OUTER SUBURBS 116 – BREAKFAST IN THE OUTER SUBURBS

 

 


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Lifestyle suggestion: Scottish salmon fillet, cod fillet and prawn, Thai style fishcakes with fresh kiwi fruit, strawberries and melon, and cooked tomatoes, along with seafood sauce and sauce béarnaise.  And all washed down with mugs of hot, strong tea. 

Sets me up for my six mile daily walks >>> its a FATman thing!

I lived in Kenya long ago, and developed a great liking for very tasty curries covered in fresh fruit, nuts, chutneys, pickles, etc., all washed down with Kenya Breweries’ Tusker Premium lager – I used to think of them as taste explosions – and to some extent this meal mirrors this, with the combination of spicy fishcakes, fresh fruit and tangy sauces – absolutely delicious!   Such breakfasts are highly recommended >>>>>>  and especially so in view of the fact that, these days, the emergency services are never more than one short (and quite possibly desperate) phone call away …

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 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 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation, and adding a faint pale vignette; chez FATman, in south Bristol; 27 May 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 91 – LUNCH IN A PUB

 

 


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Those of you outside the UK will probably have heard of British pubs or public houses – the “local”, the boozer, purveyors of The Electric Soup.  At 69, I can still remember, long ago, glimpses through open doors of rough, raw, smoke filled “spit and sawdust” establishments where men got drunk, and women were either absent or few; as I can recall pubs not being allowed to open on Sundays; and also pubs opening on Sundays where often the only things to eat were packets of crisps – not so good for those looking for warmth after a freezing winter’s early morning birding!  But now, pubs are for all, children included, and in many cases, especially away from city centres, they only survive in a very tough marketplace via their food rather than their booze.

And so to a quiet lunch in a pub way out in the south Bristol suburbs, on the edge of the city, on a weekday – this place is far busier on the weekend, and maybe on Fridays too.  Range of clientele?  Well there a baby’s buggy on the left –  children are allowed in until 9pm – and there’s an old woman with a walking stick at top left.  And so to modern life: sauce bottles on the tables (excellent!), a large TV up on the wall (groan!), and a flight of white-edged steps for falling down on your way back, laden with drinks, from the bar, which is out of shot at top right.  All in all, reasonably comfortable and congenial, and certainly affordable.

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This is the pub’s Mega Mixed Grill!!!  The friendly manageress has been known to exclaim “You’ve eaten it all!” but, well, you know, its a FATman Thing.  Nice touches to this meal, things that catch my eye??? Well, some blackening on the tomato, the ritual steak knife, and the jug of pepper sauce – a delicious meal except for the steak, which is often a problem in this particular pub. 😦

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And all washed down with pints of Stella, an above average, Belgian, mass market lager, tasty and fairly strong, a pleasure to drink – though simply not up there with brews from the likes of Duvel or Westmalle!  The above is a balanced diet – a pint for each hand …

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 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 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom; south Bristol; 11 Feb 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 80 – A GOOD PLATEFUL

 

 


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The Mixed Grill, in a south Bristol pub.

Rather like a Full English breakfast really – but with chips, peas, onion rings and more types of meat –  and usually downed later in the day.  Although, having said that, I could certainly have a go at this for breakfast – and especially so if the morning were bitterly cold and I had little planned for later in the day other than sitting beside a fire with a few, contemplative glasses of whisky.

So, what is here?  Ah, the steak sits atop the gammon, which sits atop the chicken, which sits atop the (really not at all bad) sausages.  So not a meal for vegetarians then.  But also eggs, half a grilled tomato, and the other, aforesaid vegetables.  All downed with lashings of salt, pepper and tomato sauce.  And all aided and abetted by a steak knife – for practical purposes of course, but also to enhance the atmosphere of delicious and almost ritualistic hedonism.

And all washed down with a couple of pints of just about adequate, cold lager – well, you can’t have everything and, still, this was a “A Good Plateful” and, even just looking at the picture,  I for one can still feel the vibrations.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 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 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 19 Feb 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 68 – MODERN LIFE 7: BRING IT HOME

 

 

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Modern Life and bins of by-products.

There are earlier Modern Life posts here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 .  Each will open in a separate window.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 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 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 29 Jan 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 24 – BREAKFAST AT POPPY’S KITCHEN

 

 


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Yesterday, I had been going to do an early morning visit to the Somerset Levels, but Storm Callum was forecast to hit the UK from the southwest and, for once, I didn’t feel like hurling myself out into the raging elements at unearthly hours.  Must be getting old.  But, anyway, I chose more sheltered pursuits, and so to a breakfast in Poppy’s Kitchen, a newly opened café here in south Bristol.

