OUTER SUBURBS 61 – BUS SHELTER, WET MORNING

 

 


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I walked in the suburbs, far from home and without coat or umbrella, and there came a cloudburst.  Across the road was a bus shelter – one of those enclosed on nearly all sides – and I dived inside to escape the falling water.  There was no one else there – and so to a post that might have been entitled 10 Minutes in a Bus Shelter.  Well, you know, I was standing there, with interesting things to look at all around – the misty windows, the gleaming streets outside, the patterns on the floor, the metal struts framing the translucent perspex, the bright red seat, you name it – and I had a camera burning a hole in my pocket.

That’s one thing about photography really, if you get right into it, nowhere is visually boring, there are always things to stare at – and in this case, unless I fancied a drenching, I had the leisure to stare.

So, what to stare at?  Two worlds.  First, the confined, almost claustrophobic world of the shelter, distorted slightly by the TG-5’s wide lens – misted windows, patterned floor and red seating: bland, functional modernity, purposely designed for the have’s in our society who catch the buses, and equally purposely designed to offer little comfort for the have-not’s who have nowhere else to go and would like somewhere other than the shelter’s cold floor to sleep on.  And here we all were, at the start of November, gearing up for The Season of Goodwill.  But then, the bus shelter is in the real world, whereas The Season of Goodwill is only in our minds.

And the second world, the outside world, the view out through the shelter’s ever-open doorway: a view to wet pavements, a passing car and, in the background, an equally passing factory.  But, you say, how can a factory possibly be passing?   Well, I’m a geologist and to me everything is passing, but it is apparently the case that this old factory is on a site earmarked for hundreds of new houses; we shall see.

So I loitered there, looking at anything and everything, taking it all in.  And two women passed, better equipped for the weather than I.  And, whispering together, they gave me a long, suspicious look.  I imagined their conversation: “Here, what’s that strange old man doing in that bus shelter?  Do you think he’s a prevert?” (she’d been watching a Dr Strangelove rerun).  “Well, I expect he’d say its artistic, but I’m not so sure …”.  Actually I’ve got that quote wrong, because the most used words in our new, Politically Correct society are appropriate and inappropriate, and I have a feeling that, in their eyes, I’d have merited the latter.

But, nobody expects the unexpected, I do think. And, as Bob Dylan might put it, “”You can be in my bus shelter if I can be in your’s …” .

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 .  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 further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 1 Nov 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 54 – JAGUAR (MONO)

 

 


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An up market car, a Jaguar, in the soft dew of the early morning. 

Or, then again, car porn, the type of image used to make us buy cars, or cameras, or whatever commodity is being marketed.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 .  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 further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: TG-5 at 74mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 2 preset and adding a split tone; south Bristol; 22 Dec 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 52 – MODERN HOUSING 7 (MONO)

 

 


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Modernity.

There are earlier Modern Housing posts here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 : each will open in a separate window.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 80mm (equiv); 640 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Harsh preset; south Bristol; 20 Aug 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 50 – FROSTY MORNING 2 (MONO)

 

 


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So, the 50th Outer Suburbs post, not sure I’d thought I’d get this far with this series.  And also still not sure where (if anywhere) this series is going.  But then, taking the larger view, why does it have to be going anywhere at all except, possibly, onwards?

This series has had a fairly wide diversity of subject matter so far, it has had many parts really, which I suppose sums up my photography – I tend to point the camera at whatever I think might make a good picture.  One thing, I think, is that this series and this little camera encourage me to take more unconventional (aka weirder!) and spontaneous images, which stretches me a bit – but then I’ve always liked to push the envelope a bit.  I have a feeling that some of these pictures may be a bit too unconventional for some tastes, but then I’m doing my thing, and seeing where it leads.

But I do like carrying the little TG-5 camera in my pocket on my long suburban walks and I am impressed with its abilities – although the time may come when I take the Fujifilm X-T2, if only to see what difference it would make to the types of images I end up with.  I also like the relaxed nature of this photography – no pressure, if potential images appear they do, and if they don’t then they don’t … but then, thinking about it, this is true of most if not all of my photography.

And some very basic advice re photography, as I see it?  Well, go for it with your heart, and with your gut feelings too.  Be yourself.  By all means look at others’ pictures, therein lies valuable learning – but learn from them, don’t copy them.  Do your own thing.

Do you have any comments on this series, any views?  I’d like to hear anything that you’ve got to say.

The first frosty morning post is here .

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 .  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 further – recommended.

Technique: TG-5 at 74mm (equiv); 250 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dark Sepia preset and adding a light Coffee tone; south Bristol; 3 Oct 2018.

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OUTER SUBURBS 46 – CAR LIT BY STREETLIGHT, JUST AROUND DAWN

 

 


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Early morning car, parked below a streetlight and speckled by a light shower.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 .  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 further.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 2,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 23 Nov 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 41 – SITTING IN DEB’S CAFE AND TAKEAWAY, ON A DULL FRIDAY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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

A dull Friday morning.  But, of course, to those working a five day week, Friday morning is never dull.  It is enriched with the promises of both edible treats to celebrate the working week’s end and, equally, to celebrate the start of the weekend, when all good things in life appear – for a day or two –  eminently possible.  But, weatherwise, this was a dull morning, with low, dark overcast and no sign at all of the rising sun’s glow.  In just over a week’s time we’d be in winter and, meteorologically, this Friday morning was getting all set up for it.

And also, for those into consumerism, materialism and our incessant manipulation by the mass media – and also, of course, those who know it as just plain, simple, good old shopping – this was indeed a dark day.  Indeed (there’s that word again!), no day could be darker, for this was Black Friday, when many hope to grab bargains (why does the word “grab” seem particularly appropriate here … ? …) and so accumulate yet more, “happiness inducing stuff”.  The more of it we have, the happier we are, right?

