PEOPLE 301 – GOING TO WORK 36

 

 


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Steamy windows on the winter bus and there’s tedium in the air too – but mobile devices distract.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  . Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom; Union Street, central Bristol; 1 Dec 2017.
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STILL LIFE 174 – WINTER SUN, IN A CAR PARK

 

 


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Low angle winter sunlight floods across a car park, illuminating a front tyre.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 206mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Capture NX2; Temple Meads Station, Bristol; 1 Dec 2017.
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STILL LIFE 169 – DARK CAR (MONO)

 

 

Dark car

racing from the light,

drawn down by the white line,

drawn down into darkness.

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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); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Architectural preset; fast road up over the Mendip Hills, above Compton Martin, Somerset; 24 Nov 2017.
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STILL LIFE 168 – FROSTY MORNING, MELTING

 

 


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After a cold night, still icy in the shadows.

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Technique: TG-5 at 70mm (equiv); 160 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Hart’s Bakery, Temple Meads, Bristol; 8 Nov 2017.
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PEOPLE 298 – WALKING TO SCHOOL

 

 


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The road to learning, through restful autumn mists and the anything but restful morning rush hour.  I was a young schoolboy like him rather more than 50 years ago.  Our family had one car, which my father used for work – which left mum and I without transport, and anyway mum never learned to drive.  And so to a long, solitary bus ride back and fore to school each day – which was fine, and which was what many kids did in those days, especially those coming in from the surrounding countryside.

Times have changed, and now many children – on occasion even into their mid teens – are taken to school by car, the infamous, twice daily, “school run”.  That young people can face dangers from elements within our society is beyond question – I’ve worked in children’s social services, I should know.  But the problem is that totally shielding them from every real and imagined threat leaves them less prepared – maybe less streetwise says it – for the days when, sooner or later, they will need to be looking out, at least in part, for their own safety and welfare.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; south Bristol; 2 Nov 2017.
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PEOPLE 297 – PEOPLE FROM MY PAST 2 (MONO)

 

 


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Yesterday, I introduced these People from my Past images, along with a picture from my time as a geologist in the mountains of Oman.  This is another picture from Oman.

Here is our campsite, two tents, the vehicle, and rock – rock everywhere – with the bare mountains all around.  I’m slouching in the shade of the vehicle on a camping stool, quite possibly after a long day’s work – and the photographer is my colleague Don.

It was extremely interesting exploring the interior of a country which was only just opening up to the outside world.  The interior was wild, I remember many apparently ancient sites lying open on the surface, but the going was tough.  The days were hot, I wore two pairs of socks inside stout boots to keep the heat away from my feet, and the vehicle’s bodywork was burning to the touch.  There were no tarmac roads, and indeed very few roads of any size at all; we often found ourselves driving across country, or up into the many deep wadis that radiated out from the mountains’ flanks.

The Land Rover was rugged, tough, very basic and an absolutely wonderful vehicle for these conditions.   There is a jerry can visible in the roof rack: we carried most of our water and spare petrol up there above our heads – which in the case of the petrol was distinctly unnerving, but luckily we never turned the vehicle over.   The water was solely for cooking and drinking, washing being a luxury that had to wait until we got back to our base at Sohar, on the coast.

The terrain was mentally as well as physically taxing, since nearly the whole landscape was in shades or brown or maroon, so much so that the rare patches of greenery, near water, were often quite shocking, even strident, to the eye.  Flying home, the endless greens of England were a definite shock too.

Before going to Arabia, we had been trained to give and receive intravenous injections of serum that would counteract snake bites and scorpion stings.  I can’t recall seeing any snakes, but scorpions were common under stones, especially near water.  During our training, the sight of the large, intravenous needle, and then having to stick it either into myself or someone else, to extract a little blood from the vein before injecting the serum, always made me pass out.  I would feel my head getting tighter, and then wake up lying on the floor, looking up at a ring of laughing faces looking down at me.

And so the scenario was all too predictable – Don would be stung or bitten, and collapsed, flat out on the desert floor.  I would rush up with the large needle, push it in – and then there would be two of us flat out on the desert floor …  We were very careful, and this scenario never unfolded – the worst sting I had was from a hornet.

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

Technique: Don took this, and looking at it I would guess he used his OM-1 with a 135mm Zuiko telephoto.

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PEOPLE 296 – PEOPLE FROM MY PAST 1 (MONO)

 

 

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I’ve been posting pictures of people since I started this blog.  I’d have liked to have posted more from this genre, but opportunities for such photography have never been plentiful.  Now, as a subset of this genre, I’m going to post images of people – myself included – from my own past.  Some of these images have been posted here before, some are new.  This idea has been stimulated by the rediscovery of pictures I sent to my mother from far off places, and also by the rediscovery of some old photograph albums.  I hope you will enjoy these pictures.