You may remember my description of another recent full English breakfast, from a local pub – you can find that here .  I don’t want to take you on a long tour through all of the full English breakfast ingredients again, but I do want to say that my breakfast at Poppy’s Kitchen yesterday morning was the best I’ve had in south Bristol.

OK, OK, a few details.  First class ingredients (incl baked beans, which are not shown): in particular, I don’t think the mushrooms were tinned, and they were large, really succulent and full of taste.  The hash browns were even darker and crisper than at the last meal – wonderful! – and, yes, at top right (some of you Americans might like to look away right now) >>> that’s two slices of Black Pudding!  Finally, the presentation of the breakfast’s ingredients attracted the eyes of even this gastronomic hooligan.

And when I chanced my luck and enquired if the Big Breakfast might possibly be accompanied by chips (fries to you people Across The Pond), there was not the slightest hesitation – and what chips they were!  A large portion, of all shapes and sizes and manifestly cut from actual potatoes (as opposed to being artificially manufactured, extruded, whatever), and fried to a lovely light golden brown.  I’ve always enjoyed simple pleasures, of which one is relaxing in a comfy armchair or sofa, forgetting everything, and letting myself drift away into a daydream and a nice doze – heavenly!  And another of these very simple (and inexpensive) pleasures that never ceases to be an outright luxury is eating chips with my fingers and dunking them into tomato sauce – and I’ve met many others who think exactly the same!  Ah, simple pleasures …
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Anyway, breakfast at Poppy’s Kitchen – the menu is above (click on it twice to enlarge it) – and we shall be going there again!  And, as a final point, the very friendly staff said that they will cook anything on the menu at any time of day – so that, should we fancy a lunch for breakfast, they’re up for it – wonderful!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 1600 ISO; Lightroom; Poppy’s Kitchen, East Dundry Road, south Bristol; 12 Oct 2018.

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OUTER SUBURBS 21 – A FULL ENGLISH

 

 


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I cannot by any stretch of the imagination be thought of as a foodie or gourmet.   I simply enjoy eating (and drinking!!!), I not infrequently over indulge, and I have but one simple requirement – which is, if at all possible, that my food and drink should taste at least reasonable or actually nice.  I am not asking for exquisite gourmet cuisine, nor for world class wines – but then neither do I want to stuff my face with either tasteless supermarket stodge or some liquid that, while undoubtedly powerfully alcoholic, equally powerfully reminds me of cats.  Much as I like cats.

Now full English breakfasts can taste very nice, but one has to be careful.  Loads of eateries produce them, they really are loved here, but their quality varies widely.  I mean, anyone can put together the ingredients and serve them up, but the quality of the ingredients – and to a lesser extent their mode of presentation on the plate – can make or break the treat.

Let’s look at this breakfast.  Firstly – and very crucially – it arrived on a warm plate.  Cold plates can crucify hot food, especially in winter.

Then, the classic ingredients (including modern upstarts like hash browns) were all there.  The rashers of bacon were hiding under the toast – Come on out, we know you’re in there! – and they were tasty.  Sausages can be the Achilles Heel of breakfasts, with an almost corpse-like pallor, no texture and very little taste – but these bucked that trend: they appeared burnt but in fact weren’t, they actually had pieces of meat inside (but I could have sworn this pub had a cat last time I was in … ) and they were tasty too – an achievement for this certainly not up market eatery.

So what else?  Well, real (as opposed to tinned) tomato, not quite fried enough but, as always, tasting like Heaven & Chips when eaten with the bacon.  And tasty mushrooms, probably tinned, but certainly good.  Hash browns don’t usually shake my tree, but these these were both tasty and quite crispy, not bad at all.
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There was a rush of customers just as we arrived and so I expected a hastily cooked meal with very runny eggs, but the eggs were reasonably solid, and the beans – well beans are always good!  And then quite a big and thick slice of black pudding – in the picture, that’s the round black thing with all the little white bits of fat in it >>> delicious!

And the accessories?  Well, toast made from bog standard, thin, white, sliced bread – adequate, and certainly better than nothing.  And finally a big, steaming, glorious mug of hot sweet tea, just the thing for washing down (or dissolving away …) all that fat!!!

Click onto each image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – but don’t blame me if you feel suddenly ravenously hungry or, on the other hand, unaccountably nauseous.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 5 Oct 2018.
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STILL LIFE 190 – THE FULL FARMER AT PRIDDY

 

 


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The name of this blog is not an idle flight of fancy!  Quite unashamedly, I enjoy my food (and Belgian beer too!) and, although I was far more flabby those seven years ago when I gave this blog its name – despite having lost over 40lbs, I am still not what one might term svelte.  And I am a fan of Full English Breakfasts, which are large, highly calorific, cooked affairs which either set you up wonderfully for the day ahead – or make it hard for you to rise from your chair and do anything at all – whichever way you want to look at it.

