STILL LIFE 126 – WHITE CAR

 

 


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The dominance of the private car in modern society but, as a driver myself, who am I to express an adverse opinion?  Still, there are many here for whom using public transport is largely unthinkable, quite close to anathema really, while walking any distance is at best infrequent.  I’m not sure I’m writing these words as any great Green or Health activist, but one thing I am sure about is that walking allows me to see, sense and experience so much more in my surroundings which, to me, is a distinctly desirable thing.  And photography, of course, fires my curiosity, keeps me looking at things, all sorts of things, which is equally desirable.

And, talking of photography, here are the effects of using a very wide angle lens tilted downwards towards the subject – the car pushes and swells right up to the front of the picture to get a better look at us, while the buildings in the backdrop tilt nightmarishly, like something from a Surrealist artwork.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 17mm (equiv); Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; King Street, central Bristol; 28 Apr 2017.
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PEOPLE 280 – CITY LIFE

 

 


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City life – faces, images, media, messages, noise; hurrying, multitasking, crowding in close, claustrophobically close; all around.

There are two little bits of the Natural World in this photo.  She is at lower right and hurrying to get through it all, and the sky is at upper right, calm, serene, and tainted only by our fumes and emissions.  And the rest is, well, the rest.

Photographically, I enjoy the city, I love being there with a camera, this human environment has so much of interest to the lens.  But in other terms, to me, the ability to access peace and quiet is one of the most valuable things on this planet.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 30mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Temple Gate, central Bristol; 28 Apr 2017.
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PEOPLE 279 – GRANDDAUGHTER 8

 

 

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The younger granddaughter, backlit: delicate colours, high key.

The original aim of this series was to present portraits from a single photographic session, in black and white.  However, the best laid plans of mice and FATmen …  this is from another session, another time, and it caught my eye.

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;  7.

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

Technique: D800 with a 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 6400 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Color Efex Pro 4 to add the thin frame; 9 Apr 2017.

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STILL LIFE 125 – CIDER CAN

 

 


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Unfortunately empty can on a rotated pavement.

When I grew up in Somerset and took my first, wondering steps towards the Electric Soup, pints of cider were the obvious – the almost religiously ordained – choice.  Strong drinks, sometimes rather rough, and producing dreadful hangovers – but still wonderful!  I drink more beer now, especially Belgian beer, and following a really dreadful experience with a blended vintage cider, last year I think it was, most ciders are no longer attractive – although two litre flagons of Westons strong, still and cloudy Old Rosie do still shake my tree.

Drinking cider became very fashionable a few years back, and this empty can contained one of the relatively bland, modern, mass market ciders, Thatchers Gold – but still, not at all bad, especially on a hot day.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise; Old Market Roundabout, central Bristol; 26 May 2017.
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STILL LIFE 124 – MORNING SUNLIGHT

 

 


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Slivers of morning sunlight on a city centre façade.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 113mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Narrow Lewins Mead, Bristol; 26 May 2017.
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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 299 – CROW SCARING STARLINGS (MONO)

 

 

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Starlings are flustered and scattered as a Carrion Crow flies in amongst them; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 1 Nov 2013.

There is another image from these moments here.

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro’s High Structure Harsh preset.

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ARCHIVE 298 – BLACK AND WHITE IMAGES PRODUCED BY SILVER EFEX PRO 2

 

I’ve just put out a post urging readers of my blog to take advantage of Google’s free offer of the Google Nik Collection digital photography plug-ins.  I waxed especially lyrical about the Silver Efex Pro 2 program for creating black and white images, and said that very many images produced by the program can be found on this blog.  Well, here is one – I hope you enjoy it.  (And there are others in recent posts here, here and here).

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Inquisitive as ever, out on Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 29 Aug 2013.

