OUTER SUBURBS 47 – THE PATH TO SCHOOL (MONO)

 

 


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The path to school, one of Life’s Paths, one of the paths that we all tread (assuming we are lucky enough to attend a school, or are not schooled at home).  This particular path is through a rather utilitarian landscape.  Utilitarian? Google tells me it means “practical rather than attractive” which is perhaps a little hard; whereas picturesque might be a little charitable.

So what’s here for the children, on their daily walk towards learning?

Well, the wall on the right protects private properties: if they want to go in there (assuming they don’t live there already), they either have to go in for trespass and burglary (which might lead to far-reaching Life changes) or, later in life, get onto the housing ladder, as the phrase so happily puts it.  Getting onto the housing ladder?  Well, it means scrimping and saving to buy nicer and nicer homes for themselves, and thus getting themselves further and further into debt; prior to (at least partially) bankrolling their children to repeat the process.

Then straight ahead, at the end of the path, is the primary school: a state school, funded by taxes, with the wonderful aims of education, and of preparation of the young people for Life In The Outside World.

And to the left of the path, out of shot, is a church which, if at all possible, would like their souls.  Assuming, that is, that they – or indeed anyone else – in fact has a soul, which has long been a matter for speculation.  However, since the possession of an immortal soul is a cornerstone of this particular religion’s mythology, embarking on such speculation to the left of the path may become a little contentious.

So, looking at the options, I think that if I were the children, I’d stay on the path, I’d keep on walking straight ahead, at least until I’m old enough to make more informed judgements on both the worldly to the right and the divine to the left.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique:  TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 640 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Landscape preset; south Bristol; 2 Oct 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 44 – FROSTY MORNING (MONO)

 

 


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Along the roadside, on a cold morning.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 57mm (equiv); 1,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared Low Contrast preset and adding a light selenium tone; south Bristol; 22 Nov 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 314 – LOOKING EAST, TOTNEY DROVE (MONO)

 

 


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Looking eastwards along Totney Drove, a single track, tarmac road on Tadham Moor.  Tall Willows are silhouetted by the sunrise, and water-filled rhynes (ditches) flank the road on either side.  The distance is shrouded in fog, but the ghosts of cattle can just be made out in the background on the left.

This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Tin Type preset; Totney Drove, Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 42 – MODERN LIFE 6: SMARTWATER (MONO)

 

 


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Modern Life

Grass, in need of a cut as it happens, and the only natural thing on the menu here. 

Otherwise, a barrier to prevent the over enthusiastic from gunning their over powerful vehicles up and onto the grass.  

And a little glimpse of the adjacent pavement. 

And the detritus of a modern and civilised society that feels not only that its drinking water must come in bottles, but also that – thirst having been assuaged – local authority workers should then be left to dispose of / recycle said bottles.  If there is any thought at all behind this lifestyle beyond blank indifference, it is encapsulated by “Well, that’s what they’re paid for, isn’t it?“.

There are earlier Modern Life posts here: 1 2 3 4 5 .  Each will open in a separate window.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 43mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Monotone film simulation; south Bristol; 29 Aug 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 312 – SUNRISE BEGINS, ALLERTON MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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Driving south across the flatlands towards the village of Mark, in the early morning.

The landscape is low and dark, the night seeming unwilling to relinquish its grip.

But to my left, still below the horizon, the sun starts to light the clouds.

This picture is best seen enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 800 ISO; spot metering;  Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Sepia Landscape preset; Allerton Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 30 Nov 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 41 – SITTING IN DEB’S CAFE AND TAKEAWAY, ON A DULL FRIDAY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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

A dull Friday morning.  But, of course, to those working a five day week, Friday morning is never dull.  It is enriched with the promises of both edible treats to celebrate the working week’s end and, equally, to celebrate the start of the weekend, when all good things in life appear – for a day or two –  eminently possible.  But, weatherwise, this was a dull morning, with low, dark overcast and no sign at all of the rising sun’s glow.  In just over a week’s time we’d be in winter and, meteorologically, this Friday morning was getting all set up for it.

And also, for those into consumerism, materialism and our incessant manipulation by the mass media – and also, of course, those who know it as just plain, simple, good old shopping – this was indeed a dark day.  Indeed (there’s that word again!), no day could be darker, for this was Black Friday, when many hope to grab bargains (why does the word “grab” seem particularly appropriate here … ? …) and so accumulate yet more, “happiness inducing stuff”.  The more of it we have, the happier we are, right?

Anyway, oblivious to all this mass hysteria, I’d had a first breakfast before dawn, and then set off on foot into the dark streets with the little camera in my pocket.  And after an hour or so – and seeing that it was a Friday – I dropped gratefully into Deb’s Café & Takeaway and ordered a second breakfast – a thick, “doorstop” bacon sandwich, and a mug of hot, strong, sweet tea – ah, Life’s Simple Pleasures!

I’d been into Deb’s before.  Indeed I’d been into Deb’s when it was packed out, with no room to sit down, and so been forced to look elsewhere for what the more cultured gourmets of my social circle term “a good plateful”.  What’s Deb’s like?  Well, its a little street café  staffed by women whom I take to be three generations of the same family, it opens at 7am and closes after lunch, and it specialises in good, solid, simple English food, much of it in the full English breakfast vein.

