Monday, 3 May 2010

A different camera

Some 5 years ago I bought Gill a pocket 5mp metal digital camera with a decent lens from a proper camera maker. She started making images and now many thousands of images later it has been used almost to destruction. Now it has bits of tape keeping the battery and Sim card in and about a third of the screen is greyed out. It still takes pictures though and for what it did there was little to beat it so finding another one seemed a sensible option. However, E-bay only had her camera new from Hong Kong at about £200 or second hand with similar faults and eventually the later model, which had forsaken the direct viewfinder in favour of a larger rear screen, seemed more promising and I duly purchased one for £35.

At the same time my Leitz lens 12mp pocket camera vanished, and in the middle of having a new boiler and central heating system installed I broke my leg so some of the kitchen and breakfast room work is still 'on hand' and we have no ceiling there.

Our local Morrisons supermarket tend to heavily reduce their flowers at the end of the day and Gill makes use of them, so when about 30 red roses were selling for 59 pence they were an obvious buy and duly found themselves being dried. We now saw why old farmhouses and French / Swiss chalets had wooden beams showing in the ceilings as that is an ideal place to hang flowers and herbs to dry.
Our breakfast room is also resplendent in unpainted new plaster (not the finish that we were intending but my leg prevented us from using the cladding we intended and since the walls had to be finished before the pipes were installed a local plasterer did the job for us. Now to my mind a natural plaster finish is a great background for images, so this is taken in our breakfast room with a £35 second hand 5mp camera...

Thank you Morrisons.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Under Construction 2 : a long time in the making

Sometimes construction work is a long process....

The weather and waves have been working hard on this small isand (off the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland) for thousands of years, changing the cliff face, wearing away the rocks, bringing soil, and creating the gullies where water runs down.
What will the finished construction be like, when will it be complete, indeed will it ever be 'formed'?

Yet here it looks like a new creation emerging from the mists that sweep down and back into the sea.

Check out othe construction images on Carmi's blog

Under Construction... Work in Progress

Manchester is a city undergoing extensive regeneration, sometimes worthwhile and necessary ... sometimes dubious and unnecessary... The desire to cram everyone into small spaces near their work, to go for newly created ideals that have no bearing on reality and where 'community facilities' means the chain restaurant, or to assign a totally unrealistic name in the belief the area metamorphoses into its designation. The Green Quarter is not and never will be green other than the colouring on a map designating the area: even the Northern Quarter is not 'North'.

So massive construction, compulsory purchases, tearing down whole streets, development grants, development agencies and groups with the consequential short term or failing businesses as easy access is temporarily denied while work is in progress.

Sometimes though the reconstruction is delightful, the new sympathetically blends with the old, features are retained and history does not become a casualty of progress.

Thankfully the super casino and Las Vegas style quarter for Manchester has been rejected. But why do some in power see the need to advertise for organised crime to have a major stake in the city? Oh the lessons from Las Vegas and Atlantic City have been learnt and would not happen here; neither would the by-products that came with the criminal environment? So to those who wanted this why not have a cheap alcohol city, a cheap tobacco city, a cheap drugs city, a prostitution city ~ perhaps near you ~ as it would help your local economy, improve job prospects and tourism would benefit.

In the 1960s I lived in Portsmouth, about 300 meters from the city centre with WW2 bomb damage and bomb sites all around. Compared with other cities that suffered in the war Portsmouth was left out of the party. Back to back housing was being cleared and signs of ‘Gas Out’ and ‘Elec Out’ painted on derelict houses were common place as horizontal poor housing was replaced by vertical poor housing. Communities went and wind funnels came in, Gog and Magog, the names given to the pile drivers involved in the construction work were relentless. By the 70s much of the work had been completed, hopefully by 2020 it will have been taken down and something better put in its place.

Even our house is under reconstruction as we have had walls taken down, new walls built, plastering, plumbing and central heating sorted out, electricity to be brought up to modern standards, drains installed and then the decoration…

So having ranted here are images from Manchester’s reconstruction. For more images check out Carmi’s blog for Thematic Photographic 92 – Under Construction.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Put on those dancing shoes... Kick off those dancing shoes

Carmi in his blog is looking for images of feet so, taken out of context, here are some that immediately suggest the full subject matter...

... a wedding party... and talking of weddings this bridesmaid had been running around on the grass in bear feet and then had to get to her car along a gravel path so throwing dignity to the wind she sat in a (siblings?) push chair...

And more feet from a wedding...

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Abstracted memories

Abstract is the subject for Carmi's Thematic Photopgraphic 80 so here is an abstracted abstract photograph shown in its location ~ old steps by a canal lock

Friday, 13 November 2009

Better to travel than to arrive...

