Shafts of light

Our recent day out on the south coast started with sea mist and sea fog. It hung around into the afternoon and then finally started to clear so we took the scenic route home along the coast and near Beachy Head were treated to shafts of mellow light piercing the cloud base and lighting up the water. Subtle light that lasted just long enough for me to find a place to park and grab the camera. Not the greatest of images, but a memory preserved. Job done.

Click on the image – the enlargement is worth it.

 

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Faces in the window

A day trip yesterday to the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne to see the exhibition: A Green and Pleasant Land that ‘focuses on artists who have shaped our understanding of the British landscape and its relationship to identity, place and time‘. An exhibition that was good in parts, but some of it left me a little bewildered.

Last time we were there I came back with images of the exterior of the gallery’s building – click here to view.

On this occasion it was the building opposite that attracted me. The area was a muddy building site but above the chaos that existed at ground level, this long window stood out. A series of artworks looked out on the world – I’m guessing this must be an art college or school. It is a fascination collage of work. What a treat to find something unexpected like this. Click on the image to see an enlargement

The processing was not easy. I’ve appended – below – the original unedited RAW image. Ghastly, glaring ceiling light fitment, almost dead centre. Tricky to get rid of that – an hour’s work using the clone tool and making a selection of one of the other window sections, copying that selection to a new layer, and moving it into a new position; and a few other issues to be sorted. Worth the effort I think. And it’s when you present yourself with a challenge, and take it on, that you learn the most.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Seen on the Street | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Kingley Vale

On the way in from Stoughton, approaching Bow Hill

I took a break from posting over Christmas and New Year (as will be obvious to those who follow me) and it’s proving surprisingly difficult to get back to normality.

I could list a quite a few reasons for that hiatus, but that would be boring, except for one: the arrival of a new printer shortly before Christmas – an Epson SC-P600. It sat in its box for a few days while I observed it from a safe distance. It got unpacked, stripped of all its bits of tape, placed in position and admired for a few more days. Finally having read the instructions several times and wondered what could go wrong I summoned the courage to start the installation.

A brief ray of light over Chichester harbour

My hesitation was partly a fear of any new item of equipment that has the potential to be complicated, and which comes with instructions in half a dozen language with few words and a collection of pictures. Instructions nowadays leave a lot to be desired. And also I had purchased the printer along with Fotospeed’s Tubeless Pigment Inkflow system. That meant that in addition to Epson’s nine ink cartridges (now looking for a good home), I had nine bottles of Fotospeed ink along with nine empty cartridges and nine syringes for transferring the ink and an instruction sheet to follow. To my relief the ink installation went smoothly. I heaved a sigh of relief – the rest should be plain sailing. Famous last words! I set the printer up, collected the latest driver off the web, loaded some generic profiles for Fotospeed papers and opened an image in Photoshop to print. And then I hit a problem. The menus offered when I selected Print in Photoshop were incomplete, nothing like they should be. Why?

The usual thoughts go through one’s head. Is this a problem with Apple’s OS, or Photoshop CC? Where do I start to problem solve this? It was now the weekend before Christmas – no chance of getting help over the phone. In situations like this it is a bonus to have a son and a daughter who both work on Macs. Richard arrived for Christmas and within a few minutes the problem was solved. Two drivers had loaded and I hadn’t spotted that. One was a stripped down very basic one. Switching to the sophisticated driver solved the problem. Hallelujah!

The printer arrived with a free box of Fotospeed papers – 8 different papers, three A3 sheets of each – and a full list of generic drivers. The results using the generic drivers have been very good but not perfect. I have now calibrated the iMac screen (worth doing), printed the test chart onto a couple of papers I intend to use regularly, and posted those charts to Fotospeed who will now provide free bespoke ICC paper profiles. And as I have been writing the postman has delivered boxes of the two papers I intend to use. I’ll keep you posted but I think I have made some good choices and Fotospeed have proved reliable and helpful and I look forward to using their papers.

One bleached leafless tree with a dense background of Yews

And so, finally to Kingley Vale, where the images above were taken on our walk in. Kingley Vale is an area of ancient Yew woodland a few miles inland from Chichester in West Sussex. The Yew trees cover a wide area, and some of them are very old indeed – estimates range from 2,00o to 500 years. Richard visited this place earlier in the autumn, and I had also read about it in a post by Alan Frost who I have got to know through the blogosphere, and whose superb B&W photography I was delighted to see in the flesh in an exhibition last autumn. Click here to see some of Alan’s images of the Yews at Kingley Vale. We visited this site on 26 December, it was muddy, overcast, and rain threatened but never quite materialised. We never got to heart of the oldest trees (the tree below I am sure is relatively young), but it’s a place I will return to on a day when the weather and light are better.

