Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Photography

Friday November 16 2018

Time for some more horizontality:

image

Click on that to get the 1000x750 original bigger picture, which I found here.

Notice the title of the posting.  Hartley really is fascinated by colour, whether present, as here (in the sky), or absent, as is the case for the black and white birds here.

Interesting that stripping out the context, which makes it that bit clearer that these are birds, makes these birds that little bit harder to see clearly, as birds.

Thursday November 15 2018

I have a friend who roams the earth working in exotic places.  Friend supplies this photo of where Friend will be staying tonight:

image

It’s alright for some.  Taken with a smartphone (what else?), in Rotterdam, earlier today.

More seriously, what this building makes me think is what I have long thought, which is that modern architecture is, a lot of it, about what kind of aesthetic experiences architects had when they were little kids.  Does this Big Thing not look like big bricks of the sort given to small children, piled up rather inexpertly on top of each other, and now looking as big as it looked to a small kid?  That’s what it looks like to me.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Good to have the arse of the ship there, to show how big this Big Thing is.

Saturday November 03 2018

Seen recently on Facebook:

image

I like all the reflections in the background.  And what happens to the guy’s head.  Real Photographers tend to avoid all that stuff. I seek it out.

Is this a reference to Brexit, Trump etc., or am I reading too much into this?

Tuesday October 23 2018

I tried to put together a more complicated posting about, well, wait and see.  But it is taking too long, so here is something simpler.

A favourite blogger of mine is Mick Hartley, who oscillates between the insanities of the anti-semites and the Islamists (heavy overlap there) and photos.  Photos by himself, and by others.

The photos by others are often antique and black and white.  His photos are in colour, and they are typically very colourful indeed, especially when the sky is very blue

Colour is an obsession of Hartley’s, both when it is present, and when it is not.

Here is a photo I recently took, which is the sort of photo Mick Hartley would take, if he ever went West:

image

That’s the Victoria and Albert Museum, unless I am mistaken (as I might well be), photoed by me from the big old road that goes from the Albert Hall (and more to the point from the Royal College of Music, where GodDaughter 2 had been performing) down to South Kensington Tube.  This I know, because of a photo I took of a street map, moments after taking my Hartleyesque photo above:

image

That being the relevant detail.  I never regret map photos.

By the look of it, the V&A is a building I should explore.  Especially its upper reaches.  Maybe there are views.

Thursday October 11 2018

A regular way I find good photos to stick up here is that I go looking for good photos, of one sort, and find good photos, of another sort.  So it was this evening:

imageimageimage
imageimageimage

That’s a guy I photoed in Parliament Square in July of 2013, in the spot people use to photo Big Ben.  He is using two cameras.  One is a regular Canon SLR.  But the other …?  It’s a Rolleiflex, but have no idea which exact sort of Rolleiflex.

Apparently Rolleiflexes are TLR cameras.  TLR equals twin lens reflex.  So now I know all about Rolleflexes.

The guy has French words on his shirt.  Are Rolleiflexes particularly liked in France?  Or is that just some idiot brand sold everywhere?

Thursday September 27 2018

For the last four days I have been following Surrey v Essex at the Oval, on Cricinfo mostly.  The scores alone were remarkable, hence my title above.  Those who do not know cricket should know that, to those who do know cricket, the mere numbers above are truly astounding.

Famed Surrey commentator Churchy couldn’t take his eyes off it:

image

That’s him on the left.  Don’t know who the other bloke is.  Kevin Howells?  See also this (about the effect on the face of photoing someone from really close-up).  And the second of these two guys (both saying: well done Surrey) is another in-your-face face.

Given how good the weather forecasts were (and given how good weather forecasts are) I thought about going there.  But I still suspect that, had I done so, a cascade of butterfly effects would have been set in motion, and Surrey would have lost by an innings and about three hundred early on day three, instead of by a mere one wicket on the afternoon of day four, having looked, towards the end, well capable of snatching a win.

Anyone who thinks that only winning matters in sport should ponder how much happier a Surrey fan like me is about this game as it finally turned out, compared to how grumpy I would have been if it really had ended early on day three.  Still an Essex win.  Same number of Championship points to both sides.  Surrey still win the Championship anyway.  But what an abject anti-climax that would have been.  And what a great actual-climax to the season it actually was.

