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

Monday January 19 2015

This posting is a bit of an experiment, because the two pictures embedded in it may not be small enough, to start with, and may have to be made smaller, after all those of you who hang on my every posting, and see it immediately, have seen it immediately.  Also, I want to put them on both sides of the posting, and that may not work either.  So, patience everyone, and be ready to endure graphic juggling, because these are the kind of things that my posting software is bad at showing me.  I have to see evertything in situ, to be sure.

imageimageSo, to get to the point, what this is about is the way that very small pictures sometimes look quite different to the exact same pictures, but larger, a theme also explored in this posting. And the idea is that the two pictures will go, on the left and on the right, at the top of this paragraph.  De-dum de-dum de-dum, computer crap computer crap.  Well, touch wood, this is working.  There was a bit of fiddling with the instructions about putting pictures on the right or on the left, but I finally cracked that and made it happen.

The point of all this is that the pictures, when small, look quite similar.  The only very obvious difference is that on the left there are rather more verticals in the railings to be seen.  But click on the pictures and get them ten times larger, and you will see that the focussing is quite different.  In the one on the left, the railings are the front are in focus and the Shard is barely discernible behind them.  On the right, the big picture shows the Shard quite clearly while the railings are very blurry.  Okay, the small pictures are not identical, and alert viewers may have detected the very difference that I say is so unclear in the small pictures, but the small pictures are much more similar to each other than the large ones are.

One of the many morals to be drawn from this is that the bigger the screen on your camera is the better, because the bigger the picture, the easier it is to tell exactly what that picture looks like.  This is yet another reason why people who take pictures with tablets, the cameras with the biggest screens of all, are being very sensible.  They are the ones who know exactly what they are getting, exactly when they are getting it.

In the end, the only cock-up that early readers were subjected to was that in the heading, I at first put that the Shard was in front of the railings rather than behind them.

Thursday January 15 2015

Here’s a nice coincidence.  There I was writing about how I went from being, in my teens, a bad pen-and-ink picture-maker to, from around 2000 onwards, a far happier digital-photographic picture maker.  And here is a picture that captures that kind of metamorphosis perfectly:

image

It’s one of these pictures by Christoph Niemann.  Niemann’s pictures bring to mind that phrase used by one of the alter egos of Barry Humphries, Barry McKenzie, who described paintings as “hand done photos”.  These pictures really do only work as photos.  Until they are photoed, the job is not done.  But the hand-done bit is essential to what they are.

One thing about these pictures that I particularly like, apart from the basic fact that I like them, is their very favourable effort-to-impact ratio.  For my taste, too much of the picture-making displayed at Colossal consists of stuff that is quite nice to look at, but which took an absurdly huge amount of time and effort to contrive.  Also, there is often no logical or even meaningful connection between how the pictures are contrived and how they end up looking.  So, you’ve made a table cloth out of seeds.  Clever you.  But, why?  Niemann’s pictures answer this question perfectly.

But then again, the internet being the internet, if your elaborately pointless pictures catch people’s fancy and thousands glance at them, then I guess that, if you put in a lot of time and effort, you may well reckon than all the time and effort was worth it, especially if you had fun spending it and doing it.  And of course it is digital photography that transforms a laboriously produced one-off item of visual art that took far too much time and effort to do, into a mass experience that it made sense to spend a lot of time and effort doing.  But, most of these intricate sculptures and pictures at Colossal are just sculptures and pictures that were then photographed.  Niemann’s pictures are real Hand Done Photos.

As for me, between being a bad pen-and-ink picture maker and an okay-to-good digital photographer, I endured a big interval during which I made hardly any pictures of any kind.  My pictorial enthusiasm expressed itself in the design of pamphlets, and graphic design generally.  Basically I became a desktop publisher.  (I even earned money doing this.) First I just did publishing, on a desktop, paper-scissors-glue-photocopier.  Then computers arrived, and I was an early adopter of “desktop publishing”.  Then the internet arrived, and drew a big line under all that stuff.  I shovelled all my pamphlets onto the internet, and became a blogger.  And, I bought my first digital camera.  At first, blogging and digital photography did not mix very well.  Now, they mix very well indeed.

