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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SOMERSET LEVELS 275 – SUMMER, TEALHAM MOOR

 

 

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Summer warmth and relaxation: a meadow on Tealham Moor; 3 June 2016.

The colour has been desaturated in CEP4 to give a slightly unreal look – must use this technique more often.

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 265 – RAINY MORNING

 

 

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Westhay Moor; 14 Sept 2015.

Particularly as my years accumulate, there are times when I’m immensely grateful for the shelter afforded by a car – and this was on of those times.

Early morning, and as I pushed on westwards across Westhay Moor, the skies opened.  The road was soon awash, and all of my car’s windows were firmly closed.  Then a large tractor loomed inexorably at me out of the murk and, on the single track highway, there was no alternative but to try and get my smaller car off the road – and I ended up on (thankfully!) firmish ground beside the gateway to a field.

The tractor rumbled by and, as usual, the ground all around shook like a jelly from the shock of its weight – the roads and indeed the ground around here have few foundations, for 60 or more feet below the surface of the ground there is only wet peat and clay.

I made to pull back onto the road again but glanced left as I did so – and found myself looking into this face, that was peering out at me through the gate’s bars.

The rain was still sheeting down, the car windows were running with water and so was he.  I felt for him, I have to say, I was so glad to be dry.  And I lifted the camera off the passenger seat, cranked up the ISO and, with little hope of success, took his picture.

Top quality it certainly isn’t, but maybe it gives a feel for the moment.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 3200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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ARCHIVE 166 – RUBY RED DEVON (MONO)

 

 

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

Having large animals fill the frame has always attracted me – I like to get in close to them, usually with a sizeable telephoto and, in a way, turn them into landscapes. 

Here the accent is very much on the animal’s pale and coarsely hairy face, with its bulging eye and odd strands of pale straw.  Then my eye is taken left to its wonderfully hairy ear and then, further left again, the dark flank fades off into abstraction.

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

D700 with 80-400 Nikkor at 400mm; 3200 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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