PEOPLE 372 – SELFIE, WITH TRAINERS, CAR DOOR HANDLE AND (REDUCED!) BEER GUT

 

 


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Just getting back from one of my marathon walks around Bristol’s outer suburbs and, seeing my neighbour sitting in his car, leaned on the ledge of the open passenger door window to pass the time of day with him.  Looking down, I could see the stripes of my old shirt reflected in the car’s bodywork and door handle and, well, the TG-5 was as always in my pocket …  My neighbour considered me mad of course, but then that’s just one, evidently minority, opinion.

So, taking the image from the top, what’s here?  At the top, the fully wound down window of the car between its black rubber seals – not sure if that’s the right word, but you know what I mean.

Below which is a curved surface, reflected in which can be seen the blue Bristol sky, together with my two rather scrawny hands, between which is a dark area that is the camera, the TG-5.

Below again is this huge, rounded and striped affair which is my paunch (well I am The FATman …) – but nothing like as big as it used to be, despite having been nourished by many thousands of Belgian golden ales, and in any case thankfully covered up by an old striped shirt.  To either side of me are the reflected reds and greens of a garden.

Below that again, the car’s door handle, reflecting clouds in Bristol’s blue sky, along with more of my shirt’s stripes.

And, finally, far below, my neighbour’s driveway and the toes of my trainers.

A souvenir – perhaps eccentric, perhaps not – of passing the time of day for a few minutes with my neighbour, on a sunny Bristol afternoon.

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 25mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 19 Aug 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 111 – PHOTOGRAPHING SHADOWS (MONO)

 

 


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Shadows: a fence, a tree and me.

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 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 35mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Portrait film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Silhouette preset; south Bristol; 6 May 2019.
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PEOPLE 367 – WRESTLING WITH THE BARS, TRYING TO ESCAPE

 

 

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Selfie – my shadow against a metal fence – with the camera, as I remember it, held in my right hand.

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); 800 ISO; Lightroom, desaturating colour and using the Camera Natural film simulation; south Bristol; 26 Feb 2019.
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ARCHIVE 397 – SELFIE WITH ROAD SIGN (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Quite early on a morning in spring, and Jack’s Drove, the road north across the Tadham and Tealham Moors, on the Somerset Levels, is blocked; 10 Apr 2014.

The jet black area that cuts horizontally through my silhouette is the water-filled ditch that separates the rough pasture of the field at the top of the frame from the road on which I’m standing.  These wet ditches do duty as fences hereabouts.

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

Technique: D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 16mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro2, starting at the Dramatic preset, and restoring the sign’s colour.

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OUTER SUBURBS 22 – TWO TREES, A FENCE AND ME, AT SUNRISE (MONO)

 

 


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South Bristol at sunrise.  Turning my back on the blinding glare, I saw my shadow and those of two trees thrown across autumn’s leaf-littered lawn.

The trees’ shadows were longer than mine and, after their stark darkness had raced away across the grass, it was deflected sharply upwards by the flat, brightly lit face of a wooden fence.

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 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 49mm (equiv); 500 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Harsh preset, and adding a strong Coffee tone; south Bristol; 9 Oct 2018.
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PEOPLE 338 – WRITING A BOOK

 

 


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I used to be an highly enthusiastic birder.  School friends had awoken this interest in me in 1967, and 10 years later I left the UK for Kenya – to lecture on geology and to grab eyeful after eyefull of African birdlife.  And not just African birdlife, but Afrotropical birdlife, the Afrotropical Region being Africa to the south of the Sahara, one of the great biological regions of the world, with many unique or highly distinctive flora and fauna.

And the plan – ah, the plans of mice and men! – was to stay in Kenya for two or three years, do a lot of birdwatching, and then move on elsewhere.  Sure enough, I met up with other birders there, and went birding in many national parks and areas further off the beaten track.  But then, in 1981, a chance remark informed me that there was a project in hand to map the distributions of Kenya’s 1,000+ bird species – and from that moment on there was for simply nothing else worth doing in Life.

In a nutshell, I worked on A Bird Atlas of Kenya for over eight years – it really was a vast amount of hard but very often enthralling work, funded by the World Wildlife Fund and many others, and relying on hundreds of volunteers – and the book was published in 1989.  It was never going to be a best seller, it was not an identification guide (fieldguide), it was a fairly academic explanation of the distributions and seasonalities of Kenya’s (then) 1,065 bird species. My co-author was a zoology professor at Makerere University, in neighbouring Uganda.

And here I am, probably about 1983 or so, writing it.  The photo is an indifferent scan of a small print but it conveys the overall idea, that I was awash in a sea of paper.  For in the 1980s the developed world was developing IT technology apace, but here in the Third World it was a far rarer commodity, and especially so for those outside the world of business.  We had no email and no computers.  All correspondence was carried out by snail mail – and air letters, thousands of them, were the preferred thing because, since they could not contain anything, they were less prone to theft.  We did enquire re the cost of producing the book by word processing but, in those days, in Kenya, it was completely prohibitive.  In the end, an absolutely wonderful typist produced the whole thing, 600+ pages, on an electric golfball typewriter, ready to be photographed by our Dutch publishers.

So, here is the leafy Spring Valley suburb of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, around a mile or so above sea level.  The equatorial sun is beating down, the large window beside me is open to admit fresh, warm air, and the great mass of greenery seen vaguely through  the window are the tops of banana trees.  Also, local roads were some distance away, and there was nothing but the sounds of birds, the rustling, swaying trees and the breeze  – what better place to write a book?  And although I do seem to be awash in a sea of paper, there was a very simple design to it all – all the most useful texts, maps and notes were arranged in a circle  around me, all within instant, easy reach – it was a simple design that worked very well.

