OUTER SUBURBS 104 – PARADISE REVISITED

 

 


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Awhile back, I posted a picture of this tree on a misty autumn morning – and instantly thought the resulting very simple scene a portrayal of Paradise.  Several of you agreed.

Happily, this tree is often along the routes of the long walks that I take through Bristol’s outer suburbs, and often I see it daily.

And so to a misty morning in spring, and it being resplendent in its flowers.  Paradise revisited?  Well its got my vote.

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 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 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 .  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 65mm (equiv); 320 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; south Bristol; 30 Mar 2019.
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BIRDS 109 – MALE BLACKBIRD

 

 


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Gazing at agricultural rubbish on the western edges of Tealham Moor, and loving it, loving the real, bare, unembroidered, what-you-see-is-what-you-get nature and feel of the place – when a male Blackbird appeared on top of a hedge and looked at me.  Well, this is the breeding season and the fierce and fiery hormones of territoriality were coursing through his veins.  He was disinclined to move – I was on his territory, and that was that.

The new Z 6 was in my hand, with the lens I’m married to – the 70-300 zoom – attached, and it was the work of an instant to change the camera to APS-C format – so that my telephoto expanded from 300mm to a more far reaching 450mm – and, very carefully and slowly, I raised the camera to my eye.  The light was dreadful and I needed a high shutter speed to ensure sharpness at the x9 telephoto magnification, and so to wide open at 1/1600th and 3200 ISO – and to very gently squeezing the trigger.  This is a cropped version of one of the photos – 1521×1079 pixels.

Here he is.  The Z 6’s shutter is not loud, and very carefully I took a series of shots, he and I both like statues, eyeing each other.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format at 450mm; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 12 Apr 2019.

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OUTER SUBURBS 103 – FOGGY MORNING 3

 

 


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Main road; early morning; fog.

Technique: selective desaturation of colour: the green lights are the main thing here and the morning was in any case very grey, but I’ve desaturated the yellows and blues of the crossing control boxes mounted on the traffic lights’ poles, and also the traffic cones standing on the traffic islands, to remove distractions and give the green lights greater prominence.  Another method would have been to convert the image to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2 and then restore the lights’ colours.

There are earlier foggy morning pictures here: 1 2 .

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 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 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 .  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 100mm (equiv); 640 ISO; Lightroom, selectively desaturating colour; south Bristol; 30 Mar 2019.
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TALKING IMAGES 48 – USING THE NIKON Z 6 IN ANGER

 

 

Muntjac stag – its about Fox-sized.  Z 6; 1600 ISO; 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; uncropped; Lightroom; our back garden, Bristol; 3 Apr 2019.

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I posted here about buying the Z 6, one of Nikon’s new full frame mirrorless cameras, giving my initial thoughts.  Since then, I’ve been reading (and using a red biro to scrawl all over) the 247 page instruction manual that (thankfully!) comes with the camera, and configuring the camera to my way of working.  Then I’ve been sitting in my beloved armchair, interminably taking pictures and altering settings, in an attempt to have the layout of the camera’s controls become second nature to me – so that I won’t have to think before altering anything.  And I planned a visit to the Somerset Levels to have a first go with it outdoors, in the real world.  But fate intervened.

I’ve posted before about the Muntjac Deer which frequent our quiet and secluded back garden.  They have been introduced to the UK from China and, quite simply, we delight in their presence.  They are small, decidedly skittish, and we have been especially delighted to see one or two of their fawns.

We’d not seen them for awhile, and so their reappearance caused some excitement – and there was the Z 6 charged and ready, mounted via the FTZ adapter with one of my favourite lenses – the 70-300 AF-S Nikkor.  And so to using this new camera in anger for the first time.  As I said, these animals are very skittish, being spooked by the slightest noise or movement, so that opening the kitchen window was out of the question.  So the pictures had to be taken through the double-glazed window and, because our kitchen window is up above the garden, the camera was looking down at an angle through the double-glazing, rather than horizontally straight through it.  The deer were about 30ft-40ft away.

All images can be enlarged by clicking onto to them to open another version in a separate window, and clicking onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.
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Same animal.  Z 6; 1600 ISO; 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 405mm; cropped; Lightroom.

THINGS TO TALK ABOUT

In terms of handling and ergonomics, the Z 6 works just wonderfully.  It has a large, deep handgrip and a well positioned thumb rest, and just feels completely at home in my hands.  Many of the buttons and dials fall under my fingers or thumb, and many are in the same positions as those on my D800.  It just feels good to use and, with the 70-300, feels very well balanced.

