OUTER SUBURBS 261 – PARKED CAR 24

 

 


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There are earlier images in this Parked Car series here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 28 July 2020.
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OUTER SUBURBS 260 – EARLY MORNING 3

 

 


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Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Muted profile; south Bristol; 25 July 2020.
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ARCHIVE 544 – LIVE TO RIDE (MONO)

 

 


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Motorbike in St Ives, Cornwall; 24 Apr 2012.

Despite having ridden one (badly) in my misspent youth, I am not any sort of motorbike fan or petrolhead, but these details caught my eye as we headed down through St Ives towards the harbour.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 170mm; 400 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 64 – PREDATOR

 

 

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Gecko with moth, Tsavo West National Park; Dec 1977.

Geckos are common in Kenya, and often seen on the walls and ceilings of dwellings.  In my earlier years in Kenya – soon after this photo was taken – I lived in a downstairs flat that had no phone or TV and it was utter bliss! 

Sunset is always around 6pm or so on the equator, and I passed many quiet evenings reading.  My living room was home to at least two of these small lizards, and I shall never forget relaxing in my armchair, listening to them calling to each other, back and fore across the room – to call the scene peaceful would be vast understatement!

The one shown above is on the interior wall of a small hut in Tsavo’s dry bush country – a place teeming with insects and so absolute heaven for these little predators. Having them around was not only interesting, but they helped control the insect population in the home too.

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

Technique: OM-2 with 75-150 Zuiko lens and TTL 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 543 – STRIPED SHIRT

 

 


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One of my shirts, hanging up to dry; 20 July 2013.

The room in which FATman Photos undergoes its awful gestation faces due east and is regularly seared by the blazing light of the rising sun – and this has particularly been the case during our current heatwave.   And I’m an early morning person, usually tapping away in here just when the solar assault is at its peak.  Seeing my PC’s monitor gets difficult, and so I move various things around the room, trying to block both the sunlight and its reflections off the room’s pale walls.

Yesterday a rack of drying washing did the job, keeping the screen nicely visible.  And as the morning progressed and I walked back and fore past these drying clothes, ferrying in cold drinks to counteract the heat, this shirt kept catching my eye  – until at last I stopped and had a good, long look at it.  What was there?  Well, first, it was back lit and that’s always a nice thing.  And then there was this dark seam, looking like a road that momentarily disappears as it climbs a hill, before re-emerging on the summit.  And there were pale, back lit stripes going all over the place.

I’ve just acquired a super-light tripod and ballhead,  and thought to try it out.  It worked well – its certainly something to carry around, quite compact and very portable – whereas my other tripod is built like a tank and getting quite awkward to lift, let alone carry around!  And I moved the clothes drier out of the sun’s harsh rays, to get a softer lighting effect.

And processing?  I immediately visualised something light and airy, something reflecting the soft backlighting – so trending towards higher key, rather than dense and gloomy.

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

Technique: tripod-mounted D800 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 200 ISO;  Color Efex Pro 4.

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TALKING IMAGES 61 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 7: WHICH IS BEST, FILM OR DIGITAL?

 

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

POST 4: Don’t clutter up your pictures >>> use the camera’s viewfinder/screen (and cropping too) to remove unwanted/irrelevant material from images to make them simpler, more effective and more direct >>> less can be more, simple can be beautiful!

POST 5: All that really matters is the final photographic image that you produce: details of the equipment used, the types and amounts of cropping and post-capture processing are irrelevant – if your final image looks good, it is good!

POST 6: Most photographers copyright their images and jealously guard them but, for me, Life is simply too short for all of this bother; and it is rare for digital images to be irretrievably stolen, as for example a film negative might be.
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WHICH IS BEST, FILM OR DIGITAL???

Hahaha!!! >>> well, this post has a deliberately provocative title and, if you know me at all, you’ll know that I don’t think either film or digital is better in absolute terms >>> they’re simply two different entities, each with their own positives and negatives.  That said, personally I’m very much a digital photographer, because digital does exactly what I want – which the bottom line really –  but I will still try to give a balanced comparison of these two processes.

