STILL LIFE 159 – ASSASSIN (MONO)

 

 


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Perception can so often be a matter of viewpoint. 

To our eyes, this may be a beautiful, even elegant, wild creature, the sight of which lifts our spirits and, indeed, our quality of life.

But in the real world, that thick, serpentine, muscular neck, and that dagger of a bill, are the tools of a precise and eminently stealthy predator – and any small creature moving under the water, if it sees this killer at all before being struck, views it quite differently.

Another picture of a Great White Egret at Chew Valley Lake, the first picture of this bird, is here.

Click onto this image to open a larger (and grainier) version in a separate window, and click onto that image to marginally enlarge it further.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset and adding a light coffee tone; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake; 6 Oct 2017.  This is a huge enlargement of an APS-C image, with the X-T2 working at its highest quality, native 200 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 321 – LAGOON AT MAGADI (MONO)

 

 


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Alkaline lagoon at Lake Magadi, on the floor of the rift valley in southern Kenya; Nov 1977.

The water is made alkaline by high concentrations of sodium bicarbonate which have been leached out of the rift valley’s volcanic rocks.   This water is so alkaline that it feels soapy to the touch, i.e. it starts to dissolve skin on contact, and its high soda content gives it an awfully rank, chemical odour.  Add to that the fact that this is a very hot, low lying area of the rift, and Magadi becomes something of an acquired taste.  But, to anyone interested in the Natural World – wildlife, geology, landscape –  it is also a fascinating place.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens;  Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO;  converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro.

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ARCHIVE 317 – SELF-PORTRAIT WITH BLUE LORRY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Self-portrait with blue lorry, near Peacock Farm, Westhay Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 Jul 2012.

I’m sitting very upright in the driving seat of my car, using a wideangle zoom to record both the scene in the rear view mirror, and the road ahead as seen through the windscreen.  Back home, I’ve converted the shot to mono using Capture NX2, but retained original colour – and added some brightness too – for the scene in the mirror.

The rows of small dots above the mirror are a device to help prevent dazzle when looking up at the mirror.

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

Technique: D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 800 ISO; manipulated with Capture NX2.

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STILL LIFE 139 – CAR AFTER RAIN SHOWER

 

 


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I’m married to my 55-200 Fujinon telezoom, which mirrors the 70-300mm of my very, very favourite, full-frame Nikon lens.  I also have the 10-24 Fujinon lens that is a 15-36 full-frame equivalent, but I’ve just not been able to get into using it much – and I’ve read of others finding the results of wide angle lenses tending to be formulaic in exactly the same way.

So last Friday, having no real other photographic targets in mind, I took the 10-24 into the city again – and did get a little more into it, especially when using it close-in.  And its smaller than the 55-200 and really quite handy.  But I wish it was a little longer at the upper focal length end, say up to 50mm or 75mm equivalent.  As I’ve said before, my 24-120 full frame Nikon zoom really is an extremely useful and flexible lens, the lens I’ll always take if I’m unsure what sorts of images are going to appear.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Victoria Street, central Bristol; 4 Aug 2017.
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STILL LIFE 137 – RED, WHITE AND BLUE

 

 


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High Street, central Bristol, 9 Sept 2016.

Door Handle might be an alternative title here, because that and the pock-marked wall left of it are all that is in focus.  But should we always focus on what is in focus, or focus instead (sorry, couldn’t resist the repetition!  Its a Brit thing …) on the larger scene?  Which in this case included the passerby on this warm day, and the red rubbish bin away over on the other side of the road.  There is another photo of a reflection, far more abstract than this one, here.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation.
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PEOPLE 284 – GOING TO WORK 28

 

 


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Going to work in summer – open-necked shirts, bottled water, shorts, teashirts, and sunny reflections along the side of public transport.

And if we’re thinking about public transport, a very different take on the morning mass migration from those shown in 25 and 26!  A change of season can make all the difference!  Sometimes.

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 and 27Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Baldwin Street, central Bristol; 19 July 2016.
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STILL LIFE 135 – RESTAURANT WITH FLAG

 

 


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Looking into a restaurant, through the reflection of a flag.

There are other glimpses into Bristol restaurants here, here, here and here.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Capture NX2; Bristol’s Harbourside; 19 July 2016.
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STILL LIFE 134 – CITY LIFE

 

 


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City life: the clean, soulless hospitality of a corporate foyer, with traffic lights outside and more corporate architecture across the road.

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-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 125mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Broad Quay, central Bristol; 9 Sept 2016.
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STILL LIFE 131 – BLUE CAR

 

 


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Blue car, outside Harts Bakery (on my early morning trips into the city, where else???).

Technique: two things to mention.  This photo was captured in portrait format but, to my eyes (but maybe not to your’s!) it works better compositionally rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise.  The rotation does of course make it more abstract, something I rarely dislike, and there is a pleasing lower left to upper right orientation of many of the structural elements – with the notable exceptions of the strong, near horizontal line at the bottom, and the “splash” of white reflection that curves down towards lower right.  The edges of the window now make a more pronounced, sharp and curving feature at lower/middle left.  And the other thing here is LR’s Vibrance slider, which boosts the saturation of less saturated colours (ie rather than boosting the saturation of the more saturated colours too).  In the past I’ve either left this slider at zero, or moved to a positive value – but here, looking at its effects, a setting of -19 looks better than increasing saturation.  Less is often more with many things, and reducing the saturation of colour images can often have positive effects.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise; Temple Meads, Bristol; 7 July 2017.
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STILL LIFE 122 – TEMPLE CIRCUS GYRATORY

 

 


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Early morning driving on the Temple Circus Gyratory, which is a large roundabout at one of the southern approaches to Bristol, near Temple Meads railway station.  Roundabout?  Traffic circle in The States I think.  And the roundabout’s official name?  Well, it could really only have been dreamt up by officials, couldn’t it, by a Local Authority, in the interests no doubt of good urban planning and neutral nomenclature?

And the photo?  Well, its garish, technicolour plus.  The highlights are all blown to featureless white but to me that’s fine because this isn’t reality, this is how I like to see it.

So what gets to me here?  Well, the lines and curves of the blazing white vehicle, which frame the face – cool shades, no-nonsense beard, mouth slightly open – with the thrill of surfing the Gyratory maybe?  And the car’s curving lines also frame the reflections in the car’s windows, which become more colourful over towards the right.  And then, in the backdrop, all those technicolour stripes.  And no, before you ask, I haven’t ramped up the colour Saturation in Lightroom, although I did increase the Vibrance to +65.   Then CEP4 was used to provide a thin black border, to prevent the lower edges of the image merging with my blog’s white background.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 400 ISO; spotmetering; Lightroom, using the Pro Neg Hi film simulation; Color Efex Pro 4; central Bristol; 7 April 2017.
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