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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ARCHIVE 296 – TIMBER (MONO)

 

 


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Stack of mangrove poles; Lamu, coastal Kenya; July 1978.

The (Western) human eye scans images from left to right, and from top to bottom. Here, my eye enters the image from the left, and then travels right along the parallel poles, until arrested by the vertical pole and its binding, at the far end – positioning the vertical pole on the right of the picture does not work so well.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO; Silver Efex Pro.
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ARCHIVE 295 – TRAILING LEAVES

 

 


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Leaves trailing from a plant pot at The Point, Bristol harbourside; 11 Apr 2004.  

The few green leaves amongst the many leaf shadows on a featureless, bluish ground, are important here – the presence of the colour green definitely enhances the picture. 

Technique: rotated 90 degrees clockwise; OM-4 with 21mm Zuiko lens; Fuji Provia 400 colour slide rated at 3200 ISO. 

UPDATE: Minimalism, less is more; usually better than a cluttered image – the eye knows more what to look at, rather than being confused by masses of detail.  And quite a shock to see that I took this 13 years ago – I used to stalk around Bristol with this wonderfully compact 21mm lens, looking for simplicity, looking too for abstract compositions.  And I loved push-processing colour slide films (the Provia 400 here is being pushed 3 stops: 400 to 800 to 1600 to 3200), to boost the colours and contrast, and to get more grain, as seen here.
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ARCHIVE 294 – CROW ON A FALLEN TREE (MONO)

 

 


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Carrion Crow perched in a fallen tree; Tadham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 31 Mar 2014.

Early in the day, I pulled bleary eyed into the Magic Carpark, stumbled out of the car – and saw this crow.  Praying that it wouldn’t move, and all fingers and thumbs, I readied the camera, turned and – it was still there!  In fact it stayed there for sometime.

The tree is a casualty of the recent severe flooding.  It was probably not standing vertically before, but then its roots had been able to find sufficient purchase in the soil.  But, saturate that soil with floodwater for many weeks and turn it into something like blancmange or wet rice pudding, and the roots were simply not up to the task of keeping the great bulk of trunk and branches above them upright.

I went for a pure silhouette, with the sky completely burnt out, for simplicity – a Minimalist approach.  To me, the few branches entering the frame at upper right serve to balance the composition.  The adding of a blue tone takes the scene further away from reality.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Classic Portrait preset, and adding a Cyanotype tone.
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PEOPLE 268 – MAN IN A CAR

 

 


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Another early morning in the city.  I walked up Crow Lane, away from the harbour’s glistening waters, and photographed the clown poster.  Then, as I turned squinting into the bright morning light, there was a man, silhouetted, sitting in his car and totally immersed in his phone.

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:  a telephoto zoom is ideal for this sort of quick, close in, intimate shot – the Fuji 55-200 (a 85-305 35mm equivalent) is often the only lens I carry.  And, when out photographing, I make a habit of frequently looking behind me – and especially so if the light is coming from behind me – and of doubling back on myself >>> you never quite know what might be lurking back there!   X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; spotmetering for the highlights; Lightroom.
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STILL LIFE 111 – FLOOR-CLEANING OPERATIVE RELAXING ON A BED OF HYDROXIDES OF IRON

 

 

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Or, then again, maybe its a mop in the back of a rusty pickup, it just a question of point of view.  But still, letting my imagination run on a little …. always a process with uncertain outcomes …

“Yes, I can confirm that I’ll be taking my holidays on this bed of hydroxides next year.  Something of a busman’s holiday?  Well, yes, you could say that.  I mean, when you spend your working life being dragged across floors, it might seem that the last thing you want to do on your days off is relax on one …”.

Or, then again:

“Come on in, the hydroxides are lovely!”.

And hydroxides?  Long, long ago, I used to be a chemist of sorts although, looking back on it, I’m not sure I ever had a really good grip on what I was doing – while being absolutely certain that what little knowledge I possessed then has evaporated now!  But when iron comes into contact with oxygen and moisture, it combines with them to form hydroxides and oxides, which we know as rust.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 84mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; Tottenham Place, Clifton, Bristol; 12 May 2017.

