ARCHIVE 532 – LOOKING INTO A TABLET – AND A MOMENT OF MAGIC (MONO)

 

 


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Mother and daughter gaze into a tablet computer; 24 Jan 2014.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Warm Tone Paper preset.

A MOMENT OF MAGIC

We popped over to see our friends and their two wonderful daughters last week.  As usual, I completely let myself go with the two girls, and we went through all sorts of stuff and nonsense.  In common with other parents here, my friends have something called the Thinking Step which, one of the bottom steps of their stairs, is where the girls are sent to sit and think over their behaviour when it oversteps the mark.

And, old friends that we are, when my behaviour became too boisterous, the girls’ mother condemned me to the Thinking Step, and the two girls took me out into the hall, to show me where it is.

And then the moment of magic happened.  As I sat there, the four year old looked at me seriously, went upstairs, and returned with one of her dolls – which she sat on the Step beside me, so that I wouldn’t be lonely sitting there on my own.

I have to say that I was immensely touched by the kindness and simplicity of what she had done – for there, in microcosm, was one of the things that make Life lift and soar, one of the truly great things of this world.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 42 – BODY LANGUAGE

 

 


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OK, so which is the precocious one??? – youngsters on a farm in the far west of Kenya; Apr 1979.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was over in the far west of Kenya – around Akala, Kisumu and Lake Victoria – in 1979, visiting my friend’s father’s farm.  I was an out and out birder in those days, and I was in this area looking for birds only found, in Kenya at least, in the very far west – which birds? >>> Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Brown Twinspot, Shoebill, Splendid Starling and many more.

I was a curiosity anyway of course, because these far western areas were way off the usual tourist trail, but in particular I attracted droves of children, which was fine with me as I love kids – but not so fine when I was very quietly trying to spot rare and shy birds in dense vegetation.  Ever humorous, my companion let it be known that I liked eating children, but even that had little effect.

Anyway, above are three of this farm’s throng, and which is the forward, lively, cheeky one? (First prize: an evening with me in a top class Bristol restaurant; second prize: two evenings with me in …).

Let’s start with the non-contenders.  They’re seated neatly on either side, arms and legs in, respectful expressions – as if they’re in school maybe, or church.

And between them … limbs insolently wide, provocative, questioning, a slight smile, head forward, big eyes looking up … “Its me … and I’m not afraid of you and your camera … so what are you going to do about that then?! … “.

And after 41 years I can still remember her – always up at the front of the crowd of kids, always questioning, laughing, clamouring for attention – a wonderful character, a lot of fun.  But I wonder if these three made it through to adulthood, life in the Third World can hold uncertainties after all.  I hope they are all fine – they’ll be around 45 now, probably with children of their own.  Time – or, as a friend perceptively puts it, “the conveyor belt” – moves on.  You think about these things more when you’re older.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; Dfine 2; Color Efex Pro 4.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 37 – BOY ON A FARM

 

 


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Young Luo boy on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; Apr 1979.

He is standing in front of the painted mud wall of a hut and is vastly amused to be having his picture taken – what a pity that those weren’t digital days, so that I could have showed him the result – or that I didn’t carry a polaroid camera with me.

Looking for rare birds – I was an out and out birder in those days, photography was very much a subsidiary thing – I remember entering villages deep in the western countryside where the africans seldom encountered white people, to be greeted by little children running at my VW Beetle, shouting “mzungu, mzungu!” – “white man, white man!”.  They crowded around me, looking at my skin and touching it with wonder and great curiosity – and all around were excited grins and smiles like the one above.

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

Technique: Olympus OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO.

UPDATE: this picture was taken 41 years ago and, getting older as I am, I find myself looking at this broadly grinning face, a face from my distant past, and wondering what has become of him.  For a start, is he alive, has he survived?  This is after all the Third World, and an area brutally infested by malaria – which I myself was struck down with – so that nothing can be guaranteed.  Assuming that he is still alive, he will now be in his 40s, perhaps with a family of his own.  So has he stayed on these far western farms, or maybe been drawn by the lure of the cities – nearby Kisumu, or even far off Nairobi or Mombasa?  I can have no answers here but am nevertheless left with one certainty: being a geologist and naturalist, most of my Kenyan photography was of the spectacular landscapes and wildlife – but now, with hindsight, I wish that my photographs had a more of a human element, that I’d taken more photographs of the Kenyans themselves.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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OUTER SUBURBS 238 – THE MORNING AFTER SATURDAY NIGHT

 

 


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Walking early on a Sunday morning – my favourite morning for walking in the lockdown because everyone else is enjoying a cosy lie in, and the streets are particularly deserted.  I’m often walking down the middle of empty roads, something which brings a strangeness of its own.

Just before 7am I found this tableau amongst run-down garages on a crowded housing estate.  I’ve posted about this drug before, but I can’t resist this example >>>> its even colour coordinated!  So what do we have?  Well, the remnants of a good night out in the outer suburbs.  The empty box contained little metal canisters of nitrous oxide or laughing gas, which is supposed to be used for making whipped cream in a dispenser – but the fact is this gas also gives you a high, and its now the second commonest recreational drug in the UK after cannabis.

An empty canister is up at top right, and I won’t say that the streets I walk are littered with these, but its very common to see them.  And bottom right is the balloon that the gas is squirted into – for ease of sniffing.  Altogether there were four balloons and seven canisters.

So, a Saturday night high amongst the derelict garages for some local kids.  And in these troubled times, presumably no thoughts of social distancing.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: I passed this way again the following morning, and all of these “artefacts” had been cleared away by some dutiful citizen.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 65mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 7 June 2020.
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ARCHIVE KENYA 34 – 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.

