SOMERSET LEVELS 312 – SUNRISE BEGINS, ALLERTON MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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Driving south across the flatlands towards the village of Mark, in the early morning.

The landscape is low and dark, the night seeming unwilling to relinquish its grip.

But to my left, still below the horizon, the sun starts to light the clouds.

This picture is best seen enlarged: click onto it 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; 800 ISO; spot metering;  Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Sepia Landscape preset; Allerton Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 30 Nov 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 36 – AUTUMN 7

 

 


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Autumn sunrise over the outer suburbs.  South Bristol wakens.  People are walking their dogs, people are driving to work.  And people, the older ones mostly, are wishing “Good morning!” to friends – and to strangers – alike.  Mine is a generation more at ease with such warm, general greetings, whereas many from younger generations walk past with heads bowed, staring fixedly at the ground or into their mobile phones.

But many is the time that the cheerful uttering of these simple words – along with however brief a moment of eye contact – has raised a smile and reply from an otherwise downcast or introspective countenance – and that, to me, is something certainly worthwhile.

And, as a backdrop to all this human activity below, Our Star edges up towards the horizon.  The clouds to the east are already radiant in its glare, whereas some of those closer overhead remain – for just a little while longer – within Our Planet’s shadow.

There are earlier autumn posts here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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 32 33 34 35 .  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 enlarge it further.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 250 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 31 Oct 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 33 – JUST AFTER DAWN

 

 


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Pounding the streets in the twilight, just after dawn.  In terms of photography, pounding the streets during the Blue Hour, when the sun is still some way below the horizon and its light has a very blue shade.

And also seeing what the TG-5 can do in such poor light, and being quite impressed – this is at 1600 ISO, using spot metering.  The camera has a quick menu facility that I usually leave on ISO, so that I can change the ISO very quickly.  I usually use the TG-5’s ESP metering (which is a sort of matrix metering) and, usually, this works very well.  But one gripe that I have with the TG-5 is that, on this quick menu, the facility to change between these two metering modes is some way from the ISO controls, it takes some time to get there, so that its not really practical for altering the metering mode to meet instantaneously arising picture opportunities. Oh for a button or dial to change the metering mode – but >>> this is a small camera that’s built to take quite a bit of punishment, including submersion in water, and those priorities are, quite rightly, more important.

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 32 .  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: TG-5 at 25mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; south Bristol; 11 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 307 – THE POPLARS AT GODNEY

 

 


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Sunrise over the group of trees – Poplars, I think – on the outskirts of Godney village.  Sited as they are on a small rise in the ground, these tall and slender trees are something of a landmark in this ultimately flat countryside.

And this small rise in the ground is important too.  For, according to a 1991 book on place names, Godney refers not to a god, but to an Anglo-Saxon named Goda, who presumably had some sort of settlement / farm on this hill, when it was a small island in the vast area of marshes and lakes that occupied the Somerset Levels before they were drained for agriculture – “ney”, in Old English, means island.  In AD 971, a manuscript named this place as Godeneia.

I grew up not far from here and, for most of my life, the place names were just, well, place names.  So that it came as a real revelation to find out that the majority of these names originated in Anglo-Saxon times (c. AD 410-1066) and they in fact actually mean something, as in Goda’s island.  It helps to bring this simple but intriguing landscape to life.  There are newer names too, which result from the Norman invasion in 1066.  And, more fascinating to me, there are also older, Celtic names, ie pre-dating the Anglo-Saxons: eg river names like Avon and Severn.

The pure naturalness of this image may be reduced by the telephone wire, which I may have been able to remove post-capture but, really, my aim is to show this area as it is, rather than as some manicured ideal.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Godney, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 303 – LOOKING WEST OVER TEALHAM MOOR, AT SUNRISE (2)

 

 


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I lived in Kenya and loved the huge, towering skies of Africa.  Nearly 30 years ago (time flies!!!), I returned to the UK and have become (more of less) used to living here once more, although not subscribing to or believing in some of the things that seem to make modern Britain tick.

But I’ve never lost my memories of those tall African skies,  and the wide open skies above the Somerset Levels always remind me of them – and especially those over the Tadham and Tealham Moors, which I never tire of visiting.

This picture looks west over the rough and often untidy pasture of Tealham Moor at sunrise.  The cattle are grazing, there are clouds in the tall sky above, but the horizon is hidden behind a bank of mist at ground level.

There is another image from this early morning shoot here: 1 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 302 – 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.

