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

 

 


.

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.

.
.
.

TALKING IMAGES 33 – HAPPINESS

 

 


.
Here’s something I’d like to share with you before I have to rush out to lunch. I saw it on the TV news this morning.

A study was made of a group of people, who were each given a sum of money – not a vast amount of money, say £30 UK – and who were told to spend it in a way that would make them happy.

And when the people were questioned about their happiness levels afterwards, those that professed to be happiest were those who had used the money to buy themselves more free time, eg by hiring people to do jobs/chores for them, and NOT those who had spent the money on acquiring (yet more!) material possessions.

I find this fascinating and also very instructive.  I expect we knew this already, after all didn’t the Beatles sing “money can’t buy me love!”?  And of course those of us who live in “developed” countries often have what are termed “busy modern lifestyles” – which means that although we may be comfortable/well off in terms of money, we suffer from time poverty.  There are usually too many things to do in the day, there is usually not enough time to do them in, and we get stressed trying to balance everything out.

I’m a great searcher for the simple life, and being retired helps this quest no end.  There are those who, when they retire, just keep going because they can’t bear to slow down.  Well, that’s fine, each to their own, we are all most certainly different.  But I value the extra leisure time, I like slowing down and – to be quite honest with you – I don’t pay others to perform chores for me, I can’t afford to, but I have simply become extremely selective about which chores I think actually necessary,  as opposed to those which can wait until tomorrow, the day that never comes.

.

.

.

 

ARCHIVE 303 – MAN IN A HOTEL ROOM (MONO)

 

 


.

Selfie in a hotel room, during my recent few days in the Midlands; 28 Apr 2014.

Someone with a camera, a mirror, and time on his hands.  As I relaxed in my hotel room, there was this large mirror out in front of me, and light pouring in from a narrow window to my right.  I asked myself, “Who’s that old man?”.  And I liked the lighting, the table lamp and the absence of anything else.  And so, the camera, the lamp and me.

The original image does not contain a lot of detail anyway, but I’ve reduced that further by taking it into mono, and using the SEP2 preset named below, which has a strong pale vignette.  The faint, dark structure forming a right angle is part of the mirror’s large frame.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 6400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate II preset, and adding a tone.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 286 – SELF-PORTRAIT WITH ROAD CHIPPINGS AND DEAD LEAVES

 

 


.
Self-portrait with road chippings and dead leaves, along Swanshard Lane, north of Polsham, on the Somerset Levels; 24 Jul 2012.

Along Swanshard Lane, approaching Fenny Castle House, there is a large layby regularly used by the local council’s road maintenance department for the storage of bulk quantities of chippings and other road materials.  As I passed by yesterday the sun was slanting over the great mounds of debris, interesting shadows and textures were all around and the whole affair looked good for something wideangle.

Here my shadow falls on a mound of chippings rising up in front of me, some minor heaps produce an interesting line of shadows which my shadow intersects, and there are some richly coloured dead leaves around too.  The slopes of the mound were not vertical, but they appear so in the photo – to me they appear to be rising up almost vertically in front of me and I like this effect.

This is a prime candidate for conversion to mono, but I think the bright colours of the dead leaves add something living and organic.  I tried converting the shot to mono and then restoring the leaves’ colour, but the image looks better in straight colour.

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

Technique: D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 16mm; 320 ISO; manipulated with Capture NX2.

.
.
.

PEOPLE 248 – SELFIE AFTER AN UNEXPECTED LUNCH (MONO)

 

 

selfie-after-an-unexpected-lunch-mono
.
Relaxing in a warm armchair after a good and unexpected lunch in a local pub, which lifted the spirits – and lengthened the waistlines – on a frosty and dispiriting day; 3 Jan 2017.

Some of Life’s good happenings, at least, can be the result of spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment decisions.

Canon G11 PowerShot at 41mm (equiv); handheld, using this (long discontinued) camera’s wonderful, fully articulated screen; 3200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset and adding a tone.
.
.
.

ARCHIVE 259 – THE G11 AND ME (MONO)

 

 

img_2505awarmtonepaperx
.

The G11 and me, reflected in a shop window in Park Row, Bristol; 6 Apr 2013.