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

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

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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BRISTOL 174 – STREET SCENE 14

 

 


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Other images in the Bristol Street Scenes series are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 .  Searching on the “street” tag (below here) will also find these posts.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Modern 03 profile; Bedminster, south Bristol; 21 Jan 2020.
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ARCHIVE KENYA 12 – MEMBERS OF A FARMING FAMILY (MONO)

 

 

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Members of a farming family, near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.  I very much like this picture because everyone is looking in different directions, which to me gives a very “real” air to the picture, i.e. they are not all posing for the camera.  The mother is posing for the camera but I think that her pose is one of the most placid, serene, genuine and friendly that I’ve ever seen – she is feeling absolutely at ease with both the Fatman and his camera, and is simply looking very calmly straight into the lens.  She gives the impression of being very self-possessed.

The young man on the left is smiling – and his smile, his averted eyes and the splayed fingers and thumb of his pale hand against his darker face add huge amounts to this shot.  Finally, the young child (a girl?), sitting on her mother’s lap, is certainly unposed – with her attention attracted elsewhere – but staring somewhere different to her older brother.  Using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro, I’ve darkened the top of the picture, down to the top of the young man’s head, to help ensure that the viewer’s attention is concentrated onto these three people.

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

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 6 – KIKUYU GIRL WITH FANTA

 

 


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Little Kikuyu girl at a wedding near Thika; late 1970s. The bottle of Fanta fizzy orange is about 10 inches tall – and evidently her treasure!  She’s chewing the white Fanta bottle top while wondering with horror what this fat mazungu (white man) with his camera is about to do to her!

I enjoyed my years in Kenya.  The people were hospitable and friendly, and humorous too.  And the children were an especial delight.  I was often off the beaten track, far from the tourist areas, collecting bird records for the bird atlas I was later to write, and for many of these small children I may have been the first white person they had ever seen – or at least seen closely.  When I neared habitation, they would rush out and swarm around me – “Mazungu, mazungu!” – brimming over with vitality and fun, and vast curiosity too.  I remember them touching my skin, and especially my hairy arms, with great wonder.  Very human moments; certainly moments to treasure, all these years later.

And, as always, “all these later years” brings thoughts.  Let’s say this was 1980 for ease of maths (never my strong point, despite having worked in data management and analysis for 20 years …), so that’s 40 years ago so, if she has survived – always that big if … –  she will now be a woman of 43 or so, with her own children probably.  I wonder if she will still remember that far off wedding day? Probably not but, anyway, here she is.

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

Technique: OM-2 with 75-150 Zuiko lens; colour slide film.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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THOUGHTS 10 – RAINBOW

 

 


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I walk in the lockdown in the early mornings – off at 0550 today.  The streets are deserted, sometimes I’m walking down the middle of the roads >>> and always looking  ahead, and taking care at blind corners, so that I don’t inadvertently walk smack bang into anyone.  But at this hour and in this pandemic, there is almost no one else on foot, and very few vehicles away from the main road.  I see many disposable gloves in the gutters, and discarded face masks too.  But the windows of the houses are cheerier –  they have messages of support for the NHS, our National Health Service >>> and many, many drawings of rainbows, mostly made by children, which have become a symbol of hope in these troubled times.

Well, this morning I actually saw a real rainbow.  It was beautiful, it raised my spirits and I thought you might like to see it too.  Its no great picture at all but, like the children’s drawings in the windows, it is a symbol of hope.  Stay safe, everyone, and take great care.

My first coronavirus post is here, and you can find more images taken while walking in the lockdown by clicking onto the coronavirus tag below.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 1 May 2020.

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ANNIVERSARY – FATMAN PHOTOS IS NINE

 

 

1: Spectacled Owl; 2014.

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FATman Photos has been infesting cyberspace for 9 years.  Getting to 10 would be nice but, in these uncertain times, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.  As always, I want to thank everyone who follows my blog or more casually looks at it.  Your Likes give me encouragement and motivation – its always good to be appreciated –  and likewise its always a pleasure to respond to your Comments.  I try to be inventive with my pictures and to include various genres, and in this anniversary post I’ve set myself the challenge of showing faces  – mostly with eyeball contact – from the animal (as opposed to the plant) world.  I hope it all hangs together, and that you enjoy these shots.  Thank you all, again.  Adrian

Click onto any image to see it enlarged in a separate window.

 

2: Mannequin, Penzance, Cornwall; 2011.

 

3: Newquay Aquarium, Cornwall; 2011.

 

4: The Somerset Levels; 2019.

 

5: How did Paul Simon put it? … I met an old lover on the street today

Nairobi, Kenya, 1979 – where have all the years gone?

 

6: Nightmare, dead in a bunch of bananas, Nairobi, Kenya; probably late 1970s.

 

7: Cape Teal regarding me with extreme suspicion as I crawl towards it, inching forward

with a long telephoto;  Slimbridge, Gloucestershire; 2010.

 

8:  Farm cat, on the Somerset Levels; 2019.

 

9: Cow, and flies, on the Somerset Levels, 2010; the animal’s flank forms the backdrop.

 

10: Fish market, Sohar, on the Batinah coast of Oman; mid 1970s.

 

11: Great Grey Owl; 2014.

 

12: One of a flock beside the road in West Littleton, South Gloucestershire; 2016.

 

13: Black-headed Gull, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 2011.

 

14: Young photographer, aged three in fact, 2012 >>> but growing up very fast now!

 

15: Red Ruby Devon, on the Somerset Levels; 2012.

 

16: I find that talking very quietly to cats engages their attention – they open their eyes and look at you.

And so it was here. Bristol, 2017.

 

17: Turnstone, a type of wader or shorebird, in breeding plumage, St Ives, Cornwall; 2013.

 

18: No-Time Toulouse … looking guilty about something …

or perhaps aghast at reports of a Belgian beer shortage …

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