ARCHIVE 286 – SELF-PORTRAIT WITH ROAD CHIPPINGS AND DEAD LEAVES

 

 


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Self-portrait with road chippings and dead leaves, along Swanshard Lane, north of Polsham, on the Somerset Levels; 24 Jul 2012.

Along Swanshard Lane, approaching Fenny Castle House, there is a large layby regularly used by the local council’s road maintenance department for the storage of bulk quantities of chippings and other road materials.  As I passed by yesterday the sun was slanting over the great mounds of debris, interesting shadows and textures were all around and the whole affair looked good for something wideangle.

Here my shadow falls on a mound of chippings rising up in front of me, some minor heaps produce an interesting line of shadows which my shadow intersects, and there are some richly coloured dead leaves around too.  The slopes of the mound were not vertical, but they appear so in the photo – to me they appear to be rising up almost vertically in front of me and I like this effect.

This is a prime candidate for conversion to mono, but I think the bright colours of the dead leaves add something living and organic.  I tried converting the shot to mono and then restoring the leaves’ colour, but the image looks better in straight colour.

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

Technique: D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 16mm; 320 ISO; manipulated with Capture NX2.

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ARCHIVE 277 – SHADOW OF A FOOTBRIDGE

 

 

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Shadow of a footbridge in Bristol’s Castle Park; 7 Oct 2014.

The ground here is a dark tarmac path that runs below the bridge.

Lynn Wohlers (bluebrightly.wordpress.comrecently mentioned tension in photos to me, and maybe there’s some here.  I find my eyes being attracted up to the bright leaf, but then being drawn back down along the various lines towards lower right – only to be attracted back up to the leaf once more.

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 28mm (equivalent); 200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

UPDATE: I continue to consider tension in images, although it seems to be something discovered during post-processing – gut instincts probably take over at point of capture.  Technique here?  Well, cropping to fill the frame completely with the bridge’s shadow and that single, very contrasting leaf – cropping to exclude everything extraneous to the picture, which is something to think about in all pictures.  To be sure, some pictures are meant to show scenes, surroundings and environments totally, and everything should be included in the frame in such cases.  But other pictures look at something (or things) specific, and in those cases some degree of cropping at or after capture – so easy now in digital – is the thing.  I continue, very much, to be a fan of Lynn’s images, words and outlook.

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STILL LIFE 71 – CEMETERY 3: AUTUMN (MONO)

 

 

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Lines of stones, like those remembered, disappear into mist. 

Autumn leaves adorn lawns. 

And, as Dylan Thomas put it, “Time passes.   Listen.   Time passes.”.

The two earlier images in this series are here and here.

D800 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 100mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset; Shaw Cemetery, Newbury, Berkshire; 24 Nov 2016.
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STANTON DREW 32 – WHITE HOUSE WITH WINDOW BOX

 

 

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Stanton Drew village, south of Bristol; 7 June 2016.

A humid day and, due to the heavy, stifling overcast, a day with few shadows.  I walked gratefully away from the village’s single, narrow road – always glad to be able to concentrate on taking in my surroundings without wondering if I’m about to be mown down by some hurtling mass of motorised metal.

The clucking and scraping of chickens sounded momentarily loud in the sudden quiet, a sign proclaimed eggs for sale and, looking back over my shoulder – something which I often find useful – there was this white house with a dark window and a colourful window box, partly obscured by the branches of an overhanging tree.

But the overhanging greenery looked good against the black and white chequerboard of the window with its colourfully boxed posy, so I focused on the tree’s leaves and left the rest to look after itself.

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

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon at 305mm (equivalent); 200 ISO; Lightroom, Capture NX2.
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FANTASY 37 – MAY IT BE A LIGHT TO YOU IN DARK PLACES, WHEN ALL OTHER LIGHTS GO OUT

 

 

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FANTASY

In this phial, she said, is caught the light of Earendil’s star, set amid the waters of my fountain. 

It will shine still brighter when night is about you. 

May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.

The Lord Of The Rings: Galadriel bids farewell to Frodo.

REALITY

Multiple exposure through bushes, towards light; Chew Valley Lake, near Bristol; 29 Sept 2015.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 195mm; 400 ISO; slight camera movement between two exposures; Color Efex Pro 4.