Wednesday January 14 2015

Dezeen reports that the Walkie Talkie Sky Garden is now open:

image

Note this:

This feature helped the project win planning permission, despite being outside the City of London’s main skyscraper cluster.

It seems that I am not the only one who believes that new buildings like the Walkie Talkie are good not only because they improve the views by being in the views, but by being a new place to look at the views.

And to repeat, I especially like how the Walkie Talkie looks from a distance.  The point being: it looks, not just like any old anonymous lump, but like the lump that is the Walkie Talkie.  The Walkie Talkie is, just like the Shard and the Gherkin and St Paul’s and Big Ben and the Wheel, recognisable, this being why it needs a special jokey name.  That means that it makes me happy whenever I see it.  It makes me feel at home.  It may not be beautiful exactly (although from nearby I happen to think that it is very beautiful).  But neither is the rest of London beautiful exactly, and I think the Walkie Talkie fits right in.

LATER: Diamond Geezer is way ahead of me.

Tuesday January 13 2015

From time to time I go looking for pictures of bridges, preferably new ones, but seldom find anything I don’t know about.  And then, quite by chance, while clicking through these old photos, I chance upon this:

image

It’s the Golden Gate, being built, in 1937.

I recall doing a pen-an-ink type sketch (as opposed to something theatrical like a comedy sketch – odd double meaning that), when in my teens, of the Severn Road Bridge, when it only had a chunk of road in the middle, suspended in glorious isolation, going nowhere in either direction (like in the photo here).  This photo reminds me of those times.

I never actually drew any decent pictures, but I did spend a lot of time thinking about composition, by which I mean that I chose quite good pictures to do, but actually did them very badly.  Now I take good pictures, rather less badly.  How I wish there had been digital cameras when I was a teenager.  My cycling expeditions around France, and then Scandinavia, and then Iceland, would have been far more fun, and now far easier to remember.  The old cameras, with “film” in them, were ridiculous.  You had to “develop” all the damn pictures, very expensively, just to find out that about three of them weren’t total crap.  But you tell young people this nowadays they think you’re mad.  And if you did all this, guess what, you were mad.

I have never shared the contempt that most people show - or pretend to show - for Adolf Hitler’s paintings.  Okay, so they aren’t Rembrandts, but even so, I would have loved to have been as good hand-done picture-making as he was.  Could it be that people just can’t bear to accept that he ever did anything well or anything good?  Just a wild guess.

Monday January 12 2015

But still pretty:

image

My thanks to the ever alert Mick Hartley,who found the less vertically challenged original here.

One day, a crane reserve (that link being to where the above cranes were photographed) will be a place where they preserve and worship our mighty mechanical lifting devices, not birds.  And cranes, of the good sort, will indeed be worshipped, just as soon as they are all replaced by anti-gravitational plasticene which will be stuck underneath heavy stuff, so it can be taken up to the tops of buildings by robot building workers.  In the future, buildings will mostly just be sprayed into the air, but some heavy things in them will still have to be made elsewhere and lifted to their required location.

Monday January 05 2015

My thanks to Tony, for his and his family’s hospitality during the last week and more, and for this photo, which he took in Quimper recently, and kindly emailed to me a few days ago.  I couldn’t then pay attention to it, but it was waiting for me when I got home:

image

What this shows is how Quimper Cathedral looked before they put two big(ger) spikes on the top of it, in the nineteenth century, thus making it look how it looks now.

I can find nothing about this transformation on the internet, let alone any repro of this actual map.  Odd.  Odd, that is, unless it is all there and I merely couldn’t find it.  That would not be odd at all.

Wednesday December 24 2014

Yes it’s another Immaculately Modernistical Japanese House Posting at Dezeen, where the pictures are full of The Wires …:

image

… but where the text never mentions The Wires.

They don’t see the anarchy.  They see only the Order.

Monday December 22 2014

Here.