But a good Full English is an elusive thing.  In many instances, all of the classic ingredients can be present, but the whole thing can be pale and washed out in appearance, and really quite drab to taste.  I’ve found that the tastier versions of this culinary gem are often those with more brightly coloured ingredients, not garish technicolor to be sure, but also not pallid either. And when I find one of the relatively few eateries serving up such fare, it quickly becomes somewhere to visit over and over again.

Such a place is Priddy Good Farm Shop,, in the little village of Priddy on the top of the Mendip Hills south of Bristol.  Its most of an hour’s drive away, but eating there is always an eminently enjoyable occasion, the food is always good quality, simple and tasty – and lots of it!  And as well as the usual breakfast fare, this little shop also sells some of the best meat pies I’ve ever eaten in my life, and luscious fruit pies just like the ones my dear old Mum used to bake.

And so here is the farm shop’s largest Full English, which they imaginatively call The Full Farmer.  Those with smaller appetites can order The Farmer’s Wife or, smaller still, The Farmer’s Kid – yes its a real family business 🙂 !  And as well as the food shown here, it comes with thick toast (made with real bread, not sliced!) and great steaming pots of tea or coffee.

So, what was good about this meal?  Well, on the veggie side, the fried mushrooms were extremely tasty, as was the roasted tomato (which was not tinned!), and there were a lot of beans – and beans are always good!  Sausages can often be the Achilles Heel of breakfasts, they can be largely lacking in  texture and taste, but this shop uses meat from its own farm, and these had plenty of both.  The bacon too was thick and tasty, and the eggs were fried to perfection – still just a little runny.

And this is where those of you with weak stomachs and/or a more civilised take on Life than I’ll ever be able to muster should turn off your computers/phones/etc now, because the round black disc at lower left is a sizeable chunk of black pudding, a really tasty confection for which, as ingredients, google lists pig’s blood, salt, pork fat or beef suet, allspice, oatmeal, onion, milk and black pepper.

And the final good thing about this substantial repast?  It was served, as it is always served here, on a very warm plate, which is just the thing – serving any hot meal on a cold plate ruins it in my view.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Priddy, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 19 Jan 2018.

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PEOPLE 288 – GOING TO WORK 31

 

 


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Fast food on the way in to work.  Its a Friday morning, so maybe an end of the week treat, caught close with a long lens. 

Eating on the move (“on the go” as its known now), the multitasking so prevalent in these time-poor, modern times.

But, still, the luscious, almost carnal enjoyment of food, momentarily brightening a bleak winter’s morning, making it all easier to bear.  Nutritional value?  Probably negligible. Energy value certainly high. But lots of glorious, “stuffing my face with gorgeous grub!” satisfaction.  (And don’t miss the falling crumb …).

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, 30Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto each of these three images to open a larger version in a separate window, and then click onto that version to enlarge it yet again.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 25,600 ISO; Lightroom, Baldwin Street, central Bristol; 2 Dec 2016.

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STILL LIFE 127 – A DISTINCTLY CIVILISED FULL ENGLISH

 

 

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I’m quite a fan of Full English Breakfasts.  They are of course eminently unhealthy food, full of fat and calories, and they can also be very bland – the ingredients can all be there, but they’re cheap, pallid affairs, and really not worth the effort.  Sausages can be the worst culprits, cheap, bland, with not a trace of texture and with almost no taste – might as well be eating cardboard, really; probably just as nutritious too.

But in other instances Full English Breakfasts are rich explosions of taste, and one pointer that I’ve discovered to this greatness is their colour – the more colourful (but not garish) ones have better ingredients and tend to taste better.  And so it was with the distinctly classy repast pictured here.  It has been another long morning of walking and photography in the city, and so into Browns eminently civilised restaurant, and a breakfast to warm the spirit.

