PEOPLE 263 – MODERN LIFE (MONO)

 

 

.
Modern Life, in a time-poor, Western society that is dependent upon – and indeed, craves – ever more complex technology, while being overrun with images, information, statistics, stress, competitiveness and data, lots and lots of data.

And do I make this post as a Totally Innocent Soul, one untainted by and unassociated with all this burgeoning modernity?  Well, hardly, as here I am adding yet another image to the ever swirling, ever churning, global mix, while having spent much of my life creating and analysing vast amounts of statistics, data and information. 

OK, my “career” (I use that word cautiously) kept the wolf from the door but, increasingly, I think maybe that’s something said in defence of many things that are not, ultimately, in the best interests of either ourselves, our wildlife or our planet.  Maybe we are all helping create a wolf that, one day, will be totally out of control and unstoppable.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, including the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Red Filter preset; St Augustine’s Parade, central Bristol; 21 Apr 2017.
.
.
.

OUTLANDS 12 – NEAR WEST LITTLETON (MONO)

 

 


.
Early in the day: above the byway, east of West Littleton; South Gloucestershire; 12 Apr 2017.

More context on this second visit to the extreme south of the Cotswold Hills, and more images, can be found here.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 206mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Neutral preset.
.
.
.

STILL LIFE 100 – KING WILLIAM AVENUE

 

 


.
Traffic sign and early sunlight.

There is another picture of this wall here.

Click onto this image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click upon this enlarged image to enlarge it further.

X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 250mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, including the Astia/Soft film simulation; King William Avenue, central Bristol; 7 Apr 2017.
.
.
.

PEOPLE 262 – WOMAN WITH BLUE NAILS

 

 


.

As so often happens, a grab shot – time for only one, very quick shot –  as passing traffic momentarily slowed down.  Luckily I had the camera set to spot metering linked to the active autofocus point, something I’m using quite a lot at the moment.  And the telephoto zoom was fully extended.  I just raised the camera to my eye, it found focus on her hand almost instantaneously, and I fired.

What do I think about this image?  Well, a passing soul, a passing someone, a stranger to me as I am to her, someone going somewhere.  But now, I suppose, part of a design, resting her fingers upon – or is she helping support?! – a curving metallic blueness set in a photographically enhanced darkness.  And if I could produce more such images, of beings in artificial, abstract realities, I would.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, including the Classic Chrome film simulation; Park Street, central Bristol; 7 Apr 2017.
.
.
.

SOMERSET LEVELS 292 – EARLY IN THE DAY, JUST BEFORE MIDWINTER

 

 


.
The first flushes of sunrise on 16th Dec 2016 –  just before the shortest day of the year.  I was heading towards the village of Mark, and looking eastwards across Binham Moor.

Composition: a noisy, grainy, blurry image – no more than an impression of what it was like being there.  And what was it like being there?  Well, it was ******* cold and, despite 1/250th and image stabilisation, I was lying across the outside of the car, hoping to high heaven that, shivering as I was, I could still hold the camera steady.  Did I have a tripod with me?  Yes.  Could I be bothered to use it?  Nope – but then that’s always the case!  This image is very much a series of horizontal layers, one on top of the other, the darkness of the ground moving up, in a series of discreet steps, into the first welcome tints of the day.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 25,600 ISO; 1/250th, wide open at f5.6; Lightroom.
.
.
.

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.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 285 – EARLY MORNING AT TEALHAM (MONO)

 

 


.
Early morning on the Tealham-Tadham Moors, on the Somerset Levels south of Wedmore; 28 Aug 2013.

Rhyne (rhymes with seen) is the Somerset term for water-filled ditches that help drain the land and often, as here, act as field boundaries.  This rhyne’s surface is covered in floating waterweed and, in the foreground, are the tall, pointed leaves of wild iris, which love these waterside locations.

The two prominent trees are in the fact the ends of two rows of such trees that line the undulating, single track, tarmac road just visible lower right of them.  The two, pale sheets of corrugated iron set up against the rhyne’s bank on the right of the picture are held there by stout wooden stakes, in an attempt to prevent the road collapsing down into the mud and water. 

The point here being that there is no solid rock supporting this landscape.  Below this countryside are over 60 feet of sodden clays and peat – “rocks” easily demolished by your shovel if not by your bare hands – such that everything is soft, yielding and unstable.  Stand beside this road as a tractor goes by and you are suddenly rising and falling as if on some rural trampoline, which can be quite shocking for those unused to it.

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

Technique: D700 with Sigma 12-24 zoom lens at 12mm; 400 ISO; conversion to mono and split toning with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Pinhole preset.

