ARCHIVE KENYA 22 – THE HUGE SKIES I MISS SO MUCH!

 

 


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Skyscape on the eastern side of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve – the huge skies that I miss so much!; April 1979.

Notice the effect of the polariser, which turns the sky at upper right almost black.  If such a photo can have a subject within it (i.e. as opposed to the subject being the whole skyscape), I think that here its the large cloud at top right, which is well defined against the very dark (polarised) sky, and which is at a compositional strong point –  the intersection of the upper and left hand thirds.

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

Technique: Olympus OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens and polarising filter; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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OUTER SUBURBS 232 – A WEATHER FRONT MOVES THROUGH

 

 


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Out early, walking in the lockdown.  I’ve taken fewer photos during these walks recently, for three reasons I think.  First the sun is higher in the sky now, even during the very early hours I keep – I’ll have to wait until the very earliest stirrings of autumn before the light gets lower and more golden again.  Second, I’ve worked out a “safe” walking route where the all important social distancing can easily be achieved, but as this is mainly through suburban housing estates, I’m rather reticent about pointing a camera towards anyone’s front windows!  But thirdly, and inevitably I suppose, all of this virus turmoil is getting to me such that, as I walk, my mind is often preoccupied with things other than photography.  It can take quite an effort to re-focus the mind into real “looking and seeing” mode; having Roe Deer and Foxes around does me good!

But last Thursday the skies became a little more dramatic as a small weather front passed eastwards over Bristol.  It brought a couple of light and in fact quite refreshing showers, and as I looked at the clouds moving over from the west, this scene unfolded.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 70mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 21 May 2020.

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OUTER SUBURBS 213 – WINTER TREES (MONO)

 

 


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Lockdown: walking out to buy a newspaper in the early morning – and looking up.

This scene was on the opposite side of the road to the one shown here, and these were the trees casting the shadows onto that new fence.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 320 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared High Contrast preset, and adding a light Coffee tone; south Bristol; 31 Mar 2020.
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ARCHIVE 446 – SEASCAPE

 

 


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Study in blue – looking out to sea from Lizard Point, Cornwall; 19 Oct 2016.

Composition: a Minimalist image, take away the fluffy cloudlets and there’s really not much here, although it might still (just) work sans nuages.  But I like these little clouds – their shapes, fluffiness and colour – and the way they are at once separate from the dense, dark overcast – their relationship to this overcast is rather like that of little children skipping along beside their humourless, stolid, heavily pacing parents.  There is also that thin, linear break in the parental overcast just above these cloudlets – is it the trace of a smile? – perhaps their parents are not so humourless after all …

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 450 – LOOKING WEST AND LOOKING UP

 

 


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One of my favourite places – Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels.  And using a very wide angle lens to look up at the sky and give some idea of – some feel for – the very peaceful morning.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Astia/Soft profile; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wedmore; 14 Feb 2020.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 447 – THE NORTH DRAIN, LOOKING WEST 2

 

 


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Using a very wide angle lens to see a wider angle of view – sharply –  than the unaided human eye ever can: the manmade North Drain flows off slowly towards the horizon, removing water from the often sodden, flat peatlands around it.  Surface water can be seen lying on these rough pastures, but they are not yet actually flooded.  Above, during a period of numerous storms, the tranquil sky of a brief interlude of high atmospheric pressure.

In my previous post –  here  –  there is a very different version of this view, taken with a telephoto lens and presented in black and white.  The post will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image once or twice to open an enlarged version in a separate window.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 200 ISO; jpeg created and processed in-camera from a raw file, using the Velvia/VIVID film simulation; no further processing; the North Drain, on Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wedmore; 14 Feb 2020.
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OUTER SUBURBS 181 – EARLY MORNING 40

 

 


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Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 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 .  All will open in separate windows.  You can also search on the “early morning” tag.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Natural profile; south Bristol; 2 Dec 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 176 – EARLY MORNING 39

 

 


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A bitingly cold dawn with a hard frost: and so to slippery roads and pavements, and to a bright moon high in a completely clear sky.

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 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 .  All will open in separate windows.  You can also search on the “early morning” tag.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 18 Jan 2020.

