ARCHIVE KENYA 47 – FISHERMAN

 

 

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Fisherman in a mangrove-lined creek on Lamu, an island close off the coast of Kenya; July 1978.

He has sailed as far in into the creek as he could, and his boat is beached at the top of the shot.

He is carrying his catch in his little basket, and is now crouched on the creek’s shore, gutting them.  I can remember that, even as he was discarding the entrails, small hermit crabs were scampering forward through the shallows to feast on them.

What this picture cannot convey is just what it felt like to be there.  The sun is shining and the place is not far from the equator and so, yes, it was hot.  But Kenya’s coast is also immensely humid – such that any physical effort quickly induces profuse sweating.  The drier heat of much of the country’s interior is far more comfortable.

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; 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 KENYA 45 – INFRARED GIRAFFE, NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK (MONO)

 

 


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Maasai Giraffe in Nairobi National Park, probably in the late 1970s.  This image has been given the look of infrared monochrome film using Silver Efex Pro, and I think the resulting pallor suits the subject.  The giraffe looks just about natural, but of course all of the greenery – the bushes and the grassy plain – are very pale.

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

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

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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TALKING IMAGES 56 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY: 2 – RAW VS JPEG

 

(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.

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EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

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

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RAW CAPTURE VERSUS JPEG – THE PROS AND CONS

Many cameras can capture both raw and jpeg image files, even simultaneously, and the debate about their relative merits has rumbled on for years, with die hard supporters on both sides.  However there is a very simple distinction between the two, which really centres on how the resulting images are going to be processed – or not processed –  post-capture.
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Jpegs contain only the information from your camera’s sensor that relates to the actual image at the point of capture.  And so they can provide excellent images of the scenes that you have photographed as the camera saw them at the point of capture, but they cannot be used to significantly alter those images after capture – they simply do not contain the necessary data.  So you might use the jpeg format if you do not want to subject your photos to significant post-capture processing but are happy with the photos your camera produces – which you can then post straight onto the web, or get printed, etc.  And my advice would be to opt for top quality jpegs, to get best quality images.

So jpegs are useful in various situations where:

  • you don’t want to put in a lot of time on post-capture processing of your pictures;
  • or you want to shoot large numbers of images in a short time, including using motorised shooting;
  • or your photos are only going to be used on the internet;
  • or you plan to make only smallish prints, if any.

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In the past, raw files were capable of producing much better quality images than jpegs, but this is no longer the case – many cameras can now produce very good jpeg images, Olympus and Fujifilm in particular being notable for this. 

But raw files contain BOTH the information necessary to create a top quality image of the scene being photographed, AND a lot of OTHER information too – everything that the camera has recorded in fact.  And the point here is that this OTHER information can be used, if desired, to produce a version of the image that differs substantially from what the camera has recorded, and maybe from reality too.  So raw files are really of more use to those who regularly subject their images to post-capture processing, those who are NOT looking for “something nice straight out of the camera” – and the point should be made that raw files, however well captured, can often look dreadful straight out of the camera, they often require some adjustment to make them even look presentable, let alone the work needed to transform their images into “something new”.   

I never shoot any format except raw, simply because I always want to have the maximum possible, post-capture processing flexibility, in case I need it.  Raw is also useful in various situations where:

  • low light levels necessitate the use of high ISOs but image noise needs to be kept to a minimum;
  • or images have particularly high tonal range, i.e. between very dark and very light areas;
  • or adjustments to colour temperature (i.e. white balance) may be made after capture;
  • or high quality black and white conversions are planned;
  • or large, high quality prints are planned.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 44 – TORTOISE AT THE HIPPO POOLS (MONO)

 

 


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Aquatic tortoise at the Hippo Pools, Nairobi National Park, Kenya; Oct 1979.

This colour slide has been converted to monochrome because this is a graphic image, its all about structure, and this is best shown in mono.

There are three compositional ingredients. First and most prominent are the sunlit trunks of the fallen tree, which make a bold texture right across the image.  Then there is oval area of sunlit water.  Finally, there is the tortoise, which is at a compositional strong point on the conjunction of the picture’s thirds and also within the halo of the milky, sunlit water.

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

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

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 43 – ZEBRA AND FOAL, CAUGHT IN SUNLIGHT (MONO)

 

 


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Common Zebra with foal, Amboseli National Park, Kenya; July 1978. 

These two animals were caught in a momentary shaft of sunlight – in the great darkness behind them are the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, completely swathed in cloud.  They look almost like statues – or like dancers, with the foal caught in mid turn. 