Anyway, oblivious to all this mass hysteria, I’d had a first breakfast before dawn, and then set off on foot into the dark streets with the little camera in my pocket.  And after an hour or so – and seeing that it was a Friday – I dropped gratefully into Deb’s Café & Takeaway and ordered a second breakfast – a thick, “doorstop” bacon sandwich, and a mug of hot, strong, sweet tea – ah, Life’s Simple Pleasures!

I’d been into Deb’s before.  Indeed I’d been into Deb’s when it was packed out, with no room to sit down, and so been forced to look elsewhere for what the more cultured gourmets of my social circle term “a good plateful”.  What’s Deb’s like?  Well, its a little street café  staffed by women whom I take to be three generations of the same family, it opens at 7am and closes after lunch, and it specialises in good, solid, simple English food, much of it in the full English breakfast vein.

And I like this place for three reasons.  First, obviously, the food is good, and not expensive.  Then, the women are natural and friendly – there are no airs and graces here – and since many of the early morning clientele are builders, scaffolders and other workmen, the atmosphere can be humorous, irreverent, ribald and earthy – in a word, three words actually, real and human: this is not the place to go if you like pretence, café au lait and croissants.  And that’s the third reason I like this place: there is a complete absence of the usual marketing, hype and bullsh*t that is so often a feature of the modern commercial/retail world – these women simply produce good, enjoyable, basic food and, as you eat it, likely as not there’ll be some convivial chat, gossip and banter around ……

So, as I sat there, taken aback somewhat by just how much of a doorstop I’d contracted to get outside of, I looked out at the grey morning and the grey urban landscape.  In that moment, what could I see?  A woman, head down, trudges through the parked cars towards the at best uninspiring (except for Deb’s!!!) row of shops.  Down left of her there is a litter (trash) bin, while the shining metallic semicircles immediately outside of Deb’s are the backs of chairs set around tables, for those who like to smoke while eating.  And further away, the suburban landscape: houses, a single decker bus, and bare, pollarded trees.  Rather a bleak scene, but one which was amply compensated for by the warmth and conviviality of the café.

And, grey and bleak though that view may have been, it was immeasurably enhanced by the absence of any hint of the burgeoning greed and materialism of Black Friday.

I downed the doorstop with lashings of ketchup, drank the delicious tea, struggled to my feet, made it to the door, and lurched off, heavily and uncertainly, into the gloom.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique:  TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Spectrum Inverse preset and selectively restoring some of the colour; south Bristol; 23 Nov 2018.

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PEOPLE 363 – GOING TO WORK 87 (MONO)

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

At long last I’ve used the Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera for what it is designed for – appalling weather.  Early on a Thursday morning, I was returning from one of my long walks around south Bristol, when the skies opened.  Wedging myself into a shop doorway to escape the worst of the deluge, I looked out over a grey and pouring main road, with a solitary soul sitting in a bus shelter, on their way to work.  The scene looked promising, and the TG-5 is after all claimed to be waterproof down to quite a depth underwater – a year ago, I bought it to photograph in the rain after all!

And so I started firing frames.  I would have dearly liked to have has a longer telephoto but – well, we just do the best we can with the camera we have with us.  And, as usual, if I see something that might have visual appeal, I take quite a few pictures, with varying compositions and viewpoints – not having to worry about how many frames I have left is one of the very beautiful and eminently user-friendly aspects of digital!!!

So here is yet another take on the early morning journey into work.  At least the shelter keeps her huddled figure dry, and buses into the city centre are regular along this main road.

Technique: because I didn’t have a longer telephoto with me – the TG-5 only goes up to 100mm equivalent, which = x2 magnification – this is an enlargement of a small area of the frame – and I’m impressed with what this little camera has achieved.  The low ISO (400) helped, and the 1/250th shutter speed has elongated the raindrops, and so given more sense of the downpour, more atmosphere.

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, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: Olympus TG-5 at 38mm (equiv) ; 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Structure Harsh preset and adding a light Selenium tone; south Bristol; 8 Nov 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 33 – JUST AFTER DAWN

 

 


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Pounding the streets in the twilight, just after dawn.  In terms of photography, pounding the streets during the Blue Hour, when the sun is still some way below the horizon and its light has a very blue shade.

And also seeing what the TG-5 can do in such poor light, and being quite impressed – this is at 1600 ISO, using spot metering.  The camera has a quick menu facility that I usually leave on ISO, so that I can change the ISO very quickly.  I usually use the TG-5’s ESP metering (which is a sort of matrix metering) and, usually, this works very well.  But one gripe that I have with the TG-5 is that, on this quick menu, the facility to change between these two metering modes is some way from the ISO controls, it takes some time to get there, so that its not really practical for altering the metering mode to meet instantaneously arising picture opportunities. Oh for a button or dial to change the metering mode – but >>> this is a small camera that’s built to take quite a bit of punishment, including submersion in water, and those priorities are, quite rightly, more important.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 .  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 further enlarge it.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; south Bristol; 11 Oct 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 31 – PATH THROUGH MODERN HOUSING 3

 

 


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The partly seen car – a truncated splash of bright, reflective, curved colour – drew my eye.  It contrasted with the mass of non-reflective, straight-sided shapes – the blank, utilitarian facades of the built environment – surrounding it.

Earlier pictures of a paths through modern housing are here: 1 2 .  Each will open in a separate window.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 57mm (equiv); 500 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 30 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 305 – DRIVING WESTWARDS, TADHAM MOOR

 

 


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A car moves cautiously westwards across Tadham Moor, through fog turned incandescent by the rising sun.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 .

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-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Totney Drove, Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.

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