Monday, 30 April 2012

Point proved?

Having a couple of hours to kill, and with the sun shining, I took the opportunity for some more revisitations.That went quite well, and there are only a handful left to make. What I'm going to do with the results, if anything, remains to be seen. Between sites I thought I'd see if what I said about using a large camera up close with strangers was correct. It was.

The people in the two photographs here were certainly aware of my presence. But far from outraged. The woman sitting on the bench actaully looked up at me and back at what she was doing. I guess it's because I carried on looking through the viewfinder and didn't act guilty that I 'got away with it'.

Again these are not great pictures, posted merely to make a point.

I did try out something at the end of the pier. It wasn't planned, something seen and acted upon. A couple of the attempts worked reasonably well, I think. There is no Photoshop trickery in these double images, only some tonal tweaks and a bit of sharpening-for-the-web.

There's something about the sea-front that makes me take minimalist pictures. Pictures that break the 'rules' by having things central. But that's the point of them for me. Here's one that incorporates my unconsciously chosen favourite subjects of street furniture and road markings. I like the light, the subtle colours, and the way the sea-wall hides the horizon therby flattening the picture space.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Candids, 'street' and stuff

Yesterday I was at a lure fishing show and bumped into a few people I know, including Eric Weight who commented on my colour and monochrome versions of the portrait in my previous post. Eric said the colour version looked more like a snapshot. Which is one of the problems of colour portraiture noted in the quote I found on the internet some time ago: "When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!” ― Ted Grant.

 It's difficult to explain this condition. I think it's to do with the removal of one layer of verisimilitude from the image, something that paintings do by the nature of being made from paint and thus not being affected by the colour. A portrait painted in colour works the same way as one drawn in charcoal. Unless it's painted in a photorealist manner in which case it is likely to seem as superficial as a photograph. That's the best explanation I can come up with.

These two photographs were made in my usual way of photographing people. By talking to friends and poking a camera in their face! There's no attention to at composition, and I need to work on the conversions. But they have something going for them. I took plenty more that didn't.

The shots were taken with the X10. Perfect for days when a larger camera would be an inconvenience. Another friend of mine, a professional photographer turned plumber, was interested in the camera. As soon as I handed it to him I was amused to see he instinctively put the viewfinder to his eye! Cameras need viewfinders. They help isolate what is being photographed and concentrate the mind.

One of the benefits of small cameras that received wisdom tells us makes them perfect for 'street' photography is their size. We are told repeatedly that a large DSLR makes people nervous and it's noise alerts them to the photographer's presence. It makes sense. It's reinforced by the Leica school of photographers who maintain that only a rangefinder camera can make great street photographs.

Today I found a link to a video that reinforces this prejudice. I was starting to believe it all. However, this last week I've been using my full frame DSLR while revisiting my old photographs - simply because I can use a 50mm lens to give the same coverage and get me close to the original viewpoint. Naturally I've been making other photos while out and about, and I've found people react no differently to that camera than they do to the compact. It's not the camera that people notice, it's the photographer. The way the person with the camera behaves is what people notice, or don't notice as the case may be.

One of the 'recreations'. Not a fantastic 'street' shot, but nobody in it seems perturbed by the presence of a goon pointing a big camera at them for the few minutes it took to get the shot right.

This got me to thinking about the 'street' genre as it is now carried out. The way there are zealots who say it must be done one way. Before 'street' was a trendy photo-genre nobody mentioned what kind of camera was best, people used what they had. The icons of 'street' used Leicas because there were no SLRs back in the 1930s. They used 50mm lenses because there were no zooms.  It made me titter when it was mentioned in one of the linked to videos that one good reason for using a rangefinder is that artists buck trends and so use Leicas in preference to Canons and Nikons. So they uniformly use Leicas!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


I mentioned portraits in my previous post. That's because it's something that's been on my mind. Over the years I have taken lots of photographs of people that could pass for portraits. Never have I asked their permission. Admittedly they have mostly been friends, family, or co-workers, who I have photographed. People who have got accustomed to an idiot with a camera and come to expect to have it pointed in their direction.

Occasionally I have shot people in the same way when engaging them in conversation. They see the camera in my hand and don't seem to mind when I focus on them. Then there are the street photos of people who rarely know they have been photographed.

These are all the kind of photos I prefer to both make and to look at. So it was a bit of a surprise when I found myself asking a shopkeeper if I could take his photo on Sunday when doing my rounds recreating my old pictures. I was taking one outside his emporium, showed him what I was doing and got chatting. What made me ask I don't know. But I did. And being out of my comfort zone took one fairly hasty snap. A half step to the right would have shifted that vertical in the background.

It's yet another shot that has something going  for it, but isn't quite 'there'. In colour it gives a better sense of context, revealing more the feel of the environment. The monochrome conversion works in a different way, black and white always adds an air of 'seriousness' to such shots. I'm undecided.

A technical aside is that I focussed manually. Something I find myself doing quite frequently these days. It's not that autofocus is unreliable, just that the sensors are often in the wrong place, or it takes too long to move them into the right place.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Then and now

This morning I took my two albums of prints from my old negatives out to try and find the locations and rephotograph them. An early start meant that there weren't many people about, just like in the old photographs. As luck would have it the sky was overcast too. But that soon turned to rain, which cleared to bright sun.

Some places were easy to find, despite changes, others weren't. What was difficult was getting in just the right place. Something I wasn't too fussed about doing as I have no intention of being able to merge the old and new pictures, but I wanted to get close.

Life would have been a lot easier with an assistant to hold the album I was working from. I just about coped though.

I've now managed to make some composites. It's a tedious process. Tedious processes are not up my street. There's every chance I'll get bored pretty soon and give up...

Needless to say I got sidetracked while hunting out the places to rephotograph. As an exercise the recreation 'project' is interesting, although more interesting to other people I think. It's not much about making pictures, although it is about the nature of photography as documentary and historical record.

This is what I have been thinking about quite a bit of late. Partly from scanning the old negatives, partly from reading. It's made me question whether it's enough to make pictures that exist as individual images, or whether one ought to be making images that stand as a collection. I suppose the ideal is for photographs to be both - images in their autonomous right, and part of a larger body that tells a larger story. Assuming that photographs can tell a story whichever way they are presented.

I read recently that there are three subjects for photographs: people, places and things. It seems to me that this is largely correct. It also makes sense to me that the better, more engaging, photographs combine at least two of these elements. I find portraits more compelling when they place the person in some sort of context. A head-shot relies on the viewer's prejudices too much to provide interpretation. 'Environmental' portraits at least provide clues to a person's identity or character.

Places photographed without people can infer mood, but figures give it scale and some sort of context. Things can exist alone, but they rarely do. Then again abstracting a thing from it's place makes for a new way of looking at it. The whole thing is a tangle of interconnected possibilities!

Probably best to follow your instincts and hope for the best...

The place is a beach, the thing is a pier, there are people - and dogs. It almost works, except the people are an amorphous blob rather than individuals. The picture is about space and balance and colour,  and  dogs. Is that enough? It certainly doesn't quite work for me. Why, I'm not too sure.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Too little time

I never seem to give myself enough time to look for photographs when I go into town. The parking is limited and expensive so I usually have an hour or less to do what I have to do and take photos. I almost paid for two hours today, but didn't. Looking back I wish I had because as my time was running out I took a few sots that made me think about a different way of picturing people.

The sun was bright and lowering. I was trying to get a shot of some pigeons with someone and their dog standing in the background - combining two of my regular subjects in one picture. By chance some shots had shadows of  in them.

Although the shadows were lengthening they were not distorted, so looked pretty much like silhouettes. In a way they stood for the presence of the people themselves.

I tried to take this further by shooting just the shadows, and by including the person's feet in the frame it made a connection with the person's character, in the way some actors say they build a character from the shoes up. I have photographed feet before.

It took me a while to realise what I was seeing and what I should be doing, by which time I had to leave or risk a parking fine, so the picture below is only a clue to where I wanted to end up. I hope I can get the angle of the sun to coincide with me being in the right place again so I can have a more prolonged attempt at realising the idea.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Things you don't realise

Something that is often seen as a positive element in a photograph is a visual echo. I was reading an essay on Walker Evans last night and it mentioned a visual echo which I hadn't noticed before. When I was showing some of my old photos to someone last week they picked up on an echo I hadn't noticed at the time, nor in the intervening years since I took the shot. It makes me wonder if it had been subconsciously seen.