And I like this place for three reasons.  First, obviously, the food is good, and not expensive.  Then, the women are natural and friendly – there are no airs and graces here – and since many of the early morning clientele are builders, scaffolders and other workmen, the atmosphere can be humorous, irreverent, ribald and earthy – in a word, three words actually, real and human: this is not the place to go if you like pretence, café au lait and croissants.  And that’s the third reason I like this place: there is a complete absence of the usual marketing, hype and bullsh*t that is so often a feature of the modern commercial/retail world – these women simply produce good, enjoyable, basic food and, as you eat it, likely as not there’ll be some convivial chat, gossip and banter around ……

So, as I sat there, taken aback somewhat by just how much of a doorstop I’d contracted to get outside of, I looked out at the grey morning and the grey urban landscape.  In that moment, what could I see?  A woman, head down, trudges through the parked cars towards the at best uninspiring (except for Deb’s!!!) row of shops.  Down left of her there is a litter (trash) bin, while the shining metallic semicircles immediately outside of Deb’s are the backs of chairs set around tables, for those who like to smoke while eating.  And further away, the suburban landscape: houses, a single decker bus, and bare, pollarded trees.  Rather a bleak scene, but one which was amply compensated for by the warmth and conviviality of the café.

And, grey and bleak though that view may have been, it was immeasurably enhanced by the absence of any hint of the burgeoning greed and materialism of Black Friday.

I downed the doorstop with lashings of ketchup, drank the delicious tea, struggled to my feet, made it to the door, and lurched off, heavily and uncertainly, into the gloom.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique:  TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Spectrum Inverse preset and selectively restoring some of the colour; south Bristol; 23 Nov 2018.

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ARCHIVE 388 – YOUNG GULL AT ST IVES (MONO)

 

 


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Juvenile Herring Gull in the harbour at St Ives, Cornwall; 27 Sept 2012.

I have a liking for photos that appear more like the products of other media and here is something certainly heading that way – perhaps more like a pencil drawing?  I’ve used a Soft Portrait preset, which includes pale vignetting, and the bird appears to be emerging from dense mist, with even its left wing nebulous and obscure.

Using this preset has also almost completely obscured details of the sea below the bird – and this all makes for an artificially isolated vignette of the creature – a sketch in a notebook perhaps.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Classic Portrait preset, and giving the image the look of Ilford Delta 400 mono print film.

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ARCHIVE 387 – MORNING RUSH HOUR, BROAD QUAY (MONO)

 

 


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Morning rush hour, Broad Quay, Bristol; 9 Dec 2016.

This is an early image from the Going to Work series: a recent image in this series can be found here .

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO;  Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at Full Dynamic Harsh preset.

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ARCHIVE 386 – WOMAN IN A CAFE (MONO)

 

 


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Woman in a café, in Camborne, Cornwall; 9 Oct 2013.

My wife was in the shops, and I was doing what I like to do – wandering around with a camera and an open, receptive mind, looking at anything and everything.  I was slowly meandering up Camborne’s main street when I saw this woman in a café on the other side of the road, chatting with a friend.

It took several paces to register fully what I’d seen, and then I slowly turned and doubled back on my tracks, adjusting the camera as I went, and turned to photograph her – only to find her looking straight at me, probably wondering what this strange and rather bulky old man was doing, cutting back on himself.

The autofocus locked on (boy, do I love autofocus!), two shots (and do I love automated wind-on too!), and I walked on, expecting every moment to feel the heavy hand of the Image Police on my shoulder – but that’s untrue of course, as in the UK, in a public place like Camborne’s main street, you can photograph as you please.

I’d thought about presenting this photo in vertical letterbox format, showing just the door, the woman and the OPEN sign.  But I’ve doubled the image’s width by including the net curtains and some other details, and I think this adds balance and context to the shot – but what do you think?

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s High Contrast Smooth preset.

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PEOPLE 363 – GOING TO WORK 87 (MONO)

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

At long last I’ve used the Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera for what it is designed for – appalling weather.  Early on a Thursday morning, I was returning from one of my long walks around south Bristol, when the skies opened.  Wedging myself into a shop doorway to escape the worst of the deluge, I looked out over a grey and pouring main road, with a solitary soul sitting in a bus shelter, on their way to work.  The scene looked promising, and the TG-5 is after all claimed to be waterproof down to quite a depth underwater – a year ago, I bought it to photograph in the rain after all!

And so I started firing frames.  I would have dearly liked to have has a longer telephoto but – well, we just do the best we can with the camera we have with us.  And, as usual, if I see something that might have visual appeal, I take quite a few pictures, with varying compositions and viewpoints – not having to worry about how many frames I have left is one of the very beautiful and eminently user-friendly aspects of digital!!!

So here is yet another take on the early morning journey into work.  At least the shelter keeps her huddled figure dry, and buses into the city centre are regular along this main road.

Technique: because I didn’t have a longer telephoto with me – the TG-5 only goes up to 100mm equivalent, which = x2 magnification – this is an enlargement of a small area of the frame – and I’m impressed with what this little camera has achieved.  The low ISO (400) helped, and the 1/250th shutter speed has elongated the raindrops, and so given more sense of the downpour, more atmosphere.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: Olympus TG-5 at 38mm (equiv) ; 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Structure Harsh preset and adding a light Selenium tone; south Bristol; 8 Nov 2018.
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