And so to the first image, above.  Years ago – my passport tells me 1975/6 – I was working on geology in the mountains of the Sultanate of Oman, which is in the southeast of the Arabian peninsula.  Don (above, right) and myself would drive our (absolutely wonderful) long-wheelbase Land Rover inland from the Batinah coast and deep into the mountains, and then camp there while we worked on the rocks.  That was all that our little expeditions consisted of – him, me, the vehicle and a small tent each.  We had no radio, no means of contact with the outside world at all – but we were young, and didn’t think or worry about such things …

So there was no convivial club or bar to retire to in the evenings, and the only at all civilised and comfortable seating was in the front of the Land Rover – and so here are the two of us, with our Tilley lamp blazing away, passing a restful evening reading and writing up notes in the front seat of what we called “the van”, while outside the stony desert that had scorched us during the day became, under crystal clear skies, very much colder.  And yes, crystal clear skies every night, with no light pollution at all, and the Milky Way blazing out magnificently above.  We were both naturalists (and photographers too, as it happens) and so we both had binoculars, and we bought a little book on astronomy with binoculars: the things visible through the bins in these crystal clear heavens were impressive – and such interests gave us welcome diversion.

A story from our first journey into the mountains sticks in my mind.  Don and I were both well qualified for our task (the product of British universities, don’t ya know!!!), and so we had all the gear and everything was planned – except that, on our first expedition, we forgot to pack any matches.  So, there we were in the back of beyond, with the prospect of either existing on uncooked food, or of doing something about it.  We were carrying lots of spare petrol, some of which powered the Optimus stoves that we used for cooking.  So, on the first night, we sparked the Land Rover’s battery onto the Optimus, there was a flash as the petrol went up – and we had hot food and drink.

But it was clear that repeatedly treating the battery in this way might not be wise for various reasons, so we had to think again.  The next day, we met another vehicle and paid them quite a steep price for all the matches they were carrying.  Fine, and we thought no more of the encounter.  But several days later we met the same vehicle again – and were astounded to find that, on reaching the coast, the occupants had spent all of our money on yet more matches, and had brought them back inland in the hope of meeting us again to pass them on.

The point here is that, in deserts like this, getting into trouble, maybe even from some small mechanical failure on the vehicle, can result in getting into a very deep trouble indeed, and so everyone looks out for everyone else.  Wherever we stumbled upon (usually tiny) habitations we were always invited in for coffee and dates and, in these mountains, we never experienced any problems with theft or security.

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

Technique: Don had a (now) classic Olympus OM-1 camera and several lenses, and I used a Practica SLR; we shot colour slides – maybe Agfa CT18 I think.  Here one of us must have set the camera up in the back of the vehicle, and then reached over to press the delayed action.  Such simple things provided welcome diversion and relaxation.

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STILL LIFE 149 – TWO CARS (MONO)

 

 


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Cars, in fairly radical, stark, black and white.

Looking at this, I’m impressed by the apparent bulk and massive presence of the rear car, which is probably due to the one in front being only partly visible.  And the cars are held very tightly within the image’s frame, they are too big for the frame, they are bursting to get out.

There are other recent car pictures, in various styles, here, here, here and here Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version 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; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Silhouette preset; Assembly Rooms Lane, central Bristol; 12 May 2017.
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STILL LIFE 139 – CAR AFTER RAIN SHOWER

 

 


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I’m married to my 55-200 Fujinon telezoom, which mirrors the 70-300mm of my very, very favourite, full-frame Nikon lens.  I also have the 10-24 Fujinon lens that is a 15-36 full-frame equivalent, but I’ve just not been able to get into using it much – and I’ve read of others finding the results of wide angle lenses tending to be formulaic in exactly the same way.

So last Friday, having no real other photographic targets in mind, I took the 10-24 into the city again – and did get a little more into it, especially when using it close-in.  And its smaller than the 55-200 and really quite handy.  But I wish it was a little longer at the upper focal length end, say up to 50mm or 75mm equivalent.  As I’ve said before, my 24-120 full frame Nikon zoom really is an extremely useful and flexible lens, the lens I’ll always take if I’m unsure what sorts of images are going to appear.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Victoria Street, central Bristol; 4 Aug 2017.
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PEOPLE 285 – GOING TO WORK 29 (MONO)

 

 


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Going to work.  The bike beats the jams but he’s jammed in – anonymous, wary, vulnerable, claustrophobically picking his way between shifting walls of gleaming metal and glass; lungs poisoned by fumes, ears blasted by engines and horns, and always the thought that he’ll fare worst in any tussle with these mechanised beings.

Oh come, you’ll say, mechanised beings?each has a human driver!  Well, the way things are going, that may not be true for too much longer – so, thinking of the Terminator films – is this Rise Of The Machines???

Technique: this is tight crop, aimed at accentuating how the cyclist is being hemmed in, to accentuate how the “mobile metal monsters” are queuing up to squeeze closely past him.  And these feelings of claustrophobia are (hopefully!) added to by cropping The Man Himself; and especially so his eyes, which at once renders him anonymous and unknown; leaving only his mouth, which looks rather taut, stressed and ready for the worst.

And here also something that I very rarely do – using Lightroom to completely produce a black and white image.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27 and 28.     Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Capture NX2; Baldwin Street, central Bristol; 19 July 2016.
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