ARCHIVE 391 – DARK, BROODING GIANT ALONG CHASEY’S DROVE

 

 


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A misty early morning along Chasey’s Drove, Common Moor, just north of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels; 10 Aug 2003.

I have an ongoing love affair with the big, bold, black silhouettes of trees.  I probably find them very powerfully graphic, I don’t know, but I do know that they never cease punching me right in the eye – I can’t get enough of them – as witness some of the Mendip Hills posts.

I like this one particularly – the tree’s black bulk rises just about on the left vertical third and to the right of its vast trunk is a glimpse of misty, early morning countryside which, compared to this brooding, masterful giant, is insignificant, blurry backdrop, a pale contextual glimmer.

Technique: tripod-mounted OM-4 with 85mm-250mm Zuiko lens; Fuji Velvia 50 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.

UPDATE: an image from what seems a long, long time ago, when I was using film – and when I was determined NEVER, EVER to change to make the change to digital.  How times change!  The appearance of Nikon’s “budget” full-frame D700 DSLR brought me over to digital at a stroke, and it is a change I have never, ever (those two words again!) regretted. Indeed, I feel incredibly fortunate, after 45+ years of film photography, including wet darkroom use, to be still photographing during the advent of the digital age: for me, the creative potential of photography has simply mushroomed. 

But now, having used optical viewfinders on Nikon’s superb D700 and D800, but then started using the really very good electronic viewfinders on Fujifilm’s X-T1 and X-T2 compact system cameras, I have a feeling that its electronic viewfinders that I want to continue with – and so to Nikon’s new Z series.  The 45MP of the Z7 are really far, far more than I need, and (with the experience of using the high MP D800) I know that using such high megapixel cameras need very careful camera technique – such cameras show ever little mistake you make!!!  So the 24MP Z6 might be far more my style – and then there’s just the “minor” problem of raising the necessary cash!!! 🙂

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ARCHIVE 390 – TAKING FLIGHT

 

 


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Another early bus ride into the city, another second breakfast at first light in Hart’s Bakery (context is here) – and as I lurched out of that warm, friendly and bustling establishment, the tints of sunrise were above and, looking up, I saw this.

The bird is a gull (aka seagull), and just about to leap off into the air to scavenge the city’s no doubt enticing refuse.  I have Hart’s Bakery, (s)he has Bristol.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; beside Temple Meads railway station; 9 Dec 2016.

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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 45 – AUTUMN 10

 

 


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Autumn with chocolate wrapper!  Maybe the last of this autumn mini series … well, it was taken just after the end of meteorological autumn but, apart from the wrapper, we are looking at autumn’s debris – in fact this was again taken beneath the huge Horse Chestnut tree in Church Lane, like this earlier shot .

The chocolate wrapper drew my eye because its curved shape is taken up by the bright green leaf below it, to almost form a semi-circle.  And the carpet of dead leaves is richly coloured and glistening: everything had been drenched by overnight rain.  The small bright green leaves at lower left help balance the composition: cover them with your finger to see what I mean.  And there’s also the inverted ‘V’ shape made by the long, thick, brown twigs that intersect (one above, one below) with the right hand end of the wrapper.

There are earlier autumn posts here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .  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 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 .  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 100mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; south Bristol; 3 Dec 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 313 – LAPWINGS, TEALHAM MOOR

 

 


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Driving westwards across Tealham Moor, and a long line of birds, high up above, caught my eye.  There was no traffic on the narrow road, so I stopped, watched and waited, wondering where they might be headed.  They came lower and wheeled about overhead, and I saw them to be Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus), a type of large plover, that form large flocks in winter.  I started taking pictures.

Here, the flock is flying across in front of a bare, winter tree, and there are a few smaller, darker birds below them, which are Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

Compositionally, the flock is almost “resting on top” of the tree, the combination of the birds and tree making a ‘T’ shape within the image.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 30 Nov 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 43 – CHRISTMAS IS HERE

 

 

Christmas is here: 1

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Christmas is here: 2

Christmas.  What does Christmas mean to me, what do I think about it?  Well, four things to mention.

First, as I see Christmas in the UK, its really a time for children.  I can well remember its magic 60 and more years ago and, regardless of how many of the myths children here do or don’t believe now, its still a magical time for them (and an increasingly expensive one for their parents).  I approach every Christmas hoping that the few children that I know, at least, will be happy.

Second, “The Christmas Story” and the other religious sides to Christmas are simply not me.  As Bob Dylan so succinctly put it in The Mighty Quinn: “It ain’t my cup of meat”.

And a common saying here is that Christmas is the Season of Goodwill whereas, being a bit picky perhaps, I’d prefer goodwill to be around during all the other seasons too 😉 .

And finally, I’m amazed by the vast and almost hysterical, materialistic and commercialised juggernaut that Christmas has become in the UK.  The two pictures here are not intended to allude to any connections between Christmas and the gutter, but to me they are symbolic of this vast commercialisation which, in Bristol at least, started making itself apparent around the beginning of September.  And, irreligious as I am, I do feel sorrow for those for whom Christmas has a religious significance: it must be very grim and disheartening to see it so swamped by the various non-spiritual behemoths.

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 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click twice onto the images to enlarge them in separate windows.

Technique: TG-5; Lightroom; south Bristol; 1 Dec 2018.
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ARCHIVE 389 – RIVER REFLECTION, BRISTOL BRIDGE

 

 


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Reflection in the river at Bristol Bridge.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 290mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom; rotated; Bristol; 11 Nov 2016.

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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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SOMERSET LEVELS 311 – SCHOOL BUS OUTSIDE GODNEY

 

 


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The images in this short series from the Somerset Levels were taken on an absolutely beautiful morning, when the sunrise coincided with banks of thick fog.  Most if not all of the other images celebrate the natural beauty of that early morning, but here is one that simply looks at a facet of Levels life.

There is no school in the village of Godney, and so those who are not taken to their schools by other means go via the school bus, which is seen here waiting on the outskirts of the village early in the morning, prior to going into the village to pick up the children.

What can we see in this picture?  Well, obviously, the bus waiting amidst open farmland – it’ll be in a place where it does not block the single track road.  And the red triangle of the road sign to the right of the bus warns drivers that this narrow road is about to enter a series of sharp corners: the road is following the bends of the little River Sheppey – the raised river bank can be seen immediately behind the bus.  Then there is a telegraph poll, carrying landline phone cables.  And right of the road sign, part of the inverted umbrella shape of a pollarded willow tree.

A short while ago, my blogging colleague Harrie Nijland was talking to me about two distinct types of photography.  The first type of photo is simply a straight, factual representation of something, a record shot perhaps, or documentary photography.  This is such a shot, showing an everyday facet of Levels life, without any artistic ambitions or endeavour whatsoever.  But the second type of photo Harrie mentioned does use artistic / compositional / etc devices in an attempt to make images more attractive to the eye: and, for better or worse, the other images in this short series are all of this type.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Godney, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 40 – AUTUMN 9

 

 


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Autumn – low angle sunlight rakes across the textured pavement that alerts visually disabled people to a pedestrian crossing.

There are earlier autumn posts here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 .  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 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 .  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 further enlarge it.

Technique: TG-5 at 65mm (equiv); 640 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 13 Nov 2018.
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