ARCHIVE: LEVELS 73 – SWEETS TEA ROOMS (MONO)


 A busy morning in the kitchen at Sweets Tea Rooms, on the Blakeway between Bleak Farm and Turnpike House, on Westhay Moor; 25 July 2009.   Note the still warm rock cakes on the tray-  absolutely delicious!  There are three tearooms in this area and this is the one I know best – friendly owners, excellent, simple food and drink, toilets, parking – and an intriguing Peat & Science Museum in the adjoining building. 

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

Technique: D700 with 24mm Nikkor lens; 1600 ISO.

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.



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 60 – SUGAR CUBES IN BAILLIES’ CAFE (MONO)


Sugar cubes in Baillies Cafe, Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset; 7 Mar 2012.

I’ve waxed lyrical about the Burnham’s Cottage Cafe in the past.  This establishment has now re-invented itself as Baillies Cafe, and the food is still good!  Yesterday’s Large Full English Breakfast rocked – and I was especially glad to see Bubble And Squeak which, for those not already familiar with it,  is a wonderful, fried concoction of  potato, cabbage, onions and other veg left over from earlier meals, named after the noise it makes while being cooked in the frying pan – wonderful stuff!

This is white sugar, but I’ve darkened it down and toned it, and I think that the reflective edge of the metal sugar bowl, top right, adds something to the shot.

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

Technique: Canon G11 Powershot; 400 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, and further manipulated in SEP2 and 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.

ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 6 – FOUR CHAIRS BELOW A TABLE (MONO)


Browns restaurant, Queens Road, Bristol; 3 Feb 2017.

My day started early as they often do, and I got downtown at dawn and took a few photos.  But my heart wasn’t really in it because I know that yet another deep depression was steamrollering its way in from the Atlantic, and that it would be saturating Bristol with rain well before the morning was through.

And so to a stop in Browns up market (and certainly not down budget!) palace for Eggs Royale and a pot of very nice english tea.  I lounged there, looking around and feeling a bit out of things after the early start, and a table with four chairs that was catching the light from a window kept drawing my eye.

And so to opening my bag and getting out the camera, and looking through the viewfinder – but by then a couple had occupied the table next to the one I was looking at, and I had the uncomfortable feeling that they thought the camera was being pointed at them.  But at least this Fuji is not so large and intimidating, or so loud, as the Nikons, and I pressed quickly on and took two frames.

Technique: the table’s top was brightly lit and cluttered with many things, but I liked the look of the seats of the four chairs that were faintly glowing in the table’s shadow – and so to a composition in which the table’s bright and cluttered top is squeezed into the top fifth or so of the frame, while the seats of the chairs glow in the less brightly lit ‘underworld’ below.  There was a lot of contrast in the scene but the camera’s multi-zone metering (aided by the live histogram I’ve opted to have visible in the viewfinder) dealt with it well, and although the colour image is attractive – one of those instances where the near absence of colour really works – it really seemed to be a scene that would suit black and white, and so to SEP2.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 125mm (equiv); 12,800 ISO; LightroomSilver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset and adding a tone.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



ARCHIVE 611 – UPSTAIRS IN THE VICTORIA TEA ROOM, PENZANCE

 

 


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Upstairs in The Victoria Tea Room, Penzance, Cornwall; 25 Apr 2012.

We returned yesterday from a few days in the far southwest of Cornwall, based between Penzance and St Ives.  And in a week of awful weather all over England we were far enough southwest to miss it all – it only rained at night, and the days were dry and even sunny!

Whenever we’re in Penzance we always visit this tearoom.  Amongst many other tasty goodies it serves up 11 item English breakfasts – which I hold a profound reverence for – and we like to sit beside the windows upstairs, looking out over Penzance’s main street.

In this cafe there are many bentwood chairs in a beautiful green, and the place has an over all low key, Minimalist, green and grey decor that I like very much.  This cup and saucer provided a good foil for its low key surroundings, and the chairbacks on the right resemble the curving stems of some exotic plant.

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

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot; 400 ISO.

UPDATE (SOMETIME AGO): this excellent eatery has closed down – a great loss.  And while I’m talking about this image – I can say that its a great favourite of mine.  I have always loved its vast simplicity.

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ARCHIVE 563 – FOUR CHAIRS BELOW A TABLE (MONO)

 

 


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Browns restaurant, Queens Road, Bristol; 3 Feb 2017.

My day started early as they often do, and I got downtown at dawn and took a few photos.  But my heart wasn’t really in it because I know that yet another deep depression was steamrollering its way in from the Atlantic, and that it would be saturating Bristol with rain well before the morning was through.