UPDATE: still a very favourite photo of mine, one that – in my eyes at least – will certainly stand the test of time.  No, it by no means depicts reality, but it is about a small, out of the way area of countryside that has a permanent place deep within me and, visually, it forcefully turns me on.  Technicalities?  Well, this image owes much to Silver Efex Pro 2 processing software, it would probably not have ended up looking like this without SEP2.  Reading about the photographic world, it emerges that SEP2 is very, very widely used by those with a love for black and white imagery.  And the other thing to mention here is my (now ancient) Sigma 12-24 zoom, which has facilitated this angle of view which is far wider than the human eye can achieve.  I call this lens ancient and, in digital terms it is – I first started using it with film cameras, shooting colour transparencies that I presented in slideshows – which maybe dates me a bit!  But since those far off days, Sigma has put this lens through two major updates, which have apparently improved image quality considerably.  The only downside to that is the cost of the latest update, £1600, which is significantly more than the cost of my recently acquired Fujifilm supercamera, the X-T2!  So I think I’ll just be sticking with my ancient 12-24 and, if it doesn’t give me “perfect” image quality, well, that’s just how it is – I’m not really into that degree of perfection, I don’t peer manically at pixels on screen, I’m more interested in the content of images, be it graphic or, sometimes, narrative.

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 95 – BICYCLE AND PAVEMENT (MONO)

 

 


.
Victoria Street, central Bristol: pushbike, pavement (aka sidewalk!); textures, shapes and many shadows.

It was towards the end of a long morning’s photography, and I was walking back towards Harts BakeryLOL! I was being irresistibly dragged there by my love of good food, might be more accurate!!!  Isn’t a total lack of willpower sometimes just wonderful?!  Or perhaps I should omit sometimes?

And, walking back along Victoria Street, it was just before I photographed these men waiting for a bus.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Pinhole preset and adding a tone; 24 Feb 2017.
.
.
.

ARCHIVE 283 – EARLY MORNING GARDEN: BUDDLEIA (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


.
Buddleia blooms at the bottom of our garden; 10 July 2014.

I’ve waddled down the garden a few times early on these soft and wonderful summer mornings, and enjoyed the stillness and lushness immensely.  Yesterday, in addition to the Swifts screaming overhead, there was an unknown song from the jungle on the other side of the back fence.  I gently hissed and pished at it a bit, and in due course a male Blackcap popped into view to see who I was. 

Pished?  Its a birding technique most effective in North America, where hissing and making “pish” noises drives warblers crazy, such that, otherwise obscure in dense vegetation, they at once spring into view.  And it works here in the UK a bit too, and in Africa.  This Blackcap’s provenance is uncertain.  He may be one of the increasing number that remain in the UK throughout the winter, or he may have made the journey up from sub-Saharan Africa just to breed in the thickets behind our back fence.

And I’m really not a gardener, but I did hear that severely pruning Buddleias in the spring brings of floods of blooms later on and so, having made a note an age ago in my diary, I got out there and hacked it to blazes awhile back, and we’re now reaping the rewards.

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

Technique: D800 with 50mm Nikkor lens used in DX format at 75mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset and selectively restoring colour.

UPDATE: this image is an example on my Mono + Colour work, where I read a colour image into Silver Efex’s black and white, and then use Silver Efex to restore one or more of the image’s original colours.  SEP2 doesn’t always get the colour restoration 100% accurate, but this can give the image a slightly strange look – which I value!  Two effects are used here.  First, I simply wanted the flowers’ colour in the shot, with no other colours – and restoring this single colour in an otherwise black and white image was the perfect solution.  Second, there is a compositional device here.  My eye is drawn immediately to the bloom on the right, which is both in focus and the largest area of colour in the frame – it is close in to us, it’s tiny flowers are peering out of the frame at us.  Then my eye goes left to the second bloom, which is out of focus and smaller, and then it is taken on left again to the very diffuse areas of colour on the left.  In this way, my gaze is drawn into and back through the picture.  Does this have the same effect on your gaze???

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 91 – MODERN ARCHITECTURE

 

 


.
Sunrise in the city, on a cold, clear morning.

Light from Our Star illuminates elegant modern design.  But the bare winter trees, although far less striking, are important too.  They help balance the composition, and they support the colours of the sky and the light in bringing Natural, uncontrived elements to the scene.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; the Eclipse apartment block, on the edge of Bristol’s Broadmead shopping area; 20 Jan 2017.

 

.
.
.

%d bloggers like this: