Mute Swans about to land on flooded Tealham Moor, south of Wedmore; 7 Feb 2014.

Much against good sense, I ventured down onto the Levels recently, to my habitual haunts on Tealham and Tadham Moors.  Not daring to take my usual cross-country route because of the many places where even small amounts of flooding might cut it, I drove down the main A38 road south from Bristol to Highbridge, and then went eastwards into the flatlands along another, relatively large road.  All was well on these main roads, but as soon as I got onto the smaller lanes, problems with water appeared.

Tealham and Tadham were mostly submerged, with just just the roads sticking up above the waters and little traffic about, but the floods in this more northerly part of the Levels are nothing like those further south, south of the Polden Hills, where whole villages are being overwhelmed, main roads have been cut for weeks, cutting edge pumping technology has been brought in from Holland, and the Army has been called in to help the local people.

The upper image is starting to look rather unphotographic, more like a painting maybe, and I always feel good when this happens.  But I think that there may be too much detail in the lowest quarter or so of the lower image – it might have been better to reduce this detail and thus place more emphasis on the swans, which are after all the subject here.  Thoughts?

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO.  The image below was produced via Silver Efex Pro 2’s Antique Plate 1 preset.


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. Sonali Dalal says:

    oh i love the 2nd one! Like a painting ,and that is what i always prefer!


  2. krikitarts says:

    First image: The sombre sky works very well without increasing the brightness level across the entire image, but I’d like to see you zoom way in and increase the brightness in the lighter feathers of the individual birds. And you could crop some of the sky at the top, maybe 1/6.
    Second image: For my taste, much too heavy on the vignette. Same comment on the excess sky, which doesn’t really add to the overall effect. I’d leave the dark grasses in the foreground in both images.
    The pastels in the first image speak to me more eloquently, but i prefer the birds in the second, with their wings all visible.
    Good stuff!


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Hi Gary – thanks for your good thoughts – some of which I agree with, and some not. And as you’ll have seen, I’ve posted a new version of the colour image this morning.

      I don’t think I’d like to increase the brightness of the feathers in the colour shot, I think it would look overdone. But I’m with you with the excess sky thing, and the new version addresses that.

      Yes, I think the vignette is overdone in the mono shot, especially on the sides of the frame – lightening just those sides might remedy that.

      I think the dark grasses in the foreground are far less intrusive in the mono shot; I’ve removed them from the new version of the colour shot. Adrian


  3. Meanderer says:

    I love the soft pastel colours in the first image. The colour of the water and the birds tie-in which is pleasing to the eye. Perhaps taking out the dark strip of grass at the bottom would be better – I’m not sure.

    Have a wonderful day today, Adrian. I hope it is full of joy, fun, and laughter 🙂


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Hi, thanks for your appreciation – and your kind wishes too! 🙂

      I obtained the pastel colours by not adjusting the right hand half of the levels and curves chart for maximum contrast – the image would have been decidedly brighter and sharper, and this gave totally the wrong effect.

      Yes, the dark grass at the bottom – I was wondering about that when I produced the shot, and Henrietta Richer’s comment made up my mind – I’m about to post another, hopefully improved, version.

      I hope you’re fine! And … a week tomorrow … and make sure you work on your leaving speech … “unaccustomed as I am to speaking in private” … “goodbye, and I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!” … 🙂


  4. The lower gives more attention to the swans, I think. Both have their pluses, but I’m patria to the lower shot. Another country heard from. 🙂


  5. Hi, thanks for your long reply to my last comment. I enjoy the painterly palette of the first image, but taking out the thick line of grasses at the bottom makes a better composition.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Hello – and thanks for your thoughts! I did wonder about that dark line of grasses at the bottom of the colour shot, but finally decided to retain it – I’m going to add such a version to the post, for comparison – good thinking! A 🙂


  6. bananabatman says:

    I love them Adrian, particularly the lower image. I love the way that the landscape recedes into the mist. The foreground detail is perfect For me, this gives the swans some context. I guess that you could loose some of the sky, but that would probably mean removing the vignette, so could be counter productive. I think you could loose some sky from the top image.

    Just my opinion, and what do I know! 🙂 Dave.


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