STILL LIFE 193 – TABLE IN A CAFE (MONO)

 

 


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A little while back, we went up to the café at the Priddy Good Farm Shop, on the top of the Mendip Hills, for a first rate Full English Breakfast.  I’d taken along the Fujifilm X-T1 camera and 10-24 wide angle lens specifically to photograph the food – and the resulting picture is here.

This café is a little extension with large windows on two sides that has been built onto the farm and, while waiting for the food to arrive, I walked around with the camera looking at anything and everything.  Next to us was a long wooden table with chairs along both sides and, set beside both sets of windows, it was well lit.  Long and slim, it receded from me.  I put the zoom onto its widest setting (15mm full-frame equivalent), looked down at the table, and raised the camera.  The farmer came in and said “You’re photographing the table.”, which put everything neatly into context, and I started gently squeezing the trigger.

I don’t often think about such things, but I suppose it was always going to be a black and white shot, with the receding lines of the table and the wonderful grain, knots and plate/glass marks on its polished top – and also the little group of condiments and sauces in their various containers, just in front of the bright reflection at the table’s end.

But the thing about pointing such a wide angle lens downwards is the distortion it brings, which makes all of the chairs appear to be “relaxing” outwards, which in turn channels more attention down onto the table top.  It could almost be a coffin, flanked by laid back, contemplative mourners and set with some small (and saucy??? – ohhhh! 😉 ) tributes to the deceased.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Push Process N+3 preset, and adding a light coffee tone; Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 19 Jan 2018.
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STILL LIFE 190 – THE FULL FARMER AT PRIDDY

 

 


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The name of this blog is not an idle flight of fancy!  Quite unashamedly, I enjoy my food (and Belgian beer too!) and, although I was far more flabby those seven years ago when I gave this blog its name – despite having lost over 40lbs, I am still not what one might term svelte.  And I am a fan of Full English Breakfasts, which are large, highly calorific, cooked affairs which either set you up wonderfully for the day ahead – or make it hard for you to rise from your chair and do anything at all – whichever way you want to look at it.

But a good Full English is an elusive thing.  In many instances, all of the classic ingredients can be present, but the whole thing can be pale and washed out in appearance, and really quite drab to taste.  I’ve found that the tastier versions of this culinary gem are often those with more brightly coloured ingredients, not garish technicolor to be sure, but also not pallid either. And when I find one of the relatively few eateries serving up such fare, it quickly becomes somewhere to visit over and over again.

Such a place is Priddy Good Farm Shop,, in the little village of Priddy on the top of the Mendip Hills south of Bristol.  Its most of an hour’s drive away, but eating there is always an eminently enjoyable occasion, the food is always good quality, simple and tasty – and lots of it!  And as well as the usual breakfast fare, this little shop also sells some of the best meat pies I’ve ever eaten in my life, and luscious fruit pies just like the ones my dear old Mum used to bake.

And so here is the farm shop’s largest Full English, which they imaginatively call The Full Farmer.  Those with smaller appetites can order The Farmer’s Wife or, smaller still, The Farmer’s Kid – yes its a real family business 🙂 !  And as well as the food shown here, it comes with thick toast (made with real bread, not sliced!) and great steaming pots of tea or coffee.

So, what was good about this meal?  Well, on the veggie side, the fried mushrooms were extremely tasty, as was the roasted tomato (which was not tinned!), and there were a lot of beans – and beans are always good!  Sausages can often be the Achilles Heel of breakfasts, they can be largely lacking in  texture and taste, but this shop uses meat from its own farm, and these had plenty of both.  The bacon too was thick and tasty, and the eggs were fried to perfection – still just a little runny.

And this is where those of you with weak stomachs and/or a more civilised take on Life than I’ll ever be able to muster should turn off your computers/phones/etc now, because the round black disc at lower left is a sizeable chunk of black pudding, a really tasty confection for which, as ingredients, google lists pig’s blood, salt, pork fat or beef suet, allspice, oatmeal, onion, milk and black pepper.

