Me and my shadow

My shadow on the deck of Lord Nelson, 2013 (Indian Ocean)

This week’s Photo Challenge assignment is “focus on the shadow of your subject rather than the subject”. Here are two photos of my shadow back in my intrepid sailor days.

Shadows of me (at left) and other crew members on Tenacious, 2004 (leaving Jersey)


Choose a colour. Any colour.

Well, that’s what Jude said! “This week’s assignment – Choose a colour. Any colour, it could be your favourite one.” Orange is definitely not my favourite colour (that’d be blue) but Jude’s assignment this week is to “Allow only variations of the colour within your photograph.” I’ve gone for orange because I have a cheerful bouquet of poppies on my table right now, largely orange, and I thought they’d make a nice photo. Then the hunt was on for other orange photos! The bristles I also photographed today, but the rest are archives.

2020 Photo Challenge #33: variations of a colour


Up close with cockatoos

“Must you poke that camera at me?” (focal length 108.0mm (in 35mm: 600mm))

I love photos like this: sharp object in foreground, blurred background. If you regularly view my blog posts, you’ll have noticed a few of them (and thank you for your visits!). But I freely admit I can’t be bothered to figure out the technicalities of taking them. I use a combination of zoom and focus area size to compose my shots. I set the ISO, colour balance, f stop and shutter speed manually, but don’t think about what’s happening beyond that. All of these photos were shot at 1/400 sec, F2.8, ISO 100.

But Jude’s assignment this week got me looking more closely at this selection of photos, and I did notice that the focal length corresponds to the amount of blur. “Lens focal length tells us the angle of view—how much of the scene will be captured—and the magnification—how large individual elements will be. The longer the focal length, the narrower the angle of view and the higher the magnification. The shorter the focal length, the wider the angle of view and the lower the magnification.” (source)

So I’ve presented these photos in order of longest to shortest focal length. The photo above and this one below have the same long focal length (most shallow depth of field) and extreme blurring of background.

“Yum, this is tasty!” (focal length 108.0mm (in 35mm: 600mm))

The photos were all taken at Hamilton Island last July. Despite large signs stuck to the balcony doors saying “do not feed the cockatoos!!” the people beside me did just that.

“I wonder what’s down there?” (focal length 79.80mm (in 35mm: 443mm))

“Oh, that looks good!” (focal length 73.0mm (in 35mm: 406mm))

“I know you’re watching me.” (focal length 73.0mm (in 35mm: 406mm))

“Are you still spying on us?” (focal length 52.30mm (in 35mm: 290mm))

“I refuse to look at you any longer.” (focal length 52.30mm (in 35mm: 290mm))

This last photo has the shortest focal length (longest depth of field), and while the trees on the hill are certainly not in focus, they are much less blurred than in photos with longer focal lengths. The balconies are definitely much sharper.

“The show is over.” (focal length 30.60mm (in 35mm: 170mm))


The light through the window

Two photos of the Orangery, Kew Gardens, London. (The statue was no longer there in 2018; it had been against the end wall.)

This selection of photos features light streaming through a window into a room. Although these photos have very different subjects, they are all lit by windows — dramatically, softly, harshly, boldly. In some, you can see the shadows of the window frames or of the glass itself.

Two from Fiji below. On the left, the window is not visible but its bright light is falling on the boy. On the right, the diffuse light from the window highlights the flat surfaces of the wooden pews.

Two from Kerala, India. Men were making lime by burning sea shells.

This one shows the splashes of colour from light falling through a stained glass window.

New College, Oxford.

Many lines in this photo — the corrugated ceiling, the wooden floor, the supporting beams, and the multi-paned window that casts its slanting shadows.

Interior of disused industrial building, Cockatoo Island, Sydney.

The bright light brings out the colours of this woven bag and throws shadows from the edges of the glass louvres.

Bag hanging on wall, and shadows of glass louvres, Vanuatu.

No true windows in the photo below, more like openings in the stone walls. An interesting lighting effect, though!

