Urban Side Streets/Urban Fragments

I never take a direct route when on foot, always take the long way home, never in a straight line and if possible using side streets and alleyways. I think of the side streets as veins and arteries of a city or town. Deliveries of supplies, the collection of waste, the part of the city not meant to be on public display. You get to see the more mundane side of buildings, air conditioning units, fire escapes, cables and vents. They are functional and uncared for, mundane and beautiful in their own way.

A sample of shots below, the full set is on the Flickr Stream.



Vacant lot


Helter Skelter


Industrial Expressionism

The best camera....

....is the one you have with you!

I can't recall which photographer said that, but never has it been more true. I use an Android smart phone, and over the last 12 months have tried pretty much all of popular the photo editing apps. At the moment I'm hooked on 'Magic Hour For Me'. I'm impressed just how much control it gives you overthe image; colour management, textures, borders and vingnetting (an almost infinite combination). However one of its main strengths is the ability to download users filters uploaded to the Magic Hour market place (all of which are free!!). As you can imagine you are limited somewhat by the resolution and quality of your phone, however, if like me you see photo opportunities everywhere and don't always have your camera, a quick shot can be transformed into something pretty cool and uploaded in seconds. Check out the Flickr group dedicated to the app.

New Photography Gallery 'The Mundane'

The new photography gallery 'The Mundane' will be home to my work covering the suburban landscape. Followers of my Flickr Stream will be familiar with the material covering suburban estates, gardens, side streets and alleyways.

I've also updated the content in 'The Beach' to include the more recent macro shell work.

As usual prints are available, simply follow the instructions when in the lightbox!

"Mundane Insane"

Mundane Insane by Nick Barkworth
Mundane Insane, a photo by Nick Barkworth on Flickr.
I'd been looking to expand my mundane suburbia collection of photographs and set off to wander some of the estates in North Shore. I do find myself drawn to the estates of the late 1960s early 1970s, and this group of houses in some ways epitomise that period. The low roofs and lack of real architectural feature (of the two centre and right), really scream for the inhabitants to do something to make them less uniform.

"Night falls"

Night falls by Nick Barkworth
Night falls, a photo by Nick Barkworth on Flickr.

The sun sets every night, but at this time of year it has moved on the horizon by about 30 degrees, which lets it drop across clear water.

My favourite sunsets have some cloud in them too, they really absorb and reflect such beautiful colours.

The side is in on this one and I'm standing bent over the sea wall trying not to get any of the fisherman in the shot!!!

Available as a print in the 'The Sky' gallery.

"The shelter"


The shelter by Nick Barkworth
The shelter, a photo by Nick Barkworth on Flickr.

I've shot shelters before but this one was in the winter and a particularly nasty day. The tide was in and an on shore gale made it very difficult to get any decent beach shots.

That said the fast moving clouds gave an ever changing sky which is always interesting.

This shelter sits on a slight rise which enables you to photograph it as if you are on your belly. Shooting upwards you get the nice clouds moving in off the Irish Sea.

Framing the shot I wanted to make sure I got the clouds but avoid some of the urban accessories ie lamp posts!

Once back at home I really wanted to pull that light off the roof of the shelter through the shot and also make sure the clouds retained their form and not disappear into the sky.

Edit : Now available as a print to order....please see Photography section in the 'Home before dark' gallery.

Come with me...

Come with me... by Nick Barkworth
Come with me..., a photo by Nick Barkworth on Flickr.
"Come with me..."

This shot is a cropped photograph of the shoreline where I live. Its a photo I've looked at a few times and struggled with the processing. Using the crop tool to mask areas often gives me a new perspective on a photograph, in this instance the horizon has been dropped!

"The ebb and the flow"

The ebb and the flow by Nick Barkworth
The ebb and the flow, a photo by Nick Barkworth on Flickr.
Taking advantage of what is around you and looking at it through a lens can give you a whole new perspective on your environment. What you find as mundane or routine others will view with great interest.

Living close to the beach for a while I did just that......took it for granted. In recent years I started shooting the sunsets, the coming and going of the tide and the people who were attracted to the beach. A scene which never stays the same from one day to the next and a constant source of inspiration.

That said the it is not without its difficulty in shooting. The sunshine reflected off the sand can be problematic.

In this shot I wanted to capture the sun and its reflection on the sand and water. Adding a couple of layers to calm down its glare and alter the tone of the sky I achieved this almost 'winter sun' feel.

"Enjoy Coca-Cola"

Enjoy Coca-Cola by Nick Barkworth
Enjoy Coca-Cola, a photo by Nick Barkworth on Flickr.

The Asian section of Animal Kingdom gave the Disney Imagineers the perfect opportunity to show off their skills by recreating an authentic Asian mash-up with influences from the far east and Indian sub continent. Details include weather beaten signs in Hindi, abandoned rick-saws, carts and bicycles. Walls have adverts for fake shops, bars and restaurants. This photograph was taken outside a drink vending spot. The weathered Coca-Cola sign and parked bicycle add to the general theme of being in a rural village in the Far East.

As such I wanted to again give the photograph an aged feel, which I did by building up the layers, changing the tones of the colours, adding noise and lens vignette, and finally desaturating the whole image. The effect pulls out the textures of the stone wall and cycle.

"We come at night"



We come at night by Nick Barkworth
We come at night, a photo by Nick Barkworth on Flickr.

Sometimes its not the detailed scenery which gives the best effect. This shot was taken at Space Mountain in Walt Disney World. Due to the coloured light in the tunnel I didn't need to do much, except adjust the curves to focus the brightness and enhance the silhouettes. The rest was a simple pseudo cross process layer.



"From the road"



From the road by Nick Barkworth
From the road, a photo by Nick Barkworth on Flickr.

The detailed scenery at Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World is second to none. In this photograph I wanted to get a retro feel, as if the photo had been taken out of a box of old photographs kept on top of a cupboard. Using layers I gradually built up the image, starting with curves, adding some lens vignette and compensating for the clarity of a digital image by sprinkling some noise too!




Duality by Nick Barkworth
Duality, a photo by Nick Barkworth on Flickr.

Explored on Flickr :-)

I'm going to rework the photo gallery on the blog. It needs a major overhaul! However I'm going to be away from my PC for a while. I'll be able to test out the SquareSpace Android app and see how I get on uploading photo's straight from the phone!!