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: 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.
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MENDIP HILLS 42 – LANDSCAPES FOR A DEAD WIFE 3 (MONO)

 

 


Dead trees, early morning, storm

I’m remembering my dead wife, and photographing a place we shared together long ago: you can find the full context in the first part of this series, here .  The second part of this series is here .  This is the final part of the series.

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Road, speed, darkness

If you would like to see enlarged versions of these pictures, click onto each one to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it: recommended.

Technique: all pictures were taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 camera and 55-200 Fujinon lens.  All were processed in Lightroom, and then converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.  On the edge of Priddy Mineries Nature Reserve, east of Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 20 Sept 2018.

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MENDIP HILLS 41 – LANDSCAPES FOR A DEAD WIFE 2 (MONO)

 

 

Storm, rain, clouds

I’m remembering my dead wife, and photographing a place we shared together long ago: you can find the full context in the first part of this series, here .

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Road, speed, darkness

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Writhing trees, rain, shadow

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If you would like to see enlarged versions of these pictures, click onto each one to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it: recommended.

Technique: all pictures were taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 camera and 55-200 Fujinon lens.  All were processed in Lightroom, and then converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.  On the edge of Priddy Mineries Nature Reserve, east of Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 20 Sept 2018.

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MENDIP HILLS 40 – LANDSCAPES FOR A DEAD WIFE (MONO)

 

 

Occasional, dazzling sun as dark clouds stream overhead

Many years ago, and newly arrived from equatorial climes, my wife and I were on the Somerset coast, desperately seeking a hot lunch on a bitterly cold day in the middle of winter.  However, in that distinctly non-tourist season, nowhere could oblige us.  At long last, we were saved by the Blue Anchor Hotel, between Watchet and Minehead, which, at no notice, produced delicious hot food, almost more than we could eat in fact and – as if that were not enough – wonderful warm hospitality too.  Coastal erosion will soon cause that hotel to collapse into the sea, and this fact, combined with my memories of that far off winter day, has served to bring my wife very powerfully back to me.

And so to a sentimental journey, to a place nearer home where I used to walk with Juliet, my first wife, my now long dead first wife.  A journey to walk where we walked and – if only within myself – to talk where we talked.

But, when I got there, the Natural World had other ideas, with high winds, driving rain and dark clouds rolling in across this open, upland landscape – this landscape, on the top of Mendip Hills, that was the roof of the world in my childhood, sixty years ago.

And so to thoughts and memories – very many of them – and to a flask of hot coffee within the car’s warmth and shelter.  And to looking out at, and then photographing – through the car’s streaming windows – some of the frenetic and blasting natural energy that swirled around me.  Was I afraid of the raging elements?  No, because the Natural World in all its moods enthrals me – but having my valued camera gear saturated and ruined is quite another matter!  But I knew that, Julie, the daughter of a farmer, would have enjoyed the weather’s energy too; that’s how she was.

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Main road; early morning

Two things to mention.  First, these images (which will be presented in three posts) may be a little dark, but this really has no significance beyond my penchant for dark black and white, and the fact that it was a dark day.

But, second, this post’s stark title may come as something of a shock to some.  But, while not especially looking forward to it, I feel more or less at ease with death, not least I suppose because I know that it is an inevitable reality.  But I know too that some in our advanced and civilised societies avoid mentioning The Big D, that some regard allusions to it as being in poor taste, and that some even regard it as some sort of taboo subject.  And I suppose that I find it strange that with all the imagined realities and social constructs with which we fill our heads and in which we so ardently believe, that some of us remain averse to contemplating and discussing all Life’s single, solid, and only too real destination.

Anyway, these are photos of a stormy day, taken with Julie on my mind.

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Dead trees, rolling clouds, ghostly skyline

.If you would like to see enlarged versions of these pictures, click onto each one to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it: recommended.

Technique: all pictures were taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 camera and 55-200 Fujinon lens.  All were processed in Lightroom, and then converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.  On the edge of Priddy Mineries Nature Reserve, east of Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 20 Sept 2018.

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OUTER SUBURBS 17 – STORMY SUNRISE (MONO)

 

 


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A rough, stormy sky: clouds and east-facing houses catch the first, blazing rays of the rising sun.  On the right, a telegraph pole spreads its net of telephone wires to the surrounding houses, and there is another of these poles further up the road.  These are older, semi-detached houses, probably built sometime in the 1930s or 1940s.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16Each 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 enlarge it further – recommended.

Technique: TG-5 at 57mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast and Structure preset and adding a moderate coffee tone; south Bristol; 15 Sept 2018.
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