I have mixed feeling posting this picture and referencing Earth Day. It is after all a photograph from an airliner of a tranquil landscape. Although most things look tranquil if you view them from far enough away. But it is a view from above. There is something movingly beautiful about the Earth viewed from space. Many astronauts (and cosomonauts) have spoken about how beautiful the Earth looked from their spacecraft windows. I believe the first Earth Day was in 1970, I wonder if people being able to see the Earth from space made them want to celebrate and care more about it.
One of the things I like about taking photos on the street, is showing people going about everyday life. Shanghai has a particularly vibrant street life, where you only have to stand still for a few moments before something unexpected happens.
As I remember it, I was visiting during a really hot spell, in the middle of the summer. As usual, I spent most of my time just wandering around the city, ducking into shopping malls whenever I felt I needed to cool down. On this occasion, I was in Jing’An, near the park, when these workmen walked past me, carrying their sheet of glass.
My father is an unwilling birdkeeper. Someone in the village found they had a flock of chicks which they didn’t want, so he took them on. At the moment, because of the weather, they are laying one egg each day, which he usually shares with his neighbours.
I believe this is a Campine hen – a breed which originates from Belgium. I’m quite pleased with my photo of it, but in the flesh, the black and white plumage is very striking. I know this particular hen is the most assertive in the flock, being quick to peck the dogs if they come to close!
For health reasons, I am trying to make sure I take a solid walk every day. I recently found myself testing a new (to me) camera, so I thought I would combine the activities and see what came out of it.
The camera is an Olympus E-450, which I believe is about 10 years old, so I was curious to see what my photographs would look like.
Before I even took any photographs, I was pleased with the size and weight of the camera, which even with the kit zoom (14-42mm), easily slipped into my shoulder bag and was barely noticeable as I walked along country footpaths and climbed over stiles.
Back home again, looking at the files, I’m really pleased with the colours the camera produced. The greens look good (I hate it when they go neon). and the cows and flowers look – about right. It reminds me, that a good camera 10 years ago – is still probably a good camera.
Just a short post. Is there something which you’ve always wanted to learn, which you have never got around to?
My list is quite long, countless languages, limitless skills and I have always wanted to be able to make paper cranes. For years and years. Perhaps inspired by “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes”. So I looked it up online – and I made some paper cranes! One item off the list!
Time passes. I think we have all noticed that. Recently, on my morning walks, I have noticed some trees blossoming. But this photo is from three years ago. It was just a quick grab photo on my way to work. As you can see the light was very bright and contrasty, which made the blossoms stand out against the dark tree. Only the week before, there had been quite heavy snow, so the rapid change was quite remarkable. As I walked past, it was a quick snap with my iPhone and then on.
It has been a bleak spring day today, with driving wind and rain. So I thought I would post something from last summer instead.
I go through phases with photography, sometimes for months I will just use digital cameras – and then I will change over and just use film cameras for a while. In August, I was mostly using film. On this occasion, I was running a roll of film through a Lomo Fisheye2 camera. People talk about cameras being light-tight boxes – and this really is one, with a fixed 1/100 th speed shutter and a fisheye lens on the front. Unfortunately, I managed some how to use the roll of film twice, so lots of my images were double exposures! But this one isn’t. And I quite like it. If you look at the film, you can see the rectangle of film and then the circle of the image in the middle of it. I can’t decide if the strange colours at the side of the frame are because of exposure or because of the plastic fantastic lens.
To look at the camera, you might wonder if it was intended for underwater work, with its translucent lens cap and strange styling – but it isn’t!
I think I will try again with another roll of film – I think it would be fun to go to the beach and take pictures in the waves (obviously keeping the camera dry). Beacause of the fixed exposure 1/100th of a second, I would suggest sticking with 400ISO film – I really like Kodak Ultramax.
I haven’t posted in a while, so I thought I would write about a couple of old photos. One of the magical things about being young, is how there always seems to be time to “fit things in”.
At the time, I was working in Ho Chi Minh City, but I found that if I left work very promptly and caught the first taxi I saw, I could squeeze in a weekend away somewhere – in this case – in Bangkok.
Anyway, as I remember it these two young men were Americans – and I think they were on their way to a party. So I asked them to give me a pose – which they did!
Sometimes we go through phases, where we do the same things over and over. And then, things change and you do something else.
A good friend of mine from university repeatedly suggested that I should go and visit. And every so often, I woudl say something like, “I really should come and visit”. But I never did. And years passed. And then a decade. And then and then. And then I got a job in southeast Asia – and then I visited Hong Kong. And then I met the woman who became my wife – and then I went to Hong Kong really quite a lot!
Sometimes, I wonder why it took so long to go there. Part of it was money, because flights and worse still hotels there are really expensive. But most of it, I think was because I didn’t think I could solve the problems to get there.
If you ever have the opportunity to go to Hong Kong, my two favourite place to go are: Victoria Peak – walking right up to the top; and on the Star Ferry between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Both are lovely. Try them first thing in the morning or in the early evening, when Hong Kong looks particularly magical!
I made this picture by stitching together a series of photographs into a panorama. This is my new way of taking wide-angle photographs without a wide-angle lens. And as a bonus, it adds up to a really detailed file. I find I get the best results by overlapping each picture by about 25%. Using a tripod can also help with level horizons (which I tend to fuss about). In this case, I was using a Canon 6D and a 40mm F2.8 – and I think it came out quite well.
Walking in the rain isn’t much fun. More recently, there has been a fair amount of it on my daily walks and this morning, I almost left my camera on its hook (making one less thing to dry out afterwards). But I didn’t. And, as you can see, when I saw this bird as I walked into the park- I’m glad I didn’t.
I’m sure I’ve written before about the wildlife which wanders into the park from the neighbouring farmland. I occasionally see deer, buzzards and on this occasion a common pheasant. I have essentially no fieldcraft skills beyond moving slowly and creeping closer. Although the bird was perhaps 5 metres away, with my lens at 70mm, it was hard to show real detail. But, I suppose there is a lot of that in photography, where unless you are specifically equiped for a particular subject, you are always going to be having to work hard to catch anything.