OUTER SUBURBS 90 – RAINY NIGHT

 

 


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In my opinion (with which you may not agree), this is a picture to look deeply into, to get right in there with the darkness, the rain and the bright lights.  Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Sitting in my car, waiting, a little nervously I suppose.  I mean, there may be people like me about.  And its just before dawn, on a rainy night.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: TG-5 at 61mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 16 Jan 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 61 – BUS SHELTER, WET MORNING

 

 


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I walked in the suburbs, far from home and without coat or umbrella, and there came a cloudburst.  Across the road was a bus shelter – one of those enclosed on nearly all sides – and I dived inside to escape the falling water.  There was no one else there – and so to a post that might have been entitled 10 Minutes in a Bus Shelter.  Well, you know, I was standing there, with interesting things to look at all around – the misty windows, the gleaming streets outside, the patterns on the floor, the metal struts framing the translucent perspex, the bright red seat, you name it – and I had a camera burning a hole in my pocket.

That’s one thing about photography really, if you get right into it, nowhere is visually boring, there are always things to stare at – and in this case, unless I fancied a drenching, I had the leisure to stare.

So, what to stare at?  Two worlds.  First, the confined, almost claustrophobic world of the shelter, distorted slightly by the TG-5’s wide lens – misted windows, patterned floor and red seating: bland, functional modernity, purposely designed for the have’s in our society who catch the buses, and equally purposely designed to offer little comfort for the have-not’s who have nowhere else to go and would like somewhere other than the shelter’s cold floor to sleep on.  And here we all were, at the start of November, gearing up for The Season of Goodwill.  But then, the bus shelter is in the real world, whereas The Season of Goodwill is only in our minds.

And the second world, the outside world, the view out through the shelter’s ever-open doorway: a view to wet pavements, a passing car and, in the background, an equally passing factory.  But, you say, how can a factory possibly be passing?   Well, I’m a geologist and to me everything is passing, but it is apparently the case that this old factory is on a site earmarked for hundreds of new houses; we shall see.

So I loitered there, looking at anything and everything, taking it all in.  And two women passed, better equipped for the weather than I.  And, whispering together, they gave me a long, suspicious look.  I imagined their conversation: “Here, what’s that strange old man doing in that bus shelter?  Do you think he’s a prevert?” (she’d been watching a Dr Strangelove rerun).  “Well, I expect he’d say its artistic, but I’m not so sure …”.  Actually I’ve got that quote wrong, because the most used words in our new, Politically Correct society are appropriate and inappropriate, and I have a feeling that, in their eyes, I’d have merited the latter.

But, nobody expects the unexpected, I do think. And, as Bob Dylan might put it, “”You can be in my bus shelter if I can be in your’s …” .

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 1 Nov 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 46 – CAR LIT BY STREETLIGHT, JUST AROUND DAWN

 

 


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Early morning car, parked below a streetlight and speckled by a light shower.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 2,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 23 Nov 2018.
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PEOPLE 363 – GOING TO WORK 87 (MONO)

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

At long last I’ve used the Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera for what it is designed for – appalling weather.  Early on a Thursday morning, I was returning from one of my long walks around south Bristol, when the skies opened.  Wedging myself into a shop doorway to escape the worst of the deluge, I looked out over a grey and pouring main road, with a solitary soul sitting in a bus shelter, on their way to work.  The scene looked promising, and the TG-5 is after all claimed to be waterproof down to quite a depth underwater – a year ago, I bought it to photograph in the rain after all!

And so I started firing frames.  I would have dearly liked to have has a longer telephoto but – well, we just do the best we can with the camera we have with us.  And, as usual, if I see something that might have visual appeal, I take quite a few pictures, with varying compositions and viewpoints – not having to worry about how many frames I have left is one of the very beautiful and eminently user-friendly aspects of digital!!!

So here is yet another take on the early morning journey into work.  At least the shelter keeps her huddled figure dry, and buses into the city centre are regular along this main road.

