BRISTOL 118 – EARLY MORNING, TEMPLE GATE (MONO)

 

 

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Looking up at a cloudy sky, just before sunrise; Temple Gate; 24 Feb 2017.

Post-apocalyptic perhaps?  Or fan as I am of the Terminator films, is this The Rise of the Machines?  That innocuous little line of cloud that was wafting gently overhead now looks more like the result of an air strike.

Well, it may be that, but what it isn’t of course is a true representation of reality.  It is how I choose to portray things – which gets back to yesterday’s post about freeing ourselves from photography’s conventions and “rules”, freeing ourselves from what we think is expected of us, from what others may expect us to do, and instead following our own creative feelings, emotions and gut instincts.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and then click onto that larger image again.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, including substantial underexposure.
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BRISTOL 117 – RIVER REFLECTION, THE WATERFRONT

 

 

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River reflection at The Waterfront, central Bristol; 3 Feb 2017.

Technique: contrast and colour saturation have been raised a little, because my aim here is not to represent the scene exactly as I saw it, but to produce an image that (hopefully!) is visually attractive.  Compositionally, the left side of the image has a bold design, with the warm brown at the top passing down into raggedly margined white, and then moving on further down to that prominent, vertical white and pale blue stripe.  It is almost as if that vertical white and pale blue stripe is a pillar with the areas of white and warm brown on top of it, almost as if the stripe is holding these two areas of colour aloft.  Moving right, the foreground patterning is more subtle, but there are focal points higher up – the bright golden reflection of a light, and the white structure with a dark central stripe at upper right, which is the most figurative (i.e. least abstract) element in the picture.

There is another river reflection image, taken nearby, here.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom; Capture NX2.
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BRISTOL 116 – SKYLINE AT SUNRISE, AND A #LIGHTROOM TECHNIQUE

 

 

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Dawn, a cold dawn, with sunrise starting up behind the city centre’s skyline; 20 Jan 2017.

Well, first, what’s in the image?  The tall structure – which to me looks for all the world like a medieval knight’s helmet with a visor covering his (blazing?) eyes – was built to manufacture lead shot by dropping molten lead from a height into water.  Those days are gone, and its now an up market office space called Vertigo.  Out of shot, the sun is just edging above the horizon and blazing through Vertigo’s windows, while the façade on the left remains in shadow.  The bird, a gull, passed through the shot as I was composing it in the viewfinder and was very luckily caught by a frantic stab on the X-T1’s shutter button!

Second, post-capture processing technique.  I didn’t want this in full colour, and so thought about converting it to black and white via Silver Efex Pro 2, my favourite software, and then using SEP2 to selectively restore the blazing windows’ colour.  But this didn’t really work – and then I remembered a Lightroom technique described in last week’s Amateur Photographer magazine (AP) for generating black and white images via LR’s HSL (Hue Saturation Luminance) panel – and here is the result.  I’ve learned so much from AP over the years its just not true, and here us yet another instance – I very strongly recommend this weekly magazine to you.  Martin Evening, a LR guru often writes for AP on LR techniques, and is extremely informative – and my main source of reference for LR is his vast book, the details of which can be found here.

So, technique.  I simply went into LR’s HSL panel and reduced the saturation of every colour to zero, to produce a grey image, and then increased the saturation of yellow and orange again, until the colour in those blazing windows matched what I recall seeing when I took the shot.  And, although the rest of the image is still nearly mono, doing this has also brought a faint sunrise flush to the sky, which is also getting towards the tints of the original scene.  Other adjustments (brightness, sharpening, etc) were also made in Lightroom, after the conversion to grey. 

And, having changed colour saturation as described in the previous paragraph, you are of course also free to change the luminance (brightness) and hue of any colours you restore, via those sliders in LR’s HSL panel – although this was not done in this instance.

Many of you will know far more about Lightroom than I do, but I hope these points will be useful to those less experienced with the software, and those thinking about using it.

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

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom.
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BRISTOL 115 – DIRTY CAR (MONO)

 

 

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Up close and personal with dirt, grime, modern technology and sleek design; Victoria Street, Bristol city centre; 6 Jan 2017.

The frowning headlight and pale bodywork remind me irresistibly of the helmet of a Star Wars storm trooper. 