Had the County Championship still been at stake, and had it depended on this result, I could not have endured it.  But, if the Championship had been at stake, it would, I think, have been an entirely different game.  Intrinsic to the amazing Surrey recovery was that this was … only a game.  Thus did it end up being a great game, because only a game.

I really want to remember this one, hence this posting.

Wednesday September 26 2018

Last week Bruce the Real Photographer (regular name: Bruce Nicoll) dropped by and we went out for a coffee.  While we coffeed, we got onto the subject of how faces look different depending on how far away the camera is.  By which I mean: Bruce the Real Photographer told me about this.  (He mentioned this famous photo, on the right here, to illustrate what he was talking about.)

Inspired by this portraiture lesson, I at once took a very close up photo of Bruce the Real Photographer, which looked like this ...:

image

…, and then I walked away and took this next photo, with lots of zoom, so that his face occupied most of the photo in the same way as it did in the above close-up:

image

The contrast is remarkable.  His face is a whole different shape, depending.  And look what happens to the background.

I sort of knew all this.  But sort of knowing something and knowing it for sure are two distinct things.  Knowing it and really seeing it are also two distinct things.

I photo a lot of buildings, close-up, and from a distance with lots of zoom.  But these tend not to be the exact same buildings from one moment to the next, and the above contrast very seldom jumps out at me.

Mostly, what I see is another equally clear contrast but what looks like a very different one.  I see extreme angle differences, like when verticals converge, or not, depending on how far away you are.  I mentioned in passing, yesterday, how buildings do less of this when you are further away.  When you are far away, you cam get exact horizontals and exact verticals, the way you don’t when you are close-up.  See the first photo below, which was done with lots of zoom from far away. 

It all makes perfect sense.  When you work it out, it becomes obvious.  It is obvious that, if you are far away from someone who is wearing glasses and he is looking straight at you, you are more likely to see his face through those glasses and less likely to see the background beyond his face through his glasses.  It’s all a question of angles.

It is obvious that if you are close up, you see only the front of his face.  Further away, and you also see the sides of his face.

And it’s obvious that if you are far away from a rectangle that is at a slightly higher level than you are, it looks more exactly rectangular the further away from the rectangle you get.  Again, the angle changes.

But that’s what knowledge is.  When it becomes “obvious”, that means that you know it.

Here is another photo of Bruce the Real Photographer, which I took immediately after taking the second of two above, but this time with no zoom:

image

This shows that I was never actually that far away from Bruce the Real Photographer.  It’s merely the difference between very close and not so close, two places which are only a second apart from each other.  With buildings, you need to get a lot further away to make much difference.

To show you just how Real a Photographer Bruce the Real Photographer is, go to this long ago posting here, which has a whole clutch of some of his best looking stuff, but small enough to fit on this blog and not to be worth anyone serious about copying to copy.

The first photo there is a particularly good one of the actor Dudley Sutton, who nrecently died, causing much lamentation in the antiques trade.

Tuesday August 07 2018

I follow Real Photographer Charlie Waite, and recently, this photo appeared at his Twitter feed:

image

And then it disappeared.

What gives, I wonder?  I found it fascinating, but is it an act of social media aggression to have immediately copied it, and now to be displaying it here?  I don’t yet know the rules for such things.

The first fascinating thing, to me, about the above photo is how impossible to get to and from those houses look.

But the second fascinating thing about this photo is how it contrasts with this next photo, of the same houses, which I found here:

image

This second photo shows that these houses are actually not at all impossible to get to or from.  By showing the bigger picture of the landscape, the landscape is, so to speak cut down to size.  (Also, the mountains are not actually blue.)

Did Charlie Waite take the first photo down because he does not want his camera to be telling lies?  However beautiful and awe-inspiring?  Perhaps.

Tuesday July 31 2018

The Daily Mail has the story:

Sony has revealed a radical new sensor chip that could dramatically improve your smartphone pictures.

Called the ‘IMX586 stacked CMOS image sensor’ it boasts 48 megapixels, yet measures just 8mm diagonally.

