Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 17/10/2011

Punk’s Not Dead (just feeling a bit under the weather)

DV3E5594, originally uploaded by

Today’s image is one of the first using the new garden setup, and whilst I haven’ quiet got the framing right , it’s not bad for a first attempt. I’ve been asked on Flickr how I managed to achieve the apparent black background – in the words of the immortal (let’s hope not, let’s hope it’s more a case of inimitable) Paul Daniel, “It’s Magic” (well, you don’t think I was going to tell you all my secrets did you? Oh I have already… damn… I’ll have nothing left to teach on the course I’ll be developing in the new year (spotted one of my new year’s resolutions there Dear Reader?)). I have actually told you before how I managed to achieve such a background before, but I will – if you insist Dear Reader – repeat myself on this one occasion (Just the one? Ed.).

I think we’re all pretty comfortable with the blurring of the background, or Depth of Focus (as it should be correctly termed in this case), using wide apertures (f8 in this case), distance to the subject (around 18ft, I don’t know what that is in New Money) and focal length of the lens (yup, you guessed it, my beloved 600mm with the 2x and 1.5x extenders fitted (not you can see why my framing was little off)). The dark background, whilst relying this technique to achieve the blur is more reliant on ISO and shutter speed to achieve the dark hue. The branch, strapped across the top of the bird feeder, so it was the only place for the birds to queue up on, was well illuminated, whilst the Holly Bush (for that’s what it is) was further away and not as well lit. If I had wanted the more realistic green colour of the bush to show through at the aperture and shutter settings I was using, I could have boosted the ISO to increase the sensitivity of the sensor and thereby further expose the background. I didn’t want to do this… so I didn’t.

I feel I must redress some of the dissenters from yesterday’s posting (it’s their age, they have trouble buttoning up their cardies 😉 )… with the exception of Queens of the Stone Age (who I’ll openly declare as noise… especially as one of their album’s called “Songs for the Deaf”)… the rest of the bands are hardly the noise merchants I used to listen to when I were but a nipper. In fact, it made me realise I hadn’t included ANY of the punk era bands that have so heavily influenced my musical tastes and ideologies, so here are some of those favourite bands, in no particular order:

The Damned
The Clash
The Stranglers
Sex Pistols

At the time, (1976-77) these bands were outraging the UK public with their wild music (or noise for some of you) and antics. I recently listened to Anarchy In The UK, one of the Pistols more controversial songs, and really.. it’s just rock ‘n’ roll speeded up a bit. Not really that revolutionary after all, especially when you consider that Iggy Pop, the Stooges and the Velvet Underground had been playing this more avant garde music in the US already. However, they didn’t have the Punk attitude – the “have a go”, “there aren’t any rules or barriers to stop us” ethos that is still prevalent in the music industry in a small way but which needs a resurgence to break down the corporate nature that music (iTunes, or Hades, as I prefer to call it) has become. Time to “Smash It Up”*

*Not literally of course, that’s already been done but with no real intent than to pilfer, time to get rid of Britain’s-Got-Strictly-(half)Baked-Off-Talentless-Factor-X and have bands playing the pubs and clubs to earn their dues.


  1. Well if nowt else…one will get a laugh ‘ere!

    In 1978 I was working with ‘The Jam’ and Rik Buckler the drummer helping him to customise his drum kit that I had had built for him as one of our endorsees. See My Flickr page for a little piccy.

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