And the final good thing about this substantial repast?  It was served, as it is always served here, on a very warm plate, which is just the thing – serving any hot meal on a cold plate ruins it in my view.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Priddy, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 19 Jan 2018.

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STILL LIFE 169 – DARK CAR (MONO)

 

 

Dark car

racing from the light,

drawn down by the white line,

drawn down into darkness.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Architectural preset; fast road up over the Mendip Hills, above Compton Martin, Somerset; 24 Nov 2017.
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ARCHIVE 328 – AUTUMN ON THE HILLS

 

 


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Autumnal colours, lit by early morning sunshine, at the Priddy Mineries Reserve, high up on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 15 Nov 2003.

The picture consists of three distinct layers. A band of golden reeds forms a thin strip across the bottom of the frame; and above this a band of slightly greener reeds, with their reflections in the still pool.

Above this, and occupying the rest of the picture, the black silhouettes of the trees stand up in front of a bright, straw coloured background with strong, greener vegetational elements (bracken) running upper left to lower right.

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

Technique: OM-4 with 300mm Zuiko lens; tripod; Fuji Velvia 50 colour slide rated at 64 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 258 – THE MADDING CROWD (MONO)

 

 

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Dandilions near the The Castle of Comfort Inn, northeast of Priddy, on the Mendip Hills; 24 Apr 2011.

When I see this I think of a tide of people – or perhaps they are just faces –  emerging from the far darkness and tottering forwards, unsteadily but also unstoppably, out into the light.

Canon PowerShot G11; 200 ISO; conversion to mono in Silver Efex Pro.

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ARCHIVE 252 – DREAMWORLD (MONO)

 

 

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Tree in mist, near the Castle of Comfort Inn, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 28 June 2013.

A good deal of creativity and manipulation in SEP2 here, aiming for something unreal. 

This is an imagined landscape, a place in which we often find ourselves, wary and ill at ease, during our troubled nights.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 2 preset.

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MENDIP HILLS 39 – TYRES (MONO)

 

 

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Tyre dump at Tyning’s Gate Barns, southeast of Shipham; 17 Oct 2004.

Well, to me, what is there here?  Such a composition could lack a focal point – though saying that a focal point is by no means a “must have” feature of all images.  But here there is the larger tyre flush with the right hand edge of the frame and – more so – the huge and rugged tractor tyre to the left of it, with a highlight along its curved and chunky rim.  If there is a focal point here, that tractor tyre is it.

Then, moving left again, there are the gaping black holes in the centres of rather smaller and more commonplace tyres – open mouths wailing in anguish???  In our world today, quite possibly so.

And then, out to the left margin from there, the shapes of the tyres distort and merge into abstraction – hopefully(!) pushing our eyes back into the more ordered and comprehensible centre of things … which is where we like to be?

OM-4 with 300mm Zuiko; tripod; Fuji Velvia 50 colour slide; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset; rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise.

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ARCHIVE 160 – WINDSWEPT

 

 

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Windswept trees on the Mendip plateau, near the Priddy Mineries Reserve; 28 Oct 2009.

A windy autumn day.  The patch of blue top left helps the picture, breaking up the otherwise uniform overcast that was streaming overhead.

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

D700 with 80-400 Nikkor at 400mm; 800 ISO.

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MENDIP HILLS 38 – FORESTRY PLANTATION 2

 

 

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Forestry plantation east of North Hill; 6 Apr 2015.

A shaft of early morning light from Our Star pierces the great pines’ towering darknesses.

And in my mind, these trees have closed around this little glade, maybe in awe of its light.  And maybe conscious too that any closer approach will extinguish that which so fascinates them, that which they hold to be, during the fleeting moments of star-rise, so precious.

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

The first of these images is here.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO; Colour Efex Pro 4.

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MENDIP HILLS 37 – FORESTRY PLANTATION

 

 

Forestry plantation
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Forestry plantation east of North Hill; 6 Apr 2015.

A sapling, with last year’s leaves caught by the low sun, rising up amongst the dark and towering pines.

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

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; Colour Efex Pro 4.
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