Monday, January 20, 2014

Take out the papers and the trash...

...from a photographer's notebook

...or what do Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller have to do with Bath, England?

I often write in these pages about that trusty old “Gray Matter Gramophone” that so often fires up between my ears and behind my eyes when I’m out shooting.

And, oh my, did the old GMG crank up – on multiple-play at that – at the end of a delightful visit to Bath last November.

Lots of fun shooting this motif-rich place that goes back to the time of the Roman Empire, but is quintessentially British, of course. If you know me, you might expect the ol’ GMG was well stoked for the occasion with lots of Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Holst, and perhaps a pinch of Delius…

But I was not expecting some mysterious force to slip in the old Coasters hit from 1958, “Yakety Yak” at the very end of my visit, as I was walking back to the First Great Western Railway station for my return to London
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Poor wretch - must have a cold bummy!

...from a photographer's notebook

Detail from "Jack-in-the-Cone?- a Bath Moment" ©2014 Steve Ember

Do, please, forgive the lack of ultimate sharpness; the image above is detail from a larger image that was, in turn, a tiny crop from a quite wide street capture, taken last November in Bath England...

During that first visit, I enjoyed shooting not only the classical architecture of this inviting town, which traces its history back to the Roman Empire, whose legions built thermal baths here, beside the River Avon (although they, no doubt, had a more "Romanesque" name for it), but also greatly enjoyed capturing the lively street ambiance. 

One of the many pleasures I derive from my photography is the "discoveries" that sometimes jump out at me while editing the results of a shoot - little smile-makers that I may have missed while shooting, but which my camera certainly did not.

Here's one I hope will make you smile, as it did me this afternoon.

While editing my images shot along Abbey Street, my eye was drawn beyond the comely lass to the huge ice cream cone protruding from a shop window, and the even more curious chap who seemed to be springing out of the ice cream, like...umm...a Jack-in-the-Box!

As I zoomed in on the attractive couple who'd just passed by that window, it seemed to me she was saying, with a wicked, playful lilt in her voice, "Poor wretch - must have a rather cold bummy!" Naturally, she may well have been commenting on the architecture of the nearby Pulteney Bridge, or telling her companion they were going to be late for their train back to Paddington...but I think I'll go with my first impression!

Anyhow, I was inspired to work up "Jack-in-the-Cone? - a Bath Moment," as a new Photo Note Card design for ice cream (and street capture) lovers everywhere.

And, next visit, I must stop by that shop on Abbey Street, and see if the ice cream is delectable as the unique window display suggests ;-) 

©2014 Steve Ember

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Have a Blast of a Good New Year!

   ...from a photographer's notebook

Detail from "FawkesBlossoms" ©2013 Steve Ember

So, let's hope you did not wake up this New Year's Day, after too much partying New Year's Eve, seeing - and hearing - something resembling the image above. Or wake up several times in the middle of the night, imagining you were, after downing too many of those flaming filet of Mongolian Yak canapes at your NYE soiree. 

On the other hand, if you were raising a glass last night to such a sight over some glamorous metropolis, well good on ya.

About the photo...
It was November 5, which any self-respecting Brit would know as Guy Fawkes Day. Night had fallen, and from my London hotel room on Westbourne Terrace, it sounded as though the whole of Bayswater was under attack.

I had arrived that afternoon  and was napping away some jet lag – a bit longer than I’d expected to. But Bonfire Night was being celebrated with some major fireworks quite nearby, in Cleveland Square, so I sprinted out with a camera and joined the merry throngs, just in time to see the finale bursting overhead in the Westminster night sky.

I call them "FawkesBlossoms."  The image will appear on the November page of my new 2014 Calendar for Procrastinators. Watch this space for its debut announcement. Meantime, if you'd like to see "FawkesBlossoms" in higher definition, please follow this link.

As always, thanks for spending some time with the wee bloggie, and here's wishing you a 2014 full of health and happiness.

©2014 Steve Ember

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