ARCHIVE 435 – AFRICA, BREAKING APART

 

 


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In today’s cheap and superficial hype – too often the triumph of style over substance – many things are marketed as having various specified advantages “and so much more”. Well, here is a photograph that really does have “so much more”. It was taken from the eastern wall of the rift valley, near Kijabe, in Kenya, looking down westwards towards the rift’s floor, sometime in the late 1970s. The rift wall here is not a single escarpment, but a series of small escarpments that gradually descend to the rift’s floor like a flight of huge steps.

This photo was taken from the top of the escarpment, looking down upon the top of the first of these steps which, because it still has sufficient altitude to attract rain and mist, is green and fertile. This green but restricted area of land is covered in a close patchwork of cultivated plots, and dwellings roofed with thatch or corrugated iron. Beyond this step, the floor of the rift can be seen, browner and drier, many hundreds of feet below. Rising from these pale, dry lowlands is the dark and jagged bulk of Mt Longonot, a dormant volcano which last erupted around 1860. In the far distance, behind Longonot, the abrupt line of hills is the rift valley’s western wall.

So far so good, but there really is so much more here, for the fact is that the eastern edge of the African continent has been breaking apart for a long time. The island of Madagascar broke away from the rest of Africa many millions of years ago and, during this lengthy isolation from the mainland, many unique (i.e. endemic) forms of life have evolved there, e.g. the Lemurs (primates, like ourselves) and the Ground-Rollers (birds).

But that is not all. The Eastern Rift Valley (the one in Kenya) and and the Western Rift constitute further incipient splits in the eastern side of the African continent and, as I took this picture, I was standing on the western edge of another part of the continent that may split away to become an island like Madagascar in (the millions of) years to come. The floor of the rift is new crust that has moved upwards from the Earth’s extremely hot, molten interior to ‘seal up the cracks’ in the disintegrating continent, and hence the reason for the many volcanoes (including Mt Longonot) and natural steam vents on the rift valley floor.  Here, in this landscape, are the visible signs of a continent breaking apart.

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

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OUTER SUBURBS 194 – EARLY MORNING 43

 

 


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Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 .  All will open in separate windows. You can also search on the “early morning” tag, below.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 6 Feb 2020.
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OUTER SUBURBS 193 – CIDER AMONGST GARAGES

 

 


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Dropped on the way home after a good night out – perhaps by carefree lovers (well I can dream, can’t I?)  >>>  and still containing remnants of the golden nectar that, made from apples, is to a Somerset Lad like me The One True Drink.  But now lying with other garbage (mercifully out of shot) amongst run down old garages and the reflective metal wall of an electricity substation.

Ah, but is True Romance past? … what was that poem? … Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? … well, ok, Shakespeare … >>> just don’t say you don’t get no culture on this blog!!! … 🙂 … but I’m rather more for Lennon & McCartney’s … And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make … seems pretty basic to me … a good and simple way forward …

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 7 Feb 2020.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 448 – SITTING IN THE CAR, LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW (MONO)

 

 


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Longer term readers of this blog will have heard this already, but for those more recently looking at my pictures – first, THANK YOU! for doing so – and second here is a little explanatory context re the Somerset Levels, which are an area in southwest England that you may not be familiar with.  My first Levels post – here – goes into more detail, but in essence the Levels are the second largest area of reclaimed flatlands in the UK, after those of East Anglia.  Many areas in the Levels have a distinctive landscape in that, rather than being enclosed by fences, the fields are separated by water-filled ditches, called rhynes (rhymes with “scenes”), which make for a very open and distinctive landscape.

And so to this picture.  Out on Tealham Moor, a favourite area of the Levels, early in the morning, I’d driven up Jack’s Drove, which is the single track, tarmac road visible upper left in the picture.  Since these Levels fields are surrounded by water-filled rhynes, each field must have a little bridge across the water, to allow the farmers to get their livestock, tractors, etc in and out of the pastures.  And so, very carefully, I backed my car onto one of these tiny bridges, so as not to leave it blocking the very narrow road.  And care is needed here, because any misjudgment would risk plunging both me and my vehicle into many feet of water and thick, muddy ooze.

The car safely parked, I relaxed, opened the driver’s window, looked out and was confronted by this quintessential Levels scene.  First, the landscape is dead flat and, in this area, below the level of the high tides that lap the shores of the Bristol Channel, which is not far off to the west.  Global warming and its attendant sea level rises are a very relevant issue here.  Only far away, on the horizon, can higher ground be seen.  These are the long line of the Polden Hills and, back in the days when most of the land in this photo consisted of impenetrable lakes and marshes, the Romans built a road along the top of these hills, to get down from Glastonbury to the sea.