And so to a stop in Browns up market (and certainly not down budget!) palace for Eggs Royale and a pot of very nice english tea.  I lounged there, looking around and feeling a bit out of things after the early start, and a table with four chairs that was catching the light from a window kept drawing my eye.

And so to opening my bag and getting out the camera, and looking through the viewfinder – but by then a couple had occupied the table next to the one I was looking at, and I had the uncomfortable feeling that they thought the camera was being pointed at them.  But at least this Fuji is not so large and intimidating, or so loud, as the Nikons, and I pressed quickly on and took two frames.

Technique: the table’s top was brightly lit and cluttered with many things, but I liked the look of the seats of the four chairs that were faintly glowing in the table’s shadow – and so to a composition in which the table’s bright and cluttered top is squeezed into the top fifth or so of the frame, while the seats of the chairs glow in the less brightly lit ‘underworld’ below.  There was a lot of contrast in the scene but the camera’s multi-zone metering (aided by the live histogram I’ve opted to have visible in the viewfinder) dealt with it well, and although the colour image is attractive – one of those instances where the near absence of colour really works – it really seemed to be a scene that would suit black and white, and so to SEP2.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 125mm (equiv); 12,800 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset and adding a tone.

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ARCHIVE 535 – CRUMPLED TABLE CLOTH

 

 


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Crumpled table cloth in the Cottage Cafe, Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset; 29 Aug 2011.

Whenever we go down to Burnham we never miss visiting the Cottage Cafe, which continues to serve up good food.  This time, as we were demolishing toasted teacakes and a pot of tea, my eyes were drawn to window light flowing down over a discarded table cloth – and the Nikkor telezoom, that most useful of lenses, reached out and got the image.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO.

UPDATE: now, nine years later, the Cottage Cafe has long since closed down – what a loss! 😦 

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BRISTOL 166 – AT LUNCH, DRINKING WATER (MONO)

 

 


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Carafe and glass on a wooden table top: a cool drink before the food arrives.

More images from Browns restaurant can be found by clicking onto the Browns tag below – recommended.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 800 ISO; centre-weighted average metering; Lightroom, using the Camera Astia/Soft profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Spectrum Inverse preset and adding a moderate Coffee tone; Capture NX2; Browns restaurant, central Bristol; 28 Apr 2017.
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OUTER SUBURBS 167 – WINE GLASSES ON SCRATCHED DINING TABLE

 

 


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Another image from this lunch, and more context, can be found here.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 10 Dec 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 163 – GLASS OF WINE WITH DISTANT DRINKER (MONO)

 

 


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Sitting in a local pub, awaiting their Festive Meal, which is more or less a complete Christmas dinner, but served up for many weeks before The Great Consumer Festival itself magically dawns.  The food is really quite good, and inexpensive too >>> and this Meal was my second act of devotion (nay, of downright enthusiasm!) at this particularly festive culinary shrine, and my wife’s third.

While waiting for food to arrive, I got the TG-5 out and started looking at things. For human interest, there was the genial soul at the bar, downing pints of cider like there was no tomorrow and, to the evident alarm of the barmaids, revealing that he’d just been thrown out of the pub next door for threatening to burn it down.  But I was looking for a still life – or at least a stiller and less incendiary life – and so to my wife’s glass of wine.

The subject itself is obvious, while the curving, tilting, patterned surface behind is the table top, catching the light.  Something of a Minimalist image really, I suppose, but if you turn your screen upside down (or stand on your head, if that’s what gets to you) and carefully look at the glass, you will see the reflection within of an elderly drinker (yes … that’s right … someone just a bit younger than me …), sitting near us, downing a beer.  Ah, that Old Consumer Magic … already here …

Click onto the image twice to see an enlarged version.

Technique: TG-5 at 80mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the B&W 03 profile; south Bristol; 10 Dec 2019.
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BRISTOL 155 – BOTTLE TOP ON WINDOW SILL, BROWNS RESTAURANT

 

 

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Sitting in Browns restaurant, waiting for a breakfast – a second breakfast as it happens – to arrive.  I’ve often visited this rather up market venue after hours of early morning photography on Bristol’s streets; its a wonderfully quiet place to relax – and the almost ritualistic presentation of the Full English Breakfast is a minor delight – you can see what I mean here.

But whereas Browns used to have beautiful yellow chairs that caught the sidelight pouring in through the large windows, these are now gone and – in the interval between ordering the meal and receiving it – the place is not so photographically rewarding as it once was – for example here .

But, still, there was a dull red bottle top sitting on the window sill across from my table, and the perforated top of a radiator below it, all with shadows and backlighting courtesy of the light from the large windows.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 200mm; 3200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Pop profile; Browns Restaurant, central Bristol; 29 Nov 2019.
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