ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 48 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 2


One of the chairs around the table in what we grandly call our dining room, photographed against a black background.

An image captured on film, years ago, and doubtless with the aid of a tripod.  I used that wonderful and completely gratis illumination, window light, and hung a black sheet behind the chair to completely black out the background – the sheet must have been in shadow, since that no trace of its surface textures can be seen.

A Minimalist image, and so to the mantras – less is more, simple is beautifulsmall is beautiful – all very true, to my mind.  Most of the chair is out of shot, only three, separate elements remain.  This suggests a basic point.  An artist starts with a blank canvas and adds things to it, but a photographer (often) starts with a viewfinder or screen brimming over with stuff >>> now the intention may be to photograph all of the stuff, an entire landscape for example, but in many instances the photographer finds him/herself in a subtractive role, removing some items from the scene by altering the position of the camera and/or doing some post-capture cropping of the image, so that the photograph’s subject assumes greater prominence – as in this shot.  I’ve read that many photographers try to cram too much into their images, so that viewers’ eyes can’t fix onto anything – and because they don’t know where to look, they become visually confused and roam around the image and then out of it – and the appeal of the image suffers accordingly.  We live in an age of I want it all and I want it now!, but maybe I want less than it all! can be ok too.

Technique: F6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 200mm; Fuji Velvia 100 colour slide film rated at 200 ISO; Bristol; 29 Mar 2006.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE PICTURE GALLERY 4 – POSTS 31 – 40

I’m currently posting images from my large archive of (loosely defined!) still life photos.  These photos are being posted singly, with full text.

To make viewing of these images easier for those with little time to spare, I’m also posting groups of these images with minimal titles.  This is the 4th gallery – you can find the earlier galleries here: 1 2 3 .

Clicking onto each image will open a larger version in a separate window: doing this often enhances the image.

31: Trellises beside the front door – a cottage in Peaslake, Surrey; 2012.

32: Stella – flattened beer can, road kill from a Bristol gutter; 2006.

33: Phone boxes, Penzance, Cornwall; 2012.

34: Female Mallard, motionless but alert as I edge closer; Chew Valley Lake; 2017.

35: Low angle autumn sunlight grazes the pavement on a steep hill; Bristol; 2017.

36: Fisherman in early morning mist; Chew Valley Lake, near Bristol; 2015.

37: Mute Swan, posing for me or, more probably, threatening me; Chew Valley Lake; 2017.

38: Striped shirt, one of mine, hanging up to dry; Bristol; 2013.

39: Upstairs on the early morning bus: someone with buds in and phone out – misted, silhouetted, indistinct – someone anonymous who is, essentially, entirely somewhere else; Bristol; 2017.

40: City life: the clean, soulless hospitality of a corporate foyer, with reflections of traffic lights outside and more corporate architecture across the road; Bristol; 2016.

ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 83 – RAINY DAY, MOTORWAY SERVICES


View through our windscreen on a rainy day; Membury Services, on the M4 in Berkshire; 1 June 2016.

Off eastwards to Berkshire to see a friend, with a (now habitual) stop in a motorway services for sustenance en route.  It was a wet morning and, quite by chance, we parked opposite a red car.  I blinked my way out of “driving mode”, looked around and this filled the view out in front of us.

This is very far from the first picture I’ve ever taken through a wet window, and I’m sure very far from the last too.  For me, blur and softness have their place in images, wall to wall sharpness is not the be all and end all of things.  Interestingly, this week’s edition of Amateur Photographer magazine (23 July 2016) is devoted to Sharpness, the Editor kicking things off with “Today’s photographers are obsessed with sharpness in a way that we never used to be.”.  And he’s right.  But, for me, its always the content of an image that comes first, and the technicalities second.  However next week’s AP issue is all about blur – so that’s alright then!

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 95mm; 800 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.



ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 38 – STRIPED SHIRT


One of my shirts, hanging up to dry; 20 July 2013.

The room in which FATman Photos undergoes its awful gestation faces due east and is regularly seared by the blazing light of the rising sun – and this has particularly been the case during our current heatwave.   And I’m an early morning person, usually tapping away in here just when the horizontal solar assault is at its peak.  Seeing my PC’s monitor gets difficult, and so I move various things around the room, trying to block both the sunlight and its reflections off the room’s pale walls.

Yesterday a rack of drying washing did the job, keeping the screen nicely visible.  And as the morning progressed and I walked back and fore past these drying clothes, ferrying in cold drinks to counteract the heat, this shirt kept catching my eye  – until at last I stopped and had a good, long look at it.  What was there?  Well, first, it was back lit and that’s always a nice thing.  And then there was this dark seam, looking like a road that momentarily disappears as it climbs a hill, before re-emerging on the summit.  And there were pale, back lit stripes going all over the place.

I’ve just acquired a super-light tripod and ballhead,  and thought to try it out.  It worked well – its certainly something to carry around, quite compact and very portable – whereas my other tripod is built like a tank and getting quite awkward to lift, let alone carry around!  And I moved the clothes drier out of the sun’s harsh rays, to get a softer lighting effect.

