ARCHIVE 541 – WINDBLOWN

 

 


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Windblown poppy; Newquay, Cornwall; 11 Sept 2013.

I like Newquay.  It is cheap, tatty and unpretentious, and there are so many establishments offering Full English Breakfasts that I could probably stay there for a whole month and eat in a different one each day.  That said, I have the strong suspicion that most of these repasts would be of the pallid and rather tasteless variety but, still, anywhere with this number of breakfasts on offer can’t be all bad.

And, with its famous Fistral Beach facing out into the Atlantic’s rollers,  this little town is a mecca for UK surfers – as well as being the pub, nightclub and “booze / drug yourself silly” capital of the west for youngsters intent upon a good time that they may not remember too much about.

We had a couple of dry days on our short break, but the westerly wind blew throughout and the great white waves smashed into the cliffs and headlands – not that we are in any way surfers, mind!  For a start I can’t swim, and neither of us are at all into such energetic activities. 

There was a ragged flowerbed in front of some kind of religious building sandwiched in between the Houses Of Hedonism along the main drag, and the gusting westerly was sending the flowers in all directions. The waving poppies stood out from the rest, and a quarter of a second at F29 gave this pale and Impressionistic result.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 540 – REFLECTION (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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The prow of a small boat in Mevagissey harbour, in Cornwall, on a still morning; 24 Oct 2012.

I think this must be the most perfect reflection photo I’ve ever taken.  Conditions were ideal – an overcast morning with barely a whiff of breeze.  This boat was moored at the quay, and the rusting chain is its mooring line.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 240mm; 5000 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2.

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ARCHIVE 539 – TOMATO; AND SOMETHING ABOUT TRIPODS TOO

 

 


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Tomato, on a lightbox; 30 Mar 2007.

I’ve thought about taking pictures of things that we see frequently and take for granted – the commonplace.  This is the basic reasoning behind my pictures of cars and, while not suggesting that we’re literally encircled by tomatoes and that they’re closing in for the kill –  this was the reason for taking a series of shots of them sometime back.

In a darkened room, I set a tomato on a lightbox and looked at the possibilities that arose.  Here, the top of the fruit is reasonably exposed, but the lower parts are caught by the light blasting up from below and are increasingly overexposed the further down we look.  The Velvia films are superb but even they gave up the ghost on this one, and overexposure grades into yellows and almost pure white at the bottom of the frame – it gives the impression of the tomato floating in mist, or maybe being engulfed by yellow flames

I suppose I might have used an inverted neutral density grad to achieve a “realistic” result, but my one try with these filters was a complete and expensive failure and, as with tripods, I’m usually too lazy to get into such complications – though in the more leisurely world of retirement that is just around the corner, I’m hoping to use tripods more.

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

Technique: F6 with 105mm Nikkor lens; Fuji Velvia 100 colour slide film rated at 125 ISO; tripod; lightbox.

UPDATE: well I’ve turned the corner and the “more leisurely world of retirement” is right here, and has been so for a couple of years.  But, despite having an absolutely wonderful and feather-light tripod (Manfrotto 055CXPR04) and an equally light, strong and wonderful tripod head (Gitzo GH1781QR), I rarely use them.  I start with good intentions, this gear is always in the boot of the car when I head for the Somerset Levels – but in the boot it stays! 

Its to do with the excellent Vibration Reduction stabilisation that many Nikon lenses (and now cameras, in 2020) have – I can even handhold the big zoom at 400mm! –  together with the much greater flexibility and ease which shooting without a tripod brings – which suits most of my photography very well.  Thinking about it, I only really use the tripod for close ups and still life – and, in all honesty, I can’t really say that either of those photographic genres get my creative juices flowing too much!

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OUTER SUBURBS 255 – ROE STAG, EARLY LIGHT

 

 

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My long, early morning walks in Bristol’s outer suburbs are considerably added to by the wildlife I encounter.  There are birds of course and, as an ex-birder (1967-2002), I enjoy seeing them all, even the commonest species, and there are always birds to see.  But mammals are rather less numerous – although I had a close encounter with a Hedgehog this morning.  Bristol is well known for its urban foxes, they’re seen more or less daily, and especially so on the days that households’ food waste is collected.  And Grey Squirrels (originally from the USA) are always around, and indeed a pair lives around the large Hazel tree in our back garden.

