BAD light stopped play

The title, for the uninitiated, is a traditional cricketing announcement that heralds the onset of summer in England, when the rich thwack of willow on leather ought to be wakening the hibernating members of the MCC. It is frequently seen and heard along with its fellow spoilsport, Rain stopped play. In the USA, it seems, everybody gets excited by wardrobe malfunctions. In England umbrellas and light-meters are the nearest we get to a state of agitation.

This morning I was looking for a bird for you. Any bird. Yesterday was  punk day. How do I follow that? What came after punk? Well clearly I can’t remember. Probably Spandau Belly or whatever they were called. Would it have been Blondie? I liked Blondie. I remember Parallel Lines. So much better than all that John Denver stuff that kept blaring out on the wireless. I suppose if you live in West Virginia its good music but that begs the question….. does anybody actually live there? I have no idea. I suppose I could look it up in Wikipedia. What if it says “West Virginia: population zero”? Take me home or beam me up? Who cares? Anyway, I digress and not for the first time.

I wanted a bird and sadly only one turned up. So the choice was take it or leave it. I took it. When I was taking the shots I thought it was going rather well. I even remembered to turn the camera + lens into portrait format. Pretty good, eh?  Anyway, I went home and looked at the photos and thought that frankly they looked decidedly ordinary. The background was very dark and the bird looked washed out. This was a job for Photoshop Man, I thought. Even after playing around with Lanius schach in CS6 for a while it still looked like a grunge shot. Some sort of escaped HDR effort. I tried another but they all looked much the same. I can only conclude that bad light was the offender. Not so much bad light stopped play, more bad light ruined shrike. The way the England cricket team played in Australia this winter I suspect a shrike would have done better. Played 5, lost 5. Well, they were admirably consistent. On a Facebook discussion we discussed who should be brought back to play, dead or alive. I voted for Brian Close. Others wanted Derek Underwood back. Getting caught on a sticky facing Deadly Derek was not nice. I suppose after all this cricket talk most people will have either gone off in despair or slumped into a catatonic state. But for those of you still with me (what brave folk you are), here is the successor to punk, grunge.

Lanius schach2


31 thoughts on “BAD light stopped play

  1. Pretty, I think myself and not remotely grunge. I loved the way the branch matches his/her colouring. Or did you do that?

    I hated cricket. My father was obsessed with it. I really must post a very boring picture of him standing in the local with Sir Geoff.

    I hated John Denver too. Ah but the lovely Debbie and Parallel Lines. Oh yes. In my third year at university, I rented a room with a somewhat posh family in Toxteth, (our other neighbours were Fritz Speigel and Roger Mcgough’s ex). Anyway the 11-year-old son had PL, which we borrowed and played endlessly. I can probably still sing virtually every word to every song which is unprecedented for me.

    I like SB too. Well, I didn’t know I did until a work colleague talked us all into going to listen to them in Bradford. Just. Wow! Tony Hadley was unbeliveable. Fantastic.

    I was always pleased when Bad light stopped play. Meant we could watch Blue Peter.

    • I did not tamper with the branch in any shape or form. It is a Frangipani tree and the shrike spends much of its life there. Much as Mrs. Ha does in Lane Crawford. Cricket is a grand game when played well but too often degenerates into a test of endurance rather than anything else. Not impressed by photo with Sir Geoffrey. Sir Frederick maybe but not Boycs. Blue Peter or TMS. Tough call. Get down Shep.

  2. Criminy you are a tough man to please, Andrew. It is refreshing when comparing to all the awful shots that are paraded out as masterpieces. That said, I like this one a lot more than you apparently. 🙂 I guess I am easier to please.
    If big coal continues to run amok over environmental rules, there may be indeed a population of zero in West Virgina. I refer to a very nasty chemical spill in a river last week that contaminated the water supply for thousands. Big Coal owns the state and little will result of importance to regulation. A few bruised knuckles and some minor fines and on they will go. I believe Wales is familiar with the problem, no?

    • Wales pretty much closed down the mining industry in the 60s Steve. Steel went in the 70s. That is why we left Wales. Dad worked at the pits as an engineer but could see the writing on the wall. So we left. Mum would go 23 miles over the border. No further. Coal led to many disasters but mainly underground. The worst was probably Aberfan. Tragic on every measure and well within my lifetime. A slag heap slipped and submerged a school. The images remain harrowing.

  3. I was introduced too late in life (30 years old) to tolerate Test Match Cricket. I’ll never forget the first day my Aussie husband took me to a Test Match, I had no reading material nothing to fill in the long hours. What a way to test a marriage at Test Cricket! I ended up walking around the MCG people watching.
    Right now, we are watching Australia vs England One Day match. England might win this one!
    There are in fact lovely, intelligent people living in West Virginia. Sadly, a small proportion of the population made “news” by declaring President Obama was not an American, born in Africa and, worse of the worst, a secret Muslim. Sigh.

