ARCHIVE 553 – FIGURE WITH RUCKSACK, DRAINPIPE, STAIRS AND TWO SKYLIGHTS (MONO)

 

 


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Off the main street in Penzance, Cornwall; 8 Oct 2013.

This photo consists of a number of discreet segments that fit together like a rectilinear collage.  It was a case of waiting at the bottom of this intriguing corridor, somewhere I’ve photographed before, until a figure walked into that square of featureless white brightness.

The figure is anonymous.  We see quite a bit of him – he appears not too old, and used to toting his bag – and we see the illuminated, horizontal rectangle of his world – he is walking in the open air, along a side street. He may be aware of the steps on his right, but he cannot see them as we do, nor can he see the skylights, though he may be aware of the dull light they cast in the otherwise windowless corridor.

We are looking up through a tunnel into his world and can see parts of it as he does, but he cannot see our’s as we do.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Yellowed 2 preset.

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STILL LIFE 121 – HAND RAIL

 

 


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I’m emerging from an underpass that crosses a sunken area of the city centre generally known as the Bear Pit, probably due to its lawless nature in times gone by (albeit not very far gone by …).

The sunken path that I’m following is climbing up and around to the right, and the grey hand rail on the sheer wall of the path follows that curve.  High railings to my left shed harsh shadows across the scene, and the wall to my right has various graffiti (for which read street art, in my parlance) and stickers adorning its surface.

And, this underpass and the Bear Pit having something of an uneasy reputation, having taken the shot I glanced nervously behind me – only to see another photographer taking my picture – as he said, the photographer being photographed!

This image might benefit from 90 degrees’ clockwise rotation.  See below – what do you think?

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spotmetering; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; climbing up out of the Bear Pit, central Bristol; 26 May 2017..


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STILL LIFE 87 – HAND RAIL ON RED WALL, OVEREXPOSED

 

 

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Hand rail on red wall.

A rail beside a flight of steps that ascend this bright red, outside wall.  An older picture, here, puts it a little more in context.

Technique: in the bright sunlight, exposure for the shadows has caused the highlights to almost burn out, perhaps making the image more abstract.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Park Row, central Bristol; 24 Feb 2017.
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STILL LIFE 69 – MAJOR LEAGUE BLAZERS

 

 

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Advertising sticker on handrail;  Bristol Bridge, central Bristol; 16 Sept 2016.

Early in the day, the light low and the camera working at its highest ISO for Raw files.  The lens is image-stabilised, the camera has no mirror and thus no mirror-slap, but I was still pleased to get something useable shooting wide open at 305mm (equivalent) and 1/50th second.

The backdrop was the (far out of focus) side of a building, and the differing colours either side of the rail add something I think.  Lightroom has the facility to alter colours considerably but, more often than not (and as here), I leave them unadjusted.

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6,400 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 194 – HANDRAIL AND SHADOW

 

 

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Handrail on steps at The Point, Bristol harbourside; 11 Apr 2004.

Minimalist –  just the handrail and its shadow. The separation between the end of the handrail and its shadow is important, I think it improves the shot – cover this gap with your finger to see what I mean.

This might also look good in mono – maybe with the vivid blue restored.

OM-4 with 50mm Zuiko; Fuji Provia 400 colour slide, rated at 3200 ISO.

UPDATE: the sort of picture I took lots of once upon a time.  Having done all I wanted to with birding, which had dominated my life for 35 years, I resolved to get into photography in a more purposeful way.  Early in 2003 I acquired an Olympus OM-4 SLR, which I started using with the Zuiko lenses – 28mm, 50mm, 75mm-150mm – that were still around from my earlier Olympus OM-1 days.

I became enthusiastic for abstract compositions and found Bristol city centre a rich source.  The diminutive Olympus gear was ideal for carrying around the city and, unlike with digital cameras, there were never any worries about changing the lenses however bad the weather – film cameras got a clean, new sensor every time the film was changed.

Having colour slides (transparencies) push processed (by +3EV in the example above) became something of an obsession.   I loved the high contrast, grainy and rather false colour images it produced, and these attributes sat well with abstracts.  And then of course it also made for smaller apertures and higher shutter speeds, which were a godsend in poor light.  I was very, very pleasantly surprised at how colour slide film quality and speeds had improved over the years  – all of which makes me sound rather like a museum piece I suppose, which is fine, although it is a little airless in this glass case …

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ARCHIVE 117 – STAIRS WITH DRINKS CAN

 

 

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Drinks can on stairs in Penzance, Cornwall; 14 Sept 2011.

