SOMERSET LEVELS 356 – IT FELT GOOD TO BE ALIVE

 

 

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I’d driven down to the end of the little, single track road – Allermoor Drove – that runs out westwards onto Aller Moor, on the Somerset Levels.  It wasn’t actually the end of the drove as that continues onwards as a rough track, but my days of driving saloon cars off-road are long past and, indeed, far away, on another continent.  But, anyway, I’d turned the car around ready for departure, and was downing hot, sweet coffee while demolishing a thick, brown, bitter marmalade sandwich.

And beside me was a water-filled ditch – a rhyne – dense with summer’s lush growth.  And from that ditch was coming the loud, reeling song of a Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus if you want to know.  That small bird had flown – probably mainly by night – all the way from sub-Saharan Africa to breed in this little, wet ditch in Somerset.  Probably, it had bred in this ditch last year too and, if it survives, it will be here next year to do so again.  The Germans have a word for this, it is ortstreuer, this almost fanatical attachment to one small breeding site on a vast continent.

And as I stood there listening to that loud, reeling song, the bird shot up into the air several times in his fierce, hormone-driven, territorial frenzy, before dropping back once more into the safety of the ditch’s lush green depths.  And of course I know Sedge Warblers from before – those I encountered seeing out the northern winters in Africa’s warm, dense, insect ridden lushnesses – and those long before that, 50 years and more ago now, when I first started looking at birds, here in Somerset.

And as I stood there listening to that loud and lusty song, it felt good to be there with that bird, it felt good in fact to be alive, and I found myself talking to him – “Yes, come on, do it, go for it, go for it!!!”.  And that felt good too.  But then I often do such things when anything like in contact with the natural world.

Beside the ditch there was a field gate, with a long strand of orange bailer twine hanging from it, being blown about by the breeze, and a carpet of white wildflowers stretching out beyond.   And as I photographed that gate, the first, uncertain splashes of rain were cool on the back of my neck, and suddenly they were a downpour.

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I ran for the car, hunched over the camera, trying to shield it from the streaming water.  And so into the car, slamming the door, but the ******* electric window was down and I couldn’t find the car keys to switch the ignition on to raise it again – a plague on electric windows!!!  The rain poured into the car.  I cursed savagely and pulled my backpack over the two cameras on the seat beside me, trying to keep them dry.  The keys appeared, the window closed, I cursed some more, and the downpour drummed on the car.  And as I looked out through the streaming windscreen, the view before me – the trees, the sky, the little road – came alive and dissolved into a living, moving mass, and picking up the X-T2, I photographed that too.
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And, amongst all of that Nature, raw and real, it continued to feel good to be alive.
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Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens; 100 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Aller Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 14 June 2019.

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About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for many types of subject, 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.

24 Responses to SOMERSET LEVELS 356 – IT FELT GOOD TO BE ALIVE

  1. Excellent! great adventure. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A grand photography adventure with a good dose of humor, Adrian!

    Like

  3. bluebrightly says:

    YES. To all of it. Absolutely. Brilliant post, Adrian, and I can empathize and comment on a number of points but really, it’s just, in the end, YES.

    Like

  4. A wonderful vignette. I was right there with you. The photo of the tree through the windscreen is a remarkable impressionist image.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, a vignette, a little piece of Life, a wonderful moment – I’m glad it gets to you, Michael. And thank you re “impressionist” – I’m a huge fan of impressionism, and particularly of Impressionists of the Monet etc era. A 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Impressionism, especially Monet, is one of my primary influences.

        Like

        • Adrian Lewis says:

          Great stuff, same here – and Turner too! >>> we are Fellow Travellers, you and I! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ahhh. Turner. In my opinion, the true birth of Impressionism. Have you ever read Kurt Vonnegut Junior? In “Cat’s Cradle,” there is the concept of the granfaloon. A group of people spread all over the world, who by all rights should not be connected, but nonetheless are.

            Like

            • Adrian Lewis says:

              I have been a scientist, and I have vast faith in the scientific process’s ability to establish facts and verify truths. But I was talking with a psychologist friend recently, about the way myself – and many others – have been thinking about others far distant, only to receive communication from them – in my daughter’s case, my thinking of her and receiving a phone call within minutes. And my friend said that she agrees about science, but that its really only the tip of the iceberg, and that there are whole, vast levels of other things about which we either know nothing, or are really only scratching the surface, and I agree with her.

              Liked by 2 people

              • I agree with your friend. I would classify myself as an extremely spiritual person, but I also have a great interest and respect for science. Unlike many, I do not think the two are incompatible. On the lighter level of Kurt Vonnegut‘s book, I sort of consider the world-wide interconnection of photographers we have here on WordPress to be a granfalloon.

                Liked by 2 people

  5. Sherry Felix says:

    I enjoyed your account and your photographs.

    Like

  6. Meanderer says:

    Just wonderful, my friend! (Hope your cameras were okay).

    Like

  7. paula graham says:

    Poetic stuff…and I like it.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Glad it gets to you, Paula – and yes, poetic maybe, and a “read” as Glen says – this was a real moment that powerfully affected me, and I wanted to write down the story; the photos illustrate the events but, in a way, here, the words are the primary thing. I enjoy writing. A 🙂

      Like

  8. Glen Fisher says:

    Thanks for a good read and images. Did you consider processing them in black and white at all?

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Glen, I’m very happy to hear that you think this a good read because, primarily, it is a story – and of course its a valuable recollection of a meaningful moment for me too.

      I’m a great black and white enthusiast but here – probably because I wanted a “true” record of the moment – the pictures were destined to be colour right from the start. But the first and last pictures might well have b+w potential. Adrian 🙂

      Like

  9. The blurred green grass and tree shown through the windscreen are especially wonderful, Adrian.

    Like

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