The photograph is by no means in the same league as the Evans echo of oval porch feature and black eye, it's no more than a casual snap, but the checks on coat and tiles are an echo even so.

 On the subject of snaps the one below almost got something by accident. I was trying to grab a shot of the 'back in five minutes' not on the door, missing it by a  split second. The idea was self referential one of a photograph of a shop selling photographs. Yeah, I know...

What I almost got was my reflection adding sufficient contrast to the woman's face to make it clear, rather than washed out by the reflections in the glass. That would have been something to lift the picture and give it another level of interest. If I'd got the hand still on the tape rather than the door handle, and the red of the lips more prominent to echo the red of the door (an echo I think I must have spotted) then it could have been something more than it is. That's the problem with shots snapped quickly. Or in this case not quickly enough as I saw the picture but had to take half a step after realising it. By which time I had missed the moment.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Something to look forward to.

Cardiff After Dark to be released as a book this autumn.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Another eye-opener

Having to venture to Liverpool today I took the chance for a flying visit to the Open Eye Gallery to check out the two current exhibitions. What I'd read about the Richard Mosse show on the BBC photography pages didn't fill me with hope. It all sounded a bit pretentious. As with the Mitch Epstein exhibition, however, the pictures were different in reality than seen virtually on the web. This is something I'm coming to realise more and more. That physical photographs, actual prints or printed on a page, give a better feeling for what photographs are about than images on a screen do. Some of the prints were very large, the others just averagely large. This also altered how hey were experienced.

I've always though that using infra-red film is a bit of a gimmick, and still do, but the effect it had for the subject matter was in stark contrast to the images in the other exhibition. Simon Norfolk's carefully crafted prints of subjects relating to genocide beautified the images which in turn distanced them pictures from what was being pictured. The inra-red film had the opposite effect. By taking away our preconceptions of what things look like it brought the subject to the fore. I'll be going for another, longer, look when I get a chance.

One my way to and from the gallery I made a few pictures of my own. Although I prefer being in the countryside I much prefer taking photographs in the urban environment. The straight lines make it easier for me to find compositions. The natural world is all too amorphous for me, especially when the vegetation is lush and green. In winter the colours are muted and there are more clearly defined shapes from bare trees and the like.

So it was on this sunny morning I found myself framing architecture and shadows, along with a few more for the Stub It Out series. I was using the X10 again, and again being frustrated by my inability to easily frame accurately with the thing. The focus/shutter lag also lost me a couple of shots again. I must keep in mind that the camera is only a compact. It's a shame it doesn't handle like an SLR as the files really are fantastic, and it's so small and light.

If I had been properly ruthless in the editing of the selection in the gallery from today's wander there'd be two less. But it's not important in the grand scheme of things. Larger here.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Round one

It's going to be quite difficult to recreate some of old photographs if this evening's trial run is anything to go by. Trees have grown to obscure views, things built to make access difficult. It'll be interesting nonetheless. One thing's for sure I'll have to take the photos in the morning, which was when most of the originals will have been shot. The low sun was a big problem today.

Here are a couple of the first efforts, which I'm sure will be redone.

Of course, I got sidetracked and did some other stuff while I was out. Using non-zooms is refreshing. For one thing they don't weigh a ton, and for another they fit in a jacket pocket. More importantly they really make you think about composition, and a consequence of that is there are a lot of shots you frame and reject before pressing the shutter release. Would they have been made with a zoom? And if they had been would they have been any good? Impossible to know. I don't find the lack of a zoom a hindrance. It's not like I have to 'get the shot' to eat!

I don't know if it's using the 50mm lens or looking at my old negatives that's doing it, but I'm making a lot of black and white conversions at the moment. Taking pictures that have simple contrasting elements in them that almost demand the monochrome treatment too.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

More scans

I've just about finished my scanning-fest and made a stack of quick prints. The majority of the photographs are no more than snaps, but snaps that have become records of a time past and a place that has changed.As I mentioned before, some of those I had never printed at the time, and had subsequently forgotten about, now look reasonable. If nothing else they illustrate that I still have the same sort of vision.

More about how this episode has made me think about photography at a later date. My next task is to sort the prints and put them in albums ready to revisit the locations and rephotograph them as they are today. Not every single photograph, only selected ones from each location. That's the plan for now. In the meantime here are some I think are more than simple records, but actually have something going for them as pictures.

And one from today, not so good, shot digitally.

Friday, 13 April 2012


One of the currently hot topics among camera freaks on the forums is the effect Nikon's new 36mp  sensor in the D800 will have on people's ability to get sharp, hand-held, pictures. More pixels in the same space magnifies camera shake. Apparently. I know I said I'd had enough of camera talk, but I stumbled upon something that made me chuckle today:

There's a serious amount of resolving power in this camera, though not quite at the D* level. Still, some folk are actually going to have a difficult time with the D*** because of that. What do I mean by that? You need to watch for mirror vibration, wind vibration, sloppy hand-holding techniques, and be using excellent quality lenses or else you'll find that you don't get "sharp" images.

That's pretty much what is being said about the D3 and the D800 today, so why the amusement? If you click here it might become clear...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Going round in circles

It was probably looking back at the negatives that made me take a look at where I've come from digitally. It's just over two years since I bought my first DSLR and started photographing things for their own sake after using cameras solely to make illustrations for articles and slide shows about fishing. You might think that it would have taken a while to get into the swing of things and find my 'eye' again, yet the icy picture below was taken on my second outing with the camera and what many would consider a low quality lens.

I had a large, almost A3, print made from the file at the time but only recently got round to framing it and hanging it on a wall. Two years down the line I still like it and think it works. And do you know what? The print looks pretty good. Better than this JPEG here. The camera was left to its own devices to sort out the exposure. Well, pretty much.

Two years and too much money later and I'm starting to rethink things. Do I need the wide aperture lenses to do what I like doing? Given the amazing capabilities of the cameras to perform in low light I'm not so sure. I certainly don't need them to enable me to focus manually now autofocus is so reliable. Do they make nicer looking pictures? Sort of, in a hard to define way. Not that I'm obsessed about shooting wide open to get dreamy, creamy out of focus areas for the hell of it. Are they heavy, cumbersome and attention attracting? Certainly. I could carry two light zooms and maybe two fixed focal length lenses and still be carting less weight than one of the fast zooms!

I'm sure I could live with the older, slower, lenses. The results they give are good enough for me, but I'd find it difficult to forgo a full frame body. Not because the 'crop sensor' cameras don't shove out great quality files, but because it's exactly the same way of seeing as when using 35mm film. Same aspect ratio, same big viewfinder, and the lenses don't need a conversion factor to enable me to visualise what they'll do on the camera.

What I'm getting at is that I feel like I should be using the stuff that will help me make more pictures rather than stuff that will help my pictures be sharper. At normal viewing distances pretty much any half reasonable lens is going produce images that are good enough. Just as the average viewer of photographs doesn't care what camera was used, they don't inspect pictures with a high powered loupe to check for critical sharpness!

Of course, if the X10 was more user friendly in the all important (to me) framing department I could probably get away with using that on its own. I missed a shot today because I wanted a precise frame and to capture a cloud before it blew past. By the time I had got near to the right framing the cloud had gone. I could have framed wider and cropped, but even that might not have worked out. Hard to fault the output though. It handles contrast scenes very well for such a little camera. What I'm really looking for is a set up that suits my way of working a camera. I think I know what that is. Time will tell.

As well as the above, boring, picture which has plenty of indicators of perspective I used the X10 to take the photograph below. I'm not sure if the focus point, which logically should be on the word but isn't, is what makes it difficult to read, or the lighting. To my eyes the perspective is out of whack. This is a result of the lighting, the local colour of the surfaces, and the lack of any of the usual clues to a vanishing point such as those evident in the picture of the steps above. The image is not only flat but flattened (in part by the slightly telephoto lens), yet the colours and shading which are providing the only hints at recession are conflicting with what is expected. I wasn't aware of any of this when I framed the shot, but it is that framing - as much what it excludes as includes - that gives the picture its ambiguity.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

That was then

It's anon. More dusty, scratchy negatives scanned (badly) and some pictures to post. But first it's time to mull over what the process has revealed to me.

First off I looked at the images and wondered why I took most of them. They're just snaps. However, as I was going through the films in the order they were taken I hit a point where they began to be more than simply 'of' the things I was photographing. They were becoming composed. This may be coincidence, or it may not, but the point where a leap appeared to be made coincided with my beginning to look at photographs (and paintings) by people who works were (still are) 'the real deal'. Prior to that my photo-viewing had been done via the pages of Amateur Photographer and Practical Photography. I guess what you look at informs how you see.

