Saturday, 31 January 2015

Thomas A. Ksanznak

Flowers on the grave of fighter pilot Thomas A. Ksanznak mark the 70th anniversary of his death on 13th January 1945.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Saffron Walden

The town is a real mix of building styles, from half-timbered to Georgian and modern, and the huge church dates from the 13th Century.  It's in Essex, feels like Suffolk and has Cambridge post codes.  I like the black and white faces of the town clock on the library.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Just About to Pout

Out-of-sorts Bug today.

Monday, 19 January 2015

West Stowe

Long-tailed and Marsh Tits, plus a squirrel at Elveden, then off to West Stowe for a Robin and a Nuthatch, also with busy busy Blue Tits.  Shame about the brightly-lit background.  We saw a Stoat, but it was scared away by the person refilling the feeders.  

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Center Parcs 2

The Sparrowhawk was back again, leaving once more without killing.  Our young Grebe was skittering across the water like a Dabchick.  The squirrel was photographed with the 300mm lens at 1/60th second - excellent Image Stabilisation.  The Mallard was braking from a high-speed arrival.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Center Parcs 1

We stayed at Center Parcs at Elveden for Ann's birthday weekend.  It has a big hide overlooking a huge pit with feeders close to and further away.  Ann was trying to photograph Blue Tits in flight, but they never hover before landing, just arrive as little blob bombs, as in the photo centre, with a Nuthatch in the cage.  The resident Sparrowhawk dropped in but left empty-handed.  This juvenile GC Grebe came closer to shore than usual for the breed.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Article 9

Article 9 in France forbids the photography of any person as the principal subject in a photograph without their permission.  Some compliment to Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz and the French tradition of street-photography, but the law was passed to prevent the paparazzi from harassing celebs and pros from using people's images for profit.  Many of my photographs had people in them, often as figures to give scale to buildings or to add points of interest to the images.  Granted, none of mine were being used for profit.  We spoke to a couple of local people whom we would have loved to have photographed, but after a chat it seems intrusive to ask, so we did not.  The top photo needed people for interest, and I smiled at the two girls, who returned the smile and carried on.  The red-headed woman was over the road, and was perfect for scale and a splash of colour; although she was not the subject, she is identifiable, whereas the woman in white is not, although she is the principal subject.  
The three boys plonked themselves down in front of a sea of people descending the steps of the Sacre-Coeur to eat their baguettes, and I nearly fell over them, so I photographed them.  They immediately posed, so I moved in close (less than a metre) with the fisheye and they leaned in, not expecting me to have this angle of view (these are crops) and were pleased by the result.  They got out their iPhones and pulled us into a selfie with all of them in front of the church.  It was a fun moment, but not a word was spoken in any language.  Also having fun in the Tuileries were the group of students from somewhere, and the photo would have been nothing without them.  Compare the Tuileries blog photo on the 29th Dec., Paris, Day 2 - Afternoon.  The two men in the bottom photo may have been street theatre acting out Manet's Dejeuner sur l'herbe, or they may have been SDF, but the younger man's physique would have graced any of the statues around Paris.  Perhaps Article 9 makes no difference, because although in the UK anyone can be photographed in public, in order to make a good photograph, they need to be prominent enough in the frame that they must realise they are being photographed, and the same courtesies apply in both countries.  

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Friday, 2 January 2015

Paris, Last Day

It dawned wet and misty.  We went out to shop for some souvenirs for home (Ann already had five Eiffel Tower key rings for 1 Euro) and I managed not to buy a pair of underpants with a map of the Metro on.  After a grumpy lunch near this art gallery we caught the Eurostar back to St Pancras.  

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Paris, New Year's Day - Montmartre 2

How this waiter managed to keep smiling while trying to get through to the outside tables without spilling a drop, I don't know, but I'm full of admiration!  One of the famous bookshops is 'The Monkey Who Can Read', next to Le Cadet.  You can see why the Commune of 1871 thought it might succeed here at the top of the hill, hard to reach with cannon fire, but it lasted only a few weeks.  Ann got out her fisheye lens to photograph the crowds and the church, then switched to tele for the athlete with the football on the precarious plinth, while I turned my fisheye to the spectators.  Ann is just below the right-hand cupola, to the left of the yellow-ochre coat.