What shall we use to fill the empty spaces…?

This one fell right in my lap.  A quote from a lyric on The Wall is a bulls eye anyway, but then the question it poses leads straight into street art.  And this is your stop; thank you for travelling with us.

I went into Beeston today with the intention of photographing two street art sites, and found three more. Quelle surprise!

The first one was created by a street artist called Rob Jackson ( rj77) to remember an explosion in 1918 which killed 34 people at a shell filling factory

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The same artist created this tribute to the TV series Boon. The mural is on the side of The Star pub, where a lot of the filming was done. I used to love that program, which was the screen debut for Neil Morrisey, apparently. I should point out that it is not recommended to sit on a motorcycle with both feet up and on the main stand, especially a classic BSA. Just sayin’.

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Close to the town centre are the three murals that everyone locally is aware of, depicting Richard Beckinsale, Paul Smith, and Edwin Starr, all famous sons of Beeston. I never realised that about Edwin Starr, so it was worth taking the photo so I had to look it up

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These were all done by an artist called Zabou, who also created this image of Robin Hood, painted on the side of a shed in a piece of wasteland that used to be the bus station.

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And finally (roll of drums and crash of cymbals) an extract from a mural behind The Star.  Please click on the images to open them in Flickr, they are worth seeing full sized, in my humble and modest opinion of course.

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This will likely be the last post for a few weeks, as I am off on holiday for three weeks shortly, but hopefully I will come back with something worth posting. Until then…

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Look at the sky, look at the river. Isn’t it good?

The lyric is a little obscure, but you can get it I am sure. Once again I am regretting the choice of Pink Floyd for lyrics, but I got there in the end.

I promised some more images from our trip to London, and London has both river and sky, so I am going with it.  I was also going to say that I had abandoned Lightroom in favour of CaptureOne, and although I think it is a superior product in just about every way I really cannot justify spending just shy of £300 on it. So I will just hope that Lightroom finally gets round to investing some time in improving the noise management of Olympus files. It can be corrected OK, but straight out of the box it is possibly the worst of the raw processors.  Just my opinion.

Anyhow, I didn’t mean to get serious, it is Christmas after all.  This might be a slightly longer blog post than normal (I could come back and edit this sentence at the end so I could be definitive, but I like to keep the suspense going) and will cover night and day. In that order. Everyone has been posting images of the decorations on Regent Street (and so will I), but I actually prefer those on the Strand.  The tree in Trafalgar Square was very disappointing – not that big, and very sparsely decorated. Maybe the Norwegians are objecting to us trying to steal their deal with the EU?  Anyhow – you decide:

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As you may be able to tell, we were on Regent Street a little early to get the angels at their best. But we were on a schedule to eat and get to see Tina, so I grabbed what I could.  One final night image of the Indian High Commission, which is about opposite the Aldwych theatre, and whose lights were aptly creating the colours of the national flag

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And so we watch Tina, which was amazing, and we go to sleep and then when we wake up the weather is bleak but dry. A nice day for a walk along the South Bank, and to see the skating rinks at the Tower of London and at Somerset House

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So, no snow, but still a festive couple of days in London.  One of these years (but not while that idiot Trump is around) I hope to be able to enthrall you (joke) with some pictures of Christmas in New York with snow. However, until then I hope your festive season (religion neutral, they are all the same to an atheist) was a good one, and that 2019 gives you all you need, if not all you want. I know it is not bringing me Capture One, so you all have to make a similar sacrifice. Deal?

The thin ice of modern life

I have been struggling to find a lyric to cover our trip to London this week. We came back with photographs of the lights, Selfridge’s window display, London skyline, plus an amazing exhibition at the Tate Modern.  That exhibition, Ice Watch,  may or may not be there now – totally dependent on the weather, so we were lucky to come across it when we did.  Twenty four small ice floes harvested from the seas around Greenland, each weighing between one and 5 tonnes, and arranged in a circle outside the Tate Modern to melt, as a statement about climate change. They are amazing. The colours and textures, and the quiet sound of them cracking as they slowly disappear.

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https://flic.kr/p/PUAGse

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These really need to be seen bigger, so please click on them to see the original in Flickr.

Now of course I have a problem. I really like some of the London images, day and night, but do not want to hijack the Ice Watch.  But then I need to find another Pink Floyd lyric.  Watch this space – I might just think of one before Christmas…

While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime

What is this? Have I taken up sky-diving? No. I have a mild case of GAS and a more severe case of SAS, and it is the SAS that is the dangerous one.  Well nobody is going to die, but I have just wasted several days of my life that I will never get back.

Stop talking in riddles man, what are these diseases of which you speak and are they contagious through the internet? Well they are Gear Acquisition Syndrome and Software Acquisition Syndrome.  And just so you know, I can spell acquisition without having to resort to a spell checker.