It is set to come to phones later this year, and could even appear in the next iPhone.

The rise of smartphone photography continues.

The Daily Mail had this story about a week ago, actually, but creativity news is not like regular news, and a week’s delay doesn’t really matter.  Such developments happen slowly, and putting a date to them can be difficult.  Unlike with regular news of the sort that newspapers clear their front pages to proclaim, which usually involves disaster erupting at a very particular moment.  As for this gizmo, will it actually happen “later this year”?  Maybe, maybe not.  Either way, it, or something a lot like it, will happen in a few months time.

In other smartphone news, I have been looking, not very determinedly, for a smartphone with a big screen.  One of the contenders is the Samsung Galaxy S9+.  But in my experience, Samsung screens overheat.  So I googled “samsung s9+ overheating” and immediately got a result.  Apparently, Samsung are still presiding over overheating screens.  I do not understand how such absurd behaviour can be to their advantage.  Not all such screens overheat.  Clearly, such nonsense is fixable.  So why don’t they fix it?

Progress progresses, but not all capitalists are necessarily anything to do with the progress process.

Monday July 30 2018

imageOn osprey dives for a fish near Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Says Peter Schramm:

… hier hat es im richtigen Moment Klick gemacht ...

Which sounds about richtigen.

Thank you Mike Fagan.

In the Twittered version of this photo, the claws of the Osprey at the bottom of the photo are chopped off.  The result looks like some kind of medieval sculpted gargoyle with big ears and sunken eyes.

This is one of those postings where I need more blurb, to stop the photo bashing into the posting below.  This is that blurb.  I hope.

Well, it is now.  I needed a bit more, in case comments have to be got rid of.

Monday April 23 2018

I love this:

image

Not because of the flowers.  Because of the airplane.  Well, the flowers and the airplane.

It was taken by the same lady as did that outstanding selfie, that I reposted here on Saturday.

I didn’t find the above photo by looking for more photos by her on purpose.  It just turned up on my twitter feed and I liked it, before I even know who did it.

If cropped like that, well cropped.  If taken like that, then even better taken.

Monday April 16 2018

Twitter is causing ever more interesting things to pile up on my computer screen, and slow everything down.  (I know, “bookmarks”.  Hate them.) So, here is a blog posting consisting of such links.  Which I can come back to and follow through on but probably never will, but possibly just might.

Eyebrows - we all have them, but what are they actually for?

The Kremlin has a Reckless Self-Image Problem.

Via 6k, how to take bizarre photos by stuffing wire wool into a egg whisk, setting the wire wool on fire, and swinging all that around on a rope.  Do not try this at home, unless you want to burn down your home.

Next, a Twitter posting about cactus patterns:

So frustrating! My cactus patterns are going viral on FB, but the person who posted the photo of them a) didn’t credit me and b) deletes any comments I write responding to people asking for the patterns.

But what if she made that up? As a ruse to get the world to pay attention to her cactus patterns?  Or, what if she hired, in good faith, some sleazy “internet marketer” who deliberately posted her photos on some faked-up Facebook site, minus any credit, told her about it, and then blocked her complaints?  The sleazy internet marketer then advised her to complain about this to all and sundry, knowing that all and sundry would sympathise.  She seems like an honest person, doing honest business, which is why I pass this on.  But a decade of internetting has made me cynical.

Next, a Spectator piece about someone called Scaramucci, who is writing a book about Trump.  The piece says more about Scaramucci than it does about Trump, but his book sounds like it will be quite good.  Scaramucci sounds like he has his head screwed on right, unlike a lot of the people who write Trump books.

Also in the Spectator, Toby Young realises that his wife is smarter than he is.  And she chose to stay at home and raise their kids because that’s what she wanted to do.  You can feel the tectonic plates of Western Civilisation shifting back towards stay-at-home mumhood, even as mere policy continues to discourage it.  Jordan Peterson, take a bow.  That man is already raising the birth rate in rich countries, by encouraging both fatherhood and motherhood.  The only question is: By how much?  Trivially, or significantly?  My bet, with the passing of a bit of time: significantly.