I’ve spoken quite a bit about the excellence of the G11 PowerShot and my opinion has never for a second wavered.  Two things make it so good.

First, it is small, rugged, handy and does the job. 

And two, it has a most outstandingly useful, fully articulated (ie vari-angle) LCD screen – I just can’t believe the usefulness of this screen, I’m deeply in love with it and I wonder how the hell I managed without it! 

We photographers are no strangers to seeing camera companies getting it wrong, and the omission of this screen from ensuing models is simply crazy – it simply defies belief. 

However, if you come across a G11 for sale (they’ll all be “pre-owned” by now) >>> do give it serious thought, and especially so if you’re at all into taking photos at inconvenient angles, or you like abstracts >>> or even if looking at yourself and taking self-portraits via the screen is your thing.  I can’t recommend this camera too highly.

Canon G11 PowerShot at 30.5mm (140mm equiv); 400 ISO; converted to mono and toned with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting from the Warm Tone Paper preset.

UPDATE: I don’t use the G11 so much these days – but I usually take it along on visits to pubs – there’s no getting away from the fact that, even though it is now so “out of date” in terms of digital camera technology,  it remains a compact and handy camera.  And, well, if it does the job, it does the job.  Why “upgrade” to a more highly specified camera, when I already have something that does the job???

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 254 – SELFIE ON A BRIDGE

 

 

adl86x
.
Selfie on a footbridge, Lynmouth, Devon; 24 Sept 2009.

The striking shadow and backdrop were too good to miss, and I angled the camera so that, instead of being horizontal, the footbridge’s shadow cuts a powerful, stark diagonal right across the photo, more or less from top left to bottom right. The background, a dry overspill channel, is quite rugged and textured, and also variously green – this shot also works in black and white.

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

F6 with 24-120 Nikkor lens; Fuji Provia 400X colour slide rated at 800 ISO.

UPDATE: its almost unreal to see that this photo was originally taken as a colour slide/transparency – taken on 35mm FILM!!!   And I was having the film push processed, which means that although the film was rated at 400 ISO, I asked the company who were going to develop it to treat it as if it had a speed of 800 ISO.  The firm were (and still are, I think) based in Cheltenham in the UK, and sending the exposed film to them – and receiving back the developed colour slides in a neat plastic box – all took place via the UK postal system. 

Provia 400X was a wonderful film, excellent colours, fine grain, and I had no hesitation in having it push processed up to 3200 ISO or even higher on occasion.  Had digital photography not come onto the scene, I would certainly still be using 400X (or its descendants) now.

And film?  Well its only 7 years since this photo was taken, but all that seems such a long time ago.  Would I ever go back to using film?  Definitely not, absolutely certainly not.  The creative advantages provided by digital photography simply cannot be ignored.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 250 – PABLO PICASSO: LES DEMOISELLES D’AVIGNON

 

 

demoiselles1
.

UPDATE:  I mentioned Picasso and Les Demoiselles in the post before last and so thought to show this post again too.  In the selfie above I’m not looking totally at ease and, although still The FATman, there is now a lot less of me than is shown here.  But, there are Les Demoiselles (and they are shown in more detail below), and there is the corner of what we rather grandly know as our “Breakfast Room” where FATman Photos is created and posted.   You can’t see much really, which is just as well as the room is a complete mess, but years ago I used to lead bird and wildlife safaris in Kenya, and there up on the wall are pen and ink drawings of a lynx and an owl given to me by a grateful client from Michigan, in 1989.

And as for what follows about Picasso’s painting and Picasso too, my feelings have not changed one bit.

.

Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is certainly my most favourite painting, for two quite different reasons. Firstly, of course, I like its appearance, I like it as an image. But my second reason for liking this work is certainly stronger – I love this work because I find it hugely exciting and inspirational.

.

Ten or more years ago, when photography was becoming a serious interest, I attended Adult Education classes on Modern Art, which were run by Bristol University. I’d been photographing for years in an instinctive way and so that was not so new, but the “World of Art” was totally new, it gripped me and it has never let me go – and I could see that looking at art would be a help in creating photographs.

