Printing No2.

This one from 2010 – Nikon F4 on T-Max 400 and probably developed in D76 if my memory serves me well.

I have a darkroom log book somewhere in all my stuff, just haven’t come across it yet, I know I packed it because it has a lot of information about film, paper, developers etc; so rather useful and should have this image info in it.

Another for the printer, although I will probably make a conventional darkroom print as well and then make a decision which gets on the wall.

I am still working my way through computer files, but have about 3500 negatives/E6 slides which need cataloguing and either scanning or printing in the darkroom – or both.

Also reading this book, it was one I should have got when it was available from the bookshops in 2010, a copy from Amazon would now cost me £118. new and £80. used: that will teach me !
Our library in Driffield (yes we still have one) has found a copy through the Bibliographic department, so have got it on extended loan for a small administrative fee. They are so helpful and nothing seems too much trouble for them.

An Arabian Utopia: The Western Discovery of Oman: by Alastair Hamilton. (Click book for Amazon link)

From Amazon:
Even though Oman had always been familiar to travellers sailing between Europe and India or Persia, it was its coast alone that was known. Greeks and Romans had charted it, medieval merchants traded on it, and in the early sixteenth century the Portuguese conquered its main towns, yet the interior of Oman was all but entirely unknown and would remain so until the early nineteenth century. Only after the ejection of the Portuguese in 1650 and an independent Oman had built an empire of its own, stretching round the Indian Ocean from India to Zanzibar, did Muscat, the capital, start to be visited by western powers eager to obtain commercial concessions and political influence. In the nineteenth century, for the first time, a very few, mainly English, explorers ventured inland and embarked on the true discovery of Oman. But even that was sporadic. As long as there was a powerful ruler, the travellers were protected, but by the late nineteenth century the rulers in Muscat had lost control over the interior and it was not until well into the twentieth century that explorers such as Wilfred Thesiger could investigate the south and that the oil companies could begin to chart the centre and the west. Oman was the last Arab country to be fully explored by western travellers and this book examines and discusses the ways in which the emergent knowledge of Oman was propagated in the West, from the earliest times to 1970, by explorers, missionaries, diplomats, artists, geologists and naturalists, and by those scholars who gradually uncovered the manuscripts and antiquities that allowed them to piece together the history of the area.

A tree on the move.

An Onodrim or ‘Tree-Host’ ?

Things have changed. Some of us are still true Ents, and lively enough in our fashion, but many are growing sleepy, going tree-ish, as you might say. Most of the trees are just trees, of course; but many are half awake. Some are quite wide awake, and a few are, well, ah, well getting Entish. That is going on all the time. (Treebeard)

I think I was about 17 when I first read this book and have enjoyed reading it on many occasions since: liked the film series, not so much the several wireless versions that have been produced over the years. But the books remain the best way of enjoying the adventures of ‘Middle-earth’ and Hobbits.



Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien.

Click book cover for link:
More information on books.

Reading: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera.

Product DetailsThe Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera.
(Click the book for a link)
Two quotes from the book:

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”

“Children, Never look Back!” and this meant that we must never allow the future to be weighed down by memory. for children have no past, and that is the whole secret of the magical innocence of their smiles.”

George Orwell gave a similar warning in his novel ‘1984’ the only thing he got wrong was the date !

“And when memory failed and written records were falsified—when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested…….”

 

WHY THE CROW LOOKED UP AT THE TREE.

A bit of unabashed advertising: I must take this opportunity and introduce my wife’s E.Book.
If you have children who like reading or being read to and enjoy animal adventures, then I am sure they would enjoy this book.  If interested then click on the book cover for an Amazon link.

Three young animals meet after a very bad storm, in an ancient oak tree. A Siamese, a crow and squirrel. They become friends, until one of them with a sibling is taken to a new home by people who have never had cats before. The crow hearing the confused cries of his friends follows the car, thinking to rescue the Siamese kittens. At the journey’s end there is a stray tomcat lurking in a nearby hedge and nearly captures the crow. The stray is adopted by the humans and named Scarecrow.
Prior to this an older squirrel Twigleaf, fell into the river and got swept away, not far from the oak, which is his home.
There is open warfare between the Siamese kittens – Aqua and Tangsun her brother and the ginger tom, who misses his real family, recently returned from abroad. He had gone out within a few days and got lost in the storm, unable to smell his way back. The kittens new owners, cannot cope with the animosity, secretly preferring the tom, punish the Siamese. They become ill with parasites Scarecrow had picked up while he was a stray. Eventually Scarecrow and the kittens call a truce, the tom finds his old family and the Siamese escape, having all sorts of adventures manage to return to their mothers place just before a spring snow storm.

