ARCHIVE 281 – THATCHED COTTAGE (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Thatched roof in Wareham, Dorset; 7 Nov 2006.

Technique: use of a 24mm wide angle lens, close in, emphasises the vast, rough bulk of the thatch, making it loom towards the camera, almost filling the frame.  The chimney, totally outscaled, appears to be toppling, again as a result of the distortion of the wide lens.  I originally intended this shot to be monochrome, but the slight tinges of colour in the thatch, the chimney and the plant improve it – instances of low key colour (in this instance, restored colour) adding something.

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

Technique: F6 with 24-85 Nikkor at 24mm; Fuji Provia 400 colour slide rated at 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Neutral preset and selectively restoring colour.

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ARCHIVE 256 – SEASIDE SNAPSHOT

 

 

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UPDATE: here is an image from sometime ago that I re-discovered while looking through my files.  When you’re in my blog, its certainly best to click onto this image, to open a larger version in a separate window.

ORIGINAL TEXT:

People being photographed on the promenade at Lyme Regis, Dorset; 5 Nov 2009.

I rarely photograph people that I do not know, but here is an exception.  We were lounging in a shelter beside the promenade at Lyme when these people stopped in front of us – and unwittingly offered me a photograph of both the photographed and the photographer  – I had time for one frame.  This is in some ways a strange shot, and some things can be surmised from it. 

Structurally, it has three distinct planes.  First, the camera is looking out from behind the low wall of the shelter, with a view harshly and uncompromisingly cut through by the shelter’s thick railings, which are in dark silhouette.  Beyond this, the people are standing on the sunny promenade, which is itself bounded by yet more railings, this time lower, gentler and sunlit.  And beyond this second set of railings is the sea, bluish and gentle, with a few wavelets.  The distribution of people in the photo is also odd:  the main subjects of the picture are towards its left and right edges – and, between and below them, an unknown, headless figure walks on the (virtually unseen) shingle of the beach.

Then, some things can be surmised about the people themselves.   First, they are having their photo taken in time honoured seaside fashion, squinting into almost painfully bright, low angle sunlight.  The aim here is not to achieve a quality portrait of the group, but rather a quick memento of a happy day out together in the sunshine. 

Next, they are relations: the two women are sisters and these are their men / partners / husbands.  The elder sister is nearest us, and her man is the photographer (from the photo, this could in fact be a third woman, but I remember that it was a man).  The man standing next to her is with her younger sister, and he has his arm flung over her younger sister’s shoulders.   Because her man is taking the photo, the elder sister feels slightly alone, and so puts her arm through that of her sister’s man, to feel and look more a part of the group.

D700 with long end of 24mm-120mm Nikkor lens; 400 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 199 – TERRACETTES AT UP SYDLING

 

 

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Terracettes at Up Sydling, near Cerne Abbas, Dorset; 3 Jul 2003.

Terracettes are step-like features formed on steep slopes, when the soil detaches itself from the underlying rock and moves very slowly downhill under its own weight; this is soil creep. The steps mimic the puckering up of a loose table cloth being pushed across a table top.

Here, at Up Sydling, high angle summer sunlight catches just the outside edges of the steps.  The many pale and apparently floating flecks in the deep shadows are the seed heads of grasses caught by the sun – the grass stems are mostly in shadow.

For me, two things contribute to this picture: the dark, massive, frame-filling hillside with its four bright green layers that contrast with the angle of the more fully illuminated grassy ridge at the bottom right of the photo.

And then the brightly illuminated thistle with its tiny spot of bright colour, which is just about on the intersection of the lower and left thirds of the composition.

Clicking onto the image opens a slightly larger version in a separate window.

OM-4 with 85mm-250mm Zuiko; tripod; Fuji Velvia 50 colour slide.
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FANTASY 34 – ADVERT FOR SHINGLE BEACH AND CLOUDY SKY

 

 

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FANTASY: well, what the title says – with a desperate stab at modernity,  “It does what it says in the title!“.  And maybe its The Advertising Of The Future – after all, if you place your empty hoarding in front of what you’re advertising, you do away with the need for the actual advert …

REALITY: empty advertising / information display on the beach at West Bay, Dorset; 5 Oct 2005.  Right from the moment I pressed the OM-4’s (wonderfully quiet) shutter release, the quest with this image was for unreality.  And so, using my little telezoom (how I miss those tiny Zuiko lenses!), all else but the empty display, beach and sky was cropped out of the frame – and knowing that Fuji’s wonderful colour slide film was going to be push processed by two stops, I knew that the resulting colours might well be more … imaginative … than true …

And finally, a decade later, a little (but only a little) tweaking in CEP4.

