Weekly Photo Challenge: I’d Rather Be…

The latest WordPress weekly Photo Challenge is a particularly interesting – and difficult – one. We are asked to post an image illustrating what we would rather be doing.

It seems to me that one’s starting point is crucial here. It all rather depends on what I’m doing at the time the question is posed. I can think of lots of things I might (have to) be doing where watching paint dry would be a more acceptable alternative. Equally, there are a few things I would rather be doing than just about anything else.

Neither of these categories, however, really lend themselves to being pictured – and certainly not in the public domain.

The truth is, I would probably rather be taking photographs than anything else: this is, after all, my principal interest. And if I was being more specific, it would be taking photographs of interesting doors.

So this:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rather

Blast from the past

This week’s topic for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge is signs, and more specifically store signs. So what could be more appropriate than this example, which still hangs  outside what used to be called the ‘Phot-Office’ (geddit?) in Montrol-Sénard.

If nothing else, it should remind us all to be grateful for the invention of digital cameras.

Shop sign


There aren’t many photographs I take that don’t go unedited – especially those that make their way onto this blog – and almost all of those begin with cropping (and straightening where necessary, of course). I agree with Cee very strongly on the importance of cropping: as she writes, it can make a mediocre photo good and a good one great.

(NB: The images in this post have only been cropped, with no other post-processing. In this way, it’s possible to isolate the impact of cropping alone from the overall editing process.)

Eliminating Distractions

This first image was taken from the observation lift that provides panoramic views over Sarlat. The roofs are interesting and colourful but (a) you don’t need to see all of them to get the picture, so to speak and (b) although it’s a medieval town that doesn’t mean that they don’t have access to modern technology. Like satellite dishes; lots of satellite dishes. The cropped version removes all but one (partially obscured) dish – which could be eliminated altogether with further editing, as well as cars, streetlights etc.

As another example of removing distractions, here’s a picture of a nice foxglove, which doesn’t really need the roofline behind it.

Cropping for Composition

Cropping can also be helpful in improving the composition of an image, as in this photograph of the distinctive seedpods of the ‘monnaie du pape’ (‘Honesty’) plant, which in the cropped version are placed on a ‘Rule-of-thirds’ intersection.

Finding a new image

Sometimes, close cropping can reveal a ‘new’ image nested inside the original that isn’t immediately obvious – as in this view from Oradour-sur-Glane.

Taking more than one picture

And finally, as per Cee’s advice always to take more than one photograph, here are two shots of a set of decanters and glasses from a museum in Sarlat. The second is not a crop of the first, but just a close-up: same subject, completely different image.


Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge: Cropping Tips

Venice, Schmenice, it’s all about me!

It takes a lot to move me to incandescent rage, but my encounters with the phenomenon of ‘selfie sticks’ when in Venice last year prompted me to this rant. And I have to say that time has proved to be no emollient.

As far as I can see, there is only one possible valid use for a selfie stick, and since science has already invented colonoscopes for that kind of thing, even that’s debatable.

But, if you want something in response to Cee’s latest Black & White challenge, here’s a photograph I took on Burano last October.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

From last winter, trees reflected in Tranquility Base’s very own étang.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

We’ve all seen signs like this (from the door of a church in Venice). But who knew that those early Nokia mobile phones could shoot video?


Surreal sandstone

I memorably spent my 60th birthday (last year) in Petra, thereby realising a lifelong ambition. I have all the standard touristy shots to prove it, and the overall experience more than lived up to my hopes and expectations.

However, while wandering around the ruins over the two days we spent there, I was especially struck by some of the rock formations. So, rather than bore you with the usual postcard pics, here are some of the almost surreal images I saw in the sandstone.