Shapes and Colours

Sometimes processed images sit on my desktop for some time while I think about them and wait for my conflicting feelings about them to reach a consensus. Today’s image is a case in point. It was taken a year ago with a longish lens. I can’t remember exactly how I processed it, but the aim was to maximize the impact of the almost abstract array of colourful leaf-like shapes that comprise the image.

_DS77694Almost every leaf is misshapen, or at an odd angle and many of them seem suspended in space. I still find it a difficult image to describe. The distorted shapes remind me a little of how some painters were very ‘loose’ in their painting of detail.  What I do know is that I simply like it. Do you?

Posted in Autumn | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Through the Glass Ceiling

A few weeks ago at Compton Verney in Warwickshire, where I went to see a superb installation of sculptures by Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin, I happened to glance up in the building’s main foyer and saw the footprints of someone on the ceiling. Well, they weren’t actually on the ceiling, they were walking on the glass floor of the next level up, but from my point of view they appeared to be on the ceiling, if you understand me. And it was really rather surreal – you don’t often see seemingly disembodied feet walking across the ceiling._DS81054_cleancrop

Fast forward to two days ago and I was in Apple’s flagship store in Covent Garden, London (and very impressive that store is) when I glanced up and noticed another glass ceiling upon which several pairs of disembodied feet walked and stood still. I hadn’t seen feet like these in many years, if ever, and then along they come twice within a month. Strange.

_DS82097Situations like this need capturing. One has to do it with a total disregard for any one else who happens to be standing near by, and who may have paused mid-step to wonder: ‘what the heck is that man photographing?’ Or worse. And every second that I was staring ceiling-wards, camera in hand, I expected the firm hand of security to tap me on the shoulder and escort me out of the building. But it didn’t happen. I stared, and I shot, and I left the building without a second glance. It can be difficult to shoot in situations like this: no-one likes being thought stupid, or risking invading someone’s privacy, or falling foul of regulations, or being marched off by security. But sometimes we just have to be bold and accept the risk: nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The first image in this post is from Compton Verney – the colours are warm and soft. In contrast, those taken in London were more industrial. Cold, contrasty, lacking colour – The type of image that I thought would look good in B&W. But I have mixed feelings about the conversions.

_DS82097_BWThe only one that I think works in B&W is the last one in the gallery below – bizarrely it’s the one that happens to have the most overall original colour, or perhaps I should call that tint. Removing the colour in my opinion does create a more powerful image in that instance. But in the case of the other two, my feeling is that by removing the colour, the image loses an added dimension. Colour is important to their impact. What do you think?

This is a point that I am sure we won’t all agree on, but I would love to hear your opinion, so do please comment. All three of the London shots are shown below – in colour and then in B&W for comparison.

One last point: a very warm welcome to a considerable number of new subscribers/readers of this blog who have discovered me as a result of my recent post ‘Hello’ being featured by WordPress in ‘Around the World in Nine Photos’. I hope you will enjoy what you see and read here, and do please click the ‘Like’ button, or better still join in the conversation by making a comment.

Posted in Eclectica | Tagged , , | 25 Comments

St Paul’s

_DS81948Although it is always refreshing to find something new to say about a classic building (click here to view a recent unusual image of St Paul’s), the classic images still remain irresistible, particularly when the light decides tp play ball.

People were queuing up to shoot this iconic view. Once I was in position I wasn’t in a hurry to leave and the light came good. Two men strode into view just at the right moment too.

Posted in Architecture & Buildings | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Standing where Wordsworth stood

Allan Bank in Grasmere in the English Lake District is a house where William Wordsworth the poet once lived for a couple of years. Early in the twentieth century it was owned by one of the founders of the National Trust and subsequently bequeathed to the Trust.

In 2011 the house was damaged by fire and a restoration of it is planned. Meanwhile it exists as a largely empty shell (with a roof) with a magnificent view over Grasmere from its isolated position on the edge of the village.

Currently it is a place to drop in on. Sit in a room unfurnished save for table and chairs, sip a coffee, nibble a cake, and let your mind wander back over the years and imagine history. No-one will hurry you away, simply linger and adsorb the building.

_DS77606We visited exactly a year ago, when Autumn was in full show, and through the large bay window we could almost touch the forest. Buildings like this are a rarity – if you are up this way, put Allan Bank on your visiting list.

Posted in Architecture & Buildings | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Single Leaf

_DS82031The beauty of Autumn, or Fall, is visible wherever we look right now in the Northern Hemisphere. In the swathes of woodland and forest, and the leaf litter carpeting the ground But it’s when we narrow our focus and view just a single leaf that we can be most aware of the beauty of this season and the ultimately futile battle that each individual leaf fights in its determination to cling to life.

Posted in Autumn | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments


My wife and I went out for lunch in our local city centre earlier this week, to be followed by shopping. After lunch my wife went off to shop and I went to find some images.

The city centre is one of my regular haunts for images but it felt to me on this occasion that I had exhausted the possibilities until I just relaxed and watched the people milling around the shopping arcades. And the images started to come to me. By one of those bizarre circumstances Otto von Munchow posted Let Images Reveal Themselves on his blog ‘In Flow’ earlier this week but I hadn’t had a chance to read it when I shot today’s image, but his message is so relevant to my experience on this day. Do read Otto’s entry (click the link above), and if you are interested in reading and learning about the Creative side of Photography then Otto’s blog is an excellent place to start.

I found this patch of wall that you see below – a clever graphic – announcing the arrival of a shop called ‘Hello’ in the near future. I shot the graphic and then thought: I need a figure in this image. And out of the corner of my eye at that moment I saw a lady in a red coat approaching. It was the precise colour I needed. Instinctively I caught her. I had just that one chance – no time to check the settings or change them. She’s there, one leg sharp, the rest slightly blurred. Pity about the blur, but I’m trying to persuade myself that the blur is somehow apt.

IMG_6876_1You have to take your chances when they present themselves to you. Over on iSighting today I’ve posted an entry ‘Taking Chancesexpanding on this idea with three other images from the same shoot. If you have the time, do take a look at that post. Click the link to iSighting, or click on the top entry in the Rt sidebar on this blog.

Posted in Seen on the Street | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

Pleasure in the Familiar

There are walks close by, on the edge of our village, that I must have walked hundreds of times over the course of thirty years.

They become friends with whom I am familiar. I’ve seen them in different lights, clothed differently depending on the season. I’ve watched the hedgerows and trees grow. I know them so well, and yet sometimes I can walk them deep in thought, and be so indifferent to precisely how they look. And there are other times, when I see something new, and wonder why I hadn’t spotted that before.

_DS82004The image here is from one such walk past a stand of poplars. I’ve photographed these trees covered in hoar frost, seen their trunks plastered by wind blown snow – a rare event around here. I’ve seen them at dusk. I’ve stood among them and heard the leaves whispering in the breeze.

It’s a very simple image past those poplars, across the ploughed up field to a solitary shapely tree. The sun was shining, the clouds were fluffy and white. Simple but weirdly special. Walking the familiar and seeing something new brings pleasure that is hard to describe. It displaces other thoughts and I return home refreshed.

Posted in Landscapes | Tagged , , | 10 Comments