But You Did Not Come Back: A Memoir – Marceline Loridan-Ivens.

A very moving  memoir of a young Holocaust survivor:

But You Did Not Come Back: A Memoir by Marceline Loridan-Ivens.A relatively short book of 112 pages, but very moving & what hit me the most was the comment:

    “……….Surviving makes other people’s tears unbearable. You might drown in them “

P.s. I might add that this was one of those books I read from beginning to end over one day – after the first few pages, I just could not put it down.

Nikon F4 with the AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G.

 

My Nikon F4 with the AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G.
Made with the D800 and 55mm f2.8 micro Ai-s Nikkor, so opposite ends of the same reasoning.

Out of curiosity I wanted to see how well (if at all) my F4 worked with the 35mm Af-s f1.4G: I can confirm that the F4 lives up to its reputation of being able to take any lens Nikon has ever made.
The lens performs very well with one caveat; no f stop ring meant the only modes I can use are: Program high, program & shutter priority. So the down side was hyper-focal focusing was not an option (overcome by focusing about a 1/3 of the way in to the image) happy days. In shutter priority I could select for aperture by turning the speed control knob and as I quite often use the camera in manual it was not a problem.
The AF focusing was decisive and fast so no worries there, in actual fact it probably means that batteries will last a lot longer. Although in all the years I have had the camera, I have never needed to replace the AA or rechargeable type in the field.
This means that I might just talk myself into buying the  AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G. The 50mm f1.8 AF that I am using at the moment, has become very imprecise when focusing (age and a lot of use!) also I have the 55mm Micro Ai-s for the manual cameras.
As a matter of interest; why the f1.8 & not the f1.4 – the answer is exactly the same as with the previous 50mm AF lens; price and diminishing returns….. Looking at both lenses, the f1.8 is sharper over most of the range I use and at less cost, so at the price I could afford to do exactly what I am now considering; if I wear it out – get a new one.

If anyone is interested in the two books the camera is sitting on; they are from the Folio Society, see below from their site.

The Icelandic Sagas book image from Folio Society.The Icelandic Sagas
Magnus Magnusson (ed.)
Illustrated by Simon Noyes
Punctuated by a series of eerie illustrations by Simon Noyes, these great Nordic stories of mythology & exploration are chosen and prefaced by Magnus Magnusson.

Remembrance of William Robertson Davies – 28, August 1913 – 2, December 1995.

The Deptford Trilogy.The Deptford Trilogy – Robertson Davies

Fifth Business.
The Manticore.
World of Wonders.

From the first page of the first book in the trilogy:

My lifelong involvement with Mrs. Dempster began at 8 o’clock p.m. on the 27th of December, 1908, at which time I was ten years and seven months old.
…………I had a boy’s sense of when a snowball was coming, and I knew Percy. I was sure that he would try to land one last, insulting snowball between my shoulders before I ducked into our house. I stepped briskly – not running, but not dawdling – in front of the Dempsters just as Percy threw, and the snowball hit Mrs. Dempster on the back of the head. She gave a cry and, clinging to her husband, slipped to the ground; he might have caught her if he had not turned at once to see who had thrown the snowball.

The consequences of this simple act of throwing a snowball, had a profound effect on the lives of several of the books characters. Culminating in the disclosure of a secret which has twisted its way through all three books; especially as the snowball had enclosed a hidden stone.

William Robertson Davies:
A playwright, critic, journalist, and professor who died on this day in 1995 aged 82;  having received during his lifetime honorary degrees from 26 American, Canadian, and British universities.

“Be sure you choose what you believe and know why you believe it, because if you don’t choose your beliefs, you may be certain that some belief, and probably not a very credible one, will choose you.” ~ Robertson Davies.

“Money, it is often said, does not bring happiness; it must be added, however, that it makes it possible to support unhappiness with exemplary fortitude.” ~ Robertson Davies.

 

Seasons Greetings.

I wish everyone seasons greetings and especially – A Happy New Year – thank you all for visiting.

I am now going to take my usual twice yearly departure from the world: avoid all contact with news, computers and work (never a complete success, but one can hope   🙂   ) see you in 2015 !

Remember ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’ ? (some of you must be old enough……) I remember watching it in the cinema and thinking how far in the future that date was.

It has now long gone and here we are approaching 2015, how the world has changed; I am not sure I can honestly say for the good. We have all this new technology, but that has given us such things as ‘rolling news’ when disaster became entertainment (don’t even think about the video game approach when reporting war) it has trivialised death.