My ongoing warm feelings for cows.  The main subject is making a dive for my shiny lens – I fired and jumped back just before his wet muzzle engulfed it.  The expression of the next animal right is interesting – distinctly doubtful and censorious.  Maybe he read my thoughts about gravy and roast potatoes …

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

Technique: D700 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 18mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Fine Art Process preset.

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TALKING IMAGES 31 – GET THE GOOGLE NIK COLLECTION – FOR FREE! – WHILE YOU STILL CAN

 

THE GOOGLE NIK COLLECTION

The Google Nik Collection is a suite of seven plug-ins for digital photography that were created by Nik Software and then purchased by Google.  Amateur Photographer magazine  consistently rates this collection as one of the best plug-in suites available, and I very much agree.  The situation now is that not only are Google offering this suite for download entirely free of charge, but they have also made it clear that they are no longer going to develop or update the collection.

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Getting these programs for free has to be good.  But behind this lies uncertainty – since Google are engaging in no further development, are they thinking of ceasing to provide the Nik Collection altogether at some stage?

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So I’m putting out this quick post to urge to urge you to take advantage of this free offer ASAP – you can’t lose >>> if you don’t like it you can always uninstall it again.  But if Google pull the plug on it, well, its gone.

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Here is the link: https://www.google.com/nikcollection/ 

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WHAT ARE THESE PLUG-INS?

Well, they’re becoming a little old now, and better alternatives are available un some cases.  For example, Adobe Lightroom does a far better job of reducing noise in my Fujifilm Raw files than Nik’s Dfine 2.  But the Nik Collection contains two pure gems – Silver Efex Pro 2, and Color Efex Pro 4.

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You’ll find many, many mono images produced with Silver Efex on this blog, and its a package that vast numbers of photographers worldwide, including many professionals, use for their black and white work – quite simply, I wouldn’t be without it.  For me, Silver Efex beats Lightroom hands down for producing black and white images – to me, Silver Efex is simply more user friendly and easier to use than Lightroom’s black and white facilities and it produces better results –  its as simple as that.

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And Color Efex is simply wonderful for colour work – and I find that it has a more creative feel to it – it certainly makes me feel more creative – than Lightroom ever does.

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And both of these programs use Nik’s excellent Control Point technology, which really makes it very easy to make very localised and precise adjustments to images – these Control Points are simply ridiculously easy to use – to me, far easier than Lightroom’s radial filters.

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HOW I USE THE GOOGLE COLLECTION

Its possible to use the Nik Collection as plug-ins in Lightroom, and I’m sure this works very well.  But, simply because I started out doing things this way, I still use the Nik suite as plug-ins in Adobe Photoshop Elements.  I export 16-bit Tiffs from Lightroom, open them in Elements and use Silver or Color Efex – this is probably not the best way to do things, but at least it provides me with a tiff outside of Lightroom that I can mess around with to my heart’s content!

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So, if you haven’t got it already – and I know that many of you have – get the Nik Collection while you still can!

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ARCHIVE 297 – AUTUMN CARPET (TWO VERSIONS)

 

 


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Our Hazel, dark and massive and still with a few pale leaves, stands proud of its autumn carpet; 18 Nov 2013.

The extreme wideangle lens is pointing downwards, and the leaves in the foreground appear to be close under the camera.  Everything left of centre leans out towards the left, and everything to the right (including our fence, top right) vice versa.

I think I prefer the colour version here, its how it was or, rather, its what I saw through the viewfinder – and I love this garden and its autumn colours.

The mono version is quite different.  Its much darker, its really built around darkness, darkness that is cut / illuminated by those white leaves, both sprinkled across the ground and still hanging from the tree.  Both versions would benefit from larger reproduction I think, the mono version more so.

Which version do you prefer?

Click onto the images to open larger versions in separate windows.

Technique: D800 with Sigma 12-24 lens at 12mm; 800 ISO; the mono version created with Silver Efex Pro 2’s Floral Style preset.

UPDATE: my apologies for not visiting others’ blogs as often as usual, but time is tight at the moment.

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