THOUGHTS

The final sentence of this quote speaks volumes to me, it has always been something from which I have derived great hope and reassurance.  Yes, there have been dark places, very dark, but those words have always been there too.

GRIEF,  AND A LITTLE GOOD CHEER TOO

When compiling this post, a few days ago, I intended finishing it with that section on “THOUGHTS”, with the reassurance of light in those dark places.  However, since then, two events have occurred.

First, I have learned of the death of an old friend, a good, humorous and eminently human man.  There is of course great sadness here, those dark places have come closer once more, but there is also great shock at the speed at which illness overtook him.  In memory of a good friend, and work colleague too, this post is dedicated to Bob Harte.

Second, and on a vastly more flippant and ephemeral plane, I – and without a doubt, many, many others – were substantially gladdened yesterday by the emphatic removal, at the ballot box, of Bristol’s first elected mayor.  I am no longer naïve enough to think that all is going to be roses and light from here on in, but I can’t help feeling that things are going to be, to some extent at least, on the up.

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STILL LIFE 33 – CEMETERY 1: ROSES (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 

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Shaw Cemetery, Newbury, Berkshire; 4 May 2016.

A distant memory: flowers, certainly past their best, against a stone that is at once weathered, mute and totally uncompromising.

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

D700 with 24-120 Nikkor at 120mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Yellowed 1 preset and selectively restoring colour.
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ARCHIVE 222 – MAGIC GARDEN (MONO)

 

 

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The bottom of our garden, where the Little People live and FATman often wanders in wonder; 15 Apr 2013.

The tilting forward of the fisheye lens produces a bowed up, dome-like effect to the rough lawn.  The Lower Apple Tree exits through the top left frame corner, and the two large oak leaves at lower right anchor the foreground.

D700 with Sigma 15mm full frame fisheye; 800 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting with the Pinhole preset, and given the look of Kodak 100 TMAX Pro mono film.

UPDATE: this was originally posted in the Fantasy category, three years ago, and fantasy is what it is.  It does depict reality but, thanks to the fisheye, in a rather distorted way – and my mention of Little People betrays those I would love to encounter here in the dimness of a dawn or dusk.  As it is, this rather rough and unkempt little patch of grass is regularly trodden by badgers, foxes, squirrels and muntjac deer – while the garden bird list stands at exactly 60 species – and for the company of all of these (and many other) creatures we are grateful.

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ARCHIVE 207 – RECENT POLLARD, WITH IVY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 

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Recently pollarded willow, with ivy, along Swanshard Lane, southwest of Wells, on the Somerset Levels; 21 Mar 2012.

This roadside willow has been recently pollarded – that is, this tree’s upper branches have been cut off –  and its wounds gape white and fresh.  But the pollarder’s blade has passed inches above the ivy that creeps over this tree, which lies undamaged.

I was drawn by the stumps’ startling whiteness, and at once imagined them blazing forth in a low key image.  Seeing the ivy too brought it all together.

This tree is very far from being mortally wounded of course – as spring passes into summer, new twigs will sprout all over this shorn crown – which will be pollarded yet again in several years’ time.  See the Levels 1 post, here , for more on pollarding.

D700 with 80-400 Nikkor at 330mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono, and toning and selective colour restoration, in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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GARDEN 65 – BRAMBLE (MONO)

 

 

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Bramble in our Bristol garden; 8 Aug 2015.

The tip of one of this invasive plant’s exploring branches, swaying innocently just above our lawn –  soft little leaves and each longing with all its heart (if leaves have hearts)  to inch further down, touch the ground and firmly take root.  In the warmer months, patrols with a stout pair of garden shears are the order of the day!

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

D700 with 105mm Nikkor; 1000 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art High Key preset and adding a split tone.
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BRISTOL 97 – AUTUMN LEAF

 

 

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Autumn leaf and the shadow of traffic lights, beside the busy road at Broad Quay; 20 Oct 2015.

Everything gently converges towards upper right, and the lights’ shadow and the leaf compete for my attention – my eyes switch back and fore between them, I cannot choose one over the other.

The leaf is from one of the city’s many Plane trees.  The feel of the pink and textured pavement warns those with poor (or no) sight that they are on the edge of the road – the black tarmac is just seen at top left.

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

Canon G11 PowerShot at 28mm (equivalent); 100 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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