I also like this one, of the Wembley Arch, seen from the Wheel.

I’m an adjective!
Photo-drone wars to come
My digital photos on his TV
I finally did something for Samizdata
To Tower Bridge: Shadow selfie – Peace memorial – Big Things old and new
Photographed flatness that doesn’t look flat
Why I am a point-and-shoot photographer rather than a Real Photographer
And now a photo-drone in a London shop window
MDL and DPD delivered what they promised but were wrong about me having to be there to sign for it
Skycam
Another facade being carefully preserved
Not about cats
65x zoom!!!
Tate cat
Bright buildings in front of dark sky
Parisian roof clutter gets the Real Photographer treatment
A swimming pool in a skyscraper
Umbrellas!
My favourite Tour de France in London photo
Colossal fun
More Big Things from the Oval
Big Things from high up at the Oval
Big Things in the sunset
Cashing a cheque by photoing it
Why aren’t people happier about amazing new stuff?
Hartley waterlily
GARBAGE SHED AND JUMP INTO THE SEA IS PROHIBITED
I need a new passport but just now passports are a problem
Another London vista
Tower Bridge before it got covered in stone
A Real Photographer does a shadow selfie
Organised water
Moving picture
Homer Simpson on Thames
Pictures of soon-to-be-built London Big Things
Jiaozhou Bay Bridge (aka Spaghetti Junction on Sea)
Mark Littlewood photoed by me and by this other guy
Spot the owl
Lego bridge in Germany
Green screen blue screen
A selfie taken in 1955 - another taken in 2014 - another being taken in 2014
Feline ephemera
A Bitcoin vending machine and a Lego photographer (and a Lego Hawking)
Colour photography
Omaha dead
Vladivostock from above
Temporary art made of brightly dressed people
London’s Big Things from Alexandra Palace
6k quota photo of sea
Good question
Photoing the A380 from above – from the ground
Please help me buy a new computer screen
Sandcastles that will live for ever
Dencity
The Tate Modern extension nears completion
The text of my talk for Christian Michel last night
Making sense of digital photography
Digital photography as telepathy
Nowadays a picture is no longer worth a thousand words
I’m not the only one who suffers from rightward lean
Michael Jennings photoes Cape Bojador
The Kelpies of Falkirk
Polish girls in Moscow doing a selfie
Sidwell (and me) on selfies
Michael Jennings photos the bridges of Porto
Crows nest made of coat hangers
A photo of a photograph
Relocating the Porto bridge
Rob Fisher on old things not looking old
Wedding photography - old and new
Hampers can be annoying
A Strutton Ground shop and a Strutton Ground pub
TIL
The Heron Tower restaurant
Two favourite photos from September 5th
Morgan – Abbey reflected in Morgan – Abbey reflected in other cars
Huge semi-submersible ships
Edwin is a bad person
Photoing each other - and photoing stuff in the canal
Baltimore: cranes - a bridge - scaffolding
London Gateway from above
Chicago sunset
Bridges for animals
A fake feline photo and a faltering feline enumerator
Wedding photography (7): Evening
I love it that the parents are called Susan and Freddie
There are cranes and there are cranes
Spot the Samsung connection
Wedding photography (6): The Wedding and the Reception
Wedding photography (5): Photography!
Phablet news
Pictures from Georgia and Warsaw
Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Rothko Toast
Wedding photography (3): Technology as sculpture
Google Nexus 4 photos
A Fleet Street lunch
So painters also used to “take” pictures
Hong Kong housing that looks like abstract art
Art without Artists
Panoramic view of London from the top of the BT Tower
Alastair James on Blythe Hill Fields and smartphones
Michael Jennings - pictures of globalisation
Photoing people who are photoing food
Doing libertarian business at the Libertarian Home social
Talking architecture at the Libertarian Home social
New crane up
Is Samizdata in danger of becoming a photo-blog?
