ARCHIVE 598 – OLD MAN TAKING A PHOTOGRAPH (MONO)

 

 


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Old man taking a photo, West Bay, Dorset; 21 Apr 2015.

Someone engrossed – doing what I’m doing – on the other side of the road.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, beginning at the High Structure Harsh preset.

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ARCHIVE 569 – FULMAR

 

 


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Fulmar flying along the cliff top at West Bay, Dorset; 23 Apr 2015.

How I love Dorset!  And we’ve just been down there for a few days’ break, renting a cheapo caravan not far behind the beach at the tiny “resort” of West Bay, which is on the coast south of Bridport.  I put resort in quotes because, although it is on Dorset’s absolutely totally beautiful coast and it does have a harbour with a few working fishing boats – mainly for shellfish, crabs and lobster I think – West Bay also has some really ugly holiday apartments (which sell for just under half a million pounds each) and other ugly modern buildings, and it really is a cheap and cheerful place.

BUT, that said, this is coastal Dorset, and so all this money! money! money! ugliness is set amongst just totally wonderful natural beauty.  And the little kiosks  round the harbour serve up good fish and chips, and there’s Dorset Apple Cake, and a brewery nearby that’s been churning out the good stuff since 1794, and some really nice bakeries in nearby Bridport, etc etc.  I suppose the bottom line is that its very hard to dent coastal Dorset’s vast appeal – and thank goodness for that!

Anyway, anyway –  it was the afternoon of the final day of our stay, the blast of the bright sunshine had softened a little, and I took it in my head to climb a steep hill east of the harbour, to explore a bit.  Well, OMG, it was steep, but when The Great Explorer eventually puffed and coughed his way to the top, what did he find?  Beautiful natural wilderness?  Well, no, a golf course actually, but you can’t have everything.  And as I set off regardless along the cliff top path, I caught a glimpse of a seagull coasting along the cliffs – but it didn’t look quite right.

And sure enough it wasn’t quite right, because rather than a gull it was a (Northern) Fulmar – Fulmarus glacialis – a seabird, a real denizen of the open oceans that only comes ashore to breed, on steep inaccessible cliffs like those at West Bay.  So, I watched where these birds were habitually gliding past, wound the D800 up on DX format so that my 70-300 zoom became a 105-450 zoom – and started blasting away.

It was difficult going, even with autofocus, and lots of my attempts are, shall we say, “impressionistic”.  But here is one caught above the glare of the lowering sun on the sea – and it does look like a seagull at first glance, doesn’t it – but there’s a little kink and ridge on the top of its bill that houses nasal passages, something that gulls don’t have.

And two points of interest.  Living out on the open seas as they do, and eating things like squid, fish and shrimps, these birds are up to their ears in salt – some of which they manage to get rid of by excreting it as a strong saline solution through their noses.  And, should one of these beauties feel that you’re approaching it too closely on a cliff, they will vomit their foul smelling stomach oils over you –  as a means of giving you a gentle hint.

And, finally, their plumage is white below.  The warm orange tinge to the underparts that you see in the photo was in fact the reflection of the lowering sunlight on West Bay’s beautiful, honey-coloured cliffs.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX format to give 450mm; 400 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 507 – PHOTOGRAPHER (MONO)

 

 


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Photographer on top the East Cliff at West Bay, Dorset; 21 Apr 2015.

Having climbed the really quite steep path palely visible on the far left, a woman pauses to look back westwards, taking a photo perhaps of the view over the tiny coastal resort of West Bay and the wonderful coastal scenery beyond.  Her companion – who may be as frustrated and bored with her “artistic pauses” as many photographers’ companions are – digs his hands into his pockets and stalks on along the path, which passes to the right of the wire fence.

I like this picture for its simplicity, and also for the impression it gives of Tiny and Fleeting Humanity against the dark, brooding, massive and far longer term Natural World.  I’ve intentionally made the silhouette to emphasise this distinction, but I value the path’s pale rocks because they provide some sort of border to the image on that side.  And the featureless blue sky is left untidy with a contrail and gulls, both of which could have been removed, because they add some interest and closure on the right.

