ARCHIVE 363 – MANNEQUIN

 

 


.Camborne, Cornwall: mannequin in a shop window; 9 Oct 2013.

I take shots of these dummies from time to time.  Here I was attracted by that loosely hanging, white hand, but now I’m also looking at the hairy red sweater with its horizontal stripes, and the plastic “water droplets” on those fashionably distressed jeans.  The black backdrop keeps it simple.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 362 – RUDE GIRL

 

 


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Poster in the window of a beauty salon, seen through the shop’s security grill; Newquay, Cornwall; 11 Sept 2013.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 240mm; 1600 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 360 – COWSLIPS

 

 


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In amongst the Cowslips near the bottom of our garden; 24 Apr 2013.

These beautiful little flowers have been growing in our garden for many years now.  We certainly didn’t plant them, so the initial seeds were presumably brought in by birds.

I love these simple flowers very much and, every year, encourage them to spread by delaying mowing the areas they inhabit until they have fully gone over and gone to seed.  This is one of the extremely few thought out gardening plans I have  – and it works!  Every year they spread further – wonderful!

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 359 – SWANS OVER TEALHAM

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window.

Mute Swans about to land on flooded Tealham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 7 Feb 2014.

Much against good sense, I ventured down onto the Levels recently, to my habitual haunts on Tealham and Tadham Moors.  Not daring to take my usual cross-country route because of the many places where even small amounts of flooding might cut it, I drove down the main A38 road south from Bristol to Highbridge, and then went eastwards into the flatlands along another, relatively large road.  All was well on these main roads, but as soon as I got onto the smaller lanes, problems with water appeared.

Tealham and Tadham were mostly submerged, with just just the roads sticking up above the waters and little traffic about, but the floods in this more northerly part of the Levels are nothing like those further south, south of the Polden Hills, where whole villages are being overwhelmed, main roads have been cut for weeks, cutting edge pumping technology has been brought in from Holland, and the Army has been called in to help the local people.

The image is starting to look rather unphotographic, more like a painting maybe, and I always feel good when this happens.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 356 – WAVE MEETS MAN (MONO)

 

 


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FANTASY: a wave, furrowed, swelling, dark, and with a thin, foaming apron of silver, rolls in towards the beach and meets a man.  And there is a communion – something passes –  between the moving water and that rigid figure with his dark suit, bowed head and tightly clenched fists.

Is he bowing to the turbulent and rising water, acknowledging it perhaps as a living thing?  Or, in a moment of shock and revelation, is he realising his own inadequacy in the face of this endless, remorseless and energetic swell?  And, equally, in what way is the wave responding to him?  Indifference, perhaps?  Or, however muted and distant, is there some acknowledgement of another feature of this planet’s surface?

And because this is an interpretation that exists only in my mind, I have used a pale vignette to separate this imagined interaction from the solid and all too permanent reality all around – the mist shifts, and we are granted a fleeting glimpse into a daydream.

REALITY: a man, not a young man as I remember, walked down the beach in a dark blue suit, brown shoes and a wide brimmed hat, and remained standing there in the harsh sunlight, apparently transfixed by the sand and pebbles at his feet.

What was he actually doing?  His fists appear to be clenched but, magnifying things substantially, I think that his hands are in fact full of beach pebbles – and fossils too maybe on this famous Jurassic CoastAnd he’s gazing down at the beach’s debris, hoping to add more to his collection.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset; West Bay, Dorset; 21 Apr 2015.

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ARCHIVE 349 – IN THE HARBOUR (MONO)

 

 


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In the harbour, West Bay, Dorset; 23 Apr 2015.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

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ARCHIVE 341 – BLACK BULLOCK STANDING ON WHITE GRASS (MONO)

 

 


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Black bullock, finely speckled by some flies, standing on white grass in a field at the bottom of East Water Lane, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 7 Aug 2014.

When I’m out taking photographs I find that I often forget things, including any ideas that I had beforehand as to the sort of pictures that I’m going out to hopefully capture.  It all just goes, and I either get caught up in the moment, photographywise or otherwise – just enjoying the moment – or I’m drifting off into daydreams and other wonders.

But SEPs’s infrared presets have been getting to me, and I took some shots up on Mendip recently, with the possibility of IR glimmering, at least dimly, in the back of my mind.  I’m not yet going as far as a blogging friend of  mine, Lisa Kimmorley, who has had a DSLR modified for IR photography, but I have had thoughts in that direction.

Anyway, here is an example of using SEP2 for something like IR effects – a black bullock standing on green grass while chewing something.  I had thoughts about trying to clone out the spiky white grass around its hooves, but I’ll never be able to restore the full structure of the hooves and, in any case, I think leaving it as it is adds to the unreality of the scene.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 250mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Infrared Film Soft preset.

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PEOPLE 317 – GOING TO WORK 50 >>> PHEW! NEVER THOUGHT THIS SERIES WOULD REACH 50!!!

 

 

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Phew!!! >>> well!!! >>>  the first of these Going To Work images was posted way back on 23 July 2016, and I never thought this series would still be ongoing!  The pictures have received some favourable words along the way, and for those I’m very grateful – simple fact is, such opinions provide encouragement, they help me to keep on keeping on with photography generally >>> so >>> thank you!

Where is this series going now?  Well, as usual, I’ve no idea.  I’ll just see what comes up.  But two points to make.

