ARCHIVE 300 – THE BAY BESIDE BROOK COPSE

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged – click onto it to see a larger version in a separate window.

Mute Swan in the bay beside Brook Copse, on Chew Valley Lake’s northeast edge; south of Bristol; 15 May 2015.

An image almost without colour, with the marked exception of that beacon-like bill.  The various structures within this image are mainly horizontal – the wavelets, the areas of water plants – but the bird’s gentle bow wave is at a slight angle to this trend.

A popular path around the lake crosses a small stream or brook here via a small bridge, and walkers often feed the waterbirds from the bridge.  This swan spotted me on the bridge from some way off and, ever ready for food, came over – but I had not a thing edible on me!

You can find a very different picture of a swan at this lake here.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.

UPDATE: I still very much like the simplicity of this, both in terms of colour and the textures and structures present.  The structures are of three types.  Those on the water’s surface are linear.  Then there are the three horizontal bands of blackish emergent vegetation – out of focus in the foreground, highly scattered in the middle ground, and helping to form some sort of more solid closure to the top of the composition.  And the swan, really, is the only more rounded, organic thing there.
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ARCHIVE 299 – CROW SCARING STARLINGS (MONO)

 

 

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Starlings are flustered and scattered as a Carrion Crow flies in amongst them; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 1 Nov 2013.

There is another image from these moments here.

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro’s High Structure Harsh preset.

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ARCHIVE 298 – BLACK AND WHITE IMAGES PRODUCED BY SILVER EFEX PRO 2

 

I’ve just put out a post urging readers of my blog to take advantage of Google’s free offer of the Google Nik Collection digital photography plug-ins.  I waxed especially lyrical about the Silver Efex Pro 2 program for creating black and white images, and said that very many images produced by the program can be found on this blog.  Well, here is one – I hope you enjoy it.  (And there are others in recent posts here, here and here).

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Inquisitive as ever, out on Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 29 Aug 2013.

My ongoing warm feelings for cows.  The main subject is making a dive for my shiny lens – I fired and jumped back just before his wet muzzle engulfed it.  The expression of the next animal right is interesting – distinctly doubtful and censorious.  Maybe he read my thoughts about gravy and roast potatoes …

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

Technique: D700 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 18mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Fine Art Process preset.

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ARCHIVE 297 – AUTUMN CARPET (TWO VERSIONS)

 

 


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Our Hazel, dark and massive and still with a few pale leaves, stands proud of its autumn carpet; 18 Nov 2013.

The extreme wideangle lens is pointing downwards, and the leaves in the foreground appear to be close under the camera.  Everything left of centre leans out towards the left, and everything to the right (including our fence, top right) vice versa.

I think I prefer the colour version here, its how it was or, rather, its what I saw through the viewfinder – and I love this garden and its autumn colours.

The mono version is quite different.  Its much darker, its really built around darkness, darkness that is cut / illuminated by those white leaves, both sprinkled across the ground and still hanging from the tree.  Both versions would benefit from larger reproduction I think, the mono version more so.

Which version do you prefer?

Click onto the images to open larger versions in separate windows.

Technique: D800 with Sigma 12-24 lens at 12mm; 800 ISO; the mono version created with Silver Efex Pro 2’s Floral Style preset.

UPDATE: my apologies for not visiting others’ blogs as often as usual, but time is tight at the moment.

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ARCHIVE 296 – TIMBER (MONO)

 

 


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Stack of mangrove poles; Lamu, coastal Kenya; July 1978.

The (Western) human eye scans images from left to right, and from top to bottom. Here, my eye enters the image from the left, and then travels right along the parallel poles, until arrested by the vertical pole and its binding, at the far end – positioning the vertical pole on the right of the picture does not work so well.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO; Silver Efex Pro.
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ARCHIVE 295 – TRAILING LEAVES

 

 


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Leaves trailing from a plant pot at The Point, Bristol harbourside; 11 Apr 2004.  

The few green leaves amongst the many leaf shadows on a featureless, bluish ground, are important here – the presence of the colour green definitely enhances the picture. 

Technique: rotated 90 degrees clockwise; OM-4 with 21mm Zuiko lens; Fuji Provia 400 colour slide rated at 3200 ISO. 

