STILL LIFE 126 – WHITE CAR

 

 


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The dominance of the private car in modern society but, as a driver myself, who am I to express an adverse opinion?  Still, there are many here for whom using public transport is largely unthinkable, quite close to anathema really, while walking any distance is at best infrequent.  I’m not sure I’m writing these words as any great Green or Health activist, but one thing I am sure about is that walking allows me to see, sense and experience so much more in my surroundings which, to me, is a distinctly desirable thing.  And photography, of course, fires my curiosity, keeps me looking at things, all sorts of things, which is equally desirable.

And, talking of photography, here are the effects of using a very wide angle lens tilted downwards towards the subject – the car pushes and swells right up to the front of the picture to get a better look at us, while the buildings in the backdrop tilt nightmarishly, like something from a Surrealist artwork.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 17mm (equiv); Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; King Street, central Bristol; 28 Apr 2017.
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STILL LIFE 122 – TEMPLE CIRCUS GYRATORY

 

 


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Early morning driving on the Temple Circus Gyratory, which is a large roundabout at one of the southern approaches to Bristol, near Temple Meads railway station.  Roundabout?  Traffic circle in The States I think.  And the roundabout’s official name?  Well, it could really only have been dreamt up by officials, couldn’t it, by a Local Authority, in the interests no doubt of good urban planning and neutral nomenclature?

And the photo?  Well, its garish, technicolour plus.  The highlights are all blown to featureless white but to me that’s fine because this isn’t reality, this is how I like to see it.

So what gets to me here?  Well, the lines and curves of the blazing white vehicle, which frame the face – cool shades, no-nonsense beard, mouth slightly open – with the thrill of surfing the Gyratory maybe?  And the car’s curving lines also frame the reflections in the car’s windows, which become more colourful over towards the right.  And then, in the backdrop, all those technicolour stripes.  And no, before you ask, I haven’t ramped up the colour Saturation in Lightroom, although I did increase the Vibrance to +65.   Then CEP4 was used to provide a thin black border, to prevent the lower edges of the image merging with my blog’s white background.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 400 ISO; spotmetering; Lightroom, using the Pro Neg Hi film simulation; Color Efex Pro 4; central Bristol; 7 April 2017.
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BRISTOL 121 – ALL SAINTS STREET 2

 

 


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Red car, reflecting yellow and rotated.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spotmetering; Lightroom, including flipping, rotation and use of the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; All Saints Street, central Bristol; 19 May 2017.
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PEOPLE 268 – MAN IN A CAR

 

 


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Another early morning in the city.  I walked up Crow Lane, away from the harbour’s glistening waters, and photographed the clown poster.  Then, as I turned squinting into the bright morning light, there was a man, silhouetted, sitting in his car and totally immersed in his phone.

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

Technique:  a telephoto zoom is ideal for this sort of quick, close in, intimate shot – the Fuji 55-200 (a 85-305 35mm equivalent) is often the only lens I carry.  And, when out photographing, I make a habit of frequently looking behind me – and especially so if the light is coming from behind me – and of doubling back on myself >>> you never quite know what might be lurking back there!   X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; spotmetering for the highlights; Lightroom.
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STILL LIFE 111 – FLOOR-CLEANING OPERATIVE RELAXING ON A BED OF HYDROXIDES OF IRON

 

 

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Or, then again, maybe its a mop in the back of a rusty pickup, it just a question of point of view.  But still, letting my imagination run on a little …. always a process with uncertain outcomes …

“Yes, I can confirm that I’ll be taking my holidays on this bed of hydroxides next year.  Something of a busman’s holiday?  Well, yes, you could say that.  I mean, when you spend your working life being dragged across floors, it might seem that the last thing you want to do on your days off is relax on one …”.

Or, then again:

“Come on in, the hydroxides are lovely!”.

And hydroxides?  Long, long ago, I used to be a chemist of sorts although, looking back on it, I’m not sure I ever had a really good grip on what I was doing – while being absolutely certain that what little knowledge I possessed then has evaporated now!  But when iron comes into contact with oxygen and moisture, it combines with them to form hydroxides and oxides, which we know as rust.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 84mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; Tottenham Place, Clifton, Bristol; 12 May 2017.

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STILL LIFE 99 – PARKED CAR REFLECTING ARCHITECTURE AND BLUE SKY

 

 

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Reflections in the bodywork of a parked car.  The blue sky can be seen left of centre, with distorted reflections of buildings around it.  The other reflections are from the car itself.

Technique: a first for this blog, in that although Lightroom has been used afterwards for final processing, this image was initially generated by the X-T2’s Raw Conversion facility.  In-camera, this facility allows Raw files to be edited in various ways – Push/Pull Processing, Film Simulation, Dynamic Range, Grain Effect, White Balance, Cropping, etc, etc – and then to be saved as jpegs while leaving the original Raw files intact.  In this case, the Raw file was given the look of Fuji’s Velvia film simulation, which (as users of Velvia film may remember), boosts colours and contrast.  Sitting down with the camera after a photo session, I find this a useful and creative way of looking through what the session has captured, as well as experimenting with the images to see what looks and crops may be eyecatching – and then saving those that appear useful.

