STILL LIFE 218 – CITY LIFE

 

 


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Shop front with security camera.  In a nutshell, Big Brother is watching you – even when you’re working out.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to remember reading that the UK now has more CCTV cameras than anywhere else.  But anyway, even if we haven’t got the most, then we certainly have one hell of a lot of them.

And of course the official line is that they are for the “common good”, that they are for the good and increased security of customers, staff, the cat next door, you name it.

Well, this may be so, but I continue to find it strange that in a country where photography is banned in so many places – think shopping centres and many other retail premises, for example – and where people are so concerned with their privacy (see the recent issues with Facebook for example), and where any photographer working anywhere near children in a public place is taking his/her life in his hands – that in this kind of neurotic milieu, anyone and everyone just takes these myriad cameras for granted.

Two points come immediately to mind.  Firstly, how are the personnel scanning CCTV output vetted, if at all? And secondly, there is an increasing trend where CCTV – which is supposed to be private and for our security – is appearing both on television, which is presumably regulated, as well as on many places on the internet, where regulation, if present at all,  may be far less stringent.

I don’t think that this situation is going to change, I think that CCTV is only going to grow more comprehensive and intrusive.  But I do think that this is something to be aware of, to be kept in mind, rather then merely being passively taken for granted.

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 259mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; Redcliff Hill, central Bristol; 20 Apr 2018.
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STILL LIFE 217 – DEPARTMENT STORE

 

 


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Wandering past the large and opulent department stores in Bristol’s Broadmead shopping centre – stores which are for me only marginally above garden centres in their allure. 

But then, suddenly, through a glass door, a face, a face surrounded by all the ballyhoo and penetrating psychology of retail, and a face giving me a very direct look indeed.

Those of you looking at this blog from outside of the UK will probably never have heard of the television series Last of the Summer Wine, which chronicled the often extremely dotty antics and wanderings across Yorkshire of a trio of retired men.  But for those of you who are aficionados, well, were I Norman Clegg looking in through this door, then you will may well agree that I would most probably feel an extremely urgent need to go and renew my library book.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Broadmead, Bristol; 20 Apr 2018.
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PEOPLE 327 – GOING TO WORK 59

 

 


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Just before the sun rises, and the drive through the rush hour’s traffic is over.  Sitting in her car, she is illuminated by the light from the screen of a mobile device – a last check, perhaps, before going in to work.

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  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 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 further – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 10,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; near Temple Meads railway station, Bristol; 15 Dec 2017.
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PEOPLE 326 – GOING TO WORK 58

 

 


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Early morning bus; the city centre; mid-December.

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  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Union Street, Bristol; 15 Dec 2017.

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PEOPLE 320 – GOING TO WORK 53

 

 


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The upper deck of a bus at the railway station.  Misty, almost abstract, inbound.

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  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 49 50 51 52Each will open in a separate window.

Clicking onto this image will open a larger version in a separate window, and clicking onto that will further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Temple Gate, central Bristol; 2 Feb 2018.

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PEOPLE 319 – GOING TO WORK 52

 

 


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Just before sunrise, and a bus pulls in opposite the main railway station.  In scarf and coat, time to leave the warm seat and get back out into the morning’s chill.

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  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 49 50 51 Each will open in a separate window.

Clicking onto this image will open a larger version in a separate window, and clicking onto that will further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Temple Gate, central Bristol; 2 Feb 2018.
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PEOPLE 317 – GOING TO WORK 50 >>> PHEW! NEVER THOUGHT THIS SERIES WOULD REACH 50!!!

 

 

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Phew!!! >>> well!!! >>>  the first of these Going To Work images was posted way back on 23 July 2016, and I never thought this series would still be ongoing!  The pictures have received some favourable words along the way, and for those I’m very grateful – simple fact is, such opinions provide encouragement, they help me to keep on keeping on with photography generally >>> so >>> thank you!

Where is this series going now?  Well, as usual, I’ve no idea.  I’ll just see what comes up.  But two points to make.

First, this series has been significantly facilitated by the portability of the Fujifilm X-T1 and X-T2 cameras – I take only one of these cameras and one lens with me on my long walks around the city, and they are eminently compact and portable.  I’ve also used the heavier Nikon DSLRs once or twice – and there’s getting away from the fact that for pinpoint focus in situations with very poor light and/or movement, these bigger DSLRs (D700 and D800) have the edge. But, camera portability is certainly a factor, and especially so for a no-longer-so-young(!) person like me.

And then second, maybe my having retired (nearly 5 years ago now) has allowed me to get outside of the “work ethic”, necessary as it is in any society, and to stand back from it a bit.  Maybe being on the outside looking in – after all those decades spent on the inside looking out –  has produced a more detached perspective.  And so to early mornings photographing the city rush hour, and the thought that five days on and two off each week – and a life outside of work to lead too –  can be quite a punishing schedule.

