A Tarmacadamed Road? Or a Canvas for a Picture?

This week, Jude’s Photo Challenge invites us to look at texture again – but as the subject for our photographs, the focus of our interest.

I took my camera out for a walk (while I still can …).  Several ideas presented themselves, but nothing quite worked.  Back to the archive.

I’ve chosen some shots taken on common-or-garden asphalt roads.  Those roads are not themselves the subject, but they provide a grainy, characterful canvas.  Imagine those same shadows projected onto a large sheet of smooth white paper.  I think they’d be less interesting.

Three are taken on a small road near here, edged with a dry stone wall. One was frosty road in January.  One was taken at Masham Sheep Fair, with not a sheep in sight.  One is not a road, but a wall.  It’s the walkers who are on the path.

2020 Photo Challenge#11

Background? Or Part of the Story

Jude over at Travel Words has an ongoing photo challenge this year. Every week she asks us to consider a different aspect of photography, and look at ways of addressing it. I’m a bit late in my response, but … here goes.

How to photograph a subject using a background which is a pattern without distracting from the subject.

I chose three photos in the end, and in the case of the two taken at the Albert Dock Liverpool, I think the pattern becomes part of the story.

Here’s a double decker bus. A double decker bus which has been re-purposed as a diner. I could have gone in close and taken a ‘portrait’, but decided I wanted to show the bus as part of this community, serving among others perhaps, those unseen office workers in the geometrically-windowed building behind. Or even the deck hands in that ship.

Here, I was just inside a building near Tate Liverpool. All the action is outside. So this picture is back-to-front. The background is in the foreground, and behind it, the couple, waiting for … who knows? But they, more than the pattern, are the subject.

Finally, some street art in Hither Green, London. But which is the subject of this picture? The reflected light cast from an adjacent shop? Or the pattern-costumed whooping crane?

This has been fun and has made me start to think a bit more about my photos and how I might improve them. So thank you, Jude.

Patterns Through the Window, on the Wall

Look out of that window.  Who wants to go out unless they have to?  Instead, I’m inside and cosy, seeing if I can find photos that fit Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge for February, Patterns.

I decided to go with the built environment.  I looked not for deliberately created architectural motifs, or applied ornamentation, but for reflections, distortion, or for other elements that weren’t intended as the main event.  Except in one case, where reflection and baffling the eye was definitely the main story.  Which one was that do you think?

 

This challenge was provided by Jude, of Travel Words.  

Framing North Yorkshire

There’s an invitation  this week, in Amy‘s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, to consider Framing the Shot.

Walking in the Yorkshire Dales gives so many photo opportunities that I thought I’d stay right here, on my home patch, to give this a go.

Here’s a wintry shot from just outside my own village. Trees provide a traditional frame.

Over in Reeth, I  made use of some less-than-attractive wire fencing to frame the distant hillside.

Harlow Carr Gardens provided its own frame above a pond.

While at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, (in West Yorkshire, this one) Henry Moore  provided a frame through which to view the landscape.

But there’s no need to take framing so literally.  There are other ways of a picture inviting you in.

The Pennine Way, near Gargrave North Yorkshire.

Those fields of rape plot the path we may take over the hills.

While these two suggest the limitless landscape lying beyond the dry stone walls.

And these sheep, this cormorant, highlight the vastness beyond them, just as the tree below, utterly unframed, suggests the famous bleakness of the Top Withens moorland near Hawarth, home of the Brontë sisters

Let’s finish with typical Yorkshire weather.  A view taken in the Crimple Valley one very dismal day in May.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #60– Framing the Shot

 

 

 

Identical?

I’ve never been much good at twiddling with the controls on my camera.  I even joined a photography course recently, in an effort to get to grips with apertures, shutter speeds and ISO controls.  But it just made my head hurt, and I reverted to ‘Automatic’ as my default modus operandi.  I decided I’m a snaphot-ist, not a photographer.