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

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

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 42 – BODY LANGUAGE

 

 


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OK, so which is the precocious one??? – youngsters on a farm in the far west of Kenya; Apr 1979.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was over in the far west of Kenya – around Akala, Kisumu and Lake Victoria – in 1979, visiting my friend’s father’s farm.  I was an out and out birder in those days, and I was in this area looking for birds only found, in Kenya at least, in the very far west – which birds? >>> Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Brown Twinspot, Shoebill, Splendid Starling and many more.

I was a curiosity anyway of course, because these far western areas were way off the usual tourist trail, but in particular I attracted droves of children, which was fine with me as I love kids – but not so fine when I was very quietly trying to spot rare and shy birds in dense vegetation.  Ever humorous, my companion let it be known that I liked eating children, but even that had little effect.

Anyway, above are three of this farm’s throng, and which is the forward, lively, cheeky one? (First prize: an evening with me in a top class Bristol restaurant; second prize: two evenings with me in …).

Let’s start with the non-contenders.  They’re seated neatly on either side, arms and legs in, respectful expressions – as if they’re in school maybe, or church.

And between them … limbs insolently wide, provocative, questioning, a slight smile, head forward, big eyes looking up … “Its me … and I’m not afraid of you and your camera … so what are you going to do about that then?! … “.

And after 41 years I can still remember her – always up at the front of the crowd of kids, always questioning, laughing, clamouring for attention – a wonderful character, a lot of fun.  But I wonder if these three made it through to adulthood, life in the Third World can hold uncertainties after all.  I hope they are all fine – they’ll be around 45 now, probably with children of their own.  Time – or, as a friend perceptively puts it, “the conveyor belt” – moves on.  You think about these things more when you’re older.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; Dfine 2; 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 521 – FLY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Fly on a horse’s forehead, south of Catcott Burtle, on the Somerset Levels; 3 June 2014.

My penchants for getting up close and personal, and for keeping things simple.  To me, the fly is the subject here.  I look first at the fly but then realise that something else, something far larger and potentially more menacing, is there too.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset and selectively re-introducing colour.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 37 – BOY ON A FARM

 

 


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Young Luo boy on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; Apr 1979.

He is standing in front of the painted mud wall of a hut and is vastly amused to be having his picture taken – what a pity that those weren’t digital days, so that I could have showed him the result – or that I didn’t carry a polaroid camera with me.

Looking for rare birds – I was an out and out birder in those days, photography was very much a subsidiary thing – I remember entering villages deep in the western countryside where the africans seldom encountered white people, to be greeted by little children running at my VW Beetle, shouting “mzungu, mzungu!” – “white man, white man!”.  They crowded around me, looking at my skin and touching it with wonder and great curiosity – and all around were excited grins and smiles like the one above.

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

Technique: Olympus OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO.

UPDATE: this picture was taken 41 years ago and, getting older as I am, I find myself looking at this broadly grinning face, a face from my distant past, and wondering what has become of him.  For a start, is he alive, has he survived?  This is after all the Third World, and an area brutally infested by malaria – which I myself was struck down with – so that nothing can be guaranteed.  Assuming that he is still alive, he will now be in his 40s, perhaps with a family of his own.  So has he stayed on these far western farms, or maybe been drawn by the lure of the cities – nearby Kisumu, or even far off Nairobi or Mombasa?  I can have no answers here but am nevertheless left with one certainty: being a geologist and naturalist, most of my Kenyan photography was of the spectacular landscapes and wildlife – but now, with hindsight, I wish that my photographs had a more of a human element, that I’d taken more photographs of the Kenyans themselves.

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 517 – HERRING GULL (MONO)

 

 


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Herring Gull: winter plumaged adult at St Ives, Cornwall; 27 Sept 2012.

This individual is sitting on a wall, but I want to show nothing but the bird and its overcast backdrop and so have cropped the wall out.  Mono simplifies the picture, and gives the impression of  a tough and rugged individual used to enduring the dull, overcast, wintery conditions.

These birds have pure white heads in summer, but this one has the streaked head and neck that appears later in the year.

I like the detail in the feathering at lower left, especially the single feather sticking up from the rest.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting from the Antique Plate 1 preset.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 34 – BOYS AT A WEDDING (MONO)

 

 

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Young boys – curious, uncertain –  at a wedding near Thika, Kenya, in the late 1970s.

I think I was the only non-African at this ceremony, and so an object of great curiosity to all the youngsters there.

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

Technique: OM-2 with 75-150 Zuiko lens; Kodak Ektachrome 200 colour slide (I think!); Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Landscape 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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