One year ago today: “You cannot do that!”

I love to photo the front pages of newspapers, while in shops from which I also buy things I still want:

And that was the front page of The Times of a year ago tomorrow, June 1st 2019.

The headlines make interesting reading now. Trump trying to stop us getting into bed with Huawei. Bet our politicians now wish she’d listened then.

And, the Lib Dems riding high in the polls. But this was because they had temporarily managed to get most of the Remain vote supporting them. Labour eventually got most of the Remainers supporting them. Meanwhile, the Leave vote was split, but would later unite in voting Conservative.

But most important of all, to me, are the pictures in between those two headlines. That’s Ben Stokes, taking an amazing catch, in England’s opening World Cup 2019 match against South Africa at the Oval, one year ago exactly. Stokes only had to take the catch this way because he at first misjudged it and got himself too far towards it. But who cares?!? He caught it. Video, with Nasser Hussain’s great commentary, here. England went on to win the tournament.

Now, YouTube is showing me the amazing Ashes test-match-winning last wicket partnership, at Headingley, between Jack Leach and … Stokes.

The weather now is perfect for cricket and has been for several weeks. But as of now, they still cannot do that, and we fans are having to be content with memories.

Dogs Stuck To The Ceiling

Here:

Natalie Solent mentioned this strange phenomenon in a Samizdata piece entitled Solving the problem of dogs stuck to the ceiling. Natalie quoted a commenter saying, ironically of course, that this is a serious problem which We Should All Seriously Think About, and herself commented on that comment thus:

Although the writer did not try to make any political capital from this issue, it did lead me to wonder what other problems in modern society are conceptually similar to the plight of these dogs.

Natalie’s point being that some problems are only problems because you are looking at them the wrong way. In this case, the wrong way up. It’s quite a profound piece. She says that the “gig economy” is such a problem, and I agree. There are definitely problems associated with the gig economy, like people not paying for work by the date they promised they would. But just making the gig economy illegal would make everything far worse for the gigsters. There already is a law saying payments have to arrive when promised, but it is no use to the gigsters at the lower end of the gig economy. They’d rather do work that they do eventually get paid for, probably, and in the meantime not antagonise such a customer. Their solution is to get more and better customers, not to sue. One of my best friends (the one who photoed this bird, and also the ducklings in the previous posting just below this one) is a gigster. As was I a few years back.

Like I say. Quite profound stuff.

But I only paid Natalie’s piece proper attention after David Thompson had linked to it, while mentioning that he got it via Samizdata. In his Friday ephemera, he likes weirdnesses of all kinds, and likes libertarian messages also to be smuggled in in among the weirdness. So, this was all perfect for him.

Close-up ducklings

The same friend who photoed this bird, photoed these little birds, in Clissold Park, two days ago, again with an iPhone:

One duckling in particular, really.

Guns didn’t cause birds to become more friendly, because the ones who did get friendly also tended to get shot. But birds survive being photoed, and are evolving rapidly into creatures that are no longer scared of us. Photoing birds may steal their souls, but they don’t care about that. They care about their next meal, and humans often supply this. Even humans with cameras, sometimes.

Zooming in on Millais

In January 2018, I see that I did a blog posting, in which I expressed interest in this camera, the Nikon Coolpix B700, including that link in that earlier posting. Late last year, I bought one of these cameras. This was partly for its x60 optical zoom, but also because the camera is red, and a red camera that looks like it should be black is, I think, cool. Also, it is easy to tell at a glance which of the two cameras I now use is which. It helped that it was going cheap, on Amazon, as I recall.

It proved ever so slightly disappointing, impressive though the zoom proved to be, sometimes. Here are three photos I photoed with it soon after getting it, that show just how powerful that zoom is:

These photos were taken last November, from the top of the steps outside Tate Ancient.

On the left, note the dark building made of three bits, of varying heights, looking a bit like a rude gesture made with the middle finger. In the middle photo, we observe the top of the middle and tallest bit of this building. And on the right, with the zoom going full blast, we see the cleaning crane at the top of the tower.

Technically, I was impressed. But, did I really need to be taking long distance photos of things which I could surely photo just as well by just getting a bit nearer. After all, much of the point of my photoing is to get me out of my home and taking some exercise. x25 would mean rather more exercise, so, the new x60 camera was that most unwelcome of phenomena, the solution to circumstances that were not a problem.

Until a few days ago, when I went out with my x25 black camera and my x60 red camera, and I photoed this photo, with the latter:

That was taken of John Everett Millais, at maximum x60 zoom, from quite a lont way away.

With the result that I was not photoing the underneath of his chin, but photoing him something more like from his level. I was still below him, but the angle I was coming up at him was much smaller. Basically, I wasn’t photoing his adam’s apple.

Compare that with this, which, with apologies for the repetition, I had earlier photoed (and earlier shown here) of JEM with the x24 black camera:

I actually think that the black x25 photo is pretty good also, but given the choice for photoing the faces of statues, I now prefer the notion of using the red x60 camera, or at the very least having that option. There could be statues when its better angle will make quite a difference.

I like human faces, but there are problems with just photoing interesting faces and then shoving them up on a blog. Privacy, etc. I respect that.

I could show lots of photos of my own face, but I fear looking like a narcissist. (I also fear that one of the symptoms of narcissism the fear of being thought a narcissist, but I’ll set that aside.) But there are no issues with photoing statues, and you can go in as close as you like on their faces. Also, most statues are of very interesting people. So, I like to photo them.

And now, I have photoing equipment that is that little bit better for doing that.

A national tree contrast

Two photographers-whom-I-follow do trees.

Martin Cook, in England:

That photo reminds me of this urban equivalent, although to be an exact rhyme, it would need a big bird in the middle.

Charlie Waite, in France:

Waite says, of his trees:

Any tree avenue is reminiscent of a cathedral nave …

Especially a tree avenue where the distances between trees and tree sizes have been so precisely contrived, and where failure to achieve identical size is just that: failure. If Wait hadn’t said that, the rest of us would still have thought it.

Anyway, my point is: I seem to recall quite often seeing effects similar to Waite’s, while being driven around France by GodDaughter2’s parents, over the years. I’m pretty sure I have photos in my archives to prove and illustrate that observation, although nothing as dramatic as Waite’s wonderful photo, a classic Real Photographer achievement, and surely the product of lots of preparation, exact timing, weather watching (daily and seasonal), and general photo-expertise. (Or maybe just high class opportunism. Whatever. I think it’s very good.)

In England, on the other hand, avenues seldom have this architectural precision about them, or not as often. Yes the trees are sometimes evenly spaced, and approximately the same size, but there isn’t the utter determination to keep them the exact same shape. Having planted them, the tree carers follow a set of rules about how to care for them, for instance by pollarding them, but the outcome is whatever it is. Variations on a theme, rather than bang: theme!

It is tempting to see this as an expression of the French delight in obedience to official rules, while the more anarchic English way is more expressive of English anarchy, and English resistance to official rules. A temptation I think I choose to give way to and indulge in. It seems improbable that there are any “practical” reasons for the difference, like the French trying to contrive a particular sort of timber, in the one best way.

I think each country is getting what it wants.

Andrew Sharpe’s Ely Cathedral Supermoon

As mentioned in this earlier posting, I’ve found another photoer to follow. Sharpe: good name for a photoer.

The Sharpe photo (to quote one of his tweet-commenters: “Wow”) that got me pressing Follow at his feed was this Supermoon photo from last September …:

… is way better than My supermoon photo earlier this month. As, for that matter, is Sharpe’s Supermoon photo earlier this month.

Sharpe would appear to have a very similar photo-relationship with Ely Cathedral to the one that this guy has with Salisbury Cathedral. Both photo the same cathedral, lots of times, with the cathedral looking different every time. (A bit like my photoing of London taxis-with-adverts.)

I love exploring the countryside.

Tiananmen tank man – the small picture and the bigger picture

Someone calling himself hardmaru tweets, of this photo …:

… this:

The full Tiananmen Square tank man picture is much more powerful than the cropped one.

Not sure that’s right. You only get the point of this big picture if you already know the smaller picture. If you didn’t already know that, would the big picture pack such a punch? Maybe this is my bad eyesight asking, but would you even properly see the guy in front of all the tanks?

I don’t know when this big picture first started getting around. But, having seen the small picture many times, I have only now seen this big one. So thankyou
@hardmaru, and I’m glad that both can be seen.

Just learned about the existence of …

DRACULA PARROTS. Me to. But how did he learn this? Doesn’t say. Hate that. Scroll down, scroll down. Here we go:

Despite it’s name and vulture-like visage, the Dracula Parrot is actually not bloodthirsty at all. It feeds almost exclusively on just a few species of figs, …

Could’ve googled this but I thought he made up the name “Dracula Parrot” himself and that I’d only get back to the original tweet.

Now, if you are looking to see a bird that is truly vampiric, look no further than the vampire finch, …

Pass. Had enough vampire birds for now.

Martin Cook photographs creatures

I follow Martin Cook on Twitter. His day job is medical, which must be interesting just now. But he’s also a Real Photographer. Here we see him lining up a swan with Salisbury Cathedral:

Also, that tree on the left looks like it’s had a big old dose of pollarding done to it, a process that has long intrigued me.

See also: a deer; a rabbit; another deer; a monochrome deer; the same deer (?) in colour; a bee; … You get the pictures.