So, currently I use Lightroom for processing my RAW files. But I also like On1; and the latest upgrade was on a Black Friday deal and claimed to have a proper migration tool to migrate the Lightroom edits in a non-destructive way. Well keeping profanities at bay, and to be succinct (for once), it does not work properly.  It has more bugs in it than Anne Hegerty’s knickers after a jungle challenge, and it both failed to migrate properly and it ground my laptop to a standstill in the process. When I raised this with the support desk they said, they were aware of the issue and would try and deliver a patch next month. Silly thought, but if you are aware would it not be polite to let users know that it would be advantageous to wait for the fix before blitzing their hardware? So I am not migrating, I will use On1 as a plug-in, and I will stop looking at image editing software. I will go cold turkey on my SAS.

So pondering over, I think there a few more images from Malta in the pipeline. Then I will start on something else.  My father used to call Malta the land of bells and smells. The smell was of olives, and the bells from the countless Catholic churches and cathedrals on the islands. I have my own opinions on the Catholic churches being so ornate and filled with gold and jewels whilst the population is forced to contribute a portion of their salary to fund them, whilst living in relative poverty, and of course you may have your own opinion. We may or may not differ.  But they are quite photogenic.

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Remember to click to see a full sized version on Flickr.

Of course mama’s gonna help build the wall.

Pink Floyd didn’t write too many songs about Malta. An oversight maybe, but too late now anyway. So having to come at this one a little sideways, though the relationship between walls and the images are pretty straightforward. We have walls with windows, walls with balconies, walls with graffiti, and a city wall behind a very narrow apartment.

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I did wonder if there were any external painter/decorators in the island, or if the shabby chic look was typical in the European Capital of Culture 2018. This level of maintenance was the rule rather than the exception, which made us wonder why there was so much new building going on when the old buildings needed so much attention.

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Not quite a Banksy, but this was on a street with a dodgy reputation in the past, so I wonder what is behind the door?

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Of course some graffiti is actually shop signage. This shop (closed) seems to have moved on from Maltese clocks to predicting the future. Curiouser and curiouser.  Look at those last three words enough times and they become a meaningless string of letters. I should delete them, but it drove me mad for a few minutes, so what is so special about you that you should be spared?

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For sale apparently. It does have a balcony, but I could not find it on Zoopla and was not that tempted.  Needs a little TLC apparently. TNT more like. But then what would I take a picture of? No, leave it as it is.

And finally, before I let you go and do something meaningful with your life, there is this.  The steps behind the building lead up to the city centre, and there are a lot.  However, they are really easy to climb as they were designed with the knights of St John in mind.  Those poor buggers were walking around town in full suits of armour and rather warm weather, so the steps are designed for minimal climbing effort. Now we reap the rewards.  However, back to the apartment – a balcony seems to be essential to provide enough space to swing the cat. And there are a lot of cats on Malta!

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Malta is not yet complete, so until next time….

I was staring straight into the shining sun

Don’t do that – you’ll burn your eyes out!  Well I can’t believe it is just about a month since my last post. I should be thoroughly ashamed of myself, but I’m probably not.

Last week we took a break in search of some sun in the Mediterranean island of Malta, and Gozo and Comino but they were only for a couple of hours each.  I took with me a polarising filter, which I had bought for my forthcoming trip to Australia, and ended up feeling it added close to zero value. So that will make my packing lighter.  Malta will keep me going for a couple of themed posts, as I had the chance to do seascapes, architecture, night/low light, as well as general interest photographs, in different lighting – though the main purpose of the holiday was to relax. I say relax, but on our “chill out and do very little” day we still managed to walk around 10 miles.

So, straight into the shining sun, on the cruise back from Gozo and Comino:

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And the Triton statue at the entrance to the city of Valletta:

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The Triton statue is the first thing you see when you get off the bus, and is a bit of a draw for the camera

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Malta is overrun with churches, and is historically a Catholic country. The result of that is the populace having to donate 10% of their income to fund the enormous amount of gold in those churches. So next post will cover some of the lavishness in this, the smallest country in the EU.  Till then, remember to click on the image to see a bigger version in Flickr.

And a river of green is sliding unseen beneath the trees

Again not strictly 100% true, but the thought is there.  The river was actually brackish and brown, and by the time I had cut out the reflections with a polarising filter it looked almost black. The trees were there though.

It seems like a long time since I just got lost in time and space, slowing down with a tripod to enjoy the outdoors and some landscape photography. This week, however, my other better half was out for the day. So with the leaves starting to turn and fall I set off to enjoy Padley Gorge and Surprise View, in the Derbyshire Peak district.

In Padley Gorge I kept stumbling across a workshop being run by Fuji, all using the new XT-3. When I say stumbled across, I saw them and got in the way of their images to make sure of a victory for Olympus. It has to be done, just be sure to keep a smile on your face as you say sorry.

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After eating my sandwich by the river I made my way back to the car and drove to Surprise View. I had never been there before, and to be fair the greater landscape needed a better sky/better light than I had. But the views are spectacular. What a surprise.

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I will have to return for the views, but all was not lost.  A major feature of the area is the birch woodland, and on the way back to the car I spotted a couple lying in the grass. To clarify…. they had found some toadstools. So being a fun guy I joined them to make up a threesome.

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So, no deer – I think I missed the rut again – but plenty to keep me off the streets causing mischief.

Don’t forget to click on the images to open them larger in Flickr. Until next time…