Technique: because I didn’t have a longer telephoto with me – the TG-5 only goes up to 100mm equivalent, which = x2 magnification – this is an enlargement of a small area of the frame – and I’m impressed with what this little camera has achieved.  The low ISO (400) helped, and the 1/250th shutter speed has elongated the raindrops, and so given more sense of the downpour, more atmosphere.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: Olympus TG-5 at 38mm (equiv) ; 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Structure Harsh preset and adding a light Selenium tone; south Bristol; 8 Nov 2018.
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MENDIP HILLS 41 – LANDSCAPES FOR A DEAD WIFE 2 (MONO)

 

 

Storm, rain, clouds

I’m remembering my dead wife, and photographing a place we shared together long ago: you can find the full context in the first part of this series, here .

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Road, speed, darkness

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Writhing trees, rain, shadow

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If you would like to see enlarged versions of these pictures, click onto each one to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it: recommended.

Technique: all pictures were taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 camera and 55-200 Fujinon lens.  All were processed in Lightroom, and then converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.  On the edge of Priddy Mineries Nature Reserve, east of Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 20 Sept 2018.

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MENDIP HILLS 40 – LANDSCAPES FOR A DEAD WIFE (MONO)

 

 

Occasional, dazzling sun as dark clouds stream overhead

Many years ago, and newly arrived from equatorial climes, my wife and I were on the Somerset coast, desperately seeking a hot lunch on a bitterly cold day in the middle of winter.  However, in that distinctly non-tourist season, nowhere could oblige us.  At long last, we were saved by the Blue Anchor Hotel, between Watchet and Minehead, which, at no notice, produced delicious hot food, almost more than we could eat in fact and – as if that were not enough – wonderful warm hospitality too.  Coastal erosion will soon cause that hotel to collapse into the sea, and this fact, combined with my memories of that far off winter day, has served to bring my wife very powerfully back to me.

And so to a sentimental journey, to a place nearer home where I used to walk with Juliet, my first wife, my now long dead first wife.  A journey to walk where we walked and – if only within myself – to talk where we talked.

But, when I got there, the Natural World had other ideas, with high winds, driving rain and dark clouds rolling in across this open, upland landscape – this landscape, on the top of Mendip Hills, that was the roof of the world in my childhood, sixty years ago.

And so to thoughts and memories – very many of them – and to a flask of hot coffee within the car’s warmth and shelter.  And to looking out at, and then photographing – through the car’s streaming windows – some of the frenetic and blasting natural energy that swirled around me.  Was I afraid of the raging elements?  No, because the Natural World in all its moods enthrals me – but having my valued camera gear saturated and ruined is quite another matter!  But I knew that, Julie, the daughter of a farmer, would have enjoyed the weather’s energy too; that’s how she was.

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Main road; early morning

Two things to mention.  First, these images (which will be presented in three posts) may be a little dark, but this really has no significance beyond my penchant for dark black and white, and the fact that it was a dark day.

But, second, this post’s stark title may come as something of a shock to some.  But, while not especially looking forward to it, I feel more or less at ease with death, not least I suppose because I know that it is an inevitable reality.  But I know too that some in our advanced and civilised societies avoid mentioning The Big D, that some regard allusions to it as being in poor taste, and that some even regard it as some sort of taboo subject.  And I suppose that I find it strange that with all the imagined realities and social constructs with which we fill our heads and in which we so ardently believe, that some of us remain averse to contemplating and discussing all Life’s single, solid, and only too real destination.

Anyway, these are photos of a stormy day, taken with Julie on my mind.

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Dead trees, rolling clouds, ghostly skyline

.If you would like to see enlarged versions of these pictures, click onto each one to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it: recommended.

Technique: all pictures were taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 camera and 55-200 Fujinon lens.  All were processed in Lightroom, and then converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.  On the edge of Priddy Mineries Nature Reserve, east of Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 20 Sept 2018.

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OUTER SUBURBS 8 – WHERE IS THIS PROJECT AT NOW???

 

I’m very much feeling my way forwards with this new Outer Suburbs project.  There seems to be the distinct opportunity to become totally immersed in moody black and white, but I want to do some (at times very saturated) colour too.  The project may be stretching me a bit, or at least making me think about things in different ways, which has to be a plus.  One or two things about the actual photography are mentioned below.

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Early morning shower

Much of this photography looks at details, and for this reason I am at the moment favouring the flat and dull light of overcast days, days when the only shadows are those underneath parked cars.  This is very different from my usual photography, where I often look for dramatic, directional lighting and then decide what to do with it.  The TG-5’s metering works well with this type of overcast light shot, and I’m getting more used to using the non-articulated screen.  Also this little camera remains completely out of sight on my trouser pocket, and is eminently easy to carry around.  The 25mm-100mm (equivalent) zoom range works very well with the types of subject I’m looking at here – though I have to admit to missing my habitual 300mm at times!