Overall, to me, this image conveys speed and power, along with a rugged disregard for the elements.  But appearances can be deceptive, and especially so in this time of image and hype.  I wouldn’t like to have to rely on this vehicle for travel on any road lacking a (more or less smooth) tarmac surface, or any road awash with more than a few inches of floodwater.

Tilted slightly to the right, to give more prominence to the dark and grimy wheel.

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

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Architectural preset and adding a light Selenium tone; slightly rotated.
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BRISTOL 114 – THE BIGGEST STARS

 

 

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Reality, photographed in dim light, just about as a sunrise was starting to get itself together on 6 Jan 2017.

Derelict land, near the train station.  Well, I call it derelict but then, what else is it?  Its land on a large traffic island, a little bit of land with very busy roads all around it.  And this land also supports a derelict hotel – which this derelict old man is old enough to remember at least almost in use, at least almost generating the bucks.  My cousin and I went in there, desperate for a drink – but by then only decline, rather than the electric soup, was on offer.

The hotel has long since closed but because (I presume) its some sort of listed building it can’t be pulled down, as does happen, I imagine that its owners are waiting until it falls down, when they will be able to redevelop this very, very prime site.

And so, for now, those entering Bristol along the A4, one of the main arteries into the city, are treated to this sight of dereliction – part of which has been covered up with an awning that shows an artist’s impression of what the building used to look like when it was up and running and the place to be – ah, good taste is alive and well in Bristol!

Some of the vacant space on the plot has been turned into a car park – and here is the car of the first, earlybird user.  And the surrounding vegetation is running somewhat rampant – which is may be the only really good thing to see here.  And with all the traffic pouring by, its been found to be a good place to site a hoarding (billboard) – we place such a premium on road safety that we surround our busy roads with cash-generating distractions for drivers’ eyes.

And so here is reality.  The derelict plot, the dimly seen graffiti (which I by far prefer to think of as street art), the scramble for money, all around dull, grimy and in the dark – contrasted with the bright, clean and ever insistent world of celebrity, the mass media, illusion and, of course, even more money.

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

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 137mm (equiv); 6400 ISO.

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BRISTOL 113 – MENS OUTFITTERS

 

 

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Gazing in through the window of a menswear emporium, on central Bristol’s now only slightly classy Park Street; 2 Dec 2016.

Gazing in … longingly … perhaps …?   Well, hardly.  I mean, its the sort of place I’m dragged into, kicking and screaming, once or twice a decade. 

Although it often seems more frequently than that. 

Makes the blood run cold just thinking about it, to be honest.  Far, far worse than a garden center.

Click onto the image, if you have a taste for this sort of thing, to open a larger version in a separate window. 

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 220mm; 25,600 ISO – and I wish you all a very, very good New Year.
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BRISTOL 112 – AND IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE CAT 6

 

 

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She’s a friendly soul, full of character, and she shares our friends’ Bristol home; 1 Dec 2016.

Earlier images in this series, all of this individual, can be found here, here, here, here and here.

D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 6400 ISO.
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BRISTOL 111 – TAKING FLIGHT

 

 

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Another early bus ride into the city, another second breakfast at first light in Hart’s Bakery (context is here) – and as I lurched out of that warm, friendly and bustling establishment, the tints of sunrise were above and, looking up, I saw this.

The bird is a gull (aka seagull), and just about to leap off into the air to scavenge the city’s no doubt enticing refuse.  I have Hart’s, (s)he has Bristol.

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

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; beside Temple Meads railway station; 9 Dec 2016.

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BRISTOL 110 – RIVER REFLECTION, BRISTOL BRIDGE

 

 

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Reflection in the river; Bristol Bridge;  11 Nov 2016.

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 290mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; rotated.
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BRISTOL 109 – RUSH HOUR, VICTORIA STREET

 

 

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A double decker bus makes its way slowly out of the city through the morning rush hour; 11 Nov 2016.

I’m on a traffic island in the middle of Victoria Street, looking southwards down this busy thoroughfare towards the railway station and the city’s southern suburbs.

The bus is the tall, blue and yellow presence, with lights at each corner, on the left.  The unfocused lens also picks up traffic lights, and the lights of many other vehicles.

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO.
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