Carmi's theme this week at Written Inc is travel ... so yes I could do the travel brochure images, or the alternative travel brochure images, but this are much more mundane, daily travel to work this month has been by train, only two stops, into Manchester and out again. Commuter travel is often a problem so prefer to arrive and leave later so trains are not so frequent. Waiting is part of train travel ... whether for the commuter train ...

...or crossing Europe

.... while here the train runs so rarely that you walk the tracks.

[Apologies if you have seen some of these previously]

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Seeing Red

Seeing red is what Carmi Red urges us to do this week.

I dislike Coca-Cola, the drink... the company... the ethos... the ethics, the commercialism, and what they have done to Christmas. In my mind Coca-Cola stands for all that is bad and I hated their drink machines being placed in schools.... so when I saw one discarded...

... and put to a better use collecting rainwater ...

Come to think of it the rainwater, even Manchester rainwater, may be more drinkable than the original bottled contents!

PS. Apologies to those who like the stuff but before you drink it again check out how good it is at cleaning dirty pavements... ... or maybe that is why people mix it with strong alcohol...

Monday, 7 September 2009

In perspective

Carmi provided the subject of perspective for this week and it makes you stop and think..

Different standpoints on subjects,
....different views of the same subject,
............the traditional infinity perspective
.....................and I suppose the large format camera image that is actually correct optically, but not visually.

So here are two perspectives, first a traditional distance image with converged lines and associated loss of detail at infinity...

By Manchester Town hall lunchtime today ... when it forgot to rain and people were so surprised they stayed in their offices... Really the cobbles should be wet...

While the second an Italian view of security on their border with Slovenia in the divided town of Goriza (Hemmingway's location for a 'Farewell to Arms' ) before Slovenia joined the EU in May 2004 depicted by two images. At this time right wing newspapers were scaremongering that when the former eastern block countries joined the EU millions of their country-folk would cross en-mass to the UK and take all our jobs away...However, long before their threatened destruction of England, Slovenians could cross anytime they wished, legally or through the 'holes', but most of the daily crossing was the other way ~ Italian students living in Slovenia because it was cheaper (and a better standard of living there than in England). The newspaper perspective was simply biased.

... the border fence...Taken from Italy into Slovenia in March 2004 before they joined the EU, the garden fence needs repair...

...and the plaque... on EU day +1, remembering 50 years ago

The border operated with a typical Italian arrangement, so there were many crossings, some for locals and others for tourists, some controlled some of the time and others, well, available to cross over or pass contraband as and when you wanted. The day after Slovenia joined the EU (there was over a month between the photographs) people would come and stand at the commemorative plaque in the now open Plaza for a time, contemplate and then walk away. What the image does not show is that Tito grabbed part of Goriza after the end of WW2, taking the most impressive railway station I have seen and the plaza was, as with the rest of the city was divided by an iron fence / railings.

The final images are for context...

An unofficial disused(?) crossing point March 2004

The station with the open Plaza after joining the EU

The station with the iron fence & wall that ran through the town ~ after joining the EU

Friday, 28 August 2009

Big drips

Carmi's theme for thematic photographic this week is 'Big'. A very subjective subject and something that is smaller than bigger and biggest...

So here is my image of something on a grand scale along with the human figures in the third image (about halfway up and near the right hand edge) as a key to show you what it is.... and a colour image as well as the B&W one...

Summer Promenade

Continuing the Summer theme...

I went to see my father in Worthing and arrived for a couple of 'almost summer' days there, although it was breezy to say the least - as demonstrated in the first image taken with a real lens, overexposed and shot out of focus. The remaining images are from some 100+ I took that afternoon through the Guinness can lens on my digital SLR. On the 'Apple' some 50 of them are now in the form of a slide show with accompanying evocative music from Patsy Klein ~ but I've not found a way to produce this on the blog.

I feel these images are so much more effective than those from our local canal (which I then decided not to post) and probably there is a book in them. Some images will perhaps be too large and are best viewed without opening them up; however they are meant to be soft and dream-like and I have over exposed them all on the computer accordingly.

For those of you who have not tried digital pinhole photography the exposure times were 1 to 10 seconds for a normal contrast image at 100 ISO. Focusing is much harder than with a view camera (the aperture is probably around f150) and you are really looking for bright elements to help frame the image in the viewfinder, then trial and error altering the framing after capture. You will need a sturdy tripod! I think a digital back on a waist level viewing Hassel / Mamiya / Rolliflex would be good for framing here.
I still have to my beautiful wooden 5x4 pinhole camera with out of date film...