Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Old Streets by the Sea

As a summer town, Blackpool is usually recorded on film in the good weather. That famous tower is commonly shot against a blue sky, and from the perspective of a busy, bustling foreshore, filled with holidaymakers. So when I was walking these streets in November, 2006, dodging hail and showers between comics shops and fast food shops, it struck me as an atmospheric and atypical way to see the place. Though many of these buildings probably date from the early 20th century, the streets themselves are 19th century or ealier, and the perspective compression of a mild telephoto effect here really shows up the organic lack of symmetry. These streets are probably less than 100 meters from the beach and were built over ancient dunes, thus the rise and fall of profile and undulation along the coast. This gives a rustic, weather-beaten character which is very photogenic. The picture was sharpened, slightly gamma-corrected, and the contrast and colour were brought up a little. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Dizzying Perspective

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The escalators up and down to London tube stations (the "Underground") are extremely steep. You really have to hold tight to your baggage and the handrail because in the long glide, especially when moving, and looking, upward, you can lose your orientation. An indication of how steep they are, and of how far off-true your middle-ear can take you, is the orientation of the show posters that line the walls. They are genuinely upright, everything else is skewed! You can also get a sense for how low the lighting is, as the escalator and the people on it are in focus as they are moving relatively the least, while the walls are soft as they move by during the exposure time. A simple framing job, I shot one-handed while holding the rail. The normal sharpen, contrast and colour tweak were applied. Fuji FInePix S5600, automatic; December, 2006. Image by Mike.

Autumn Leaves

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There is something irresistable about deciduous trees in their autumn clothes. they bring vivid colour to a drab time of year, and the low winter light makes moments of remarkable beauty that bring grace to cold, wet, short days. One of the great things about never being without a camera around your neck is the chance to seize these fleeting moments. I took this frame on a street in York, UK, in November 2006, on my way to the railway station. This tree stands below the medieval city walls and the evening sun caught the leaves just-so. The framing was simple, I used telephoto to fill the frame with the subject matter, and the exposure was automatic. The picture was sharpened and the colour tweaked just a little. Fuji FinePix S5600; image by Mike.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cavernous Architecture

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I was heading down a people-mover from the local-line platform to the gigantic national line terminal at the Manchester Piccadily complex in November 2006, and the symmetry of the stone and steel in this gigantic structure just begged to be shot. The high perspective brought out the marching line of Romanesque arches that echo 19th century civic structures, columns with ancient Corinthian capitals, and the spiderweb of trusses supporting the roof, while the line of the people-mover itself is a mechanistic adverse feature as its own axis is at odds with the rest of the image. The shot was not difficult, automatic exposure and a simple framing. The floorway moved smoothly so there was no jostling to compensate for, simply the challenge of shooting straight while toting your baggage. Enhancement is the usual round of subtle tweaks of sharpness, contrast and colour. Fuji FinePix S5600; image by Mike.

Icy Rain and a Holiday Beach

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English weather is a joke, but to be fair, this is November and sunseekers are in Spain or Malta ... or the Caribbean. I visited Blackpool for a couple of days in 2006 and my only glimpse of the Irish Sea was this heaving, grey mass with thundering white surf, and it took me several goes to reach the seafront itself as hail kept driving me back. This was the sea fronting the 'Golden Mile' of amusements and attractions: the town was still busy, but a shadow of itself in the summer, and a vivid memory was eating at a dine-in fish and chip shop while hail made a white carpet outside. It's a simple shot, telephoto to crate the composition, then fight the buffet of the roaring wind to get a reasonably decent horizon line. The conditions were so hostile I did not stick around to take multiple frames of the same subject from a variety of vantages, so as to pick the cherry among them. Mild enhancement includes sharpening, contrast and colour-saturation. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


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These are lifesize fibreglass replicas of dolphins, porpoises and Orcas hanging in the British Museum (Natural History), in London. The sculptures are wonderfully realistic and when viewed from an angle that minimises their suspension it seems that living creatures are drifting overhead. From this perspective they do indeed seem weightless, and the dizzying effect of the image is its strength. The lighting was once again in the cracks for my filmspeed, but this is a solid shot. As an interior with fair lighting, flash would have been ineffective, especially given the distance to the subject matter. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. December, 2006. Image by Mike.

