SOMERSET LEVELS 433 – WALKING WESTON’S STREETS 3

 

 

Wet morning: face with condensation or rainwater

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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 .

A short history of Weston is here.

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Front door

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Wet morning

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Autumn

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SOMERSET LEVELS 428 – AUTUMN MORNING, JACK’S DROVE (MONO)

 

 


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The single track tarmac of Jack’s Drove, with a water-filled ditch (a rhyne – rhymes with scene) on either side, makes off southwards across Tadham Moor, in the dull light of an autumn morning.

On the horizon the low line of the Polden Hills, that run from Glastonbury and Street down towards the coast near Bridgwater.  The main road along the top of these hills runs along the route of a road built by the Romans – who prudently kept out of the vast lakes and marshes that covered these lowlands in those days.

And on the right my disreputable old car, covered in lichen, cobwebs, mud, cow dung and thin, very weathered paint.  Years ago I worked, looked at birds and photographed in often desolate and remote areas, areas where my life might depend on the reliability of my vehicle, and ever since then I have never bothered in the slightest about vehicles’ appearance, but always insisted on absolutely thorough maintenance and servicing.  Reliability, for me, is always the name of the game.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 70mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Graphite profile; Jack’s Drove on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wedmore; 15 Nov 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 154 – AUTUMN’S PAVEMENT

 

 


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Walking in autumn, and looking down.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 3 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 427 – THE END OF THINGS (MONO)

 

 


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Death and decay on an urban pavement: the year closes down, and trees prepare for the dark, cold months ahead.  But, as always, with the knowledge that Spring’s brightenings and warmths are drawing ever closer too.

I lived on the equator, in Kenya, for some years.  In those parts, day lengths are always about 12 hours, the sun is always more or less overhead, sunrises and sets are always quite high speed affairs, and rather than summer, autumn etc, each year has two wet and two dry seasons.  When I eventually returned to England, just about 30 years ago, I was at first appalled by the winter sun sitting so low in the sky, and the cold and wet of the grey winter days – but there was no option but to make the best of things and get through them.  In the long years since then, however, I have come to appreciate all of the seasons (I suppose autumn is my favourite, just) and, in particular, to be out and about – with a camera – when light levels are subdued.

There is an earlier post on this theme of death and decay here .

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 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera processing of the raw file, including use of the Graphite profile; further processing in Lightroom; Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 8 Nov 2019.
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PEOPLE 376 – YOUNG PEOPLE AND FALLEN LEAF (MONO)

 

 


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Young people walking – briskly, spritely, full of life – on their way to college, I think.  And a large, dead, autumn leaf, lying on a low flight of steps – its that time of year, after all.

And even as I took this picture I felt the contrast here, between the energies of youth, of people who may think they’ll always be young (if they think about such things at all), people who have scant awareness of ageing (which is a very pleasant and worthwhile mindset to be in, by the way, let’s be very clear about that!!!) >>> and I felt the contrast between these youngsters and the incontrovertible evidence of Life’s eternal cycle, lying mute and unnoticed on the steps beside them.

Can’t remember what I was on in Weston – maybe I was just running on hot coffee and enthusiasm! –  or maybe it was just an effect of being back where I grew up, prior to setting off into the outside world in 1968 – maybe all of that Life, all of the times and experiences since then, were getting to me.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 24-120 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 180mm; 1600 ISO; in-camera processing of the raw file, including use of the Graphite profile; no further processing;  High Street, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 8 Nov 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 148 – EARLY MORNING 26

 

 


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Autumn sets in, the year ages, and early mornings are often a visually enchanting world of soft light and deep shadow.

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 .

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

Technique: TG-5 at 38mm (equiv) >>> and even working at 6400 ISO, the shutter speed was still only 1/20th second;  Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 24 Oct 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 145 – AUTUMN

 

 


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In the middle of October, a Horse Chestnut starts to prepare for the winter.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Portrait (above) and Camera Natural profiles; south Bristol; 17 Oct 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 144 – EARLY MORNING 24

 

 


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Autumn begins and, as always, its welcome.  For one thing, sunrises are getting later in the day – I’ll be photographing in the dark soon!  And there are always the colours and mists of autumn, and the certain – and perhaps reassuring –  feel of the year getting older.

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 .

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 400 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 17 Oct 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 136 – PLANT GROWING AMONGST GARAGES

 

 


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In hardly the most visually pleasing of surroundings, a low angle beam of autumn sunlight still manages to conjure a moment of magic as it sneaks in between the scarred walls of old garages and illuminates the single natural and visually appealing thing there.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 400 ISO; spotmetering;  Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 17 Sept 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 131 – MAN AND BUS SHELTER AT SUNRISE, BESIDE GRASS AND NEW FENCE

 

 


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The year grows older, the sun rises later and – quite suddenly it seems – “the light” is starting to make very welcome appearances again during my early morning walks in Bristol’s suburbs.  From here on in, for quite a few months to come, I can look forward to sunrises, colours, mists and the wonderful remnants of night. 

One project that I have in mind is to look at autumn colour and bleakness up on the Mendip Hills; another is to take the Nikon Z 6 and the 70-300 lens down into the glare, noise, bustle, turmoil and winter darkness of Bristol’s early morning rush hours – well the spirit is willing anyway, although the willingness and fortitude of the flesh is perhaps another matter >>> but the lure of Harts Bakery might just tip the scales!!!

Anyway >>> in this image, a man stands in a bus shelter that, being struck by the sunrise’s first, intense rays, throws shadows across a new and as yet unpainted fence.  Reflected light washes over the grass in the foreground.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 53mm (equiv); 250 ISO; spot metering on the fence; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 28 Aug 2019.
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