Monthly Archives: June 2013

Neglect, Neglect & more neglect…..Did you see?

No More Dead Pixels….. there haven’t been any. The statement says it all. People keep telling me that only women can multi-task…..okay then I will shut up now. It might well be true because I have had a major problem actually writing two blogs at once. I have been so “in to” my new blog Streetographies   that I have totally neglected everything here. Am I asking for forgiveness?? Absolutley!I have even neglected my flickr pages too….but having said that there hasn’t been much activity behind from behind the camera to even upload anything that would be worth showing. The most photography I have done is on my mobile phone. End of story. Moving on…………

Did you see the article on the news and television about Nik Wallenda completing a quarter mile tightrope walk accross the Grand Canyon? If you didn’t have a watch of this lunatic !

Aerialist Nik Wallenda completed a tightrope walk that took him a quarter mile over the Little Colorado River Gorge in northeastern Arizona on Sunday. Wallenda performed the stunt on a 2-inch-thick steel cable, 1,500 feet above the river on the Navajo Nation near the Grand Canyon. He took just more than 22 minutes, pausing and crouching twice as winds whipped around him and the rope swayed.

“Thank you Lord. Thank you for calming that cable, God,” he said about 13 minutes into the walk.

Wallenda didn’t wear a harness and stepped slowly and steady throughout, murmuring prayers to Jesus almost constantly along the way. He jogged and hopped the last few steps. The event was broadcast live on the Discovery Channel. Winds blowing across the gorge had been expected to be around 30 mph. Wallenda told Discovery after the walk that the winds were at times “unpredictable” and that dust had accumulated on his contact lenses. “It was way more windy, and it took every bit of me to stay focused the entire time,” he said.

The 34-year-old Sarasota, Fla., resident is a seventh-generation high-wire artist and is part of the famous “Flying Wallendas” circus family — a clan that is no stranger to death-defying feats. His great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, fell during a performance in Puerto Rico and died at the age of 73. Several other family members, including a cousin and an uncle, have perished while performing wire walking stunts. Nik Wallenda grew up performing with his family and has dreamed of crossing the Grand Canyon since he was a teenager. Sunday’s stunt comes a year after he traversed Niagara Falls earning a seventh Guinness world record.

Wallenda wore a microphone and two cameras, one that looked down on the dry Little Colorado River bed and one that faced straight ahead. His leather shoes with an elk-skin sole helped him keep a grip on the steel cable as he moved across. About 600 spectators watching on a large video screen on site cheered him on as he walked toward them. A Navajo Nation ranger, a paramedic and two members of a film crew were stationed on the canyon floor and watched from below. The ranger, Elmer Phillips, said Wallenda appeared to be walking like any normal person would on a sidewalk. But he said he got a little nervous when Wallenda stopped the first time. “Other than that, a pretty amazing feat. I know I wouldn’t even attempt something like that,” Phillips said. “Very nicely done.”

Before the walk, a group of Navajos, Hopis and other Native Americans stood along a nearby highway with signs protesting the event. The event was touted as a walk across the Grand Canyon, an area held sacred by many American Indian tribes. Some local residents believe Wallenda hasn’t accurately pinpointed the location and also said that the Navajo Nation shouldn’t be promoting the gambling of one man’s life for the benefit of tourism. Discovery’s 2-hour broadcast showcased the Navajo landscape that includes Monument Valley, Four Corners, Canyon de Chelly and the tribal capital of Window Rock. “When people watch this, our main thing is we want the world to know who Navajo people are, our culture, traditions and language are still very much alive,” Geri Hongeva, spokeswoman for the tribe’s Division of Natural Resources, said before the walk.

Other than that, everything else is trif !!

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Streetographies…..

A new project for me

Streetographies was an idea born on my love of photography and the street portrait. When it comes to blogging I find myself in familiar territory here as writing seems to have slightly overtaken my photography in the last months. No More Dead Pixels, my regular blog is currently flourishing with over 20,000 views and still less than a year old. Bouncing off this success and introducing my passion for street style reportage photography I decided it was time to separate the two.

My name is Mark Winterbourne and as much as I use my Flickr account to display my images I find it difficult to follow-up the image with relevant text. Flickr recently introduced a new style site which allows images to come to the forefront; and why shouldn’t it. Afterall, it’s a photography site. I have opted to show street-style images and to stick to a theme. To accompany each photograph will be a text giving information about the image. This will include the ideas behind it, the details of the exposure and its creation along with post editing and finally an opinion on the end result. I do not intend to provide dozens of images from the same location or subject but portraits of individuals in monochrome with no repetition.