.

I saw Picasso’s image and was transfixed, and these feelings only increased when our teacher described it as “the first picture painted not to be liked”. Here was an image that was not supposed to provide enjoyable viewing but, rather, to shock and outrage audiences – Picasso was showing the world what he could do, and firmly establishing himself in the most modern reaches of Modern Art. As Wikipedia says, “With the bizarre painting that appalled and electrified the cognoscenti, …… Picasso effectively appropriated the role of avant-garde wild beast—a role that, as far as public opinion was concerned, he was never to relinquish.”.

.

Yes, I very much like this as an image, but I like it even more for what it represents, which is pure genius, the creation of a person with vast abilities, the creation of a person not at all afraid to be different from everyone else. This painting and what it represents both excites me, and provides me with vast and ongoing inspiration and courage. The courage and motivation to keep looking through the viewfinder, to keep on making pictures, to always be trying to think of differing approaches to pictures – and the courage to post these pictures out into public view on this blog.

.

And this painting is always with me, inspiring me, as I have a large framed edition of it up on the wall beside the desk and computer where FATman Photos first sees the light of day – see the photo above.

.

demoiselles
.
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon; Pablo Picasso; 1907.

So, after all that, what does Les Demoiselles actually show? I am certainly not vastly knowledgeable about this work of art, but here’s how it seems to me. It shows a group of prostitutes in a brothel but, while the title suggests the brothel to be in France, I think I recall reading that it was in fact in Spain. To me, the picture consists of two parts. The five women inhabit one, and crushed up against this image, right in the foreground, there is a little, triangular table with some fruit on it.

.

The portion of the image containing the women can itself be divided into at least three parts, on the basis of how the women and their surroundings are depicted. The lady on the left is tinged reddish and seems to be a part of the red left hand edge of the image. Moving right, the next two women are perhaps the most “normally” presented, with more realistic skin tones, “alluring” poses, and mostly set against a pale bluish background. To me, their sadly staring eyes are the image’s strongest point – I can feel those sad gazes boring right through me!

.

Lastly, there are the two ladies on the right, who are set against darker blue, and whose faces are thought to be derived from Picasso’s interest in African tribal art. And finally, to complete the weird atmosphere this image conjures, the woman at lower right is seated facing away from us but, despite this, she has turned her head through 180 degrees to stare at us directly over her back, just as owls do – but just as you and I don’t!

.

You may not like this picture, for reasons that may include the nature of the subjects that it depicts and the style in which they have been depicted. However it was, in today’s parlance, a real Game Changer. After this, Art would never be the same again – and for that reason I view this image with a mixture of awe, vast excitement and profound respect.

.
.
.

PEOPLE 228 – SELFIE IN A CITY SCENE

 

 

selfie-in-a-city-scene
.

OK, some interpretation, working from left to right – and its best if you click onto the photo, when you’re in my blog, to see a larger version of the image in a separate window.

First, me, nattily attired in an old cap, with old, stained, black jogging bottoms, and an even older green fleece – a fetching ensemble (although just what it might fetch must remain open to conjecture) >>> but, as an ensemble, I think it works!

However, next right, the woman holding up her hands clearly doesn’t share that view – something like, in a high voice, “Just who is that GHASTLY person?!”.

Then the man in the blue shirt prefers just to look away.

And, on the far right, the whole thing is rounded off by scaffolding poles, distorted by the reflection and wrapped in yellow to prevent the unwary walking smack into them.

Welcome to my world?  Well, there are times when it can feel like that.

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Baldwin Street, central Bristol; 9 Sept 2016.
.
.
.

PEOPLE 226 – SELFIE WITH A CAGED CAR

 

 

selfie-with-a-caged-car
.

Car in a basement garage.  The garage is set down below the level of the adjacent pavement, and has open, barred windows – that let in light and air and let out exhaust fumes, and that keep out those with a predilection for theft.

The camera is looking down into this garage, framing some of a car’s rear lights and bodywork.  The window bars make linear reflections on the bodywork, and I’m the more or less amorphous blob just below centre stage.

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Bristol city centre; 5 Aug 2016.
.
.
.

%d bloggers like this: