PEOPLE 304 – GOING TO WORK 38

 

 


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Sunrise glistens on the road, as fast moving rush hour traffic turns sharply into Broad Street.

My ever over-fertile imagination conjures up the thought of the slipstream of these vehicles sending The FATman pirouetting backwards into a nearby fashionable men’s barbering salon (Now then, squire, we don’t serve your type in ‘ere!), but the reach of a 305mm lens does a lot to keep me out of trouble, while my appearance in such an establishment would be more of a surreal fiction than even this blog can support.

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 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 yet again.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Broad Street, central Bristol; 15 Dec 2017.
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STILL LIFE 175 – DUAL CARRIAGEWAY

 

 

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After a morning looking for low angle winter sunlight in the city, I walked back towards some (more!) food and a bus home.  I was walking beside a roaringly busy dual carriageway and the dazzling winter sun – providing at best only the very faintest warmth – was blasting across the road at me from the left.  Looking into the sun, across the road, I turned the X-T2 into portrait orientation and took this picture – which has here been rotated 90 degrees towards the left – anticlockwise – into landscape format.

What was the camera looking at?  The dual carriageway has a central crash barrier, with a stout metal girder above a solid concrete base.  On the left of the shot, this crash barrier throws a harsh black shadow onto the road’s surface.  Then, to the right of that, there is the black tarmac road surface, turned almost silver by the sun’s glare.  And then the thick white line that separates the road’s two inbound lanes.

The lane nearest the camera has a brown surface, to show that it leads to an exit from the dual carriageway.   Autumn leaves have been firmly crushed into this brown surface – in a way that they would not be crushed into real tarmac – until they have become pale and flattened, amorphous streaks of their former selves.  And so to an abstract image.

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 640 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise; Temple Way, central Bristol; 1 Dec 2017.

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STILL LIFE 145 – ROADSIDE WITH PAVEMENT AND DRAIN

 

 


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Somewhere in central Bristol, I can’t remember where.  The pavement is upper right, with the little granite blocks set in it, and it continues around to upper left, with yet more granite blocks and some larger granite setts.

The rest is the road, with two very different surfaces, a round manhole cover and a square drain.

And there is both history and modernity here.  Modernity is represented by the double yellow lines which, loathed by motorists, indicate no parking on penalty of a fine or, far worse, gratis life membership of the Conservative Party.  But the real interesting bit, the history, is that little, straight line of serrated metal on the pavement’s edge, that starts on the right between the drain and the pavement, and then runs up towards the left.  These serrated iron edges to Bristol’s kerbs date from the early 20th century, and were installed to prevent the iron-clad wheels of horse-drawn carts from damaging the stone pavements – you can find out more about them here.

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Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 32mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; 11 Aug 2017.
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STILL LIFE 128 – CENTRAL RESERVATION

 

 


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The central reservation on a dual carriageway, with pedestrian and car approaching.

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spotmetering; Lightroom; beside Temple Meads railway station, central Bristol; 26 May 2017.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 287 – DAWN, TEALHAM MOOR

 

 

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The view across Tealham Moor, with the first faint flush of sunrise starting to warm the cold dawn light.

The single track Totney Drove, covered in frost, ice, and tyre marks, makes off eastwards towards the trees of Tadham Moor in the distance.  This thin strip of tarmac is at best uneven, but between the two nearest trees it bulges slightly upwards where, on a little bridge, it crosses a manmade waterway known as the North Drain, which empties water from this sodden landscape into the nearby River Brue.  This tiny bridge has metal railings on either side, and glint of the North Drain’s waters can just be seen to either side of them, near the left and right edges of the image.

The striking shape of the tree is the result of being cut back by mechanised shears mounted on the farmer’s tractor.  Adjacent to the drove, within reach of the cutters’ teeth, its profile has been cut back to a sheer vertical, but beyond the cutters’ reach – higher up, and on the side away from the road – it blossoms out in more natural fashion.

More context about this bitterly cold, early morning visit to the Somerset Levels can be found here, and there is another pre-sunrise image here.

