Looking towards the East and West Wastes, south of Godney, on the Somerset Levels; 29 May 2014.

I thought that they are just names on a map but, as I was pulled over in the entrance to this track and sucking down hot coffee in the rain, a farmer appeared and told me that the people around here call the flatlands out there the Wastes, the East and West Wastes.  And perhaps grateful for someone to talk to in this desolate spot on this wet and early morning, he started telling me about the big cats that roam this area – and another day I made an abortive attempt to find them.

There are several converging lines in this picture – the rough track (known as a drove hereabouts), the water-filled ditch (known as a rhyne), the horizon, and the pale wedges of pasture on either side of the rhyne and drove.  All of these linear features converge on that large and isolated tree, the nearest tree to us, which is the focal point in the composition.  For quite some time now, I have seen that rounded, dark mass not as a tree but as an explosion, as a shell or bomb landing maybe.  But how that interpretation fits in with this most tranquil of rural landscapes I cannot explain.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 18mm; 800 ISO;  Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared Low Contrast 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. Meanderer says:

    Love it, Adrian – particularly the point of focus of that tree. The eyes are utterly drawn towards it.


  2. krikitarts says:

    I can see why the local farmers call it that. There were similar landscapes in northern Wisconsin that were called The Barrens. Still, as you found, places like this have their own special features and charm that are there for those who take the time to really look and appreciate them.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      These places are no doubt agriculturally productive one way or another too but, yes, they always have special features and charm. I felt the same years ago about the vast emptinesses of Arabia – ha!, as you and I know, no natural scene is without its character, interests and attractions.


  3. paula graham says:

    Yes, so typical of the levels…a landscape I love cause it reminds me of the Netherlands of my childhood….You done it proud, my friend.


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