As with my other big Nikons, I’m using an OP/TECH USA neck strap intended for heavy DSLRs.  This is a little overkill for the distinctly leaner Z 6, but I’m still using fairly large Nikon F-mount lenses (esp the 70-300) and I’m not getting any younger: these wide OP/TECH straps really do spread the weight across the shoulders very well, and they’re quite reasonably priced.

I used Aperture Priority mode (as I nearly always do), and 1600 ISO.  The pictures were split between full frame format, where the longest reach of my lens is 300mm, and DX (= APS-C) format, where the reach is lengthened to 450mm; entirely handheld.  Full frame images have 24.5MP; DX format has 10.3MP.  All images used stabilisation.

Some think that Nikon’s images can be a little cold in tone, and so I’m using the new Natural Light Auto white balance, which looks natural.

I’ve taken all focusing functions away from the shutter release, and the large and ideally (and traditionally) sited AF-ON button (back button focusing) works wonderfully.  In this test, through double-glazing, the autofocus was very quick and sharp.
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Same animal.  Z 6; 1600 ISO; 70-300 Nikkor lens used in full-frame format to give 300mm; cropped; Lightroom.

Immediately below the AF-ON button is the joystick and this works well too, again well sited below my right thumb, and enabling me to move the focusing point rapidly around the frame.  I’ve opted for it jumping to every other focus point, for speed of use.  Pushing it locks the exposure.

And immediately below the joystick is the customisable i button, which gives quick and easy access to a very useful range of camera settings.

The exposure compensation button is not so well placed, and so I’ve customised the main command dial, which I can easily reach with my right thumb, to adjust exposure compensation without using the button.

Since I don’t take videos, the movie-record button has been cannibalised to quickly switch the camera between full-frame and APS-C format with the aid of the main command dial.

The camera’s excellent Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) is set to Prioritize Viewfinder mode: looking through the viewfinder turns it on, taking my eye away turns it off; the monitor screen remains off until I review my images (when finger swiping can be used on the touchscreen) or look at the menus.  I’m not using all of the touchscreen facilities, but its reassuring to know that the touchscreen is turned off while the viewfinder is being used.

Firing off 25 or so pictures, with much autofocus use, brought the battery down from full to 84%: a spare battery may be needed for a day out, although Nikon says that 310 shots can be taken on a full charge.

Then a Sony QDA-SB1 XQD card reader gets the images from the camera’s Sony 64GB QS-G64E card onto my PC, where the images are read into Lightroom Classic CCLightroom doesn’t seem entirely at home with the Z 6 yet: there are issues with sharpening parameters, which are addressed here .

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OUTER SUBURBS 101 – FOGGY MORNING

 

 


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Walking in early morning fog.  Walking off the edge of the world.

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 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 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 .  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 100mm (equiv); 500 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 30 Mar 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS AT 100

 

I’ve just put out the 100th post in the Outer Suburbs series, which consists of pictures taken with an Olympus TOUGH TG-5 camera during long walks around Bristol’s southern suburbs.  I hadn’t imagined that this series would come so far, but carrying a small and quite flexible camera wherever you go does make for quite a substantial visual archive.  Naturally, some of the images are better than others: below are some of my favourites.

To see any of these images enlarged, click on the desired image and another version will open in a separate window – click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Links to the 100 posts of the Outer Suburbs series to date can be found a little way below here.

 

This is the scene that started the Outer Suburbs series.  I walked past it most mornings, was always visually drawn into it, and then decided that carrying a camera on my long walks might be a good idea.  And so to a Path Through Modern Housing.

I am unsure of the effects that the Outer Suburbs project – for better or for worse – has had on my photography.  Has the restriction to 25mm-100mm (equivalent) focal lengths limited my photography or made me more creative?   This question is especially relevant in view of the fact that I (very) often “see” and compose images at 300mm telephoto length, i.e. at x6 magnification.  Whatever the answer is here, I do intend doing more photography with larger sensor cameras and longer focal length lenses from here on in – full frame format with the new Nikon Z 6, and APS-C format with the excellent Fujifilm X-T2.

But two things are clear.  First, that the project, like my photography generally I think, is fairly diverse – it does not concentrate narrowly on any one genre.  And second, that the TG-5, which has a tiny 6.17mmx4.55mm sensor, is a wonderfully competent and adept little camera to carry around anywhere – not capable of all things, certainly – e.g. focal lengths outside the 25-100 range, and narrow depths of field in most situations – but then again certainly capable of taking on a wide range of photographic genres and situations.  It shoots in RAW format, which I use exclusively for all of my photography.

