ARCHIVE 483 – MEGALITH 1 (MONO)

 

 


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Standing ritual stone – or megalith – erected in prehistoric times at Stanton Drew, south of Bristol.

More about the Stanton Drew prehistoric site is here .

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

Technique: X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art Process preset, and giving the image the look of Kodak Tri-X 400 TX Pro black and white film; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
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ARCHIVE 472 – WINTER LANDSCAPE (MONO)

 

 


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

I’m A Creature Of The South.  Born and brought up in Somerset, I lived in various places before putting down roots (for longer than I have ever stayed anywhere else in my life) in Bristol.  And whenever I go outside of Bristol – for holidays, photography, birding, whatever – I almost always go south, down into Somerset, Dorset (ahhh, Dorset …), Devon or Cornwall.  Why is this?  Well, somehow I just don’t feel at home going northwards, its not my country, I just don’t feel that I belong there – and so to the south, towards the sun and the soft accents, perhaps.

But en route to the M4 motorway, usually on family business, I pass through the southern end of the Cotswolds, a low line of limestone hills, and there I see attractive open, rolling farmland with freestone walls.  I’ve long thought about gently exploring this quiet and rural area with a camera – and thinking about it, as with many things, is as far as I’ve got.

But, last week, on 7 Dec 2016, and with 2.5 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map firmly in hand, I at long last drove up into this countryside – and promptly found myself on a little road bordered by the counties of Wiltshire on my right and South Gloucestershire on my left.  I had a good day.  The place is simple and beautiful, always good attributes to my mind.  Whether I will venture there or indeed anywhere else outside my usual haunts again is another matter altogether, but who knows?  And so, a new Category for my blog – Outlands; new places, seeing what I can find.

And the image above?  Well, I’d planned where to go.  I left Bristol after the morning rush hour but still encountered appalling amounts of traffic speeding up towards the motorway.  There was nothing else to do but stay amongst all these hurtling vehicles but, just before hitting the motorway itself, I saw the Tolldown Farm crossroads in the distance, felt eternally grateful for a right filter lane, turned right from that filter lane – and was instantly on a little, more or less single track road making off eastwards through open farmland.

This was the sort of quiet country road I like, with plenty of places –  albeit quite muddy places – to pull the car over and get out and walk around.  So, pulling on the Wellington boots that are a fixture in my car, I did just that – while trying to keep a completely open mind about what I might photograph.  Winter landscapes came to mind, but how best to portray them?  I had the Fujifilm X-T1 camera with me, along with my two lenses (wide angle and telephoto zooms) and a spare battery, and so many things were possible – but what to do?

I looked right, into Wiltshire, and immediately recoiled from a great line of pylons marching along beside the road, with the knee-jerk thought that these metal monstrosities must at all costs be excluded from the rural idylls(!) that I had in mind to portray – but then why exclude them, why not make them a part of things?  Their skeletal forms are of course hard and stark, which fit in the winter landscape, which in a way personify Winter, so why not?

And so to the first image of the day – a bare winter landscape seen in black and white, with a faintly blue selenium tone to enhance Winter’s feel.  Bare fields, bare trees, a barely seen dark wall cutting the scene just below the skyline – all as this scene might have looked a century or more ago – apart from the four, gaunt metal legs of the vast metal tower with its undeniable proclamation of intrusive and overriding – but now essential –  modernity.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Floral preset and adding a selenium tone.

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ARCHIVE 452 – GREY SEAL, ST IVES

 

 


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Grey Seal off the end of Smeatons Pier, St Ives, Cornwall; 21 Sept 2016.

We’ve just spent a few days in Hayle, down near the southwestern tip of Cornwall – and the English weather, always an uncertainty, has been good to us.  When in this part of the world, a visit to beautiful St Ives is always a treat, and especially so on a bright sunny day with the tide in – the colours and light are simply out of this world – maybe because St Ives is surrounded on two or three sides by the bright sea.

