PEOPLE 263 – MODERN LIFE (MONO)

 

 

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Modern Life, in a time-poor, Western society that is dependent upon – and indeed, craves – ever more complex technology, while being overrun with images, information, statistics, stress, competitiveness and data, lots and lots of data.

And do I make this post as a Totally Innocent Soul, one untainted by and unassociated with all this burgeoning modernity?  Well, hardly, as here I am adding yet another image to the ever swirling, ever churning, global mix, while having spent much of my life creating and analysing vast amounts of statistics, data and information. 

OK, my “career” (I use that word cautiously) kept the wolf from the door but, increasingly, I think maybe that’s something said in defence of many things that are not, ultimately, in the best interests of either ourselves, our wildlife or our planet.  Maybe we are all helping create a wolf that, one day, will be totally out of control and unstoppable.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, including the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Red Filter preset; St Augustine’s Parade, central Bristol; 21 Apr 2017.
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ARCHIVE 289 – LUO FAMILY

 

 


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

The backdrop is the painted wall of a wattle and daub hut, the smooth surface layer of which is starting to flake off on the far right.  Minor points, maybe that I’ve only really appreciated now, after all these years, are the Vicks poster and the kitten.

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

OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.

UPDATE: The people in Kenya were in the main very friendly and hospitable.  I very much enjoyed my years in that country.  Again – once again – I wish that I had photographed more of the people that I met there.

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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 284 – TREE MEETS MAN

 

 


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An Oak meets me in the autumn garden; 18 Nov 2013.

I’m freely mobile but the tree is not – and I can speak but, as far as I know, the tree cannot – and therefore I must be the one doing the meeting and greeting?  

How did Gershwin put it? … ” It ain’t necessarily so … it ain’t necessarily so …”.

D800 with 15mm Sigma fisheye lens; 800 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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PEOPLE 260 – GOING TO WORK 20 (MONO)

 

 


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Morning rush hour, Bristol Bridge; 2 Dec 2016.

Standing on Bristol Bridge, just about at sunrise but with the sun obscured by heavy, going-to-work, overcast.  Pointing my damned great Nikon into the flow of souls heading for the city centre and, once more, I’m on someone’s radar.  Perhaps I’ll get a dayglow safety jacket – I’ll be even more conspicuous then, but at least everyone will think I’m there in some official incapacity.

Technique: a small crop from a full-frame image, with the D700 working near the top of its sensitivity range – only one more stop of ISO above this.  And so to blur, grain and noise, and with SEP2 probably introducing yet more grain, but that’s fine with me – suits the subject, suits the time of day, suits the mood permeating this daily, mass migration of souls.  The D700 is a wonderful camera, ergonomically a joy to use and with fast, accurate autofocus,  a camera I’ve always wanted with me in any tight or difficult photographic situation.  But there’s no getting away from the facts that it is now around nine years old, and that digital camera sensor design has moved on considerably since those days – something to talk more about  another time.

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 and 19.  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open an enlarged version in a separate window, and click upon the enlarged image to enlarge it yet more >>> if you really want to get a good look at all this grain!

Technique: D700 with  70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 12,800 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Yellowed 1 preset.
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PEOPLE 257 – MAN WALKING (MONO)

 

 

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A man walks towards The Light, but his shadow hangs back, dragging behind him, dreading the openness and certainties of brightness.

But should the man eschew The Light and decide to walk back in the opposite direction, his shadow will strain and leap on ahead, eager for the concealments, anonymities and ambivalences of darkness.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Spectrum Inverse preset; The Haymarket, central Bristol; 24 Feb 2017.
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PEOPLE 255 – MEN IN A BUS SHELTER (MONO)

 

 

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Men waiting for a bus.

Composition: the two men in the foreground make this image, and there are at least two ways of viewing the resulting composition.  I first thought that the man on the right, the one peering around the edge of the shelter, makes this image – probably because he’s sharp and not obscured by the sunlit grime of the shelter’s transparent side.  My eyes seemed first to go to him, and then to the fully exposed face of the older man on the left, and thence on to the other two, half-seen men further back in the shelter.  But now I wonder if the older man on the left is not the attention grabber and, if that is the case, then there is a dynamic – do I go from him to look at the man on the right (which I probably do), or go to look at the men at the back – and thence find my eyes going back and fore along this “human chain”?  What do you think?  Who do you look at first?

