STILL LIFE 181 – MEGALITH 3 (MONO)

 

 


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Amongst the prehistoric ritual stones at Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol.

Other images of these ritual stones are here: 1  2  .

More info about this prehistoric site is here .

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

Technique: 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 Film Noir 1 preset and adding a strong copper tone; Color Efex Pro 4; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
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STILL LIFE 178 – GULL

 

 

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Emerging warm and well fed from Hart’s Bakery, I gazed up into the blues of a cold dawn.  And there was the sliver of a crescent Moon, strikingly beautiful, amidst wisps of passing cloud.  And all at once the crowing of gulls, and there they came, drifting over high from the west.  I knew those calls, they were the larger Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, coming in ravenously over the city, looking for something – anything! – to eat.

The city’s noise was already starting up around me but up there, where they were flying, there were only the sounds of the wind and the birds.  I imagined what they could see. Below, the city’s lights, and then up above, the thin, drifting billows of vapour and that brilliant, shining crescent.

Fly well, my friends, go well – 60 years ago, I grew up beside your ancestors on the coast; their calls were my constant companions.  And now my city is your bread basket, and the cold waters of its reservoirs the safe havens upon which you spend the long hours of dangerous darkness.

And there was humour in the moment too.  A man appeared at my elbow, asking what I was photographing, telling me he’s a photographer too, showing me images on his mobile phone – but heavens, man, I’m trying to photograph the ******* heavens, man!!!  Phrases started passing through my mind … from days long ago, giving as good as I got as a rugby forward … give him a dead legkick him in the …. but, this is Life, and I can only smile now at the recollection of the moment.

The camera did well.  I was leaning back, braced against a high wall, but in that light the lens was wide open and, at x6 magnification and at a shutter speed only 1/75th – this image is a tribute to the X-T2’s image stabilisation.  The bird may not be perfectly sharp, but that’s not a factor here.  I could have used a higher ISO, but in the heat of the moment just went with it.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; beside Temple Meads Station, Bristol; 15 Dec 2107.
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STILL LIFE 177 – WINTER SUN, IN A CAR PARK 2

 

 


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Looking low in the car park next to Temple Meads Station, just as the bright winter sun clears the skyline and floods the area with light.

I posted the lower picture a few days back, but then started looking at another version, which is the upper shot here.  I like both of these pictures for their great simplicity, their Minimalism.  There’s not much here, its just the nearside front wheel of a red car.  But then I’m a great believer that there need not always be a lot in a picture – and that one of the great no-no’s in photography is having too much in a picture!

But which of these pictures do I prefer, and why?  I’ve processed them slightly differently: the colour of the car’s bodywork is slightly paler in the upper photo – but then the upper photo is slightly higher key in some areas, it has slightly paler tones, and some burnt out highlights too >>>>> the photographic purists amongst you may not sleep too soundly tonight …..

I prefer the upper image because of its higher (and, yes, burnt out) tones, and the way in which the convex curve of the lit up tyre slightly mirrors the slight curve of the very high key and slightly burnt out highlight on the left.  And I prefer the upper image because is even simpler, more Minimal, than the lower image.  The details of the wheel’s hub and spokes have all gone, and there are simply three curves that are convex to the left, and that single straight dark line at lower left.  If I were a purist (now there’s a surreal thought!) I might have washed the car before firing at it too …..

Which of these two images do you prefer?  Do you agree with my choice, or do you have a quite different take on things?  Let me know >>> its always good to hear others’ views!

And so to a very firmly held mantra – one, perhaps, that six years of blogging have hammered into me >>>  in photography (as in many other things), there are no rights and no wrongs, there are only differing, subjective, visual opinions.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 206mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; car park beside Temple Meads Railway Station, Bristol; 1 Dec 2017.

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STILL LIFE 175 – DUAL CARRIAGEWAY

 

 

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After a morning looking for low angle winter sunlight in the city, I walked back towards some (more!) food and a bus home.  I was walking beside a roaringly busy dual carriageway and the dazzling winter sun – providing at best only the very faintest warmth – was blasting across the road at me from the left.  Looking into the sun, across the road, I turned the X-T2 into portrait orientation and took this picture – which has here been rotated 90 degrees towards the left – anticlockwise – into landscape format.

What was the camera looking at?  The dual carriageway has a central crash barrier, with a stout metal girder above a solid concrete base.  On the left of the shot, this crash barrier throws a harsh black shadow onto the road’s surface.  Then, to the right of that, there is the black tarmac road surface, turned almost silver by the sun’s glare.  And then the thick white line that separates the road’s two inbound lanes.

The lane nearest the camera has a brown surface, to show that it leads to an exit from the dual carriageway.   Autumn leaves have been firmly crushed into this brown surface – in a way that they would not be crushed into real tarmac – until they have become pale and flattened, amorphous streaks of their former selves.  And so to an abstract image.

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; 640 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise; Temple Way, central Bristol; 1 Dec 2017.

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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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