ARCHIVE KENYA 89 – BACK ROAD NEAR AKALA (MONO)

 

 

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Back road through farms near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

The wideangle lens makes the road appear in worse condition than it was – and, in any case, it was dry weather; tackling this in wet conditions would be something else again.

The VW Beetle was wonderful for this sort of thing.  No 4×4, just drive in the two rear wheels, the engine seated over the wheels – which made for very good grip –  and a large metal plate underneath most of the length of the car, to guard against rocks and boulders.

But the car took quite a hammering on this trip and, as I pulled out at the end of my stay for the long drive back to Nairobi, my front wheels had, unbeknown to me, taken such a pounding that they were facing outwards, i.e. away from each other.

This very soon wore both tyres completely bald and, when I came upon a police road block, I had a hard job persuading them to let me through.  Luckily there was an excellent garage specialising in VW repairs in Nairobi, and however badly I damaged the car, they were always able to fix it.

Another thing about this picture is that it was taken in a very fertile, agricultural landscape teeming with people.  I’ve only just stopped for a photo, and already there’s a young lad standing by the car.  If we were really to get stuck or break down, there were always plenty of willing hands to help push and pull us on our way.  They were friendly – and distinctly humorous – people.  Less friendly was the malaria, which initially got its teeth into me during this safari.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Red preset.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 87 – FARMER, WESTERN KENYA (MONO)

 

 


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Luo farmer near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.  Because of their dark skin, photographing Africans in anything like bright conditions is fraught with problems.  One option of course is just to go with the conditions and show only the highlights of their faces, leaving the finer details and hints of character smothered in deep shadow.

Another option is to photograph them in deep shade, to minimalise shadows and reveal facial detail – but this requires higher ISO ratings, larger apertures, and so on.  The third option is the one used here, where flash dispels the shadows, and this works well, particularly with today’s automatic flashguns.

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

Technique: OM-2 with 75-150 Zuiko lens, and flash; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 86 – EVENING AT THE SAND RIVER GATE (MONO)

 

 


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Evening at the Sand River Gate, Maasai Mara, Kenya; April 1979.

The dark foreground consists of bushed grassland  – dark acacia thorn bushes set in a sea of straw-coloured, savanna grassland.  Further back there are low and very rounded hills – and they’re in the Serengeti Game Reserve, in Tanzania.

I remember that there were three of us – myself and a married couple – on safari in their VW Kombi.  Kombis and VW Beetles too – with their rear-mounted, air cooled engines, rear wheel drive, high clearance and protective metal underbellies –  were excellent for rough roads and for off road too.  The couple slept in the van and I had a tent outside – I recall hearing Lion grumbling around nearby in the night.

And the great thing about camping in places like this was that we were always out and about at first and last light.  Sunrises and sets happen very quickly on the equator, far more quickly than at temperate latitudes, and you’ve got to be quick!  One of the things I missed about dear old England were the long summer evenings – on the equator, days are always something like 6am-6pm, with very little twilight either side.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens and polarising filter; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Structure Smooth preset.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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OUTER SUBURBS 280 – BUS SHELTER (MONO)

 

 


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

Technique: TG-5 at 28mm (equiv); 500 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the B&W 12 profile; south Bristol; 8 Aug 2020.
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ARCHIVE KENYA 85 – KILIMANJARO (MONO)

 

 


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Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, seen from Kenya’s Amboseli Game Reserve; July 1978.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 75-150 Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 9 – SELFIE WITH BLUE LORRY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Self-portrait with blue lorry, near Peacock Farm, Westhay Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 Jul 2012.

I’m sitting very upright in the driving seat of my car, using a wideangle zoom to record both the scene in the rear view mirror, and the road ahead as seen through the windscreen.  Back home, I’ve converted the shot to mono using Capture NX2, but retained original colour – and added some brightness too – for the scene in the mirror.

The rows of small dots above the mirror are a device to help prevent dazzle when looking up at the mirror.

The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives (and some new images too), I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  Earlier Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context); 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 .  

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

Technique: D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 800 ISO; manipulated with Capture NX2.

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ARCHIVE 565 – MEGALITH 5 (MONO)

 

 


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

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

Technique: X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Tin Type preset; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 6 Nov 2017.

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ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 8 – DARK CAR (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Car at traffic lights in central Bristol; 6 Apr 2013.

I’m drawn to this great, dark, looming presence – its waiting at the lights, growling deeply and looking like some squat and unstoppable, armoured assault weapon.  The sun was searing down but, for all the effect it was having on this baby, our star might as well have been tickling it with a feather duster.

The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives (and some new images too), I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  Earlier Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context); 2 3 4 5 6 7 .

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

Technique: G11 PowerShot at 140mm (35mm equiv); 100 ISO; conversion to mono and selective colour restoration in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Yellowed 1 preset.

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ARCHIVE 563 – FOUR CHAIRS BELOW A TABLE (MONO)

 

 


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Browns restaurant, Queens Road, Bristol; 3 Feb 2017.

My day started early as they often do, and I got downtown at dawn and took a few photos.  But my heart wasn’t really in it because I know that yet another deep depression was steamrollering its way in from the Atlantic, and that it would be saturating Bristol with rain well before the morning was through.

And so to a stop in Browns up market (and certainly not down budget!) palace for Eggs Royale and a pot of very nice english tea.  I lounged there, looking around and feeling a bit out of things after the early start, and a table with four chairs that was catching the light from a window kept drawing my eye.

And so to opening my bag and getting out the camera, and looking through the viewfinder – but by then a couple had occupied the table next to the one I was looking at, and I had the uncomfortable feeling that they thought the camera was being pointed at them.  But at least this Fuji is not so large and intimidating, or so loud, as the Nikons, and I pressed quickly on and took two frames.

Technique: the table’s top was brightly lit and cluttered with many things, but I liked the look of the seats of the four chairs that were faintly glowing in the table’s shadow – and so to a composition in which the table’s bright and cluttered top is squeezed into the top fifth or so of the frame, while the seats of the chairs glow in the less brightly lit ‘underworld’ below.  There was a lot of contrast in the scene but the camera’s multi-zone metering (aided by the live histogram I’ve opted to have visible in the viewfinder) dealt with it well, and although the colour image is attractive – one of those instances where the near absence of colour really works – it really seemed to be a scene that would suit black and white, and so to SEP2.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 125mm (equiv); 12,800 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset and adding a tone.

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ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 7 – CAR IN A CLOUDBURST (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Car caught in a rainstorm, seen through the windscreen of my car, in the rooftop car park at Broadwalk Shopping Centre in south Bristol; 29 July 2013.

The overriding texture, which disrupts the car’s white outlines, is caused by water streaming across my windscreen.  The black structure just below centre left is the car’s side mirror, which has been raised into the parked position.  Some colour has been restored to the car’s windows.

Our English “summer”!  After a fortnight or more of oppressive heat, waves of thunderstorms are now rolling northwards, bringing gloom to our rooms at 3 o’clock on “summer’s” afternoons!

The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives (and some new images too), I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  Earlier Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context); 2 3 4 5 6 .

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

Technique:  G11 PowerShot at 140mm (35mm equiv); 400 ISO; conversion to mono and selective restoration of colour in Silver Efex Pro 2, jumping in at the Dramatic preset.

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