STILL LIFE 149 – TWO CARS (MONO)

 

 


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Cars, in fairly radical, stark, black and white.

Looking at this, I’m impressed by the apparent bulk and massive presence of the rear car, which is probably due to the one in front being only partly visible.  And the cars are held very tightly within the image’s frame, they are too big for the frame, they are bursting to get out.

There are other recent car pictures, in various styles, here, here, here and here Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Silhouette preset; Assembly Rooms Lane, central Bristol; 12 May 2017.
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ARCHIVE 317 – SELF-PORTRAIT WITH BLUE LORRY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Self-portrait with blue lorry, near Peacock Farm, Westhay Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 Jul 2012.

I’m sitting very upright in the driving seat of my car, using a wideangle zoom to record both the scene in the rear view mirror, and the road ahead as seen through the windscreen.  Back home, I’ve converted the shot to mono using Capture NX2, but retained original colour – and added some brightness too – for the scene in the mirror.

The rows of small dots above the mirror are a device to help prevent dazzle when looking up at the mirror.

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

Technique: D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 800 ISO; manipulated with Capture NX2.

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STILL LIFE 139 – CAR AFTER RAIN SHOWER

 

 


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I’m married to my 55-200 Fujinon telezoom, which mirrors the 70-300mm of my very, very favourite, full-frame Nikon lens.  I also have the 10-24 Fujinon lens that is a 15-36 full-frame equivalent, but I’ve just not been able to get into using it much – and I’ve read of others finding the results of wide angle lenses tending to be formulaic in exactly the same way.

So last Friday, having no real other photographic targets in mind, I took the 10-24 into the city again – and did get a little more into it, especially when using it close-in.  And its smaller than the 55-200 and really quite handy.  But I wish it was a little longer at the upper focal length end, say up to 50mm or 75mm equivalent.  As I’ve said before, my 24-120 full frame Nikon zoom really is an extremely useful and flexible lens, the lens I’ll always take if I’m unsure what sorts of images are going to appear.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Victoria Street, central Bristol; 4 Aug 2017.
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PEOPLE 285 – GOING TO WORK 29 (MONO)

 

 


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Going to work.  The bike beats the jams but he’s jammed in – anonymous, wary, vulnerable, claustrophobically picking his way between shifting walls of gleaming metal and glass; lungs poisoned by fumes, ears blasted by engines and horns, and always the thought that he’ll fare worst in any tussle with these mechanised beings.

Oh come, you’ll say, mechanised beings?each has a human driver!  Well, the way things are going, that may not be true for too much longer – so, thinking of the Terminator films – is this Rise Of The Machines???

Technique: this is tight crop, aimed at accentuating how the cyclist is being hemmed in, to accentuate how the “mobile metal monsters” are queuing up to squeeze closely past him.  And these feelings of claustrophobia are (hopefully!) added to by cropping The Man Himself; and especially so his eyes, which at once renders him anonymous and unknown; leaving only his mouth, which looks rather taut, stressed and ready for the worst.

And here also something that I very rarely do – using Lightroom to completely produce a black and white image.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27 and 28.     Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Capture NX2; Baldwin Street, central Bristol; 19 July 2016.
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PEOPLE 283 – GOING TO WORK 27

 

 


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Because of its format, this image is probably best viewed enlarged – click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window.

Bright sunlight.  Driving seat or cockpit.  Morning commuter or fighter pilot.  Whichever, still stationary in Bristol’s traffic.

This image is very different from the previous Going To Work post, the journey to work encompasses many different environments and emotions.  For photography, I think I prefer the mornings of winter – and now its just a question of whether I’ll have the resolve to get out early again into those cold darknesses.  I’m also having vague but recurring thoughts about using a waterproof camera downtown in dark and torrential downpours but, as I’m usually a dry weather photographer, whether that will materialise is an even greater uncertainty!  Still, you know, mad dogs and Englishmen …

