Black and White Sunday, after before

Paula’s black and white Sunday challenge is an opportunity to play with photos and find out what works in black and white, and what doesn’t. Paula’s image of a leaf has bold shapes and strong contrasts so it’s a perfect example, mine has good shapes but perhaps less contrasts, what do you think?

And here’s before,

I liked this shop because of the simple, striking display and also my initial was on the door handle!

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Layers of colour

Wandering through the narrow streets of the Altrarno last week, we came across one of many Florentine paper and book binding shops in the city. My friend makes leather notebooks and Coptic stitch journals and I even help sometimes, and of course I have a passion for stationery, as many of you also do. The shop was fabulous! Chatting to the young woman, we learnt that the shop had been there for more than thirty years, started by her grandfather, but the family tradition went back for around a hundred years. Every surface was piled with pre-stitched signatures of paper, and she was binding legal documents, as they’ve probably been done for century’s. Realising how interested we were, she stopped what she was doing and showed us her marbling process instead.
Layers of colours were poured, splashed, and flicked into a tray with mysterious liquids, we watched, entranced.

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We wanted to buy the sheet we watched her making, sadly it wouldn’t be dry for some time.
This is one she made earlier.

Here she is in her beautiful shop, needless to say we bought some nice things from her. If ever you’re in Florence, pay her a visit at Via Sant’Agostino, near the Ponte Santa Trinita, she’s such a charming lady.

This post is for Ben Huberman’s weekly photo challenge, Layered.

Santa Maria Novella . . .

railway station in Florence gets its name from the church just around the corner from it, and it’s where I arrived for a week in that lovely city. I took this early evening photo from my room on the fourth floor of the Rosso 23, looking at the Piazza Santa Maria Novella.

I’ll post more in the next few weeks when I’ve caught up a bit!

Celsus Ceiling

I’m joining Paula again this week, for her black and white day Sunday challenge. It has the theme of ‘Ceiling’, and I was tempted to post somewhere local, but then came across this photo taken at the library of Celsus, Ephesus, Turkey.

As it’s more than 2000 years old, perhaps it’s Paula’s oldest ceiling this week, we’ll see!

Camera dabbling

This time last year I was about to go on holiday to Barcelona. My Canon dslr and accoutrements had been weighing heavily for some time and I found I was leaving it at home more and more. Should I take it, or make do with my phone and a tiny compact?
Of course I started browsing for possibilities online and then went to town. The camera shop had a very good offer on an Olympus with two lenses, a camera that I knew took good photos, because a certain blogging friend has one. It was love at first sight and I wasn’t going home without it. With no time to get used to it, I left it on auto settings, with a bit of fun playing with the special effects on offer and the press of a button.
Since then life has been chaotic one way or the other, I still haven’t learnt how to use it and I’m going away soon. Never mind!
Today I was inspired by Sue, who creates stunning still life images and loves a bit of decay. So I gathered a few bits together and just tried a few of the automatic creative settings the camera has.
The first photo is just the normal auto setting, a bit dull?

Next a slideshow of various scene settings, a couple of which I like. If I hadn’t used the camera to get these effects, I might have tried some post processing, but that would be more time comsuming. What do you think, are both methods cheating? Is there an image that you like best?

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The Butterwalk

A row of former merchants houses and grade 1 listed buildings, the Butterwalk in Dartmouth has been standing since the early 17th century.

The structure features 11 eleven granite piers, originally 13. I’d guess the granite came from Dartmoor. There was some serious bomb damage in 1943, thankfully renovated a few years later.

It’s been ages since I’ve posted for the Weekly Photo Challenge!