OUTER SUBURBS AT 300

 

 

Walking the roads at night’s end
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I started the Outer Suburbs posts on 25 Aug 2018, carrying the little Olympus Tough TG-5 camera in my pocket on the long, early morning walks (LOL! >>> maybe I should say route marches!) that I take around Bristol’s outer limits, in vain pursuit of a slimmer waistline.  In that first post over two years ago, I said that I had no idea of how the series might progress – and with hindsight I certainly had no idea of how a disease emanating from a “wet” market on the other side of the world was going to affect my life and the lives of vast numbers of other people across the world, and end so many peoples’ lives too.

But solitary, early morning walks have proved a good way of getting the exercise that brings real mental and physical benefits in this strange, new reality – while keeping away from the crowded and indoor spaces where the virus continues to thrive.  This series of posts has photographed many things, and I’m rather taken aback to have reached number 300.  Via the vaccines, there is the possibility of some light at the end of the tunnel now, although I harbour absolutely no illusions about a speedy return to normality.  It is simply a case of keeping well informed about what is going on with the virus, taking all the precautions, and seeing what materialises.

Below are some earlier pictures from the series.  Clicking onto any of the images here will open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Take care – and stay safe – everyone!

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Early morning 6

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Car beside fence, early light

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A good plateful

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Early morning mist, main road

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Autumn

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Bus shelter, early morning light

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Early morning 41

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Modern life 8

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Path through modern housing 4

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Soda water with ice and a slice of lemon 3

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Symbols of division and the shadow of a car

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Photographing a tree’s shadow on the wall of a house, at sunrise

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HOME 4 – MY FAVOURITE TIPPLE!

 

 


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As you may be aware, The FATman is an inveterate imbiber of top quality Belgian beer.  I have tasted many Belgian brews, but for some years now have (delightedly and enthusiastically!) standardised on Duvel, which is an absolutely glorious Belgian strong blond ale – with taste, after-taste, texture and … 8.5% alcohol – so, not something you pour down your throat with gay abandon, unless you have a desire to become senseless and horizontal quite speedily.

Shown above, here is golden Duvel in its own, large, tulip-shaped glass, which has been specifically designed to contain this beer’s often towering white head.  Its can be unwise to whip the tops off bottles of Belgian beers as they will often enthusiastically come out to meet you, to say hello, and to end up all over your clothes and the floor.  And Duvel is absolutely no exception, caution is needed and, after the bottle’s top is off, then the correct pouring angle is needed –  if only to avoid my wife’s comments when I emerge from an accident with perhaps one centimetre of golden ale in the bottom of one of these huge glasses – and the rest filled with bright white foam …

Since 1871, Duvel has been made by the Moortgat Brewery in Puurs – and this town has now achieved even more fame by also containing the Pfizer lab that has started producing vast amounts of covid19 vaccine.

And if all this were not enough, Moortgat Brewery now also produces the simply sublime Duvel Tripel Hop Citra, which is stronger (9.5%) and even more delicious!

I’m being spoilt: both of these wonderful beers are available in our local supermarket >>> but whether this will continue after the current acrimonious Brexit trade talks is anyone’s guess!

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

Technique: TG-5 at 38mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Natural profile; my favourite armchair; 18 Sept 2020.
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HOME 3 – THE BATHROOM WINDOW

 

 


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Looking at the inside of the bathroom window.  The handle of the window’s latch is in shadow, and is seen only as a thin pale line.  To either side, the warm light of the rising sun reflects from the wall of the house next door and lights up the bathroom window’s frosted glass.

The window frame and handle are white, but the early light has given them a blue tinge, which I’ve left uncorrected: I like this addition to the picture’s colours.

And, in these pandemic days, this is the first X-T2 image for many months, which has to be a step forward.

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.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 223mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Velvia/Vivid profile; Bristol; 26 Nov 2020.
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OUTER SUBURBS 296 – TORMENT

 

 


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Something convoluted, something for modern times perhaps.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Modern 10 profile; south Bristol; 22 Nov 2020.
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GARDEN 72 – A WONDERFUL ENCOUNTER

 

 


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Out doing a bit of gardening, cutting our “front lawn” (aka The Dandelion Patch – I like Dandelions!).  And I kept getting the impression out of the corner of my eye of something darting swiftly by – until at last there came a beautifully warm red-orange glow from the bottom of a dense bush, and there was a Robin, a fairly small type of thrush.