 

Posted in Landscapes | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

Greetings

The Christmas holiday is almost upon us and whatever your faith or belief it is a welcome break from the daily grind of life. A time to relax and get together with friends and families.

Right now, we seem to live in a crazy world of fake news, hate mail, and extremism – political and religious. We seem to have lost the concepts of truth, honesty, decency, tolerance, and the ability to discuss and debate issues without such discussions degenerating into slanging matches.

Hope in this climate seems a forlorn idea but we have to hang onto that word and hope that one day, and let’s hope it will be sooner rather  than later, some of this intolerance will fade and morality in all aspects of life will re-surface, and that the world will feel a safer place.

Life did seem simpler, safer, happier, saner in the past. That child-like enjoyment of Christmas, blessed with snow, is a rarity these days. The image below is a reminder of that. Shot on my first digital compact back in 2010 when there was snow on the ground. With the main lights off, I looked out into the back garden and saw this overlay of interior and exterior. It was a spontaneous shot, without any planning. The warmth of the house, the coldness of the snow. With reminders of the season (top left), and in the corner parents long gone but dearly remembered.

My greetings to you all – followers, readers, commenters –  and best wishes for 2018.

 

Posted in Eclectica | Tagged , , | 30 Comments

One four two

I guess some of you are thinking, the numbering system surely should be 1,2,3, etc; so what’s 1,4,2 mean? The answer is – I don’t know. Haven’t a clue.

This was on the exterior of a building in central London and probably I will be unable  to find it again to attempt to understand its significance.

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Preparing to ski

Moving house and the aftermath meant that I missed two winters of skiing, so this year’s ski trip to Whistler in the new year is eagerly anticipated.

In my previous post I looked back to the winter of 2010. Today’s images look back to 2009 when we were last in Whistler, one year before Vancouver and Whistler hosted the Winter Olympics. Whistler’s ski slopes are vast and the views out into the back country are truly panoramic. In the Alps, the distant views are often limited by nearby higher mountains, but in Whistler the views seemed unobstructed. It was my first winter working with a dSLR. Despite the cold the camera performed well. Carrying a bulky camera while skiing is problematic. I choose to dis-assemble the lens from the camera and carry the two parts (protected) in a slimline rucsac – the type used by orienteers. It means I don’t have to take the rucsac off to use a chair lift. The downside is that it’s critical to find a safe place to assemble the camera for taking photos. In recent years, as my skiing has become more bomb proof, I have skied (at 75% pace) with the camera slung round my neck and secured by the rucsac’s chest straps. A risky business, but so far without incident. My fingers are now firmly crossed!

On that trip to Whistler I also carried a Sony compact – my first, and rather old, digital camera. Its RAW files were just over 1Mb. Below is a shot from the compact, cropped from the original frame.

I’ve missed winter panoramas and I’m looking forward to finding some new ones. The light was special in Whistler, especially in the afternoon. It was soft, muted and slightly warm. It reminded me of the quality of the light in the build up to an eclipse when it felt as if someone was turning down the ‘volume’ of the light.

As always, click on an image to see an enlargement.

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Cold Decembers

We’ve had a cold snap (as we call it) in the UK. Snowfall over much of the midlands and north of there, although south of London we had frost but no snow.

The image above was shot on the iPhone yesterday on my  walk to buy the daily newspaper. On most days the phone accompanies that walk and yesterday there were a number of pauses to ‘catch’ the fallen leaves edged by frost. Today is different, warmer with no frost, but colder weather is set to return. In the UK we are inclined to make a bit of a meal of snowfall. Truth is we are not accustomed to it often enough and therefore there has been a failure to invest in the necessary infrastructure to cope with the relatively rare occasions when it is needed.

The last time we had a significant cold December was 2010 and that was really cold and prolonged. I recall going out for a post-prandial (after lunch) walk round the village on Christmas Day to see the icicles hanging a foot long from guttering.

It was a month that lingers long in my memory and the following images are ones that spring to mind as the most evocative of that month – all of them captured on a familiar walk round the outskirts of the village where we used to live.

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