Swell

Not much from me here today.

I’m definitely hoping to get back to work in the lab tomorrow, but my knee is still a bit of a mess. The bandages came off today (as instructed by the surgeon), but what’s underneath isn’t very pretty. My whole leg is quite swollen and rather sore, so I’ve been really taking it easy. I’ve been dozing, watching the Winter Olympics, and trying to find the image that Thomas Heaton took at 4:52 in this video so that I can share it here.

I failed on that one, but at least the Olympics and the dozing went well.

Once again, I’m left wondering how much of taking such amazing photos is down to skill (lots), how much is down to patience and hard work (lots), and how much is down to having the time and money to do it and the best equipment at hand (probably lots as well).

And so once again, I feel equally motivated and overwhelmed.

Anyway, back to reality and it seems likely that with a very busy week ahead, I’m not going to have the luxury of being able to drive a car, so Uber must step up.

In my bag

Well, not actually my bag, but that of Canadian photographer, vlogger and all-round nice guy Peter McKinnon. Last night, he released a video just ahead of a(nother) trip abroad showing us exactly what equipment he was taking with him:

I have to say that I’m a bit jealous. He has a lot of lovely kit. But then, he is a professional photographer. I’m not. I’m a professional microbiologist and yes, I have some great lab equipment. But there are times (many of them) when I’d much rather be travelling all over the world with my drone and some very, very expensive cameras and lenses than poking TB in the laboratory.

And, while we’re on this envy trip, can I just point out Peter’s irritatingly amazing abilities in photo and video editing? “Hashtag goals”.

I was busy writing this post when suddenly, as if to complete the trifecta of covetousness, he casually dropped this tweet this morning:

[6000 mutters several (or more) swear words under his breath]

Given his talent and that place, we’re likely to get some very special images in the near future. Something I’m really looking forward to.

It’s still sickening though.

Missed out

Much fanfare around the revealing of the  Dronestagram Top 20 Drone Photos Of 2017:

It has become a must-attend event for this period of the year. The Dronestagram drone imaging platform unveils today its top 20 of the most beautiful and amazing, even stunning drons [sic] photos published on the site during 2017.

Admission: I’d not even heard of Dronestagram before this. Sorry.

I’ve checked and it appears that I have missed out once again on being given any sort of award here. Which, given that I only heard of their existence last night, is hardly surprising really.

What follows is going to sound a bit like sour grapes, but it’s really not. It’s just that… I’m not very impressed with the Top 20. I’m not saying that I could do any better. I’m just saying that as a Top 20 (or Top 22 if you follow the link through), they’re actually a bit disappointing. Is this really the crème de la crème of the drone photography world?

There’s nothing specifically wrong with them. They’re all very nice. But as an example of the best you can do with a drone? Meh. There seems to be a lack of inventiveness; a lot of point and shoot. This one, for example:

just shows that merely having an interesting subject (which this undoubtedly is) isn’t enough to make a great photograph.

And I don’t think I’m being too harsh when I say that this image, of a woman harvesting water lilies in a pond in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam is the only one that shows any real creativity for me:

Drones give the opportunity for people to get a completely different perspective on an otherwise ordinary scene. But this opportunity won’t last forever. Familiarity breeds contempt. With more and more (and more) drones around, there is a need to do something more to make your drone photography special. These sort of allegedly prestigious awards should be leading this kind of thinking, but I’m sorry to say that I don’t see any evidence of that happening here.

OK, the polar bear one is pretty good too.

I have high hopes of my mediocre efforts being recognised in next year’s awards. I guess I’ll have to sort out a Dronestagram account to get them to notice me. Don’t watch this space.

BestNine

My #2017BestNine Instagram pictures include:

Four drone shots, three beagle shots, one drone and beagle shot, one of that storm and one of that sunset.

Go here to follow me on Instagram (although presumably, this means that I’m not going to post anything remarkable for the rest of the year (at least)) and go here to find your #2017bestnine.

Landscapes

If I take photos of local mountains and stuff, a lot of the time, they are actually landsCapes, because of where I live: Cape Town. So, landsCapes… Capes.

Geddit?

Fortuitously, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the recently announced Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017 awards in the UK, “showcasing Britain’s eclectic landscapes”, and being reported about in The Guardian.

Now obviously, all the images that they’ve given us in the article are really good, they’re unlikely to lob an Owen Crompton in there or anything, so having looked at the brief, I’ve chosen a couple of my favourites which fit it nicely to share here. Click through on the link above if you want to see the rest. It’s not rocket science, folks.

First up, George Robertson’s The Cauldron, the industrial landscape of Grangemouth in Stirlingshire. It won the “Urban” category:

And then, about 150km south of there, across the border into civilisation (although you might not think it by comparing the images), Ken Rennie’s The Raven. (That being the name of the boat in the photograph.)

Quite glorious, both. And a reminder that while South Africa and other countries may have the natural features, the outstanding beauty and the drama on an altogether more impressive scale, the UK can still have its moments.