ARCHIVE 594 – STILL LIFE, IN FLIGHT

 

 


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Black-headed Gull, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 27 Sept 2013.

A still life?  Really?  Well, one way of looking at this is that, since the camera shutter was only open for 1/1600th of a second, it has effectively frozen this instant in the life and doings of this living being – and so it is “Life”, yes, but it is also “Still” – or, more correctly I suppose, “Stilled”!    And living things e.g. plants can of course be included in still life assemblages – if their movements are too slow to register in the resulting image.

But the real reason for my calling this a still life is that when I looked at the whole of this image and saw this powerfully down-sweeping wing, I was struck by its beauty, and so cropped the image to make it the main feature – with the bird’s head just peeping into the picture to add a little context.  So that, ok, it is a bird in flight, a moving object, but to me it has now become more of a design, or a set piece if you like. 

The fundamental difference between this image and a conventional still life is that it is not supported on anything that we can see, like a table top for example.  All support here is provided by the whirling and invisible air.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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BIRDS 131 – GREAT WHITE EGRET

 

 


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Great White Egret, a member of the heron family, on the edge of a reed bed in Herons Green Bay, at Chew Valley Lake, a reservoir just south of Bristol.  Two things make this photo rather special to me.  First, this was one of the places where two school friends whom I am still in touch with – one in The States, the other in Australia – got me into birding in 1967.  Herons Green Bay looks much the same as it did all those years ago, and its good to go back there now (less than half and hour’s drive away) and see this part of my birding roots more or less as they were.

The other thing is that the presence of this bird shows just how things can change because, back in the 1960s, this was a very rare bird in the UK, whereas now small numbers breed in the UK and there are usually a few individuals  at Chew Lake.  I imagine this is somehow related to climate change.

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

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; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 7 Dec 2020.
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BIRDS 130 – BLACK-HEADED GULL 3

 

 


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Adult Black-headed Gull in winter plumage.  The dark brown hood of the breeding plumage (see here ) has been replaced by diffuse dark markings on the head and, notably, a dark spot behind the eye.

An agile, small gull, quite common around here at the moment as they scavenge, uttering their shrill screams, over the city and out around the suburbs.

There is another photo of this species here .

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

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; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 7 Dec 2020.

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ARCHIVE 589 – SWAN, PREENING

 

 


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Mute Swan reaching back behind its wing to get at an itch or readjust its feathers.  

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom; Herriots Bridge, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 3 Apr 2017.

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CHEW LAKE 25 – THE VIEW EAST, ACROSS THE LAKE (MONO)

 

 


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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO;  Lightroom, starting at the Camera Graphite profile; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 7 Dec 2020.
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ARCHIVE 549 – MUTE SWAN (MONO)

 

 


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Mute Swan Cygnus olor, the common, resident and often tame swan in the UK.  The large black knob on the forehead shows this to be a male.

Composition: close in with a long telephoto, which often works for me.  The bird’s head and long neck form the left edge of the frame, the bird is looking down into the frame, and his body is only faintly seen; all else is water with a very faint surface texture.  Use of black and white simplifies things still further.

And perhaps there’s a feeling here that he’s too large for the frame, that he’s bursting out of the frame.  Or, then again, perhaps he’s coming in closer, to have a better look at us.

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 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Cool Tones 2 preset and adding a light tone; 16 Feb 2018; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset.

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ARCHIVE 538 – THE VIEW EASTWARDS, ACROSS HERONS GREEN BAY (MONO)

 

 


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Looking out eastwards across Herons Green Bay, to the low hills that surround Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 27 July 2011.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro, probably.

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ARCHIVE 534 – MALLARD DUCKS (MONO)

 

 


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Mallard ducks on the edge of Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 6 Apr 2015.

A pair of these common and often very tame ducks, at Herons Green. 

On the left, the male stands immobile on one leg.   On the right, his mate’s busy preening sends great numbers of ripples out into the shallows.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 200mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

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ARCHIVE 526 – TREE TRUNK AND LEAF (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Tree in the grounds of Chew Valley Lake, a reservoir in Somerset; 14 Sept 2009.

I’ve taken this image into SEP2, added lots of contrast and structure, and then re-introduced colour into the leaf.  Converting an image to mono and then re-introducing colour to selected elements of it is very easily done in SEP2 and, of course, most easily done where, as in this image, one part of the composition is of a very different colour to the rest.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 210mm; 6400 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, with selective restoration of colour.

 

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ARCHIVE 512 – HAZEL AND REEDS

 

 


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Hazel shoots beside reeds; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 15 May 2015.

A spring morning, and young hazel shoots rise up from the drier ground beside one of the lake’s fringing reed beds.

The glowing greens of the young leaves are really the thing here, and so a shallow depth of focus reduces the reeds’ hard linear shapes to the softest of dark, streaked blurs.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.

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