ARCHIVE 486 – FAST FOOD OUTLET (MONO)

 

 


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Table and seats outside a fast food café in Newquay, Cornwall; 11 Sept 2013.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 135mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s High Contrast Smooth preset.

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ARCHIVE 436 – NAUTILUS!!!

 

 


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Nautilus in the Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay, Cornwall; 13 Sept 2011.

The exclamation marks in this post’s title are there for a reason. For much of the first half of my life I was an enthusiastic amateur and professional geologist. I found my first fossil – a brachiopod from the Carboniferous Limestone of the nearby Mendip Hills – when I was aged about five, and then proceeded to amass a large collection of rocks, minerals and fossils before leaving home to study geology at university, at the age of 18.

Having Somerset and (especially) Dorset as my boyhood collecting grounds, I soon had many examples of the multitude of fossil ammonites to be found there – and especially those from around Lyme Regis and Charmouth on what is now designated ‘The Jurassic Coast’. Despite their great abundance in the Jurassic period, ammonites have long since gone the way of the dinosaurs and none are to be found living today. However, ammonites are Cephalopods (“head-feet” >>> Google it!), and two groups of these molluscs are still living today.

First, there are the octopus, cuttlefish and squid. And, second, there still remain a very small number of species of Cephalopods which, just like the long extinct ammonites, have a coiled and chambered shell – and the overall name for these is Nautilus.

Nautilus shells are quite common in seaside giftshops, but I’ve never seen live ones before and I was, quite simply, captivated. From the photo you can see some Cephalopod characteristics – the large eyes and the tentacles that Cephalopods use to see and catch their prey. Once clasped by the tentacles, the prey is drawn in towards the sharp beak at the tentacles’ base – all Cephalopods are carnivorous. And if it is itself attacked, the individual above can withdraw its eyes, tentacles and other soft parts back within the shell, when the spotted shield above the eye comes down to seal the opening of the shell shut from predators.

The Nautilus in the Newquay aquarium were enthralling. They were completely impassive but, as I’m writing in Twitter, they were slowly rising and falling in the water like itinerant baubles on a Christmas tree! For the fact is that while the animal lives in the shell’s large, open, end chamber, the other, smaller chambers further back in the shell contain nitrogen which the animal can increase and decrease at will to provide bouyancy – and these in Newquay were doing just that – impassively moving vertically up and down in the water, and causing a faint click when they collided with the tank’s glass sides.

Incredible! Wonderful! And I’m just not sure that my photo does justice to these remarkable creatures >>> but there is just one more fact to mention. Cephalopods squirt a dark ‘ink’ into the water to deter predators – and when early attempts to improve the longevity of photographs resulted in the photographs becoming a brownish grey colour, this tone was called sepia after the colour of the ink produced by the common cuttlefish – which is scientifically classified in the genus Sepia.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 6400 ISO; conversion to monochrome via Silver Efex Pro.
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ARCHIVE 385 – FAST FOOD OUTLET (MONO)

 

 


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Table and seats outside a fast food café in Newquay, Cornwall; 11 Sept 2013.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 135mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s High Contrast Smooth preset.

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ARCHIVE 378 – RAY IN NEWQUAY AQUARIUM

 

 


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The camouflaged upperparts of a Ray, lying on the bottom of its tank in Newquay Aquarium, Cornwall; 6 Nov 2007.

This picture is not completely sharp because it was taken looking down through moving water.  But with this wonderful colouration and patterning, I don’t think that matters at all – in fact the whole hazy blueness of the image adds to its atmosphere.

Technique: F6 with 24mm-85mm Nikkor lens; Fuji Provia 400X colour slide, rated at 1600 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 362 – RUDE GIRL

 

 


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Poster in the window of a beauty salon, seen through the shop’s security grill; Newquay, Cornwall; 11 Sept 2013.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 240mm; 1600 ISO.

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STILL LIFE 35 – RUSTY CHAINS ACROSS STEPS

 

 

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Newquay, Cornwall; 13 April 2016.