And has she seen the glint of the long lens on my thundering great tank of a Nikon, and so is photographing, me photographing her, photographing me … “and so on, ad infinitum“, if I can paraphrase Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)?  Or is she (hopefully …) of a more artistic bent, and going for what the French call a vue generale?

Finally, the cliff’s stark edge forms the profile of a human visage that is looking up to the right – forelock, eyelashes, nose, lips, and maybe double chin or Adam’s Apple too, they’re all there –   but even I have not the gall to suggest that they be thought of as a cliff face.

Click onto this image to see a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Structure Harsh preset.

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ARCHIVE 481 – SELFIE OF YOUNG LOVE (MONO)

 

 


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Something heartwarming, something very good to see; West Bay, Dorset; 21 Apr 2015.

Strolling on the harbour wall at the diminutive Dorset resort of West Bay, with the damned great Nikon and zoom perched on my paunch – when over left a selfie was fired off – and I was just not quick enough to capture the action, although I did get a shot of them examining the result immediately afterwards.

And so, and not for the first time, I cursed my lack of alertness and speed – when they squared up for another shot at it – I mean, them – and this time I was ready.

Well, its truly candid, and as an image I like it.  Presentation in black and white removes the distractions of colour and takes us in solely to them and what they’re about.

But those thoughts only scratch the surface on this one.  I started off by describing it as heartwarming and I stick by that.  Its a moment of togetherness and affection, a moment shared – and that’s good to see.  Who knows what the future will bring for them?  Not knowing them at all, I wish them good luck and happiness.

See?  Underneath … well, actually, really quite deep underneath … I’m just something of an Old Softy ….

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Spectrum preset.

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ARCHIVE 473 – WAVE MEETS MAN (MONO)

 

 


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FANTASY: a wave, furrowed, swelling, dark, and with a thin, foaming apron of silver, rolls in towards the beach and meets a man.  And there is a communion – something passes –  between the moving water and that rigid figure with his dark suit, bowed head and tightly clenched fists.  

Is he bowing to the turbulent and rising water, acknowledging it perhaps as a living thing?  Or, in a moment of shock and revelation, is he realising his own inadequacy in the face of this endless, remorseless and energetic swell?  And, equally, in what way is the wave responding to him?  Indifference, perhaps?  Or, however muted and distant, is there some acknowledgement of another feature of this planet’s surface?

And because this is an interpretation that exists only in my mind, I have used a pale vignette to separate this imagined interaction from the solid and all too permanent reality all around – the mist shifts, and we are granted a fleeting glimpse into a daydream.

REALITY: a man, not a young man as I remember, walked down the beach in a dark blue suit, brown shoes and a wide brimmed hat, and remained standing there in the harsh sunlight, apparently transfixed by the sand and pebbles at his feet. 

What was he actually doing?  His fists appear to be clenched but, magnifying things substantially, I think that his hands are in fact full of beach pebbles – and fossils too maybe on this famous Jurassic Coast.  And he’s gazing down at the beach’s debris, hoping to add more to his collection.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset; West Bay, Dorset; 21 Apr 2015.

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ARCHIVE 356 – WAVE MEETS MAN (MONO)

 

 


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FANTASY: a wave, furrowed, swelling, dark, and with a thin, foaming apron of silver, rolls in towards the beach and meets a man.  And there is a communion – something passes –  between the moving water and that rigid figure with his dark suit, bowed head and tightly clenched fists.

Is he bowing to the turbulent and rising water, acknowledging it perhaps as a living thing?  Or, in a moment of shock and revelation, is he realising his own inadequacy in the face of this endless, remorseless and energetic swell?  And, equally, in what way is the wave responding to him?  Indifference, perhaps?  Or, however muted and distant, is there some acknowledgement of another feature of this planet’s surface?

And because this is an interpretation that exists only in my mind, I have used a pale vignette to separate this imagined interaction from the solid and all too permanent reality all around – the mist shifts, and we are granted a fleeting glimpse into a daydream.