So, once in a while I escape and reset my equilibrium; it helps me view the world with less pessimism  (a pessimist is only an optimist with experience) so hope for me yet.

On a brighter note – with luck WordPress will have stopped all these changes that have bedevilled us and we will have a change free year (I see four-legged pink things flying by and it’s not the Guinness!) we can but hope.

I think I will take my copy of 2001 with me on the plane and wonder, what will happen when we eventually find a real TMA.1. that should put the cat among the pigeons…… 

Considerations on Representative Government.

Considerations on Representative Government. by John Stuart Mill .

P.S. this book can be got quite legally for free (the wonders of the internet ) see link below:  if  by chance you are interested.

http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/jsmill/considerations.pdf

Maybe this should be compulsory reading for certain members of society !!

On page 200 he says………

“Until mankind in general are of opinion with Plato that the proper person to be entrusted with power is the person most unwilling to accept it.”

Referring to this paragraph from Plato, Republic:

The good are not willing to rule either for the sake of money or of honour. They do not wish to collect pay openly for their service of rule and be styled hirelings nor to take it by stealth from their office and be called thieves, nor yet for the sake of honour, for they are not covetous of honour. So there must be imposed some compulsion and penalty to constrain them to rule if they are to consent to hold office. That is perhaps why to seek office oneself and not await compulsion is thought disgraceful. But the chief penalty is to be governed by someone worse if a man will not himself hold office and rule. It is from fear of this, as it appears to me, that the better sort hold office when they do, and then they go to it not in the expectation of enjoyment nor as to a good thing, but as to a necessary evil and because they are unable to turn it over to better men than themselves or to their like. For we may venture to say that, if there should be a city of good men only, immunity from office-holding would be as eagerly contended for as office is now.

No country has a monopoly on truth no matter how big they are.

Iain M Banks 1954 – 2013.

All reality is a game. Physics at its most fundamental, the very fabric of our universe, results directly from the interaction of certain fairly simple rules, and chance; the same description may be applied to the best, most elegant and both intellectually and aesthetically satisfying games. By being unknowable, by resulting from events which, at the sub-atomic level, cannot be fully predicted, the future remains malleable, and retains the possibility of change, the hope of coming to prevail; victory, to use an unfashionable word.

In this, the future is a game; time is one of its rules.

The Player of Games: Iain M Banks 1954 – 2013.

Philip Glass & Naguib Mahfouz.

Listening to some Philip Glass while reading Naguib Mahfouz’s  trilogy of colonial Egypt – The Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street. The books take you through the history of Cairo at the start of the 20th century, using the trials and tribulations experienced by three generations of the same family.

wiki/Cairo_Trilogy

One can see why he was given the 1988 Nobel Prize for literature.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

“It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.”  Douglas Adams.

I have just been re-reading – Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a “trilogy” of five books published between 1979 and 1992,

I first heard about this series in 1978 when the BBC announced the start of a new science fiction comedy on the wireless (radio for those of less advanced years 🙂 ) and was instantly hooked on the rather madcap humour tinged with some quite cutting edge science.

The story revolves around the adventures of our heroes after the earth has been destroyed by Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, during the construction of an intergalactic highway. Along with the ‘Guide’ an electronic guidebook of the Milky Way galaxy that is being edited and updated by Ford Prefect.

Do not watch the film…..! Dreadful & the TV series was not much better: read the books and/or listen to the radio series. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The 20,000 Year History of American Indians.

In the Hands of the Great Spirit: The 20,000 Year History of American Indians.

By Jake Page.

(Link to Amazon)

A fascinating incite into the history of the Indian tribes of the Americas.

For a people who have had all of life’s follies and injustices thrown at them; it is incredible that they are still here.

I do find it a little disturbing, that very little is said about the decimation of these people since their first contact with Europeans.

Jake Page has managed to write a book that  includes historical documents, archaeological artefacts and the Indians’ own oral legends, without making it heavy going for the average reader. This is not to say that he has over simplified what is a very complex subject, but that his narrative makes one feel the need to read the next page.

Books on Rock Art in Oman.

Two new books I am reading at the moment – both on Rock Art.

The Rock Art of Arabia Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, the Emirates and Yemen

By Muhammed Abdul Nayeem.

This one came from India at R2000.00 (Good price thanks Page, he got a friend to bring it back for me)

Introduction to Rock Art Research, Second Edition.

By David S. Whitley. – thank you for the link Freyja.

I knew that if I kept looking,  eventually I would find some.

The Grand Design: New Answers to the Ultimate Questions of Life.

