ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 55 – CARS ON DRIVEWAYS, EARLY LIGHT

 

 


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The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives (and some new images too), I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  These Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context); 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 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 .  Each post will open in a separate window. 

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 400 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 23 Feb 2021.
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ARCHIVE: LEVELS 17 – SQUALL COMING, TADHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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Squall approaching, Tadham Moor, Somerset Levels; 29 Apr 2016.

I was down on the Somerset Levels last week on a cold, wet and blustery morning.  There were bare winter trees, there were fierce hailstorms too and, to my astonishment, my journey over the higher ground of the Mendip Hills had been accompanied by snowfall.  And yet all of this was only two days away from (what we Brits can only hope will be) May’s rising warmths and softnesses!  There are times when you just have to laugh at our British weather – if only because the alternative would be to weep.

Anyway, I was out on Tadham Moor, having a hot drink while sheltering behind my car from the gusting wind, when there was a perceptible stirring behind me, followed by a sudden and urgent freshening of the air.  I turned, saw this scene, and had time for a few hurried frames before those dark, trailing curtains translated into what they so clearly were – and my car was buffeted and rattled by a furious, near-horizontal deluge that lasted a minute or two and then raced on.

I wonder if summer is actually coming this year?  You never quite know in the UK.

This archive presents some of the pictures that I’ve taken on the Somerset Levels over many years.  More context can be found in the first post in this archive – 1 – and also in my first Somerset Levels post, from 2011 – here .  Further posts in this archive are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 .  All of these links will open in separate windows. 

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset, and giving the result the look of Kodak Plus-X 125PX Pro black and white film.

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.

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ARCHIVE: LEVELS 13 – LARK (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Skylark in song high above Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wedmore; 31 Mar 2014.

I love being out on Tealham Moor when these larks are singing.  Their music is far carrying and all embracing, somehow it is all around.  And, bird lover and enthusiast that I have been for these nearly 50 years, I never fail to be impressed by all of that sound emanating from such a tiny speck that rides the winds in another world, high above mine.  Often, with the song pouring over me in waves, my experienced eyes still fail to locate the singer.

This picture is a small part of a larger image.  In case you’re not sure what you’re looking at, the bird is hanging in the air, facing away from us.  Its wings are the pointed shapes on either side, and the prominent, slightly bulbous shape pointing towards upper left is the spread tail.

This archive presents some of the pictures that I’ve taken on the Somerset Levels over many years.  More context can be found in the first post in this archive – 1 – and also in my first Somerset Levels post, from 2011 – here .  Further posts in this archive are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 .  All of these links will open in separate windows. 

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset, with a little restoration of original colour.

UPDATE: I like this image very much.  Although it would be hard to show less of its subject, it is a portrait, a portrait of a small living creature high up in – and eminently at home in – the wild vastnesses of its element, the sky.  Unless we are lucky enough to be able to pick out this well camouflaged little bird on the ground, this is how we see it – a small dot, often far smaller than this, high up in the heavens.  Thinking of these little creatures high up there in the air belting out their songs really gets to me, I have to say.  This is both an integral part of the Somerset Levels, which is where this photograph was taken, and a picture of the Natural World – an entity which is never, ever boring – just getting on with it, doing its thing.

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.

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OUTER SUBURBS 308 – LOOKING DOWN OUT OF THE CITY AS THE SUN ROSE

 

 


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Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 43mm (equiv); 400 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 15 Feb 2021.
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ARCHIVE: LEVELS 2 – LOOKING WEST OVER TEALHAM MOOR, AT SUNRISE

 

 

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Having taken so many pictures of the Somerset Levels, thousands probably over the years, finding further photographic inspiration there is often not easy – and especially so when the light conditions are unexciting.  But on Friday, starting from home early, I got down there at the start of the day and instantly found myself in a visually mobile world of shifting mist and fog banks, with the sun rising behind them.

This is actually a shot from towards the end of the spectacle, looking westwards over Tealham Moor.  The sun was rising from behind thick banks of cloud along the eastern horizon, which had the effect of reducing the full force of its brilliance.  Here, looking westwards, the upper band of cloud is illuminated by the first of the sun’s rays as it emerged from the thick cloudbanks, while the thin ribbon of cloud below, and the misty surface of the moor, had yet to be fully illuminated.

This archive presents some of the pictures that I’ve taken on the Somerset Levels over many years.  More context can be found in the first post in this archive – 1 – and also in my first Somerset Levels post, from 2011 – hereBoth of these links will open in separate windows.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day. 

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.

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.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 115 – LAKE NAKURU (MONO)

 

 

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Flamingos on Lake Nakuru, Kenya; Oct 1977.  The soda-rich waters of this lake can host over a million of these birds at a time.