And as I raked the grass and so laid bare more and more food items for him, he darted out more and more and dutifully gobbled them all down.  And knowing birds a little, I kept fairly still and started talking to him in much the same way that I talk to cats – quietly, softly and low.  And, looking up at this giant towering over him, he came closer and closer, to within a couple of inches of my feet I suppose, and I did wonder whether he might hop up onto the top of my shoe.

But he hopped away again, though not far away – and I started thinking about a photograph.  So, very quietly and slowly, keeping my eyes on him, I backed away into the house where I knew the Z 6 with a telezoom attached and a charged up battery were ready and waiting.  Creeping back out into the garden again I was sure he’d have disappeared – but no, he was still there, looking me.  So I carefully braced myself against the wall of the house and managed a few pictures.

Trouble was, I’d hardly used the Z 6 since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March – I’ve been almost entirely photographing with the Olympus TG-5 – and so I’d forgotten exactly how the ***** Z 6 works!!! >>>> and so to several failed shots!

But a couple of the frames came out ok – and so to a record of a really wonderful close encounter, just the thing in fact to lift the spirits in these very sad and trying times.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 3200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; south Bristol; 22 Sept 2020.

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TALKING IMAGES 60 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 6: COPYRIGHT? I REALLY CAN’T BE BOTHERED

 

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

POST 4: Don’t clutter up your pictures >>> use the camera’s viewfinder/screen (and cropping too) to remove unwanted/irrelevant material from images to make them simpler, more effective and more direct >>> less can be more, simple can be beautiful!

POST 5: All that really matters is the final photographic image that you produce: details of the equipment used, the types and amounts of cropping and post-capture processing are irrelevant – if your final image looks good, it is good!

COPYRIGHT?  I REALLY CAN’T BE BOTHERED – FOR 3 REASONS

1: LIFE’S TOO SHORT! – I suppose that when thinking about copyright, I can sum my feelings up with the phrase – “LIFE’S TOO SHORT!”.  There are many, many other more worthwhile things to think about in Life.  We live in a highly materialistic world in which money and possessions govern everything for many, many people – and in these pandemic days we are seeing this even more clearly than usual, as the rush to re-open nations’ economies is inevitably leading to more people dying – it is a simple trade off between lives and livelihoods.  I’ve said many times on this blog that I’m trying to pursue a simple life, and this desire has only intensified now that I’m retired.

I would not think like this though if I were in any way a professional photographer, deriving income from my images, but being any kind of professional photographer is certainly NOT something that I ever want to be >>> being an amateur gives me total freedom to enjoy photography – how, as, when and where I chose, with no pressure whatsoever from anyone else.

Its true that I do put some very basic copyright metadata into each of my images, but I really have no idea whether this information can be removed or not, and I’m certainly not going to lose any sleep over that.  Also, all of my images are posted at only moderate quality, which may make them less appealing to thieves, but this is primarily to avoid overloading the space allotted to my blog by WordPress, and to (perhaps) make my images open quicker.

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2: MOST DIGITAL PHOTOS ARE NOT TOTALLY STOLEN the stealing of unique film negatives or positives (i.e. slides, transparencies) can mean that pictures are gone forever.  What is being stolen has a physical presence, and can be materially removed from one’s possession forever.  But in this digital age, for example on Instagram or WordPress, the owner is still left with at least the master version, and so is still in possession of the actual image.

The concern then of course is that the thief may go on to make money or kudos from the stolen copy but, really, I can live with that.  I read somewhere recently that someone had their photos stolen from Instagram and that one of the stolen photos was entered into a competition and actually won a prize.  I can only see this as very sad behaviour; I can only feel very sorry for anyone who would even consider doing such a thing.

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3: PUTTING TITLES AND WATERMARKS ONTO IMAGES IS OUT – now here we get back to the personal preferences which I talked a lot about in POST 1: of this series.  Personally, I feel that the image is everything, and I have not the slightest inclination to deface it in any way, regardless of whether this may leave it more vulnerable to theft.  So I never put titles or watermarks onto images.  Many titles are not overly intrusive, its true, but here on WordPress I’ve been stunned to see some really heavily intrusive watermarks.

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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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OUTER SUBURBS 240 – I DIDN’T LIKE MY FAMILY SO I MADE A NEW ONE

 

 


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Well, I’m still walking in the lockdown, usually leaving home at 0530.  The lighter summer mornings make early starts easier, and I relish the emptiness the lockdown has brought.  Although there is some traffic about – and with the lockdown loosening that has increased a little – in the course of walking for two hours I may only see 10 or fewer other pedestrians at this early hour.  And the fact that some of us now regularly encounter each other has brought a welcome camaraderie – a greeting, a few words exchanged, always at many yards’ distance – which brings a little more sense of normality, a little less desolation in the midst of all this quiet emptiness.