What are my qualifications for commenting here?  Well, I shot film from the 1950s up to around 2009 or so, and processed black and white in wet darkrooms at school and university – although with hindsight I was never really much good at this processing.  The later years of my film days mostly involved shooting colour slides, a lot of Agfa CT18, some (really quite exciting) Agfa Scala black and white slides, and finally a lot of Fujichrome.  One thing about shooting slide film is that everything has to be right at the point of capture – composition, framing, exposure, the lot – and this is really good practice/discipline for photography generally.

And then I’ve been shooting digital since early 2009 >>> using DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, compacts >>>and plastered many of the resulting pics onto this blog – alongside quite a few of my film images that I’ve scanned.

So, the big question, digital or film??????????

And of course one answer is that there’s absolutely no reason to restrict yourself to either >>> why not shoot both???   But let’s look at each in turn.

FILM – ADVANTAGES

  • Many say that images on film have a better ‘look’ to digital images, the latter often being considered to look rather too sterile and precise.  This may well be true.  Lots of digital image processing packages have attempted to remedy this but I really don’t know enough about these to comment.  Does anyone have any input on the effectiveness (or not) of these software packages in making digital images appear more film-like?
  • There is also talk of a renaissance of film, of its recently increasing use, and lots of young photographers apparently see it as very cool and fashionable.  Again I can’t really comment, although I have to admit to some scepticism.  Again though, any comments?
  • One thing is for sure: if you’re after a very hands on and tangible approach to photography, film is the thing.  Just think:  buying uncut lengths of film in bulk; loading your own film cassettes; developing and printing your own films in a real, wet darkroom.  Or doing as I did in later years, shooting colour or black and white slides, which I then posted off to specialist processors – all of the pictures on this blog’s front page were shot on film.
  • Its said that using film slows down our photography and makes us think more about each shot, not least because there are only a relatively small number of shots per film.   These points are very likely true, but personally I value being able to take shots – as, when and how rapidly I like – without having to think about changing the film.

FILM – DISADVANTAGES

  • But then there are the (not inconsiderable) costs of buying film and paying for its processing, or buying processing chemicals and equipment for yourself.
  • Along with the fact that very few if any new film cameras are being made any more, except in the largest formats.
  • There are still many second hand film cameras around at the moment but, as time passes, they may need repair by specialists.

 

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DIGITAL – ADVANTAGES

I was initially very sceptical of digital photography, in fact I was a die hard film user.  Until I saw a friend’s digital images on his computer – and until Nikon produced the D700 DSLR, which I could afford and which seemed capable of producing images comparable to my wonderful Nikon F6 film camera.  I seem to remember a brief transition period when I was shooting both formats, but then digital very decisively took over and I’ve never looked back.  Much as I enjoyed using film cameras – the Olympus OM-1 comes very much to mind here – it is for me unthinkable to even contemplate a return to film.  My reasons?

  • I’m attracted by the very powerful and accessible creative potential of digital photography, even when used with fairly simple processing software like Adobe Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2.
  • I’ve already mentioned not having to think about changing films and having to carry spare films with me.
  • Another very important point is the ability to shoot each frame at a different ISO, though I’ve yet to use auto ISO.
  • And then there are ISO values that digital allows me to shoot at – I can well remember the stir when the D700 (and its predecessor) allowed over 25,000 ISO, and now the Z 6 reaches up to 204,800!!!  I know, I know, there will be gasps of revulsion, and “the quality will be terrible! … you’ll be able to see the noise!! … the pictures won’t look real!! …! >>> to which I have two, very definite answers: (1) if its a case of 200,000+ ISO or I don’t get the picture, I’m getting the picture;  and (2) its certainly worth trying out 200,000+ (although I’ve yet to), because the effects may in fact prove to be creative >>> and, as in POST 5  >>> if it looks good, it is good!
  • And then of course the ability to shoot on colour and/or mono, though I always shoot top quality, full colour, Raw files and do my mono conversions post-capture, either in-camera (sometimes) or on a computer.
  • I don’t have to scan my images into digital to present them on this blog.
  • Digital cameras do many things for me, which enables me to think more about my surroundings and what I can see through the viewfinder or screen, and to think about composition.
  • Instant appraisal of images (though I did enjoy the anticipation of waiting for my developed/printed films to come back from the processor).
  • And I am totally unable here to stop myself putting in a plug for mirrorless cameras which, to me, are simply magic – once again, freeing up my mind to concentrate more on what I’m photographing and on composition.  I mean, for example, accurate auto focus (a blessing for my tired old eyes!); and live histograms, horizons and exposure adjustments visible in the viewfinder.  What do I use?  Well, the mirrorless Nikon Z 6 and Fujifilm X-T2;  and, in these days of Coronavirus, the far more portable and compact Olympus TOUGH TG-5.