Nearer at hand, the long line of the rhyne, the water-filled ditch, stretches away in front of us, with the black tarmac of Jack’s Drove up on its left.  The grassy tufts in the foreground are along the edge of the tiny bridge upon which the car is parked.  And to the right a short section of apparently purposeless fencing.  But its not purposeless at all.  The field’s gate is out of view to the right and, given half a chance, cows, sheep. etc would try to squeeze around the edge of the gate, and escape the field – and would either gain the bridge and make off down the road – or fall into the rhyne while trying.  And so every gate in this distinctive landscape has such short stretches of fencing on either side, to keep the livestock in.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the B&W 08 profile; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wedmore; 14 Feb 2020.
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OUTER SUBURBS 192 – MISTY MORNING

 

 


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Misty morning in the outer suburbs, somewhere I know well.  To the left of the blue Keep Left sign, the dim lights of this supermarket’s warehouse area.  And between that sign and the lights of the approaching car, the dim glow in the gloom is the bus shelter featured in these two posts: 1 2 .

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 22 Jan 2020.
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THE REAL WORLD IS SCARY

 


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I’m retired and, to some extent, I sit back and look at Life (note the capital).  And I think about things, especially things which societies take for granted, and also those which are for some reason avoided or actually taboo – its interesting to contemplate how we function as an intelligent, social species, and I’m lucky in having a psychologist friend who is also very much into such thoughts and observations.  I don’t think we’re looking for any profound and little known truths or answers, we’re just interested in how things go on.

Its also interesting to wonder, should intelligent lifeforms exist elsewhere in the universe, whether their societies will be organised along similar lines to ours’, and whether they will have similar beliefs, strengths, fallibilities, etc to ours’.  Certainly, in view of humans’ all too well known inhumanity to their fellow humans, some degree of caution might be required should we ever come into contact with any other beings with intelligence / technologies equal to or greater than our own. LOL! >>>> H G Wells, The War of the Worlds???  Or Predator? or Alien? or Independence Day? >>> but never, ever E.T.!!!

I watch TV, but not so much because, so far as I can see, a lot of it is absolute drivel, totally shallow and facile rubbish – and I’m hoping that, should I ever be consigned to an elderly people’s home where watching TV may be the highlight of the day, then either said home will have a liberal booze policy or, as has in fact happened before, that enlightened friends will smuggle deliveries of the Electric Soup in to me, so that I can enjoy them … under the sheets … “in those dark hours when the powers of evil are exalted.”  – as Arthur Conan Doyle so elegantly put it in The Hound of the Baskervilles, a tale set not 100 miles from here.
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But sometimes, just sometimes, TV does come it up with little gems, such as this.  It was some kind of quiz show, and amongst the contestants was a young lad who is engaged on a university course, something to do with the business world, that involves him spending one year of his university course actually out in the business world – actually out in the real world – as supposed to being cosseted in the more cloistered world of academia.

And so, after hearing that this lad was out there working in the real world, the quiz show’s compere asked him what the real world was like – and I’ll never forget the response:

“Oh its scary – you have to get up in the mornings!”.

Yes, well, pretty basic stuff, but that’s what you have to do … 🙂 ……… (as in the accompanying pictures here, which are from the Going to Work series; click onto the images to enlarge them – recommended).
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OUTER SUBURBS 191 – SODA WATER WITH ICE AND A SLICE OF LEMON

 

 


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At lunch in the outer suburbs.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 10 Feb 2020.
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OUTER SUBURBS 190 – HOUSES BY THE MAIN ROAD

 

 


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Walking at dawn, and looking up at the big houses along the main road: one awake, the other asleep.

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

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 29 Jan 2020.
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OUTER SUBURBS 189 – EAST STREET: PHOTOGRAPHING A FACADE

 

 


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Lower angle winter sunlight blazing across the side of a building – and not the slimmest creature in this whole world photographing it.

The first photo in this East Street series, with context, is here . Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 . Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 53mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; East Street, Bedminster, south Bristol; 21 Jan 2020.
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BRISTOL 161 – STREET SCENE 3

 

 


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A collection of disparate objects: street furniture, the relentless imagery of the mass media, and a moving vehicle  – modern life along a city’s roadside. 

Other images in the Bristol Street Scenes series are here: 1 2 . Searching on the “street” tag (below here) will also find these posts.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 12,800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Pop profile; central Bristol; 29 Nov 2019.
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