    • Well of course England did NOT win the game, Caroline. Enough said. I am sure the people of WV are splendid folk but I have never been there. Are you suggesting they were wrong about Obama???? We’ll have to ask the NSA. I’m sure they will know. There is an excellent article today about how metadata recorded from calls is actually more intrusive of privacy than content. Sometimes I think the world has gone mad and that, of course, is why you have to have cricket. 5 days of glorious escapism except of course that England currently can’t see 5 days out and barely survive 3. In a good world Richie Benaud would be the Aussie PM and the government would consist entirely of cricketers. Just think of having the Chappell brothers in parliament alongside Lilian Thomson. Wonderful.

      • Oh dear, would that mean Shane Warne too? Wonderful Mr. Benaud should be PM, if for nothing else, the position comes with a driver. He crashed his antique sports car in October, may be time for him to permanently hang up the car keys.

  4. My goodness what a rant! Are you missing your storage compartment?
    I think the Shrike image is well worth the post. I might have liked a little more detail visible on its right wing, otherwise a lovely image. I quite like the more subtle contrast with the dark background.
    As for cricket. I prefer to play it than watch it. My last time playing was when I was 15 so you can tell how much fun that was.

    I liked the tea though.

    Didn’t John Denver come from Colorado? I have no idea who all those others were. St. Martin-in-the Fields were pretty good.

    • Indeed, Bruce. Its the only way. But honestly, I didn’t like the final finish. It sits somewhere between a smooth look and a strong detail look. Either works but this was neither fish nor fowl to me, although clearly closer to fowl.

  5. Never got into cricket – have a cousin who follows it religiously. Have a feeling he’s probably experiencing massive disappointment at the moment. As far as the bird goes – he’s a bit too tidy for grunge, isn’t he? Lovely colours.

  6. At least you got to see a bird, I have been layed up with the flu for the past week and I can just imagine all the fun things the local wildlife are up to with me not around.
    And speaking of punk… I saw Talking Heads, Richard Hell, Patti Smith, The Dead Boys, The Ramones and many others live at CBGB (and other places) in NYC many moons ago.

    • I hope you recover soon Phil. It is infuriating being ill and unable to get out. I adore Patti Smith. Her autobiography is on my kindle. I’m afraid I still go to see the classic acts – Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame was in HK recently and last year Slow Hand played – just brilliant.

      • Feeling a bit better today.
        I saw Jethro Tull on a double bill with Emerson Lake and Palmer quite some time ago.
        The one think I *did not* want to hear from Tull though was…”here’s a new song.”

      • Yes indeed Andrew. I duly connected at 5pm yesterday evening, and enjoyed the bird so much that I went back for seconds this afternoon! Its incredibly approachable and not at all worried about disturbance. Highly recommended – even if it is small brown and nondescript.

      • Mike, I may have to go to Shatin on Wednesday. If it is still around I will pop over and say hello. I have to go to Central tomorrow and Tuesday. Can’t someone find something in Sai Kung?

  7. Gee whiz, Andrew, Are you not getting a bit crabby in your youthful “All downhill from here?” And you are wanting every bird shot/shoot to be perfection? Well, It aint gonna happen. Yes, to be satisfied is to become complacent and those individuals with that attitude remain stagnant. However, none of that applies to you. You never post a “bad photograph.” Of course some are more eye catching than others but if one is a lover of nature and birds in general then all the photos are excellent. I happen to fall in that category of seeing the beauty of the bird. I don’t “pick the pic to pieces” or “pick the feathers” untill it looks like a plucked chicken.

    But you have the best equipment that money can buy. I struggle with an el cheapo lens and I’m not happy but I accept my limitations and every now and then I get a few decent shots of nature. Not good or excellent mind you- just decent/so-so stuff.

    Now I will give you my old humble opinion after the above lecture. That photo is a dang good one. Sure the background is gray but it “makes the photo” and I feel the contrast of the background with the colors of the stick/perch compliment the colors of the bird.

    I’d love to get into the Obama thing (he’s a disapppointment) but I’ve already put my fingers in mouth here and hope in the name of West Virginia 🙂 that I have not ticked you off. I am, after all a huge fan of yours.

    • You never tick me off Yvonne. I appreciate the scolding! I think being crabby makes me a better photographer. Maybe I go too far some times but I really can see flaws in this one.

      • Oh I’m so glad. Whew! 🙂 or Mew as in the gull. There is a European Mew gull that sometimes shows up on the US east Coast. I see also that the Mew gull can be seen in Hong Kong as well. Fifteen species of gulls in Hong Kong. That is impressive. Five hundred species plus- birds. That is quite impressive. Have you thought of doing a post about the wide variety of birds where you live. Post a pic of a bird in each category that you have photographed.

  8. Pete’s obsessed with cricket. He rabbits away about it, telling me what so and so is up to, rants and raves and then shrieks with boyish delight when someone scores whatever they score, is it a goal? a hole in one? Anyway, while this is going on, and the white noise of his cricket chatter is batting in the background, I’m miles away, lost in some reverie of my own…….
    P.S Nothing wrong with your photo today, so don’t go blaming the light.

  9. Don’t mention cricket, makes me cringe in shame, Andrew, for we’re rubbish at the mo. (‘ceptng the Women’s team) One foot up, one down, (the birdie not cricket wise.) lovely shot for me. xx

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