A Few Hours in Stafford

We’re out on the narrowboat this week and had a day at the Marina in Aston on Tuesday. So we took a trip to Stafford for the day to pick up a few things. I couldn’t miss the opportunity of a few shots.

Seeing Clearly
Seeing Clearly

We were up this way in February, and visited Stafford and Newcastle Under Lyme. A writer from the Stoke Sentinel noticed a couple of shots on my Flickr Stream and asked permission to use them in an article for the online version of the paper.

Inhaling on the Bench
Inhaling on the Bench

Irene wandered the shops whilst I wandered the streets. Stafford is a nice little town, and there seems to be quite a few independent shops amongst the usual ones you see on every High Street. There is a small indoor Shopping Area, with an Indoor Market, but most of the people outside of there seeming to be in the main street with not much activity photography wise outside of that. Saying that though I got the following 2 shots beside the church. This first shot was in the churchyard.

Chillin' in the Churchyard
Chillin’ in the Churchyard

In this second shot the girl is leaning on the wall having a smoke break. I don’t know what she was having a break from as the shop she returned to was a Hairdressers, Tattooist and Piercers.

Smoke Break
Smoke Break

There were a couple of people playing music in the street. One trio was very good, but there was a young guy with an electric guitar, which these fellows were watching who may need a little practice and get a new amp. He was good but on some songs he hit a few bum notes, which were very noticeable, and sadly that is what sticks with you, instead of the good bits. So not a criticism, but advice, as more people will then stay and listen and put money in the hat.

Watching the Entertainment
Watching the Entertainment

There are plenty of benches but they seem to be set in certain areas of the main street and not throughout. So in some areas I could just sit and watch, whilst in others I felt a little conspicuous and a lot of people were looking at me which doesn’t work well for “Street” as you want to be as inconspicuous as possible to shoot people acting naturally.

You looking at my dog
You looking at my dog

Oblivious
Oblivious

The reason I entitled this one oblivious is that the man reading the paper is oblivious to the other three. Also three of the men seem oblivious to the man second from left, who doesn’t seem well at all.

I notice a lot of people who seem quite infirm or are having some sort of difficulty, whether walking or breathing. They never seem to complain, just seeming to suffer in silence. They are normally older people and seem to accept that it is part of life as you get older, and learn to live with it. Whereas youngsters seem to complain about the slightest little ailment. Whilst I was sitting on one of the benches a man came and sat next to me. You could see he was having difficulty breathing. When he got his breath back we began chatting and he told me he had been in hospital for 10 weeks and was awaiting an operation on his arteries and that should put him right. Due to the time he had spent in hospital he had lost so much muscle and lack of exercise was now making all movement very hard and taking it out of him. He wasn’t complaining though, just telling the facts. I hope he gets his operation soon as he was suffering.

The Butlers Bell
The Butlers Bell

I’ve noticed over the last few years how pubs and coffee houses in the UK, have spread to outside areas, or having doors and windows that open completely, giving the feeling of eating or drinking alfresco and taking on the continental feel. This increases their floor space allowing them to seat more people and advertise their business as people pass.

No Chocolate for the Dog
No Chocolate for the Dog

Pink Pumps at Costa
Pink Pumps at Costa

I think as well as the above reasons, the implementation of the smoking ban means that smokers can once again enjoy their drink whilst still being able to smoke. I wonder how long it will be before it is decided that those areas that are part of eating establishments have to enforce the law in outside areas.

Coffee Lovers
Coffee Lovers

Whatever happens it gives us Street Shooters much more opportunities with people sitting outside, rather than hidden away, where the owners don’t allow you to take photographs. Apart from through the window from a public place of course.

Reflecting
Reflecting at Starbucks

Greggs have got in on the act with seating areas outside a lot of their branches. A lot of people though like to grab the take away and eat on the move or find somewhere pleasant to sit and watch the world go by in their lunch hour.

Executive Greggs
Executive Greggs

The next guy made me smile by the way he was holding the cup, as if he realised I was taking the shot so took the opportunity to advertise Greggs, hence the title. Otherwise I think it would have been “Wake up and smell the coffee”

The Greggs Advertiser
The Greggs Advertiser

A final smile at this shot. I was taking a shot of the two guys talking about the flowers one of them had for sale in the centre of Stafford. The woman on the left wandered into the shot, and couldn’t get out quick enough, apologising profusely.

Sorry!
Sorry!

This post has been the most infuriating and challenging I have done. Nothing to do with the content, but having to use a laptop away from home. The Wi-Fi connection is not the best, and every time you save or refresh, a new tab opens telling you that you are connected. I’ve had to use the laptop to process the shots from RAW and then write this post. It infuriates me as it has a mind of its own, and when you tilt the screen slightly the tones of the shot look totally different. That along with the sun bouncing off the screen, Grrr!

When adding images to the post, it doesn’t happen, so after 5 minutes you add it again and both show up. Add to this, when you are typing you look back at the screen, and the last few words have been inserted in the middle of sentences a few paragraphs above.

I will leave the next post until I get home. We have to think positive, and I am positively looking forward to writing the next post on my PC at home. Before then though, I have a new and exciting adventure to look forward to in early August, and will share that with you in some new posts on my return to my beloved PC.

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2 thoughts on “A Few Hours in Stafford

  1. Julián del Nogal

    Wayne you got a fine photographical work in your visit to Stafford, congrats… let me do some comments about my favourites: Good eyes contact in “smoke break”, great expression captured in “you are looking at my dog”, great mood in “coffe lovers”…. great background in “reflecting in Starbucks” …love glasses girl’ expression and look.
    Best wishes,
    Julián

  2. Congratulations on being featured in the paper. That’s quite an accomplishment, and one you definitely deserve. I’ve been a fan of your work for some time now and I’m sure I’ll be seeing your work in other places, too.

    On to the photography. “You looking at my dog” made me laugh out loud. The man has a kind of sneering look on his face. Definitely an appropriate title. “Oblivious” was my favorite in the post. It was a fantastic shot and shows how people go around in the own little bubble, not noticing people who are right next to them. I’m not to keen on al fresco dining, or those types of windows. Mainly because I hate bees. I have actually flapped my arms, and run a few feet away, squeaking because a bee flew by me. I love “The Greggs Advertiser”. He really does seem to be advertising for the shop. Another one that made me laugh. Great post, Wayne!

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