left, a pigeon perches, probably a Wood Pigeon, gazing down at the crawling traffic below.  There is another pigeon, further right.  The tree behind retains its growth of thin branches from last year – it has yet to be shorn.

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

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 63mm (35mm equiv); 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset.

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ARCHIVE 586 – CROW, IN WILD SKY

 

 


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Carrion Crow over our back garden, not long after dawn; 27 Nov 2011.

I very much like the limited palette of colours but – as is so often the case – I prefer this version to monochrome.  The crow – which looks for all the world like a Photoshop insert! – is purposely positioned away from any of the composition’s visual strong points, but with space ahead to fly into.  Actually quite a reasonably sized bird, it looks so small here against the vast sky and very solid looking clouds:  this is intentional.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day. 

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 200mm; 800 ISO.

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