Friday, May 20, 2005

Horse's head, no bedAs I've been wasting far too much time on Flickr, I think it's time for another photography post. Firstly, I managed to wangle spending the afternoon at Goodwood, so that's the sports film done (but not yet developed, so hold your horses as it were). Somehow, despite weather forecasts getting progressively more ominous as the week progressed (use, the 48 hour thing is so much more informative), it somehow contrived to not rain much. It did for a bit late on, but more in a passing-cloud way than anything with malice.

Admittedly it wasn't quite warm enough for the faint sound of steel drums and mentions of name "Safari Sunset" to conjure up images of rustling palms and rum based cocktails. Or maybe it was the cries of the bookmakers which kept the mind firmly ensconced in a windy hilltop somewhere in a land of scudding clouds. Cries which incidentally are virtually indistinguishable from the "3 pound a pound" or market-traders, and equally as informative. If only they too sold things cheap at the end because they want to be off (spot who didn't place one bet, and with such giddily enticing outside odds as 5-1 wasn't likely too either).

No idea how the pictures come out. One set I over compensated the focus to account for the approaching horses, but the rest might be better. Horses are quite big, and thunder past quite noticeably when they're grazing the rail. On the last race, the apprentice one, one of horses riding out to the start was very obviously running away with its rider. Frantic eyes and slackly gnashing mouth flecked with foam is not a good look for a horse (or a rider come to that), especially not when it's 3 foot from my head.

Oddly, the place was nearly abandoned when we got there late. It stayed desolate all afternoon. Being miserly, we were in the cheapest enclosure, which comes complete with a caravan of loos, a generic event food stall (in the same yellow and green as the appear at every single boat show. I'm sure one could start to play a dumbed-down version of the Eddie Stobart game with them, although today's Burgers wouldn't have added much, and people might think one is a bit odd for yelling "Cornish Pasty" or "Pork Roast" to stake one's claim).

So the people-watching was bit thin on the ground, although it did offer one pure gem. Man and woman climb old terraced grandstand. Walk along until the woman sits down. Man wipes seat with hand. Pauses, looks puzzled by hand. Staying standing, man huddles protectively round woman, patting and rubbing her back as if she's cold. Man with now clean hand sits down.

So I now have one more film to use by Wednesday, which is the infrared. For which I still don't have a filter. My tutor thought she could find one, and was going to give me a ring yesterday. I still haven't heard from her. But then the people I told yesterday that I wouldn't be around today have still rung up, and left a message wondering if I could give them a call before half past five (and they do have my mobile number).

Oh, and in case you haven't noticed yet, there are some new (well, by now -ish) pictures on Flickr. Some not great. Some possibly meaning most of them. The gorse in Brighton came out better when I made a print of it, and dodged the dark vegetation. There's also the usual selection of flowers because I was stuck for subjects, and occasional other things.

And all that's in lieu of the complete randoms set, which I should get back tomorrow (but it's Boot's so that's very, very touch-wood). I'll endeavour to scan the soon, but no promises (and wow, I think I've just found my new favourite word: Endeavour, because it means "try", but doesn't sound as pathetic).

Now onto other people's photography. London Dan (oh, and his pictures are just about passable, if you really have nothing better to do, and happen to be pa... I really ought think about what I'm writing, preferably before I write it) recommended, somewhere along the line, but I can't find it now, a photoblog of a guy's daily commute in New York. I find it hard to describe the images there without lapsing into cliches like "achingly beautiful". Today's shot is inside the driver's cab. Which looks a lot less plasticky than I'd expect.

And referencing Flickr in exams? Now if I tried that... then the marker might be left wondering how a photosharing website relates to crack propagation in the horns of a gazelle.

Another photography link: Stairs was seeking people's opinions on two of his own photographs. Asking people for opinions. That's never good. He does try to encourage positives, by asking which we prefer and why, but that's like trying to hold back the sea with only a small Dutch boy's finger, when there's not enough dyke to have a hole in it (Can you come up with a better analogy? Call Figment Imaginative Services [Nuneaton] Ltd now on 0800...).

Or maybe it's just me who doesn't quite read the entire paragraph when perhaps it might matter, and so proceeds to lay waste to one of his images. But even with the minor niggles, he's really very good. I would ram this point home by finding a suitably similar image of mine, and comparing and contrasting them, but regrettably I do not have any picture of a fritillary. That I know of, obviously. I mean, some of them could be fritillaries, but it's a bit hard to tell. They could equally be l'Arc de Triomphe, but never having been does limit that possibility slightly.

So go and tell him how wonderful his photography is, while I just carry on blaming the sequences of digitising and compression for the faults with mine (yeah, cos scanning negatives is well known for savagely underexposing the foreground, or making the main feature of an image about as big as Dougal's cows).

Moving on to not photography, although City Comforts has recently featured a shot of Alton Library (my fabulousness knows no bounds; not existing will tend to do that to an abstract notion), which looks like a barn, in a good way. At first I thought it strange that I find out about new buildings in towns not so far away by reading a blog by a guy in Seattle, but then I realised the sole purpose of Alton [to me] is to remind me I'm nearly at a friend's house (and provide yet another roundabout, this time with a sign to Jane Austen's house). I would go and probe to answer his questions, but as the next time I'm likely to be passing is early August, this might be a little slow. And anyway, whenever I use that road I'm always late, and most of the time it's not the road's fault.

More recently, he linked to 3 New Yorker articles on various aspects of global warming. So far I've read the first, and beginning of the second, and I think they're worth reading. Most of it I, and probably you, should know; some of it you may not and I didn't.

Slightly annoyingly, it's American, therefore thinks nothing of referring to the average temperature of the Earth being 57 degrees. That must be including the core, right? Except then it would be hotter, so, er, um... Oh, they still use Fahrenheit (and promptly quote people talking, once again without units, in centigrade).

And while I'm picking on it, and the marks of America, what do you make of the following sentence: In 1979, the satellite data show, perennial sea ice covered 1.7 billion acres, or an area nearly the size of the continental United States.

In 1979, the Satellite Data Show, held at the Birmingham NEC...

Conjugate your bloody verbs. You may not know the correct name for that tense (i.e. I don't either, but I suspect it's one of the p ones) but is the s really so abhorrent? I don't know why, but verbs sticking solidly to the root form, regardless of context, are annoyingly common in American writing. I would like to launch into a rant about it here, but I can't remember the other examples. Usually it's things ignoring the vowel-shifted versions (sit/sat, get/got), or any suffix ("he fix the car": Did he or does he?).

Speaking of the quirks of the American language, since when have words had umlauts? These aren't imported words with genuine umlauts, but retrospective accents denoting a junked hyphen as in microorganisms or coordinated.

Speaking of quirks generally, since when has Denmark been an artic country? Does America know, oh bugger, I've just realised why, although technically Denmark is not, and Greenland is, but Greenland's some odd self-governing not-quite-independent country which happens to belong to Denmark.

Drat, indignancy can be too all-consuming sometimes.

I'd better stop before I beat myself in a puree with lots of cream.

That sounds a bit dodgy, but it was only supposed to be a rather poor pun.


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