Couple outside Woodes very pleasant (and down-to-earth and real) café on Bristol’s Park Street >>> watching a FATman!  I was surprised they noticed me, because I was photographing Woodes’s frontage as a whole and was quite far off.  Even with my habitual 300mm telephoto and its x6 magnification, they only take up about 10% of the frame – that this picture is at all usable is a tribute to both to the quality of the lens and (at 1/105) its stabilisation, and the X-T2’s 24MP too.

Maybe on a mundane morning they were intrigued by a distant, overweight man, who has seen better days and who was artfully dressed in a dirty old coat and the odd sort of hat that the oily drivers of grimy steam locomotives might favour … but then Bristol can be like that, thankfully.  Meaning a counterculture?  Yes, that’s right, but I never mind queuing at a counter if there’s the prospect of getting fed.

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, including the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset and adding a light coffee (how appropriate!) tone; 21 Apr 2017.


Reflection of a shopper in a shop window on Burnham-On-Sea’s High Street;  11 Sept 2014.

Walking back up Burnham’s High Street to lunch in the excellent Somerset & Dorset pub, this sale sign and mannequin on the opposite side of the road caught my eye – and so to autofocus and three quick exposures.  I was looking back at the window and, by sheer luck, the last if these shots caught the reflection of a man off to the left who was looking at the window display.

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Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset and selectively restoring colour.


Hairdresser in south Bristol, someone with a rich fund of often humorous conversation; 24 May 2008.

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Technique: Nikon F6 with black and white film.


Looking into a bus shelter.

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Technique: TG-5 at 80mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 24 Oct 2019.



I’m currently posting images from my archive of photos of people.  As always with these archives, I’m trying to use a variety of approaches and responses to the subject.  These photos are being posted singly, with full text.

To make viewing of these images easier for those with little time to spare, I’m also posting groups of these images in galleries with minimal titles.  This is the first gallery.

Clicking onto each image will open a larger version in a separate window: doing this often enhances the image.

1: Woman in a cafe; Camborne, 2013.

2: Girl in a white dress, with side lighting; Bristol, 2012.

3: Guests laughing at a wedding reception; Surrey, 2012.

4: Boat owner; Porthleven, 2016.

5: A friend, aged two; Bristol, 2011.

6: Death of a beautiful person: George Ann Weaver, 1942-2016.

7: Lovers; St Ives, 2012.

8: In the Dida Galgalla Desert, northern Kenya; 1978.

9: Man on stairs; Newquay, 2011.

10: Friends at a wedding; near Bristol, 2011.


Man at a party talking to a waitress, in the William Bray bar and restaurant, Shere, Surrey; 24 Mar 2012.

The background to this shot is a jumbled mass of humanity, so I’ve used SEP2 to darken everything except the two subjects.  The waitress is essential to the composition, because she is the person to whom the man is addressing his remarks.  But her face is turned away, she is only seen in extreme side face, and my gaze is drawn to the illuminated face of the man.

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Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 400 ISO; bounced, diffused flash; converted into mono and further manipulated in Silver Efex Pro 2.


A good friend with his baby daughter, 5 April 2009.

The baby’s mother loves the direct and very vital connection between the baby’s rapt gaze and the father’s smiling face and she’s totally right.  I also like the apparently huge size of the father’s hand as it rests on his daughter’s diminutive shoulder.

I don’t have a lot of confidence with people pictures, but luck has won out here – and this sort of close, intimate shot is one of the things that, for me, monochrome is all about.

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Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 6400 ISO.  I was very new to both digital photography and the D700 when I took this, and I have a vague recollection of frantically raising the ISO to 6400 to keep pace with the faltering light conditions, and of then setting matrix metering and trusting to autofocus – with a lucky outcome!


Some good friends invited us to their wedding reception and I took my camera along – and fired off 384 frames!  Now I have the very enjoyable task of sorting through these images, looking for good frames or, more probably, looking for good bits of frames – photos within photos, like the one here.  I’m very keen on cropping photos very tightly, so that anything extraneous to the subject is cut out – I remember this approach being described as taking an optical machete to a photo – and yep, that’s what its like!

