STILL LIFE 158 – BEACH SCENE (MONO)

 

 


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Rocks on the beach.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 186mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset; The Lizard, Cornwall; 19 Oct 2016.
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BIRDS 94 – HERRING GULL (MONO)

 

 


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Adult Herring Gull, in winter plumage, beside the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

A piercing stare – (s)he was sitting on top of a car parked on the harbourside, and I eased forwards, taking little steps, often pausing, and making a diagonal rather than head-on approach.  The D800 was set for APS-C format, and so I had 450mm – 9x magnification – to play with.  I made some very low clicking noises with my tongue, and (s)he looked at me.

How I love gulls!  They were all around during my childhood, they are all over Bristol now, and their wild calls are just that – a very welcome reminder of the wild across the city’s skyline.  They fly in to the city very early each morning, while its still dark – because its ok to get lost when the day is just starting.  But they leave before dusk, because getting lost at night is another matter entirely.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens, used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art High Key preset.
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BIRDS 93 – YOUNG GULL

 

 

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Young gull beside the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

My guess is that this is a young Herring Gull, because the breast streaking is rather diffuse, but it could be a Lesser Black-backed Gull.  Either way, it hatched from its egg in the summer, and is now well on the way towards its first taste of winter.

It is standing by the harbour, it is “loafing” as birders say – it has eaten, it is not starving but, as is often the case with gulls, it is alert to all that is going on around it, and ever ready to dive opportunistically upon anything that presents itself – like your fish and chips!

Click onto the image to open it in another winsow, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom.
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STILL LIFE 157 – CLIFFTOP

 

 


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Colours caught by the sun on a Cornish clifftop, with grimmer, more sombre cliffs behind.

Plants are rarely my strong point, and I’ve no idea what this gloriously coloured plant is – can anyone help?  I’m guessing that it may be some kind of succulent.  It was common on the sea cliffs in the area.

Click onto this image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; The Lizard, Cornwall; 19 Oct 2016.
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ARCHIVE 324 – STRUGGLING UP TO THE LIGHT (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Plant, in Boscastle, Cornwall; 10 Sept 2013.

Just as I emerged from the Witchcraft Museum, full of intrigued and surreal thoughts, this appeared at my feet.

All else is harsh black and white, manmade, angular and strong, but these few green leaves – soft and eminently vulnerable – are pushing up through it all, into the light.

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

D800 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 40mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro’s Film Noir 1 preset.

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ARCHIVE 304 – SWAN PREENING (MONO)

 

 


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Mute Swan preening in the harbour at Mevagissey, Cornwall; 24 Oct 2012.

Two of these beautiful waterbirds appear very much at home in this harbour – no doubt vastly encouraged by the people who regularly feed them!  Having been fed, this pair hung around right below the quay, and I was able to look right down on top of them.

This is a Minimalist shot.  There are comparitavely few tones, and the shapes are dominated by the huge, oval mass of the bird’s body, with the neck writhing snake-like back over the closed wing, trying to reach somewhere awkward.  My gaze was attracted to the contrast in shape between the bird as a whole and this sinuous neck.

The bird’s face is hardly seen – just the dark skin around the eyes and the base of the bill – but this is sufficient to give some focus to the shot – and the eye following the sinuous neck back arrives at this small area of black.

I’ve cropped the shot quite closely, so that the bird appears so large that it seems to be bursting out of the frame.  But keeping the dark backdrop up against the right vertical of the frame, and so preserving that soft and beautifully curving breast, was totally mandatory!

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, using the Darken Contrast Vignette as a jumping off point.

UPDATE: very much a long-term favourite of mine, for the reasons given above.  The simplicity of this image is really the thing; Minimalism; less is more.  Looking at it again this morning, my eye is also drawn to those half-seen little bits of plumage detail along the bird’s flank, along the image’s bottom margin.

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ARCHIVE 301 – HERRING GULL, WITH SEAWEED (MONO)

 

 


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Herring Gull and seaweed on the beach at St Ives, Cornwall; 24 Apr 2012.

As with Moorings at St Ives, here, this was taken looking down onto the beach from West Pier.  The gull was resting on the sands below the pier and, as I looked over, he tilted his head sideways, to look upwards and give me a long and very wary stare.  Because his head is tilted onto its side, the beach and its seaweed appear to be on a vertical surface behind him.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; converted to mono and further manipulated with Silver Efex Pro 2.

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ARCHIVE 291 – RED WINDOW (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Penzance, Cornwall; 8 Oct 2013.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Film Noir 1 preset, with selective restoration of colour.

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STILL LIFE 94 – A VIEW OF THE SEA (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Yes, you can see the sea, but the sign shouts No Entry and the walls and hedges are also there to keep you out – this is a landscape of exclusion.  But maybe that tiny, far distant gate beckons, just maybe it does.

Using SEP2 to restore colour to a black and white image.  Only the road sign is close to true colour, all else is (purposely) undersaturated.  I read somewhere, recently, that our eyes instinctively react – often negatively –  to oversaturation of colour in images, the parallel was drawn with eating overspiced food.  But we are apparently far more tolerant of undersaturated colours, in fact we often find them attractive.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that larger version once again.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 160mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset and selectively restoring colour; Lizard Point, Cornwall; 19 Oct 2017.
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STILL LIFE 93 – SECURITY LIGHT (MONO)

 

 


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Bars to keep you out, bars to keep you in.  Either way, the light has you.

Composition: But not bars at all in fact, only darker stripes on a wall that have been given a high contrast look in SEP2, and the addition (also in SEP2) of a thick black border to contain and enhance the overall effect.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Silhouette preset; Porthleven, Cornwall; 18 Oct 2016.
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