STANTON DREW 61 – WINTER SCENE (MONO)

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged – click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Gull flock amongst the prehistoric standing stones at Stanton Drew.  Such flocks are a common sight on pastureland during the winter: this one consists mostly of Black-headed Gulls (lacking the dark heads of their breeding plumage), but there are a few Common and Lesser Black-backed Gulls in there too.

Tall, dark stones, sombre sentinels (sombre sentinels??? >>> what on earth am I on???) overlook the scene, and bare winter trees form the backdrop.

Already posted images from this early morning shoot are here: 1 (with context) 2 3 4 5 6 7 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting  at the Underexpose EV-1 preset and adding a light Selenium tone; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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STANTON DREW 59 – WINTER SUNRISE 2

 

 


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Blackbird in winter branches, at sunrise.

Earlier images from this early morning shoot are here: 1 (with context) 2 3 4 5 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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ARCHIVE 394 – CARRION CROW (MONO)

 

 


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Carrion Crow over our back garden, not long after dawn; 27 Nov 2011.

This has been converted into mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, and I’ve used the one of the Film Noire presets to instil drama – the powerful, jet black crow diving through a patch of clear sky in an angry, boiling cloudscape.

Technique: D700 with 70mm-300 Nikkor lens at 200mm; 800 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 392 – ROOK ON THE HIGH STREET

 

 


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Rook preening on a street lamp in the main street of Penzance, Cornwall; 25 Apr 2012.

We were sitting at a table on the upper floor of a café, enjoying the interesting and lively view over Penzance’s main street.

Two Rooks came and perched on street lamp brackets immediately outside the window.  I had a feeling they wouldn’t stay there long, and so rather than reaching for the Nikon, I used the little G11 which was already in my hand.  One of the Rooks left almost immediately but I managed to train the Canon’s telephoto onto the other bird which, despite all of the hustle and bustle in the street below, started preening.

Rooks are crows, and more usually birds of the open countryside.  I like crows anyway, but noisy colonies of these birds – rookeries – in the tops of tall, rural trees are for me one of the great joys of spring.  So seeing them here above this busy shopping street was a surprise, albeit that Penzance is not that large a town.  And having the bird set against the window display of the shop on the other side of the road added to that.

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (equivalent); 400 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 390 – TAKING FLIGHT

 

 


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Another early bus ride into the city, another second breakfast at first light in Hart’s Bakery (context is here) – and as I lurched out of that warm, friendly and bustling establishment, the tints of sunrise were above and, looking up, I saw this.

The bird is a gull (aka seagull), and just about to leap off into the air to scavenge the city’s no doubt enticing refuse.  I have Hart’s Bakery, (s)he has Bristol.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; beside Temple Meads railway station; 9 Dec 2016.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 313 – LAPWINGS, TEALHAM MOOR

 

 


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Driving westwards across Tealham Moor, and a long line of birds, high up above, caught my eye.  There was no traffic on the narrow road, so I stopped, watched and waited, wondering where they might be headed.  They came lower and wheeled about overhead, and I saw them to be Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus), a type of large plover, that form large flocks in winter.  I started taking pictures.

Here, the flock is flying across in front of a bare, winter tree, and there are a few smaller, darker birds below them, which are Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

Compositionally, the flock is almost “resting on top” of the tree, the combination of the birds and tree making a ‘T’ shape within the image.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 30 Nov 2018.
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ARCHIVE 388 – YOUNG GULL AT ST IVES (MONO)

 

 


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Juvenile Herring Gull in the harbour at St Ives, Cornwall; 27 Sept 2012.

I have a liking for photos that appear more like the products of other media and here is something certainly heading that way – perhaps more like a pencil drawing?  I’ve used a Soft Portrait preset, which includes pale vignetting, and the bird appears to be emerging from dense mist, with even its left wing nebulous and obscure.

Using this preset has also almost completely obscured details of the sea below the bird – and this all makes for an artificially isolated vignette of the creature – a sketch in a notebook perhaps.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Classic Portrait preset, and giving the image the look of Ilford Delta 400 mono print film.

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OUTER SUBURBS 32 – AUTUMN 5 (MONO)

 

 


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This photo is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Walking in south Bristol, walking in the autumn, with the flocking of Starlings a sure sign of the season.  A small flock were up on top of a telegraph pole, quite a way off, and only carrying the little Olympus TG-5 there was no chance of a reasonable shot at that distance – but I took some just in case they were all I was going to get – insurance!  Of a sort …

And then I  started walking slowly towards the birds.  Starlings are often around people, and I thought I might have some chance of a closer shot.  Shooting as I went, I did get some closer shots, and two of those are here .

Moving very slowly, I was almost at the bottom of the pole before the birds started shifting uneasily (as my friends will tell you, I can have that effect …. ).  But I could see – I could feel – the explosion coming and readying the TG-5 for one last blast, I held it up in front of me, looked up into its screen and took two or three last small steps forward before … well … what you see above.  They circled, and promptly came down onto a neighbouring rooftop – as ever, as always, on the lookout for food, and for predators too.

There are earlier autumn posts here: 1 2 3 4 .

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 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 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: TG-5 at 46mm (equiv); 320 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Monotone film simulation; south Bristol; 29 Oct 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 30 – AUTUMN 4 (MONO)

 

 


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These birds are Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), perched on phone wires, and their flocking together is a sure sign of the arrival of autumn.  They breed in solitary pairs and are then seen in the company of their noisy, begging young.  But as soon as the chills of autumn set in, larger flocks appear – which is a good survival tactic, since a flock has more eyes to spot danger, and an individual within a flock stands more chance of surviving an attack from say, a Sparrowhawk, than a bird on its own – the explosion of a flock into flight can confuse the predator visually, and whereas the predator may take another individual from the flock,  a bird alone is a single, sure target.

Starlings are very common here and I like them – but, then again, is there a bird that I don’t like???  Well, Ostrich was a bit over the top, certainly could be a bit pushy at times, and certainly not to be trifled with, but all other feathered friends are just that.  Starlings are very garrulous and sociable, always busy bustling around – for me, they are an inextricable part of “here”, I suppose.

There are earlier autumn posts here: 1 2 3 .

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 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 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 320 ISO; Lightroom, using the Monochrome film simulation; Capture NX2 (for when the Monochrome simulation needed help – I knew I should have used Silver Efex Pro 2!!!); south Bristol; 29 Oct 2018.

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ARCHIVE 382 – PEREGRINE FALCON (MONO)

 

 


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Peregrine Falcon at the International Centre for Birds of Prey, Newent, Gloucestershire; 2 July 2014.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared Low Contrast preset.

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