Ruins on the Roadside

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Old countries have history you can touch... Here is a medieval building, the architecture is very gothic, very ecclesiastical, and this long-ruined wall of a gutted hall rises against the sky of a winter's afternoon in York, December 2006. Part of the city's suite of surviving ancient structures, this building stands beside a busy modern road, next to the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens, and truly reminds one of the centuries that have gone before, as surely as the invisible but no less real presence of Roman antiquities in this same area. The photograph was a simple framing job, including just the right telephoto factor to compose the stonework with the golden opportunity of catching the moon in the picture. It was mildly enhanced, the watery sky of winter was colour-saturated slightly, and it was sharpened 5%. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Steel Lookout

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This is a truly remarkable piece of modern engineering and architecture, fusing the requirement for the practical with an amazing aesthetic. It's the control tower overlooking Portsmouth Harbour, a few hundred yards from the railway station and the Historic Portsmouth Naval Dockyard. Officially named Spinnaker Tower, it stands 170 meters tall, located at Gunwharf Quays, and is an icon visible for miles around. The aesthetic design mimicks the mast and spinnaker of a racing yacht, a maritime thing for a maritime city. This frame was taken on a grey evening in December, 2006, one of several trying to frame the gigantic structure in some meaingful way as the light failed. This shot, a high telephoto range close-in on the upperworks, captured the control decks high on the mast, and the burn-in of the lights tells you how late in the evening it was. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Stone Bones

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Big things can be difficult to frame, hard to hold focus on, and lighting can change across their area. This is the famous Diplodocus longus skeleton at the British Museum (Natural History), one of those distributed by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, based on a specimen from Sheep Creek, Wyoming, unearthed by the collector Barnum Brown (?) in 1901 (if I remember my palaeontology trivia correctly!) I visited the museum in December 2006 and was amazed to find that photography for personal use was as welcome among the great collections as in any other English museum (it's not in Australia!) I took dozens of frames around this 80+ foot animal, from every perspective, and it was far from easy to get an overall image of the critter. Closeups on various bits and from unusual perspectives, but a single view of the whole beast? I walked around it for fifteen minutes, framing and adjusting and snapping. The light was also a little soft, necessitating a long exposure, thus the sharpness of this shot is important too: note the burning-out of the tall windows at the back and the blur of the man walking in the frame. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Industry, from Above

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A domestic air connection on a clear morning is a moving canvas for a photographer. I try to keep my lens to the window, and you see the most amazing things, some of which even photograph cleanly. You're working with the ever-changing lighting angle, the cleanliness of the window, and your own reflexive ability to frame and shoot moving targets in some meaningful way. This was a chilly morning in November, 2006, at the end of a tiring series of connections from Australia. The domestic had left London just after dawn and was not far from landing at Newcastle, maybe 30-something minutes later, when we passed over this river industrial complex, and I spotted this ship. It looks like a service and support vessel for the North Sea oil rigs, and makes a fascinating sight with its cranes and helcopter pad. See how low the sun angle is, the shadows of buildings and cranes crossing the hull. I'm not sure whereabouts this is, on the Humber, the Tees or the Tyne, I don't remember exactly how long it was prior to landing. The shot was taken at maximum optical zoom looking hard down as the aircraft banked, and was the best of three. The frame was sharpened and colour-balanced to compensate for the dulling effect of the aircraft window. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thebes, Down under

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You see the most surprising things when you least expect them. All the times I've walked down Commerical Rd., Port Adelaide, I've done so on the west side. I walked down the east side once and saw this to the west: a building rendered in perfect, classic Egyptian architecture! The groundfloor fronts the street and is shops, there is nothing to tip you off, but around the corner, off the main road, the facade opens out into its Egyptian style. I'm not positive what this building is, going by the crest over the door it's a Masonic hall, or at least was originally. There is probably a great story behind it! It's probably pretty old, but certainly post-dating the Egyptian phase of the romantic revival that saw obelisks appear all over early 19th century cemeteries of Anglo-derived cultures (e.g., Australia, the United States). Whatever its origins, this building is a remarkable landmark in Port Adelaide. The photo was a technical no-brainer, frame and shoot, and enhancement was no more than a 5% sharpen. Fuji FinePix S5600, some telephoto. February, 2009. Image by Mike.

