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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ARCHIVE 169 – SUGAR CUBES, IN BURNHAM-ON-SEA (MONO)

 

 

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Sugar cubes on our table in Baillies Cafe, Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset; 7 Mar 2012. 

Taken during the interval between making our order and the arrival of the delicious fodder.  The Full English Breakfast included Bubble And Squeak which, for those not already familiar with it,  is a wonderful, fried concoction of  potato, cabbage, onions and other veg left over from earlier meals, named after the noise it makes while being cooked in the frying pan – glorious stuff!

This is white sugar, but I’ve darkened it down and toned it, and I think that the reflective edge of the metal sugar bowl, top right, adds something to the shot.

Canon G11 Powershot; 400 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, and further manipulated in SEP2 and Capture NX2.

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ARCHIVE 152 – BALUSTRADE, BACKLIT

 

 

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Backlit plaster balustrade in a restaurant; Newquay, Cornwall; 13 Sept 2011.

We were having lunch – my snout was squarely in the trough –  when a burst of sunlight opened up this scene right beside our table.  The long end of a short zoom was just enough to capture these repeating patterns, fading off into a distance which is actually only a few feet away, beside the next table in the room. 

Altering the orientation of the image gives the impression of lighting pouring up from below.  The colours are minimal, but they certainly give this shot an edge over monochrome versions.

D700 with 24-120 Nikkor at 120mm; 1600 ISO; image horizontally flipped and then rotated 90 degrees clockwise.

UPDATE: looking at this anew, after several years, I’m struck by those long dark curves coming in from the left.  They rise very gently – less is more! – as they move across the frame, after which they peak, falter – and descend abruptly into the image’s far more active right third.
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STILL LIFE 22 – METAL TABLE AND TWO CHAIRS (MONO)

 

 

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Two chairs (back to back) and a metal table in a café in Aberaeron, west Wales; 24 Sept 2014.

Not sure I’ve posted anything like this for sometime.  A Minimalist image perhaps, although there is actually quite a lot of detail there. 

And its abstract – there is no horizon, and the subject matter might not be immediately obvious – its a collection of shapes and textures.  I had considered rotating it, but then thought it should be left as is.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset.
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ARCHIVE 115 – UPSTAIRS IN THE VICTORIA TEA ROOM, PENZANCE

 

 

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Upstairs in The Victoria Tea Room, Penzance; 25 Apr 2012.

We returned yesterday from a few days in the far southwest of Cornwall, based between Penzance and St Ives.  And in a week of awful weather all over England we were far enough southwest to miss it all – it only rained at night, and the days were dry and even sunny!

Whenever we’re in Penzance we always visit this tearoom.  Amongst many other tasty goodies it serves up 11 item English breakfasts – which I hold a profound reverence for – and we like to sit beside the windows upstairs, looking out over Penzance’s main street.

In this cafe there are many bentwood chairs in a beautiful green, and the place has an over all low key, Minimalist, green and grey decor that I like very much.  This cup and saucer provided a good foil for its low key surroundings, and the chairbacks on the right resemble the curving stems of some exotic plant.

Canon G11 PowerShot; 400 ISO.

UPDATE: this excellent eatery has closed down – a great loss.  And while I’m talking about this image – I can say that its a great favourite of mine.  I have always loved its vast simplicity.

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ARCHIVE 106 – NAPKINS AND WINE GLASSES (MONO)

 

 

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Napkins and wine glasses on our table in the Cottage Cafe, Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset; 9 Oct 2010.

Canon PowerShot G11; 400 ISO; converted to mono with Alien Skin’s Exposure 2.

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GARDEN 43 – AN UNDEREXPOSED GARDEN, THE BELLYBUSTER, AND TWO TREES DISCUSSING THE DAY

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Our neighbours’ trees, underexposed, on a foggy day; 13 Mar 2014.

We had quite dense fog yesterday, weather more like autumn really, and we have more of the same today.  But whereas we were just around here yesterday, today we’re headed down onto the Somerset Levels, to wallow in a really tasty Full English breakfast, the “Bellybuster”for lunch at the Cottage Café, in Burnham-On-Sea.  Fog might become even more of a problem when the A38 takes us down onto those still very wet lowlands – but we’ll just have to drive with care, inching our way towards all that glorious grub!

Yesterday, I looked out of our kitchen window and was struck by the great, dark bulks of our neighbours’ two evergreen trees, set against the impenetrable fog curtain that was (and is) their backdrop.  So I leaned out of – and in the process, almost fell out of – the window and took some photos.

Here are the tops of these two, great evergreens, side by side in the murk.  Because my camera’s matrix metering was underexposing the scene a little, I added a stop of overexposure, to push the Levels & Curves chart further right, to better record the various tones – there is a post on this “exposing to the right” technique here.

But my concern for improved recording of tones is wasted here because, post-capture, I’ve severely underexposed the scene, using Levels & Curves.  This has produced a Minimal composition in which the two trees are silhouetted, while the fog wall in the background is a featureless blue.

I like this simplicity – and in my mind are two great, shaggy headed beings – Ents maybe? – leaning back in the chill, early morning murk and gazing out over the valley, airing their thoughts for the new day as it unfolds.  What am I on? …  must get more ….

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 122mm; 3200 ISO; slightly overexposed at capture, and then severely underexposed in Capture NX2.
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