Inhibition is a strange thing – and most often something which I refuse to give in to.  After all, doesn’t that song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show say something like “Do it, don’t dream it!’?  But I’ve rambled on before about the – as I see it –  cardinal sin of digital photography being trying to pass off some highly manipulated colour image as point of capture reality, and that is something I’m quite sure about. 

So, here, yes this a picture of a drinks can on partially sunlit stairs in Penzance, but I’ve made the sunlit area much brighter than it actually was and I’ve very significantly increased the bright orange of the can to make it more prominent.  I feel better for letting you all know that!

This is posted under ‘Colour’, and its an example of very little colour helping a picture.  The green at top center, the (now) bright orange can and the deep brown of the handrail are all relatively small items, but remove them and the picture loses something, and presenting it in straight monochrome makes it very featureless indeed – although there may be some potential for a really radical black and white conversion here.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 800 ISO.

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BRISTOL 82 – ENTRANCE TO AN UNDERPASS (MONO)

 

 

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Entrance to an underpass, Dalby Avenue, Bedminster; 18 Sept 2014.

A stark world of concrete, ceramic, metal and shadow – and a cable tie (centre right); the entrance to a pedestrian subway going under a busy main road.

Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (equivalent); 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset.
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BRISTOL 43 – RED WALL

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Handrail, doorway and red wall, Park Row, central Bristol; 16 Aug 2013.

I walked down Park Row, heading for Christmas Steps, and this Minimalist scene opened up and nearly blew me out into the road.

The door itself is unseen.  It is set back into the wall, and the dark red, vertical stripe to the right of the rail is the shadowed side of the doorway.

Park Row and Christmas Steps hold vast memories for me.  When I was a little boy, I delighted in searching junk and antique shops for inexpensive curios for my collection, and my long suffering mother would take along these two streets, to visit every one of the many such shops that were there in those days – the late 1950s.

Most of these shops are long gone but one or two remain – including Mr Potter’s fascinating emporium.  And this morning the door of a particularly introverted and secluded junk/curio shop, still very much in the 1950s style, was open – and the blast of musty, stuffy air pouring out onto the pavement brought back those far off days in a single, wonderful instant.

And Christmas Steps housed a famous stamp shop, where to my great excitement and vast awe, my father bought me an 1840 Penny Black – the world’s first postage stamp.  I still have that stamp.  It has a red Maltese Cross postmark (google it!!!) and its not in very good condition – but to a 1950s schoolboy it was like a slice of rock from Mars.

Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (35mm equivalent); 200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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FANTASY 16 – BALCONY WITHOUT JULIET (MONO + COLOUR)

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Safety railings in St Nicholas Street, central Bristol; 6 June 2013.

Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (35mm equivalent); 200 ISO; conversion to mono and selective colour restoration in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 3 preset.
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DORSET 22 – ON THE COBB (MONO)

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Stairs on The Cobb at Lyme Regis; 3 Nov 2004.

Lyme is a favourite destination of ours’ and, in particular, we enjoy walking out onto The Cobb, which is the ancient and curving stone bulwark that shelters Lyme’s small harbour from the sea.  This is a lovely spot to be.  Well, first of course, its Dorset, which has a special place in our hearts, although neither of us hale from there.

And then this great harbour wall is full of visual interest, there is the fresh sea air, and stretching away either side are Dorset’s great Jurassic cliffs, with the beautiful peak of Golden Cap – the highest sea cliff on England’s south coast – not far off to the east.  And ancient?  The Cobb was damaged by storms in 1328, and completely swept away in 1377.  And in 1588 the little harbour sheltered by The Cobb despatched two warships to help Sir Francis Drake fight the Spanish Armada.

In 2004, I was in the first full flush of discovering abstract photography.  The combination of this tiny 21mm lens mounted on the diminutive OM-4 was ideal for getting into tight corners and framing shots at all sorts of angles, as well as for carrying around all day if necessary.  Which is not something I can say of my Nikons – but, because they are good and never fail to do the job, I’m happy to stagger under their bulk!

OM-4 with 21mm Zuiko; Fuji Provia 400 colour slide rated at 1600 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 3 preset.
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