First, this series has been significantly facilitated by the portability of the Fujifilm X-T1 and X-T2 cameras – I take only one of these cameras and one lens with me on my long walks around the city, and they are eminently compact and portable.  I’ve also used the heavier Nikon DSLRs once or twice – and there’s getting away from the fact that for pinpoint focus in situations with very poor light and/or movement, these bigger DSLRs (D700 and D800) have the edge. But, camera portability is certainly a factor, and especially so for a no-longer-so-young(!) person like me.

And then second, maybe my having retired (nearly 5 years ago now) has allowed me to get outside of the “work ethic”, necessary as it is in any society, and to stand back from it a bit.  Maybe being on the outside looking in – after all those decades spent on the inside looking out –  has produced a more detached perspective.  And so to early mornings photographing the city rush hour, and the thought that five days on and two off each week – and a life outside of work to lead too –  can be quite a punishing schedule.

And so to this picture.  Just before sunrise, I was on a traffic island in the middle of the busy dual carriageway below Temple Meads railway station, leaning back against a street light to steady the camera and watching the steamy windows of the towering double-decker buses as they arrived with their cargoes of inbound workers.  Several buses would arrive at once, and so to firing off quick series of single shots (rather than motorised bursts) before waiting for the next gaggle of buses to pull ponderously in.  I looked along the windows on the upper deck of a bus, this woman’s red coat caught my eye, I took one shot, she looked at me and I fired again. 

Technique: the light was dismal – 6400 ISO, 1/45th second with the 305mm lens wide open at f4.8 – but the image stabilisation (+ leaning on the street light!) held it steady.  One thing about these mirrorless cameras is that, since they do not have a mirror, there is no vibration as the mirror moves during an exposure (mirror slap) and so they can take sharper pictures at lower shutter speeds than DSLRs.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 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 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Clicking onto this image will open a larger version in a separate window, and clicking onto that will further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Temple Gate, in Bristol City centre; 2 Feb 2018.

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ARCHIVE 338 – THE VIEW SOUTH FROM RATTLEDOWN FARM

 

 


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The view south from Rattledown Farm, looking out over the Chew Valley, south of Bristol; Chew Valley Lake is in the background – looking for all the world like blue sky; 12 July 2013.

Another slice of the English countryside, on a beautiful morning.  I think that the line of taller trees take my eye up through the picture to the lake’s blue, which then pulls my gaze right.  And I like the wedge of vivid pale green cutting across the image, just about along the upper horizontal third.

Chew Valley Lake is an artificial reservoir, flooded in the early 1950s – Google tells me it is the 5th largest artificial lake in the UK.  It has something of a special place in my life in that it was around its shores, in 1967, that I took my first, hesitant steps to becoming a birdwatcher – “with a little help from my friends”!

I was useless at birdwatching in those days.  I was (and am) short sighted, wore glasses, and had only a small telescope bought for me by my parents many years earlier.  So, a bird would appear, I’d see it and whip off my glasses so as to be able to use my telescope – and then totally lose sight of it, casting blindly about with the scope.  For Christmas that year, my impecunious mother bought me a pair of 10×50 binoculars that could be used with my glasses on and – no pun intended – I never looked back.

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

Technique: D800 used in APS-C format, with a 70-300 Nikkor lens giving a focal length of 450mm; 400 ISO;  final manipulation in Colour Efex Pro 4.

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GARDEN 70 – MUNTJAC

 

 


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Muntjac stag relaxing at the bottom of our garden.  We have a long back garden.  This green space is largely “natural”, that is, untended,  save for occasional forays with a voracious petrol lawn mower lovingly known as The Destructor; and other forays with other vicious blades when the various trees and shrubs threaten Total World Domination.  But, other than that, the garden is left much to itself and, as it backs out onto a suburban wilderness, the bottom of our garden is largely a quiet, secluded, sheltered place.  Badgers and Foxes call in, and we often see tiny (roughly Fox-sized) deer called Muntjac, that have been introduced to the UK from China.

Muntjacs are mainly active at night, but during the day they are also to be seen in secluded places – and we are happy that they consider the bottom of our garden such a safe spot during the hours of dangerous daylight.  On Sunday, a pair were resting in the tangles at the garden’s end.  The doe was largely invisible, but the stag more in view.

Sitting beside me, I had the D800 camera attached to the love of my life, the 70-300 Nikkor zoom, and the more I looked at this distant deer looking back at me, the more I thought “photo!“.  The small animal was for sure a long way off and semi-obscured too, but because the D800 has so many pixels, its possible to use its sensor reduced to APS-C format, which still provides enough pixels for a reasonable image – whilst multiplying the focal length of full-frame lenses by x1.5.  So the long end of my zoom, 300mm, became a very useful 450mm – times 9 magnification – and, handheld, I was in business!

I opened the lens aperture to its widest and ramped the ISO up to 6,400 to try to avoid camera shake and, bracing myself against a wall, started taking pictures through the closed kitchen window. The camera’s autofocus became confused by the vegetation’s tangles – and so to manual focusing.  But although recognisable, these images were softened by the light’s passage through the window’s double glazing.  These deer are notoriously timid and flighty and opening the window seemed unwise but, very carefully, slowly and quietly I did it – and the stag remained still.

And here he is, with his small, swept back antlers.  He has little tusks on his upper jaw too, but even if the bottom of his face were not obscured, these can be hard to see.

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: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Bristol; 7 Jan 2018.

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