REALITY: a man, not a young man as I remember, walked down the beach in a dark blue suit, brown shoes and a wide brimmed hat, and remained standing there in the harsh sunlight, apparently transfixed by the sand and pebbles at his feet.

What was he actually doing?  His fists appear to be clenched but, magnifying things substantially, I think that his hands are in fact full of beach pebbles – and fossils too maybe on this famous Jurassic CoastAnd he’s gazing down at the beach’s debris, hoping to add more to his collection.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset; West Bay, Dorset; 21 Apr 2015.

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ARCHIVE 349 – IN THE HARBOUR (MONO)

 

 


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In the harbour, West Bay, Dorset; 23 Apr 2015.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

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ARCHIVE 316 – FULMAR

 

 


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Fulmar flying around East Cliff; West Bay, Dorset; 23 April 2015.

Looking very much like a seagull, this is in fact a true seabird that spends most of its life out on the open seas and only comes ashore to breed – the reason why this individual was around the cliffs at West Bay.  It can at once be told from a gull by the little kink and ridge on the top of its bill that houses nasal passages, something that gulls don’t have.

Living out on the open seas as they do, and eating things like squid, fish and shrimps, these birds are up to their ears in salt – some of which they manage to get rid of by excreting it as a strong saline solution through their noses.  And, should one of these beauties feel that you’re approaching it too closely on a cliff, they will vomit their foul smelling stomach oils over you –  to give you a gentle hint …

And finally here’s a fascinating passage from Wikipedia: “Fulmars have for centuries been exploited for food. The engraver Thomas Bewick wrote in 1804 that “Pennant, speaking of those [birds] which breed on, or inhabit,   the Isle of St Kilda, says—’No bird is of so much use to the islanders as this: the Fulmar supplies them with oil for their lamps, down for their beds, a delicacy for their tables, a balm for their wounds, and a medicine for their distempers.  …..  James Fisher, author of The Fulmar (1952) calculated that every person on St Kilda consumed over 100 fulmars each year; the meat was their staple food, and they caught around 12,000 birds annually.”.  But no, before you ask, I’ve never tasted one!  And I recommend that St Kilda link – if only for the sounds of the sea! –  I’ve never been there, but it was a constant and brooding presence, far off to the west, when I was on the Western Isles some years back.

There is another Fulmar image, and more context, here.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor used at 300mm in DX (= APS-C) format to provide 450mm; 400 ISO.

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FANTASY 34 – ADVERT FOR SHINGLE BEACH AND CLOUDY SKY

 

 

advert-for-shingle-beach-and-cloudy-sky
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FANTASY: well, what the title says – with a desperate stab at modernity,  “It does what it says in the title!“.  And maybe its The Advertising Of The Future – after all, if you place your empty hoarding in front of what you’re advertising, you do away with the need for the actual advert …

REALITY: empty advertising / information display on the beach at West Bay, Dorset; 5 Oct 2005.  Right from the moment I pressed the OM-4’s (wonderfully quiet) shutter release, the quest with this image was for unreality.  And so, using my little telezoom (how I miss those tiny Zuiko lenses!), all else but the empty display, beach and sky was cropped out of the frame – and knowing that Fuji’s wonderful colour slide film was going to be push processed by two stops, I knew that the resulting colours might well be more … imaginative … than true …

And finally, a decade later, a little (but only a little) tweaking in CEP4.

If your eyes can stand it – no free sunglasses on this blog! –  you can see a larger version of this image by clicking onto it.

OM-4 with 75-150 Zuiko at 150mm; Fuji Provia 400 colour slide rated at 1600 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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BIRDS 78 – A CREATURE OF GREAT BEAUTY

 

 

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Adult Herring Gull, resting in glorious sunshine, beside the harbour at West Bay, Dorset; 21 Apr 2015.

Immaculate!  An inveterate and highly aggressive and successful scavenger, thief and killer. 

And, at the same time, a creature of vast natural beauty.

So what skews our judgement of him – if we are fit to judge – what he does or what he is?  After all, if beauty is function, even the Spotted Hyaena is beautiful.

But of course – as regular readers of this blog will know – when it comes to gulls I’m biased!

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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