The whole series will be shot using either a Canon DSLR or a Canon G9 Compact. I hope you enjoy this journey through street portraiture and any feedback would be very welcome.

You can view my new site here

 

We are heading the wrong way…..

Another week where the cameras stay in the bag, the memory cards remain untouched and the great British Summer is just around the bend. This is just not cutting the mustard is it? I am well and truly fed up of drawing blanks when it comes to ideas. Don’t get me wrong here….I am by no means far short of ideas its more a fact that the ideas keep getting interrupted by the weather. Saying all this, as I sit here and type the sun comes out and the black clouds race across the horizon. If only they would do this in about 45 minutes as the sun begins to dip below the horizon. No way Jose, It aint gonna happen….recent weeks have all proved that as the evening draws to a close all the clouds chose to dissipate and leave a completely clear and bland sky, far from a photographers dream.

I really shouldn’t whine, I have had a busy schedule and found little time to just “nip” out and grab some photos. I was hoping to make the most of early mornings and late nights but it just isn’t happening. If you miss the early morning slot there is always the chance of doing it again in the evening. However, if you meet the morning slot and fancy a stab at the evening one as well that’s when the tiredness kicks in. In full clout too…. Burning the candle at both ends is not a great idea. It’s a bit like jet lag with added pzazz. I’m just not going there.

So how do I cure this small ailment of photo starvation? I know what I wont do….head to the local water feature and just continue shooting where I left off. It’s such an easy way out. It’s so local, so photogenic yet so mundane. It’s very difficult coming up with new ideas when you have about a whole Lightroom Catalog with about 8000 images just from the said location. You name it, sunrise, sunset, daytime in summer, daytime in winter…rain, hail, fog.. I have been there and done it. With no reason to return. But I do. So what choices are laid before me……hundreds, thousands, all waiting for said shutter to click. Just not as easy as you might think….

I will find another avenue, it may take time, but it shall be discovered. Meanwhile, I will do what I love and what I do best….Which is, be at home with my beautiful wife. I don’t think for one minute she will complain.

Anyway, I got so much more blogging to do, I don’t know why I’m complaining. Currently there are 12 “Draft” items in my blog.

I will shut up and carry on.

Thanks for reading folks, as always.

Bronte Dash…..off the rails

The chain of unfortunate events have  prevented me from attending to things that I would regard as recreational. My blog and my photography rank as the highest in the recreation ranks and I will never turn down an opportunity for a day out with the camera.  Last Monday, the 3rd of June a window of opportunity presented itself; an opportunity that with it brought sunshine, blue skies and time on my side. This begs the question….Where to go? I have to be careful with this one as I have visited and photographed many locations over and over again. You only need to see my photo stream on Flickr to see that Yeadon Tarn is a well-worn path for me; there are only so many images you can obtain from one location. Well, I don’t actually believe in my own words there as every visit presents new possibilities.

After deliberating for a short while and mentally compiling a list in my head of the top contenders I decided to sit down and have breakfast. I had missed the best of the morning light as photography between the hours of 11am and 3pm are normally forbidden. After all, the light is harsh, the sun is bright, the shadows are non existent and I can quite categorically state that any images that happen to reside on my memory cards from within those times are only resting before being filed in the trash. By the time breakfast had finished and all other tasks for Mrs W were accomplished it was heading nearer the hours of the suns high point and departure seemed pointless. I stalled and decided that afternoon and evening light was much better anyway, trying hard to convince myself I had made the right decision. But where to go?

Haworth……for those of you that don’t know is a small historic town in the City of Bradford metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is located in the Pennines, 3 miles (4.8 km) southwest of Keighley and 10 miles (16 km) west of Bradford. The surrounding areas include Oakworth and Oxenhope. Nearby villages include Cross Roads, Stanbury and Lumbfoot. Haworth is also tourist destination known for its association with the Brontë sisters and its preserved heritage railway. Well, it would be rude not to wouldn’t it.

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Haworth  village is built on the side of the Worth Valley and the Main Street is quite steep. As it was quiet I chose to use my car to obtain the various images, its much easier when having camera equipment with you. The image above shows the view down the Main Street. I thought monochrome really set the scene and gave a very good feeling of Haworth. Haworth is very “olde” and its a great atmosphere with small cafes and curious shops and a wealth of photographic opportunities. As you will already know, I don’t just shoot landscapes and scenery, I like to get in the heart of a town or village and shoot its’ inhabitants. People are the life of a place so what better way to give the impression of a location than to portray it with its residents.  The image below shows a small street cafe near the bottom of the Main Street. What better way to spend an hour on a warm late Spring day.

