STILL LIFE 196 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 12 (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Table and chair, with daffodils, in the William Bray, a restaurant and bar in the village of Shere, Surrey; 24 Mar 2012.

This restaurant is on different levels, and I was able to get up onto one floor and look down on the one below.  The wonderful lines and forms made the by the chairs, tables and floorboards – and the colourful flowers –  caught my eye, and I took several photos, none of which were “THE ONE!”, to work on later.  With all these lines and textures, I knew that there was something there – and that it was screaming out for mono conversion, with the plant’s colours restored.

It took quite a time to find this crop, but it has what I searched for – the lines and textures, the great contrast between the wooden and metallic structures, and the great contrast between the daffodil’s leaves and flowers and everything else.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 .  Each will open in a new window.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 6400 ISO; converted to mono and manipulated (including selective restoration of colour) in Silver Efex Pro 2, and then manipulated further in Nikon’s Capture NX2.

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STILL LIFE 195 – PHOTOS FROM A DRENCHED CAR: 2

 

 


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Photos taken through the streaming windows of my car during a torrential rainstorm – context and further images can be found here.

The upper image is very easy to decipher – assuming that you feel the need when faced with anything at all abstract, to know what you’re looking at – which most people do.  Its a car parked on the other side of the road with its headlights reflecting off the wet tarmac.

The lower image is a little more obscure.  Its a row of houses with – in the lower right hand corner – a woman walking under an umbrella.  Can you see her???

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window.  You can click onto this larger image to enlarge it still further, but these images are very grainy.

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 15 Jan 2018.
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STILL LIFE 194 – A GOOD FRIEND 3 (MONO)

 

 


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Another look at this very friendly creature, who is living out her life with our friends.

There are earlier images of her here and here .

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 1600 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset; Bristol; 26 Aug 2017.
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STILL LIFE 193 – TABLE IN A CAFE (MONO)

 

 


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A little while back, we went up to the café at the Priddy Good Farm Shop, on the top of the Mendip Hills, for a first rate Full English Breakfast.  I’d taken along the Fujifilm X-T1 camera and 10-24 wide angle lens specifically to photograph the food – and the resulting picture is here.

This café is a little extension with large windows on two sides that has been built onto the farm and, while waiting for the food to arrive, I walked around with the camera looking at anything and everything.  Next to us was a long wooden table with chairs along both sides and, set beside both sets of windows, it was well lit.  Long and slim, it receded from me.  I put the zoom onto its widest setting (15mm full-frame equivalent), looked down at the table, and raised the camera.  The farmer came in and said “You’re photographing the table.”, which put everything neatly into context, and I started gently squeezing the trigger.

I don’t often think about such things, but I suppose it was always going to be a black and white shot, with the receding lines of the table and the wonderful grain, knots and plate/glass marks on its polished top – and also the little group of condiments and sauces in their various containers, just in front of the bright reflection at the table’s end.

But the thing about pointing such a wide angle lens downwards is the distortion it brings, which makes all of the chairs appear to be “relaxing” outwards, which in turn channels more attention down onto the table top.  It could almost be a coffin, flanked by laid back, contemplative mourners and set with some small (and saucy??? – ohhhh! 😉 ) tributes to the deceased.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Push Process N+3 preset, and adding a light coffee tone; Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 19 Jan 2018.
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STILL LIFE 192 – AUTUMN 3

 

 


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Autumn leaves and lichen inside an old and very weathered pot for flowers; on a grave, on a frosty morning, in the cemetery at Stanton Drew.

Earlier Autumn posts are here: 1 2 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 238mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley, south of Bristol; 6 Nov 2017.
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STILL LIFE 191 – A GOOD FRIEND 2 (MONO)

 

 


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Another picture of this sociable and (usually) gentle being.  I find that talking very quietly to cats engages their attention – they open their eyes and look at you.  And so it was here.

