STANTON DREW 44 – VILLAGE LIFE 11

 

 


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This is a tiny piece of England and, to me, this is simply wonderful.  We are here in Stanton Drew, beside a large and important Stone Age monument – and these are the only entry formalities!  This is what more of Life should be like!!!

The farmer has attached this box to the gate that takes us into the fields where the prehistoric stones stand, and there is a little hole in the top to receive the one pound entry charge – most people probably pay with a pound coin, a coin that is a little over two centimetres in diameter and which neatly fits through that hole.  There is a little keyhole so that the farmer can collect his pounds.  And that’s more or less it!

In a container on the gate there used to be some single page, printed leaflets that very briefly described the prehistoric site, but there were none there on my latest visit.  And a little further on there is a small, green Ministry of Works sign, informing anyone who damages or defaces these standing stones that the full weight of English Law will descend upon them – the penalties may not quite be on a par with those imposed for setting fire to Her Majesty’s dockyards, but they’ll still be pretty damned unpleasant …

After which you pass through gates which prevent livestock getting out of the fields – and you’re in the fields, and the stones stand, lean and lie wonderfully before you.
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Part of one of the stone circles, with a farm, cattle and sheep up on the hill behind – click onto the image to better see these.

An introduction to this Village Life series can be found here: 1 Further images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .    Each will open in a new window.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens; Lightroom; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 299 – MISTY MORNING, ALLERTON MOOR 3

 

 


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Looking into misty light, early in the day.

You can find other images from this dark and mysterious morning here and here.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Allerton Moor;  22 Aug 2017.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 294 – MISTY MORNING, ALLERTON MOOR

 

 


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Cows in the mist: early morning on Allerton Moor, west of Chapel Allerton; 22 Aug 2017.

Another early visit to these flatlands, with rolling banks of mist looming and vanishing with disconcerting rapidity.  Someone had just seen otters in a roadside ditch.  I couldn’t see them but then, driving on towards the village of Mark, cows were grazing in a rough field on my left and there was light seeping uncertainly through the mist.

Little colour: this reflects the original scene, and the Pro Neg Hi film simulation helps too.  The animal on the left is identifiable, but the two further off could be rocks or some derelict piece of farm machinery.  I really enjoy such lighting conditions.

I’m heading in towards minor surgery this coming week, and have much to do before I’m temporarily physically curtailed.  Hence I’ve not been able to give others’ blogs as much attention as I’d like – apologies for this.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Pro Neg Hi film simulation.
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ARCHIVE 309 – THE SUN RISING OVER GLASTONBURY TOR

 

 


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Sunrise over Glastonbury Tor, seen from Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 22 Nov 2013.

I’ve lightened the centre section to bring interest to the mid-ground with the two cows – but I’m sure they should have shadows … oh dear, digital … not always quite up to it are you?  Or maybe I’m not quite up to it – its probably me.

And of course I’m pointing my magnificent if distinctly weighty telezoom straight into the sun’s glare, and so to a second, orange sun low down in the frame, and also some rather fiery glows between that sun and the real one.  I could have gone at it with software to try and make good these optical artefacts but, first, I can’t be bothered, and second, I think they add to the atmosphere and feeling of the shot – I mean, I’m pointing a x6 telephoto directly into Our Star’s incandescent face, so what do I expect, perfect and pristine optical rendition?

I like the 80-400.  Large and unwieldy it may be and its not one of Nikon’s very quick AF-S lenses, but it is image stabilised and I can hand hold it, and it gives such reach and flexibility.

An earlier image in this series is here .

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

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO.

UPDATE: that wonderful but rather bulky 80-400 Nikkor lens has now disappeared >>> in a part exchange deal to buy a Fujifilm mirrorless camera!  I wonder if it was a wise swap?  Probably, I think, probably, and certainly so in terms of size and portability.  And the (already, in our digital world, aged) D800 has a trick up its sleeve – using it in Nikon’s APS-C format, which Nikon calls DX format, it multiplies the focal length of lenses by x1.5, so that my lighter and less bulky 70-300 Nikkor (my favourite Nikon lens of all) becomes 105-450 – and 400mm is still covered!
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ARCHIVE 298 – BLACK AND WHITE IMAGES PRODUCED BY SILVER EFEX PRO 2

 

I’ve just put out a post urging readers of my blog to take advantage of Google’s free offer of the Google Nik Collection digital photography plug-ins.  I waxed especially lyrical about the Silver Efex Pro 2 program for creating black and white images, and said that very many images produced by the program can be found on this blog.  Well, here is one – I hope you enjoy it.  (And there are others in recent posts here, here and here).