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TALKING IMAGES 30 – TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS: SOME BASIC ADVICE

 

A month or so ago, I published this post, in which two very experienced photographers gave their ideas on when it is right to take photos.  One of them suggests waiting for promising photographic situations to appear and then photographs them intensely, which I can certainly understand, and especially so where professional photography is involved.  And the other photographer said that he’s now thinking more about the lighting conditions than the subject – something which I agree with 101%.

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And now, reading photographic magazines as I do, I’ve come upon two more quotes that I think vastly useful – and here they are.  One of the photographers making these quotes talks of simplicity of message – less is more; Minimalism – and so I’ve added some images with this in mind.  Clicking onto the images opens them in separate windows and enlarges them; clicking onto the title below each image takes you to the actual posts.

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Grass and floodwater
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So, the two quotes.

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First, in Amateur Photographer, a magazine that I subscribe to, there is an article on the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year.  And therein, Hein van Tonder, from South Africa, talks about photographing the pouring of caramel – well, what else?!  And in the course of his spiel, he comes out with this:

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Remember, when it comes to all photography, not just food photography, it’s light first and composition second.  It’s only through constantly working at your photography that you get to learn how to read light and how to manipulate it.  And once you have that covered, then go ahead and break the rules.

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The real cruncher for me here is light first and composition second – never were truer words said, at least as far as I see things.  For me, now, its very often a case of looking for light, and then thinking what to do with it.  And secondly, I’m really wary of all “rules”, I’m not sure they are that useful, I’m far more into taking notice of my own gut feelings and just seeing what emerges.
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Mooring
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The second photographer was writing in another British photo mag, Outdoor Photography, that I occasionally read.  This photographer is Tammy Marlar, and she photographs plants and flowers – boy, does she photograph plants and flowers!  Anyway, she lists 10 Steps to Photographic Success.  These points are really aimed at those photographing plants but, again, for me, the first three really stand out, really being applicable right across photography’s genres.  And here they are:

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  1. Less is more – simplicity of message.

  2. Look for the best light.

  3. Background is as important as the subject.

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Less is more has long been a basic creed of mine.  Because simple is beautiful – and its in the famous KISS command, which urges all of us photographers to “Keep it simple, Stupid!”.  The more there is to look at in a photo, the more confused the eyes become.  And picturesque subjects often have loads and loads of detail >>> look to creating images that only contain things relating to the image’s subject, don’t try to cram everything in!

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And then number 2, once again, look for the light.

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And, as always, the background.  Its especially important for Tammy of course as she’s photographing flowers, but it applies right through photography: an overly intrusive background can totally ruin any photo.  Thus, when taking photos, its standard practice to consider what effect the background is going to have on your subject – and before you press the shutter release, its always worthwhile running your eye around your image’s edges, to see if anything unwanted is lurking there – e.g. the classic thing, a telegraph pole sprouting out of your subject’s head!
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Orange, blue and white
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Man in a hotel room
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Flies
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STILL LIFE 105 – ARTIFICIAL FLOWER (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Artificial flower on railings.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; Capture NX2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset, selectively restoring colour and adding a tone and black border; York Place, Clifton, Bristol; 21 Apr 2017.
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STILL LIFE 103 – FLIGHTS OF STEPS

 

 


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Looking down flights of steps with yellow edges.

Originally taken in portrait format, the image has been rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise.  The last two steps of a flight with their yellow, high-visibility safety edges are seen on the right, and there is a small landing, floored with handsome granite slabs, in the centre of the picture.  A second flight of steps descends between dark walls on the left but, because of the angle of the shot, all of the yellow edges of these steps meld together to form one yellow mass.  Another landing is dimly seen between the walls’ shadow at extreme left.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 85mm (equiv); 400 ISO; image rotation;  Lightroom, applying the Astia/Soft film simulation; York Place, Clifton, Bristol; 21 Apr 2017.
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OUTLANDS 13 – NEAR WEST LITTLETON 2

 

 


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Something Minimal, there’s really not much here, both in terms of content and colour, but straight black and white would lose a little I think.  And the bird – and getting focus on the bird – were fortuitous!

Context about this second Outlands trip can be found here, and there is another image here: 12.

Click onto this image to open it in a separate window, and click onto it again to further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; near West Littleton, South Gloucestershire; 12 Apr 2017.
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