ARCHIVE: LEVELS 77 – ARCING GREENS BELOW THE JACK’S DROVE BRIDGE (MONO + COLOUR)


Floating vegetation below the Jack’s Drove bridge, on Tealham Moor; 26 Aug 2012.

Jack’s Drove is a tarmac road that extends northwards from Tadham Moor up to the edge of the low hills around Wedmore.  It is a very special place to me – fresh, re-vitalising, wild, open –  and I always spend some time there when “out and about” on the Levels.

There is a little bridge on Jack’s Drove where it passes over the North Drain, and the top of this tiny edifice provides a good lookout across these flatlands, parts of which are below sea level.  Back in August, I walked up to the top of this bridge, looked down and, “seeing at 300mm” as I often do, there were these wonderfully curving, bright green shapes afloat on the dark water.

I’ve converted the image to mono and then re-coloured it, to produce something that is not reality.

The arcing greens are the subject here, and I’ve darkened the water and reduced its structure, to provide a completely non-distracting backdrop.

Looking at it now, the principal compositional elements here are the two curves that enter the frame top right, and then slice down to just about center stage – at a point that I call the “junction” – before having their direction taken over by another bright frond, that continues their trend down towards lower left.

Two other, rather dimly seen leaves splay off towards bottom right from the junction, balancing the composition a little.

Further left, other fronds provide more balance, the brighter of them echoing the main, upper right to lower left trend.  A carpet of floating waterweed brings different textures, and darkens towards the left.

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

Technique: D700 with 70mm-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; converted to mono, and re-coloured, with Silver Efex Pro 2; other manipulation in Capture NX2.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.



SOMERSET LEVELS 468 – THE MORNING COUNT (MONO)

 

 


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A farmer stands in the back of his Land Rover, counting his cattle early in the morning, making sure none have disappeared during the night; on the Tealham or Tadham Moors, on the Somerset Levels; 25 July 2009.

This picture us something of an enigma to me.  Its never been filed away in the usual folders and never been posted – so, here it is!

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens; 800 ISO.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 467 – FOGGY MORNING (MONO)

 

 


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Pollarded willow appearing out of the mist, early in the morning, beside Swanahard Lane.  Pollarding of trees is a common practice on the Levels; I discussed it recently here .  Its shown well in this tree, which has a really thick trunk, with large numbers of much thinner branches emanating from it: pollarding has been carried out sometime back, possibly more than once, but then discontinued, so that the cut stumps of the branches have grown to great lengths.  The problem here is that the thick, original trunk is leaning slightly so that, as the weight of the thinner branched above it increases, there is the danger that the whole tree will topple over.

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: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Graphite profile; Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 23 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 466 – EARLY MORNING LANDSCAPE 2

 

 


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Misty morning, just after sunrise.

The first of these images is here .

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 – definitely recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Capture NX2; looking out towards Hay Moor from Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 2 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 465 – EARLY MORNING LANDSCAPE

 

 


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Misty morning, sun just rising.

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: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 250mm; 640 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; looking out towards Hay Moor from Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 2 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 464 – EARLY MORNING MIST, SWANSHARD COTTAGES

 

 


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Early morning, and I was in Swanshard Lane, a small, meandering back road on the Somerset Levels north of Glastonbury.  It was misty, and most of my photographs were of the flat landscape – I love taking pictures in murk!  But by the little bridge over the River Sheppey there are a couple of old houses and, as I looked back at them, the rising sun broke weakly through the mist and provided some weak side lighting on their old walls and their tiled, mossy roofs.

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: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 2 Aug 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 463 – EARLY MORNING MIST, HAY MOOR

 

 


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Just before sunrise on a calm morning, looking out towards mists on Hay Moor.  The scene is silent save for a few bird calls, the gentle sounds of running water, and the soft shuffling and grumbling of some nearby cattle.

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: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; looking out towards Hay Moor from Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 2 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 462 – TOTNEY DROVE, FROST-COVERED, IN JANUARY

 

 


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The single track tarmac of Totney Drove, covered in frost, as it makes off eastwards across Tealham Moor.  A bitterly cold morning, just around sunrise but with no sign of the sun: wet, misty  flatlands reach off to the horizon.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 4,000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Astia/Soft profile; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 27 Jan 2017.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 461 – JANUARY, TEALHAM MOOR, JUST BEFORE SUNRISE

 

 


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Tealham Moor, in winter, looking to the east.  This is winter: harsh and bleak.

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 – definitely recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 8,000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Astia/Soft profile; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 27 Jan 2017.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 460 – POLLARDED WILLOW 2 (MONO)

 

 


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Pollarded Willow on the Somerset Levels.  More about the practice of pollarding, and about these Levels in general, can be found in my first Somerset Levels post .

The first of these images is here .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Monochrome (Red Filter) v2 profile; Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wells; 26 Apr 2019.
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