An interesting photographic issue arose while I was firing off my 384.  With a film camera, if you load a 36 film you’ll get 36 photos, or perhaps 37 or 38 if you push things a little – and risk pulling the film right out of the cassette.  We do of course also have frame counters on digital cameras, but I remember reading somewhere that we should use them in the same way we use the petrol gauges in our cars.  Which is to say, that if we have a full tank of petrol, we’ll use it up quicker if we only drive around town, continually stopping and starting, rather than taking a nice steady drive on a motorway.  Its the same with digital frame counters.  You may start off with 100 frames, but if you pack your pictures with wall to wall detail you might only actually get 90 frames, whereas if you shoot bland, low detail subjects, you might get 120 or more.

I saw this happen at the wedding reception.  The 8Gb card I keep in my D700 always says that I have 310 shots if I’m shooting Raw, which is the only file format that I ever shoot.  So, wallowing in the 310, I fired away with abandon at the guests and, in the end found my frame counter reading 89, and so concluded that I had taken 310 – 89 photos.  However, when I got the photos onto this PC, I found that I’d taken 384 frames – so presumably my frames averaged out containing less detail than the camera had been expecting.  Many of you may know this already but, if not, something to store away in the backs of our minds maybe.

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Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 1000 ISO; 17 Aug 2011.


Stairs in a pub, Newquay, Cornwall; 13 Sept 2011.

After lunch, as we left the pub, this colourful chasm opened up on our right.  Letting it go unphotographed was out of the question.  It was awash with colour and I was especially taken with the black and white edges to the steps, which are presumably there to help prevent inebriate revellers from going head over heels – or, as we earthy Brits might from time to time term it, arse over tit – down the stairs.

Two things came to mind.  First, I wanted those black and white steps to be somewhere near vertical in the finished product, to give the effect of a wonderfully coloured wall, or of a receding series of coloured columns.  Second, a problem, there was great contrast in the scene, with the sun blazing in from the left, so I used a low sensitivity – 400 ISO – to give more latitude for digital manipulation later on.

I took two frames and, as I clicked the first, this chap appeared from nowhere and provided an unwitting focal point for the converging lines!

I’ve rotated the shot, and used NX2‘s control points to lighten both the left hand wall and the man.  I’ve also slightly raised contrast in the sunlit areas, to better bring out the patterns made by the thin window frames.

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Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 400 ISO; Capture NX2; rotated 90 degrees anti-clockwise.


I rarely get enthusiastic about boats, I can’t even swim, but as soon as I caught sight of the Sharon Tracey in the little harbour at Porthleven, it was love at first sight!   I mean, what a dinky (in the British sense of the word) little boat, decked out in blue and yellow, lounging around slightly askew at low water, her little boarding ladder on the left, and one of her tiny propellers visible on the right.  Here is almost toy-like beauty.

But this is flagged as a post about people and, although Sharon may well have a personality of her own, this photo – to me, anyway – is about the man, whom I’m presuming is the boat’s owner.  Here is someone who must be into boats, seriously into boats, and how happy and proud he must be to skipper this little floating gem.  We Brits have a phrase – messing about in boats – and here’s someone, in jeans, Wellington boots and body warmer, who does it a lot – and doubtless enjoys it a lot too.

I would guess that he’s a fisherman of one sort or another, maybe he has some crab or lobster pots a little way offshore, something like that, or maybe he actually fishes.  What a life, far away from urban sprawl, commuting and rush hour traffic.  I don’t know him at all, but I would imagine that he loves being in this little boat, that he has some good quality of life, and that he’s happy in what he does – as modern idiom would put it, “WAY TO GO, MAN, WAY TO GO!!!”.

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Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Porthleven harbour, Cornwall; 18 Oct 2016.

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