The second thing that struck me, even more forcibly, is that the photographs' meanings have changed with time. Even some of the ones with little aesthetic merit have gained a significance they didn't have at the time. Those are the ones which depict places that have altered, buildings that have been demolished. They were nothing more than snaps, now they are historical documents.

A third revelation is how many of the pictures I never printed are actually worth printing. Working as images. Either I wasn't aware of what I'd done at the time, or just, as plausibly, I couldn't manage to make decent prints - or even couldn't afford to make prints!

Finally it has become plain that I not only still shoot the same subjects (I've found quite a few photographs of pigeons) but I use similar compositional devices to those I was using 30 years ago. That must be my 'style' at work!

Anyway, here's a few.

This one I did print out at the time.

I have never printed this one.

Another unprinted picture.

The bus station is no longer a bus station
What has been very evident is that even a basic DSLR today is capable of much better results at ISO 400 than I managed with HP5 in 1980! It's only when looking back at how things used to be that we realise what we have now. It might do the pixel peepers good to put a roll of HP5 through a camera and develop it in a blacked out bathroom with no heating or double glazing on a cold night in March, and then print it in the same bathroom with light leaking under the door using a Russian enlarger with a dodgy lens. Kids today don't know they're born!

It did surprise me, though, to see I was experimenting with various film stock. There were a couple of rolls of the then new XP1, and the negatives are much finer grained than those from HP5, and seem to have a better dynamic range. Of course that could be due to my hopeless home developing technique with no temperature control over the fluids. I must say that the small JPEGs look worse on the screen that the larger files do when printed at 5x7 by my cheap ink-jet printer. This final one is on XP1.

The 'building' is gone and the land behind has been 'developed'.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The perils of street photography

I love the way you find stuff by following links...

The whole site is amusing, entertaining and informative. Making it a pleasant change from the technically obsessed photography sites that prevail.

Another link lead me to Bob Krist's blog, which I'm currently reading from post one onwards. Should see me through the forecast wet Easter Monday, when I'm not scanning more old negatives. More on that anon.

Sunday, 8 April 2012


I decided to scan some old negatives last night for nostalgia's sake. The quality of the original negatives is pretty ropey. Apart from being out of focus or blurred almost all are scratched and/or covered in dust. My scanner isn't the best either, although I have made some good 7x5 inkjet prints from earlier scans.

Apart from the  nostalgic aspect of some of the shots what has struck me is that I was drawn to photographing street furniture and tarmac back in 1978. I still find myself framing those two things today.

Step back in time...

This is a strange one. Not only is the negative pretty 'clean', but it's a picture I have never printed. Yet it seems to work pretty well to me now.

This one is demonstrates an interest in symmetrical compositions, and has historical interest as the location has been significantly redeveloped.

An early example of a tarmac picture which is also concerned with patterns of light and shade.

I can't help thinking that had I continued taking photographs after 1982 these same themes and subjects would have remained prominent.

And finally one taken while at art school showing a primitive photograph making machine!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Dog fight

These photos are posted for amusement. They're all cropped, a result of using the pitiful viewfinder of the X10 for framing. There are a few aspects of this camera that are beginning to drive me nuts: the viewfinder (I can't get on with framing using the rear screen), in part because the information it displays (which you can't find anywhere else) obscures part of the image;  the aspect ratio - which I like for portrait orientation but find 'wrong' for landscape; the focus/shutter lag - if the camera is moving when you half press to focus the image freezes then unfreezes and the framing is out.

Image quality is fantastic for a compact, and for static shooting (as in the photographer is stationary) with plenty of time to get a shot the camera is great, but for action like this encounter with two dogs it all adds up to frustration.

The same frustrations had driven me nuts in the tackle shop today trying to get some deliberate motion blur. Trying to get an off centre focus point quickly was beyond impossible and the automatic focus point selector did what it should and focussed on the closest object. I guess I should have enabled face detection, but it's so much easier when using an SLR to simply turn the focus ring to shift focus. For a camera that can be carried in a jacket pocket I'm beginning to think I might as well get a smart phone.