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

Technique:  OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens and polariser; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 114 – LAKE MAGADI

 

 

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View southwards across Lake Magadi, in southern Kenya; Oct 1978.

There are many things to see here.  First, the eastern side of Africa is disintegrating, and the cracks along which this break up is taking place are the rift valleys.  Here we are on the fairly flat floor of one of the rifts, and the hills in the far distance, right of centre, are the Nguruman Escarpment, which is the rift valley’s western wall.  Everything in the landscape between us and those distant hills is new crust – volcanic lavas and ashes – that has been forced up from inside the Earth to seal the widening cracks in its surface.

To the left of Nguruman is a very distinctively shaped hill – it looks as if its had a chunk bitten out of it: this is Shombole volcano, near the border with Tanzania.

Just in front of the left hand side of Shombole some smoke is rising from a promontory.    The lake’s soda is mined, and this smoke is rising from the soda factory in Magadi town.  The volcanic rocks of the area are rich in soda, which is leached out of these rocks by rain.  This soda is carried in solution down into the lake by streams and springs.  But, since the lake has no outlet, its waters are lost only by evaporation, leaving the soda to accumulate and form a solid crust on the lake’s surface.  The redness of the soda near the lake’s shore is caused by red algae that thrive in the highly alkaline water – the water is so alkaline that it starts to dissolve human skin when in contact with it – fingers dipped into the water start immediately to feel soapy as their skin dissolves!

This photo was taken in the dry season, and the foreground is occupied by dry, brown acacia bush.  After rain, this landscape will become temporarily green again.

I very much enjoyed Lake Magadi.  It was an easy day’s drive from Nairobi, it was fascinating geologically, and it was a very wild and exotic area (though I have a feeling it is rather less wild now).  Its at low altitude, and it was always very dry and very hot – and the air was always pervaded by the acrid stink of the lake’s soda.  A wonderful and very, very real place; when I was there, all those years ago, there was absolutely no advertising, no hype, simply raw and really quite exotic nature.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens and polarising filter; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 113 – WATERS FROM KILIMANJARO

 

 

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Freshwater springs in Amboseli Game Reserve; late 1970s.  This water originates in the snow and ice on the top of nearby Mt Kilimanjaro, and flows underground to emerge as springs in Amboseli’s dry bush country.  It is a great draw to large animals, especially elephants.

Amboseli is an especially good place to see elephants because Cynthia Moss and other scientists have studied them there for decades.  Hence they are semi-accustomed to humans, and not disturbed by their (considerate) presence. As always, whenever I visited Amboseli, it paid to be very wary of lone bull elephants, especially when they were in musth (akin to being in heat), which was often shown by seepage from glands on the sides of their heads. 

But the big herds of females and young (led by a matriarch) were far more placid – when taking clients on safari to Amboseli, I would often stop our vehicle in the path of a long line of females and young and, completely still and silent, we would watch them passing slowly around us, like slow-moving water flowing around a small island in a stream.  Once, one took some vegetation that had become attached to our front bumper.  We never had any problem doing this – although my hand was always on the ignition key – and it was really one of Life’s great experiences.  So slow, so quiet and so massive they were, but with a deep gentleness too, that often had a perceptible effect on those in the vehicle.

Elephants are one of those animals that are far more intelligent than they seem.  Examples?  A definite attitude to death, resulting in their fondling and trying to bury dead elephants; a very low frequency communication system that works over vast distances; and the ability, apparently, to smell (and remember) each individual occupant of a vehicle.  The word “awe” is used far too frequently these days, it has become devalued.  However, quite simply, awe is an emotion that elephants never fail to evoke in me.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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OUTER SUBURBS 305 – SUNRISE

 

 


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As always, the Natural World, nothing beats it – and with a touch of lens flare left in just to annoy those who think such things important …  😎

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day. 

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Modern 03 profile; south Bristol; 11 Sept 2020.
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ARCHIVE KENYA 110 – FLYING TO KENYA

 

 

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Sunrise over stratus cloud, seen from a London-Nairobi flight on 25 Sept 1979.

Back in those days, my (very portable) camera was often with me, and flights to and from Kenya were vast photo opportunities – here I’m flying south, and sitting on the left of the plane to catch the sunrise.

Below, the world is shrouded in a great blanket of stratus cloud, and the low angle light of the sunrise reveals the cotton wool textures on the cloudbank’s upper surface.

Stratus is the name for clouds that form a layer or stratum, whereas clouds that consist of many discrete parts – sometimes looking like lots of balls of cotton wool – are known as cumulus.  Cirrus clouds are the thin veils of vapour that form high up in the atmosphere.  These three cloud types all intergrade to give, for example, stratocumulus, a cloud that is in layers that consist of individual smaller cloudlets.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4; Dfine 2.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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