SOMERSET LEVELS 442 – EMPTY SHOP

 

 

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So, what the hell am I pointing my camera at now?  These are the windows of an empty shop, most probably a victim of both the current general downturn in UK retail, together the on going impoverishment of seaside towns.

These are the shop’s windows, with a white, wooden frame between them.  On the left a smaller window adjacent to the shop’s door, and on the right a larger window facing more out onto the street.  Because the premises are empty, the inside of the windows have been wiped with whitewash to deter curious eyes – there may still be things inside the shop worth stealing, or perhaps it is being refurbished.  Seen from the outside, presumably taking some colour from the sky, the whitewash appears bluish.

Then, on the right of the picture, the larger window reflects the terraced houses in the street, a white van, twin yellow “No Parking” lines and the sky’s dull, wet overcast.

Other recent pictures from Weston are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 12,800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 3 Jan 2020.
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BIRDS 124 – JACKDAW (MONO)

 


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Walking in the early morning of New Year’s Day in south Bristol, and being suddenly delighted by a storm of black bodies and whirling wings close overhead. They were Jackdaws, small crows, and this large group had recently emerged from a communal roost where they’d spent the long winter night and – garrulous, sociable, busy, noisy – they were off around Bristol’s rooftops in search of the day’s first meal. They landed on the roof of a nearby factory but, active as they were, I knew that they’d soon be aloft again in a noisy, wheeling black cloud.

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LOL!!! >>> and so to one of photography’s great sayings >>> that the best camera for the job is the one you have with you >>> and so, from my pocket, I produced something really totally unsuitable for the job ahead, the only camera I was carrying, the Olympus TOUGH TG-5.

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But the birds were on the move again even quicker than I’d anticipated, and any “photographic technique” on my part was reduced to managing to get the zoom to it longest length (100mm equivalent), pointing the little camera at the whirling flock and firing five quick, single frames.  The camera was set for spot metering, thankfully at 3200 ISO, but on this dark morning that still only gave me 1/30 second at f4.9.

I’m also a great believer in “any picture is better than no picture at all”, and in this case the slow shutter speed blurred the flailing wings to give a real sense of movement – and so to high contrast black and white processing in Lightroom and something of an impressionistic result.
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ARCHIVE 424 – VEHICLE IN A STORM (TWO ORIENTATIONS)

 

 

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Vehicle hit by high wind and a cloudburst, on a rooftop car park in south Bristol; 15 Feb 2014.

The view from my car’s window stretched off to the south from where, closing fast, mist and dense gloom were coming at me.  I barely had time to get the G11 from my bag and switch it on before the car shuddered under the impact of the first gusts and the rain’s rattle was all around.

A vehicle, a large black 4×4, was just pulling out, lights on and heading straight into the storm and, as it moved slowly away, I focused on my car’s streaming window and fired.  Long white walls and overhead signs lit up the backdrop, and the tungsten white balance – still set on the camera from a previous photo session – brought a blue cast to the scene.

I’ve modified the image in CEP4, raising contrast and detail, lowering brightness, and counteracting the tungsten’s cold feel with just a little warmth.

After this manipulation, this image no longer faithfully reproduces reality, but it is an impression of things that reminds me of what it was like being there.  And as well as attempting to interpret what this image portrays – which is for many, many of us our initial response to an abstract – I can enjoy this simply as a collection of shapes, textures, colours and tones.  It could also be rotated 90 degrees clockwise, as shown below.

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

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (35mm equivalent); 400 ISO; tungsten white balance; Color Efex Pro 4.

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PEOPLE 380 – DRIVER IN THE MODERN WORLD

 

 

She is at the wheel – and on wheels too – comfortably cocooned in metal, plastics and glass, all powered up and ready to go. 

But glancing around, perhaps for some human contact, for some respite from this purely blank, mechanically mobile world, the view outside – as inside – is only of endless artificiality, only of yet more, transient cocoons, passing on anonymously by.

Click onto the image twice to enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 6400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Dramatic profile; Bristol city centre; 29 Nov 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 434 – ANOTHER WORLD (MONO)

 

 


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Walking in The Boulevard, one of Weston’s main streets.  It was a wet morning, rain forever around, and there was a lot of surface water.  In my path, a large puddle spread across the pavement and, well before I reached it, I could see reflections in it – and so to ramping the telezoom up to 300mm and, standing quite some distance back from it, looking at and into this puddle.

I was looking into another world.  There was the reflection of a tall street lamp and, nearer, a street sign too, and the patterns of paving stones were also visible.  I’d taken several frames when the reflection of a gull suddenly passed through the frame – and I managed a single shot before it was gone.  And thence to simplifying the image by presenting it in mono, and presenting it upside down to make it more readable, while preserving the dreamlike, otherworldly atmosphere.

And, in yet another (this time, bygone) world >>> opposite this spot, 60 years ago, a toy shop called Driver’s was an exciting centre in my young life – forever adding to my vast regiments of toy soldiers, and also allowing me to buy fireworks in the days when they were both affordable and freely available to youngsters like me.  For those of you old enough, do Penny Bangers, Jumping Jacks, Volcanoes and Catherine Wheels bring back any memories???  We youngsters used to light a Penny Banger (effectively a small explosive device, costing one OLD penny) and hold it until it started fizzing and was just about to explode, and then drop it into a puddle, when it would shoot across the surface of the water before blowing up: delighted – and retaining all our fingers too – we called it a Torpedo …..

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera processing of raw file, using the Graphite profile; further processing in Lightroom; 180 degrees’ rotation;  The Boulevard, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 22 Nov 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 149 – SUNRISE, WITH WOODEN FENCE AND THE SHADOWS OF BRAMBLES

 

 


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Walking down a narrow lane in a housing estate, the newly risen sun blazing behind me, and on my right a new wooden fence, caught in the fierce glare and dappled with the shadows of brambles.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 53mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Natural profile; south Bristol; 2 Oct 2019.

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BRISTOL 154 – KING WILLIAM AVENUE

 

 


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The wonderful exterior colour of the King William Ale House, a favourite watering hole of mine in Bristol city centre.  An old pub, with good beer and comfortable seating – just the place for quiet  afternoons of decadent imbibing and good conversation by those of us in the retired classes.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; rotation; Capture NX2; King William Avenue, Bristol city centre; 1 Oct 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 135 – WALKING DOWN TO THE CITY

 

 

1: loved the plants!  What do they add – patina / character / a touch of Life???

Walking down to the city centre on a sunny morning.  Walking northwards, and so keeping to the right hand side of the roaring main road to watch the glare of the low angle sunlight striking the buildings opposite and also, where the view to the east is uninterrupted, to watch the glare interacting with the ground around my feet.

And so to a series of random photos: little scenes seen during a walk down to the city … to buy a loaf of (very special and simple) bread as it happens …

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

Technique: TG-5; Lightroom; south Bristol; 14 Sept 2019.
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2: part-shaded by buildings and trees on the opposite side of the road


3: the roof of a sports pavilion, with floodlights and a street light


4: loved the gulls!


5: bridge with red railings, and a white line to keep walkers safe from cyclists …


6: roadside shadows
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BRISTOL 153 – LITTLE KING STREET 2

 

 


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Morning sunlight casting shadows across a façade.

There is an earlier abstract image from Little King Street here: 1 .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid v2 profile; Little King Street, central Bristol; 10 May 2019.
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BRISTOL 152 – MASONRY

 

 


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Rough stone in a wall >>> twisted and turned a little!

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – which is useful I think to better see the textures.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Standard v2 profile; flipped; rotated; beside Temple Meads railway station, in central Bristol; 10 May 2019.
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