ARCHIVE 416 – COTTAGE IN PEASLAKE (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Cottage in Peaslake, Surrey; 25 Mar 2012.

A glorious sunny morning in Peaslake, and this cottage caught my eye.  I often find rural cottages in affluent areas far too prettified and picturesque, but here the overlapping blue trellises on either side of the darker front door, and the blue window frames, all looked good and relatively uncomplicated.

I cropped in tight so as to fill the composition with (most of) the trellises and window.   Then followed conversion to mono, and restoration of the blue colouration of the trellises and window frames, in SEP2.

Apart from the dark surrounds to the front door, the image has been made pale and pastel by lightening the highlights and blues, and by the application of a thin, pale vignette.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 800 ISO; converted to mono and further manipulated in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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ARCHIVE 415 – TABLE AND CHAIR, WITH DAFFODILS (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Table and chair, with daffodils, in the William Bray, a restaurant and bar in the village of Shere, Surrey; 24 Mar 2012.

This restaurant is on different levels, and I was able to get up onto one floor and look down on the one below.  The wonderful lines and forms made the by the chairs, tables and floorboards – and the colourful flowers –  caught my eye, and I took several photos, none of which were “THE ONE!”, to work on later.  With all these lines and textures, I knew that there was something there – and that it was screaming out for mono conversion, with the plant’s colours restored.

It took quite a time to find this crop, but it has what I searched for – the lines and textures, the great contrast between the wooden and metallic structures, and the great contrast between the daffodil’s leaves and flowers and everything else.

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 6400 ISO; converted to mono and manipulated in Silver Efex Pro 2, and then manipulated further in Nikon’s Capture NX2.

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ARCHIVE 413 – MOTHER AND CHILD (MONO)

 

 


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A mother comforts her child;  26 Nov 2009.

They are both old friends of our’s.

In the emotion of the moment, the mother’s eyes close and her lips part slightly to murmur soft comfort and reassurance.

And, to me, the baby’s anguish is reflected in the widely splayed hand that desperately clutches her mother’s neck – and especially in that little thumb.

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 25,600 ISO; Dfine 2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Sepia preset.

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ARCHIVE 412 – RAINY DAY, MOTORWAY SERVICES

 

 


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View through our windscreen on a rainy day; Membury Services, on the M4 in Berkshire; 1 June 2016.

Off eastwards to Berkshire to see a friend, with a (now habitual) stop in a motorway services for sustenance en route.  It was a wet morning and, quite by chance, we parked opposite a red car.  I blinked my way out of “driving mode”, looked around and this filled the view out in front of us.

This is very far from the first picture I’ve ever taken through a wet window, and I’m sure very far from the last too.  For me, blur and softness have their place in images, wall to wall sharpness is not the be all and end all of things.  Interestingly, this week’s edition of Amateur Photographer magazine (23 July 2016) is devoted to Sharpness, the Editor kicking things off with “Today’s photographers are obsessed with sharpness in a way that we never used to be.”.  And he’s right.  But, for me, its always the content of an image that comes first, and the technicalities second.  However next week’s AP issue is all about blur – so that’s alright then!

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 95mm; 800 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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ARCHIVE 410 – BARN OWL, ASLEEP (MONO)

 

 


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Barn Owl, asleep, at the International Centre for Birds of Prey, Newent, Gloucestershire; 2 July 2014.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset.
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ARCHIVE 409 – GREY SQUIRREL (MONO)

 

 


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Grey Squirrel outside our kitchen window; 16 Dec 2009.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 800 ISO; converted into mono and toned in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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ARCHIVE 408 – OAK

 

 


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Backlit Oak leaves in our garden; 27 June 2009.

I’m a complete sucker for backlit leaves, and lucky to have a rather wild garden in which live several trees >>>  >>> >>> and do you know, for some reason, it means much more to me to say that these trees LIVE in our garden, rather than that they are merely growing there – to me, it makes them seem more alive, more like friends perhaps – certainly beings that are held in at least the same esteem as a particularly treasured cat or dog would be.  So do I touch and talk to these trees >>> of course I do!!!  It is an extremely gentle and above all peaceful thing to do – you should try it!

All of these trees except the two Apples are naturally seeded: in the case of our favourites – two Oaks and a Hazel – quite possibly by Jays and squirrels burying nuts and acorns as winter food stores.  All three of these favourites are now about 15 years old, and we have watched them grow from the tiniest of saplings.  We are dwarfed by them now.

This is a sprig on the Upper Oak (i.e. the one at the top of the garden).  I’ve exposed for the backlit leaves, and made sure (pre- and post-capture) that the background is dark and unobtrusive.  And if we’re coming at it from design, the sprig goes left to right across the image, as it does in real life.

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

Technique:  D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 400 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 407 – SUBURBIA WITH YELLOW (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Thatcham, Berkshire; 1 June 2016.

Kneeling down in suburbia, beset (but far from besotted) by immaculately manicured lawns, carefully polished cars on tidy drives, hanging floral baskets, TV aerials, overhead wires and, in one disgraceful instance (presumably on the property of a Conservative hardliner), little grottoes populated by garden gnomes – oh spare me the little grottoes!

And I was kneeling down at the road’s edge, perhaps as a penance for allowing myself to become embroiled with suburbia in the first place.

But certainly getting funny looks from a smirking postman – rude boy that he was, Preciousss! (and what was Gollum doing there, snacking from ornamental fish ponds, gorging on koi carp al fresco???) .

Yes, funny looks, perhaps because the sole and fervently uttered prayer on my ageing lips was that I might, in due course, be allowed to regain the standing position without having to call the Emergency Services.

Anyway, there was yellow paint on the road, a little glimmer of untidy gaiety in a landscape otherwise dedicated to ordered comfort and respectability, and I knelt down and photographed it.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset and selectively restoring colour.
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ARCHIVE 406 – AFFECTION (MONO)

 

 


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Our friend and her cat; 1 Mar 2015.

We went to visit our friends, a truly lovely family, and, as usual, I slouched back indolently in an armchair with this damned great camera and lens perched on my paunch, enjoying the moment.

Their front room has a bay window with translucent panels that looks out onto the street and, as often happens, the light in that room was diffuse and gorgeous.

Things caught my eye but I was too slow with the camera.  Then their friendly cat got up on the arm of the sofa, and sat there, contentedly wagging her tail.  She enjoys human company, probably for the sounds, and she sits or lies with us for long periods.  An open fire was an especial draw for her on that chilly afternoon.

Suddenly our friend reached out to stroke the cat and murmur something to her, and my camera came up and caught this single frame.  What do I like about it?  Well, of course, the interaction, there’s eye contact there, and also some kind of, if not friendship, then calm familiarity – these two living beings know and trust each other, at the very least.

I like the way our friend is leaning across the sofa, introducing a dynamic that heads up towards upper left, at right angles to the cat’s gaze.  And then there are the sidelit curls and textures in her hair – and a striped sweater that is crying out for black and white photography!

The occasion was good too because, having had medical dressings on my face, it was the first time I’d used a camera in seven weeks or more, and it was very good to “get back behind a lens” again.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens, used wide open; 3200 ISO; Dfine 2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset.

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ARCHIVE 404 – EARLY MORNING, TADHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 

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Beside the single track road across Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels, quite early in the day; 8 Apr 2015.

Three trees, willows I think, fade gradually into the morning mist.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset.

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