And so to this picture.  Just before sunrise, I was on a traffic island in the middle of the busy dual carriageway below Temple Meads railway station, leaning back against a street light to steady the camera and watching the steamy windows of the towering double-decker buses as they arrived with their cargoes of inbound workers.  Several buses would arrive at once, and so to firing off quick series of single shots (rather than motorised bursts) before waiting for the next gaggle of buses to pull ponderously in.  I looked along the windows on the upper deck of a bus, this woman’s red coat caught my eye, I took one shot, she looked at me and I fired again. 

Technique: the light was dismal – 6400 ISO, 1/45th second with the 305mm lens wide open at f4.8 – but the image stabilisation (+ leaning on the street light!) held it steady.  One thing about these mirrorless cameras is that, since they do not have a mirror, there is no vibration as the mirror moves during an exposure (mirror slap) and so they can take sharper pictures at lower shutter speeds than DSLRs.

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  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 49 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Clicking onto this image will open a larger version in a separate window, and clicking onto that will further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Temple Gate, in Bristol City centre; 2 Feb 2018.

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PEOPLE 315 – GOING TO WORK 49

 

 


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The walk to work, in November: warm breath, cold air, the dazzling but icy gold of sunrise.

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  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom; Bristol Bridge, central Bristol; 11 Nov 2016.
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PEOPLE 314 – GOING TO WORK 48

 

 


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Upstairs on an early bus: someone with buds in and phone out, someone who is essentially somewhere else.

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  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 .  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 yet again.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Union Street, central Bristol; 15 Dec 2017.
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STILL LIFE 187 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 11: SOMETHING FROM THE HEART

 

 


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UPDATE: a post written nearly two years ago now, but I can’t see my feelings about this ever changing.

We’ve had a death in the family, we have been low.  And, in due course,  we attended the crematorium and, because I’m me, with an almost unbreakable (some would say, unbearable) compulsion to be early, we were early, very early.  Those attending earlier services ebbed and flowed, grieving, around us and, it being a nice day, a cold but beautifully sunny day,  I decided to take myself off for a stroll around the site’s gardens and memorials.

Most of the latter were fairly conventional stuff, sincerely meant no doubt, but with formal words, names, dates and so on – which made me reflect that I certainly don’t want this sort of treatment when I die – and no, I’m not going to say that I wouldn’t be seen dead in a place like this …  its just that I want my ashes scattered anonymously out at a favourite spot on the Somerset Levels – the Magic Carpark –  where the cattle, tractors, farmers and walkers will trample, grumble and rumble unknowingly over me, gradually grinding me down ever further into a place that I have a vast affinity for.  I shall be below sea level and I can’t swim, but then again perhaps that won’t matter by then.

But, anyway >>> anyway!!! >>>  away towards the back of the little enclosure that I was in, and approached by a curving gravel path, stood a garden bench, with bunches of bright daffodils and other flowers tied to it.  And looking at that bench, I just felt that there was something about it that made me want to get closer to it.  I suppose you might say that I could feel it drawing me towards it.  In short, I was intrigued, totally curious, such that not getting any closer was unthinkable.

And walking on up to that seat, alone and with no sound but that of the gravel crunching under my feet, I found the plaque pictured below, mounted on its backrest – and, quite simply, it was one of those moments that you know, instantly, are special.  Life-enhancing might be overdoing it, but spiritually uplifting certainly isn’t.

For here were two things.  One of which of course was the record of a loving relationship, which is in itself uplifting, a cause for warm thoughts and happiness.  But what really got to me – and what still very much really gets to me – is that, this relationship having been struck by the death of the man,  the woman decided to say exactly what was in her heart, and to have it displayed on this bench for all to see.  Having been but moments before wading through a sea of conventional tributes and endearments – phrases that I too have had engraved onto loved ones’ tombstones –  I just loved the freshness and loving vibrance of this.

Its all simple, wonderful and straight from the heart, but MY BIG STRONG NORTHERNER really gets inside me and stirs me up – wow!  And the kisses too, simply so downright, so fundamentally, human.

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Normally I wouldn’t picture words like this from a cemetery, but they do strongly affect me, and having them placed so prominently on this seat, Jac wants others to see them too.  Now they will have a wider than anticipated audience.

And I may have almost got to meet Jac – for between the time when our service started, and the time after our service when I took these photos, someone had come and changed the flowers on the bench, replacing those going over with fresh blooms.  I should have loved to have had that encounter – and, without the slightest doubt, would have made my feelings about her words clear.  It would have been wonderful to meet her.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  .  Each will open in a new window.

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