Christmas Eve feast
Multilingual botanical gardens in Cyprus
Crusader latrines
An earlier tablet photographer
Michael Jennings on why iPad photoing is not ridiculous
Here are (a lot) more photos that I took on March 27th
Photographing Kreod
A memorable scoreboard surrounded by empty seats
“I just came across this fascinating photo …”
Usain Bolt takes photos of photographers!
Another excellent spot to photo London from
Dream and reality in Mumbai
What’s up with that?
Flat cat
Birds
This is transport
Viaduct from above
University of California chickens coming home to roost?
Kazakhstan landscape
Rainbow Bridge
Today I’m in a “How very odd!” mood
Street social services management integrated command sub-centres
Ancient and modern (but mostly ancient) cars in Regent Street yesterday
Or maybe this will be my final camera
Another reason to like Colorado
I think I may have found my final camera
Camera-equipped sunglasses
Quimper cat on Harley-Davidson
Choosing a Clean Food Outlet in Lawas is as easy as ABC
Health and safety on a mountain in Borneo
Five pictures of me
Lion steals camera
A photo taken of a taken photo of the photo being taken
Multilingual signage
Signs from the Frenchosphere
Sexy beasts
Collision photo
Big crane
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom not threatened by the end of the Big Thing Boom
Paris signage
Another Assembly of Men
Shostakovich with cat
Gormley’s South Bank Men
Kyrgyzstan cemetery and awesome frogs
Mmmmm … scaffolding!
Quota photo by someone else
Raptor not being very stealthy
Sportsmanship by us – bullying by them
Stunning aerial photo of Shanghai
More signage
Giant bull held up by scaffolding
Fishermen photo
On pictures that don’t get any bigger when clicked and on the power of the tangential
Wagga Wagga has been flooded by the Murrumbidgee River
Shard in the clouds
From pop to purrfume
Digger and chain
The Brusio spiral viaduct also looks like a toy train layout
Another ephemeron for David Thompson?
Arecibo Radio Telescope
Superb Shard pictures
Those cameras are getting cheaper
Giant Jesuses
Thirteen swans
“There is electricity and water, but there’s no phone line …”
Wedding photography blogging
Mmmmmm … Asian skyscrapers!
Abandoned Bangkok tower
The curse of interchangeable lenses and how I want my category killer
Rockets are a great improvement on balloons
Beyond the Dome with Goddaughter One
More bridge magic
Cathedral photo
Advertising aimed entirely at me
Christianity defined
Mmmmm … bookshelves!
Tiny Cardboard Box People Appear All Over Singapore
Big Singapore Thing
Super Galaxy
Bay Bridge plus a new bridge next to it
Farnborough (3): On the photographic appeal of the Red Arrows
Everyone?
Lynxes and an A380
Another world cup photo of photographers
Photoing the World Cup
Sneezing chat
Pink railway clutter
I do love a steam train on a viaduct
Eye shadow
Everyone who shows this picture needs to add that it is not Photoshopped
Soviet space leftovers
One man’s intellectual theft is another man’s marketing
Alex Singleton on Photoshop CS5
The bottom half of the Tokyo Sky Tree
Car in in front of sloping houses
The US Navy photos itself
Airplanes converted into architecture
Goddaughter One is now a photoblogger
Unphotographable sign threatening to photo us
“I can’t respond to any e-mails today …”
A horizon(tal) sunset slice
Separating the men from the toys - the future of warfare and of sport?
I never knew Marmite came in tanker lorries
Biker shadow
Me taking pictures in a funny way while it’s still allowed
Scaffolding ball
Thin rings
Nasa and Gordon Brown both have their uses
Fitness Superstore
Chained cat in Vietnam
SAY NO TO GOVERNMENT MOTORS
The right to photograph
Awesome shot of Dubai
Blur
Quota bridge
Reds against Blues in Munich
Two New York stadiums temporarily next to each other
Abstract satellite expressionism
Hasselblad hit by custom-built headquarters disease!
