Photography

Well, Iím not too bad with camera; and I do derive a significant part of my income for photography, so I guess Iím entitled to show off a few of my favourite pictures.
Favourite doesnít mean best; the story behind how the picture was taken often means a lot more than the quality of the end result. So donít go under the misconception these are my best - this is a personal and not a professional page.
That said, I do value my copyright, and almost all the images on this website have the higher resolution versions for sale.

Steam Train Odyssey
Lake district, 1986. Some manipulation March 2006
more train photos here

Corfe Castle Battled Sky
Dorset, 1987?. Some manipulation March 2006
Original taken on a cycling holiday along the South Dorset coast. Some late night experimentation changed what was a fairly mystical tranquil photo into something else.

Caving in the Picos
with technicolour
This is not a composite, but one shot heavily edited. The original transparency was close to my intended outcome, with my shadow cast on the wall opposite and the caver in ongoing passage in the shadow below, but it was all a bit brown and the caver was not distinct enough.
I have enlarged the lower section a little, removed a few rocks to help the caverís stand out, and then done some real blasting to colour levels & balances.
Original around 1994, edited 2006.
More caving photos here

Flower - first distillation
Worcestershire 2005, edit 2005.
A test shot for a new lens, looking for depth of field and close focus; then a bit of fun with the curves.

Flower - second distillation

Batworthy Kitten
2006

Trying to take photographs of my sisterís kittens at play
Lots of hind legs of cats exiting stage right
At last this one was curious, and advanced
Too close - out of focus & out of frame

Primeval cat eyes
Leopard filled viewfinder
Hunter and hunted
Which am I?

An image I return to
Tweak the levels
Posterize
Recreate the moment
 

Malvern Sunset
Worcester 2004
Another test shot the same evening as the flowers (and the picture of David Judson); part of a batch of photos still kicking around on the hard drive.
The Malvern Hills remind me of a dragon sleeping in the landscape far more than any Welsh hills. It is how they rise from a plain, are clearly only a single ridge with no more big hills behind, and seem to have a distinct beginning and end. Other symbolic elements are the old phone box, lonely and rural - I bet you can even smell it; and the car lights, emphasising the darkness and transition, for me the photographer it is the last light of the day, for the driver it is already night.

Catch 22
Worcestershire 2004
Whilst we enjoyed a picnic lunch, this grass snake found something more to its liking in the pond. The snake was slightly the stronger, but the frog had an awkward shape when swallowed right foot first. The snake could pull the frog backwards in open water, but could not do anything with it there. Closer to shore, the frog would have the upper hand as three legs still beat none. The snake could not pull the frog back behind the hose, the frog could not find enough traction to move any further forward. 22 minutes of stale mate, before the snake conceeded.
 

The Importance Of Being Earnest
Spring 2005, Skipton Little Theatre Cast Photo
Joanne is front row, second from left. A publicity shot from a dress rehearsal.
More Skipton Little Theatre Pictures Here

Ben admiring quartz veins in !Wa Doum, Botswana
Mid 1990s, scanned transparency, colour restored 2006.
Some of the finest cave formations in Africa exist in the enigmatic !Wa Doum cave. Towards the back of the known cave, in a zone frequently flooded with fatal levels of carbon dioxide (c. 10%), we find gypsum deposits on the walls (white in this photo), and quartz veins that stand 40cm proud of the rock (the buff feature bottom right and the darker crystaline area centrally, the subject of Benís observation. These are less than 1cm thick, with some appearing like lacework. Their fragility indicates that water has not flowed through here; either they have eroded by dissolution in static agressive waters, or more probably by the interaction of atmospheric gases with thin water films on the rocks surface.

The Man Who Fell To Earth
!Wa Doum, Botswana, Mid 1990s, scanned transparency, restored 2006; taken by Stuart under Paulís Guidance

I have a casette with an early David Bowie album on it. It was copied off a friends casette using a pair of tape recorders and a few wires with various phono jack adapters attached. His copy had been acquired from another friends copy using the same lofi system. Somewhere in the family tree was an old vinyl record, scratched. Whatever cloth had been used to remove the dust had only succeeded in adding static.
I now have nice CDs & DVDs of Bowies finest works, yet somehow I prefer the sound of that pirate copy for those particular songs. The cracks and the hisses have become part of my memory.

This is a photo from one of the ends of the Earth; few places are so remote and inhospitable. 100% humidity, 3% carbon dioxide, temperature around 30 degrees Celcius. Calcite disintigrates into gritty shards everytime we touch the walls, our shirts are already like sandpaper. We are somewhere beneath the Kalihari Desert, 150km off road, 450 km from a proper bath.
Glen is about to attempt to penetrate the vertical toxic zone of this cave using breathing aparatus. I am on rescue standby, breathing aparatus around my neck, 2 spares on my waist.
Stuart is our number 3, our communication relay back to the rest of the team, and our medical man, being the Asylum nurse in Alce Springs. He has just the one breathing kit.
Today is a good day (third time lucky), the air here is breathable; just. It becomes unbreathable about 2 metres below my feet. If the barometer moves downwards at all, that changes. It is 15 minutes of hard physical caving back to a place of relative safety, where the rest of the team waits anxiously; they have done their bit relaying our equipment this far. Each of our packs should give us 40 minutes, at moderate excercise.
A couple of photos, We check our drills through one more time, check once more our equipment, then it is all systems go. I try to take a photo of Glen descending; the camera has jammed...

Grit had seized a spool. Trying to free it the film tore, and the film scraped against more grit. Fortunately we are not short of darkness in a cave, so later on I was able to open up the camera, recover what film I could, and place it into film canister, all by touch. Back in England the lab appears to have messed up a significant batch of processing, turning everything green. This is the last image on the film, scratched and battered; battle scars from the end of the world.

2006, and I try touching up the scars - not bad, but not half the character of the original shot.

more on the caves of Botswana here

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