I have a sneaking feeling that some photographic purists might consider this cheating, because I’m letting the camera do some of the processing work for me whereas I ought to be handling the whole of the processing myself in eg Lightroom.  Well, two thoughts about that.  First, I have always said – and it has always been a very core part of my photographic thinking – that all that matters in photography is the final image, irrespective of the way(s) in which it has been generated.  And second, if I generate something like this image, am I really going to expend lots of time and energy seeking to replicate it with Lightroom, when I already have something useable to hand?

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; jpeg with the Velvia film simulation generated from a Raw file in-camera; Lightroom; King Street, central Bristol; 7 Apr 2017.

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STILL LIFE 98 – TWO CARS

 

 


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Cars parked next to each other; view through the windows of one car to the car behind.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 205mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, including adding Fuji’s Velvia colour profile; thin black border added in Color Efex Pro 4; outside Harts Bakery, Bristol; 7 Apr 2017.
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STILL LIFE 88 – PARKED CARS

 

 

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Looking along a line of parked cars, Lower Maudlin St, central Bristol; 24 Feb 2017.

Composition: I have a visual fetish for looking along lines of objects – vehicles, buildings’ windows and facades, trees and so on – that recede into the distance.  I suppose this is something to do with the convergence of such views, and the apparently diminishing scale of the objects.  In this case there was a building site on the right, with a big, pale, solid wooden fence between it and the pavement.  In the bright sunlight, this stockade was reflecting a lot of light onto the line of closely parked cars – and so to focusing on the mirror of the nearest car to establish a prominent, solid object to tie the rest of the composition to, and then letting the camera look on down the jumbled line of metallic shapes, with empty, sunlit pavement relatively featureless on the right.  The X-T2’s APS-C sensor gives greater depths of focus than full frame sensors, but even on f8 the close-in use of a long telephoto narrows the zone of sharp focus considerably, rendering the more distant cars as increasingly vague shapes and impressions.  A couple more car mirrors add some structure to that receding line of metallic chaos, and two red brake lights add welcome hot colour.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom.
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STILL LIFE 86 – PARKED CAR

 

 

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Reflections in the bodywork of a parked car; Park Street, central Bristol.

Not an easy image to comprehend and maybe not intended for comprehension.  It has been rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise.  The little door covering the fuel cap is the little circle with a raised finger hole, down just right of the picture’s centre.  Up left of that, and snaking slightly across from lower left to upper right, is the edge of the vehicle’s closed rear passenger door.

Technique: with me, with regard to photography (but maybe not much else), the great thing is not to overdo things.  And when it comes to visually overdoing things, Lightroom, with its myriad sliders, is an overdoing disaster just waiting to happen – its so easy in LR to end up unintentionally overcooked and garish – which for me is one of the few complete photographic no-no’s.  Undercooked is fine, intentionally overcooked is fine – but the real no-no is overcooking something and then trying to pass it off as reality.  So on first looking at this after processing it, I thought (and not for the first time) OMG!, what are you on, Lewis?!  But, looking back at the unprocessed image, and looking through the LR adjustments I’ve used, this is in fact not far from reality – which is a relief!  The car was not super clean, you can see dirt etc on it it you look closely but, in brilliant sunshine, it was parked next to something – and I can’t now remember what – that, on the low angle, brilliant sunshine, was extremely reflective.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and then click onto the enlarged image once again – recommended.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; rotated; 20 Jan 2017.
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STILL LIFE 84 – A REFLECTION OF THE RISING SUN

 

 

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Another early morning in the city, and the rising sun blazing across the river.  The side of this building was in shade, but the golden, early morning light was being reflected back into this shade, lighting up the scene.  There was the golden light (and some tree shadows) on the thinly striated wall, five narrow windows in a horizontal line, and a parked car below.  That assemblage of items has been cropped, and then rotated onto its side.

Technique: this is a photographic first for me, the highest ISO I’ve ever used – the X-T1 was at 51,200 ISO, and the exposure was still only 1/180th, wide open at f4.8.  And although I always shoot Raw files, that was not possible here – unlike the X-T2, the X-T1 only shots Raw up to 6400 ISO, producing jpegs above that.  Technically not a perfect photo by any means, and not one to be enlarged to any great size, but that’s OK with me.  And I’ve attempted to turn the three objects – the car, the windows and the golden light – into a still life assemblage.  Some might prefer the lines of the car parallel / at right angles to those of the windows, the wall’s striations and the image’s edges, but maybe the discordance accentuates the incongruity of the whole thing.  What do you think?

Click onto the image to open a  larger version in a separate window, and them click once more onto the enlarged image.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 305mm (equiv); 51,200 ISO; Lightroom, including rotation 90 degrees clockwise; opposite Temple Meads railway station, central Bristol; 20 Jan 2017.
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