Vomitorium of the Roman Theatre in Cadiz.

Posted for Jude’s 2020 Challenge (Light: Experiment in different weather conditions such as mist or rain, OR take a photograph indoors such as a still life or light entering a room streaming through a window OR experiment in capturing the colour of light.)


Rough | Smooth

Smooth hard hat and rough rock — Coober Pedy opal mine visited from The Ghan train.

Here’s a selection of photos that contrast rough and smooth textures for Jude’s 2020 Challenge.

Samples of rock, rough on the right and polished smooth on the left — Grand Canyon.

Smooth violin (fiddle) and rough seat fabric — Grand Canyon train.

Smooth glass beads and rough sequins — New Orleans Lafeyette Cemetery.

Rough mooring lines and smooth metal winch — tall ship Tenacious.


Sling your hammock

Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks — heritage-listed former barracks, hospital, convict accommodation, mint and courthouse — has reopened after extensive renovations and renewal. One room is set up as a dormitory with reproduction convict hammocks; audio brings alive the experience of trying to sleep in a room crowded with men talking, snoring, shouting, singing, fighting, etc.
The very rough texture of the rope used to hang the hammocks looks as if it would play havoc with soft modern hands and I hope the workers who tied those knots wore sturdy gloves!

Posted Posted as part of Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge, specifically: Texture; and also Debbie’s One Word Sunday Challenge, specifically: Knot.


Cool and composed

For Jude’s Composition and Framing challenge (Simplify) I have two photos of flowers. They are zoomed in on the flowers themselves, which I wanted to be the object of attention, and composed using the rule of thirds. I have the rule of thirds gird always showing on my camera, which helps with compositions (and level horizons).
And of course, if your composition is slightly off (or even very off!) some cropping in Photoshop with the grids showing will guarantee perfect thirds. 😏

The fuschia is from the archives. The focus flower follows the vertical thirds line.


Fuschia showing rule of thirds grid

And a photo of jasmine, taken this morning. The shrub acts as a privacy screen between my balcony and an adjoining one. The focus flowers in the photo cluster at the intersection of two thirds lines.


Jasmine showing rule of thirds grid

Posted as part of Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge.


You’ve been framed!

I haven’t had time this month to take new photos for Jude’s challenge, so I’ve turned to the archives for this selection that illustrate the use of man-made frames in composition.

About the feature photo, above: This is horizontal because I wanted to capture the symmetry of the alcoves with their matching lamps at right and left. The diminishing horizontal/vertical beams frame the garden at the end. This is the Reef House Hotel, Palm Cove, QLD, Australia.

Below is one of my favourite framed photos. Jude says “portrait-shaped pictures (vertical orientation) tend to relate to foreground and background subject elements” although here I’ve gone for a landscape orientation in order to include more of the metal arch. Nonetheless, I believe the viewer’s eye is drawn from foreground to background as the buildings get smaller with distance. I like how the point of the arch complements the point of the tower it frames.

Manhattan, looking south from the top of the Rockefeller Centre

This more traditional portrait orientation slowly leads you from foreground to background, aided by the contrast of darker, shadowed foreground with bright background. The eye is pulled through the rectangular foreground opening, through the invitingly open gate in the middle ground, and into the background courtyard with its host of intriguing objects.

A courtyard in New Orleans

Here, the blurred foreground serves only to frame the circle through which the subject of the photo is viewed. From what I recall, a vertical orientation wouldn’t have worked because above and below that metal plate were distracting elements that would have drawn attention from the locomotive.

A locomotive at the Pine Creek Railway Museum, NT, Australia

The symmetry of the architecture and the line of hanging lights, diminishing in size with distance, are framed by a single arch, starkly white against the rich red wall. A vertical line runs through the point of the arch and the line of the lights, drawing your eye to the far end of the corridor. I think this vertical composition helps to emphasise the length of the corridor.

A corridor in the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London.

Posted as part of Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge with the subject of Framing