ARCHIVE 276 – PENZANCE MANNEQUIN, SUNSWEPT (MONO)

 

 

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Mannequin in a shop window, Penzance, Cornwall; 14 Sept 2011.

We were in Penzance on a brilliantly sunny day and potential pictures were all around – I’ve already posted some here.  This dummy was in a window facing straight into the blinding glare, and the combination of her extravagant hat and the patterns that the rim of this hat spread over her blankly staring face drew me towards her.  Post-capture, I thought of enhancing the whites of her eyes but decided that they’re ok as they are.

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

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

UPDATE: after all this time, still very much amongst my very favourite images.  I’ve found that to be a thing about blogging – I post an image that I’m (nearly always!) totally enthusiastic about at the time, but I’ve noticed that attitude can change over time, so that sometimes I can look back at past posts, and either think their images simply ok or, then again, not really that good.  But then there are the images that, old as they may be, I still feel really good about – and here is one.  And this is a healthy process, I think, probably one that we all do – we change over time, our visual perceptions and tastes change over time, we are moving on.

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BIRDS 91 – BIRD OF ROCKY SEASHORES

 

 

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Turnstone in the main car park, Penzance, Cornwall.

Turnstones are birds of rocky and often wild seashores, where they live up to their name by using their bills to turn over stones in search of food.

But here in Penzance, in the main car park beside the harbour – and along the promenade in nearby St Ives too – they regularly come up amongst us humans when the tide is in, searching for scraps.  In St Ives especially, people are intrigued by these little birds scurrying around their feet, thinking them youngsters because they are so small.  I bought a pasty on St Ives seafront, sat down to eat it,  and had several around my feet within moments – it was delightful to have them so close, and they gobbled down every scrap of food dropped for them.

Technique: as an ex-birder and someone who will always have an intense liking for birds (for me, their presence unquestionably boosts Quality Of Life), this shot is partly of ornithological interest – here is a little denizen of rocky and often wild coasts, usually observed only distantly, that has taken to foraging openly in a very busy, completely artificial, human environment.  But to me also, in terms of composition, this image says something else too – here is the Natural World, very much overshadowed by, and under threat from, the requirements and encroachments of the Human World.

There are other pictures of these Turnstones, all from St Ives, here, here and here.  Turnstones are mostly brownish above in their winter plumage, but beautiful orange-brown tints appear on their backs in the summer – traces of which can be seen in a couple of these images.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.  If your browser allows two stages of magnification: choose the larger.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 280mm; 800 ISO; 20 Oct 2016.
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ARCHIVE 268 – PENZANCE STAIRS WITH DRINKS CAN

 

 

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Drinks can on stairs in Penzance, Cornwall; 14 Sept 2011.

Inhibition is a strange thing – and most often something which I refuse to give in to.  After all, doesn’t that song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show say something like “Do it, don’t dream it!’?  But I’ve rambled on before about the – as I see it –  cardinal sin of digital photography being trying to pass off some highly manipulated colour image as point of capture reality, and that is something I’m quite sure about. 

So, here, yes this a picture of a drinks can on partially sunlit stairs in Penzance, but I’ve made the sunlit area much brighter than it actually was and I’ve very significantly increased the bright orange of the can to make it more prominent.  I feel better for letting you all know that!

This was originally posted under ‘Colour’, and its an example of very little colour helping a picture.  The green at top center, the (now) blazing orange can and the deep brown of the handrail are all relatively small items, but remove them and the picture loses something, and presenting it in straight monochrome makes it very featureless indeed – although there may be some potential for a really radical black and white conversion here.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO.

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CORNWALL 87 – ROADSIDE STEPS (MONO)

 

 

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I’m looking up the busy main street of Penzance.  The pavement is set up above the road, up to the right, and the line of stylish black bollards at upper right support railings that prevent carefree shoppers from plunging down onto the hard ground below and spoiling their consumerist frenzies.  The road is on the left, and those wishing to cross it must first descend these little flights of steps to get down to road level.

The picture looks rugged, and I’ve used SEP2 to intentionally emphasise this, darkening the image somewhat and raising contrast.  And it is rugged – the pavement, the flights of steps and all of the cobbles along the road’s edge are made of very hard and rough, local granite.  To me, this is a scene with character, far removed from our usual bland, plastic and glass high streets.

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

X-T1 with  55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2; 22 Sept 2016.

