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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STILL LIFE 78 – THE UPPER DECK OF A BUS, ON A SUNNY DAY

 

 

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Upstairs on an empty bus, at a stop in central Bristol.

At the top, the picture all is peace, happiness and light – the bus’s seats and windows, illuminated by a bright sunny morning.

But below is darker, and those eyes are looking – rather too intently, I do think – only at you.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 250mm (equiv); 800 ISO; 20 Jan 2017.
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PEOPLE 250 – GOING TO WORK 16

 

 

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The morning rush hour, and I’m on a traffic island in the middle of Bristol’s Victoria Street, a busy main road, with traffic pouring towards me on its way up into the city centre.

A small Peugeot appears.  Its headlights are off, but those of the following vehicle are bright. I switch the camera to spot metering, meter for the headlights’ glare, and fire.  And here are a couple – totally anonymous in the shadows now –  on their way into work.

The picture is tightly cropped so that the small car looms almost menacingly in the frame.  The camera’s automatic white balance picks up the warmth of the following car’s lights on the road surface, but the Peugeot’s tinted windows cool this colour.

This is not, of course, reality; it was taken almost two hours after sunrise, albeit on a very dull morning.  It is how I like to visualise the scene for this image.

Other images from this series can be found hereherehere, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

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

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; 11 Nov 2016.
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PEOPLE 249 – GOING TO WORK 15

 

 

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Just before sunrise, and the morning bus to work grinds its way slowly along Victoria Street, in central Bristol; 2 Dec 2016.

Here are the steamy windows of winter transport and, upstairs, three ways of co-existing with them.  The blond on the left has wiped her window to see out but now turns her back on the outside world, preferring to talk to someone perhaps, or preparing to exchange the warmth of this collective and moving womb for the sudden chill of daybreak’s reality.  How many times did I wish that the morning bus ride to work world go on and on, warm and safe, forever, and that I’d never have to get off???

The woman in the centre has wiped her window, and stares disconsolately out. 

The man in front of her has let his window mist over, and is now staring ahead, lost perhaps in thought about the day ahead, anticipating his boss’s whims perhaps – or are the whims all his own?

And downstairs, below the advert for Christmas cheer,  a single, misted face.

Earlier images in this series can be found hereherehere, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

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

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 25,600 ISO; 1/125th, wide open at f5.6.
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BRISTOL 115 – DIRTY CAR (MONO)

 

 

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Up close and personal with dirt, grime, modern technology and sleek design; Victoria Street, Bristol city centre; 6 Jan 2017.

The frowning headlight and pale bodywork remind me irresistibly of the helmet of a Star Wars storm trooper. 

Overall, to me, this image conveys speed and power, along with a rugged disregard for the elements.  But appearances can be deceptive, and especially so in this time of image and hype.  I wouldn’t like to have to rely on this vehicle for travel on any road lacking a (more or less smooth) tarmac surface, or any road awash with more than a few inches of floodwater.

Tilted slightly to the right, to give more prominence to the dark and grimy wheel.

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

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Architectural preset and adding a light Selenium tone; slightly rotated.
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STILL LIFE 75 – BMW

 

 

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Park Street, in Bristol city centre; 2 Dec 2016.

My seeing this as a “real” car has absolutely nothing to do with it being a BMW and absolutely everything to do with it being grimy and therefore “used” and “real”. 

Years ago, I spent lots of time in wild places where the primary requirement for a vehicle was reliability, in some instances life-preserving reliability, and that mindset has never left me.  I am quite unable to get into the view that my vehicle must be sparklingly clean and pristine – manicured even – because it is in some way a status symbol, because it “says something about me” as a person.

Along with some moderate economy in terms of numbers of miles to the gallon (anyone remember gallons????), I simply want to know that when I leave point A I can rely on my motor to get me to point B.  I’m aiming at a simple life, and this is a part of that.

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

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 6400 ISO.
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