ARCHIVE 555 – CROW ON A FALLEN TREE (MONO)

 

 


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Carrion Crow perched on a fallen tree; Tadham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 31 Mar 2014.

Early in the day, I pulled bleary eyed into the Magic Carpark, stumbled out of the car – and saw this crow.  Praying that it wouldn’t move, and all fingers and thumbs, I readied the camera, turned and – it was still there!  In fact it stayed there for sometime.

The tree is a casualty of the recent severe flooding.  It was probably not standing vertically before, but then its roots had been able to find sufficient purchase in the soil.  But, saturate that soil with floodwater for many weeks and turn it into something like blancmange or wet rice pudding, and the roots were simply not up to the task of keeping the great bulk of trunk and branches above them upright.

I went for a pure silhouette, with the sky completely burnt out, for simplicity – a Minimalist approach.  To me, the few branches entering the frame at upper right serve to balance the composition.  The adding of a blue tone takes the scene further away from reality.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Classic Portrait preset, and adding a Cyanotype tone.

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ARCHIVE 549 – MUTE SWAN (MONO)

 

 


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Mute Swan Cygnus olor, the common, resident and often tame swan in the UK.  The large black knob on the forehead shows this to be a male.

Composition: close in with a long telephoto, which often works for me.  The bird’s head and long neck form the left edge of the frame, the bird is looking down into the frame, and his body is only faintly seen; all else is water with a very faint surface texture.  Use of black and white simplifies things still further.

And perhaps there’s a feeling here that he’s too large for the frame, that he’s bursting out of the frame.  Or, then again, perhaps he’s coming in closer, to have a better look at us.

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 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Cool Tones 2 preset and adding a light tone; 16 Feb 2018; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset.

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OUTER SUBURBS 258 – POST BOX AMONGST TREES (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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The Royal Mail, amongst trees.

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

Technique:  TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Push Process N+3 preset and selectively restoring colour; south Bristol; 23 July 2020.
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ARCHIVE 537 – CHAIR, WALL AND SIDELIGHTING

 

 


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I enjoy lounging around in holiday chalets and caravans.  Its a wonderful opportunity to sprawl back in comfort and enjoy the moment – and also a good chance to watch how the light interacts with things as the sun moves across the sky. 

Here, with lighting from the left, a chair at the bottom of the stairs throws its shadow onto a rough wall.  The woodwork at upper left is part of the banister of the narrow stairway.

This photo is something of a departure for me as its one of the few times that I’ve used my 50mm lens: most of my images use focal lengths far above or below this “standard” lens, which roughly approximates to human eyes’ field of vision.  I ought to use this lens more often.  It has a very useful maximum aperture of f1.4 and so is good in low light situations, and using the D800 in DX (= APS-C) format, when focal lengths are magnified by 1.5, I end up with a very useful – inspiring, even – 75mm f1.4 chunk of glass.

Click onto this image to see a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D800 with 50mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4; 11 Apr 2016.

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OUTER SUBURBS 248 – SHADOWS ON THE WALL OF AN ECCLESIASTICAL BUILDING (MONO)

 

 


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Looking at this, the solid black border (an area in shadow) on the right and the dark plants of the hedge along the bottom of the frame form a prominent black “V” which is pointing down, out the frame, towards lower right, out of our view.

Given this, it is then a case of deciding whether those shadows of a plant are conforming by diving down into that “V” and so exiting our view too.  Or whether, being ardent non-conformists, they are experiencing a lightbulb moment and flying back out towards a utopia of their own.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 320 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the B&W Green Filter profile; south Bristol; 20 Apr 2020.
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ARCHIVE KENYA 48 – THE SHORE AT LAKE NAKURU (MONO)

 

 


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Dead trees on the shore of Lake Nakuru, in central Kenya; 27 Apr 1980.  These trees grew beside the lake, but then were killed when the lake’s highly alkaline waters rose and flooded their roots.

Despite the fact that its over 40 years ago now, I can still remember taking this shot, which was originally in colour.  I remember placing the nearest tree on the right of the frame, and liking it because it was partially sunlit, and because it was leaning into the frame.

Looking at it now, my eye is taken from this leaning tree, out across the bright sky reflections in the shallow pools of water, to the tree with a dense canopy, which looks rather like an upside down ice cream cone.  This tree is also leaning into the frame, while being silhouetted against the bright sky, and just about at a compositional strong point in the picture, on the junction of the upper third and the left hand third.

Click onto the image 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; converted to monochrome in Silver Efex Pro.

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 244 – PHOTOGRAPHING IN A WORLD OF DIAGONALS (MONO)

 

 


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Walking in the lockdown, and photographing the long shadows thrown across a main road by the rising sun.  A shadow photographer – in both senses of the phrase – caught up in a world of stark diagonals.

There are three types of lines here.  Those running from lower right towards upper left are the shadows of roadside trees and utility poles.  The strong black and white lines running up from the lower middle of the frame towards the top right corner are the road’s pale kerb and gutter and, between the two, the black shadow of the kerb on the gutter.  And finally there are the road markings, a thin, dashed white line along the middle of the road at upper left, and other dashed lines, at a bus stop, towards upper right.

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 65mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate 1 preset; south Bristol; 22 June 2020.
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ARCHIVE KENYA 44 – TORTOISE AT THE HIPPO POOLS (MONO)

 

 


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Aquatic tortoise at the Hippo Pools, Nairobi National Park, Kenya; Oct 1979.

This colour slide has been converted to monochrome because this is a graphic image, its all about structure, and this is best shown in mono.

There are three compositional ingredients. First and most prominent are the sunlit trunks of the fallen tree, which make a bold texture right across the image.  Then there is oval area of sunlit water.  Finally, there is the tortoise, which is at a compositional strong point on the conjunction of the picture’s thirds and also within the halo of the milky, sunlit water.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 75-150 Zuiko lens at 150mm; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro.

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 36 – BOATS AT LAMU (MONO)

 

 


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Boats on the beach at Lamu, on the coast of Kenya; July 1978.

This photo has been digitally manipulated (in Silver Efex Pro) to produce a dark, brooding look. The dimly seen white motor boat out on the sea balances the picture – obscure it with your thumb to see what I mean. I also like the repeating patterns of the two boats nearest the camera, which have similar shapes and which are inclined at the same angle.

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

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

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 516 – WOMAN IN THE FOG (MONO)

 

 


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Woman walking down the Wells Road in south Bristol on a foggy morning; 13 Mar 2014.

The G11 produces images that are already below full (i.e. 35mm) frame in size, and this is a substantial enlargement from one of those images.  Hence image grain has played its part here, and I’ve added to this with grain from SEP2.   This is a dank, foggy morning, all things are diffuse, and this very visible grain adds to that effect.

Where is she going?  She is hurrying down the pavement and, first drawn to that great catapult of a Plane tree, my eye is then drawn left to her – she and the tree are both very dark objects surrounded by light.  She is the stark, central point between the converging lines of the pavement and its attendant trees, which are dissolving off into the distance.  She is headed into that convergence.

The dark mistiness of the road is also headed down that way (with ghosts of buildings just visible over on the right), and a line of road markings, the brightest things in the frame, confirm that direction.

And what of her?  She is hurrying – to work probably, or to some appointment perhaps.  The morning was not really cold, but her coat, wide-brimmed hat and boots add to the inclement effect.

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

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 28mm (equivalent); 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset.

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