SOMERSET LEVELS 432 – WALKING WESTON’S STREETS 2

 

 

Local theatre

(best viewed enlarged – click onto it twice)

Weston-super-Mare, my home town, on the coast where the Somerset Levels run down into the Bristol Channel – the local, somewhat muddy, version of the sea.  Following a recent reunion with age-old friends there (here), I’ve been visiting Weston again, and walking streets echoing with things remembered – sometimes only half-remembered –  from over half a century ago.

Weston is a seaside town and, like seaside towns the UK over, it is experiencing something of an economic downturn – the era of the family seaside holiday in uncertain British weather is long past, due to cheap holidays in warmer and far more reliable, foreign climes.  So, there is to Weston something of the cheap and cheerful, a – to me, anyway – rather attractive tattiness at the edges, that makes walking here with a camera a pleasure – a definite feeling of not knowing what will appear next.  The Ghost of FATman Past perhaps?  Well, if he gives me half a chance, I’ll photograph him …

And so in Nov 2019 to pictures taken with an open mind – pictures which are, for better or for worse, in the main quite different from the preceding 400+ that I’ve posted of the Somerset Levels.  Some of them may be a little obscure / far out / radical / unexplained /  I don’t know… but I did mention photographing with an open mind, which means looking, on the spur of the moment, at anything and everything …    But, whatever, warts and all, I hope you’ll like (at least some of) these images.  (Click onto them to enlarge them)

Earlier posts in this series are here: 1 .

A short history of Weston is here.

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Wet morning

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Public seating

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Empty café

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PEOPLE 375 – WOMAN TAKING PHOTOGRAPH

 

 


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Walking down Weston’s High Street, and being surprised at how many of the shops from the 1950s/60s are still there.

And then a woman walks towards a shop and pauses to photograph it – and I manage this single frame before she walks on into the shop: an employee photographing the window display???

Anyway, whatever, love the glove.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Capture NX2; Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 8 Nov 2019.
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PEOPLE 374 – VERY OLD FRIENDS (MONO)

 

 


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Life moves on.  As Dylan Thomas so wonderfully put it, in Under Milk Wood, “Time passes.  Listen.  Time passes.”

And so to an Italian restaurant in a reasonably run down, seaside town, and five people around a table – already hitting the electric sauce, if only moderately, and good naturedly corralling a waiter into taking a snap of the occasion.  He was somewhat disconcerted by “Focus on the wine bottle!”.  While after “Squeeze yourself right back into that corner to get us all in!”, it had to be explained that we were not in fact all planning to try and get in the corner with him.  Ah, the youth of today …  But, anyway, here is the result.

So just who are these smiling worthies?  Well, as a landmark, something to navigate by when in distress on the sea, the lolling lout front right (magnified by proximity to the TG-5’s wide angle lens I might add) is me >>> does my tum look big in this??? 

Then the two women are the partners of the two blokes opposite me.

But the two blokes opposite me are the thing really, because we three were in the same school in the 1960s.  I’ve been friends with one nearest the camera for 60 years at least, we were in adjacent primary schools.  And the other is one of the two luminaries responsible for getting me into birdwatching in 1967, an interest that was to later take me to Kenya for 12 wonderful years – an experience from which, thank goodness, I’ve never quite recovered.

And although three of us live locally, the other very special thing about this occasion is that the other couple live on the other side of the world, so that we see them only very occasionally.

And so here we three are, back in our home town as it happens, and not a stone’s throw from the primary schools where two of us started out.  And we are all stunned by the fact that, having known each other since our childhoods, we are now all approaching our 70th birthdays.

“Time passes.  Listen.  Time passes.”
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ARCHIVE 417 – WOMAN WITH HER EYES CLOSED (MONO)

 

 


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Woman with her eyes closed; 21 Aug 2007.

This is part of a much larger negative – another product, I suppose, of my tendency for getting in close!

Trying to make it at least one step removed from a straight mono photograph, I’ve reduced sharpness and introduced a digital tone.

