Friday, 7 December 2018

Mill Road Winter Fair

Last Saturday was the annual Winter Fair in Cambridge's Mill Road.  The day drew a big crowd despite the wet weather.  There were also plenty of CCC members out to record the day's events.  Mill Road is a quirky, vibrant and eclectic place, and the Winter Fair is a great showcase for all these charms. Where else can you eat duck gyoza, while watching traditional (and not so traditional) Morris dancing, as the strains of funk music, played by a brass band, drift down the street?



Friday, 30 November 2018

Red Kites

One of the great wildlife success stories of recent decades has been the Red Kite.  Persecution in the 19th and early 20th centuries decimated the UK population.  Once, you had to travel to west Wales to stand a chance of seeing the few remaining birds.  Then in the early '90's a reintroduction program began in the Chilterns.  There are now so many Red Kites in the Chilterns that their numbers cannot be reliably counted.  The birds have spread and other reintroduction programs followed, elsewhere in the country.  Kites are now an increasingly common site in Huntingdonshire.  There a few spots to reliably see them, but one of the best is near a scrapyard on the old A1 at Stilton.  The scrapyard owners must feed them, because Kites can appear there in large numbers. 

I visited one afternoon with blue skies and low sun, hoping for a number of beautifully lit birds.  Sadly, feeding time must have been over.  There were 6 or so Kites when I first arrived, but this soon thinned down to a couple.  I could see more a  couple of fields over, but didn't have the time to chase them.  Instead I enjoyed the view I had and will go back again to hopefully get the numbers I hoped for.


Friday, 23 November 2018

Autumn By iPhone

I haven't been out with the proper camera much over the last few weeks, so here are some autumn shots taken with my iPhone.  All, except the final shot, were taken using the Hipstamatic app, with no further processing.  The last image was taken from my bedroom window, using the normal camera app and given minor adjustments with Snapseed.  I was drawn to the tree highlighted in the notch between the roof shadows.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Squash, Tate Britain

The Squash, at Tate Britain, was an immersive installation that recently completed a six month run at Tate Britain.  Created by Turner Prize nominee Anthea Hamilton, it combined performance, costume, location and sculpture.  Each day a single character, dressed in a colourful squash-like costume, inhabited the Duveen Galleries at the centre of Tate Britain.  Over 7,000 white floor tiles had been laid across the length of the Duveens, covering the floor and encasing a series of podiums.  Some of these were empty, others had sculptures from Tate’s collection, chosen by Hamilton for their organic forms and colours.  Each element of the work had evolved from Hamilton’s interest in a found photograph, for which the original source has since been lost.  The image showed a person dressed as what looked like a vegetable lying among vines.  Hamilton designed seven costumes that incorporated the colours and shapes of varieties of squash or pumpkin.  Daily costume selection was the choice of the individual performer, and their performance was an 'individual presentation of the [squash] character as they inhabited the space and explored their own interpretation of the [inspiration] image'.

I visited the Squash on the Friday before the final weekend. As it was a week day, the Tate wasn't overly crowded, which meant I could get decent shots of the performer alone or with just one or two onlookers.  The Duveen Galleries always make an enjoyable space to photograph.  The high windows that run the length of the galleries can give some lovely light.  The white tiles added an extra dimension to the neo-classical interior, allowing for some interesting frames and lead lines.

I particularly like the first image in this set.  It wasn't until I reviewed my shots on Lightroom that I noticed the performer was holding a hand to their ear in an echo of the woman on her mobile.  I have no idea if the performer had seen her and was doing this deliberately. 


 After taking a break, the performer chose to return wearing a different costume.


Wednesday, 10 October 2018

40s Reenactors at Bletchly

We visited Bletchley Park on a 40s themed weekend.  People were encouraged to come in costume and there were plenty who did.  Reenacters are always happy to pose, particularly if you approach them early in the day, before they have had dozens of requests from photographers.  It was however a very sunny day and the light was too harsh for decent portraits.


Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Bletchley Park

I recently joined some other CCC members for a visit to Bletchley Park.  During the 2nd World War this was the home for the codebreakers who de-cyphered the German Enigma and Lorenz codes.  The contribution this made to the Allied war effort was immense.  An oft repeated estimate is that it shortened the war by 2 years, and thus saved millions of lives.  Churchill, described the Bletchley team as 'the geese that laid the golden eggs and never cackled'.

According to Ann, who has been a couple of times in past years, the site has undergone a huge transformation.  The once decaying codebreaker huts have been fully restored and dressed to resemble how they would have been during the war.  Recorded voices, projections and interactive media all help to tell the story of the work done there.

The huts are kept very dark, blackout blinds keep sunlight from damaging the artefacts and only a few dim bulbs light the interiors.  Photography was tricky to say the least.  I decided to convert most of the hut images to monochrome and gave a few an old photo treatment in Nik Analog Efex.

The mansion house was much better lit, but lacked the atmosphere of the huts. I was also keen to get a shot of the recreation of Turing's 'Bombe', the electro-mechanical calculating engine that help speed up the code-breaking process.