MENDIP HILLS 40 – LANDSCAPES FOR A DEAD WIFE (MONO)

 

 

Occasional, dazzling sun as dark clouds stream overhead

Many years ago, and newly arrived from equatorial climes, my wife and I were on the Somerset coast, desperately seeking a hot lunch on a bitterly cold day in the middle of winter.  However, in that distinctly non-tourist season, nowhere could oblige us.  At long last, we were saved by the Blue Anchor Hotel, between Watchet and Minehead, which, at no notice, produced delicious hot food, almost more than we could eat in fact and – as if that were not enough – wonderful warm hospitality too.  Coastal erosion will soon cause that hotel to collapse into the sea, and this fact, combined with my memories of that far off winter day, has served to bring my wife very powerfully back to me.

And so to a sentimental journey, to a place nearer home where I used to walk with Juliet, my first wife, my now long dead first wife.  A journey to walk where we walked and – if only within myself – to talk where we talked.

But, when I got there, the Natural World had other ideas, with high winds, driving rain and dark clouds rolling in across this open, upland landscape – this landscape, on the top of Mendip Hills, that was the roof of the world in my childhood, sixty years ago.

And so to thoughts and memories – very many of them – and to a flask of hot coffee within the car’s warmth and shelter.  And to looking out at, and then photographing – through the car’s streaming windows – some of the frenetic and blasting natural energy that swirled around me.  Was I afraid of the raging elements?  No, because the Natural World in all its moods enthrals me – but having my valued camera gear saturated and ruined is quite another matter!  But I knew that, Julie, the daughter of a farmer, would have enjoyed the weather’s energy too; that’s how she was.

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Main road; early morning

Two things to mention.  First, these images (which will be presented in three posts) may be a little dark, but this really has no significance beyond my penchant for dark black and white, and the fact that it was a dark day.

But, second, this post’s stark title may come as something of a shock to some.  But, while not especially looking forward to it, I feel more or less at ease with death, not least I suppose because I know that it is an inevitable reality.  But I know too that some in our advanced and civilised societies avoid mentioning The Big D, that some regard allusions to it as being in poor taste, and that some even regard it as some sort of taboo subject.  And I suppose that I find it strange that with all the imagined realities and social constructs with which we fill our heads and in which we so ardently believe, that some of us remain averse to contemplating and discussing all Life’s single, solid, and only too real destination.

Anyway, these are photos of a stormy day, taken with Julie on my mind.

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Dead trees, rolling clouds, ghostly skyline

.If you would like to see enlarged versions of these pictures, click onto each one to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it: recommended.

Technique: all pictures were taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 camera and 55-200 Fujinon lens.  All were processed in Lightroom, and then converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.  On the edge of Priddy Mineries Nature Reserve, east of Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 20 Sept 2018.

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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.

18 Responses to MENDIP HILLS 40 – LANDSCAPES FOR A DEAD WIFE (MONO)

  1. Having seen the whole series now, I can tell you how touching it is. Thank you for your words and photographs, Adrian.

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  2. Helen Cherry says:

    I certainly got a shock Adrian. I haven’t posted for ages as you know ( just posted now ) or been on WordPress so when I saw your title I got a real shock. I didn’t know you had a 1st wife so I presumed your current wife had died. Relieved that this isn’t so !

    Loving the dark moodiness

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Helen, yes I’m fine thanks, and I’m glad you like the shots. Very good to hear from you again – and I think the camper van an excellent idea for getting our and about. I did a lot of that in a VW camper long ago, including a trip around Poland when it was still behind the Iron Curtain. Most people these days seem to use campers in camper parks when they can plug in to electricity etc, but finding a flat place out in the wilds was good, esp for being there at dawn – but I was younger then! A 🙂

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  3. bluebrightly says:

    The title is beautiful, and it’s going to be a series, right? I hope so. They’re wonderful images, full of feeling. I appreciate the narrative very much, and couldn’t help thinking that sometimes, when one’s expectations (as in, “I think I’ll go take a nice walk in the hills and reminisce”) are dashed, it is well worth paying attention to what’s going on instead, and investigating it. Which you did.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a wonderful post, Adrian. With a lot of ‘feeling’. Forgive me, but the first of the two things you mention, feel like irony to me. Your last words: ‘taken with Julie on my mind’, say it all. I truly believe that these shots would have been different, taken ‘without Julie on your mind’; even when they showed your penchant for dark black and white. You were in a certain mood and that mood was part of the moments and the framing-decisions that you captured… At least that what I think. About the 2nd thing you mentioned: I can rely to every word of it!.. Your post reminded me strongly of a post I did in 2013, when I went out early one morning in a very sad mood. https://harrienijland.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/tercui-prt16-dead-trees-on-the-horizon/ ( also the next; and previous one) I’m sure I would have taken different shots in a joyful mood. According to the ‘Likes’, you might not have seen these; or you just didn’t like them.. 🙂 Let’s have an other Duvel; Cheers my friend! Looking forward to the next 2 posts.

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Harrie, my friend, thank you first of all for such a long reply, I value your thoughts very much. And I think you’re right about the mood that I was in influencing my choice of framing, composition, etc. I was thinking about saying that but, finally, left the post as it is. And no, I don’t recall seeing those posts of your’s before, I don’t think I was following your blog in 2013. And yes, you were evidently sad too, and the excellent images show that well. Yes, let’s have another Duvel (I especially like the Citra version!!!) >>> it would be very good to sit down and have a few beers with you, my friend – I don’t suppose that will ever happen, but its a nice thought to contemplate! Thank you again, for your words and your understanding. Adrian 🙂

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  5. A most revealing and touching post.

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  6. Thank you, Adrian – this was tender and moving…(…I smile for you…)

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  7. A heartwarming tribute to Juliet. Beautifully captured. Beautifully said.
    “For life and death are one. Even as the river and the sea are one. “ Khalil Gibran
    XXXATPXXX
    💎❤️💎

    Liked by 1 person

  8. paula graham says:

    So moving and a marvellous tribute to your , now dead, wife. Yes, everyone squirms when you talk about death in this country..odd, it is the one certainty in life.

    Like

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