And processing?  I immediately visualised something light and airy, something reflecting the soft backlighting – so trending towards higher key, rather than dense and gloomy.

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

Technique: tripod-mounted D800 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 200 ISO;  Color Efex Pro 4.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 80 – WINTER SUN, IN A CAR PARK (2)


Looking low in the car park next to Temple Meads Station, just as the bright winter sun clears the skyline and floods the area with light.

I posted the lower picture a few days back, but then started looking at another version, which is the upper shot here.  I like both of these pictures for their great simplicity, their Minimalism.  There’s not much here, its just the nearside front wheel of a red car.  But then I’m a great believer that there need not always be a lot in a picture – and that one of the great no-no’s in photography is having too much in a picture.

But which of these pictures do I prefer, and why?  I’ve processed them slightly differently: the colour of the car’s bodywork is slightly paler in the upper photo – but then the upper photo is slightly higher key in some areas, it has slightly paler tones, and some burnt out highlights too >>>>> the photographic purists amongst you may not sleep too soundly tonight …..

I prefer the upper image because of its higher (and, yes, burnt out) tones, and the way in which the convex curve of the lit up tyre slightly mirrors the slight curve of the very high key and slightly burnt out highlight on the left.  And I prefer the upper image because is even simpler, more Minimal, than the lower image.  The details of the wheel’s hub and spokes have all gone, and there are simply three curves that are convex to the left, and that single straight dark line at lower left.  If I were a purist (now there’s a surreal thought!) I might have washed the car before firing at it too …..

Which of these two images do you prefer?  Do you agree with my choice, or do you have a quite different take on things?  Let me know >>> its always good to hear others’ views!

And so to a very firmly held mantra – one, perhaps, that six years of blogging have hammered into me >>>  in photography (as in many other things), there are no rights and no wrongs, there are only differing, subjective, visual opinions.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 206mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; car park beside Temple Meads Railway Station, Bristol; 1 Dec 2017.



ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 75 – THE CAR PARKED NEXT TO MINE (2) (MONO + COLOUR)


The car parked next to mine; Bristol, 22 Nov 2012.

A day of high winds and showers; raindrops are visible on the window.

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

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 63mm (35mm equivalent); 400 ISO; rotated 90 degrees clockwise; using Silver Efex Pro’s Silhouette 025 E +0.5 preset as a starting point, with some colour restoration.



ARCHIVE STILL LIFE PICTURE GALLERY 2 : POSTS 11-20

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE PICTURE GALLERIES

I’m currently posting images from my large archive of (loosely defined!) still life photos.  These photos are being posted singly, with full text.

To make viewing of these images easier for those with little time to spare, I’m also posting groups of these images with minimal titles.  This is the second gallery – you can find the earlier galleries here: 1 .

Clicking onto each image will open a larger version in a separate window: doing this often enhances the image.

Looking down onto the shadow of a footbridge; 2014.

Dustbin and blue cord, in a churchyard; 2014.

The upper deck of a bus, on a sunny day; 2017.

My wife’s glass of wine, in a Bristol pub, on a sweaty afternoon; 2016.

Looking into a building at night; 2016.

Teasels, in the valley of the River Chew; 2013.

Seascape, Lizard Point, Cornwall; 2016.

Public seating; 2016.

Small tree, on the Mendip Hills; 2018.

Advertisement, a little the worse for wear; 2017.

ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 27 – KING WILLIAM ALE HOUSE


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.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; rotated anticlockwise; Capture NX2; King William Avenue, Bristol city centre; 1 Oct 2019.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 23 – ROOFS


Tiled roofs at Stanton Drew, Somerset; 7 May 2013.

Repeating patterns have a great appeal to the human eye.  When photographing them, its often good to have an exception – something that breaks the pattern – to act as a focal point in the picture.

Here, the change in orientation of the patterns between the patterns on the two roofs helps, as does the bluish metal along their interface.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; rotated 90 degrees clockwise.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



STILL LIFE 263 – WALL OF CONCRETE BLOCKS, DEFACED BY RED LINE


 

Strolling down tatty back alleys behind a row of small shops in the blazing summer’s sun, and reveling in the burgeoning and totally uncaring unkemptness of it all.  The shops’ fronts might look alright, but back here behind the facades there is only sordid and refuse strewn reality – what you see is very much what you get, and what you get is pure, artless, drab functionality, bereft of all thoughts of beauty or attractive design.

And I found a wall of made of concrete blocks – breeze blocks as we Brits call them – on which some bright young thing had scrawled a long red line.  Up behind the wall was a fence of crudely painted and rusting metal panels.  And in the foreground, parked up close and personal against the wall, a car, patterned by the bright reflections of its stark backdrop.

And – rather an epiphany I suppose – I realised that, should I linger too long in these scruffy and unkempt surroundings, anyone passing by might think me a very real part of them.  So I hastened swiftly on, anxious to give a better – if false – impression elsewhere.

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

Technique:  TG-5 at 49mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Modern 01 profile; south Bristol; 1 June 2021.



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