And as well as being enthralling, the bird atlas project had its exciting moments too.  Flights in small aircraft to record the birds of very poorly known areas of the country were exciting, yes, they held a real sense of exploration.  But my co-author was working in Uganda at just the time when the dictator Idi Amin was being ousted from Uganda by the present president, Yoweri Museveni.  As the fighting moved up towards Kampala, Uganda’s capital, I strongly urged my co-author to flee – and I can recall his comment that it was only “a bit of bush warfare”, and that there was nothing to worry about.  But, the fighting swept on through Kampala, he spent a long time on his floor of his house, sheltering from small arms fire, and a soldier was killed in his garden.  How writing a book on birds stacks up against all that (and other) violence, I have always been unsure.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.
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PEOPLE 331 – LOOKING INTO AN EMPTY BUILDING

 

 


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The FATman has you in his (actually rather wonderful) electronic viewfinder!

Or, then again, I’m pointing my camera into an empty building.  There’s really not much here.  My (double) reflection is given substance by a dark pillar in the building’s interior, and the rest of the picture shows a desolate and completely empty room – left by a business that has moved on –  with a large window on the left through which a building in the next street can be faintly be seen.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; Quay Street, central Bristol; 20 Apr 2018.
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PEOPLE 321 – MYSELF, TWICE

 

 


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Selfie, reflected in a window.

LOL!!! >>> if you really feel that you need to enlarge this, you can click onto it to open another version in a separate window, and then click onto that version to enlarge it.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom; central Bristol; 9 Sept 2016.
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TALKING IMAGES 38 – MAKING PHOTOBOOKS AS HARD COPIES / MEMORIES

 

I think it important to make hard copies of digital photos so as:

  1. not to have to perpetually view them on computer etc screens;

  2. to have them in a format in which they can be enjoyed at leisure, eg in armchair with a nice, civilised cup of English tea or (far, far better!) lots of ravishingly good Belgian beer;

  3. to act as back ups in case said computers / other devices undergo meltdowns / have mid-life crises.

And, in addition to those points, I am certainly NOT willing to print my own copies of my photos due to:

  1. what do I do with all the accumulated prints when all my wall space is taken up?  If putting them into traditional photo albums, why not make a photobook instead???

  2. the truly extortionate price of printer inks, combined with the most probable need to make at least several attempts at printing each photo before I’m at all satisfied with it.

  3. I could send my photos to professional printers, but then I would be have masses of prints – that I’d have to mount in traditional albums.

And so to making photobooks.  Advantages / disadvantages?

  1. not cheap on the scale I (more or less annually) do it (= 100+ images and text) but:

  2. provides a ready made book / album that sits easily on a bookshelf and on my lap

  3. photo reproduction good

  4. other books can be highly personalised and given as (very well received) presents – birthdays, Christmases, full Moons,  etc

  5. provides mountains of long-lasting memories – I compile favourite pictures from my blog for a 12 month period, and have both them and their full blog text (which brings back even more memories) in the photobook (some of the images shown here have brief captions – their full blog text is elsewhere in the photobook).

  6. I use Blurb, but there are many other good providers of such services.

  7. Should you opt to use Blurb, you may have quite different aims / preferences to me.  But, in case they’re useful, these are the Blurb options I standardise on.  Book Size= Large Square 30cmx30cm, because its large, and easily displays both portrait and landscape format images.  High quality paper = Proline Pearl Photo paper = very strong and heavy, good image reproduction. Book cover: Hard Cover with ImageWrap.  Have never tried an image across two pages because of deep central gutter, but there is now a better facility.  NB >>> pay great attention to the Print Safe Areas!!!  I use the new BookWright software which I’ve downloaded.  To me, thinking about double page spreads is very important – do the two (or more) images on a double page spread sit comfortably with each other?  On opening double page spreads, maybe my eyes go straight to the right page, so I have something more striking there, and something less striking but still good on the left – my eyes start on the right, but then realise the left has goodies too – useful???  Or you may experience the exact opposite.  Whatever, this might be something to consider.

So, just to give some idea of the products, here are some pictures from some of my Blurb books.  These pictures are not all well reproduced and some have actually been photographed on my computer screen – they come from the book I’m working on now – but they will give you an idea of what such books look like – and of course far more professional/up market looking layouts etc are possible.  I find Blurb (mostly) intuitive but there are many other providers. Clicking onto these images enlarges them.
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TALKING IMAGES 37 – I’M SLOWING DOWN, FOR AWHILE

 

 

Mannequin, seared by sunlight in a Cornish shop window

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The simple fact is, I very much enjoy blogging as a means of self-expression.  There’s the creation of the images, all of the attendant writing too (I love writing!) – and last but certainly not least the communication with like minds around the world – I enjoy talking with you all very much!  Also, there is not the slightest doubt that these years of blogging have been inspirational for me, certainly (to my eyes at least) improving my photography.
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A dear, warm creature, a being whom it is simply a pleasure to be with

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However, I have two large projects in hand, and I need to spend less time blogging for a month or two, to complete them.  One of these projects is the creation of my (more or less) annual Blurb photobook which, amongst other things, contains my favourite photos from the preceding 12 months along with their captions and text.  I have around 20 of these books now, some the annual volumes and some other, specific projects, and I find them a very convenient way of producing hard copies of my favourite work; they are very good to look back through.
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Someone special, from long ago and far away

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So, whereas I’ve been producing around six posts a week, this will decrease for awhile – assuming that is that I can restrain my creative enthusiasm!  And for today, here are some favourite images – faces from the archives – two people, someone quite artificial, and two beautiful animals.  Clicking onto these images will enlarge them, click onto them again to further enlarge them.
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Great Grey Owl – we looked at each other

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Selfie, with trademark cap and hulking Nikon DSLR

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