Firstly a preamble about the heat followed by a very quick discussion about the purpose of this blog. Firstly let’s get the weather out of the way with, which is slightly related:
In 1976 it was hot and we had a drought. The ground cracked, rivers, lakes and reservoirs dried up. Essentially the Summer, Autumn and Winter of 1975 were exceptionally dry, the Spring of 1976 followed the same pattern. June and July of 1976 had 15 days consecutively of temperatures exceeding 30c. There was a national emergency by August, water was in short supply; standpipes in the streets, using bath water to flush toilets in an effort to save water and the government decided that finally they would appoint a ‘Minister for Drought’. The very next day it rained, it rained more or less for two months and he was renamed by the press as the ‘Minister of Rain’. I loved every bit of that long, hot summer of ‘76. I can vividly remember sitting outside at midnight with my dad and hearing the rain coming towards us, closely followed by that delicious smell that you only get after such a long dry period. Only a day before my friends and I had performed a ‘Rain Dance’, now we were dancing in the rain. Fast Forward to 2019 and it’s hot again, for a couple of days at least.
When I was 16 I had a Sports Moped, a 50cc engine propelled it at 45mph (if you were lucky), sometimes you could hit 50mph (if you rode it over a cliff edge or slipstreamed a lorry!). I never, ever looked at the weather forecast. I would be on that Yamaha FS1-E, colloquially known as a ‘Fizzy” come rain or shine and even ice or snow. I travelled to work on it, I used it every single weekend to see my friends who after yet another move with my family meant they now lived 50 miles away. Now I look at the weather forecast. Freezing conditions, rain and extreme heat are not an option for getting the BMW 1200 GSA out of the garage. This is my main gripe with getting older, we loose that carefree spirit albeit one that saw absolutely no danger in anything we did. Why am I telling you all this?
Well, it means that I’m confined to short trips into Bath, I fear that any readers of this blog are likely to be getting bored. The thing with blogs, photography related ones in the main, is that unless you’re reviewing photography gear or slagging off social media then there’s little interest. You can discuss technique, I’m fairly certain that the readership of this blog already understand the photography basics. I’ve covered all that in any case. In my archives blog posts that touch on focussing, exposure, different lenses and fairly mild rants about Social Media all exist. Usually they are the most read. I’ve also written about Wedding Photography, Family Shoots and my Holidays.
I knew this from the start which is why I decided to write it loosely based on my journeys with the motorcycle. Go somewhere, write about it and show some images. I wouldn’t run out of ideas and it would combine two things that I really enjoy. Time and often the weather seem stacked against me. So why continue to write it? If all I want to do is show photos from Bath I could simply post them on Instagram. I carry on, for now, because writing is therapeutic, almost as much as the process of making photographs. There are images that I don’t want to share elsewhere, sometimes there’s a point of view to express. I’ve often interwoven memories, as I have in this post, that would never get a mention otherwise. More importantly the Leica Biker Blog documents another journey apart from those on my motorcycle. It’s a journey into the frustrating, practically impossible world of Street Photography. I moan and groan, but oh how sweet it is when you capture what it was you set out to achieve on that given day. That’s so very rare and it may not make for a particularly ‘popular’ photo, but to me it’s priceless, immensely satisfying. I also want to share the beauty of photography, how I believe that it transcends popularity, it’s so much more than that to the photographer, or at least it should be. Anyway, if nothing else see this blog as a progress report.
What this blog does need is some structure. I start with an idea, sit down to type and it turns into something completely different. What may have a bearing is that it’s always with a large glass of Rioja, currently playing in the background is “Won’t Get Fooled Again’ by The Who, previous to that was Led Zeppelin ‘Going To California’. Next up is ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ by Pink Floyd. I get lost in it all and head off into all kinds of tangents. Perhaps I should loose the wine and the music! This particular post was intended to be about Black & White versus Colour.
I’ve managed a paragraph. Well we all know that it’s a matter of preference, purely subjective and so it’s hardly worth mentioning. All of these photos were taken a few days ago. Some I like in colour, others I prefer presented in Black & White. They’re all ‘contrasty’ so most work either way. What difference does it make? There are those who won’t take anything seriously unless it’s presented in Mono. I used to quote ‘The only true colours in photography are Black & White’, and now I’ve matured I’m attracted to colour. I still love Black & White by the way. A friend (Lin Zee) once said to me ‘ If it’s a crap shot and doesn’t work, convert it to Mono’, that may be a little over the top, but I get what he meant and it made me laugh which I believe was his intention! In the end we chose what pleases us aesthetically and what presents the scene in the best way. I often see on various platforms a photographer ask “What do you all think, B & W or Colour?” with accompanying versions of the same shot. It’s a pointless exercise.
Let’s take a look at a few more photos from a steamy hot Bath this week before we finish. I have to admit that there was quite a bit of Sam Abell’s “Compose and Wait’ advice, mainly because I was so bloody hot walking around, we already saw earlier the guy on his bike riding through this scene;
The same again when I leant against a wall in the shade and simply watched the people walking by. All I had to do was shift up and down a few feet to get a different scene;
The good news is that you won’t be seeing much of this over the coming month or so. The children have broken up from school. Tomorrow we’ll take them and the dogs to the beach for the day. In a week or so we’re heading for six nights in Rome. We’ll be based near to Frascati, so around seven miles or so outside of Rome itself. We’re staying in what was a Cardinals home, fresco ceilings, mature gardens and all that jazz, it even has a pool. The plan is to get up early each day, get a train into Rome, pick our spots to visit and leave before things really heat up to the comfort of our Hotel/Cardinals Villa up in the hills. I’ve been to Rome before so know how busy it gets, also I’m well aware that children get tired trudging around cities. They can receive some culture in the mornings and then play all afternoon by the pool. That’s the plan at least, I’ll of course write it up and hopefully document the holiday with photographs as I have previously. Rome ought to be a great opportunity for some Street Photography, hopefully I get some in, I imagine though that I’ll be watching Louis constantly to see what it is he’s breaking that has a sign reading ‘Do Not Touch’. I’ll leave you with a photo I took of Amélie (wearing the hat) and her friends when school broke up for the summer holidays this week. Pure joy, those halcyon days, I remember the feeling so well. Cue Alice Cooper with ‘Schools Out’ and a top up of that Rioja, lord knows why my glass keeps emptying!
As always my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read this blog.
All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with Summicron 35mm Lens fitted.
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