SOMERSET LEVELS 443 – EARLY MORNING, TEALHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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Early morning on Tealham Moor: silent except for the soft shuffling of the cattle and the low sigh of the breeze.

There is a colour version of this image here .

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; 800 ISO; jpeg created and processed in-camera from a Raw file, using the Graphite profile and in-camera cropping; further minor processing in Lightroom; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wedmore; 9 Aug 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 442 – EMPTY SHOP

 

 

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So, what the hell am I pointing my camera at now?  These are the windows of an empty shop, most probably a victim of both the current general downturn in UK retail, together the on going impoverishment of seaside towns.

These are the shop’s windows, with a white, wooden frame between them.  On the left a smaller window adjacent to the shop’s door, and on the right a larger window facing more out onto the street.  Because the premises are empty, the inside of the windows have been wiped with whitewash to deter curious eyes – there may still be things inside the shop worth stealing, or perhaps it is being refurbished.  Seen from the outside, presumably taking some colour from the sky, the whitewash appears bluish.

Then, on the right of the picture, the larger window reflects the terraced houses in the street, a white van, twin yellow “No Parking” lines and the sky’s dull, wet overcast.

Other recent pictures from Weston are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 12,800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 3 Jan 2020.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 441 – CROSS STREET

 

 


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One of the narrow sidestreets in the older part of Weston’s town centre that I find so attractive.  Streets from my boyhood, I suppose.

Traffic coming up towards the camera is told very firmly by the large white arrow to turn right.  The twin yellow lines down either side of the street ban all parking and, near the camera, are in real need of repainting.  What else?  Well, the bags of refuse on the narrow pavement on the right; two vehicles parked very tightly in on the right further down, and the view right down this narrow street to the parked car at the far end.

Other recent pictures from Weston are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 12,800 ISO; in-camera production of jpeg from the raw file, using the Somber profile; Cross Street, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 3 Jan 2020.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 440 – WALKING WESTON’S STREETS 7

 

 

A seaside town, in the winter

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Weston-super-Mare, my home town, on the coast where the Somerset Levels run down into the Bristol Channel – the local, somewhat muddy, version of the sea.  Following a recent reunion with age-old friends there (here), I’ve been visiting Weston again, and walking streets echoing with things remembered – sometimes only half-remembered –  from over half a century ago.

Weston is a seaside town and, like seaside towns the UK over, it is experiencing something of an economic downturn – the era of the family seaside holiday in uncertain British weather is long past, due to cheap holidays in warmer and far more reliable, foreign climes.  So, there is to Weston something of the cheap and cheerful, a – to me, anyway – rather attractive tattiness at the edges, that makes walking here with a camera a pleasure – a definite feeling of not knowing what will appear next.  The Ghost of FATman Past perhaps?  Well, if he gives me half a chance, I’ll photograph him …

And so in Nov 2019 to pictures taken with an open mind – pictures which are, for better or for worse, in the main quite different from the preceding 400+ that I’ve posted of the Somerset Levels.  Some of them may be a little obscure / far out / radical / unexplained /  I don’t know… but I did mention photographing with an open mind, which means looking, on the spur of the moment, at anything and everything …    But, whatever, warts and all, I hope you’ll like (at least some of) these images.  (Click onto them twice to enlarge them)

Earlier posts in this series are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 .

A short history of Weston is here.
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Well, as I told you, Weston’s tatty at the edges >>> which makes it decidedly interesting!  Here, the grassy roof in particular gets to me …

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But as well as being tatty at the edges, Weston has many very desirable and expensive properties, with many very well-heeled retirees – and so to that pillar of Our Green and Materialistic Land, the Estate Agents

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Parking meter – or space alien?

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And just who said the west of England isn’t a centre of culture???  Its just a question of which culture you mean …  So perhaps to an unsettling fact then, that most of my formative years were spent here >> I am, in part, certainly a product of this town.  I have lived in various places, perhaps the most valuable of which, in terms of Life Experience, were 12 years in Kenya – many of those 12 years having been towards the end of my adolescence (this latter phase of Life now having been found to continue to age 32 or so) >>> but Weston will always be my home town, and very much valued as such.

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And finally, punk on Weston’s Grand Pier; somehow very appropriate …

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SOMERSET LEVELS 439 – WALKING WESTON’S STREETS 6

 

 

Autumn on drain cover

Weston-super-Mare, my home town, on the coast where the Somerset Levels run down into the Bristol Channel – the local, somewhat muddy, version of the sea.  Following a recent reunion with age-old friends there (here), I’ve been visiting Weston again, and walking streets echoing with things remembered – sometimes only half-remembered –  from over half a century ago.

