black and white photography

for the love of ballet

For World Ballet Day today I thought I would share these photos that I took fifty years ago during rehearsal at the Royal Opera House, Covenant Garden. Happily the negatives are as pristine today as they were all those years ago when I took the film from my trusty Pentax Spotmatic SLR and headed for the dark room.

I posted the first photo in 2015 under the title Peeping Beauty.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weight(less) 2

weight iv

A second image of weightlessness from the archives.

weight viii

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weight(less)

weight vi

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Weight(less) from Ben has given me the perfect excuse to open up the archives once again and revisit a never-to-be-forgotten afternoon nearly fifty years ago shooting rehearsals at Covent Garden in London. You may remember my other archival visit in response to the Photo Challenge: Broken last May, which I cheekily entitled “Peeping Beauty”. As I wrote then, my negatives are as pristine today in their protective sleeves as they were all those years ago.

Although I love the convenience of modern day digital photography, I have to confess there is something magical about 35 mm film as I think back and remember waiting anxiously for those images to slowly appear in the dim orange light of the photographic dark room.

weight vii

I hope you’ll agree the image I have chosen has “the air of weightlessness” about it that Ben has asked us for.

One Four Challenge: Jan Wk 4 – Poll

London ivb   London iiib

London i   London ii

Once again this has been an enjoyable challenge from Robyn with lots of great entries from everyone.  Here is the original negative and, like the one I used for the November One Four Challenge, it has remained pristine in its protective sleeve over all these years.

London neg


Using Robyn’s challenge I have continued to explore the numerous possibilities that Photoshop Elements offers when creating an image, using layers, gradients, color combinations and various filters.  Unfortunately the results have clearly not always been appreciated or understood by one of our contributors who found my submissions to be pointless, and described them in his or her comments to me as “surreal”, “unrecognizable” and “garish.”  This individual feels that the essence of the challenge is to try “new post processing techniques and be brave enough to post them,” and not use “unrecogniseable post modern variations.”

Fortunately I am old enough not to be affected by such negative criticism.  However I am concerned that if someone who is just starting out with their blog, or is experimenting early on in their photography development, received such harsh criticism it might just make them want to give up.

The point of relating these thoughts is to remind all of us that the blogosphere should be a fun, enjoyable and safe place in which to express ourselves, and that any comments we choose to make to others should always be of a constructive rather than a destructive nature.

Now, having got that off my chest I thought you might enjoy some of the other images from the roll of film I shot that day at the Lord Mayor of London’s Parade. Here is the next shot of the carriage as it went by me showing a very young Prince Charles and Princess Anne on their way to Mansion House and I have also included some of the other images in a slide show after the poll.

Lord Mayor iv

Once again, thanks to Robyn for all that she does to make this so successful and congratulations everyone on all the great contributions this month.

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very gehry

Photography 101: Architecture – Study architectural forms, and also train your eye to look for shots that will translate well in black and white.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles designed by Frank Gehry

The Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles designed by Frank Gehry

The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, designed by Frank Gehry

The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, designed by Frank Gehry

Monochrome Madness Week 34

refraction iii

My submission to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness Week 34, with a little colorful modification, is the sparkling crystal chandelier from the Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction.  Visit Leanne’s blog to see all the other Monochrome Madness images in her wonderful gallery this week; you won’t be disappointed.

The Wave

Although I took this photo over forty years ago the memory of the moment is as fresh as if it were yesterday.  As to the title, a number of ideas came to mind, Heat Wave, Wavelength, Wave to the camera, but none was quite what I wanted. I chose Arpeggio to suggest all the different sounds coming from the wave crashing against the walkway in rapid succession.

Please visit Leanne Cole’s blog to see all of the great submissions to today’s Monochrome Madness Gallery.

Color v Monochrome: The Poll of the Century

All right, I admit it is perhaps a slight exaggeration but hopefully it caught your attention. Let me explain… and there will be a poll at the end.

My recent post Monochrome Enchantment was inspired by a superb exhibition at the Andrew Smith Gallery in Santa Fe of the works of Ansel Adams.  Landscape photography never looked more breathtaking and I came away in awe of the drama and beauty of Ansel Adams’s black and white view of the world and a greater understanding as to why he is considered one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century. Continue reading