OUTER SUBURBS 307 – LOOKING AROUND A CORNER, TOWARDS A BUS SHELTER LIT BY THE RISING SUN

 

 


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Looking around a corner and seeing a bus shelter backlit by the rising sun, and a glistering river of light flowing down towards me.

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 – recommended.

Technique: TG-5 at 53mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 15 Feb 2021.
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ARCHIVE 605 – THREE FLOWERS

 

 


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Three flowers. 

One up close and personal: solid, real, in our world, in our face too maybe but, in any case, in the way we see things. 

The other two are hazy, more remote; vague, they are imperfect impressions of reality, such as might appear in our dreams, or under the influence of myopia or intoxication.  And yet these vague impressions reflect the human condition if not visual reality – one is damaged, wounded; the other marginalised and only partly seen.  

And all are pallid, desaturated; they are pale representations of how the world ought to be.

Technique: this effect has been produced in Lightroom, by setting Vibrance to -100 and reducing Contrast.  Today there’s mostly a trend towards either bright, attention-grabbing, vivacious colours or no colour at all – black and white.  But between the two lie many possibilities – possibilities that I for one frequently forget to consider.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Stanton Drew, south of Bristol; 4 May 2018.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 124 – THE FINAL IMAGE IN THIS SERIES

 

 


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I’ve been re-posting film photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago, and this is the final image in this series.  I have hundreds more colour slides from Kenya but I doubt that I will get around to scanning or re-photographing them now.  So here is the final image – and its my reflection in the enormous light on the front of one of the steam locomotives stored in Nairobi’s railway yards – my late cousin was a steam railway fanatic, and so I and a lady friend wangled our way into the railway yards and had a delightfully Health And Safety-free day clambering all over these metal monsters.

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

Here is the text for the original post:

A selfie –  taken in an age before selfies were ever called that –  in the railway yards at Nairobi, Kenya; probably 1979..

Kenya has a great history of steam railways, because the British colonial authorities decided to open up the interior of the country, and Uganda too, by building a railway from the Indian Ocean coast at Mombasa, up through Kenya to Nairobi, and thence westwards to Kampala, in Uganda.  And many will have heard of the Man-Eaters of Tsavo, two lions who took to dragging off and devouring railway workers, as the line pushed its way inland across Tsavo’s arid bush country, in 1898.

My cousin has had a passion for steam railways all his life so that, when I mentioned that the marshalling yards in Nairobi held large numbers of old steam engines, he urged me to photograph them.  As often happened in Kenya, knowing someone did the trick, open access to the railway yards was agreed, and my girlfriend and I spent a baking day clambering about over the old engines and other derelict ironwork there.

And, as opposed to the nanny state that cossets and suffocates me today, Kenya had (and no doubt still has) a refreshing absence of Health & Safety regulations – everyone was simply expected to use their common sense –  so that the two of us were left free to scramble over whatever derelict ironwork structures we could find, with not a thought for our safety – wonderful!  Oh, irresponsible, yes, but what a breath of fresh air!  My Kenyan years have certainly affected many of my attitudes to life in general, for which I am very grateful.

Anyway, I climbed these hulks with my girlfriend, which makes her sound rather like a grappling hook I suppose, but that’s unintended, tho I have to admit that she was instrumental in getting my already portly person up and over some of the steeper bits.  She was a farmer’s daughter, used to manhandling livestock.

And so what does the picture show?  Well, its a reflection in one of the large lamps that were mounted on the front of the steam engines, to help the driver see large animals – anything up to the size of hippo, elephants and giraffe –  on the tracks at night.  Bare armed and bronzed(!), I’m wearing a safari shirt along with Photographic Hat, and levelling my wonderful OM-1 at my reflection.  Another big engine looms behind me, and either side of that there are nicely converging buildings and railway tracks, all baking in the glare of the equatorial midday.

Photographic Hat was an accessory I’d originally used in Arabia, where it had been severely scorched and bleached to not far off white.  Its crown had given up the ghost and disintegrated, so I crudely sewed a patch of old blue denim in its place.  I was of course wearing a rag on my head, but the endearing thing about it, as can be seen in this photo, was that its floppy brim came down over the gaps between my face, my glasses and the OM-1’s viewfinder, to provide shade which was extremely useful in overhead glare like this.

And what was an OM-1???  It was a truly revolutionary 35mm camera, small, easy to carry, and a masterpiece of Minimalist design – and it was supported by a veritable horde of similarly small, and excellent, lenses – Zuiko lenses!  In an old military gasmask bag, I could carry an OM-1, and three diminutive lenses – 28mm, 50mm, and 75mm-150mm – and these were my basic photographic kit in Kenya, they went everywhere with me.

And I suppose that it says something about my visual tastes, that the vast majority of my Kenyan photographs were taken at either 28mm or 150mm – I was always working at the boundaries of what I had.  Now I’m luckier, with 12mm-400mm to hand – but this would have been of little use in Kenya, as it would have been far too heavy and bulky to easily carry around, especially when on foot

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO.

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: LOOKING AT CARS 46 – SURFING THE 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 local 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.

The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives (and some new images too), I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  These Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context); 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 post will open in a separate window. 