Yesterday, however, just for a bit of fun and having an hour to spare, I turned to the ‘palette’ settings, and took an identical shot using every single one.  Here’s the result.  Though I forgot to take one on ‘Automatic’,  so the tale is not quite complete.  Can’t do it now.  This little twig of blossom (cherry?), a chance discovery found lying in the road, wilted in the night.

Which do you like best?  As ever, click on any image to see it full size.  They’re in strict alphabetical order – no favouritism here.

Bleach bypass.

This is my entry in today’s Ragtag Challenge: identical

Taking my new camera for a walk

Father Christmas came early.  Three months without a camera was enough, he reckoned.  He lacked a beard and red clothing, and looked remarkably like Malcolm, but he helped me choose, provided the credit card and carried the new camera home for me.

We trialled it on Sunday.  The grounds of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is familiar territory, but reliably photogenic.

A misty morning over the Moon Ponds.

Even at ten o’clock, there was still mist rising from the Moon Ponds.  And even though the view from Surprise View is no longer surprising, it’s none the worse for that.

A distant view of Fountains Abbey from the High Ride, Studley Royal

But look!  This is what we spotted in a distant meadow.  Time to put the zoom lens through its paces.  Aren’t these deer magnificent?

Later, we passed the fine Elizabethan Fountains Hall.  It was fun to contrast the view of the house itself with the version spotted in a puddle we passed.

A good walk, and it’s good to have a camera once more.

Back in the valley, a less distant view of the Abbey.

As usual, click on any image to view it full size.

I enjoy Jo’s Monday Walks, and browsing through the posts of some of those who contribute too.  So I thought I’d join in the fun.  Yes, I know it’s Tuesday…..

Ragtag Tuesday: Touching the past

Nothing makes me feel older than looking at these three photos does.  They seem to be illustrations from a history book, but they’re not. I can reach out and touch them, because every one of them features my mother.

This is her christening.  And here are people I never met: her father Charles, the curate, who died long before I was even thought of.  Her mother Annie, from whom she became estranged. Annie’s mother and father Arthur and Elizabeth Pickard, long long dead.  Her sister Blanche and brother-in-law Jack who took themselves off to live and work in Swansea, so I never met them either: though my mother inherited almost all that Blanche had when she died in 1964.

News of my mother’s birth would have travelled by word-of-mouth or by letter.  I communicate with friends in four continents in an instant, by the click of a mouse or a quick call on Facetime.

When my children were small in the 1980s, we went to an exhibition featuring the future – a fax machine.  We got very over-excited sending drawings to one another down the phone line. Who uses fax machines now? They’re nearly as dead as the fountain pen. But even the telephone barely existed for most people when my mother was born. She lived to see her grandchildren use word processors, computers and mobile phones – but she was happier with what she knew.

I guess this photo was taken during World War One. Over the last few weeks our attention has been so taken up  by the horrors of trench warfare that it’s hard to imagine that in a small northern coal-mining town, life would have gone on much as usual.  Clergymen and miners were all exempt from conscription. Though my mother remembers food difficulties. It was her job to run to the shop and get a supply of golden syrup, and then to sit fishing the flies before it could be used  in cooking.

I have little grandchildren  of the same kind of age as my mother and her little brother Arthur in this photo (and for those of you who’ve been asking, Zoë is doing well thanks.  She should now be just under a fortnight old, but she’s three months old instead).

Theirs is a world of babygrows, disposable nappies, easy-care T-shirts and jumpers and the constant background whirr of the washing machine. My mother remembered the dampness and drudgery of Monday and its all-day washing as the worst day of the week.

Here’s another from the war years:

How could life have been so very – well – Edwardian?  Those floor-length clothes for my grandmother in the previous photo! That sailor suit for Arthur and a mob-cap for my mother!  Imagine getting Arthur and Betty along to the photographer’s studio in their Sunday-best, clean, tidy and with immaculate shoes.  These days, family portraits are all about getting out into the countryside with tousled hair then running barefoot through the heather.

I find it unsettling to look at the images.  

I feel strangely unconnected, as though my mother is from some strange unknowable place with which I have no relationship: ‘The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.’ L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between.

Today’s Ragtag Challenge is ‘past’.