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After making my way down the village and capturing the moods and scenes I arrived at the famous Haworth Railway Station home of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. The KWVR is a standard gauge branch line which joins the national railway network at Keighley in the north-east of England and runs 5-miles up the Worth Valley to Oxenhope. Other stations on the Line are at Ingrow, Damems, Oakworth (location of the film ‘The Railway Children’) and Haworth (the former home of the Brontë family). The Railway is perhaps most famous for its role in the 1970 film version of Edith Nesbit’s story The Railway Children. The Railway has published a book which describes the making of the film and includes over 70 photographs along with the recollections of many volunteers who were involved. The decision to recreate the atmosphere of a 1950s branch line has been hugely popular, not least with film makers and TV producers. Over the years, the Railway has appeared in many TV and film productions including Yanks, Sherlock Holmes, Last of the Summer Wine, Treasure Hunt, Sons and Lovers, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, Poirot, Born and Bred, The Royal, Where The Heart Is, A Touch Of Frost, Songs Of Praise, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall. …

I have spent many hours taking images at this location. There are a few vantage points for different types of photography. One accessible place is the goods yard at the front of the main building. There are lots to see here if you like images of railways and their surroundings. As I started looking round the goods yard I heard that familiar sound of an engine whistling. It was time to head to a better vantage point I thought. What a decision that was ! Probably the second best move I made all day. It was from the platform that I achieved the best image of the day. I have a tendency to use the camera as a tool for looking through, this way should I see something I like I can waste no time in grabbing a few frames. It’s surprising how much time you can waste just having to raise the camera to your eye and compose an image. Anyway, I watched the driver as he leant out of his cab chatting away to the guard on the platform. The driver was so typical in his attire…you know where I am coming from…flat drivers cap, oily hands, white hair, craggy face and a long smile. A real photogenic character. Anyway…. have a look at my image.

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As I am sure you will agree, it really was worth the image. There is a whole series of these, every one with a different expression. In the end it really told a tale. The late afternoon rolled on and I soaked up the atmosphere and tried my best to portray it within my images. I could quite easily spend a whole day in Haworth but like I stated earlier, I really wanted to avoid the glare of the midday sun. Below is a link to the remaining images from my day, if you have time, please take a look.

As always, thanks for looking and your comments are always welcome.

Ooops…even the “best of the best” cock it up

An easy mistake lol…..

And the moonbeams kiss the sea…..

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The fountains mingle with the river

And the rivers with the ocean,

The winds of heaven mix for ever

With a sweet emotion;

Nothing in the world is single,

All things by a law divine

In one another’s being mingle –

Why not I with thine?

 

See the mountains kiss high heaven

And the waves clasp one another;

No sister-flower would be forgiven

If it disdain’d its brother:

And the sunlight clasps the earth,

And the moonbeams kiss the sea –

What are all these kissings worth,

If thou kiss not me?

Goodbye dear friend…..

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….the pain has gone away now. You may rest easy and forever dream. In the short time we have known each other we shared laughter and tears, joy and pain; but most of all we shared friendship. Friendship made through a sad situation but happy times were had by all. I promised you I would be there, and I kept my promise and never let you down. Over the months we shared stories, tales and one liners. We laughed and we cried, we giggled and we chuckled, sometimes alone but more often together. You played me video clips, audio clips and the stories behind them were told in true style. I loved this, I wanted more at the end of each one….memories of my late grandfather came back to me in abundance.

Whilst you slept out your finals hours I told you “my” stories…..the deepest words from the heart of my soul. I didn’t know if you could hear me, and I never will. But you leave with me the knowledge; the knowledge that I tried my best for you my dear friend. I could do no more.  The last clip you ever played me by WH Auden was a poem called “Night Mail” and today as we said our goodbyes it was played again. The words were so poignant  a tear welled in my eye….So in the words of WH Auden I will bid you goodbye dear friend.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Don’t look down! Daredevil films himself climbing 250ft crane without safety equipment – before dangling one-handed from the edge

I just had to blog this…..even if its something just to refer to one day…OMG !!

Ikea’s gnome advert sparks complaints & What happened to the week that was?