Weston is a seaside town and, like seaside towns the UK over, it is experiencing something of an economic downturn – the era of the family seaside holiday in uncertain British weather is long past, due to cheap holidays in warmer and far more reliable, foreign climes.  So, there is to Weston something of the cheap and cheerful, a – to me, anyway – rather attractive tattiness at the edges, that makes walking here with a camera a pleasure – a definite feeling of not knowing what will appear next.  The Ghost of FATman Past perhaps?  Well, if he gives me half a chance, I’ll photograph him …

And so in Nov 2019 to pictures taken with an open mind – pictures which are, for better or for worse, in the main quite different from the preceding 400+ that I’ve posted of the Somerset Levels.  Some of them may be a little obscure / far out / radical / unexplained /  I don’t know… but I did mention photographing with an open mind, which means looking, on the spur of the moment, at anything and everything …    But, whatever, warts and all, I hope you’ll like (at least some of) these images.  (Click onto them twice to enlarge them)

Earlier posts in this series are here: 1 2 3 4 5 .

A short history of Weston is here.
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Looking up on the High Street: demise of the seaside holiday, and the economic plight of so many seaside towns

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 Looking into a trendy bar

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Rainy morning: umbrella in car

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SOMERSET LEVELS 438 – WALKING WESTON’S STREETS 5

 

 

Looking back at me through autumn leaves – an image confronting an image maker

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Weston-super-Mare, my home town, on the coast where the Somerset Levels run down into the Bristol Channel – the local, somewhat muddy, version of the sea.  Following a recent reunion with age-old friends there (here), I’ve been visiting Weston again, and walking streets echoing with things remembered – sometimes only half-remembered –  from over half a century ago.

Weston is a seaside town and, like seaside towns the UK over, it is experiencing something of an economic downturn – the era of the family seaside holiday in uncertain British weather is long past, due to cheap holidays in warmer and far more reliable, foreign climes.  So, there is to Weston something of the cheap and cheerful, a – to me, anyway – rather attractive tattiness at the edges, that makes walking here with a camera a pleasure – a definite feeling of not knowing what will appear next.  The Ghost of FATman Past perhaps?  Well, if he gives me half a chance, I’ll photograph him …

And so in Nov 2019 to pictures taken with an open mind – pictures which are, for better or for worse, in the main quite different from the preceding 400+ that I’ve posted of the Somerset Levels.  Some of them may be a little obscure / far out / radical / unexplained /  I don’t know… but I did mention photographing with an open mind, which means looking, on the spur of the moment, at anything and everything …    But, whatever, warts and all, I hope you’ll like (at least some of) these images.  (Click onto them to enlarge them)

Earlier posts in this series are here: 1 2 3 4 .

A short history of Weston is here.

View into – and through – a phone kiosk, with the blue doors of public toilets in the background for local colour

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The big, solid, expensive houses of upper class (probably Victorian) Weston, built high up on the southern slopes of Worlebury Hill, looking out over Weston Bay – and solid they are, built of great blocks of the hard, grey Carboniferous Limestone that forms this hill, most probably obtained from the many quarries nearby.  And it was on the top of Worlebury Hill where this geologist – aged about 5 or 6 – found his first fossil, a Carboniferous brachiopod, a type of shellfish, on a limestone fragment in his garden.  Excitingly asking his Mum whether he could bring it into the house, he was told that it was alright as long as it wasn’t alive.  And it was this same Mum who, left penniless after my father disappeared in search of pastures new, scrimped and saved to keep him on at school so that he could eventually fulfil what she knew was his dream, to study geology at university

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Public seating with autumn leaves

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SOMERSET LEVELS 437 – THE VIEW SOUTH, TADHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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Looking south on a wet morning in early winter, with a wide angle lens on the camera, and a split tone added in post-capture processing.

Compositionally, the lines of the track, the banks of the water-filled ditch to the left of the track, the horizon and the cloud formations all draw my eyes down past the large tree.  A tree that is certainly valued, perhaps even loved –  I never come to this very special place without touching it and talking to it, as it clings stoutly to the steep bank of yet another water-filled ditch, always in danger of toppling over, as three other long-known willows behind the camera have already toppled.

Over the years, and in terrible times now quite long past, this very open and simple spot has helped me to keep going, to keep on keeping on, and I am very much attached and indebted to it.  To the extent that, when the time comes, my ashes will be sprinkled down there, down along this track, beyond the tree and the large puddle beside it.  Knowing that that is going to happen always affects my visits here, but never I hasten to add in any sad or bad way, but rather serving to imbue me with a sense of certainty, and of belonging too, which gets into my photos sometimes and which I value.