Down a side street, as I often am, a flight of steps lead up to a fast food shop.  The vertical faces of the steps have been painted pale blue, as much for aesthetic reasons as to enhance their visibility to revellers during Newquay’s very numerous, very drunken nights.

But the shop is closed and, thwarted by the two chains, the hungry (together with the just plain greedy) must champ and chomp elsewhere.

Facing squarely out into the Atlantic’s swells, Newquay is a famous UK surfing destination, and the westerlies that swirl and roar around this little town are salt-laden. 

So the chains are corroded, and the rain and spray have dripped the corrosion’s rusty hues down over the step below.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 155mm; 400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4; rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise.
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ARCHIVE 215 – SOMETHING ROMANTIC FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

 

 

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Poster in the window of a beauty salon, seen through the shop’s security grill; Newquay, Cornwall; 11 Sept 2013.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 240mm; 1600 ISO.

UPDATE: Well, it makes me feel romantic, anyway …    Originally posted under the title “RUDE GIRL”.  .
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ARCHIVE 178 – WINDBLOWN

 

 

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Windblown poppy; Newquay, Cornwall; 11 Sept 2013.

I like Newquay.  It is cheap, tatty and unpretentious, and there are so many establishments offering Full English Breakfasts that I could probably stay there for a whole month and eat in a different one each day.  That said, I have the strong suspicion that most of these repasts would be of the pallid and rather tasteless variety but, still, anywhere with this number of breakfasts on offer can’t be all bad.

And, with its famous Fistral Beach facing out into the Atlantic’s rollers,  this little town is a mecca for UK surfers – as well as being the pub, nightclub and “booze / drug yourself silly” capital of the west for youngsters intent upon a good time that they may not remember too much about.

We had a couple of dry days on our short break, but the westerly wind blew throughout and the great white waves smashed into the cliffs and headlands – not that we are in any way surfers, mind!  For a start I can’t swim, and neither of us are at all into such energetic activities. 

There was a ragged flowerbed in front of some kind of religious building sandwiched in between the Houses Of Hedonism along the main drag, and the gusting westerly was sending the flowers in all directions. The waving poppies stood out from the rest, and a quarter of a second at F29 gave this pale and Impressionistic result.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 152 – BALUSTRADE, BACKLIT

 

 

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Backlit plaster balustrade in a restaurant; Newquay, Cornwall; 13 Sept 2011.

We were having lunch – my snout was squarely in the trough –  when a burst of sunlight opened up this scene right beside our table.  The long end of a short zoom was just enough to capture these repeating patterns, fading off into a distance which is actually only a few feet away, beside the next table in the room. 

Altering the orientation of the image gives the impression of lighting pouring up from below.  The colours are minimal, but they certainly give this shot an edge over monochrome versions.

D700 with 24-120 Nikkor at 120mm; 1600 ISO; image horizontally flipped and then rotated 90 degrees clockwise.

UPDATE: looking at this anew, after several years, I’m struck by those long dark curves coming in from the left.  They rise very gently – less is more! – as they move across the frame, after which they peak, falter – and descend abruptly into the image’s far more active right third.
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ARCHIVE 144 – IN NEWQUAY AQUARIUM (MONO)

 

 

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Newquay Aquarium, Cornwall; 13 Sept 2011.

I love photographing close in to animals and to plants too, and getting them large in the frame or filling it completely.  And even if I can’t fill the frame, its good to exclude – or at least blur –  all extraneous detail, so that the viewer is right in there with whatever it might be.  Aquariums (sorry, can’t bring myself to say “aquaria”!) are good places for this, albeit that the photographer faces many problems – low light levels, myriad reflections, people in the frame etc etc.

So, using the same strategy as for photographing children who are bouncing around off all the walls, when I’m in an aquarium and something hits me visually, I take many shots of it – isn’t digital wonderful? – trying to make each and every shot count.  And of course many, many shots are failures, in terms of technique, composition or, not infrequently, both.  But usually there are one or two promising ones amongst all the dross, and I home in on these.

D700 with 24-120 Nikkor at 120mm; 6400 ISO;  Silver Efex Pro 2.
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