Good things about this image?  Well, it was the first time my wife had seen this creature in the wild, which was a huge plus.  We’ve never seen seals there before, and the newly erected warnings about feeding them may mean that, like gulls, crows, Foxes and many others, these denizens of wild coasts have also developed a liking for Man’s tasty titbits.  Certainly an incoming fishing boat threw him some welcome morsels, which were hastily gobbled up – but maybe a Cornish pasty might send him sinking down to the bottom!

And also, just look at the colour of that seawater – for someone brought up along the muddy shores of the Bristol Channel, these clear, emerald waters are beautiful beyond belief.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 451 – COAST AT PORTHLEVEN (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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The beach at Porthleven, Cornwall; 18 Oct 2016.

I tried this image in straight black and white, but the subtle colour of the beach sand and the vast shore defences adds something.  The mist and sea spray also help.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art High Key preset and selectively restoring colour.

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ARCHIVE 447 – EMPTY BOTTLE BESIDE PUBLIC SEATING

 

 


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Pavement with bottle and concrete seat; outside the former KPMG building, central Bristol; 9 Dec 2016.

This is early morning, and the golden tinge is produced by the building’s lights.

The original image (rotate this image by 90 degrees anti-clockwise) pictured Reality, and rotation by 90 degrees clockwise has apparently produced Unreality.  The bottle is either defying the force of gravity – >>> or I have cheated and glued it to a wall!

But, were we able to view the scene from this “unreal” angle, perhaps using something like a climbing frame or some other form of support, then this is what we would see – so that, in fact, this is Reality too, but seen from a different perspective.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 186mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; rotated.

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ARCHIVE 446 – SEASCAPE

 

 


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Study in blue – looking out to sea from Lizard Point, Cornwall; 19 Oct 2016.

Composition: a Minimalist image, take away the fluffy cloudlets and there’s really not much here, although it might still (just) work sans nuages.  But I like these little clouds – their shapes, fluffiness and colour – and the way they are at once separate from the dense, dark overcast – their relationship to this overcast is rather like that of little children skipping along beside their humourless, stolid, heavily pacing parents.  There is also that thin, linear break in the parental overcast just above these cloudlets – is it the trace of a smile? – perhaps their parents are not so humourless after all …

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom.

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BIRDS 129 – BLACK-HEADED GULL 2

 

 


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Breeding plumage Black-headed Gull over Chew Valley Lake, not far south of Bristol.  This is a relatively small gull, easily identified in this plumage by the white blaze on the forewing, the chocolate brown (not black!) hood, the white eye ring and the red bill.

There is another picture of a Black-headed Gull here .

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Provia/Standard profile; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 4 July 2016.
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BRISTOL 165 – STREET SCENE 6

 

 


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Early morning sunlight inches across the side of a building.

Other images in the Bristol Street Scenes series are here: 1 2 3 4 5 . Searching on the “street” tag (below here) will also find these posts.

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

Technique:  X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 183mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Provia/Standard profile; central Bristol; 16 Sept 2016.

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PEOPLE 388 – GOING TO WORK 100: SOME PICTURES FROM EARLIER POSTS

 

 

1: the morning bus.

Well, Going to Work – images from Bristol’s morning rush hour – has reached 100 posts, and I’m both pleased and surprised.  As is usual with my photo series, I haven’t the faintest idea of how – or indeed, if – it will progress but, that’s me!  I started the series back in July 2016, and have more and more been drawn towards photographing in the dark, cold, early mornings of winter, but so far this winter I have only managed one such sortie.  Increasing years perhaps, or changing photographic attitudes / preferences / energies?  Early morning buses down to the city centre are still readily available, but these days the vast majority of my early morning forays are local and on foot – and are recorded in this blog’s Outer Suburbs series, which includes the Early Morning series, and which is steadily moving towards 200 posts.

So, anyway, Going to Work at 100, what are my thoughts? Well, on the technical side, I’m grateful for having cameras and image processing software that enable me to photograph in such challenging, early morning conditions.  And then, second – and especially since retirement has given me the space to look at and think about the world around me more – I continue to think about the dehumanisation that modern workstyles can bring – of which work-related stress (which I fell prone to, twice) is a sure pointer.  And especially with regard to working in cities and other large conurbations, with commuting long distances to work, with feeling the need to look at work emails and mobile texts outside of working hours >>> and to balancing all in the “busy modern lifestyle”.