Free Skullcandy on a bus in snowy Edinburgh
Burj Dubai looking semi-sane
Three airplane photos
Osprey pictures
London cricket roof clutter
Giant Bean covered in mirror
Short posting (with short photo) about SpaceShipTwo
Picture of an aftershock of the credit crunch rippling around the world
Strange purple cat with four eyes
Gaddafi looking rather like Alan Rickman
Am I interested in dredgers?
Luxembourg church in hill and Luxembourg footbridge
Wuhan railway station under construction - with sunset behind
David Farrer photos
Shadows on rings
Of lists and distant totally photorealistic skyscrapers
A little archaeology
Green eyed monster devouring cat food
Great photo of David Blunkett
Back lit by the sun
Snapping the police
Small photos that look like something else
Photographers in bother
What The State looks like
Edinburgh’s skyline doesn’t suck
Bloke in posh suit holding Real Photographer camera like it’s a Billion Monkey camera!
The latest Canon DSLR comes without a twiddly screen
Saturnic majesty
Billion Monkeys in New York and London!
Globalisation Guido – and other Bright Young Things
There weren’t a billion of them then
Instapundit turns into Idiot Toys
Nikon D5000?
Signs of the times in Belfast
Another view over London
Unamazing photo of amazing road
Olympus E-620
Work photos
SwivelCam
Photoing the Police
Parliament photoed by a bus!
Rock faces
Flat train picture and regular train picture
Sailing photos – and another bridge for the collection
Billion Monkeys liked photoing the nastiest poster!
Star Wars mosque and rockets mosque
Seto Ohashi Bridge
SDXC
Making the new look and feel like the old
My parents and my uncle and two aunts
Colonial Governor’s Mansion dwarfed by modernity
The exact same photos I would have taken
Sheep under wolf’s clothing
New addition to blogroll
Redirect to a piece on Samizdata about a camera
Brisbane church dwarfed by modernity and this posting behaving very strangely
This and that on the Graham Norton Show
Wingtipping a V1
A thin bridge in Wales
Edinburgh’s Billion Monkeys must be chivalrous!
Wonderwoman picked by Unsuperman
Big Pictures
Another great viaduct
London after dark from above
Craziness done with austerity
Towers above the Dubai fog
Heroic Billion Monkey falsely arrested by cop whom he photoed breaking law to get to chip shop!
More at Jonathan Gewirtz
Narrow bridge
Tumor
What a lot of circles
It’s blue!
Portable copiers and copying jokes
Billion Monkeys close up and London from far above!
To Greenwich by train and back by bus
Birds
Modern above ancient
More Beijing smog-blogging
Horizons
Star and stripe
The new Lowe look
Bird’s Nest in smog
Tea with CDs
I’d be cheering
The original Burtynsky Nanpu bridge picture
Edward Burtynsky photos the towers of Shanghai
3D!
Photos are better
Wired bridges
A sculptural suggestion
Fred joins in with the pilates demonstration
Flat Red Arrows
Perkins photos
San Francisco from Sausalito
Self-guided photo-tour of the streets of San Francisco
Slow day here
Outstanding and numerous aerial photos of St Petersburg
Billion Monkey Alan Little?
Celebrating a victory
Pillocks
The Gatwick Beehive
Signs of civilisation
The moving bridges of Chicago
I love the internet
David Farrer in the Jedburgh mist
Making the Mississippi Delta make more land
Picture of Taipei 101 that came with Jesus
Flat horse pictures
Dot matrix printing in the sky
Flat viaduct and spiral bridge
Photo that hits the mark
More horizontal thinness
Thin picture redirection
Go to America and get a Dell Laptop
Not obviously but maybe …
Guess the city (2)
Guess the city
Winter wonderland
Thin camera picture
Spherical trouser sculpture
Billion Monkey murderers!?!
Michael Jennings photos Disney Hall
Billion Monkey madness and a proper picture
Billion Monkeys on Table Mountain!
Pictures of the year
Bristol footbridge photo
A Real Photographer comments
It’ll never catch on
Great but not great
Billion Monkeys and a Real Photographer at the Golden Umbrellas