Eye contact, we were looking into one another’s eyes.  Who knows what was in her mind?  Whatever it was, I felt it a privilege – I always feel it a privilege – to be able to interact with another living being, a being from another species, in this way.

Focus is on the right eye and, with the lens’s aperture wide open at f2.8, everything else was left to look after itself in terms of sharpness.

Another image can be found here .

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate II preset and adding a moderate coffee tone.
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STILL LIFE 190 – THE FULL FARMER AT PRIDDY

 

 


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The name of this blog is not an idle flight of fancy!  Quite unashamedly, I enjoy my food (and Belgian beer too!) and, although I was far more flabby those seven years ago when I gave this blog its name – despite having lost over 40lbs, I am still not what one might term svelte.  And I am a fan of Full English Breakfasts, which are large, highly calorific, cooked affairs which either set you up wonderfully for the day ahead – or make it hard for you to rise from your chair and do anything at all – whichever way you want to look at it.

But a good Full English is an elusive thing.  In many instances, all of the classic ingredients can be present, but the whole thing can be pale and washed out in appearance, and really quite drab to taste.  I’ve found that the tastier versions of this culinary gem are often those with more brightly coloured ingredients, not garish technicolor to be sure, but also not pallid either. And when I find one of the relatively few eateries serving up such fare, it quickly becomes somewhere to visit over and over again.

Such a place is Priddy Good Farm Shop,, in the little village of Priddy on the top of the Mendip Hills south of Bristol.  Its most of an hour’s drive away, but eating there is always an eminently enjoyable occasion, the food is always good quality, simple and tasty – and lots of it!  And as well as the usual breakfast fare, this little shop also sells some of the best meat pies I’ve ever eaten in my life, and luscious fruit pies just like the ones my dear old Mum used to bake.

And so here is the farm shop’s largest Full English, which they imaginatively call The Full Farmer.  Those with smaller appetites can order The Farmer’s Wife or, smaller still, The Farmer’s Kid – yes its a real family business 🙂 !  And as well as the food shown here, it comes with thick toast (made with real bread, not sliced!) and great steaming pots of tea or coffee.

So, what was good about this meal?  Well, on the veggie side, the fried mushrooms were extremely tasty, as was the roasted tomato (which was not tinned!), and there were a lot of beans – and beans are always good!  Sausages can often be the Achilles Heel of breakfasts, they can be largely lacking in  texture and taste, but this shop uses meat from its own farm, and these had plenty of both.  The bacon too was thick and tasty, and the eggs were fried to perfection – still just a little runny.

And this is where those of you with weak stomachs and/or a more civilised take on Life than I’ll ever be able to muster should turn off your computers/phones/etc now, because the round black disc at lower left is a sizeable chunk of black pudding, a really tasty confection for which, as ingredients, google lists pig’s blood, salt, pork fat or beef suet, allspice, oatmeal, onion, milk and black pepper.

And the final good thing about this substantial repast?  It was served, as it is always served here, on a very warm plate, which is just the thing – serving any hot meal on a cold plate ruins it in my view.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Priddy, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 19 Jan 2018.

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STILL LIFE 189 – PHOTOS FROM A DRENCHED CAR: 1

 

We had a worse than usual weather forecast recently – oodles of rain and wind, maybe with hail, thunder and snow thrown in too – oh joy!  And, leaving the house, I knew that I was going to have to wait around in the car for sometime at some point.  So I popped the TG-5 TOUGH camera into my pocket, just I case.  This little camera is distinctly useful – very handy indeed to carry around, extremely sturdy, waterproof and difficult to damage, and it shoots RAW and has image stabilisation.  The only real minuses for me are the lack of a viewfinder and the fact that the screen is fixed ie non-articulated – but you can’t have everything!  Reviews put it in a class of its own, out in front of other TOUGH cameras.