So here are images illustrating just one of these phenomena: the morning rush hour, the morning rush to work, which most people engage in five days out of every seven. Links to the whole series, should you wish to look through them, are given below.  I hope you will like these pictures – clicking onto them once or twice will enlarge them in separate windows.

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2: the first post, 23 July 2016; the birth of an idea.

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3: the morning bus, overcrowded, overheated, steamy.

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Recent Going to Work posts are here: 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 .  Each will open in a separate window.

GOING TO WORK: THE EARLIER POSTS: 1-92.

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 92 Each will open in a separate window.

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4: that expression; we’ve all been there.

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5: hurrying to work, hurrying through the cold, hurrying towards the unreachable light.

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6: a rather scary part of walking and photographing the morning rush hour is the frenetic and often careless driving of those apparently thinking of little else besides getting to work on time.  When I compiled this post, a week or so back, I wrote “I’ve seen numerous near misses, i.e. near collisions, between vehicles …”.  Well that has changed now: around dawn on Wednesday, on a well lit main road, a car pulled out into the traffic and their came the dull thud and flying debris of an impact; fortunately both drivers were only shaken up.

And I’ve avoided being hit more times than I like to think about >>> and this includes numerous occasions when people reversing out of their driveways fail to ensure that no one is behind them on the pavement!  I particularly remember a woman rushing out of her front door, slamming it, jumping into her big BMW, switching on the ignition, revving up and lurching forward a foot or so before realising that I was a couple of feet from her front bumper: I’ll never forget the totally bewildered and stunned look on her face.  Do I have great admiration for all members the species to which I belong?  Well that’s a very iffy and loaded question, I mean, you’re putting me on the spot here …
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7: waiting for the morning bus
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8: lurching forward out of the early morning gloom with a damned big camera, I can have this effect on people.

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9: going to work from way out in the Outer Suburbs – standing in a bus shelter illuminated by the rising sun and surrounded by fields and trees, but entranced only by mobile phones; a lucky, opportunistic capture with the TG-5.

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10: I’ve seen this so often – they’re looking down and preoccupied – they’re going to work.

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11: my overall favourite, I suppose; such an interesting and arresting character >>> I’d love to connect!

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12: another cold sunrise.

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13: on her radar.

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14: another favourite; short of time and the traffic banked up ahead – once again, we’ve all been there; I also like the light on the car’s dirty and “distressed” (but, to me, eminently characterful) bodywork.

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15: reality; this is how it can be sometimes.

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16: perhaps dozing, perhaps temporarily somewhere else.

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17: breakfast, on the go >>> oh, and – of course – role model!!!

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18: reading the morning paper; the couple behind gazing forwards, as if with foreboding.

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19: again, that look.

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20: “Who’s the fat geezer with the camera?”.

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ARCHIVE 426 – GOING TO WORK 6

 

 


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Rush hour in central Bristol; Baldwin Street choked with traffic and people.  A bus passes, inbound to the city centre.  I see a moment and have just time for one shot before that moment has rushed on by.

She’s asleep, its summer and the interior of the bus is probably warm and close – and maybe getting up early is not her thing anyway.  Perhaps sleep has taken her, temporarily, to a nicer place, but what is she dreaming off?

Details.  What details are here?  False eyelashes, lipstick, smart earrings – equipped to meet the day, and other beings too.  Going out without those accoutrements may well arouse the same uneasy feelings of undress as I feel if I forget my old cap.

Then, slumped against a window and marred at least by reflections and maybe by city grime too, and with the tip of her shoulder flattened against the glass.

And lastly, the light from the rising sun, blasting in through the back of the bus, catching her braided hair and turning her left ear into a translucent splash of warm colour.

Earlier images from this series can be found here.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; 19 July 2016.

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