With superhuman patience I might have been able to further reduce the amounts of grime visible on the shelter’s side, but I don’t have that patience and, anyway, this is unprettified city life.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and then click again on this larger version.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared High Contrast preset and adding a light coffee tone; Victoria Street, central Bristol; 24 Feb 2017.
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ARCHIVE 278 – IN THE SOUK (MONO)

 

 

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Man selling fish in the market at Sohar, on the Batinah coast of Oman; mid 1970s.

For a little more info, see the Oman 1 post, here .

Technique: Praktica LTL with 29mm Pentacon lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO; converted into mono, and toned, in Silver Efex Pro 2.

UPDATE: here are real memories – both photographic and general –  from long ago.  My first visit to Oman, as a geologist, was in 1975, and I was there the following year too.  The interior of the country was a wild and largely undeveloped place then, and I have wonderful if distant memories of driving Land Rovers into the mountains, a baptism by fire at off-road driving that was to serve me well in Kenya a few years later.  In those days, Sohar was a little, undeveloped town on Oman’s Batinah coast; but I hear that Sohar is now greatly modernised and enlarged, even with its own university.  But in those days the Indian Ocean’s great bounty of fish was hauled daily up onto Sohar’s beach (see the Oman 1 post linked to above – recommended) and, in the absence of extensive refrigeration, either sold right there, or here in the town’s little market (souk).

The Praktica LTL was my first single lens reflex (SLR) camera, and the Pentacon my first wide angle lens.  And I was already using the Agfa CT18 colour transparency film, so good at registering landscapes’ browns, that was also to be my film of choice in Kenya.  And looking at this ” people shot”, I think once again that I should have done more in this genre in those far off days.

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STILL LIFE 82 – MAN ON FOOTBRIDGE

 

 

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Man, wearing sunglasses and walking across a footbridge, seen as a reflection in the waters below.

This must be amongst the most indecipherable and abstract images that I’ve ever posted.  It does represent reality, it is based on reality, but that reality has been heavily altered by digital post-processing – and then a frame has been added.

Technique: it is the reflection of a footbridge over water in Bristol’s Floating Harbour, with a man walking over it, walking towards the left.  First, because it is a reflection, it was upside down and so I’ve turned it right way up.  Then I’ve substantially lightened it in Lightroom, to restore many of the colours to what was originally a silhouette.  This radical lightening has removed most of the water’s blue tint – some can still be faintly seen right in the middle of the shot, and there are faint blue ripples coming across the top of the shot, just below the man’s head, from upper left towards lower right.  This lightening has also blasted much of the water’s surface to pure white, and so, because I have a white background to my blog, I’ve added a thin black border to outline the image’s space.  The thin yellow poles are the uprights which support the bridge’s guardrails, and the man is walking towards the left, just about between two of these yellow uprights.  The reflection of his head is distorted by the water’s ripples, but dark sunglasses can just be seen above his nose.

Is this an image that I like, and that I may go on liking?  Probably not, as its rather too contrived for my taste.  But I do think it worthwhile posting it, to show the effect.  What do you think?

Looking at this, I’m reminded of (a poor attempt at) the style of Salvador Dali, a Surrealist artist that I greatly admire – his Persistence of Memory (the “folding clocks”) hangs over our living room mantelpiece.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 137mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, including rotation by 180 degrees; Color Efex Pro 4; Pero’s Bridge, at The Waterfront, central Bristol; 20 Jan 2017.
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PEOPLE 252 – GOING TO WORK 18 (MONO)

 

 

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Morning rush hour, central Bristol – waiting at traffic lights to cross a busy road near Temple Meads railway station.

Technique: a picture in two parts, bisected by that central, dark, out of focus column, which is the pillar supporting the traffic lights.  This column has various marks on its surface, and those are left in to give it more substance and detail, to get away from it being merely an abstract, featureless, dark band cutting down through the image – this is a real city, with dirt and marks on it.  On the left, people stare across the road, waiting for the lights to change, and the face with the dark hat, glasses frames, moustache and beard provides a focal point.  And on the right, the helmeted cyclist, the image’s main subject, has the FATman and his great big, pointing Nikon firmly on his early morning radar.

Earlier images from this series can be found hereherehere, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 25,600 ISO; 1/80, wide open at f5.6; Silver Efex Pro 2 starting at the High Contrast Orange preset; 2 Dec 2016.
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