The Grand Design: New Answers to the Ultimate Questions of Life.
By Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.
ISBN-13: 978-0593058299.

It turns out that the answer to ‘Life the Universe and Everything” is not 42 after all…. See The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts by Douglas Adams.
Ho… there I am thinking I had cracked it when along comes M – Theory. Which it is hoped could unite the two currently incompatible theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity.

If M – Theory allows for 10500 possible universes, why couldn’t I have found myself in one where Guinness is free……!

This is not ‘A brief history of Time’ one needed to probably read that a couple of times (well I did anyway) to understand it(?). It is quite light reading for a subject that presents recent discoveries that help explain the expansion in the universe, with the reintroduction of the cosmic constant and the unknown repulsive force (dark matter).
It also introduces the universe in the context of 11 dimensions and suggests the quantum possibility of many universes, each with their own fundamental rules of nature.

Arabia and the Arabs: by R G Hoyland.

Arabia and the Arabs: From the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam.

Robert G. Hoyland  ISBN: 0415195357.

An interesting insight into the Arabian Peninsula, from prehistory to the coming of Islam. Even with the limitations imposed by the lack of direct archaeological evidence (not because there is none – rather the reluctance until very recently of some areas allowing archaeological research to be carried out) The book is very readable and is enhanced by numerous maps, figures and plates.  

Way Beyond Monochrome.

“Way Beyond Monochrome Edition 2”   ISBN: 9780240816258  by Ralph Lambrecht and Chris Woodhouse –  Advanced Techniques for Traditional Black & White photography. This book has 560 pages and over 1000 illustrations, it provides all the important requirements of the craft of photography (it even has a bit on digital!).

This is not a beginner’s book: but for those requiring in depth information about the use of traditional materials used in the production of film based images, it is probably one of the best available.

Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu By Bernard B. Fall.

Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu.

By Bernard B. Fall. ISBN: 978-0306811579

The battle at Dien Bien Phu marked a historic turning point in France’s occupation of Indochina and offers a premonition of the United States future military defeat in the same area. By the end of the 56-day siege, a Viet Minh army had destroyed a large French force which eventually led to France withdrawing from Southeast Asia.

This book is a very detailed but easily read account of the lead in, siege and eventual defeat of the French army. It has some very moving accounts of the heroism not to mention horror that the defenders went through, along with an analysis of the political strategy adopted by France and the reluctance of both the United States and Britain to help militarily.

Travels in Oman (Arabia Past & Present) by Philip J Ward.

I have been re-reading:

Travels in Oman (Arabia Past & Present) by Philip J Ward.

Travels in Oman : On the Track of the Early Explorers: Philip Ward
Oleander Press (3 Nov 1986).

This is a very good book for anyone with a passing interest in the history of Oman, as it has many references to papers written by past explorers ( mainly the 19th early 20th century)

Colonel S B Miles on his Wadi Dayqah expedition in 1884 is fascinating because he entered the wadi from the ‘Devils Gap’ approach in Wadi Tayeen and paints a very vivid picture of the topography around him.

I first managed to retrace his steps in the early 90’s using an old ordinance survey map produced some time in 1966. They were not very detailed and it took me three expeditions until I found the correct approach as described. I have since been back a number of times and it is still the most dramatic approach into the wadi – far better than the Quriyat entrance.

The Master Photographer’s Toning Book.

Occasionally a photography book comes on to the market that becomes a ‘must have’ and this is one of them.

The Master Photographer’s Toning Book: by Tim Rudman.

Unfortunately for the buyer it proved so popular that it has sold out and the odd copy that does become available can reach the dizzy price of $1000. And no, I did not add an extra zero by mistake.

Fortunately Tim has decided to reprint the book himself at a far more affordable price. So if it is maybe of interest then visit the link below, or just go and look at his photography – excellent.

http://timrudman.com/content/toning-book-reprint

Freya Stark.

Freya Stark – Passionate Nomad by Jane Fletcher Geniesse.

 

Freya Stark – now she was a lady we do not see much of these days, of Polish/German English descent. Made Dame of the British Empire in 1972.

To quote The New York Times –

Dame Freya’s books about the Middle East and nearby countries were called lucid, spontaneous and elegant and were lauded for imparting an inspired sense of both history and people. The consensus of reviewers was that she wrote with spirit, authority and humour and that she was a consummate traveller because of her fearlessness, candour, charm, idealism and streak of naïveté.

And to quote her –

“One can only really travel if one lets oneself go and takes what every place brings without trying to turn it into a healthy private pattern of one’s own and I suppose that is the difference between travel and tourism”   – Freya Stark