Photography is not dead
Millau Viaduct with goats
More St Pancras snaps
Cats etc.
Billion Monkey lady does … “Heinrich Photography”?
The qualitative difference made by quantity
Digital Camera Review error
Fourteen British viaducts
The Eee PC is too big
Architecture talk
Cameraphone with 3x optical zoom
Russian weirdness for the Anglos
Wildlife news
Short posting with short photograph
American war memorial by the sea at St Nazaire
Berlin Billion Monkeys photo rat and cheese sand sculpture!
Billion Monkey in shiny robot head!
A squinting cat and a master ephemerist
Another angle on pylons
Smile
Fly-pasts - air displays - crashes
Renaissance Man
Feral Real Photographers and naughty Billion Monkey!
Further pictorial shallowness
Big Solar System things
At the dogs
Publogging
Adriana and Ivan in Addis
Dave Gorman sees faces!
Old cranes - new cranes
Short picture of a long distance
Billion Monkeys photo spaceship launch!
A new tower in Manchester
Real Photographers worship the Logo
Photo-ing the weather
Pictures with words
Back lit Billion Monkey lady and back lit Saturn!
Bicycling Billion Monkeys!
PG tips
Toy train to Darjeeling
Wedding photo tips anybody?
The Big Things of London
More Magic Andy sand sculpture
Billion Monkeys photo their own demo!
Shadow and light near Tower Bridge
Zong
Camera chat
The Mainstream Media finally get around to noticing Andy and his sand sculptures
Gatito
New Moscow road bridge
Pylons
Taipei with skyscraper
Church dwarfed by modernity
Tall chess men and tall buildings in the evening
Will twentieth century aerial warfare be repeated by toys?
Not much of a mystery detail
New footbridge in Edinburgh
Me on a bridge by Goddaughter One
Norman interested – Harry has some wildness in his genealogy
The Nanpu bridge approaches
Friday cat-blogging
Robot car park in New York
Printer in your pocket
Other people’s photos (6): More bridges
Other people’s photos (5): Red balloons on a monochrome bridge in Paris
Other people’s photos (4): Kitten on man’s head
Other people’s photos (3): Ice storm
But what about the iBattery?
Pictures of the world for the world
London photos by Fabio
Big ships
Alice in Fortnum and Mason
“Publish it in your Blog!”
Deceiving the eyes of Paris
More ways to use the best pictures
Top tips from Viz
Everyone likes Magic Andy
Man may not sit on Art bed and be photoed by Billion Monkey lady friend!
Billion Monkeys get instant feedback!
Sssssssss!!!! White man!  Take my photo!!
Samizdata cranks it out
What’s this?
A digital SLR that a Billion Monkey could lift!
Classical music Natalie
Shaftesbury Avenue over half a century ago
Patrick and Brian talk about the War on Terror - thoughts about podcasting
Bruce Nicoll (Real Photographer) - some photographs and an mp3
Adriana’s Thing mp3
Something to bore everyone
One click
Billion Monkeys and a flock of sheep!
Ethereal India photo
Never so much fun again
Billion Monkeys at black and white wedding!
Cricket with landmark
Also no relation
Fame at last
Old media
Phone glitch
Fish eye photos
Billion Monkey photos baby birds!
Billion Monkey photos flats in Bombay
Computer transparency
Billion Monkey takes photos of Mexico City from helicopter!
The Falkirk Wheel
Flickr blog in and Flickrzen out
The Billion Monkeys of Australia will continue to photograph oil refineries
Sun behind the clouds at Bognor
TV.com
Sexy photo
Cloudscape
Fishing rods in Istambul
Antlered lady in Lewisham
Inflight entertainment and information
Is Africa about to look boring?
Speeding up the mess
Just jumping would have been quite sufficient
Car bomb in Bogota
Ordinary photos
Daniel Cuthbert - wrongly convicted “hacker” - and photographer
Digital preservation
Katrina as art – and Katrina as proof of What I’ve Always Said
Celebrating or violating?
Photography in public places (and it all depends what you mean by public places)
Lady photographer doing it in the road
The joy of blogrolling