But the cleanly shaven jaw of this man brings something else to mind.  As I grow older, I’m looking more and more at the things we humans routinely think and  do, at the things we take for granted, at our prejudices, stigmas and taboos,  and I just end up shaking my head wonderingly – its probably an old man thing!  But to me, shaving the hair off my face in the certain knowledge that I’m going to have to do it again tomorrow, and the next day and all the days after that, is simply not sensible.  And this is not a recent trait either.  For my father’s gift to me, in his genes, had me starting to lose my hair and having to shave at around the age of 16 or so.  Precocious or what?  The early hair loss was a little traumatic, though its quite meaningless and out of mind now.  But (wet) shaving before going to school was just not my cup of meat, I simply couldn’t see the point, and so the day I left school at the age of 18 I started on a beard – and I’ve had that beard ever since.  The previous two posts to this (25 and 26) feature the early morning bus into work, which for me was always a downer, but although the driver featured here has more luxurious transport, I’m not sure that I don’t rate the having to be clean shaven and neat for work thing as being on a par with – as being right down there alongside – the early morning bus.  Bohemianism?  Probably.  In fact, yes, hopefully.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25  and 26Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Bristol Bridge, in the city centre; 19 July 2016.
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STILL LIFE 133 – WHITE GLOVE

 

 


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Chaos, close in, with a wide angle lens: raindrops on the bonnet, blown highlights, saturated colours and a cavalier disregard for the horizontal.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Color Efex Pro 4; Capture NX2; outside Hart’s Bakery, Temple Meads, Bristol; 28 Apr 2017.
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STILL LIFE 131 – BLUE CAR

 

 


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Blue car, outside Harts Bakery (on my early morning trips into the city, where else???).

Technique: two things to mention.  This photo was captured in portrait format but, to my eyes (but maybe not to your’s!) it works better compositionally rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise.  The rotation does of course make it more abstract, something I rarely dislike, and there is a pleasing lower left to upper right orientation of many of the structural elements – with the notable exceptions of the strong, near horizontal line at the bottom, and the “splash” of white reflection that curves down towards lower right.  The edges of the window now make a more pronounced, sharp and curving feature at lower/middle left.  And the other thing here is LR’s Vibrance slider, which boosts the saturation of less saturated colours (ie rather than boosting the saturation of the more saturated colours too).  In the past I’ve either left this slider at zero, or moved to a positive value – but here, looking at its effects, a setting of -19 looks better than increasing saturation.  Less is often more with many things, and reducing the saturation of colour images can often have positive effects.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise; Temple Meads, Bristol; 7 July 2017.
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STILL LIFE 128 – CENTRAL RESERVATION

 

 


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The central reservation on a dual carriageway, with pedestrian and car approaching.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spotmetering; Lightroom; beside Temple Meads railway station, central Bristol; 26 May 2017.
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STILL LIFE 126 – WHITE CAR

 

 


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The dominance of the private car in modern society but, as a driver myself, who am I to express an adverse opinion?  Still, there are many here for whom using public transport is largely unthinkable, quite close to anathema really, while walking any distance is at best infrequent.  I’m not sure I’m writing these words as any great Green or Health activist, but one thing I am sure about is that walking allows me to see, sense and experience so much more in my surroundings which, to me, is a distinctly desirable thing.  And photography, of course, fires my curiosity, keeps me looking at things, all sorts of things, which is equally desirable.

And, talking of photography, here are the effects of using a very wide angle lens tilted downwards towards the subject – the car pushes and swells right up to the front of the picture to get a better look at us, while the buildings in the backdrop tilt nightmarishly, like something from a Surrealist artwork.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 17mm (equiv); Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; King Street, central Bristol; 28 Apr 2017.
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STILL LIFE 122 – TEMPLE CIRCUS GYRATORY

 

 


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Early morning driving on the Temple Circus Gyratory, which is a large roundabout at one of the southern approaches to Bristol, near Temple Meads railway station.  Roundabout?  Traffic circle in The States I think.  And the roundabout’s official name?  Well, it could really only have been dreamt up by officials, couldn’t it, by a Local Authority, in the interests no doubt of good urban planning and neutral nomenclature?

And the photo?  Well, its garish, technicolour plus.  The highlights are all blown to featureless white but to me that’s fine because this isn’t reality, this is how I like to see it.

So what gets to me here?  Well, the lines and curves of the blazing white vehicle, which frame the face – cool shades, no-nonsense beard, mouth slightly open – with the thrill of surfing the Gyratory maybe?  And the car’s curving lines also frame the reflections in the car’s windows, which become more colourful over towards the right.  And then, in the backdrop, all those technicolour stripes.  And no, before you ask, I haven’t ramped up the colour Saturation in Lightroom, although I did increase the Vibrance to +65.   Then CEP4 was used to provide a thin black border, to prevent the lower edges of the image merging with my blog’s white background.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 400 ISO; spotmetering; Lightroom, using the Pro Neg Hi film simulation; Color Efex Pro 4; central Bristol; 7 April 2017.
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