ARCHIVE 406 – AFFECTION (MONO)

 

 


.

Our friend and her cat; 1 Mar 2015.

We went to visit our friends, a truly lovely family, and, as usual, I slouched back indolently in an armchair with this damned great camera and lens perched on my paunch, enjoying the moment.

Their front room has a bay window with translucent panels that looks out onto the street and, as often happens, the light in that room was diffuse and gorgeous.

Things caught my eye but I was too slow with the camera.  Then their friendly cat got up on the arm of the sofa, and sat there, contentedly wagging her tail.  She enjoys human company, probably for the sounds, and she sits or lies with us for long periods.  An open fire was an especial draw for her on that chilly afternoon.

Suddenly our friend reached out to stroke the cat and murmur something to her, and my camera came up and caught this single frame.  What do I like about it?  Well, of course, the interaction, there’s eye contact there, and also some kind of, if not friendship, then calm familiarity – these two living beings know and trust each other, at the very least.

I like the way our friend is leaning across the sofa, introducing a dynamic that heads up towards upper left, at right angles to the cat’s gaze.  And then there are the sidelit curls and textures in her hair – and a striped sweater that is crying out for black and white photography!

The occasion was good too because, having had medical dressings on my face, it was the first time I’d used a camera in seven weeks or more, and it was very good to “get back behind a lens” again.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens, used wide open; 3200 ISO; Dfine 2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset.

.
.
.

BIRDS 109 – MALE BLACKBIRD

 

 


.
Gazing at agricultural rubbish on the western edges of Tealham Moor, and loving it, loving the real, bare, unembroidered, what-you-see-is-what-you-get nature and feel of the place – when a male Blackbird appeared on top of a hedge and looked at me.  Well, this is the breeding season and the fierce and fiery hormones of territoriality were coursing through his veins.  He was disinclined to move – I was on his territory, and that was that.

The new Z 6 was in my hand, with the lens I’m married to – the 70-300 zoom – attached, and it was the work of an instant to change the camera to APS-C format – so that my telephoto expanded from 300mm to a more far reaching 450mm – and, very carefully and slowly, I raised the camera to my eye.  The light was dreadful and I needed a high shutter speed to ensure sharpness at the x9 telephoto magnification, and so to wide open at 1/1600th and 3200 ISO – and to very gently squeezing the trigger.  This is a cropped version of one of the photos – 1521×1079 pixels.

Here he is.  The Z 6’s shutter is not loud, and very carefully I took a series of shots, he and I both like statues, eyeing each other.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format at 450mm; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 12 Apr 2019.

.

.

.

SOMERSET LEVELS 322 – FARM ANIMAL (MONO)

 

 


.

Leaning on a farm gate along River Bridge Drove, on the western edges of Tealham Moor, and – inevitably – becoming the centre of attention.

I’ve processed this to bring out detail, and can’t help but see some traces of bewilderment – and perhaps despair too –  in this face.  But then, I eat meat, and it would certainly be wrong to pretend otherwise.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast and Structure preset and adding a light coffee tone; River Bridge Drove, southwest of Westham, on the Somerset Levels; 22 March 2019.
.
.
.

GAZING INTO HER EYES

 

 

cat attempt

We gaze into each other’s eyes, and emotions

– elusive, fugitive, fleeting,

emotions understood by each of us

but never by both of us –

pass between us.

.
.
.

PEOPLE 370 – DAME JOANE YOUNG

 

 


.

This picture is certainly best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

This is a picture of a tomb in Bristol Cathedral, which was founded in 1140, not long after the Norman invasion of 1066 had put an end to England’s Anglo-Saxon monarchy – in the person of King Harold, killed by an arrow in the eye at the Battle of Hastings.  I’m posting this picture – and posting it in this blog’s People category –  because, for me, it evokes various emotions.

Firstly of course, its quite picturesque – it could be a tourist postcard – and the picturesque is not what I usually photograph.  But, then again, I’m conscious of being lucky to live in England, where many such relics of former ages can still be seen.  There are, after all, many places in the world where this is not the case, or where such remains are purely prehistoric – so that although they are notable treasures, they do not give the almost intimate picture of a former life seen here >>> which is why I urge you to enlarge this image.

Joane’s history, related above her hands held devoutly in prayer, is interesting for its content – and for its spelling.  From it we learn that she was born in 1533 – King Henry VIII was on the throne, and the threat of the Spanish Armada still in the distant future.  Joane died in 1603, the same year as Queen Elizabeth I, one of Henry’s daughters.

So I look at her effigy and wonder what sort of world she lived in – what she thought, what she believed in, what she knew of the world.  Well, she was an aristocrat and thus insulated from the poverty and other privations that affected much of the population.

Google tells me that Elizabethan scientific advances were mainly in the fields of astronomy, maths, human anatomy and marine navigation.  But most people would have been in the thrall of religion and superstition, and all of the grey areas between the two.  To put her world more into context, Joane died in 1603, but it was not until nine years later that the last person was burnt at the stake for heresy – while the hunting and execution of witches in England peaked around 1645.