DIGITAL – DISADVANTAGES

  1. Having to buy some sort of computer or smartphone; memory cards; batteries, processing software (although free software is available, and many modern cameras and phones have some processing software inbuilt).  Many film cameras were totally mechanical (or a small battery was needed only for the light meter), whereas all digital cameras need batteries (and often spare batteries too if large numbers of pictures are to be taken).
  2. Ending up with vast numbers of unprinted images on phones or hard drives, which can be all too prone to failure;  and hence leading to the need for regular backing up routines.
  3. Using a more remote process than film, by which I mean not having the tangible, touchy feely relationship with the photographic process but, rather, using a camera, a keyboard and software.
  4. Feeling less easy about changing lenses on digital cameras, especially in windy / dusty / seaside etc environments, due to the danger of getting dirt onto the sensor.  As some kind of solution, many digital cameras now have internal, sensor-cleaning routines, and it is possible to have sensors professionally cleaned.  But the fact remains, that the sensors in film cameras – i.e. the films – were changed after every 24 or 36 shots, and a new sensor loaded;  and that it was easier to clean the insides of the film cameras themselves than it is digital cameras.
  5. Have I missed anything???

A FINAL POINT: TECHNOLOGY RACES EVER ONWARDS

I lived in Kenya 1977-89 and, if I wanted colour slide film that could be developed locally (i.e. in Kenya), then Agfa CT 18 was the sole (and excellent) choice for at least most of that time.  But when I got back into “serious” (LOL!) photography in the UK, in around 2002 or so, I was absolutely taken aback by the quality of the new colour slide films that were available, especially those made by Fujifilm – the likes of Fujichrome Velvia 50 and Velvia 100, and the totally wonderful Fujichrome Provia 400X.

My point here is that technology races ever onwards and that there have been very significant improvements in both digital sensors and electronic viewfinders (EVFs) in the past few years, so much so that many earlier digital cameras now appear crude and over large – as well as very highly expensive when they were first produced.  I realise that many reading this post will already have made their minds up about the road that they will take – film or digital or both – and it is not for me to try to change those decisions.  But I do urge those with any interest at all in digital to get an idea of what modern sensors and EVFs are capable of.

And the final, final(!) point here is that, as I’ve been reading, digital cameras (full frame and smaller) have probably become as good as they need to be, such that future “upgrades” may be driven more by marketing campaigns for “must have” features rather than by actual, hands on usefulness to photographers.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 63 – WOMEN ON A FARM

 

 


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Luo women on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

On the left is the girlfriend of my travelling companion.  This was taken on his father’s farm, where I received much hospitality and friendliness.  Everybody was curious about my camera: that it was a fairly compact and unimposing Olympus OM-1, which I mostly used with an equally unimposing 50mm lens, was helpful – it didn’t scare people off! 

And so to this relaxed picture: I especially like the straight and open gaze of the woman on the right.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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 542 – MAN AT A WEDDING (MONO)

 

 


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Man at a wedding reception near Bristol; 17 Aug 2011.

With this striking character, I’ve definitely gone for the tough guy or gangster look.  His tie was a splendid red, but restoring that colour here would have unbalanced and cheapened the whole shot I think – it would have been a major distraction.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-140 Nikkor lens at 140mm; 1000 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting from the Cool Tones 1 preset.

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OUTER SUBURBS 259 – PARKED CAR 23

 

 


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There are earlier images in this Parked Car series here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 28mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Modern 07 profile; south Bristol; 19 July 2020.
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ARCHIVE KENYA 62 – REFLECTION AT MAGADI (MONO)

 

 


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Skyscape reflected in an alkaline lagoon at Lake Magadi, in the rift valley in southern Kenya; November 1977.

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, and toned, 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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