Garden for the Departed

Evening light catching the leaves, the amazing colours of a soft northern autumn... I say soft, it was pretty cold. The amazing symmetry of the vertical poplar tree leant itself to the scultpured landscapes that were all the rage in Georgian times, and which have 'grown in' over the last 200 years to be characteristic of the English garden landscape. They also make photographic grist as surely as they were meant to engage the eye in person, and to see the range of colours in leaves and sky begged the scene to be preserved digitally. This is Oxbridge Lane Cemetery, Stockton-on-Tees, Yorkshire, in November, 2006, and the time is no later than 3pm. The days are short at that time of year. The frame was slightly enhanced, sharpened and the colour and contrast brought up subtly. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Water's edge

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The day was hot and humid ... not a human being within twenty miles. The peace and quiet were profound. This was a fairly easy shot to get -- the landscape did most of the work! The only trick is to get down low to the ground, which makes the world truncate (meaning, to make the camera juxtapose the very-near and the very-far. The effect is dramatic, and made more so by some in-computer work later. I saturated the colors and sharpened the shot, after resizing it to 1000 pixels wide. This image is also compressed to 90% on the jpg quality, to make it a more economical up/download. Photo by Jade, 2009.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Omnipresent Communication

You can go nowhere in the modern age (nowhere industrialised and urbanised) without communications. That mobile in your pocket is so compact because the network is all around it, it doesn't have to shout very far to reach big ears listening for it. These are the sort of ears involved, industrial masts that sprout from buildings and the landscape, to carry the signal traffic to computers that route it in the blink of an eye. Whether this particular mast carries the mobile phone network I'm not certain, but the same principle applies: signals, all around us, every instant. There is something very science fictional about it all, even from the perspective of living in the 21st century, and classic SF from fifty years ago rarely made accurate projections about information systems, or predicted the role they would come to play in our lives. We didn't get the spaceships, but we did get the computers, the phones, the giant TVs... And the structures, which would not look out of place in some harsh, mechanised landscape in the paintings of Foss, Elson, Moore or Jones. This was a simple telephoto framing of a mast on a tall building, shot through a construction site in central Adelaide on a hot Sunday morning in February, 2007. The image was sharpened 5% but is otherwise unenhanced. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic exposure. Image by Mike.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sleeping Dinosaurs

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Steam locomotives are wonderful things -- visually fascinating and loaded with history, machines that characterised past ages and which are preserved in museums as the ghosts of those times. This is an engine undergoing service at Britain's National Railway Museum in York, in November, 2006. The biggest rail museum in the world, it is located on part of the oldest passenger rail network, George Stepheneson's Rocket ran those lines in 1825. This is a simple frame up but, as with the Hendon aviation museum, the lighting in these enormous buildings was perpetually in the cracks between just enough and never enough for a virtual 200ASA. I was concerned about digital grain and wanted crystal clear shots, so didn't go up to 400, as a consequence I was permanently fighting motion blur in these places. This shot is a supported one which beat the problem. Mild enhancement: sharpen, contrast and colour. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Jungle in the City

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It's all a trick of framing, of course, but the eye interprets only what the camera presents to it. This tropical greenary feels exotic, and the buildings glimpsed through the fronds suggest some island of civilisation rising among a predominance of natural forest... Yet there is nothing natural about it. This is the planted garden outside the walls of Government House, Adelaide, shot from the bus stops on King William Rd, opposite the Festival Theatre, the very heart of Adelaide's 172-year old culture. The city's decorative design, certainly since the intensive 'greening' programs that beautified the once-stark streets, lends itself to such visual devices that can fool the eye in a most pleasing way. The shot was nothing complex at a technical level, and it was sharpened a fraction for publication. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. February, 2009. Image by Mike.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Just In Hobbiton

