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!

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



ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 82 – FLOODED ROAD (MONO)


Exploring out on Queen’s Sedge Moor, not far south of the tiny city of Wells, in filthy conditions – rain falling from grey overcast, lots of surface water and simply heroic amounts of mud.  And then onto this little single track road heading for the tiny village of Barrow – when a van, obviously driven by a local, someone who knows the place – rounded a corner and came straight at me at speed.  There was no danger, this image was taken with a 450mm telephoto, which gives x9 magnification, and so it was still quite far off – but it put on speed through the surface water and spray flew everywhere.

Lots of familiarisation with this new camera paid off: I just had time to engage Continuous Autofocus, focus onto the number plate, hold down AF-ON and start firing – three frames and then the vehicle was on me and I was off into the (very soggy) roadside grass.  But, as is often the case down there, a cheery wave from the driver – after all, if I choose to stand in the road, its my lookout!

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 Picture Control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset; Queen’s Sedge Moor, south of Wells, on the Somerset Levels; 5 Apr 2019.



ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 81 – VIEW FROM AN ALLEYWAY


Alleyway in Bruton, Somerset; 14 Dec 2003.  I definitely have a visual fetish for partially obscured cars, there’s just something about pictures like this that really gets to me!  Weird or what?  

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Technique: OM-4 with 21mm Zuiko lens; Fuji Provia 400 colour slide film rated at 3200 ISO.



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 79 – WET AFTERNOON, GOING HOME


Going home from work.  Sitting glumly on a bus near Bristol’s Temple Meads railway station, while the rain streamed down and the dull winter’s afternoon grew ever duller.  It was sometime in February 2006, and the day had nothing in mind other than to expire gratefully, unremembered, into the darkness and anonymity of a wet night.

But I do remember this afternoon clearly – mainly thanks to this photo I suppose.  I was sitting in my favourite seat, right up in the front on the upper deck of the bus, but even that could not dispel the feelings of drabness and gloom brought on by the cold and damp weather – and, let’s face it, no approach to Temple Meads station passes through any of Bristol’s more attractive quarters.

The bus in front is covered is a vast green advert for Asda supermarkets, and to the right of it, alone on a traffic island, is a derelict hotel.   The red lights bring a touch of colour to the otherwise drab scene, and the rain spattered window recalls my feeling at that moment of wanting to be anywhere else in the world but stuck on this damned bus!

Click onto the image to see a larger version of all this dreadfulness in a separate window.

Technique: Olympus XA2 with Fuji Provia 400 colour slide film rated at 800 ISO – and fellow passengers all too audibly wondering what the hell this fat weirdo was doing taking pictures from a bus on a rainy day …



ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 78 – CAR BEHIND A WIRE FENCE


Brooding in the shadows just before dawn 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: an ignition key.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spotmetering for highlights; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; car park beside Temple Meads station, central Bristol; 26 May 2017.



ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 77 – STREET SCENE (3)


A collection of disparate objects: street furniture, the relentless imagery of the mass media, and a moving vehicle  – modern life along a city’s busy roadside, just before dawn. 

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 12,800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Pop profile; central Bristol; 29 Nov 2019.



ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 76 – CAR PARKED BESIDE THE PAVEMENT


Parked car reflecting houses as the sun rises.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 46mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 8 June 2021.



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.

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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: LOOKING AT CARS 74 – FROSTY MORNING, MELTING


After a cold night, still icy in the shadows.

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Technique: TG-5 at 70mm (equiv); 160 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Hart’s Bakery, Temple Meads, Bristol; 8 Nov 2017.

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