PEOPLE 298 – WALKING TO SCHOOL

 

 


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The road to learning, through restful autumn mists and the anything but restful morning rush hour.  I was a young schoolboy like him rather more than 50 years ago.  Our family had one car, which my father used for work – which left mum and I without transport, and anyway mum never learned to drive.  And so to a long, solitary bus ride back and fore to school each day – which was fine, and which was what many kids did in those days, especially those coming in from the surrounding countryside.

Times have changed, and now many children – on occasion even into their mid teens – are taken to school by car, the infamous, twice daily, “school run”.  That young people can face dangers from elements within our society is beyond question – I’ve worked in children’s social services, I should know.  But the problem is that totally shielding them from every real and imagined threat leaves them less prepared – maybe less streetwise says it – for the days when, sooner or later, they will need to be looking out, at least in part, for their own safety and welfare.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; south Bristol; 2 Nov 2017.
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ARCHIVE 330 – BOYS AT A WEDDING (MONO)

 

 


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Young boys – curious, uncertain –  at a wedding near Thika, Kenya, in the late 1970s.

I think I was the only non-African at this ceremony, and so an object of great curiosity to all the youngsters there.

There is another image from this wedding here.

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

Technique: OM-2 with 75-150 Zuiko lens; Kodak Ektachrome 200 colour slide (I think!); Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Landscape preset.

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ARCHIVE 310 – ON A FARM IN WESTERN KENYA … AND WITH HOPES FOR A PEACEFUL GENERAL ELECTION

 

 


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Luo people on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

I love these portraits.  The man is at ease with me and my camera, he knows me well, and in his expression we see nothing contrived, just a calm and direct gaze.  The little boy is nervous, but is being reassured by the man’s closeness – while the little girl’s radiant smile is a delight.

This smile reminds me powerfully of African children in general!  I was often in out of the way areas in Kenya, often far off the well beaten tourist tracks, searching for unusual birdlife.  And I can remember entering villages where white people were only infrequently seen – and being beset by a tide of brightly smiling little children like these, chanting “mazungu, mazungu!” – swahili for “white man, white man!”.

And sometimes they were so curious to see me, maybe not having had close contact with a european before, that they came and wondered at the pale hair on my pale arms – and touched my arms and head as if they couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing – it was a real, uninhibited examination!

I like children anyway, I vastly enjoy interacting with them – and especially so when they can talk – and these were simply wonderful and fascinating experiences.  And I also want to mention here how friendly Kenyan people were in general, throughout my years there – friendly, hospitable and humorous.

On the negative side of things though, it was on this trip that I first contracted malaria – and that is something truly unpleasant.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro.

UPDATE:  Today there is a general election in Kenya and, regardless of who wins, I can only hope that the whole thing goes off peacefully.  In many instances, the colonising powers of not so long ago drew lines around areas of the Earth’s surface and called them countries, regardless of the often extremely diverse ethnic mixes within those areas.  And so it is in Kenya.  Although I don’t see the fact on any of the news broadcasts, the current Kenyan president and his main challenger are from two very diverse ethnic backgrounds, and the recipe for violence, killing and yet more killing is sitting ready in the mixing bowl.  The current president has called for a peaceful vote and promised to abide by the result of the vote, and I can only hope that everyone listens to him.  Why do I hope this?  Well, I am mortally tired of the endless rounds of violence and killing that regularly break out around the world – I suppose that’s idealism.  On a more practical level, I spent many years in Kenya and found the Kenyans friendly and hospitable.  I can only wish them well – and hope that today’s election is proceeding peacefully, and that it will help improve the lives of everyone in that country.

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ARCHIVE 228 – BOYS FISHING

 

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Luo boys fishing at Dunga, near Kisumu, on the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya; April 1979.

I love the colours and slightly upturned prow of the boat, and its reflection too, and also the overall feeling of relaxation, with time passing slowly on a hot day by the side of the teeming lake.

OM-1 with 75-150 Zuiko at 150mm; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.

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PEOPLE 213 – BOY FISHING, ON A STORMY DAY (MONO)

 

 

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This picture is best viewed enlarged.  Click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window.

