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 160 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 5

 

I’ve sampled the excellent food in Rosemarino’s Italian restaurant several times now, and taken some pictures while waiting for my meal to arrive.  Two photos (including a chair) are already posted here and here.

Now, looking at chairs some more, here are more Minimalist views of this restaurant’s simple but completely adequate seating.  My favourite amongst them?  Probably the second image down, for its simple silhouettes and pale, pastel colours – and also, looking at this image naively, the question: which are in the foreground, the colours or the silhouettes?

Which (if any!) of these images do you prefer?

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4

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

Technique: all of these images are jpegs straight out of the X-T2; aside from application of the X-T2’s in-camera film simulations, there has been no post-capture processing whatsoever.  All were taken with the 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; spot metering.

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STILL LIFE 135 – RESTAURANT WITH FLAG

 

 


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Looking into a restaurant, through the reflection of a flag.

There are other glimpses into Bristol restaurants here, here, here and here.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Capture NX2; Bristol’s Harbourside; 19 July 2016.
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ARCHIVE 302 – BOOKLET ON WHITE TABLE, BESIDE GREEN SEATING

 

 


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View through the sunlit window of a restaurant in Park Street, Bristol; 6 Apr 2013.

The gloriously blasting sunlight is striking the white side of the table and the green seats around the table.  The top of the table is in shadow but, being white, is not quite as dark as I’ve rendered it – to me the pure white rectangle made by the table’s edge is very strong graphically.  And I wanted the booklet to be almost floating in the blackness.

There is also the unfocused shadow of a plant – looking like some large predatory insect, a mantis perhaps –  which is off left of the table.

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (35mm equivalent); 200 ISO.

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STILL LIFE 127 – A DISTINCTLY CIVILISED FULL ENGLISH

 

 

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I’m quite a fan of Full English Breakfasts.  They are of course eminently unhealthy food, full of fat and calories, and they can also be very bland – the ingredients can all be there, but they’re cheap, pallid affairs, and really not worth the effort.  Sausages can be the worst culprits, cheap, bland, with not a trace of texture and with almost no taste – might as well be eating cardboard, really; probably just as nutritious too.

But in other instances Full English Breakfasts are rich explosions of taste, and one pointer that I’ve discovered to this greatness is their colour – the more colourful (but not garish) ones have better ingredients and tend to taste better.  And so it was with the distinctly classy repast pictured here.  It has been another long morning of walking and photography in the city, and so into Browns eminently civilised restaurant, and a breakfast to warm the spirit.

So, what is here?  Well, the usual suspects – taking it clockwise from the top, fried eggs hiding just right of the sourdough toast, tasty sausages, thick smoked bacon, mushrooms, tomato (real, not canned) – and then that dubious black chunk trying to hide under the toast is black pudding, a pudding made with blood – truly repulsive, unhealthy … and tasty!    And then some baked beans and those thin strips of greenery – which were tasty too!  All in all, probably 1600 calories or so …

This food was indeed delicious, but the icing on the cake for me was in the semicircle of supporting accoutrements   Butter of course, and tomato sauce not in the ubiquitous plastic bottle.  And then a teapot and  small jug of milk >>> and because actual tea leaves were used instead of the ubiquitous teabags, sitting on top of the cup is a tea strainer and a little round metal cup the strainer sits in after use, so that it doesn’t drip onto the table.  I am not any great connoisseur of food nor do I have any great eye for style, but for me that tea strainer and its little receptacle were just the icing on the cake.  In a world where money rules, quality is often forsaken and there is a general race to the bottom, this tea strainer and its little holder turned a good meal into a really quite restful, elegant and special experience.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto the enlarged image to enlarge it yet again.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 26mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Browns restaurant, central Bristol; 28 Apr 2017.  Use of a wide angle lens pointed down at the subject appears to lift the plate of food slightly so that the objects to either side appear to be tilting outwards slightly.  This effect may be correctable with software but I’m content to leave it as it is.

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STILL LIFE 109 – ITALIAN RESTAURANT

 

 


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Sitting by the door in Rosemarino’s Italian restaurant, in the Clifton area of Bristol, after another long, photographic walk across the city.  I asked the staff if they minded me taking a few photos of the restaurant’s interior and they were fine and very friendly about it.  And as I lolled back, glorying in the expectation of some gorgeous grub, this scene was before me.