Yes, there really is a pub called The Green Dragon! History is all around you just about anywhere in England, and this pub has been fundamentally the same for centuries. It's not even located on a street frontage, but a 'yard,' a space between buildings from the days before the coming of the horseless carriage demanded wider accessways. Old? On the Green Dragon Yard is the entry of the 'Georgian Theatre,' where Paganini himself performed on his British tour. Things have not changed in 200 years here. This is in Stockton-on-Tees, in North Yorkshire, and it was a cold, grey day in December, 2006. The photograph was simple enough, nothing fancy, letting the chip handle the indirect lighting and compensate for the fact the day was drawing to a close. Fuji PinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Through a Plate Glass, Sharply

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One thing about travel, you spend rediculous amounts of time waiting for transport. It all starts at the airport of departure, and if you're careful you can get practice at aviation photography. It's not as easy as in the physical photography days, or unless you're using a digital SLR, as the sonic focusing system has the greatest difficulty getting hold of aircraft in flight (well duhh!) This Boeing 767 had just left the runway at Adelaide International Airport in November, 2006, and I shot quite a few arrivals and departures before getting this one, clear and sharp. I was shooting through the plate glass wall of the lounge, which makes me wonder how the chip can process the information generated by the acoustic focusing beam, passing through the attenuation factor of the glass on both pulse and echo, but it does. This is necessarily a telephoto image and that also makes focus more difficlt. The image was sharpened, colour-tweaked and cropped for publication. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic exposure, maximum optical zoom. Image by Mike.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Same Moon

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I remember once emailing with a friend on the other side of the world, the time zones balanced up so it was night in both places and the moon rising here was almost setting there. It was an amazing thought to be so far apart but both looking at the moon at the very same moment. So when I see the moon when I'm travelling it gives me a smile, it makes me feel more connected with home, if only in that it reminds me we're one planet here. This was a simple framing of the daytime moon among the trees of early winter on a stret in Sunderland, UK, by the river and half a mile from the sea, November, 2006. The clear blue sky and bright colors mask the fact it was cool, a chill wind off the North Sea was biting hard out on the breakwaters, and it was downright cold after dark. The picture has been mildly enhanced, sharpened and the colours tweaked a touch. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pause for Reflection

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This was a shot there was no resisting: three panels of polished marble all reflecting the same scene... A fully grown palm tree in metropolitan Adelaide, beyond those planted decoratively around the Main North Road Anglican cemetery. This is one of the elaborate memorials favoured by the Italian community, who have been using this cemetery since 1968, and their tombs are among the most spectacular you might see anywhere. To find the world reflected in stone, especially in the context of a graveyard, where the world of the dead may be seen as a mirror to the world of the living, was the sort of thing that invited the shot: a soft zoom-in to exclude background, then let the automatics handle the exposure, accept the short-frequency colour toning as light is scattered and attenuated by reflection, and capture the tableau. Minimal enhancement was used, sharpening and a little adjustment of colour and contrast. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. February, 2009. Image by Mike.

Low Sun and Industry

There's always something engaging about the juxtaposition of the natural world with the pure artifice of human technology, and industrial buildings against the sky are the simplest of such compositions. But an industrial complex with a design aesthetic is not common at all, and the eye is drawn to the composition. These towers appear to be the chimneys from underground furnaces or kilns, at Britain's National Glass Cetre, by the river at St Peters, in Sunderland. A rare clear sky framed the low sun of early winter, this would have been mid-afternoon and looking into the south, that tells you how far north Sunderland really is! The chip did an admirable job of balancing the extreme glare with the total silhouette of the towers. Fuji PinePix S5600, automatic. November, 2007. Image by Mike.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

London From 5000 Feet

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At the end of a 12-hour flight from Hong Kong the last thing you want is a delay in getting on the ground, but traffic patterns must have been pretty dense as this particular Qantas 747 had to circle over London two or three times. By this time I was about 26 hours into my journey as a whole, with three rail connections still to come, and I'd really had enough of flying, much as I love planes and being in the air. But it certainly afforded the opportunity for some aerial photography and I glued my lens to the window and shot everything that appeared. This one was a break in the patchy cloud through which an elegant arc of the river was visible. The sun angle creates an interesting almost-prismatic light quality, especially through the clouds, and the whole image is toned toward the cool end of the sprectrum. Enhancement brought up contrast a little and the picture was sharpened. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. October, 2007. Image by Mike.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Through a Bus Window, Clearly

