Well according to the weather forecast you poor souls in Dubai are enjoying beautiful clear air, hot tempuratures and not a cloud in the sky........so I thought I'd cheer you up by sharing a shot or two of the clouds we are having to suffer at the moment:
"A Gouldston Country Sky"
Arn't they awful?!?! And when we got up this morning we were treated to such an abundance of cloud that lots of it had to wait at ground level for its turn to be up in the sky:
Will believe it or not Imogen has actually done some homework with the help of Tinky demonstrating her new and latest hobby which is to introduce herself to the local wildlife......and promptly kill it!!
I thought I saw a mouse around here..
And goes in for the kill!!
And so there you have it, Imogens first home work, and I for one am pretty impressed both for the action shots and the sharp focus but also the use of on board flash without ending up with an expanse of bleached out white........and she didn;t take 300 shots and cull them to the four good ones. These are the actual shots and there are only 4 others. She just shot them and got it right!!
Although I have to say that the subject of the shots is a little evil....but then what would you expect from Imogen?
Here's another one of the photos I took of the Victorian letterbox. This one is close-cropped narrow to accentuate the tall slim brickwork column and the box front itself. Being closer, you can see the texture of the brickwork, the ivy, the lichen, and years of repainting over old peeling paint. There's an 'old and new' thing here too: whilst the box is Victorian, the collection times clearly are anything but.
I've been in Blighty for a week. At least, that was the plan. The unexpected extension to my stay because of a volcanic eruption has been a mixed blessing. I've found time to produce a couple of offerings on this month's subject, and these are produced below for your comment and criticism.
Rural Letter Box
Nikon D70s Nikkor 18-200 @ 200mm F/8 1/125s
Spring in England. I framed the little letter box with daffodils and trees, using reduced depth of field to avoid the bright yellow flowers from distracting too much from the main subject.
A piece of Victoriana
Nikon D70s Nikkor 18-200 @ 62mm F/5 1/180s
One of the remaining Victorian post boxes. Also note the Ordnance Survey benchmark on the brickwork below the box itself. This is located on a quiet corner in Plympton, just down the road from where I went to school all those aeons ago. The picture is tightly cropped to eliminate distracting plastic bag rubbish and hideous garden gnomes in the garden to the left.
Baby on board
Nikon D70s Nikkor 18-200 @ 26mm F/4 1/20s
I borrowed the scenery from some good friends. Photographers with young families will find this scene all too familiar. Hand-held at 1/20s to exploit natural light (aren't VR lenses great?) and a low child's-eye-view.
Nikon D70s Nikkor 18-200 @ 120mm F/5.6 1/125s
Lots of letters here. There's the print in the paramilitary publication, and also the hoarding advertising the computer games shop where the soldier is standing.
It can be difficult to get long shots like these in a busy pedestrian precinct. Enormous numbers of shoppers conspire to walk in front of the camera at the very moment the shutter button is pressed. This is the only one where I was able to crop out all pedestrian clutter.
Nikon D70s Nikkor 18-200 @ 112mm F/5.6 1/125s
Lots of books, which of course contain millions of letters, in Waterstone's bookshop. I should have liked to true-up the vertical on the left-hand side as it's an architectural detail, but unfortunately I'm away from home and without Photoshop. A slightly wider version caught the sky that was a boring flat grey rather than glorious blue. Hence this close-cropped image.
While I am in the mood and have the time for uploading I thought I'd share one or two other shots I've taken this month which, while nothing to do with the monthly title, are shots I like and would therefore offer for your comment and (hopefully) enjoyment:
"Red Sky at Night"
F2 1/16 ISO400
I swear there has been no tinkering with the saturation on this one, this is as is. There have been some other photoshop trickery but not saturation. It was an amazing sunset colour and when I saw it I was a little "merry" on the way home from a few liquid refreshments. While waiting for the ferry I thought I must be a little "over refreshed" but took the shot anyway and was chuffed when I downloaded the shot this evening.
f2.8 1/320 ISO 80
This one was shot yesterday while coming home on the ferry and I just loved the abstract composition combined with the reflections of two Sydney harbour institutions as the bridge and the ferry. I could say it would have been better if I had the opera house in there as well but I'm not sure. Th opera house and the bridge in the same shot can look a little cliche in my mind.
"QVB Ethereal Light"
f5.3 1/160 ISO200
This show was originally intended to be an entry for "small world" and I was going to play and try and do a Mr Cooper Style tilt shift fake but Mr C beat me to it. As you may be able to see from the blurring I got part way through with a few blur filters but then stopped when Mr C stole the thunder on that one. The shot was take through my office window so there are multiple reflections and distortions (unavoidable where window doesn't open). However, when I got fiddling with the saturation, and in some part de-saturation, I couldn't help loving the ethereal quality the light seem to take on, almost as if it was viewed through a dream. So what started out as one homework has kind of accidently morphed into a completely different shot that I really like for other reasons.
And a final little challenge for the die hard techy-spods, how many of these shots do you reckon are HDRs? I know the usual answer is all of them because I am shooting them but what do you reckon this time?
Not as catchy a title as the old proclaimers song but at least its a more pleasant place by vertue of the fact it has less Americans (sorry Mdm Cyn)
So here are my offerings for the monthly title of "Letters":
"Letter from Australia"
f2 1/200 EV-1 ISO 1600
This is taken outside the old main central post office in Sydney where there is a bank of beautiful old brass post boxes with mail posted based on whether it is going to Australia, Franked or International. I can just imagine all those old ten pound pommes sending letters home to family (or old prison cell mates) telling them about their new adventures. And with the wear on the brass I can imagine there have been a few thousands other people touched it since.
f2.8 1/15 ISO70
I couldn't resist a little play on the title. Think about it, what do Estate Agents do? OK for those on Dubai what do estate agents do other than look after their own self interests and rip of everybody they can. This was taken on the iPhone so you'll have to forgive any deficiency in the image quality or colour rendering, but otherwise feel free to comment on composition, lighting, off board flashes (although how on an iphone!!).