STILL LIFE 142 – STAIRWAY

 

 


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Outdoor stairway, with a roof to protect it from the elements but still in need of some tlc.  Also an abstract design, more or less bisected by the diagonal from the upper right corner to the lower left.  Strong horizontals on the right are abruptly truncated by a (grimy!) wall with some angular, zigzag patterning on the left.  Further up these steps, on a landing, were rough sleepers.

Did I wish these stairs sparkling, clean and conforming to the “Modern Sterile” look?  Not at all, to me they show more character, more reality, like this – and all the more so for being surrounded by the shopping centre’s gleaming and pristine retail temples.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Broadmead shopping centre, central Bristol; 7 July 2017.

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STILL LIFE 103 – FLIGHTS OF STEPS

 

 


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Looking down flights of steps with yellow edges.

Originally taken in portrait format, the image has been rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise.  The last two steps of a flight with their yellow, high-visibility safety edges are seen on the right, and there is a small landing, floored with handsome granite slabs, in the centre of the picture.  A second flight of steps descends between dark walls on the left but, because of the angle of the shot, all of the yellow edges of these steps meld together to form one yellow mass.  Another landing is dimly seen between the walls’ shadow at extreme left.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 85mm (equiv); 400 ISO; image rotation;  Lightroom, applying the Astia/Soft film simulation; York Place, Clifton, Bristol; 21 Apr 2017.
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STILL LIFE 83 – FIRE ESCAPE

 

 

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Fire escape, beside Temple Meads railway station, Bristol.

Technique: this looks like black and white, but it is in fact a very high contrast colour image.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom; 3 Feb 2017.
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ARCHIVE 268 – PENZANCE STAIRS WITH DRINKS CAN

 

 

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Drinks can on stairs in Penzance, Cornwall; 14 Sept 2011.

Inhibition is a strange thing – and most often something which I refuse to give in to.  After all, doesn’t that song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show say something like “Do it, don’t dream it!’?  But I’ve rambled on before about the – as I see it –  cardinal sin of digital photography being trying to pass off some highly manipulated colour image as point of capture reality, and that is something I’m quite sure about. 

So, here, yes this a picture of a drinks can on partially sunlit stairs in Penzance, but I’ve made the sunlit area much brighter than it actually was and I’ve very significantly increased the bright orange of the can to make it more prominent.  I feel better for letting you all know that!

This was originally posted under ‘Colour’, and its an example of very little colour helping a picture.  The green at top center, the (now) blazing orange can and the deep brown of the handrail are all relatively small items, but remove them and the picture loses something, and presenting it in straight monochrome makes it very featureless indeed – although there may be some potential for a really radical black and white conversion here.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO.

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STILL LIFE 37 – CHALET 3: MORNING SUNLIGHT ON STAIRS (MONO)

 

 

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Morning sunlight streams in through the window of our holiday chalet near Perranporth, Cornwall, lighting up the stairs ;  11 Apr 2016.

The actual steps of the stairs are not visible.  The camera is looking through the stairs’ wooden bannister/guard rails, to where the morning sun is striking the wall that borders the far side of the stairs.  Reflections from the blazing illumination light up the edges of the stairs’ wooden rails while throwing the rest of their stark shapes into silhouette.

A Minimalist abstract, the bare bones of a scene.

Other images in this series can be found here and here.

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

D800 with 50mm Nikkor; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset.
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ARCHIVE 232 – STAIRS AT TATE MODERN

 

 

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In 2005 I went ape over Modern Art  – in no small measure due to attending presentations on such luminaries as Degas, Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, which were put on by Bristol University.  Such was my enthusiasm that I made two trips to Tate Modern, in London, to see some of these masters’ work at first hand.

It is said that the UK consists of two parts, London and the rest, and that’s true – in any event London is not for me, its always far too big, far too busy, and it tires me out.

Tate Modern was crowded, that was only to be expected, but it was really quite something seeing so much artwork in the raw.  While there though, I also became visually intrigued by the vast emptiness of the Turbine Hall, and especially by the metal stairs that led up from it to other levels in the building.

OM-4 with 50mm Zuiko; Fuji Provia 400 colour slide rated at 1600 ISO; rotated clockwise; 22 Mar 2005.

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ARCHIVE 198 – STEPS UP TO A CAFE, ST IVES (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 

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Steps up to a cafe, St Ives, Cornwall; 24 Apr 2012.

This is the entrance to a cafe / bar that opens onto St Ives’ main street.  The steps have red lights on them to help revellers climbing them at night, and I’ve added some (colourless) lighting of my own here too, via one of Capture NX2’s control points.

There are bright handrails on either side of the stairs, that help take my eyes up into the cafe above, with its tables, chairs and large, bright windows.

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

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 145mm; 1600 ISO; conversion to mono, and selective restoration of colour, in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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FANTASY 33 – WOMAN CLIMBING STAIRS

 

 

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Woman climbing stairs, going up towards the light; Penzance, Cornwall; 8 Oct 2013.

A very slow shutter speed, 1/5th second, gives the impression of the woman’s swirling and diffuse form climbing up through the brightly lit tops of the flight of steps.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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PEOPLE 199 – THIS MAN IS PHOTOGRAPHING YOU (MONO)

 

 

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Selfie with spiral staircase; 5 Nov 2014.

This is a black and white version of a previously posted colour image.  Basically, both shots show me photographing my reflection in the window of a shop that is empty save for a metallic spiral staircase.  The earlier version, shown below (and presented in this post, which has more context), shows more of me and less of the stairway, and is imbued with a strong brown hue.

In this mono version, the staircase is given more prominence and I’m edged out to the side, such that I appear to be sneaking a shot of you around the edge of the image’s frame – sneaking a shot of you from out of a window perhaps.  To me, this second version is starker, colder, more in the raw perhaps – more in terms of the harsh, hard light out on the street maybe.

Which – if any – of these two images do you prefer?

Clicking onto either image will open a slightly larger version in a separate window.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 70mm; 640 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Architectural preset.

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Selfie with a spiral staircase
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ARCHIVE 120 – STAIRS IN A PUB

 

 

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Stairs in a pub, Newquay, Cornwall; 13 Sept 2011.

After lunch, as we left the pub, this colourful chasm opened up on our right.  Letting it go unphotographed was out of the question.  It was awash with colour and I was especially taken with the black and white edges to the steps, which are presumably there to help prevent inebriate revellers from going head over heels – or, as we earthy Brits might from time to time term it, arse over tit – down the stairs.

Two things came to mind.  First, I wanted those black and white steps to be somewhere near vertical in the finished product, to give the effect of a wonderfully coloured wall, or of a receding series of coloured columns.  Second, a problem, there was great contrast in the scene, with the sun blazing in from the left, so I used a low sensitivity – 400 ISO – to give more latitude for digital manipulation later on.

I took two frames and, as I clicked the first, this chap appeared from nowhere and provided an unwitting focal point for the converging lines!

I’ve rotated the shot, and used NX2‘s control points to lighten both the left hand wall and the man.  I’ve also slightly raised contrast in the sunlit areas, to better bring out the patterns made by the thin window frames.

D700 with 24-120 Nikkor at 24mm; 400 ISO; Capture NX2; rotated 90 degrees anti-clockwise.

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