Thursday, June 29, 2017

My daily create fantasy band

When I suggested the fantasy band idea for the daily create I was thinking I would create some sort of photo manipulated image, but unfortunately today I was a bit short of time, and also finding suitably licensed images of musicians is not too easy. So, a blog post instead.

Once or twice I have seen bands live who had sounded very good in recordings, but turned out to be
fairly terrible when I actually heard them play live. So, I have a rule for my fantasy band - I will only include people who I have seen playing. I'm not going to require them to still be active or even alive - after all this is only a fantasy. But I do require them to be talented: they have to make up for my terrible keyboard playing.

 So to start. My singer needs to have charm and warmth, to be the personality that fronts the band as well as having a great voice. The late Cab Callaway is my choice for this role, and perhaps that means I'm putting together a jazz band. Given that, I'm going to include someone who I first saw playing in the Halt Bar when he was a teenager, but who has gone on to become a legend. On saxophone my fantasy band will have Tommy Smith. On bass, not actually a jazz musician but someone who could certainly play all the most complicated bass parts, the late Chris Squire of Yes, and it's good to keep a strong rhythm section together so on drums I would have Bill Bruford, though it is a concert I saw him doing at Strathclyde University with his band Earthworks that wins him a place in my fantasy jazz band. I feel that the late Alan Holdsworth would have been he right guitarist for this band, but sadly I never got the chance to see him live, so he is not allowed. Instead, my favourite guitarist, Andy Latimer of Camel gets the final place in this fantasy line-up.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Daily Create 1995

I like to photograph wildlife, and when I do I naturally try not to disturb the animals that I'm photographing. I'm not great wildlife photographer, and I'm unlikely to ever sell a photograph or win a prize, but that doesn't stop me trying to make the best photographs I can. A few years ago I went on a one day photography course organised by the RSPB, and the professional wildlife photographer running the course gave a few hints about selling photographs. He told us that the animals in photographs should always look perfect, and we shouldn't bother photographing a bird that is moulting, or which has a couple of bent feathers. He also told us that if we wish to sell photographs we should never have any visible human artefacts within the photograph, so no pictures birds on feeders, or even on a mowed lawn. But perhaps most important of all, he told us that most of the time for the great shots the professional photographers will use trained animals.

I disagree with all that. When I take a photograph I aim to documents nature, and also nature's interactions with humans. The wildlife around me is living in a very human defined environment and it would be silly to pretend otherwise, so I see no harm in photographing birds on a feeder, or having houses in the background.

And so to this daily create, where we were asked to tell a story about some pictures of a tree frog sitting on a rhinoceros beetle. Before I had any ideas, I went and read Mariana Funes' blog post about the photos,  which got me looking at the photos properly. I'm not an expert on amphibians, however a bit of research has told me that Indonesian tree frogs do not have opposable thumbs, so there I think there is something very wrong about the frog in these images. I am a rather more expert on arthropods, and I'm fairly sure the beetle is either dead or anaesthetised - the positions of it's feet do not look right. My guess is that both animals were not in a healthy state, and are supported by threads, and very probably glue.

So the story for the daily create. Sadly the success of the occasional genuine amazing animal photograph has led to other people faking them for a wee bit of Internet fame, and this regrettably involves cruelty to animals. Like Mariana I do not wish to further share these photographs.

So my photograph for today, I often share photographs of puffins or drawings I have based on them. Here is a photograph of humans and puffins together. The puffins know they are safe, because the only humans that ever visit them on their remote island are there to admire the puffins, and the humans are enjoying seeing beautiful wildlife in its natural environment, and being careful not to go so close that they alarm the puffins.