PEOPLE 293 – GRANDDAUGHTER 9

 

 

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Our younger granddaughter, backlit.

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;  7; 8.

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

Technique: D800 with a 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 6400 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Bristol; 9 Apr 2017.

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PEOPLE 292 – PORTRAIT OF A GIRL (MONO)

 

 


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The daughter of friends, someone I’ve known for all of her life.  And now growing up fast, and long past the time when a favourite pastime was trying to pull my thumbs off.  And also a long time since, if she was at all unhappy, I could rattle a bunch of keys to instantly brighten her mood.  And, yes, now growing up fast – time rushes on – but still, as ever, a very valued friend.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset and adding a light tone; Bristol; 24 Aug 2017.
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ARCHIVE 310 – ON A FARM IN WESTERN KENYA … AND WITH HOPES FOR A PEACEFUL GENERAL ELECTION

 

 


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Luo people on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

I love these portraits.  The man is at ease with me and my camera, he knows me well, and in his expression we see nothing contrived, just a calm and direct gaze.  The little boy is nervous, but is being reassured by the man’s closeness – while the little girl’s radiant smile is a delight.

This smile reminds me powerfully of African children in general!  I was often in out of the way areas in Kenya, often far off the well beaten tourist tracks, searching for unusual birdlife.  And I can remember entering villages where white people were only infrequently seen – and being beset by a tide of brightly smiling little children like these, chanting “mazungu, mazungu!” – swahili for “white man, white man!”.

And sometimes they were so curious to see me, maybe not having had close contact with a european before, that they came and wondered at the pale hair on my pale arms – and touched my arms and head as if they couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing – it was a real, uninhibited examination!

I like children anyway, I vastly enjoy interacting with them – and especially so when they can talk – and these were simply wonderful and fascinating experiences.  And I also want to mention here how friendly Kenyan people were in general, throughout my years there – friendly, hospitable and humorous.

On the negative side of things though, it was on this trip that I first contracted malaria – and that is something truly unpleasant.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro.

UPDATE:  Today there is a general election in Kenya and, regardless of who wins, I can only hope that the whole thing goes off peacefully.  In many instances, the colonising powers of not so long ago drew lines around areas of the Earth’s surface and called them countries, regardless of the often extremely diverse ethnic mixes within those areas.  And so it is in Kenya.  Although I don’t see the fact on any of the news broadcasts, the current Kenyan president and his main challenger are from two very diverse ethnic backgrounds, and the recipe for violence, killing and yet more killing is sitting ready in the mixing bowl.  The current president has called for a peaceful vote and promised to abide by the result of the vote, and I can only hope that everyone listens to him.  Why do I hope this?  Well, I am mortally tired of the endless rounds of violence and killing that regularly break out around the world – I suppose that’s idealism.  On a more practical level, I spent many years in Kenya and found the Kenyans friendly and hospitable.  I can only wish them well – and hope that today’s election is proceeding peacefully, and that it will help improve the lives of everyone in that country.

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TALKING IMAGES 32 – FATMAN PHOTOS, SLOWING DOWN FOR AWHILE

 

 

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I’ve recently posted a series of pictures of my granddaughters – and here are two more – and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get deeply into some portraiture again and, especially so, black and white portraiture.  This short series of portraits can be found here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;  7; 8.

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But I’m now engaged on an intriguing longer term project with these two young girls and, sad to say, it has a deadline.  Which means that, for the next month or two, I have to let other things slip a little.  And so, after six years, FATman Photos is going to slow down a bit, with fewer posts and, equally regrettably, fewer visits to other blogs.

Click onto these images to open larger versions in separate windows, and click again onto these larger versions to further enlarge them.

Technique: both photos here – the younger sister above, the elder below, were taken at high ISOs with my (now ageing) D700 and the wonderful 105mm Nikkor prime.  I processed them minimally in Lightroom, and then converted them to black and white in Silver Efex Pro 2 – the upper shot started at the Center Focus preset, and the lower at the Warm Tone Paper preset; both images were given a light Coffee tone.

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PEOPLE 279 – GRANDDAUGHTER 8

 

 

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The younger granddaughter, backlit: delicate colours, high key.

The original aim of this series was to present portraits from a single photographic session, in black and white.  However, the best laid plans of mice and FATmen …  this is from another session, another time, and it caught my eye.

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;  7.

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

Technique: D800 with a 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 6400 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Color Efex Pro 4 to add the thin frame; 9 Apr 2017.

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PEOPLE 274 – GRANDDAUGHTER 7 (MONO)

 

 


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The younger sister.

