GARDEN 69 – ANGRY MORNING

 

 


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I was making a cup of tea in the kitchen, which faces due east, and being struck by the ferocity of the winter sunrise over to the southeast.  A wild morning, an angry morning, the sort of morning that has an undeniable wild beauty, but which takes some strength of resolve to get outdoors and get to grips with.

And in front of me an oak tree that I have watched grow up from a naturally sown acorn – perhaps buried and forgotten by a squirrel – over the past twenty or so years.  And although it does not know it yet, an unfortunate oak, a healthy and burgeoning tree that because of its close proximity to the house will have to be cut down in the near future.

But back again to that fierce, early light, which was transfixing as it radiantly backlit the few of the oak’s leaves that had managed to hang on during the recent gales.  The camera was to hand, and so to spot metering … and the wonderful luminosity of those last few leaves.

And although it is a rather underexposed caricature of the original, below is an idea, just an idea, of the angry sky that was producing this beautifully fierce, hard and cold light …
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Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); spot metering; Lightroom; Bristol; 8 Dec 2017.
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STILL LIFE 174 – WINTER SUN, IN A CAR PARK

 

 


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Low angle winter sunlight floods across a car park, illuminating a front tyre.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 206mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Capture NX2; Temple Meads Station, Bristol; 1 Dec 2017.
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STILL LIFE 172 – BROAD STREET

 

 


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Early morning, and low angle sunlight – hard, cold, bright – sears across the facades of Broad Street.

Another early morning journey down into the city.  Staggering out of Hart’s Bakery after a hot, thick, toasted cheese, garlic and mushroom sandwich – and a hefty slice of moist bread pudding (paradise on Earth!) – I found the sun still only just struggling up over the tall southern skyline. 

And so swiftly on into the still dark canyons of the city centre’s streets, waiting for the sun, looking for the light.

And then it came, cold, bright and totally dazzling, and I was glad of the peak on my cap and the deep hood on my lens.  And so to this picture, looking across to the other side the road, and isolating details with the long end of a zoom; I used spot metering for precise exposure of a small part of the frame.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Broad Street, central Bristol; 1 Dec 2017.
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STILL LIFE 170 – THREE HERONS (MONO)

 

 


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Left to right, a Little Egret and two Great White Egrets – three herons – processed with Silver Efex Pro 2.

And good news!  Google acquired Silver Efex Pro 2 (and the other Nik Collection plug-ins) sometime back, but had ceased developing them and was plainly losing interest.  The situation has (hopefully!) now been saved by DxO, who have acquired these plug-ins from Google, apparently with a view to further developing them.  I’m very happy with SEP2 and Color Efex Pro 4 as they are, and so just knowing that they’re not going to disappear will be a big thing.

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

Technique: the X-T2 firing at 200 ISO, and really quite a tribute to what this APS-C format camera can achieve with distant subjects.  X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared Low Contrast preset; Capture NX2; Herons Green Bay, Chew Valley Lake; 24 Nov 2017.
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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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BRISTOL 127 – THE SUN BREAKING THROUGH

 

 


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A cold morning, and the rising sun starts to burn through the mists over Whitchurch village, on the southern outskirts of Bristol.

The first image in this series, along with context, can be found hereSubsequent images are here: 2   .

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 320 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Whitchurch, south Bristol; 2 Nov 2017.
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BIRDS 98 – JACKDAW (MONO)

 

 


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How I love crows! >>> this was a very lucky, very quick shot – the bird was perched on the church’s rooftop cross, I raised the camera – and, instantly,  it flew!

Another recent picture of Jackdaws, on a building nearby, is here.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended >>> in this enlarged version you can just make out the bird’s pale (in fact, white) eye, which is one of its identification features.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv);  3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast and Structure preset;  Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
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STILL LIFE 166 – THREE WORLDS

 

 


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Looking up on a frosty morning: fluffy clouds, our planet’s Moon, a jet.

The clouds are just starting to take on the first hues of the sunrise.  The Moon looks hard, pale, uncompromising.  And the aircraft arrows upwards between them, a tiny dot relentlessy pursued by a vast contrail.

Three worlds.

The Moon is another world and the clouds belong to our world, so that’s two accounted for.  But the Moon and the clouds are both Natural phenomena, produced by the same universal processes that have produced ourselves – thousands of millions of years before those processes produced ourselves, of course.  We are new kids on the block.

The Moon and the clouds are indifferent to our presence.  Were we not here, they would most certainly continue to exist.  But were they not here, our lives would be severely impacted, if not impossible.

And so to the aircraft.  This is the third world here.  It is the product of the natural resources of our world, which we have used to build a machine to take us at great speed across our world’s surface.  So far so good.  The problems come, of course, when it emerges that our world’s natural resources are not infinite, and that the lovely fluffy white contrail is not the healthiest thing around, both for ourselves and for our climate.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 206mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
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STILL LIFE 160 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 5

 

I’ve sampled the excellent food in Rosemarino’s Italian restaurant several times now, and taken some pictures while waiting for my meal to arrive.  Two photos (including a chair) are already posted here and here.

Now, looking at chairs some more, here are more Minimalist views of this restaurant’s simple but completely adequate seating.  My favourite amongst them?  Probably the second image down, for its simple silhouettes and pale, pastel colours – and also, looking at this image naively, the question: which are in the foreground, the colours or the silhouettes?

Which (if any!) of these images do you prefer?

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4

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

Technique: all of these images are jpegs straight out of the X-T2; aside from application of the X-T2’s in-camera film simulations, there has been no post-capture processing whatsoever.  All were taken with the 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; spot metering.

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STILL LIFE 155 – TWO YELLOW CHAIRS, BACK TO BACK

 

 


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Two chairs, back to back, beside a window.

Sitting in Browns, waiting for the third breakfast of the long morning – a repast which might have equated to what we Brits call Elevenses, except that it was just after ten.

I always sit at any table that looks across the room towards the windows onto the street, because these provide good cross- and backlighting.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom; Browns Restaurant, Bristol; 19 May 2017.
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