ARCHIVE: LEVELS 54 – THE VIEW SOUTH, TADHAM MOOR (MONO)


Looking south on a wet morning in early winter, with a wide angle lens on the camera, and a split tone added in post-capture processing.

Compositionally, the lines of the track, the banks of the water-filled ditch to the left of the track, the horizon and the cloud formations all draw my eyes down past the large tree.  A tree that is certainly valued, perhaps even loved –  I never come to this very special place without touching it and talking to it, as it clings stoutly to the steep bank of yet another water-filled ditch, always in danger of toppling over, as three other long-known willows behind the camera have already toppled.

Click onto the image twice to open an enlarged version: recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the B&W 12 profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Neutral preset and adding a split tone; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wedmore; 6 Dec 2019.

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: LOOKING AT CARS 28 – A CAR, WATER AND ME

 

 


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Leaning over the wet bonnet of a car I’ll never be able to afford – and, increasingly eschewing materialism as I am – which I’m totally happy not to own.  I’m on the left, glorying as I often do in the TG-5’s f2 wide angle lens, the equivalent of 25mm in full-frame format.  I’m holding my glasses as well as the camera because I can’t see well through the camera’s screen with them on >>> LOL! getting old!  And I’m looking along the slightly curving streaks of water towards the car’s windscreen wipers at far right.

The picture is rotated 90 degrees clockwise.  Occidental eyes enter images on the left and move towards the right, so that my eyes move along the water streaks towards to the darker wipers and (hopefully!) stay on them, rather than exiting the image.

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 separated window – certainly recommended.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Modern 01 profile; rotated; south Bristol; 19 July 2020.

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.  Earlier 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 .  Each post will open in a separate window.

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GARDEN 73 – A WONDERFUL ENCOUNTER 2

 

 


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Robin in our front garden.  Another image, and the full story of this encounter, are here (opens in a separate window).

The composition here is a little awkward, but I do like those leaves up in the top left corner!

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 3200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; south Bristol; 22 Sept 2020.
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ARCHIVE 555 – CROW ON A FALLEN TREE (MONO)

 

 


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Carrion Crow perched on a fallen tree; Tadham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 31 Mar 2014.

Early in the day, I pulled bleary eyed into the Magic Carpark, stumbled out of the car – and saw this crow.  Praying that it wouldn’t move, and all fingers and thumbs, I readied the camera, turned and – it was still there!  In fact it stayed there for sometime.

The tree is a casualty of the recent severe flooding.  It was probably not standing vertically before, but then its roots had been able to find sufficient purchase in the soil.  But, saturate that soil with floodwater for many weeks and turn it into something like blancmange or wet rice pudding, and the roots were simply not up to the task of keeping the great bulk of trunk and branches above them upright.

I went for a pure silhouette, with the sky completely burnt out, for simplicity – a Minimalist approach.  To me, the few branches entering the frame at upper right serve to balance the composition.  The adding of a blue tone takes the scene further away from reality.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Classic Portrait preset, and adding a Cyanotype tone.

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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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OUTER SUBURBS 258 – POST BOX AMONGST TREES (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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The Royal Mail, amongst trees.

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

Technique:  TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Push Process N+3 preset and selectively restoring colour; south Bristol; 23 July 2020.
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ARCHIVE 537 – CHAIR, WALL AND SIDELIGHTING

 

 


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I enjoy lounging around in holiday chalets and caravans.  Its a wonderful opportunity to sprawl back in comfort and enjoy the moment – and also a good chance to watch how the light interacts with things as the sun moves across the sky. 

Here, with lighting from the left, a chair at the bottom of the stairs throws its shadow onto a rough wall.  The woodwork at upper left is part of the banister of the narrow stairway.

This photo is something of a departure for me as its one of the few times that I’ve used my 50mm lens: most of my images use focal lengths far above or below this “standard” lens, which roughly approximates to human eyes’ field of vision.  I ought to use this lens more often.  It has a very useful maximum aperture of f1.4 and so is good in low light situations, and using the D800 in DX (= APS-C) format, when focal lengths are magnified by 1.5, I end up with a very useful – inspiring, even – 75mm f1.4 chunk of glass.

Click onto this image to see a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D800 with 50mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4; 11 Apr 2016.

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OUTER SUBURBS 248 – SHADOWS ON THE WALL OF AN ECCLESIASTICAL BUILDING (MONO)

 

 


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Looking at this, the solid black border (an area in shadow) on the right and the dark plants of the hedge along the bottom of the frame form a prominent black “V” which is pointing down, out the frame, towards lower right, out of our view.

Given this, it is then a case of deciding whether those shadows of a plant are conforming by diving down into that “V” and so exiting our view too.  Or whether, being ardent non-conformists, they are experiencing a lightbulb moment and flying back out towards a utopia of their own.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 320 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the B&W Green Filter profile; south Bristol; 20 Apr 2020.
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ARCHIVE KENYA 48 – THE SHORE AT LAKE NAKURU (MONO)

 

 


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Dead trees on the shore of Lake Nakuru, in central Kenya; 27 Apr 1980.  These trees grew beside the lake, but then were killed when the lake’s highly alkaline waters rose and flooded their roots.

Despite the fact that its over 40 years ago now, I can still remember taking this shot, which was originally in colour.  I remember placing the nearest tree on the right of the frame, and liking it because it was partially sunlit, and because it was leaning into the frame.

Looking at it now, my eye is taken from this leaning tree, out across the bright sky reflections in the shallow pools of water, to the tree with a dense canopy, which looks rather like an upside down ice cream cone.  This tree is also leaning into the frame, while being silhouetted against the bright sky, and just about at a compositional strong point in the picture, on the junction of the upper third and the left hand third.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO; converted to monochrome in 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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OUTER SUBURBS 244 – PHOTOGRAPHING IN A WORLD OF DIAGONALS (MONO)

 

 


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Walking in the lockdown, and photographing the long shadows thrown across a main road by the rising sun.  A shadow photographer – in both senses of the phrase – caught up in a world of stark diagonals.

There are three types of lines here.  Those running from lower right towards upper left are the shadows of roadside trees and utility poles.  The strong black and white lines running up from the lower middle of the frame towards the top right corner are the road’s pale kerb and gutter and, between the two, the black shadow of the kerb on the gutter.  And finally there are the road markings, a thin, dashed white line along the middle of the road at upper left, and other dashed lines, at a bus stop, towards upper right.

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 65mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate 1 preset; south Bristol; 22 June 2020.
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