Boy fishing, on a stormy day; Chew Valley Lake, near Bristol; 6 Feb 2016.

A young lad, out on a wet and windy morning’s fishing with his dad, who is out of shot.

The wind is blowing up his hair and, rather than have him looming large in the shot, I’ve kept in those tall, windblown weeds and the bare winter sapling, which add to the overall cold and blustery feel.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset and adding a tone.
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ARCHIVE 175 – ON A FARM IN WESTERN KENYA (MONO)

 

 

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Luo people on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

I love these portraits.  The man is at ease with me and my camera, he knows me well, and in his expression we see nothing contrived, just a calm and direct gaze.  The little boy is nervous, but is being reassured by the man’s closeness – while the little girl’s radiant smile is a delight.

This smile reminds me powerfully of African children in general!  I was often in out of the way areas in Kenya, often far off the well beaten tourist tracks, searching for unusual birdlife.  And I can remember entering villages where white people were only infrequently seen – and being beset by a tide of brightly smiling little children like these, chanting “mazungu, mazungu!” – swahili for “white man, white man!”. 

And sometimes they were so curious to see me, maybe not having had close contact with a european before, that they came and wondered at the pale hair on my pale arms – and touched my arms and head as if they couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing – it was a real, uninhibited examination!

I like children anyway, I vastly enjoy interacting with them – and especially so when they can talk – and these were simply wonderful and fascinating experiences.  And I also want to mention here how friendly Kenyan people were in general, throughout my years there – friendly, hospitable and humorous.

On the negative side of things though, it was on this trip that I first contracted malaria – and that is something truly unpleasant.

OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro.

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PEOPLE 194 – BOYS AT A WEDDING (MONO)

 

 

Boys at a wedding
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Young boys – curious, uncertain –  at a wedding near Thika, Kenya, in the late 1970s.

I think I was the only non-African at this ceremony, and so an object of great curiosity to all the youngsters there.

There is another image from this wedding here.

OM-2 with 75-150 Zuiko; Kodak Ektachrome 200 colour slide (I think!); Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Landscape preset.
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PEOPLE 163 – PORTRAIT OF A BABY BOY 2 (MONO)

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Another of our friends’ baby son; 6 Mar 2014.

Light was from a bay window, with open blinds – I love working with simple, natural lighting like this – and its completely free too!!!  I’ve never tried studio lighting, and if I can at all avoid it, I stay away from flash.  Natural lighting is the thing – and with something like this wonderful (macro) lens, it really rocks!  I’ve also never tried using reflectors, and they’re something I must have a go at.

There  is another image from this session here.  And another here.

D700 with 105mm Nikkor; 12,800 ISO; Dfine 2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art Process preset.

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PEOPLE 160 – PORTRAIT OF A BABY BOY (MONO)

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A friend’s baby son; 6 Mar 2014.

Light was from a bay window, with open blinds.  His expression?  He’s never seen anything like it in his life – tho whether that’s a reference to the gaping, hooded lens of the 105mm, or to me, is uncertain.

There is an another image from this session here.

D700 with 105mm Nikkor; 12,800 ISO; Dfine 2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Orange preset.
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PEOPLE 159 – MOTHER AND SON 2 (MONO)

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Mother and son; 6 Mar 2014.

We popped over to see a good friend and her baby son.  This time I took the D700 rather than the D800 because, with fewer pixels, the former produces “cleaner” images in low light situations.  And following something I learned from another SEP2 user on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed, I used Nik Software’s Dfine 2 (a part of Google’s Nik Collection software suite) to help reduce the image noise inevitably present at this high ISO rating. 

I’m not sure I used this software very expertly, I did what I usually do with a new package – ignore the Help pages, and just fiddle around a bit and see what happens! – but it does seem to have helped a bit >>> must print off those Help pages!

The first portrait of these two is hereI hope to take more photos of this little boy and his parents in the future.

D700 with 105mm Nikkor; 25,600 ISO; Dfine 2; starting at Silver Efex Pro 2’s Classic Portrait preset.
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