And my photography is very important to me, I suppose I regard it as a part of my identity, of who I am.  I revel in the creative opportunities that digital photography has brought, and I’m also very much into the writing that accompanies the images in this blog – I find all of this an absolutely wonderful means of creative self-expression. 

So, that said, where am I with photography overall?  Well, there are times when I feel that photography is a great world opening out in front of me (and hence getting the Z 6 to record that world) – but, not getting any younger, there are times too when I feel that, despite this, I no longer have the energy that I once had.  Well, as always, time will tell.  Watch this space! 🙂

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 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 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100Each will open in a separate window.

Autumn

Metrobus

Bus shelter, wet morning

Autumn

Double glazing

Modern housing

Modern life

Walking just around dawn
Modern housing

Stormy sunrise

Early morning gutter with lamp post, frost, moss and banana skin

Autumn

Venus, and what impresses me these days

Path through modern housing

Autumn

Modern housing


A good plateful

A good night out

(Yes, you’re right, this final image was an afterthought, added at the end here only as a footnote)
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OUTER SUBURBS 100 – YELLOW TAXI CABS

 

 


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A little flavour of the USA in south Bristol, and some colours fairly comfortable with one another.

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 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 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 .  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); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 29 Jan 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 99 – GREENGROCER

 

 


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A shop specialising in fruit and veg, almost an anachronism really – but certainly a very refreshing one – in a world now dominated by the bland, impersonal, mass market uniformity of the supermarkets.

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 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 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 .  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 25mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 29 Jan 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 95 – SUNRISE 4

 

 


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Earlier sunrise pictures are here: 1 2 3 .  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 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a 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 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 .  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 100mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 5 Mar 2019.
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PEOPLE 370 – DAME JOANE YOUNG

 

 


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This picture is certainly best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

This is a picture of a tomb in Bristol Cathedral, which was founded in 1140, not long after the Norman invasion of 1066 had put an end to England’s Anglo-Saxon monarchy – in the person of King Harold, killed by an arrow in the eye at the Battle of Hastings.  I’m posting this picture – and posting it in this blog’s People category –  because, for me, it evokes various emotions.

Firstly of course, its quite picturesque – it could be a tourist postcard – and the picturesque is not what I usually photograph.  But, then again, I’m conscious of being lucky to live in England, where many such relics of former ages can still be seen.  There are, after all, many places in the world where this is not the case, or where such remains are purely prehistoric – so that although they are notable treasures, they do not give the almost intimate picture of a former life seen here >>> which is why I urge you to enlarge this image.

Joane’s history, related above her hands held devoutly in prayer, is interesting for its content – and for its spelling.  From it we learn that she was born in 1533 – King Henry VIII was on the throne, and the threat of the Spanish Armada still in the distant future.  Joane died in 1603, the same year as Queen Elizabeth I, one of Henry’s daughters.

So I look at her effigy and wonder what sort of world she lived in – what she thought, what she believed in, what she knew of the world.  Well, she was an aristocrat and thus insulated from the poverty and other privations that affected much of the population.

Google tells me that Elizabethan scientific advances were mainly in the fields of astronomy, maths, human anatomy and marine navigation.  But most people would have been in the thrall of religion and superstition, and all of the grey areas between the two.  To put her world more into context, Joane died in 1603, but it was not until nine years later that the last person was burnt at the stake for heresy – while the hunting and execution of witches in England peaked around 1645.

Joane’s  was a very different world to the England we know now –  and a world in which the people were kept very much in order by the combined attentions of monarchy, church and army – you owed loyalty and obedience to the monarch, the church had your sinner’s soul but could save it from Hell, and the army provided the muscle if muscle were needed.  The influence of two of these institutions is now in decline, while the use of the army is a huge political hot potato – indeed as I write this, British soldiers are now on trial for civilians killed in Northern Ireland in the 20th century.

And lastly, looking at the monuments and fabric of Bristol Cathedral, I cannot but think that it reflects the “have’s” in society, like Joane, rather than the great mass of the population of the time, who lived in far humbler circumstances, perhaps not that far removed from what we now call Third World Poverty.

Joane’s tomb is a wonderful artefact from another age, something certainly worth preserving, but it makes inevitably makes me think of the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister, which cost £500,000, with an additional £3.1 million for security.  I’m living in a country with increasing social inequalities, an increasing gap between the “have’s” and the “have not’s”, and I’m wondering where we are headed.

And I leave you with this link, in which Raghuram Rajan, an Indian banker and former International Monetary Fund economist, looks at today’s world and says “I think capitalism is under serious threat because it’s stopped providing for the many, and when that happens, the many revolt against capitalism,“.  I urge you to look at this link, its not a long read.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; Bristol Cathedral; 12 Feb 2019.

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