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

X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 8,000 ISO; 27 Jan 2017.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 286 – DAWN IN THE HEADLIGHTS

 

 

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Driving in the dawn along Kid Gate Drove, on the western fringes of Tealham Moor; 27 Jan 2017.

I’d turned off the main road and all at once the narrow lanes in the wetter, flatter country were white in the headlights.  Someone had driven down this road before me on this freezing morning and, like me, had no doubt driven with great care.  It was difficult to stand up on this icy surface, and the strange thing was that this ice seemed to be affecting only the roads,  the surrounding fields looked quite normal.

So I sat in the car, turned the headlights onto fill beam, and took this photo through the windscreen.  Dead, yellowing grasses on the sides of the road lead down to a road sign blazing white in the distance – the road turns abruptly to the left down there, and anyone speeding southwards down Kid Gate Road, especially at night, needs to know about that.

There is more about this bitterly cold visit to the Somerset Levels here.

There is another, very different, image illuminated by car headlights here.

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X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 84mm (equiv); 25,600 ISO; illuminated by daybreak and car headlights.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 279 – ALLERMOOR DROVE (MONO)

 

 

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Allermoor Drove arrows eastwards across Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels south Wedmore; 24 June 2016.

Not long ago, these flatlands were covered in lakes and impenetrable marshes, in which higher ground like that seen at top left formed islands.

When these flatlands were drained and converted to agriculture, a network of these (often dead straight) droves was laid down across the newly emergent landscape, so that farmers could access their fields without crossing other farmers’ land.  A few of these droves have been (slightly!) widened to become tarmac roads, but most remain as rough tracks like this, which are quite adequate for their purpose.

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

X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2.
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STILL LIFE 50 – TWO BOLLARDS BESIDE A CAR (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 

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Two bollards beside a parked car; Welsh Back, central Bristol, 5 August 2016.

Or two little people, with bright, tanned faces and circular hats.  One comes closer for a better look at me, the other, more unsure, hangs back.

The nearer bollard is the only sharp thing in the shot, and is separated from the rest of the shot by virtue of that.  Moving slightly to the left had the effect of surrounding the more distant bollard with the pale and far out of focus backdrop, so preventing it from merging with the car’s dark bulk.

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

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, including selective restoration of colour.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 272 – HARD ROAD (MONO)

 

 

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A new surface of chippings on the muddy track south of the Magic Carpark, Tadham Moor; 24 June 2016.

In the summer, but doubtless thinking of the winter ahead, the farmer has re-surfaced this rough track with a carpet of tough, angular chippings.  These rough rocks felt sharp and uncomfortable underfoot, and the whole impression was of a hard road on a dark day, leading on into the future.

And as anticipated (and finding refuge perhaps in less stark, technical matters), I found a use for the X-T1’s tilting back screen – it saves having to lie down flat when bringing a wide angle lens down to ground level.  And I partner this screen and lens combination with something bought long ago in a garden centre.  A garden centre?! … I know … the memory still smarts … I’ll be playing bingo next … 

But anyway, this garden centre item is a very light and portable rubber pad for gardeners to kneel down on, and its just the thing for my ageing knees – especially on surfaces like this!

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

X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon at 15mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Wet Rocks preset.
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STILL LIFE 40 – DRAIN, WITH KERB, DASHED WHITE LINE AND SKID MARKS (MONO)

 

 

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Drain, with kerb, dashed white line and skid marks; Thatcham, Berkshire; 1 June 2016.

Street scene in downtown Thatcham: shapes, textures and (mainly) curving lines. 

Color Efex Pro 4 has been used to give the end result the look of black and white infrared film.

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D700 with 24-120 Nikkor at 24mm; 400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

POSTSCRIPT: to me, someone who admittedly doesn’t get out much, the curving lines are streaming out across the image from sources along its left margin.  The kerb has just missed the drain, and arrows on through the picture’s lower right corner.  The skid marks are spraying out upwards, towards the image’s upper margin.  But the white line is more accurately set, and we have caught the moment in which it first impacts on the drain’s periphery.  And if all this imagined dynamism – seen through a child’s eyes maybe –  is real, then this isn’t a still life at all and I have, as the phrase so happily puts it, shot myself in the foot … 
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