UPDATE: Minimalism, less is more; usually better than a cluttered image – the eye knows more what to look at, rather than being confused by masses of detail.  And quite a shock to see that I took this 13 years ago – I used to stalk around Bristol with this wonderfully compact 21mm lens, looking for simplicity, looking too for abstract compositions.  And I loved push-processing colour slide films (the Provia 400 here is being pushed 3 stops: 400 to 800 to 1600 to 3200), to boost the colours and contrast, and to get more grain, as seen here.
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ARCHIVE 294 – CROW ON A FALLEN TREE (MONO)

 

 


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Carrion Crow perched in a fallen tree; Tadham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 31 Mar 2014.

Early in the day, I pulled bleary eyed into the Magic Carpark, stumbled out of the car – and saw this crow.  Praying that it wouldn’t move, and all fingers and thumbs, I readied the camera, turned and – it was still there!  In fact it stayed there for sometime.

The tree is a casualty of the recent severe flooding.  It was probably not standing vertically before, but then its roots had been able to find sufficient purchase in the soil.  But, saturate that soil with floodwater for many weeks and turn it into something like blancmange or wet rice pudding, and the roots were simply not up to the task of keeping the great bulk of trunk and branches above them upright.

I went for a pure silhouette, with the sky completely burnt out, for simplicity – a Minimalist approach.  To me, the few branches entering the frame at upper right serve to balance the composition.  The adding of a blue tone takes the scene further away from reality.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Classic Portrait preset, and adding a Cyanotype tone.
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ARCHIVE 293 – TADHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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Misty morning on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 10 Apr 2014.

A typical Levels scene.  The water-filled ditch forms the boundary of the grassy field on the left of the shot.  Immediately left of the prominent tree,  a little bridge across the ditch allows access to the field.  The actual field gate is barely visible, at the left end of the two short lengths of fencing left of the tree.  These short lengths of fencing prevent animals in the field from edging around the sides of the gate, and so gaining their freedom via the bridge.

A single track, tarmac road, Totney Drove, is just out of sight on the right of the shot, at the top of the low bank immediately right of the tree.

I was first attracted by the tree’s reflection, but I also like the thin mistiness, both back behind the tree, and above the water in the ditch.  And the cloud above the tree helps the composition, being far preferable to having featureless sky there.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 70mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset.

UPDATE: I will never stop loving this image, its as simple as that.
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ARCHIVE 292 – SCAFFOLDING, NETTING AND THE RULE OF THIRDS

 

 


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Scaffolding pole and safety netting, sunlit, at the top of Lodge Street, in central Bristol; 15 Apr 2014.

The building at the top of Lodge Street is having work down on it, and so is festooned with scaffolding – which has the usual red and white covering, to stop people accidentally walking into it.  And because the workmen are directly above this busy street, the whole of the scaffolding structure is cocooned in orange safety netting, to stop any dropped tools and so on falling onto passers by below.

Lodge Street is steep and narrow, one of Bristol’s old streets, and as I panted my way up to the top, bright sunlight was bathing the scaffolding and its netting cocoon.  Because it was taller than the structure, the netting had a horizontal tuck or roll to make it the correct length, and I photographed the intersection of this tuck with one of the scaffolding poles.

This picture uses three simple visual devices.  First, the pole is a diagonal across the frame, from corner to corner; and second, because we Westerners view images from left to right, the pole starts high on the left and our eyes follow it easily down to the right.  Finally, following the Rule of Thirds, the intersection of the pole and the tuck is sited at a visual strongpoint within the composition, approximately at the intersection of the image’s left and upper thirds.

And for those of you new to photography who think that such “rules” are the way forward – don’t use them all the time, or your pictures will all look the same, they will become awfully predictable.  Rather, such “rules” are things to keep in mind, things to be aware of, but never to be used slavishly.

Dark railings and a pale strip of pavement are dimly visible through the netting.  The pavement here is set up above the road, and the railings prevent pedestrians from damaging passing traffic by falling onto it.

There is another and very different image from Lodge Street here.

Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (35mm equivalent); 100 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 291 – RED WINDOW (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Penzance, Cornwall; 8 Oct 2013.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Film Noir 1 preset, with selective restoration of colour.

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