George Bernard Shaw tells it like it was and is about Islam.  I lost track of how I chanced upon that, but there it is.  These days, GBS would probably get a talking-to from the Thought Police, a talking-to which might well include the words: “We’re not the Thought Police”.  If the Thought Police were to have a go at her, they just might get an earful themselves.

Mike Fagan liked this photo of Mont Saint Michel with sheep in the foreground.  I can’t any longer find when he liked it, but he did.  Reminds me of this Millau Viaduct photo, also with sheep in the foreground.

Boaty McBoatface got turned into David bloody Attenborough, but Trainy McTrainface proudly rides the railway lines of Sweden.  As usual, You Had One Job supplied no link (so no link to them), but here’s the story.

Thank you Paul Marks for telling me about someone telling me about Napoleon’s greatest foe.  His name?  Smith.

The sun is now spotless, or it was on April 11th.

David Baddiel has doubts about the bloke who said “gas the Jews” rather a lot, to a dog.  As do I.  It should be legal, but don’t expect me to laugh.

Tim Worstall:

All of which leads to the correct Brexit stance to be taking. No deal. We’ll go to unilateral free trade and the rest of you can go boil your heads. We’ll give it a couple of decades and we’ll see who is richer, OK?

Quillette: The China Model Is Failing

The three temporarily separate Elizabeth lines.

Wisdom.

Anton Howes on Sustained Economic Growth.

John Arnold made a fortune at Enron.  He is now spending some of it on criticising bad science.

Human genes reveal history.  This book is number (about) twenty on my to-read list.

Philip Vander Elst on How Communism Survived Thanks to Capitalist Technology.

And finally, Bryan Caplan still thinks this is pretty good.

I now feel much better.  And more to the point, my computer seems a lot sprightlier than it was.  This has been the computerised equivalent of cleaning my room.  The job is not done, but I have taken a chunk bite out of it.

Sunday April 08 2018

I think this is an amazing photo:

image

Taken by 6k.  Amazing colours and contrasts.

It has a sort of Paradise Lost feeling about it.  Paradise is the beach.  But the sky causes Paradise to be Lost, temporarily I trust.

I have a feeling 6k does quite a lot of photo-editing, based more on what he says than on how his photos actually look.  For the good news is: you can’t tell for sure, just by looking at the photos.  I don’t like it when you can tell for sure that there’s been lots of mucking about with a photo.

I do very little photo-editing, because I consider most of it to be cheating.  The only thing I do quite a lot of is cropping, usually to cut out recognisable faces.

6k is not at his best right now, having recently been worse.  Knee operation.  Hope he gets well soon.

Tuesday February 27 2018

A commenter on the piece I did yesterday at Samizdata, about Twitter and about Facebook, says of Twitter (the one I now greatly prefer), that it is …:

… like entering a beehive. Opinionated fools screaming at each other. ...

I know what this commenter means.  Personally, I like a bit of opinionated screaming, in among the other stuff I follow.  But I already think I know enough about how Twitter works to believe that if Twitter is a beehive and if you don’t like that, then you should be following different people.  And that’s pretty easy to make happen.

My Twitter is partly beehive, but partly it is other kinder, gentler things.  So, for instance, one of the people I follow pointed me to this, I think, excellent photo, of an owl:

image

I don’t know if you think that’s as good as I think it is, but you would surely agree that this photo is not an opinionated fool screaming at another opinionated fool.  I have added the lady who took this photo, The Afternoon Birder, to my following list.

I have lost track of who it was of my followees that I should be thanking for linking to that.  Twitter is difficult like that.  I rather think that it has a habit of muddling up the order in which postings (tweets) appear, in such a way that scrolling back to find a particular one gets difficult.

Friday February 16 2018

You wait nearly thirteen years at BMdotcom for a giant penis photo, and then, out of the blue, two come along.  That one, in the post before last yesterday, and this one:

image

Crikey, blimey, etc..  Or as we Brits also used to say: Well I’m blowed.

Fox News, so also “other creatures”.

You Had One Job calls this an “unfortunate helicopter shot”.  But I bet the photoer could hardly believe his extreme good fortune.