Most of my current subjects are static; I’m not sure how well the TG-5 will handle movement – but this may simply reflect my lack of expertise with the camera.

Also (OMG!!!) I’m using Lightroom instead of Silver Efex Pro 2 for some of the black and white!  That this would not long ago have been heresy probably reflects a certain snobbishness on my part, but if I can achieve something workable with LR, I’ll sometimes use it.  I’m using LR in a slightly more radical / extreme way, and with the mono I’m conscious of time-saving, which may not be a good attitude to cultivate.

The first image in this series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 38mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 18 Aug 2018.

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STILL LIFE 211 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 17 (MONO)

 

 


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Roadside seat, in the rain; Bath, Somerset; 4 Sept 2009.

Wet metal – hard and without warmth – about as inviting as selling cold fish, straight from the fridge, on a raw day.

The FATman Guide to the contents of this picture (don’t say you don’t get value for money on this blog … OK, so it doesn’t cost you anything … yes, well … there is that … 😦 …)  anyway, the left hand half of the shot is the bit of the seat that you actually sit on; and this curls up to upper right, which is the seat’s back, the bit you lean on; in the lower right corner is the end of another seat with the same design; and over on the right the pale areas seen through the black bars of the seats show the faint outlines of paving stones.

An image from my last days of using film.  Not long previously I’d bought a really good DSLR, one that I still use and treasure (the Nikon D700), but back then digital black and white just wasn’t doing it for me.  And so here I was, out in Bath with a top flight Olympus film camera and a wide lens, looking for grain and atmosphere.  Trouble was, I hadn’t yet realised that by far the best way of achieving good digital black and white is by starting with a full colour digital raw file.  So here is that long ago jpeg, given the recent benefit of SEP2 and a cyanotype tone.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 14 15 16 .  Each will open in a new window.

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

Technique: OM-4 Ti with 21mm Zuiko lens; Ilford HP5 black and white film, rated at 1600 ISO; commercially scanned; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset and adding a heavy cyanotype tone.

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STILL LIFE 195 – PHOTOS FROM A DRENCHED CAR: 2

 

 


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Photos taken through the streaming windows of my car during a torrential rainstorm – context and further images can be found here.

The upper image is very easy to decipher – assuming that you feel the need when faced with anything at all abstract, to know what you’re looking at – which most people do.  Its a car parked on the other side of the road with its headlights reflecting off the wet tarmac.

The lower image is a little more obscure.  Its a row of houses with – in the lower right hand corner – a woman walking under an umbrella.  Can you see her???

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window.  You can click onto this larger image to enlarge it still further, but these images are very grainy.

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 15 Jan 2018.
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STILL LIFE 189 – PHOTOS FROM A DRENCHED CAR: 1

 

We had a worse than usual weather forecast recently – oodles of rain and wind, maybe with hail, thunder and snow thrown in too – oh joy!  And, leaving the house, I knew that I was going to have to wait around in the car for sometime at some point.  So I popped the TG-5 TOUGH camera into my pocket, just I case.  This little camera is distinctly useful – very handy indeed to carry around, extremely sturdy, waterproof and difficult to damage, and it shoots RAW and has image stabilisation.  The only real minuses for me are the lack of a viewfinder and the fact that the screen is fixed ie non-articulated – but you can’t have everything!  Reviews put it in a class of its own, out in front of other TOUGH cameras.

Anyway,  sure enough, as I sat waiting in my car later in the day, the winds shrieked and the heavens opened.  A deluge clattered across the car’s roof and writhed in torrents down the windows.  And suddenly, looking at those windows, I was encased in a clattering, swirling, flowing and very misty world.  Surreal patterns and images were flowing, forming and re-forming all around me.  I pulled out the TG-5 and started looking into its screen.

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

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The rainstorm, viewed through my car’s windscreen, just after using the wipers: a white car is parked in front of a row of Victorian houses built of honey-coloured Bath Stone.
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The same scene, taken before using the windscreen wipers.  The car is breaking up , becoming ever more abstract, as rainwater pours across the glass.

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 3,200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 15 Jan 2018.
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