OUTLANDS 11 – ANOTHER VISIT TO THE OUTLANDS

 

 

The low valley opening out on my left

(click onto each image to open larger versions in separate windows – and click again to further enlarge each image – recommended)

Last December, I tore myself away from my usual haunts and visited somewhere new, not far northeast of Bristol – and started a new category on this blog – Outlands – for places I’d never visited before.  The rationale and context of that day out can be found here, and some of the resulting images are here: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 89 and 10.

On 12 April, I visited this area once more.  It was an early start, because of Bristol’s traffic and, more so, because the area I was headed for lies beside one of the main arteries between the city and the hurtling, London-bound,  M4 motorway.  It was really a case of leaving early and getting there in reasonable traffic conditions – and then diving down tiny country lanes before the main rush hour got itself into mechanised mayhem.  Anyway I did it, disappeared down a rabbit hole as it were, and left my car beside the common around which cluster the houses of West Littleton, a little Cotswold village.  Then, aiming for somewhere I hadn’t yet explored, there was a long walk up a byway, a kind of unmade, public track that is certainly ok for smaller vehicles.  Along this track, a shallow valley opened up on my left, I took some photographs, and met two people – a farmer and a jogger. And after the walk out, there was the long walk back again, into the teeth of a gusting northwesterly and then, feeling like some self-indulgent reward after all this slog – I was tempted by a wonderful hot English breakfast delivered by a flustered waitress of the old school, after which, a little later, the day ran on into being tempted by some wonderful Belgian beer – all of which did my waistline not the slightest bit of good at all!  But, who cares?  It was all most enjoyable.

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(certainly an image to click onto and enlarge) 

Down in the valley, there was a farmer on a quad bike, who was out early, looking for lambs that had been born in the night.  He was towing a trailer with two of these lambs and their mothers, who were being taken back to the farm for further care.  He drove up the slope towards me, and we chatted.  Its usually good talking with farmers, usually interesting – and this one had worked down on the Somerset Levels, where he’d found it hard to understand what the locals were saying – haha, wonderful, I can just imagine that!

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And then, although the quad bike was modern, the even more modern of this world appeared –  the jogger, pounding along the byway between the Cotswold dry stone walls that are such a feature of this landscape.  And oil seed rape, blazing yellow in the background.

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And so to the grub, which was not at all bad after a long, chilly walk.  The sausages (which can often be the blander than bland Achilles Heel of breakfasts) were good as was the bacon, and there was a good wedge of tasty Cheddar cheese too.  The tomato sauce was a bit dayglo but then I like colour, but the plate was a little on the cool side – hot food needs a hot plate!  A pot of Assam tea, sans teabags!, was good.

So, two final thoughts.  First, West Littleton is set in this little area of unprettified, working countryside, which is about two miles square, four square miles.  It is bounded on all sides by fast, direct roads, so that, it seems, only locals use the narrower and more wandering country lanes within the square.  Thus there is little traffic on these little roads, which with me is a decided plus, as is the fact that the little lanes have plenty of places where a small car can be pulled off to the side.  So that I may visit and photograph this “little bit of England” some more.

But I shy away from photographing the picturesque and, in many of their parts, the Cotswold Hills are decidedly picturesque – what to do?  Go with the flow???  Just picture “beautiful” (and simple) England?  Probably.  And I have a feeling there might be a lot of black and white images.

Technique: this was my first trial with both the X-T1 and X-T2 cameras, each with its own lens – the telezoom on the X-T2 and the wide angle zoom on the X-T1, so that there was no need to change lenses.  Walking around with two cameras around my neck didn’t really feel right, and (as usual) the telezoom captured the vast majority of the images – its simply how I “see” things.  But the X-T1 and its zoom is light, and carrying it in my rucksack worked well – wide angle shots don’t usually move around too quickly, so there was time to get it out and into action!  And processing?  Well, as is usual now, Lightroom – and Silver Efex Pro 2 for the black and white of course.

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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.

10 Responses to OUTLANDS 11 – ANOTHER VISIT TO THE OUTLANDS

  1. krikitarts says:

    I freely admit to have hiked with up to five cameras, but with most of them in a backpack. I don’t really miss that, and am happy to rely on an advance choice of one or two, depending on if serious rain is predicted. But, as I said, I’ve been there many times, and I really appreciate the wider options. Meanwhile, it’s good (for me) to see you out of the city and into the countryside again and setting your sights on more idyllic subjects. I hope to be able to do the same very soon. And, by the way, one of these years I’m going to invite myself to join you in one of these oh-so-inviting breakfasts!

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Well, Gary, I can only admire the enthusiasm and sheer stamina that had you lugging 5 cameras around – that is truly astonishing. These little Fujifilm cameras are not as good in all respects as the hulking, full-frame Nikons, but they are substantially more compact and light, and they do most things excellently.

      Have my city rush hour shots been getting to you adversely? Haha!, a change of scene – and down to the gritty, grimy city I shall again surely go – but I may well go to the Outlands too, its not far from my home, and I seem to have found a nice interesting, quiet area.

      By all means, my friend – it would be a delight to see you here – and breakfastSSS should figure prominently in your itinerary! A 🙂

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  2. bluebrightly says:

    The first shot may be picturesque, but you made it plenty interesting by shooting when the light was doing good things. As for the breakfast…wow. Serious.

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Serious breakfasts are one of Life’s Great Things but – although I realise that this may horrify your deeply – this is nothing like as serious as some breakfasts can get – those gargantuan feasts are, unfortunately, not common, but when you meet one it is a moment of true awe.

      Yes, the light helped, it was a day of clouds scudding along on a cold breeze. 🙂

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      • bluebrightly says:

        I don’t think I’d be too disturbed, as long as I’m not expected to polish one of those feasts off. After you’ve been stalking the wild clouds along the byways, I s’pose you need serious sustenance, yes?

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        • Adrian Lewis says:

          Oh I’m definitely right in there when it comes to needing serious sustenance, large amounts of it in fact – or as we put it here, and as school dinner ladies (servers) are famous for dolling out to school kids for their lunches, “gert great dollops” of it!!!

          If I can summon up the energy, I’m off down into the city very early tomorrow, and an Americano coffee and oodles of toasted cheese sandwich in Harts Bakery, as soon as I reach the city, will be a wonderful second breakfast.

          But I thought that the US was famous for vast portions of food in cafes and restaurants?????

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  3. Beautiful landscape shots!

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  4. paula graham says:

    Interesting post with lovely shots of a little known area and yes the Cotswold are too pretty!! Walking about with two cameras..yes..ready for anything that comes your way!! Why not, you never know.

    Like

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