ARCHIVE: PEOPLE 28 – WATCHING A FATman (NOTE MULTITASKING ON LEFT) (MONO)


Couple outside Woodes very pleasant (and down-to-earth and real) café on Bristol’s Park Street >>> watching a FATman!  I was surprised they noticed me, because I was photographing Woodes’s frontage as a whole and was quite far off.  Even with my habitual 300mm telephoto and its x6 magnification, they only take up about 10% of the frame – that this picture is at all usable is a tribute to both to the quality of the lens and (at 1/105) its stabilisation, and the X-T2’s 24MP too.

Maybe on a mundane morning they were intrigued by a distant, overweight man, who has seen better days and who was artfully dressed in a dirty old coat and the odd sort of hat that the oily drivers of grimy steam locomotives might favour … but then Bristol can be like that, thankfully.  Meaning a counterculture?  Yes, that’s right, but I never mind queuing at a counter if there’s the prospect of getting fed.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, including the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset and adding a light coffee (how appropriate!) tone; 21 Apr 2017.

ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 47 – SHELTER AT A BUS STOP (MONO + COLOUR)


Early morning near Temple Meads railway station, so early in fact that Harts Bakery wasn’t yet open.  Suppressing a primal urge to leave teeth marks on their door, I wandered off along the main road, and there was a bus shelter with a screen that brightly displayed a sequence of adverts which, one after the other, defied the gloom.

One of these adverts was pure white with a tiny spot of blue and, every time it blazed out, the inside of the shelter lit up in bright and joyful sympathy – though sterile and cold as ice, this was an enticing world, a thoroughly modern world, a world trying its best to sell me something.  And entranced as I was by this flickering Aladdin’s Cave, only the sobering glimpse of the morning’s cold pavement beyond (together with the thought of Harts’ hot goodies) saved me from its soulless, electronic allure.

Technique: totally blown highlights without a shred of detail accompany intensely black, featureless shadows: the words visual taboo, and anathema too, raise their ugly heads.  I can only hope that the Photographic Correctness Police will make me attend a course that will result in The FATman becoming an even more rounded individual.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 212mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film preset; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Smooth preset and selectively restoring colour; Temple Gate, central Bristol; 20 Apr 2018.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 46 – AUTUMN


Autumn leaves and lichen inside an old and very weathered pot for flowers; on a grave, on a frosty morning, in the cemetery at Stanton Drew.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 238mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley, south of Bristol; 6 Nov 2017.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 93 – EARLY MORNING, LOOKING EAST, NEAR GODNEY


Looking east as the day starts.  A dark bank of mist blankets the countryside, as the early light touches the clouds.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera ASTIA/Soft profile; Godney, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 19 Oct 2018.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.



ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 45 – YELLOW CHAIR WITH BLUE LEGS


Lounging in Browns after a lot of walking and photography, looking at the interplay of light, colours, shapes and textures.  And seeing a yellow chair with blue legs, partly in shadow.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 206mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom; rotatedBrowns restaurant, central Bristol; 24 Feb 2017.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



ARCHIVE: PEOPLE 26 – SOMEDAY THE FLOWERS STOP


As George Harrison put it: All things must pass, all things must pass away.  And as a geologist, especially, that really resonates with me, it is a very basic part of my core knowledge and certainties.

And I visit this rural cemetery from time to time.  It is the cemetery of the Church of St Mary The Virgin, in Stanton Drew, not far from Bristol.  And while I do not identify in the slightest with the religious aspects of this place, I do find its cemetery a wonderfully peaceful and quiet place to wander in.  Being there instils me with a great feeling of peace, as well as being a great stimulus to reflection.  And I have never met another living soul there although, for all I know, I may always be surrounded by innumerable departed ones, which is certainly fine by me.

Most of the graves in this cemetery have no flowers on them, and that is the way of things.  There can of course be many reasons for this.  For example, there may be no one left to bring flowers, or those who would like to bring them live too far away or, then again, while bringing flowers has helped the grieving process, the survivors may have moved on, preferring to keep their departed ones in their minds, photographs and keepsakes.  I know this is the case with me.  I have lost two very close family members, both younger than myself,  and I no longer visit their grave, but no day passes without their presence, repeatedly – and often without sadness – in my thoughts.

I shall continue to walk in this churchyard.  It is by no means an exciting or exotic destination, there is not a trace of the “wow factor” in sight, but it has a very deep sense of peace, and of fundamental reality, which makes simply being there a deeply meaningful and thought provoking experience.  Does it, perhaps, provide some measure of respite from the rush, materialism, competition and aggression of the modern world?  That may well be the case.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 87mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Stanton Drew, near Bristol; 6 July 2018.

ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 44 – BROAD PLAIN


Shafts of morning sunlight softly caress a façade – or rake harshly across it, laying bare its every jagged line and texture – its just a matter of how we look at things in the moment.

But the window keeps its privacy in cool shadow; also for the moment.

Analysis: this is a picture of a window (oh, you’re thinking, he’s sharp …), but to me (but maybe not to you …) its more an assemblage of shapes, textures, light and shadow.  Apart from the window’s frame it has Minimal colour but, as so often happens, presenting in it black and white would certainly lose something – the very faint yellow below the window, for example, adds something I think.  I’ve talked about a method of photography where the photographer looks for good light and then thinks what to do with it, how to use it, and I know I’m not alone in this.  Here is an example.  The morning sunlight was slanting across the façade, and I walked along, looking up at the interplays of the light with the building, thinking what might be possible.  And, as always, a telephoto was useful in picking out details from the overall scene.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom; Broad Plain, central Bristol; 26 May 2017.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 91 – THE SKY WARMS


Looking east along Tealham Moor Drove, the faintly seen track at lower left, as sunrise colours start high in the sky above the Somerset Levels.

Technique: it was DARK!  The human eye is a wonderful camera, able to see in low light levels, but it was clear that most things here were still heavily engulfed by the gloom.  And when I raised the camera to my eye – WOWEE! – even allowing the brightening sky to influence the reading, 25,600 ISO still only gave me 1/140th, wide open at f4.8 .  So, working handheld as always, image stabilisation helped, as did the fact that this camera is mirrorless, so that it has no mirror slap – there is more on mirror slap here.  Many photographers prefer not to use their lenses wide open due to reduced sharpness and definition, but I always go for it – if the light conditions demand it  (and also if I’m looking for as narrow as possible a depth of focus).  The bottom line being that its far, far better to be left with an image that is blurred and/or grainy, than to be left with no image at all.  This is a part of the great and ongoing debate about the respective importance of the technical quality of images on the one hand – sharpness, definition, colour rendition, white balance, etc. – and image content and atmosphere on the other.  I’m 101% with the importance of content and atmosphere.  Compositionally, the faint lines of the track and the much brighter, water-filled ditch lead the eye towards that single tall tree – and I’ve used this same composition, in this same place, before.

Click onto this post’s image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 300mm (equiv); 25,600 ISO; Lightroom; 27 Jan 2017.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.



ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 43 – SUNRISE AT THE RAILWAY STATION


The first of sunrise’s colours, and a street light, above the main road at Temple Meads railway station, Bristol.

And as I raised the camera for a second shot – the light went out!  As the Rolling Stones so rightly put it, You can’t always get what you want …

But a stroke of luck too – that little cloud head, toppling over to the right, just to the right of the light’s vertical support.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom; 3 Feb 2017.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 90 – JANUARY, TEALHAM MOOR, JUST BEFORE SUNRISE


Tealham Moor, in winter, looking to the east.  This is winter: harsh and bleak.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 8,000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Astia/Soft profile; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 27 Jan 2017.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.



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