I saw this headline this morning and couldnt believe what I was actually reading… Ikea’s gnome advert sparks complaints” …..The world has gone mad !! Lets face it, is this all we have to complain about? I doubt it. I, for one could complain about the weather until the cows come home. Hang on a wee minute…..is that seen as “anti-cow” seeing as they dont actually live in homes and I may be seen as being cruel. I think not.

Back to the Ikea advert…seriously have we all gone potty. Lets consult the Oxford Dictionary shall we

Gnome

  • a legendary dwarfish creature supposed to guard the earth’s treasures underground
  • a small garden ornament in the form of a bearded man with a pointed hat.
  • informal a small ugly person: a grizzled gnome of a man
  • informal a person regarded as having secret or sinister influence in financial matters:the gnomes of Zurich

Yes, we have gone barking mad…We obviously have nothing better to do? Next will be someone suggesting that the legendary dwarfish creature should now be compensated for the slanderish remarks on a Swedish furniture stores television campaign. Injury Lawyers for you are now going to be inundated with phone calls from Gnomes all over Europe saying that a former relative has been crushed on live television in a bid to “big-up” gardens this summer. It’s just not going to wash is it? Seriously. If you are keen on seeing the rest of this article then the link to the BBC is here. I, on the other hand will refrain from dwelling on the “”small” subject and move on to the week that wasn’t. I had better be careful, as remarks like that will get me in trouble…I mean, who would ever suggest that a gnome was small…. tut tut. Moving on……

And that’s exactly what is was. A nothing week in terms of photography and weather that until Monday was up and down like the umbrellas that people actually needed to avoid it. After sitting in the garden on the 26th and 27th of May its has been quite unsettled. The opportunities to get out and about with the camera have been very limited however I did manage a trip to the airport for a few  “dull” looking frames but as a whole that was it.

I found it quite frustrating to be truthful. The few sunny days have been consumed by other matters from meeting friends, visiting family and a void of forgettable events. At the end of the day when opportunities arrive I found myself exhausted and photography at the bottom of the pile. This is normal and I should really be used to it by now. I am too much like my father and grandfather when it comes to the weather and knowing that I have mentioned this before I wont rattle down that road again. I think the next time it rains I will get Elaine to take a photo of me….Yes I will do that.

So the week merged in to a fuzzy clump and I hoped that this one would be better. Maybe the end of May would bring in “flaming” June. My hopes and plans came to fruition. Monday was lovely and yesterday wasn’t too bad either. The whole of May saw just 861 RAW images from my cameras; compared to 2012 this is down by around 60%. The running total for 2013 is also down by a similar percentage. Not good. Back to Monday and a day out in Bronte Country saw 151 frames in a couple of hours; mmm there is hope I thought. That was equivalent to 1/6th of May’s images all in a single day. I was on a roll as Tuesday saw more sunshine and I seized the opportunity with a quick wander up to the Dam closely followed by a lovely sunset from Rawdon Billing. Here I am up to 503 images and its only the 5th June….keep it up Mark.

As we approach the time of the year where the sun moves in the opposite direction at sunrise (21st June) I find it very difficult to grab the sunset and sunrise on consecutive days. For instance, June the 21st sunrise will be at 04:35 and sunset will be 21:41 the previous evening. Going to bed at 23:30 really limits the amount of sleep gained to about 4 hours and the result is a very unwell “me”. Monday saw me trying to do this, and failing miserably. I set the alarm for 03:15 to get up and head over the valley to Denholme. Why you ask? Well, facing east from the back of Denholme an image can be composed of the Wind Turbines against the sunrise. Trying to kill two birds with one stone (hang on a minute, is that statement going to land me in trouble) I planned on visiting Haworth which is just down the road after the sunrise. Anyway, it never happened. It nearly did…the alarm rang at 03:15 and one gaze out of the window sent my head back towards the pillow. It wasnt the weather or the view that did this, it was just sheer tiredness. This is one that will live to fight another day.

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The view above shows the wind farm at Denholme on a Sunny day in June 2010. I am sure you are seeing where I was coming from with the sunrise. After sleeping in and eventually discovering that I had missed an awesome sunrise (again) I decided to head over to Haworth after lunch. I will write a separate piece about this later as there was lots to see….

Thanks for reading, and not forgetting me. I always feel that “not blogging” reduces your viewing but I guess it doesn’t really matter anyway.

Bye for now.

P.S. No Gnomes were harmed in the writing of this piece….just saying.

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