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This is another reflex shot -- see it, frame it, shoot it. I usually try to snag a top front window seat on London busses, especially if it's the type with a single-piece window (no structure to cross the image), so I can constantly scan the city for great images. If I'm lucky the windows were cleaned before the bus began the day and there'll be minimal marks to potentially intrude on the image, though there are some reflections toward the right side of the frame that let you know it's a window shot. I believe this is Marble Arch, though I don't know London well enough to be sure of all its monuments. This shot is special because there's no motion-blur, the framing is squared-up well, and the loss of contrast through the glass was also easily tweaked digitally. November, 2007; Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Architecture by Night

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Two things make this image worthwhile, the subject matter and the conditions. While it's an old English pub, a hotel in traditional terms, those Tudor-era beams decorating the upperworks are unlikely to actually date from the period (compare them to the genuine historic buildings in York in my post Past Meets Present), more an architectural tribute from later times: the western side of Whitby, North Yorkshire, where this photograph was taken, was extensively developed in the 1700s and the oldest buildings on the commercial waterfront, where The Jolly Sailors stands, feel younger than this. Without knowing exactly when it was built, the layout feels 20th century. But the conditions are another matter: it was around 8pm on a chill, windy night in November, 2007, I had wandered the town looking for somewhere to get an affordable bite to eat after arriving back late, and was exercising the camera's ability to record true night images. Here the burn-out of the pub's lighting and the solidarity of the shadow areas speak to a short exposure: the cumulative lighting of the facade had pushed the illumins to the point the chip could handle it like a daytime shot. Handheld, there is no blur at a virtual 200ASA. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chrome, by Indirect Light

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The reflective properties of surfaces interact with the light falling on them in amazing ways, creating effects from subtle to outrageous. Here the effect is soft while the subject matter is hard: the polished chrome components of a motorcycle engine. This was a late-model Harley parked by the curb outside a pub at Port Adelaide on a bright day of blue sky and strong light. The indirect light brought up the blue tones and the chrome subtly reflects the bike's surroundings. The subject matter has the fascination of the machine, with its human-made symmetry and suggestion of assertion of the conscious will over the randomness of natural forces, while remaning subject to them for its very existence. The light which dresses the scene is a signature of that nature. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic; February, 2009. Image by Mike.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Million Panes of Light

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The effects of direct light into the lens are always amazing. The infinite points of reflection the sea creates in the glare path of the sun fox the light meter to compensate and drop all other parts of the image to night-deep contrast, which creates an amazing atmosphere to such scenes. This is the small-boat marina at Scarborough, on the Yorkshire coast, shot from the winding cliff stair leading up to the walls of the castle, and one is very aware of the passage of time here. The sea is eternal, the castle over 800 years old, the marina modern, but all coexist in immediate contact with eachother. The dramatic light this shot offers suits the sense of antiquity at the locale very well indeed. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. November, 2007. Image by Mike.

Friday, March 6, 2009

One Big Building

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Though the effect of "recede to infinity" is not particularly visible in this image, the place preserves that memory most strongly in my memory, for its sheer size. This is Changi International Airport, Singapore, and is surely the single largest building I have ever been inside. The concourses run on and on and on, with long people-mover floorways to get you from A to B on tired legs. The building is truly vast, with glass-walled lounges looking out over the aircraft parking areas on both sides. This was mid-November, 2007, a brief stopover on the way back to Australia. The lighting conditions were deceptive, the place seemed brightly lit but it was barely sunrise and the camera needed a solid footing for a clear shot (in this case, a chair arm). It's also worth noting that the digital system processes the various frequencies of light generated by artificial sources equally well, obviating the need for the old corrective filters. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Classic Idea, Fresh Interpretation