Deer are also seen.  Muntjacs (from the Far East) are often in our garden (sometimes with their fawns >>> and a pregnant female seen today promises more of those) and the native Roe, a larger deer, occasionally comes in too, which is a thrill.  But my early walks pass an open field (recently proposed as part of the route for a new main road!) where Roe are quite often seen – and there have been a spate of sightings here over the past fortnight.  I never carry any of the bigger cameras on these walks, just the little Olympus TOUGH TG-5, but its limited telephoto (100mm equivalent) is rarely of any use for wildlife.

However, yesterday, three Roes were near the field’s edge and, creeping up behind a hedge, I was able to capture this image.  I’m a complete anarchist when it comes to cropping images, and this represents only about 10% of the TG-5’s minute frame. but here it is anyway.  I had the TG-5 down at 400 ISO for greater quality – and I think this a tribute to this camera’s abilities.  Yes, the Nikon Z 6 would have done much better, but then the Z 6 doesn’t fit in my trouser pocket and, furthermore, it is very considerably less robust.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – highly recommended!

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 400 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Adobe Standard profile; south Bristol; 11 July 2020.
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ARCHIVE 536 – SCORPION (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Nail brush; 4 August 2013.

This nail brush appeared in our bathroom recently and caught my eye every time I used the wash basin.  I like the curve of the handle, and also the way the light comes through between the groups of bristles – which resemble the legs of some monstrous millipede!

Or perhaps this is some large scorpion-like creature, its lethal sting poised above its head, making off to the left intent on giving some hapless victim a bad day.

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

Technique: tripod-mounted D800 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 200 ISO; conversion to mono, selenium toning and selective colour restoration in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Green Filter preset.

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ARCHIVE 535 – CRUMPLED TABLE CLOTH

 

 


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Crumpled table cloth in the Cottage Cafe, Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset; 29 Aug 2011.

Whenever we go down to Burnham we never miss visiting the Cottage Cafe, which continues to serve up good food.  This time, as we were demolishing toasted teacakes and a pot of tea, my eyes were drawn to window light flowing down over a discarded table cloth – and the Nikkor telezoom, that most useful of lenses, reached out and got the image.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO.

UPDATE: now, nine years later, the Cottage Cafe has long since closed down – what a loss! 😦 

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ARCHIVE 534 – MALLARD DUCKS (MONO)

 

 


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Mallard ducks on the edge of Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 6 Apr 2015.

A pair of these common and often very tame ducks, at Herons Green. 

On the left, the male stands immobile on one leg.   On the right, his mate’s busy preening sends great numbers of ripples out into the shallows.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 200mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

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ARCHIVE 533 – WINDOW, ABERAERON

 

 


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Beside the harbour; Aberaeron, west Wales; 24 Sept 2014.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 526 – TREE TRUNK AND LEAF (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Tree in the grounds of Chew Valley Lake, a reservoir in Somerset; 14 Sept 2009.

I’ve taken this image into SEP2, added lots of contrast and structure, and then re-introduced colour into the leaf.  Converting an image to mono and then re-introducing colour to selected elements of it is very easily done in SEP2 and, of course, most easily done where, as in this image, one part of the composition is of a very different colour to the rest.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 210mm; 6400 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, with selective restoration of colour.

 

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ARCHIVE 523 – LOOKING UP AT SUNRISE (MONO)

 

 


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Looking up over our garden this morning – clouds and a contrail caught by the rising sun; Bristol; 22 Apr 2013.

I was just on the point of making that greatest of luxuries, the morning’s first cup of tea, when I glanced out of the window.  And then came one of the great improbables – a FATman moving at a rate of knots – in a frantic dash out into the back garden!

I love skies and clouds but, especially when the sun is just appearing or disappearing, and when contrails are moving steadily across the sky, things happen quickly – and there’s no time to hang about!

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 135mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art High Key preset.

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