Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Baubles, baronetcies and MBEs

click photo to enlarge
Today the UK newspapers carry the annual new year list of those who have received "honours" (medals, knighthoods and the like) for their contributions to national life. A few years ago the government tinkered with this system of awards to make it more "inclusive". In fact, they were reacting to the increasing ridicule and anger that the awards - the establishment's slap on its own back, ranked according to class and social position - have received in recent years, and so now ensure that a few more of the lesser accolades go to poorer people. I am one of those who despair that this antiquated nonsense is allowed to continue.

Consequently, today I pay homage to all those upstanding people who, when offered or nominated for an "honour" had the strength of character to tell the government where to put its bauble. A list of those who refused the offer can be found on Wikipedia. Note the pathetic measures the establishment has introduced to try to ensure that people's rejection of these trinkets does not come to light. Anyone having a look at the list should note, in particular, the number of refusals made by the painter L.S. Lowry! He did well to hold-out against the establishment's repeated temptations.

This balloon full of hot air drifting aimlessly across the sky seemed an appropriate accompaniment to today's reflection. I've taken only a couple of shots of a balloon before, and found it helpful that it was flying low so that I could include elements on the ground. There's not a lot you can do, photographically speaking, with a balloon high above you, but fortunately there was a fairly well-placed cloud that I could use to make a composition.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 150mm (300mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On