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Inquisitive as ever, out on Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 29 Aug 2013.

My ongoing warm feelings for cows.  The main subject is making a dive for my shiny lens – I fired and jumped back just before his wet muzzle engulfed it.  The expression of the next animal right is interesting – distinctly doubtful and censorious.  Maybe he read my thoughts about gravy and roast potatoes …

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

Technique: D700 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 18mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Fine Art Process preset.

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ARCHIVE 275 – CURIOUS, TOUSLED AND WET (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 

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Cow in the rain, up tight against a gate to see what I’m about; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 1 Nov 2013.

The roads here are more or less single track so that, if you want to leave your car, you have to find somewhere to get it off the road – which ought to be easy, except that the roads are mostly bordered by very soft and slippery, grassy verges that descend (cascade, might describe it better) without warning into the rhynes – the glutinous, water-filled ditches that do duty as fences in this decidedly wet part of Somerset.

I’d pulled off the road onto the muddy grass leading in towards a field’s gate, when two farmers came running down the road with some cows – one leading the animals and the other bringing up the rear – which meant that I was not going anywhere until they’d passed.

Seeing me stopped, the cows in the field rushed towards me, stampeding forwards and setting up a tremendous bellowing as they caught sight of their cousins running in the road.  In an instant the whole herd was pressed tight up against the field’s gate and, as the rain poured down, I protected the big telezoom’s front lens with its vast hood and started firing at them.

I like this shot because of its semi-abstract nature, caused by the bars of the gate cutting across the animal’s face.  And that face is demonstrably wet and tousled, soaked by the downpour.

Click onto this image to open a larger version in a separate window – clicking onto the larger image that opens will enlarge it further.

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 6400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s N 1.5 Push Process preset, with restoration of original colour.

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ARCHIVE 274 – RED RUBY DEVON (MONO)

 

 

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Red Ruby Devon cow on Peacock Farm, northeast of Westhay, on the the Somerset Levels; 21 Mar 2012.

A wild face, and one giving the impression of great power and strength.  I am a great fan of The Lord of the Rings, and of Dark Age myths and history generally – so, thinking of the great Beowulf story, could this be the monster Grendel?

Technique: close in with a long (x8 magnification), handheld telephoto, to fill the frame with just a part of the animal.

Technique: D700 with 80-400 Nikkor at 400mm; 3200 ISO; converted to mono, and toned, with Silver Efex Pro 2.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 282 – MORNING, TEALHAM MOOR

 

 

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Morning on the far reaches of Tealham Moor, southwest of Wedmore; 16 Dec 2016.

A winter’s morning in fact, just days before the year’s shortest one.  And the light flat, cold and grey at the moment of a sunrise all too ably obscured by dense cloud banks low to the southeast.

Cows registered minor interest at my arrival, before meandering uncertainly away into the low mist.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 5,000 ISO.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 278 – ASH MOOR

 

 

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I was walking along Hurn Drove, on the southwest of Ash Moor, when there was a sudden movement to my left.  My eyes met this hostile stare – and I was grateful for the water-filled ditch that flowed between us!

But he was content, in his field with his many cows and, as so often is the case, I was merely a passing source of irritation.

There is another photo of a bull on the Somerset Levels – from 2009 – in amongst the little collection of photos here.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX format to give 450mm; 800 ISO; 12 Aug 2016.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 277 – MOTHER AND CALF, WESTHAY MOOR

 

 

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Cow and her calf, Peacock Farm, Westhay Moor; 3 June 2016.

Ruby Red Devon cattle, always to be seen – and certainly a pleasure to see them – around this farm.

And a mother’s concerned look, interrogative, not unduly concerned but still wondering what the fat guy with the camera is all about.  She’s not the first to wonder that.

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO.
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