STILL LIFE 126 – WHITE CAR

 

 


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The dominance of the private car in modern society but, as a driver myself, who am I to express an adverse opinion?  Still, there are many here for whom using public transport is largely unthinkable, quite close to anathema really, while walking any distance is at best infrequent.  I’m not sure I’m writing these words as any great Green or Health activist, but one thing I am sure about is that walking allows me to see, sense and experience so much more in my surroundings which, to me, is a distinctly desirable thing.  And photography, of course, fires my curiosity, keeps me looking at things, all sorts of things, which is equally desirable.

And, talking of photography, here are the effects of using a very wide angle lens tilted downwards towards the subject – the car pushes and swells right up to the front of the picture to get a better look at us, while the buildings in the backdrop tilt nightmarishly, like something from a Surrealist artwork.

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Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 17mm (equiv); Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; King Street, central Bristol; 28 Apr 2017.
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STILL LIFE 125 – CIDER CAN

 

 


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Unfortunately empty can on a rotated pavement.

When I grew up in Somerset and took my first, wondering steps towards the Electric Soup, pints of cider were the obvious – the almost religiously ordained – choice.  Strong drinks, sometimes rather rough, and producing dreadful hangovers – but still wonderful!  I drink more beer now, especially Belgian beer, and following a really dreadful experience with a blended vintage cider, last year I think it was, most ciders are no longer attractive – although two litre flagons of Westons strong, still and cloudy Old Rosie do still shake my tree.

Drinking cider became very fashionable a few years back, and this empty can contained one of the relatively bland, modern, mass market ciders, Thatchers Gold – but still, not at all bad, especially on a hot day.

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise; Old Market Roundabout, central Bristol; 26 May 2017.
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STILL LIFE 124 – MORNING SUNLIGHT

 

 


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Slivers of morning sunlight on a city centre façade.

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 113mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Narrow Lewins Mead, Bristol; 26 May 2017.
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STILL LIFE 123 – PUTTING ABILITY FIRST

 

 

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Snapshot of city life.

The black margin to this image has not been applied with software, it is the outline of a window –  I was standing in one street, and looking right through a building, via its windows, to a scene in the next street.

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; shot from Rupert Street, central Bristol, looking through a building into Colston Avenue; 19 May 2017.
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STILL LIFE 122 – TEMPLE CIRCUS GYRATORY

 

 


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Early morning driving on the Temple Circus Gyratory, which is a large roundabout at one of the southern approaches to Bristol, near Temple Meads railway station.  Roundabout?  Traffic circle in The States I think.  And the roundabout’s official name?  Well, it could really only have been dreamt up by officials, couldn’t it, by a Local Authority, in the interests no doubt of good urban planning and neutral nomenclature?

And the photo?  Well, its garish, technicolour plus.  The highlights are all blown to featureless white but to me that’s fine because this isn’t reality, this is how I like to see it.

So what gets to me here?  Well, the lines and curves of the blazing white vehicle, which frame the face – cool shades, no-nonsense beard, mouth slightly open – with the thrill of surfing the Gyratory maybe?  And the car’s curving lines also frame the reflections in the car’s windows, which become more colourful over towards the right.  And then, in the backdrop, all those technicolour stripes.  And no, before you ask, I haven’t ramped up the colour Saturation in Lightroom, although I did increase the Vibrance to +65.   Then CEP4 was used to provide a thin black border, to prevent the lower edges of the image merging with my blog’s white background.

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 400 ISO; spotmetering; Lightroom, using the Pro Neg Hi film simulation; Color Efex Pro 4; central Bristol; 7 April 2017.
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STILL LIFE 121 – HAND RAIL

 

 


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I’m emerging from an underpass that crosses a sunken area of the city centre generally known as the Bear Pit, probably due to its lawless nature in times gone by (albeit not very far gone by …).

The sunken path that I’m following is climbing up and around to the right, and the grey hand rail on the sheer wall of the path follows that curve.  High railings to my left shed harsh shadows across the scene, and the wall to my right has various graffiti (for which read street art, in my parlance) and stickers adorning its surface.

And, this underpass and the Bear Pit having something of an uneasy reputation, having taken the shot I glanced nervously behind me – only to see another photographer taking my picture – as he said, the photographer being photographed!

This image might benefit from 90 degrees’ clockwise rotation.  See below – what do you think?

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spotmetering; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; climbing up out of the Bear Pit, central Bristol; 26 May 2017..


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STILL LIFE 120 – WINDOW BOX

 

 


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Window box in Christmas Steps, a narrow and ancient alleyway in the city centre.

May sunshine was flooding across Bristol, but one side of the deep cleft of Christmas Steps was still in deep shadow.  I’m not usually someone who waits around for photos to happen, I’m usually on the move, if only slowly.  But the sunlight was inching its way around towards the Steps’ northeastern side – you could almost see the light creeping across the masonry – and I decided, this once, to be patient, because I wanted to see the light flooding across the textures of the buildings’ facades.

It seemed like an eternity, but a cat came over to see me and that passed some of the time.  And then the blazing light hit a window box, with the wall behind it still in deep shadow, and I took this picture.  The slightly open window frame is glowing in light reflected from a shop sign just out of shot on the left.

What does this picture do for me?  Well, it talks to me about peace – something not in limitless supply in the UK on this particular Sunday morning – and quiet; it talks about warm air, warm breezes and warm shadows to relax in, and some release from the pace, stresses and lowered quality of modern life.  It reminds me of pictures from more southerly climes, there’s something Mediterranean here perhaps, something not experienced over large parts of the year by us relative northerners.

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 195mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spotmetering for highlights; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Christmas Steps, central Bristol; 26 May 2017.
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STILL LIFE 119 – TWELVE REFLECTIONS

 

 

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Windows in a block of flats: each reflects the world slightly differently.

The image has been horizontally flipped to make the text more easily readable – which may or may not be a good thing!

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 250mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation and horizontal flipping; Temple Way, central Bristol; 26 May 2017.
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STILL LIFE 118 – WINDOWS, CHRISTMAS STEPS

 

 


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Looking up, in Christmas Steps.

Windows with blue and cream frames catch the light;  and the fresh greens of a pot plant just make it into the frame. 

At upper left, metal brackets supporting a shop sign are fixed to the rough, ochre frontage – although, in another world, they might be the antennae and front leg of some giant, climbing insect intent upon who knows what chaos and mayhem.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Christmas Steps, central Bristol; 26 May 2017.
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STILL LIFE 117 – CAR BEHIND A WIRE FENCE

 

 

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Brooding in the shadows and all too beautiful; tantalising, seductive even; and prudently fenced off from those who might want – or perhaps even, desire – to take too close a look.

But a cold beauty now, dumb, metallic, inert, just a work of modern sculpture or an overlarge paperweight, even if all of that can be changed in an instant by the arrival of – no, not something with the elegance of Cinderella’s slipper – but more prosaically, in this mass-produced, machine-driven world, a key.

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spotmetering for highlights; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; car park beside Temple Meads station, central Bristol; 26 May 2017.
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