Friday, September 16, 2016

Pam and the Courier


This picture was an experiment. I was siting in the dark living room a few nights ago when I noticed light from outside  -- a security light at the apartments beyond our back garden wall, I think -- casting shadows from the leaves of our yucca plant. I got out the camera. The light was super low so I had to set a long exposure at high ISO, which is why the image is grainy. And it was too dark to focus, so I had to stand up, turn on the light, focus the camera, turn off the light and return to exactly the same spot where I'd been to take the picture.

In post-processing I made it black and white, which makes sense for a picture of nighttime shadows. Here's the color version:


Domestic lighting has a red and yellow tint, which is why the picture skews toward those colors. (I could have altered the white balance, but I kind of like it that way!)

Anyway, enough about that.

We've had an interesting night of thunderstorms. We rarely get thunder and lightning in London, but we had it all last night! That may be why Olga is still in bed. She is not amused.

I got my passport shipped off to the embassy for renewal. They send a courier to collect it, which is wonderful, but I must have been the last person on the courier's list yesterday. By the time I left work at 5 p.m., he/she still hadn't materialized, and I had to run and meet a friend -- so I left my documents with the guards at the front desk at school. That worked. I returned later and picked up my receipt.

I was meeting my friend Pam, who I know from my years in the Peace Corps. She's in town from the states on business. We went to a little pub in Maida Vale and sat out at a table on the sidewalk, among the flower boxes, enjoying our pints in the warm evening. We caught up on all the news, from my dramatic summer to Trump and Brexit. I will miss these long, gentle evenings when the darkness of winter finally descends!

11 comments:

Kaki Veldu said...

I like both photos and can't say which one I like best. The colored one reminds me of those from the 80's, that got reddish later.

Always and everywhere the same with these couriers - wait, wait, wait. Hope you receive your new passport in time! Remember your parcels, you've been waiting for for ages. Fingers crossed!

John Gray said...

Very Polanksi!
" rupulsion"

Yorkshire Pudding said...

What? You have "guards" at the school's front desk? Are they like those fellows who stand outside Buckingham Palace in their red tunics and bearskin hats? Or are they retired US marines in full battle gear?

ellen abbott said...

I like the black and white version but you don't have a tripod? you know, for keeping the camera in exactly the same spot while you turn the light on and off?

Ms. Moon said...

And see - this is me. Why were you sitting in the dark?
Nice resulting photos, anyway.
Glad you got some catch-up time with Pam. That's the sort of thing that makes life a chain of connectivity which holds it all together.

Sharon Anck said...

I love your photo experiment and it does look great in black and white.

Red said...

Awesome photo. You certainly know how to tinker with your camera and get a hard photo.

jenny_o said...

I feel the same way about the "long, gentle evenings" of summer and early fall - good description! And thanks for the explanation to go with the pictures. It's helpful to me as I try new things (albeit with a lesser camera).

e said...

I love the black and white...the overall tax in Florida is 6 percent and you're right, most groceries are not taxable but there are other things from the grocery which are taxable at a rate of 7 percent and every state;s taxable items are different, including groceries. It depends upon where you live. I shop at Aldi for the lowest prices possible on basic things, most of which are not taxable, but a portion of my bill was taxed at 7 percent, and it is not specified what they are taxing on the receipt. The county also has a tax rate of one percent for some items.

Sarah said...

Sounds like a perfect way to spend an evening. I like the photos too. Wish I could remember about how to use my camera properly. I did an online course once but it has all gone out of my head and I just stick to auto. My cats don't like the thunder either. I love it though and today was so much cooler.

Steve Reed said...

Kaki: I'm STILL waiting for that parcel. We're going on two months now!

John: I had to look up "Repulsion," but now I see the similarity! I need to watch that someday.

YP: We do indeed have guards.

Ellen: Believe it or not, no, I don't have a tripod. I'm a hand-held kind of guy!

Ms Moon: LOL! That is a very reasonable question. Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night for one reason or another and I sit in the living room for ten minutes or so. I just look out at the garden and enjoy the silence for a bit before going back to bed. I like a dark, quiet house!

Sharon: Thanks! I'm normally not that into black & white but that's my fave too.

Red: It's fun to try to photograph something that, at first glance, seems unphotographable. I like the challenge!

Jenny-O: Even lesser cameras are capable of a lot. You just lose the ability to have more control over the image, so you're less likely to be able to get exactly what you want. The better the camera, the more control you have. But sometimes it's fun to just take the shot and roll with whatever happens!

E: Thanks for the tax clarification. (Everyone else, this relates to a discussion on a blog post of hers.) As I remember, grocery receipts in Florida used to include a tiny symbol next to taxable items. Sometimes they were food items deemed non-nutritional, and sometimes non-food items. If you didn't know to look for that symbol it wouldn't be clear what was being taxed. I don't know if Aldi uses the symbol or not, but I believe it's state law that stores have to show what's taxed and what isn't. I could be wrong about that.

Sarah: Do another online course! A refresher is never a bad idea. Yes, the weather is MUCH improved!