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Water gardens were a luxury landscape idea in the ancient world, especially in hot climates. Think the Trevi Fountains of Rome, the watergardens prized by the Moghul emperors of India, or their technical predecessors of 12th century Chorasmia. Flowing water is dynamic, both exciting and relaxing in one ever-mobile package. Water also offers photographers amazing opportunities to capture the scintilance of light through a prismatic, refractive and reflective substance, not to mention properties of time-exposure streaking and the halo effects of spray. This is the water feature in the forecourt of Sheffield Railway Station, photographed from just outside the building and looking in the general direction of Sheffield Hallam University, in November 2007. The stainless steel waterwall, the fountains and trickling terraces are a thoroughly modern interpretation of an eternal artistic dynamic that appeals to the human consciousness with light, movement and energy, but all in a precisely controled way, creating the treasured illusion of the human conquest of nature. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Calm Hills in the Sun

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This tranquil hillside suggests a simple settup shot, perhaps over the hood of a parked car on a country road. It was actually shot from the window of a train, so the tranquility was in perpetual motion. The remarkable thing about this frame is that not a single reflection in the window glass has intruded on the image, nor an area of dirt on that glass registered. Capturing an image through glass is dependent on the qualities of that glass, and in this case it paid off well. This is the Esk Valley in Yorkshire, through which wends the railway from Middlesborough to Whitby. The bracken has died back to rich russet, this was early November, 2007, and the winter sun is mild on forests thinning for the cold months, on grazing sheep and pheasants wandering by the tracks. Enhancements include sharpening, and bringing up the colour saturation, as the one inescapable effect of the glass was to leach colour, creating a more pastel-like rendition of what was really a very colourful scene. That's the beauty of digital post-enhancement, restoring what's lost in other parts of the process. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not Exactly Olmec

Public artwork is often surreal, it's meant to provoke thought and discussion as to its meaning, and the city of Sunderland, UK, is fond of its public art. Close to the sea one finds these great stone balls... There are balls on the waterline of the beach within the famous twin breakwaters, some of them hollowed-out and halved, lying like great coconut shells in the icy North Sea. These are part of a circle of six surrounding a picnic table on the riverside walk directly behind the University of Sunderland's St. Peters campus. What they mean is surely up to the beholder, silently evoking the mystery of the great stone balls that lie in the jungles of Central America, in the lands of the ancient Olmec civilization. But to us they make a surreal image, part of the aesthetic vocabulary of culture as surely as the great colourful trapezoids of Adelaide's Festival Plaza. The photograph was a simple one, frame and shoot, on a bitingly cold day in mid-November 2007. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Stone, Sea and Sky

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This is a technically simple shot, frame and shoot, no exposure issues, nothing fancy about backlighting or lens flare. The subject matter is what makes it: this is Scarborough Castle, on the North Sea coast of Yorkshire, UK, which has commanded the bays to each side of its headland since the Middle Ages, now somewhat in ruins but remaining an impressive sight hunched on the headland above the popular Victorian holiday town. Through the arch you see the next bay, with all its modern residential and commercial development, and once again it's an example of the new and the old, side by side. England is one of those countries where the tangible remains of centuries gone by are right there to see, where history really is alive in the everyday experience of life. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. November, 2007. Image by Mike.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Twilight in the Wild Wood

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What feelings this image engenders! The gathering night, the frozen, organic gestures of the trees, the subtle play of colours as the light fades... This very atmospheric moment was intensified by being taken on Halloween. Yes, it's the graveyard in Leicester, not the depths of some primal forest. I tracked up to exclude most headstones (there are two at lower right, and two others masked by the cloaks of ivy that have grown over them) and framed a spectacular sky amongst the ancient trees in this early winter scene. The sun is in the picture but there's no strength to its light at this latitiude, and a time around 4pm. The cemetery stands in the midst of a busy city but here the camera has captured what could be native woodland far from any human habitation. The image was mildly enhanced, a little gamma-correction to bring up medium tonal values, rebalanced with contrast, plus tweaks to colour saturation and sharpness, these functions performed in Irfanview software. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. November, 2007. Image by Mike.