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Tumultuous

9 May

I think this picture works as a pretty good visual metaphor of the current state of the British political scene. Nick Clegg is in the rather unenviable position of king maker right now and if he makes the wrong choice he could end up damaging the Liberal Democrats irrevocably. The LibDems can’t afford to go into a formal coalition with either the Conservatives or Labour, because if they do they will have to share equal blame for the savage cuts in public spending that any government will have to make to deal with the current deficit. All they can do is support either the Conservatives, or Labour, on a bill by bill basis. While my heart says they should work with Labour my head says they should work with the Conservatives. The reason for this being that the Conservatives will very probably tear themselves apart over the compromises the party will need to make to its more extreme policies and ideas in order to maintain LibDem support. By the time of the next general election the Conservatives will have split into two separate parties one full of right wing nut jobs akin to the current American Republicans and the other a progressive centre right party. However, this is all speculation and fantasy until the LibDems make their decision.

A Fragile World.

3 May

This is my favourite of my photographs at the moment. For those who care about the technical details it was taken using a Canon EOS 50D with a Tamron 70-300mm Tele-Macro lens, an aperture of F5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/1250sec. It was shot in RAW and then initially edited and converted to jpg using the Gimp with the Ufraw plugin. Final editing was done using Showfoto. All of which are free open source software programs.
Dandelion clocks always remind me of childhood for some reason. I suppose that it’s their ephemeral and fragile nature. They teach us that nothing, no matter how beautiful, lasts forever and we should make the most of what life offers us.

Please click the picture to see a larger version.

Dove

28 Apr

I’m posting this simply because I think that it’s the best photograph that I’ve ever taken and certainly one of the best photographs of a bird in flight that I’ve ever seen. I took it on a very cold and overcast February morning in Bedford UK as a woman was feeding the birds beside the River Great Ouse in the centre of the town.  I used a Canon EOS 50D digital SLR with a EFS 17-85mm lens with everything except the focus set to manual and the shutter in single shot mode. I want to emphasise the last part of the previous sentence, this photograph was taken as a single, all or nothing, shot and not as part of a multi-shot burst from which I could choose the best one. Also, it was shot in monochrome and is not a conversion from colour. I never convert from colour to monochrome, shoot directly in whichever of the two I feel is most appropriate for the picture I’m trying to create. If you wish to do so you can buy a print of “Dove” and if you do you will have my deepest gratitude since I could do with the money right now.

Taking A Closer Look

26 Apr

It’s fascinating how changing the way a seemingly mundane thing is seen can shift ones attitude towards it. The photographs above were shot primarily to practice using macro at which I am very much a novice. However as I was looking at them later I was struck by how beautiful these extremely common flowers, some people would call them weeds, actually were, but I hadn’t noticed before simply because I never bothered to look due to their ubiquity. It made me wonder about all of the beautiful and amazing experiences I may be missing simply because I dismiss certain things as being too ordinary to bother about. So, now I’m trying to open myself up to the possibility of discovering the extraordinary in the ordinary.

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Life Is For Living

24 Apr

One of the reasons the reasons I enjoy photography is that you can get to meet some really cool people. This gentleman was playing, rather beautifully in my opinion, in the centre of Bedford UK as most of the shoppers just walked on by. As he had a short rest we chatted and he told me that until about a month previously he had lost his job as a bus driver due to some health issues. Rather than becoming depressed he realised that he had an opportunity to try to make a living doing what he loves, which is playing music, rather than what is safe and “sensible”. He has had to tighten his belt financially, but he’s enjoying his life more now than he has since he was a child. His new motto is “Life is for living”. He said that the only thing that saddens him is that he had to reach the age of 61 before he fully realised that.

Talking to him made me realise how much I and just about everyone I know play it safe in life for fear of what may happen if we don’t. I have friends who are immensely talented in many different ways yet they cling to jobs they basically hate and I’m exactly the same except for the part about being immensely talented since that’s not for me to say. I hope that one day I’ll have the same kind of courage as the amazing clarinettist in the photograph.