Anyway,  sure enough, as I sat waiting in my car later in the day, the winds shrieked and the heavens opened.  A deluge clattered across the car’s roof and writhed in torrents down the windows.  And suddenly, looking at those windows, I was encased in a clattering, swirling, flowing and very misty world.  Surreal patterns and images were flowing, forming and re-forming all around me.  I pulled out the TG-5 and started looking into its screen.

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

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The rainstorm, viewed through my car’s windscreen, just after using the wipers: a white car is parked in front of a row of Victorian houses built of honey-coloured Bath Stone.
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The same scene, taken before using the windscreen wipers.  The car is breaking up , becoming ever more abstract, as rainwater pours across the glass.

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 3,200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 15 Jan 2018.
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STILL LIFE 188 – MEGALITH 4 (MONO)

 

 


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Amongst the prehistoric ritual stones at Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol.

Other images of these ritual stones are here: 1  2  3 .

More info about this prehistoric site is here .

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

Technique: X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset and adding a light coffee tone; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley; 6 Nov 2017.
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STILL LIFE 187 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 11: SOMETHING FROM THE HEART

 

 


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UPDATE: a post written nearly two years ago now, but I can’t see my feelings about this ever changing.

We’ve had a death in the family, we have been low.  And, in due course,  we attended the crematorium and, because I’m me, with an almost unbreakable (some would say, unbearable) compulsion to be early, we were early, very early.  Those attending earlier services ebbed and flowed, grieving, around us and, it being a nice day, a cold but beautifully sunny day,  I decided to take myself off for a stroll around the site’s gardens and memorials.

Most of the latter were fairly conventional stuff, sincerely meant no doubt, but with formal words, names, dates and so on – which made me reflect that I certainly don’t want this sort of treatment when I die – and no, I’m not going to say that I wouldn’t be seen dead in a place like this …  its just that I want my ashes scattered anonymously out at a favourite spot on the Somerset Levels – the Magic Carpark –  where the cattle, tractors, farmers and walkers will trample, grumble and rumble unknowingly over me, gradually grinding me down ever further into a place that I have a vast affinity for.  I shall be below sea level and I can’t swim, but then again perhaps that won’t matter by then.

But, anyway >>> anyway!!! >>>  away towards the back of the little enclosure that I was in, and approached by a curving gravel path, stood a garden bench, with bunches of bright daffodils and other flowers tied to it.  And looking at that bench, I just felt that there was something about it that made me want to get closer to it.  I suppose you might say that I could feel it drawing me towards it.  In short, I was intrigued, totally curious, such that not getting any closer was unthinkable.

And walking on up to that seat, alone and with no sound but that of the gravel crunching under my feet, I found the plaque pictured below, mounted on its backrest – and, quite simply, it was one of those moments that you know, instantly, are special.  Life-enhancing might be overdoing it, but spiritually uplifting certainly isn’t.

For here were two things.  One of which of course was the record of a loving relationship, which is in itself uplifting, a cause for warm thoughts and happiness.  But what really got to me – and what still very much really gets to me – is that, this relationship having been struck by the death of the man,  the woman decided to say exactly what was in her heart, and to have it displayed on this bench for all to see.  Having been but moments before wading through a sea of conventional tributes and endearments – phrases that I too have had engraved onto loved ones’ tombstones –  I just loved the freshness and loving vibrance of this.

Its all simple, wonderful and straight from the heart, but MY BIG STRONG NORTHERNER really gets inside me and stirs me up – wow!  And the kisses too, simply so downright, so fundamentally, human.

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Normally I wouldn’t picture words like this from a cemetery, but they do strongly affect me, and having them placed so prominently on this seat, Jac wants others to see them too.  Now they will have a wider than anticipated audience.

And I may have almost got to meet Jac – for between the time when our service started, and the time after our service when I took these photos, someone had come and changed the flowers on the bench, replacing those going over with fresh blooms.  I should have loved to have had that encounter – and, without the slightest doubt, would have made my feelings about her words clear.  It would have been wonderful to meet her.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  .  Each will open in a new window.

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