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 – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, using the Pro Neg Hi film simulation; Color Efex Pro 4; central Bristol; 7 April 2017.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 122 – THE LUSH FARMLANDS OF THE WEST

 

 


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Farms between Kisumu and Kakamega in the lush and fertile, far west of Kenya; April 1979.

This western part of Kenya lies just to the east of Lake Victoria, and benefits from the big storms that form over the lake and then drift eastwards, bringing plentiful rain.  Add all this water to fertile soils and high, year-round temperatures, and this is wonderfully productive farming country.  But on the downside there is malaria here, and this is where it first got its claws into me.

The tall plants in the foreground are bananas – there were many varieties of bananas of all sizes and colours here, including simply delicious ones used for cooking.  It may be more a dish from Uganda, but I simply adored cooked banana – matoke, I think it was called – with groundnut sauce.

Some of the local people can just be seen, up to the left of the two houses with metal roofs in the foreground.

This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO; Lightroom.

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 604 – ON THE UPPER DECK OF THE EARLY MORNING BUS

 

 


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Three travellers on the upper deck of the early morning bus to work.

The woman beside the window is engrossed in a newspaper, her expression reacting – negatively, perhaps –  to the day’s news.  But the other two people – further into the shot and less clearly seen – appear more passive and preoccupied.  And the steaminess of the bus’s window is thick, almost opaque in places, and densely textured.

Those two people at the back get to me.  First, they can only be partly seen, its almost as if they are fading into the background – which brings thoughts about the dehumanising effects of some workplaces, and of the unnaturalness of lives spent commuting and working in cities.  And second, both of these people are staring fixedly ahead.  Are they somewhere far away in daydreams, or do they see something nearer at hand, closer ahead, in either the present time or in times soon to come?

Also, this blurred image is starting to look like some sort of painting or daub (more probably the latter), and when any photo does this I feel I’m getting somewhere.

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, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended >>> come on in, the grain is lovely!

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 12,800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Temple Meads, central Bristol; 15 Dec 2017.

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ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 45 – WOMAN IN CAR

 

 


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As so often happens, a grab shot – time for only one, very quick shot –  as passing traffic momentarily slowed down.  Luckily I had the camera set to spot metering linked to the active autofocus point, something I’m using quite a lot at the moment.  And the telephoto zoom was fully extended.  I just raised the camera to my eye, it found focus on her hand almost instantaneously, and I fired.

What do I think about this image?  Well, a passing soul, a passing someone, a stranger to me as I am to her, someone going somewhere.  But now, I suppose, part of a design, resting her fingers upon – or is she helping support?! – a curving metallic blueness set in a photographically enhanced darkness.  And if I could produce more such images, of beings in artificial, abstract realities, I would.

The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives (and some new images too), I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  These Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context); 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 post will open in a separate window. 

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, including the Classic Chrome film simulation; Park Street, central Bristol; 7 Apr 2017.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 121 – WARBLER AMONGST ACACIA THORNS

 

 


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Small warbler – perhaps a Cisticola – amongst fearsome Acacia thorns, any one of which could so easily transfix it; probably in Nairobi National Park, in the late 1970s.

The Cisticolas are a group of small warblers that that all look very similar to each other; they are the archetypal “small brown birds”.

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

Technique: OM-1 with a Vivitar 400mm telephoto; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; Lightroom.  This would have been taken from the window of my car, from one of the tracks in the National Park.

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 120 – MT KENYA: NELION AT SUNRISE

 

 


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Looking up at sunrise from Top Hut on Mt Kenya towards Nelion, one of the twin peaks of Mt Kenya; August 1978.

Almost the roof of Africa!  Nelion stands at 17,021 feet, while the other peak, Batian, rises to 17,057 feet.  These two peaks are separated by the wonderfully named Gate of the Mists, and they are the tallest peaks in Africa second only to Mt Kilimanjaro, which is nearby in neighbouring Tanzania, and which soars to over 19,000 feet.

What was it like being up there on Mt Kenya?  Well, taking this photo, it was extremely cold – I remember having trouble changing the lenses on my Olympus OM-1 SLR; they were very stiff to twist off, presumably due to the intense cold having slightly contracted the metal.  Getting up to this altitude on the mountain required no rock climbing skills, it was simply a long walk, made more strenuous in its later stages by the decreasing oxygen content of the air – but after a day or so at these altitudes, breathing became easier.  We were up there for several nights, sleeping in the various mountaineering huts around the peaks; and my abiding memories of those huts concern the rats which ran over and around us every night as we slept!

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

Click onto the image to open another copy in a separate window.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO; Lightroom.

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 602 – DIRTY WINDOW WITH WHITE CURTAIN (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Dirty window and white curtain; Penzance, Cornwall, 27 Apr 2012.

Colour has been restored to the window frame and the image cropped to have darkness on both sides.  The window frame’s shadow is convoluted by the poorly hung curtain, and this shadow has been darkened to emphasise this.  The grime on the window adds to the effect.

The blue frame reminds me somewhat of a crucifix, but this was certainly not in my mind when I photographed it.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; converted to mono and with selective colour restoration via Silver Efex Pro 2.

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