So, what is here?  Well, the usual suspects – taking it clockwise from the top, fried eggs hiding just right of the sourdough toast, tasty sausages, thick smoked bacon, mushrooms, tomato (real, not canned) – and then that dubious black chunk trying to hide under the toast is black pudding, a pudding made with blood – truly repulsive, unhealthy … and tasty!    And then some baked beans and those thin strips of greenery – which were tasty too!  All in all, probably 1600 calories or so …

This food was indeed delicious, but the icing on the cake for me was in the semicircle of supporting accoutrements   Butter of course, and tomato sauce not in the ubiquitous plastic bottle.  And then a teapot and  small jug of milk >>> and because actual tea leaves were used instead of the ubiquitous teabags, sitting on top of the cup is a tea strainer and a little round metal cup the strainer sits in after use, so that it doesn’t drip onto the table.  I am not any great connoisseur of food nor do I have any great eye for style, but for me that tea strainer and its little receptacle were just the icing on the cake.  In a world where money rules, quality is often forsaken and there is a general race to the bottom, this tea strainer and its little holder turned a good meal into a really quite restful, elegant and special experience.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 26mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Browns restaurant, central Bristol; 28 Apr 2017.  Use of a wide angle lens pointed down at the subject appears to lift the plate of food slightly so that the objects to either side appear to be tilting outwards slightly.  This effect may be correctable with software but I’m content to leave it as it is.

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OUTLANDS 11 – ANOTHER VISIT TO THE OUTLANDS

 

 

The low valley opening out on my left

(click onto each image to open larger versions in separate windows – and click again to further enlarge each image – recommended)

Last December, I tore myself away from my usual haunts and visited somewhere new, not far northeast of Bristol – and started a new category on this blog – Outlands – for places I’d never visited before.  The rationale and context of that day out can be found here, and some of the resulting images are here: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 89 and 10.

On 12 April, I visited this area once more.  It was an early start, because of Bristol’s traffic and, more so, because the area I was headed for lies beside one of the main arteries between the city and the hurtling, London-bound,  M4 motorway.  It was really a case of leaving early and getting there in reasonable traffic conditions – and then diving down tiny country lanes before the main rush hour got itself into mechanised mayhem.  Anyway I did it, disappeared down a rabbit hole as it were, and left my car beside the common around which cluster the houses of West Littleton, a little Cotswold village.  Then, aiming for somewhere I hadn’t yet explored, there was a long walk up a byway, a kind of unmade, public track that is certainly ok for smaller vehicles.  Along this track, a shallow valley opened up on my left, I took some photographs, and met two people – a farmer and a jogger. And after the walk out, there was the long walk back again, into the teeth of a gusting northwesterly and then, feeling like some self-indulgent reward after all this slog – I was tempted by a wonderful hot English breakfast delivered by a flustered waitress of the old school, after which, a little later, the day ran on into being tempted by some wonderful Belgian beer – all of which did my waistline not the slightest bit of good at all!  But, who cares?  It was all most enjoyable.

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(certainly an image to click onto and enlarge) 

Down in the valley, there was a farmer on a quad bike, who was out early, looking for lambs that had been born in the night.  He was towing a trailer with two of these lambs and their mothers, who were being taken back to the farm for further care.  He drove up the slope towards me, and we chatted.  Its usually good talking with farmers, usually interesting – and this one had worked down on the Somerset Levels, where he’d found it hard to understand what the locals were saying – haha, wonderful, I can just imagine that!

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And then, although the quad bike was modern, the even more modern of this world appeared –  the jogger, pounding along the byway between the Cotswold dry stone walls that are such a feature of this landscape.  And oil seed rape, blazing yellow in the background.

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And so to the grub, which was not at all bad after a long, chilly walk.  The sausages (which can often be the blander than bland Achilles Heel of breakfasts) were good as was the bacon, and there was a good wedge of tasty Cheddar cheese too.  The tomato sauce was a bit dayglo but then I like colour, but the plate was a little on the cool side – hot food needs a hot plate!  A pot of Assam tea, sans teabags!, was good.

So, two final thoughts.  First, West Littleton is set in this little area of unprettified, working countryside, which is about two miles square, four square miles.  It is bounded on all sides by fast, direct roads, so that, it seems, only locals use the narrower and more wandering country lanes within the square.  Thus there is little traffic on these little roads, which with me is a decided plus, as is the fact that the little lanes have plenty of places where a small car can be pulled off to the side.  So that I may visit and photograph this “little bit of England” some more.

But I shy away from photographing the picturesque and, in many of their parts, the Cotswold Hills are decidedly picturesque – what to do?  Go with the flow???  Just picture “beautiful” (and simple) England?  Probably.  And I have a feeling there might be a lot of black and white images.

Technique: this was my first trial with both the X-T1 and X-T2 cameras, each with its own lens – the telezoom on the X-T2 and the wide angle zoom on the X-T1, so that there was no need to change lenses.  Walking around with two cameras around my neck didn’t really feel right, and (as usual) the telezoom captured the vast majority of the images – its simply how I “see” things.  But the X-T1 and its zoom is light, and carrying it in my rucksack worked well – wide angle shots don’t usually move around too quickly, so there was time to get it out and into action!  And processing?  Well, as is usual now, Lightroom – and Silver Efex Pro 2 for the black and white of course.

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