If your eyes can stand it – no free sunglasses on this blog! –  you can see a larger version of this image by clicking onto it.

OM-4 with 75-150 Zuiko at 150mm; Fuji Provia 400 colour slide rated at 1600 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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BIRDS 78 – A CREATURE OF GREAT BEAUTY

 

 

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Adult Herring Gull, resting in glorious sunshine, beside the harbour at West Bay, Dorset; 21 Apr 2015.

Immaculate!  An inveterate and highly aggressive and successful scavenger, thief and killer. 

And, at the same time, a creature of vast natural beauty.

So what skews our judgement of him – if we are fit to judge – what he does or what he is?  After all, if beauty is function, even the Spotted Hyaena is beautiful.

But of course – as regular readers of this blog will know – when it comes to gulls I’m biased!

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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ARCHIVE 173 – FISHING BOAT

 

 

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Fishing boat hauled up onto the quay; the harbour at West Bay, Dorset; 5 Nov 2008.

F6 with 70-300 Nikkor; Fuji Provia 400X colour slide, rated at 1600 ISO.
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BIRDS 77 – CARRION CROW

 

 

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Carrion Crow around the cliffs west of West Bay, Dorset; 21 April 2015.

A large, intelligent and opportunistic killer and scavenger, widespread in pairs across Britain – and as much at home around these wild crags as in the soft and leafy suburbs of Bristol.

And the rocks?  These are the honey-coloured cliffs of Dorset’s renowned Jurassic Coast – beautiful certainly, but with a dangerous beauty all the same, for these fossil-filled rocks are very loose and prone to collapse – no one climbs here, this natural beauty is best admired from a distance. 

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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DORSET 29 – IN THE HARBOUR 2

 

 

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Reflection of a motor boat on the harbour at West Bay; 21 Apr 2015.

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

The first image in this series – also of boats but in very different style – is here.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 170mm; 200 ISO; flipped.
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PEOPLE 209 – SELFIE OF YOUNG LOVE (MONO)

 

 

 

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Something heartwarming, something very good to see; West Bay, Dorset; 21 Apr 2015.

Strolling on the harbour wall at the diminutive Dorset resort of West Bay, with the damned great Nikon and zoom perched on my paunch – when over left a selfie was fired off – and I was just not quick enough to capture the action, although I did get a shot of them examining the result immediately afterwards.

And so, and not for the first time, I cursed my lack of alertness and speed – when they squared up for another shot at it – I mean, them – and this time I was ready.

Well, its truly candid, and as an image I like it.  Presentation in black and white removes the distractions of colour and takes us in solely to them and what they’re about.

But those thoughts only scratch the surface on this one.  I started off by describing it as heartwarming and I stick by that.  Its a moment of togetherness and affection, a moment shared – and that’s good to see.  Who knows what the future will bring for them?  Not knowing them at all, I wish them good luck and happiness.

See?  Underneath … well, actually, quite deep underneath … I’m just an Old Softy ….

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Spectrum preset.
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BIRDS 72 – FULMAR

 

 

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This image is best viewed at larger scale – click onto it to see a larger version in a separate window.

Fulmar flying around East Cliff; West Bay, Dorset; 23 April 2015.

Looking very much like a seagull, this is in fact a true seabird that spends most of its life out on the open seas and only comes ashore to breed – the reason why this individual was around the cliffs at West Bay.  It can at once be told from a gull by the little kink and ridge on the top of its bill that houses nasal passages, something that gulls don’t have.

Living out on the open seas as they do, and eating things like squid, fish and shrimps, these birds are up to their ears in salt – some of which they manage to get rid of by excreting it as a strong saline solution through their noses.  And, should one of these beauties feel that you’re approaching it too closely on a cliff, they will vomit their foul smelling stomach oils over you –  to give you a gentle hint …

And finally here’s a fascinating passage from Wikipedia: “Fulmars have for centuries been exploited for food. The engraver Thomas Bewick wrote in 1804 that “Pennant, speaking of those [birds] which breed on, or inhabit,   the Isle of St Kilda, says—’No bird is of so much use to the islanders as this: the Fulmar supplies them with oil for their lamps, down for their beds, a delicacy for their tables, a balm for their wounds, and a medicine for their distempers.  …..  James Fisher, author of The Fulmar (1952) calculated that every person on St Kilda consumed over 100 fulmars each year; the meat was their staple food, and they caught around 12,000 birds annually.”.  But no, before you ask, I’ve never tasted one!  And I recommend that St Kilda link – if only for the sounds of the sea! –  I’ve never been there, but it was a constant and brooding presence, far off to the west, when I was on the Western Isles some years back.

There is another Fulmar image, and more context, here.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor used at 300mm in DX format to provide 450mm; 400 ISO.
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