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PEOPLE 230 – WOMAN ON STEPS, SMOKING (MONO)

 

 

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Because this photo is approaching letterbox format, it can’t be shown at any great size on this blog >>> therefore, if you get into my blog, I think its better viewed by clicking onto it, when it will open in a separate window.  There is a lot of detail to see.

This small and distant figure is momentarily posed part way up this great diagonal sweep of stairs.  In front of her is a considerable drop into deep water, while behind her is the sheer face of a high masonry wall.  Perched up the air like this – on a stairway to heaven??? – and with this fleeting pose, she was quite striking.

Where was this?  Well we were walking along the sea front in Penzance, Cornwall, heading out towards the fishing port of Newlyn.  She appeared unexpectedly on our right, starring fixedly in our direction – starring back above our heads it seemed.  She was smoking a cigarette, holding it down and away from her, and firing quickly I caught the momentary pose.

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2; beside the dry dock on the sea front at Penzance, Cornwall; 22 Sept 2016.
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STILL LIFE 61 – SKATEBOARD PARK (MONO)

 

 

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Skateboard park, on the sea front between Penzance and Newlyn, Cornwall; 22 Sept 2016.

There are many shapes and textures here, but from ground level it was difficult to make anything of it.  Luckily the path ahead led on up a flight of steps, giving the opportunity to look down somewhat on the scene.

Having the faintly pale border right at the top of the frame helps put form and bulk to that great, shadowed, rectilinear block of concrete that is there.

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 160mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2.

In case you’re still not sure what you’re looking at – and this won’t be the first time that has happened on this blog 🙂  – the photo below gives some context.  And you can see that, for the mono version, I’ve (more or less) removed some distracting “dirty marks” from the wall right in the foreground.  Ah, professional secrets, professional secrets …
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ARCHIVE 240 – SHADOW OF A CHAIR, ON A WINDBREAK

 

 

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Shadow of a chair on a windbreak; Penzance, Cornwall; 14 Sept 2011.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 210mm; 400 ISO.

UPDATE: I can still remember taking this picture.  We were on holiday in Cornwall and crossing a busy road on the seafront in Penzance, with traffic was coming from every which way.  It was only five years back, but maybe I was a little more spritely and alert then than I am now – and of course I was still working, not yet retired, and maybe retirement has slowed me down a bit – which is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if it means that I am in general more relaxed – which I am.

Anyway, whatever, we were crossing this road, through all this traffic, when this visual rose up before my eyes – and without giving it a second thought I stopped dead in the middle of the traffic, raised the camera, took a couple of frames, and carried on.  I must have been mad; at least, I hope I was.

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ARCHIVE 188 – ON THE MAIN STREET OF PENZANCE (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 

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Telephone boxes in Penzance, Cornwall; 27 Apr 2012.

These two telephone boxes stand beside the road in Penzance’s main street but, because the pavement is raised, it is possible to photograph them straight on, rather than having to look up at them.  They are in poor condition and badly in need of attention – but this semi-dereliction makes for a strong photographic subject.

I’ve taken them into mono and restored some of their characteristic colour, and also increased structure to help emphasise their grimy, peeling surfaces.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 800 ISO; converted to mono with selective colour restoration and other manipulation in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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CORNWALL 82 – ROOK ON THE HIGH STREET

 

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Rook preening on a street lamp in the main street of Penzance; 25 Apr 2012.

We were sitting at a table on the upper floor of a café, enjoying the interesting and lively view over Penzance’s main street.

Two Rooks came and perched on street lamp brackets immediately outside the window.  I had a feeling they wouldn’t stay there long, and so rather than reaching for the Nikon, I used the little G11 which was already in my hand.  One of the Rooks left almost immediately but I managed to train the Canon’s telephoto onto the other bird which, despite all of the hustle and bustle in the street below, started preening.

Rooks are crows, and more usually birds of the open countryside.  I like crows anyway, but noisy colonies of these birds – rookeries – in the tops of tall, rural trees are for me one of the great joys of spring.  So seeing them here above this busy shopping street was a surprise, albeit that Penzance is not that large a town.  And having the bird set against the window display of the shop on the other side of the road added to that.

Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (equivalent); 400 ISO.

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CORNWALL 81 – YELLOW CAR

 

 

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Yellow car, Penzance; 8 Oct 2013.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise.
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