As chance had it there was someone in the camera shop today who had his shiny new X-Pro1 with him, and he was kind enough to let me handle it. Like the X10 it felt like a 'real' camera. Better still, the essential controls were just what you need - a shutter speed dial on the top plate and an aperture ring round the lens barrel - you can check the settings without looking at the rear screen or through the viewfinder. Turn both to 'A' and exposure is fully automatic, shift one or the other and you get that priority, shift both and it's manual. Just like the old days!

I was interested to see what the electronic/optical viewfinder was like, and it was impressive if a little small. However it has no adjustment for poor eyesight, requiring the purchase of a screw in dioptre lens. It's a highly tempting camera, but unfortunately it is both new and expensive. New, these days, tends to mean 'not quite finished'. The lens selection available isn't what I'd like either. I bought a roll of film and left to continue considering if I'll ever find my ideal digital 'street' camera or whether I should spend what one might cost on film and processing instead!

Friday, 6 April 2012

No sunshine

True to form the Great British Weather turned 180 degrees from yesterday and there was no sun, only grey skies and low contrast clouds. Out of boredom I took a walk along the canal from the old mill to the boatyard and back. The results surprised me and with careful editing made a reasonably coherent set with a couple of pictures I think work rather well. In fact the flat light helped to eliminate the harsh shadows that the cladding would have cast on itself, which worked in the pictures' favour. I'll be printing some off to stick in frames for a longer consideration. As usual the gallery looks better larger.


It's interesting how clear skies and sunshine changes the photographs I look for.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Modern times

Not only has digital photography altered the way people take photographs, process and view them but the Internet has altered the reasons why people take photographs and, in some cases, added a pressure to take more. Did people ever start '365' projects where they take one photo every day before there was a place for them to share their pictures widely? Maybe a handful of people did, but now it is widespread.

Blogs and sharing sites also add a demand that they be updated regularly. This brings a pressure to take and post photos. Some might say that this makes for more successful photography along the lines of old adage 'the more you shoot the better you get'. It can also lead to the taking and posting of any old rubbish. 'I need a photo a day, I'll take one and use that.' Doesn't matter what it's of, how little thought has gone in to it, or if the person with the camera actually wanted to take a photograph that day. It had to be done.

It's as if failure, to take any photograph let alone a half decent one, isn't an option. Yet it's the simple law of averages, which has always applied to photography, that even the best will have more failures than successes, and that the line between one and the other can be very narrow. It was, therefore both interesting, and refreshing, to see this aspect of photography covered on The Guardian website the other day. It followed on another piece about photographs that hadn't been taken . Two thought provoking pieces about 'failure'.

Something else that has crept up on me, although it has been around for some time, is the commoditisation of photography. The neat packaging of the process for profit. I can understand how people who have made their living from taking photographs and are now feeling the financial squeeze as everyone becomes a photographer and gives their pictures away for peanuts or less can turn to teaching photography. Ironically to people who have, or will, be taking the food from their mouths! Workshops and one-on-one tuition for a fee abound on the Internet and in the pages of photography magazines.

Increasingly prevalent  is the packaging of holidays (usually to exotic locations) for photo trips with a professional photographer as a 'guide'. This seems to be the way a lot of people want to pursue their hobbies today. It's another case of failure not being an acceptable option. Rather than go and find out for themselves what it is they want to photograph and where and how they want to photograph it, people see photographs they like and pay someone to help them replicate them. And all the while these paying customers probably consider themselves to be creative.

It's become a cliché that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. When it comes to creativity (from the word creation rather than the word imitate) the cliché is true. In this world of instant results on demand (or on payment) this truth seems to have been forgotten.

In the spirit of the first part of this post here's a failure, posted because a blog demands something be posted, from yesterday. A day of sunshine, and less than 1% inspiration.

There are some interesting things going on in the photograph. This is more an intellectual  photograph than a picture. There's the total lack of any water behind the sign, let alone any deep water, for one thing. It's also about the man-made and natural environments and how they encroach on each other. It's about obscurity and revelation. It's about what lies beyond the entertainments of a seaside town. And there is a formal aspect to the composition. I think my ambition has exceeded my ability, though. It's a failure. But if you don't try to push your limits and fail, you'll end up repeating what you've done before. Or perhaps I need to book myself some tuition?