This is more or less unposed.  She was sitting in a room that was not brightly lit, looking here and there, reacting (or not!) to my suggestions, and I was relying on the Nikon’s wonderful autofocus to keep minimal – but important – sharpness.  I love this image for two reasons.  First of all, of course, I love her, that goes without saying.  But also I have really enjoyed using Silver Efex to manipulate and create this.  Using software is not always enjoyable, sometimes its a necessary chore, but there are other times when it is pure, creative joy – and for me that is especially the case with black and white images.  I have yet to feel such joy when using Lightroom, excellent though it is, but who knows what will come to pass?

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 4,000 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Classic Portrait preset, and adding a light sepia tone; 18 Apr 2017.
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PEOPLE 273 – GRANDDAUGHTER 6 (MONO)

 

 


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The younger sister, once more looking rather older than she is.

This is a quite intimate picture, this is a close up look at another human being, but without the eye contact some think essential.  It is really all about those eyelashes and that length of hair hanging down across her cheek: these are the only parts of the image that are sharp – in terms of focus, everything else has been left to look after itself.  The 105mm lens was used wide open at f2.8 for all of these pictures.

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 1600 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Cool Tones II preset, and adding a moderate coffee tone; 18 Apr 2017.
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PEOPLE 272 – GRANDDAUGHTER 5 (MONO)

 

 


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The elder sister, enjoying life …  How I love kids!  I have been told that, in Britain’s eminently educated, civilised and sophisticated society, it might be better if I did not utter such heartfelt emotions.  But the facts are simple.  Babies I can take or leave (I could most certainly never eat a whole one).  But once children start to talk in even the most disjointed fashion, once they start to give voice to what is in their minds and how they see the world, I am utterly enthralled – I want to be in there, I want to hear about it all!

And, of course, as photographers, I have heard and read so often that we should try to preserve our childlike sense of wonder at what we see around us – photography can be so much about making the mundane look extraordinary.  Adults are mainly sensible.  Its a kind of default mindset for us, isn’t it?  So we tend to see what’s around us sensibly and, in terms of photographic emotion, that can make things a little grey.  So, try not to be visually sensible.  Go mad a little – and, as a further aid, listen to what children say, listen to how they see things, get back – if only a little – into the way you used to think once upon a time, long ago.

Quite simply, I value my time with young people in many ways.  And, of course, one of the great benefits of being a Grandad is that, should the generation two stops down the conveyor belt get a little pushy, unruly or riotous, you can always hand them back to their keepers … I mean … parents …

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that larger version to enlarge it still further (though not, in this case, if you’re of anything like a nervous disposition …)

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 1250 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate II preset, giving the image the look of Fuji Neopan Acros 100 black and white film, and adding a light tone; 18 Apr 2017.
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PEOPLE 269 – GRANDDAUGHTER 4

 

 

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The younger granddaughter, looking down at a book.  I’d originally planned to have all of these portraits in black and white but – what the heck! – the colour original is here too! 

Which do you prefer?

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3.

Click onto these images to open larger versions in separate windows, and click onto the larger versions to further enlarge them.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 4,000 ISO; window light; Lightroom; the mono version produced in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Warm Tone Paper preset.
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PEOPLE 267 – GRANDDAUGHTER 3 (MONO)

 

 


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The younger granddaughter, giving me a very straight look, and processed to bring out some of that seriousness.

This doesn’t look like a granddaughter?  No it doesn’t, but I want to see what I can do with these images – and sticking faithfully to reality, together with producing what is expected, may not be top priorities …  Its more a question, I suppose, of seeing where this takes me.

Technique: many photographers today glory in the fact that they can restore detail to deep shadows and, if this is your aim, then definitely shoot Raw files – more on this another time.  This desire for a shadowless reality is often seen in images of landscapes – you know the kind of thing, the photo is looking eastwards into the blazing, dazzling face of the rising sun – and yet there is still well lit detail visible on the western sides of trees and hedges which face away from the sun.  Well, OK, its a style, but I prefer something more natural, and I’m increasingly reading about people (including talented landscapers) asking just where that “western light” in some landscapes is emanating from.  Personally, as in this image, I greatly value dark shadows – they can look gorgeous, and they bring mystery to an image, they make viewers wonder what is there – I’m a big fan of chiaroscuro, the interplay and effects of contrasting light and shadow in images.  And similarly highlights without detail too, they can also be of visual value – never discount pure black or pure white.

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 4,000 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Triste 2 preset, adding a split tone and retaining some grain; 18 Apr 2017.
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