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

Technique: F6 with 24-85 Nikkor lens; Ilford Delta 3200 Professional black and white film rated at 3200 ISO;  scanned into digital and manipulated with Silver Efex Pro 2.

UPDATE:  well, 12 years ago, and using fast, black and white film in a Nikon SLR, the F6.  That was a really excellent camera, but the appearance of Nikon’s D700 DSLR seemed to promise equal things and – having been a confirmed film fan – I changed to digital and have never looked back.  I am extremely grateful for the enhanced creative potential that digital provides, and astonished at the pace at which the technology has progressed, especially with regard to sensors.

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ARCHIVE 413 – MOTHER AND CHILD (MONO)

 

 


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A mother comforts her child;  26 Nov 2009.

They are both old friends of our’s.

In the emotion of the moment, the mother’s eyes close and her lips part slightly to murmur soft comfort and reassurance.

And, to me, the baby’s anguish is reflected in the widely splayed hand that desperately clutches her mother’s neck – and especially in that little thumb.

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 25,600 ISO; Dfine 2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Sepia preset.

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OUTER SUBURBS 115 – BUS STOP, WET MORNING

 

 


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A cool, wet morning in May: waiting for the bus.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 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 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 .  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.

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 1250 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 8 May 2019.
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PEOPLE 371 – GOING TO WORK 92

 

 

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Going to work but also, for the moment, going nowhere: traffic cones rule OK!!!  

The Z 6 takes a first – very brief – look at Bristol’s morning rush hour.

You can see a summary of the Going to Work series here

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 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 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,

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 360mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Portrait V2 picture control; Temple Gate, central Bristol; 10 May 2019.
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BRISTOL 132 – CITY LIFE (MONO)

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – certainly recommended.

Life in the city, for four people.

At upper left, a blond woman walks beneath the trees that border the river.  At this time of the morning, perhaps going to work.

While a man – perhaps a barman – takes a break with a hot drink and a cigarette (only just visible!) outside the door of a pub.

Another man hurries into the frame from the right, engrossed, on his phone – and hence walking through a world that, for the moment at least, he is barely aware of.

And lastly, encased in his classy, mobile, metal and glass machine, another man sits in a traffic queue, waiting for the lights to change.

A moment (1/640th of a second, to be exact) in the lives of four people, a moment in the life of a city, early on a Friday morning in May.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 122mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast And Structure preset; Baldwin Street, in Bristol city centre; 10 May 2019.
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ARCHIVE 406 – AFFECTION (MONO)

 

 


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Our friend and her cat; 1 Mar 2015.

We went to visit our friends, a truly lovely family, and, as usual, I slouched back indolently in an armchair with this damned great camera and lens perched on my paunch, enjoying the moment.

Their front room has a bay window with translucent panels that looks out onto the street and, as often happens, the light in that room was diffuse and gorgeous.

Things caught my eye but I was too slow with the camera.  Then their friendly cat got up on the arm of the sofa, and sat there, contentedly wagging her tail.  She enjoys human company, probably for the sounds, and she sits or lies with us for long periods.  An open fire was an especial draw for her on that chilly afternoon.

Suddenly our friend reached out to stroke the cat and murmur something to her, and my camera came up and caught this single frame.  What do I like about it?  Well, of course, the interaction, there’s eye contact there, and also some kind of, if not friendship, then calm familiarity – these two living beings know and trust each other, at the very least.

I like the way our friend is leaning across the sofa, introducing a dynamic that heads up towards upper left, at right angles to the cat’s gaze.  And then there are the sidelit curls and textures in her hair – and a striped sweater that is crying out for black and white photography!

The occasion was good too because, having had medical dressings on my face, it was the first time I’d used a camera in seven weeks or more, and it was very good to “get back behind a lens” again.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens, used wide open; 3200 ISO; Dfine 2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset.

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OUTER SUBURBS 99 – GREENGROCER

 

 


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A shop specialising in fruit and veg, almost an anachronism really – but certainly a very refreshing one – in a world now dominated by the bland, impersonal, mass market uniformity of the supermarkets.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 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 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 29 Jan 2019.
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