The rack of newspapers first caught my eye – what an eminently nice touch in a simple, relaxing, quality space like this.  But then there was the Italian actress – Sophia Loren? – very firmly fixed to the front door.  And behind her, seen through the glass of the door, a towering tree with Spring’s first bright leaves, set against the blue wall of a house.

The Full English Breakfast was delicious, very tasty – as opposed to just going through the motions of containing the right constituents as many breakfasts do.  And the staff were very willing to adjust the constituents to suit my tastes – definitely a place to visit again!

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 125mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; York Place, Clifton, Bristol; 21 Apr 2017.
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STILL LIFE 79 – FOUR CHAIRS BELOW A TABLE (MONO)

 

 

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Browns restaurant, Queens Road, Bristol; 3 Feb 2017.

My day started early as they often do, and I got downtown at dawn and took a few photos.  But my heart wasn’t really in it because I know that yet another deep depression was steamrollering its way in from the Atlantic, and that it would be saturating Bristol with rain well before the morning was through.

And so to a stop in Browns up market (and certainly not down budget!) palace for Eggs Royale and a pot of very nice english tea.  I lounged there, looking around and feeling a bit out of things after the early start, and a table with four chairs that was catching the light from a window kept drawing my eye.

And so to opening my bag and getting out the camera, and looking through the viewfinder – but by then a couple had occupied the table next to the one I was looking at, and I had the uncomfortable feeling that they thought the camera was being pointed at them.  But at least this Fuji is not so large and intimidating, or so loud, as the Nikons, and I pressed quickly on and took two frames.

Technique: the table’s top was brightly lit and cluttered with many things, but I liked the look of the seats of the four chairs that were faintly glowing in the table’s shadow – and so to a composition in which the table’s bright and cluttered top is squeezed into the top fifth or so of the frame, while the seats of the chairs glow in the less brightly lit ‘underworld’ below.  There was a lot of contrast in the scene but the camera’s multi-zone metering (aided by the live histogram I’ve opted to have visible in the viewfinder) dealt with it well, and although the colour image is attractive – one of those instances where the near absence of colour really works – it really seemed to be a scene that would suit black and white, and so to SEP2.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 125mm (equiv); 12,800 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset and adding a tone.
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BRISTOL 107 – BLUE ROOM

 

 

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Looking in through a restaurant window, Bristol Harbourside; 14 July 2016.

The blue effect is achieved by altering the white balance of the shot in Lightroom, making the light temperature artificially cold.

There are other views into this restaurant here and here, and something similar here.

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

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv);  800 ISO.
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BRISTOL 100 – VIEW INTO A RESTAURANT

 

 

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Looking in through a restaurant window, Bristol Harbourside; 14 July 2016.

Looking in through this window, I was at once taken with the single, beautiful flower, caught by the light.  But, there being all sorts of visual rubbish off to the left, I could not make the flower anywhere near central in the composition, nor get it near to any of the compositional thirds.  I could of course have tried portrait (ie vertical) format, but this seemed a waste of all that diffuse, half-seen, “restauranty” detail off to the right – table cloths, more glasses, cutlery, upholstery.

And so to this.  Westerners’ eyes often enter images from the left, perhaps because we write from left to right – I’ve often talked about this on this blog in the past.  So,  in this case, my eyes enter this image from the left and run visually slap bang into the flower and its attendant glassware, sharp and well lit in the summer sunlight – and are for a moment held there. 

But as I look at the bloom and its reflective attendants, my eyes keep wandering off to the right, wondering what’s there – only to be dragged back to the flower again. 

Do your eyes do the same, or do you see this differently?  Is the flower really too far left?  What do you think?

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

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 198 – STEPS UP TO A CAFE, ST IVES (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 

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Steps up to a cafe, St Ives, Cornwall; 24 Apr 2012.

This is the entrance to a cafe / bar that opens onto St Ives’ main street.  The steps have red lights on them to help revellers climbing them at night, and I’ve added some (colourless) lighting of my own here too, via one of Capture NX2’s control points.

There are bright handrails on either side of the stairs, that help take my eyes up into the cafe above, with its tables, chairs and large, bright windows.

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

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 145mm; 1600 ISO; conversion to mono, and selective restoration of colour, in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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