STILL LIFE 141 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 1

 

I enjoy looking at things, and seeing how light falls on them.  A lot of my photography these days consists of looking for beautiful light, and then thinking what to do with it.  I quite often photograph cars for just this reason: they can have beautiful lines, and their metal and glass bodies are eminently reflective; when stationary they are still life subjects sensu stricto – but they can also be rewarding when in motion.

To me, chairs can be rather like cars in some respects, beyond the bald fact that we use both of them for sitting on or in.  Chairs can be objects of beauty and, beyond being thrown around in bar room brawls, they mostly stay still while light flows over them, so that it is possible to really look at how they interact with it – and of course, unlike cars, it is often easy to move chairs around, to examine new light/shadow effects.

And so to a brief series of chair pictures, some from my archives, others from my propensity for peering around with a camera while I’m sitting in various eateries, waiting to immerse my snout in their delicious delights.  Many of the resulting images tend towards the Minimal, and some the abstract.

These may not be the most exciting series of images in creation. They will most probably have a distinctly calm and tranquil air, which may be a welcome distraction from today’s rushed and frenetic world.  I hope you will enjoy them.

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In Rosemarino, an Italian restaurant in Clifton, Bristol; 7 April 2017.

What I like about this picture: the massive, dark chair back, with a thin rim of backlighting around the top; the backlighting also catching the underside of the curved element; and the faint browns glowing on the left upright.  The background is diffuse, but with subtle variations that add to things.  This picture could be presented in black and white, but I value the subtle touches of colour.

There is another picture from Rosemarino here.

Click onto this image to open another in a separate window, and click onto that image to greatly enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation.
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STILL LIFE 140 – LOVE

 

 


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Looking for love?  Well its here. 

The wide lens takes us into the image –  on the left, the orange letters stream in over our shoulder.  The walls and patterned floor are black, the door white, and the orange tones on the left are minutely mirrored below the door knob.  On the floor, cigarette butts (though I much prefer the Brit, dog ends).

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 17mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; Park Street, central Bristol; 4 Aug 2017.
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STILL LIFE 138 – GLASS OF BEER 2

 

 


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Amber nectar?  No, not really, its only Stella Artois – but its in our faces and bubbling, and I like the effect.

The first glass of beer image is here Thinking about it, it may even be the same glass of beer (depending on how fast I was drinking at the time), but I think I prefer this closer in, simpler version, with its more clearly seen bubbles.

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

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Standard film simulation, Bristol; 10 Feb 2017.
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ARCHIVE 305 – SUNRISE WITH THREE DUCKS (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Three ducks and the sunrise over Tealham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 23 Nov 2012.

As with my pictures of crows aloft , the birds are dwarfed by the immensity of their element, yet quite at one with it.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; conversion to mono and colour restoration in Silver Efex Pro 2.

UPDATE: Minimalism once more, and the slightly unreal look of colour restored to a black and white image.

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ARCHIVE 304 – SWAN PREENING (MONO)

 

 


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Mute Swan preening in the harbour at Mevagissey, Cornwall; 24 Oct 2012.

Two of these beautiful waterbirds appear very much at home in this harbour – no doubt vastly encouraged by the people who regularly feed them!  Having been fed, this pair hung around right below the quay, and I was able to look right down on top of them.

This is a Minimalist shot.  There are comparitavely few tones, and the shapes are dominated by the huge, oval mass of the bird’s body, with the neck writhing snake-like back over the closed wing, trying to reach somewhere awkward.  My gaze was attracted to the contrast in shape between the bird as a whole and this sinuous neck.

The bird’s face is hardly seen – just the dark skin around the eyes and the base of the bill – but this is sufficient to give some focus to the shot – and the eye following the sinuous neck back arrives at this small area of black.

I’ve cropped the shot quite closely, so that the bird appears so large that it seems to be bursting out of the frame.  But keeping the dark backdrop up against the right vertical of the frame, and so preserving that soft and beautifully curving breast, was totally mandatory!

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, using the Darken Contrast Vignette as a jumping off point.

UPDATE: very much a long-term favourite of mine, for the reasons given above.  The simplicity of this image is really the thing; Minimalism; less is more.  Looking at it again this morning, my eye is also drawn to those half-seen little bits of plumage detail along the bird’s flank, along the image’s bottom margin.

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STILL LIFE 132 – BLUE, YELLOW AND BLACK

 

 

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Window, Queen Charlotte Street, central Bristol; 7 July 2017.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film preset.
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ARCHIVE 303 – MAN IN A HOTEL ROOM (MONO)

 

 


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Selfie in a hotel room, during my recent few days in the Midlands; 28 Apr 2014.

Someone with a camera, a mirror, and time on his hands.  As I relaxed in my hotel room, there was this large mirror out in front of me, and light pouring in from a narrow window to my right.  I asked myself, “Who’s that old man?”.  And I liked the lighting, the table lamp and the absence of anything else.  And so, the camera, the lamp and me.

The original image does not contain a lot of detail anyway, but I’ve reduced that further by taking it into mono, and using the SEP2 preset named below, which has a strong pale vignette.  The faint, dark structure forming a right angle is part of the mirror’s large frame.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 6400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate II preset, and adding a tone.

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ARCHIVE 302 – BOOKLET ON WHITE TABLE, BESIDE GREEN SEATING

 

 


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View through the sunlit window of a restaurant in Park Street, Bristol; 6 Apr 2013.

The gloriously blasting sunlight is striking the white side of the table and the green seats around the table.  The top of the table is in shadow but, being white, is not quite as dark as I’ve rendered it – to me the pure white rectangle made by the table’s edge is very strong graphically.  And I wanted the booklet to be almost floating in the blackness.

There is also the unfocused shadow of a plant – looking like some large predatory insect, a mantis perhaps –  which is off left of the table.

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (35mm equivalent); 200 ISO.

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STILL LIFE 130 – QUEEN CHARLOTTE STREET (MONO)

 

 


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Morning sunlight across a rough façade.  I’m down an alleyway in the city centre and the décor is, shall we say, functional.  Lots of rough texture, no need for the expense of glamorous, smooth surfaces here.  And off the main road a little, out of view a bit, so plain bars to deter those who, seized by an excess of entrepreneurial zeal, might not want to enter through the front door.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 145mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Architectural preset; Queen Charlotte Street, central Bristol; 8 July 2017.
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ARCHIVE 300 – THE BAY BESIDE BROOK COPSE

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged – click onto it to see a larger version in a separate window.

Mute Swan in the bay beside Brook Copse, on Chew Valley Lake’s northeast edge; south of Bristol; 15 May 2015.

An image almost without colour, with the marked exception of that beacon-like bill.  The various structures within this image are mainly horizontal – the wavelets, the areas of water plants – but the bird’s gentle bow wave is at a slight angle to this trend.

A popular path around the lake crosses a small stream or brook here via a small bridge, and walkers often feed the waterbirds from the bridge.  This swan spotted me on the bridge from some way off and, ever ready for food, came over – but I had not a thing edible on me!

You can find a very different picture of a swan at this lake here.

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

UPDATE: I still very much like the simplicity of this, both in terms of colour and the textures and structures present.  The structures are of three types.  Those on the water’s surface are linear.  Then there are the three horizontal bands of blackish emergent vegetation – out of focus in the foreground, highly scattered in the middle ground, and helping to form some sort of more solid closure to the top of the composition.  And the swan, really, is the only more rounded, organic thing there.
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