And with global sea levels rising as they are, and the land hereabouts already being below the height of the Bristol Channel’s tall tides – tides with ranges of up to nearly 50 feet – it may not be too long before these flatlands are inundated once more.  So, yes, a temporary place, then – but to a geologist like me every place is temporary after all.

However – the bottom line – a very simple place, vastly attractive to my “less is more” eyes and mindset – and very special to me in my thoughts too.

Click onto the image twice to open an enlarged version: recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the B&W 12 profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Neutral preset and adding a split tone; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wedmore; 6 Dec 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 436 – EARTHQUAKE NEWSFLASH!!!

 

 


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Many of you probably regard the Somerset Levels as some kind of remote backwater which The FATman frequents from time to time, in the main bumbling around aimlessly, and talking quietly to the livestock.  Well, there is some truth in that, particularly with regard to the bumbling and the livestock, but the Levels have now become newsworthy too, having hosted the epicentre of an (admittedly minor) earthquake.

Late on Thurday night (5 Dec), the Earth moved at a depth of 3 miles below the village of Huntworth, near Bridgwater – the details are here .

It was only a shock of 3.2 on the Richter scale, so nothing major – as the geologist in me would see it, a slight adjustment in the Earth’s upper Crust.  But well below the thick clay and peat deposits of the Levels, so in the rocks that form the wide basin in which the flat and often muddy and waterlogged landscape of the Levels has (in geological terms, only very recently) accumulated.

And a gentle hint that we are not living on an inert world, but rather one with a decidedly active interior – for further info on this kind of thing, try googling “plate tectonics”.

(to enlarge the image, click onto it twice)

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SOMERSET LEVELS 435 – WALKING WESTON’S STREETS 4

 

 

Wet morning

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Weston-super-Mare, my home town, on the coast where the Somerset Levels run down into the Bristol Channel – the local, somewhat muddy, version of the sea.  Following a recent reunion with age-old friends there (here), I’ve been visiting Weston again, and walking streets echoing with things remembered – sometimes only half-remembered –  from over half a century ago.

Weston is a seaside town and, like seaside towns the UK over, it is experiencing something of an economic downturn – the era of the family seaside holiday in uncertain British weather is long past, due to cheap holidays in warmer and far more reliable, foreign climes.  So, there is to Weston something of the cheap and cheerful, a – to me, anyway – rather attractive tattiness at the edges, that makes walking here with a camera a pleasure – a definite feeling of not knowing what will appear next.  The Ghost of FATman Past perhaps?  Well, if he gives me half a chance, I’ll photograph him …

And so in Nov 2019 to pictures taken with an open mind – pictures which are, for better or for worse, in the main quite different from the preceding 400+ that I’ve posted of the Somerset Levels.  Some of them may be a little obscure / far out / radical / unexplained /  I don’t know… but I did mention photographing with an open mind, which means looking, on the spur of the moment, at anything and everything …    But, whatever, warts and all, I hope you’ll like (at least some of) these images.  (Click onto them to enlarge them)

Earlier posts in this series are here: 1 2 3 .

A short history of Weston is here.

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Lion, drainpipe and CCTV

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Wet morning: drenched leaf on drenched pavement

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SOMERSET LEVELS 434 – ANOTHER WORLD (MONO)

 

 


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Walking in The Boulevard, one of Weston’s main streets.  It was a wet morning, rain forever around, and there was a lot of surface water.  In my path, a large puddle spread across the pavement and, well before I reached it, I could see reflections in it – and so to ramping the telezoom up to 300mm and, standing quite some distance back from it, looking at and into this puddle.

I was looking into another world.  There was the reflection of a tall street lamp and, nearer, a street sign too, and the patterns of paving stones were also visible.  I’d taken several frames when the reflection of a gull suddenly passed through the frame – and I managed a single shot before it was gone.  And thence to simplifying the image by presenting it in mono, and presenting it upside down to make it more readable, while preserving the dreamlike, otherworldly atmosphere.

And, in yet another (this time, bygone) world >>> opposite this spot, 60 years ago, a toy shop called Driver’s was an exciting centre in my young life – forever adding to my vast regiments of toy soldiers, and also allowing me to buy fireworks in the days when they were both affordable and freely available to youngsters like me.  For those of you old enough, do Penny Bangers, Jumping Jacks, Volcanoes and Catherine Wheels bring back any memories???  We youngsters used to light a Penny Banger (effectively a small explosive device, costing one OLD penny) and hold it until it started fizzing and was just about to explode, and then drop it into a puddle, when it would shoot across the surface of the water before blowing up: delighted – and retaining all our fingers too – we called it a Torpedo …..

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera processing of raw file, using the Graphite profile; further processing in Lightroom; 180 degrees’ rotation;  The Boulevard, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 22 Nov 2019.
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