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OUTER SUBURBS 174 – EARLY MORNING 38

 

 

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Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 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 .  All will open in separate windows.  You can also search on the “early morning” tag.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 10 Jan 2020.
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TALKING IMAGES 51 – THE OLYMPUS TG-5 AT FULL STRETCH

 

 


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WALKING IN THE NAUTICAL TWILIGHT!

LOL!!! >>> early morning walking on the day before the Winter Solstice – this was taken yesterday at 0715, and Google tells me that dawn in Bristol was at 0733 yesterday, Dec 21st.  So this is apparently during what is known as Nautical Twilight, which is when the Sun is between 12 and 6 degrees below the horizon, i.e. not yet risen but still providing some brightness.  This form of twilight is known as Nautical because the horizon and some stars are visible, so permitting navigation at sea on clear days.  But there are no stars visible here, because the darkness above the horizon was a thick, dark rain cloud, which was about to empty its contents quite accurately onto The FATman!

SOMETHING FOR THE TECHIES …

Well, Nautical Twilight, we live and learn, but the real point of this photo are the technicalities – which I know will immediately send most of you glassy eyed and soporific.  (Well, OK, good point, more glassy eyed and soporific …)  But here is the TG-5 working almost flat out – the handheld exposure, using spot metering for the highlights, was 1/13th second at f 4.2; 6400 ISO; 74mm (equiv) focal length.  There was nothing convenient to lean on in an attempt to steady the shot, so I had to rely on the camera’s built in stabilisation.  The TG-5 will go up to 12,800 ISO but looking at the grain in this photo, after processing in Lightroom, the grain at 12,800 must be really something else >>> although that might not stop me using that ISO in the future!

I don’t think the picture is pin-sharp but, as always, that is not overly important to me.  What is important to me is that this little camera has just about managed to cope with the conditions prevailing on this wet early morning, and that it has enabled me to produce a pretty accurate representation of the scene, of what it was like being there – the thin, wan light on the southeastern horizon, the dark cloud threatening rain, the silhouettes of the bare winter trees, and that single lit window – people up and about early, getting ready for a probably dull and wet, winter’s day in south Bristol.

You can enlarge this image in a separate window by clicking twice onto it – recommended.

BIG BOYS’ TOYS!

But I’m not a techie, far less, and >>> oh thank heavens!!! >>> not a Pixel Peeper either!  Every week, Amateur Photographer magazine keeps me up with the latest advances in digital cameras, some of which I understand, some of which I don’t.  But the bottom line is that I’m simply interested in cameras that do the business, that come up with the goods.  My criteria are basic: I want a camera to be (reasonably) lightweight, compact and robust, with good ergonomics (i.e. feeling natural and intuitive to handle/use), and one that is capable of working in diverse light conditions – including (definitely without a tripod NB!) the murk pictured above.

Some people apparently want to be seen with cameras that look good, that perhaps are thought to add something to their image, but such feelings interest me not in the slightest – I just want a camera that does the job, and that doesn’t break my nearly 70 year old back!

One thing that attracts me about photography is that it enables me to be creative, to express my artistic side – relatively easily.  Recently I read a book on oil painting, which is something I thought might be interesting, before quite quickly coming to the conclusion that I lack both the necessary skills (my drawings have always been truly terrible) and – equally importantly –  the patience required.  Far better to stick with my cameras!

Another thing that attracts me to photography is that it is a meeting of science and the arts, and that to be done successfully it needs a bit of both disciplines.  Which of course leads to those more interested in the technology, and in my experience this is mainly a male thing – Big Boys’ Toys!  Just how Politically Incorrect can I get???  The thing is, I have recurring eyewitness accounts of a photography group who go out to various locations to take pictures – when the women actually do take pictures whereas most of the men spend at least some of the time discussing the relative merits of their camera gear!  Well, I do want to fit in, so maybe I should buy a powerful sports convertible with one of these overlarge, super noisy exhausts – mid-life crisis (a bit late, as it happens …) here I come!!!

AND SO TO THE BOTTOM LINE

And so to the bottom line, via a quote from Amateur Photographer’s Deputy Editor, Geoff Harris, last week:

I really do believe a major part of being a successful photographer is not only to become technically competent and to know your camera inside out, but also to be able to spot a unique opportunity in the first place.  I guess that is what people mean when they talk about “developing your eye”, but this essential skill only comes about through experience.

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