I’ve mapped out a route for walking along which, in most places, there are spaces that make it easier to distance myself from oncoming people.  Those out running are the main problem, and I am by no means the first to notice that many (but not all) of them simply run straight towards you, spraying out great lungfuls of moist breath and evidently expecting you to get out of their way.  Me being me, I have on a couple of occasions refused to move, and have seen the shocked looks as they veer suddenly to one side at the last moment.  This pandemic has revealed many interesting aspects of human psychology.

But the point of this post is to pass onto you something strange.   For there is one short section of my long walk that I have for some bizarre reason grown to like and welcome each early morning – and it is the scene above.  This is a long, wide, dead straight road, a major thoroughfare, that our really totally inadequate and inept local authority has chosen to place a 20mph speed limit on.  And as I walk out onto this road and look to my left, I see the scene above.  There is a lovely grove of trees on the right that always have squirrels around them, and occasionally foxes too.  And further up on the same side of the road there is a little patch of red, that is a lurid advertisement on the side of a bus shelter.  And beyond are the slopes of Dundry Hill which – on this particular morning – had lovely mist in the treetops along its summit.

And I can’t explain why, but every time I come out onto this big, empty, quiet road, and look up towards the lurid red poster on the bus stop and the green hill behind, I have definite feelings of peace, calm and belonging.  And I also have a feeling that when that poster and the lockdown are gone, that this place will not affect me in the same way.  And so I’ve taken a few photos to remind me of this scene, to help remind me of how these strange days were – and here are some of these pics.  And I’ve remembered that, as always, Life itself can be strange.

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

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended for the first two shots only!!!

Technique: TG-5; Lightroom; south Bristol; June 2020.
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Getting closer to the bus stop: the poster and the misty hilltop now more plainly in view.
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LOL!!! and here is “the artwork” itself.  I have not the slightest idea what its advertising – but I like the lurid red!!!

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OUTER SUBURBS 238 – THE MORNING AFTER SATURDAY NIGHT

 

 


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Walking early on a Sunday morning – my favourite morning for walking in the lockdown because everyone else is enjoying a cosy lie in, and the streets are particularly deserted.  I’m often walking down the middle of empty roads, something which brings a strangeness of its own.

Just before 7am I found this tableau amongst run-down garages on a crowded housing estate.  I’ve posted about this drug before, but I can’t resist this example >>>> its even colour coordinated!  So what do we have?  Well, the remnants of a good night out in the outer suburbs.  The empty box contained little metal canisters of nitrous oxide or laughing gas, which is supposed to be used for making whipped cream in a dispenser – but the fact is this gas also gives you a high, and its now the second commonest recreational drug in the UK after cannabis.

An empty canister is up at top right, and I won’t say that the streets I walk are littered with these, but its very common to see them.  And bottom right is the balloon that the gas is squirted into – for ease of sniffing.  Altogether there were four balloons and seven canisters.

So, a Saturday night high amongst the derelict garages for some local kids.  And in these troubled times, presumably no thoughts of social distancing.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: I passed this way again the following morning, and all of these “artefacts” had been cleared away by some dutiful citizen.

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.

Technique: TG-5 at 65mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 7 June 2020.
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OUTER SUBURBS 237 – PHOTOGRAPHING A SHADOW

 

 


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One shadow photographs another.  Its 0550 and shops have their their security grills firmly locked down in the lockdown; its that sort of area.  The rising sun throws the gaunt shadow of a roadside tree against the perforated and striated metal, and a fat and rather shabby old man lurches uncertainly forward and photographs it.  Worn out by the effort, he slumps down on a seat, cap in hand, and a little girl, passing by, drops small change into it.  That’s the trouble with the younger generation, always small change, never anything larger and – to add insult to injury – her “small change” is not even cash >>> just what does she think he’s going to do with milk tokens anyway???

The suspect’s identification marks?  Well there’s the peak of his grimy and misshapen old cap for a start and, because the TG-5 has no viewfinder and he can’t see through its ******* rear screen while wearing his glasses, he’s taken them off and is holding them in his left hand.

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.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 320 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Modern 08 profile; south Bristol; 6 June 2020.

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