Joane’s  was a very different world to the England we know now –  and a world in which the people were kept very much in order by the combined attentions of monarchy, church and army – you owed loyalty and obedience to the monarch, the church had your sinner’s soul but could save it from Hell, and the army provided the muscle if muscle were needed.  The influence of two of these institutions is now in decline, while the use of the army is a huge political hot potato – indeed as I write this, British soldiers are now on trial for civilians killed in Northern Ireland in the 20th century.

And lastly, looking at the monuments and fabric of Bristol Cathedral, I cannot but think that it reflects the “have’s” in society, like Joane, rather than the great mass of the population of the time, who lived in far humbler circumstances, perhaps not that far removed from what we now call Third World Poverty.

Joane’s tomb is a wonderful artefact from another age, something certainly worth preserving, but it makes inevitably makes me think of the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister, which cost £500,000, with an additional £3.1 million for security.  I’m living in a country with increasing social inequalities, an increasing gap between the “have’s” and the “have not’s”, and I’m wondering where we are headed.

And I leave you with this link, in which Raghuram Rajan, an Indian banker and former International Monetary Fund economist, looks at today’s world and says “I think capitalism is under serious threat because it’s stopped providing for the many, and when that happens, the many revolt against capitalism,“.  I urge you to look at this link, its not a long read.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; Bristol Cathedral; 12 Feb 2019.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 403 – TURNSTONE, ST IVES

 

 


.

Turnstone in winter plumage, on the West Pier at St Ives, Cornwall; 21 Sept 2016.

The Turnstone is a small wader (aka shorebird) that derives its name from its habit of turning over stones on beaches in the hope of finding things to eat underneath.

Its usually a bird seen at a distance, small and brown on the foreshore.  But at St Ives in Cornwall, especially when the tide is up, small groups dart about on this seaside resort’s promenade, often literally around the feet of holidaymakers.

And so, being on holiday and carefree(!), I bought a pasty as a second breakfast and sat on a seat munching the golden beast and staring out to sea, when several of these little birds swarmed around my feet.  Well, I can take a hint, and as small pasty morsels were scattered around, these little creatures went into super-speed mode and downed the lot in an instant – for an ex-birder like me, almost a surreal moment!

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO.

.
.
.

PEOPLE 369 – DRINKING LAGER (MONO)

 

 


Having lunch with an old and very valued friend; feeling good and drinking lager, as it happens.  And I asked her to take some shots of me with the TG-5.  Not at all an ideal camera for this, far too much of the background in focus and light conditions tricky but, anyway, here I am, sucking down the old Electric Sauce and feeling the benefits thereof.

.

.
Critique: the TG-5 not doing too badly at 3200 ISO.  However, as my old friend was driven to admit, the whole experience left her shaken … but not stirred …   And also, you know, I’m just not sure she’s caught my best side …
.
Technique: take one old and very valued friend, several glasses of lager and one TG-5 at 40mm (equiv), and shake well to mix in all the goodness and downright friendliness; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Neutral preset and adding a light Coffee tone; lunching, drinking and laughing in a pub in south Bristol; 14 Mar 2019.
.

.

.

.

ARCHIVE 399 – MAYHEM AND VIOLIN

 

 


.

Young violinist; 9 Sept 2012.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m fortunate in having four darling little girls in my life.  Two are our granddaughters, the other two the children of friends.  Yesterday we went to visit those friends, so that my wife could measure the kids for knitware that she is giving them for Christmas.

As is usual when I get together with these little ones, who are now aged 7 and 2, mayhem and anarchy reigned!  Within minutes of arriving, I was down on my hands and knees on the kitchen floor, giving a ride to the two delighted and squealing monsters, and things just got better from there on in.  But I have no aches or pains this morning – must be tougher than I thought!

And the family have a beautiful new cat, who seems to have a very calm and friendly personality.

So, here is the elder sister with her new violin and a pensive expression.  She can’t play it yet but these are early days, and she is now playing pieces on the piano.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 1250 ISO.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 396 – PEOPLE DRINKING TEA (MONO)

 

 

.

A couple having a hot drink beside the beach in the harbour at St Ives, Cornwall; 10 Oct 2013.

The man is hunched over towards the right, sipping his cuppa, while the woman is inclined towards the left, intent on screwing shut her bottle of milk.  Their two shapes tend to come together somewhat, in the shape of an arch or dome, an effect heightened by her inclined hair bun.  I’ve tried to enhance this impression of togetherness by adding a slight, pale, circular vignette.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Full Dynamic Smooth preset; mild copper toning.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 392 – ROOK ON THE HIGH STREET

 

 


.

Rook preening on a street lamp in the main street of Penzance, Cornwall; 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.

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

.
.
.

%d bloggers like this: