SOMERSET LEVELS 393 – EARLY MORNING 5

 

 


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Early morning, Tealham Moor.

Once more, in-camera processing.  The image looks rather flat, but I’ve deliberately it in the Neutral profile (to which, since I shoot Raw files, my camera is permanently set) to stay with the rather low contrast, quite misty, early morning light.

Other images in this Early Morning series are here: 1 2 3 4 .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 800 ISO; jpeg created and processed in-camera from a Raw file, using the Camera Neutral v2 profile and in-camera cropping; further minor processing in Lightroom; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wedmore; 9 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 387 – ANIMAL 8

 

 


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Driving across Godney Moor, glancing out of the car window and, momentarily, looking straight into his eyes.  And so to very slowly and quietly backing the car up to get opposite him, and to taking several shots out of the car window – while all the while being grateful for the water-filled ditch between us.

I started this Levels’ Animal series with portraits of farm cats: see this link for the first image in this series, and much context; there are other images of these cats from this series here 2 3 4 5 .  Then came a picture of a deer 6 .  Next there are some recent pictures of cattle: 7 .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Standard v2 profile; Godney Moor, on the Somerset Levels west of Wells; 19 July 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 380 – ANIMAL 7 (MONO)

 

 


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A summer’s morning down on the Levels, and after a lot of early morning photography I was relaxing with hot coffee and a sandwich in a spot on Tadham Moor that I know as the Magic Carpark.  I’ve given it this somewhat strange name because, many years ago now, being in this little, quiet place helped me through terrible times in my life, and I’ve been coming here ever since.  And, after I’ve downed the very last of my very special Belgian beers, this is where my ashes will be scattered.  A wonderful and eminently simple little place.

On this particular morning, in the field next to the rough track that leads off south from the Carpark, there was a herd of cows, largely motionless, along with their calves.  And the more I looked at these cows, and at the morning’s light washing over them, the more I was drawn to them.  And so, putting down the coffee and picking up the Z 6, I walked slowly and quietly down the rough track towards them.

Arriving next to the cows, I kept very still and quiet and just looked at them.  Most were unconcerned by my presence, but this one, who had been lying down beside her calf, stood up to look at me, and advanced a few paces – and I was very glad of the water-filled ditch – the rhyne – that lay between us.  But, keeping silent and motionless paid off and, slowly raising the camera, I carefully started making images of this very placid scene.

I started this Levels’ Animal series with portraits of farm cats: see this link for the first image in this series, and much context; there are other images of these cats from this series here 2 3 4 5 .  Then came a picture of a deer 6 .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 330mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral v2 profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Cool Tones 1 preset; the Magic Carpark, Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 12 July 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 378 – MOMENTS OF UNEASE

 

 

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Driving eastwards on Hearty Moor, driving towards the rising sun.  A farmer in a huge 4×4 stopped, looked down at my little car and me, and announced that his cows were on their way down the road towards me, but “just pull over to the side and you’ll be fine!”.

Well, a narrow – in fact single track – road, there was nowhere else to go.  And so to really large, living things moving slowly down the road past me, to huge faces brushing up against the car windows and, catching sight of me within, shying away in panic; and in one unnerving instance, one of their significant bulks trying to squeeze through the little gap between the car and the hedge …

Well, you say, they were only cows, but I have two takes on this.

First, and on the positive side, I used to take paying guests on safari in Kenya, and often used to stop my vehicle in front of an advancing column of elephants, telling everyone to be very quiet and to keep still, and to let the elephants bear down upon us and flow around the vehicle like water around an island in a stream – once, one took even some greenery that had become entangled in our front bumper and ate it.   These were truly wonderful experiences, the great beasts moving slowly past us, the noises, the smells – it was said that an elephant can smell each individual occupant of a vehicle and remember the smell too!  BUT I was younger and less sensible then >>> although my hand was always on the vehicle’s ignition key, and I was in a larger, safari vehicle rather than my little car!  And having been studied for many years, the elephants of Amboseli Game Reserve were very used to people.  Although, even then, getting too near a big bull was really not a good idea.

But second, on the negative side – and much nearer home too – a cow broke out of its field near Bristol a few years back, panicked and ran off down the road.  And when confronted by a small car like mine, it ran up over the bonnet and roof in its panic, killing the driver.  And so to moments of unease on Hearty Moor, though still managing to fire off a few frames.

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 10-25 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Provia/Standard profile; Hearty Moor, east of Glastonbury on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 331 – A SHORT WALK BESIDE A FARM

 

 


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I take pictures of the Somerset Levels and, by and large, they are more or less scenic – I’m trying to portray/celebrate Nature, natural things.  But its certainly true that one of the things that attracts to the relatively small area of the Levels that I habitually infest is its unkempt, real and unprettyfied nature >>> quite in character for me, I suppose!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

This is real, working, agricultural country, warts and all.  There is no provision here for the tourist trade, and outside of the few commuter villages, no gentrification either.  This working countryside has with real working rubbish/refuse/trash – in some places quite startling amounts of it – along with functional but sometimes ramshackle buildings, and that’s all just fine by me.

And so to a short walk, and some photos, beside a farm on Little Moor – off to the west of the Tealham and Tadham Moors that I usually visit.

Clicking onto each image will open a larger version in a separate window, and clicking onto that image will further enlarge it >>> worthwhile, really, because these pictures contain a lot of detail and texture.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens; 3200 and 6400 ISO >>> it was a dull morning!; Lightroom; Little Moor, southeast of the village of Mark, on the Somerset Levels; 12 Apr 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 322 – FARM ANIMAL (MONO)

 

 


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Leaning on a farm gate along River Bridge Drove, on the western edges of Tealham Moor, and – inevitably – becoming the centre of attention.

I’ve processed this to bring out detail, and can’t help but see some traces of bewilderment – and perhaps despair too –  in this face.  But then, I eat meat, and it would certainly be wrong to pretend otherwise.

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 300mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast and Structure preset and adding a light coffee tone; River Bridge Drove, southwest of Westham, on the Somerset Levels; 22 March 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 320 – SUNRISE, TADHAM MOOR

 

 


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Looking east, Tadham Moor: the day begins.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 .  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 – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wedmore; 19 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 310 – CATTLE, TADHAM MOOR

 

 


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Cattle grazing at sunrise: a scene that was almost silent, save for the animals’ faint shuffling, and the subdued sounds of birds, running water and a light breeze.

I’ve been turning out old papers, and have come upon copies of a long defunct birding magazine.  One of these has an article on the area of the Levels that I regularly visit, in which there are two quotes that I think really encapsulate the place.  I’d like to share them with you:

There are many features in common throughout the whole area; the quiet scene of grassland and cows, rhynes and pollarded Willow trees, windbreaks and thick old hedges and dead straight roads and droves.

And then, secondly:

All seasons have one important factor in common, that is a peaceful scene with very few people in it, no summer crowds and no traffic clogging the quiet roads.

These words say it all about the Tadham and Tealham Moors.  They are of course not natural landscapes, they are (fairly rough and untidy) open pastures that have been reclaimed, over the centuries, from large areas of lakes and marshland.  But they are plain and simple, what you see is what you get.  And I will end by quoting from this post’s opening sentence:

… a scene that was almost silent, save for the animals’ faint shuffling, and the subdued sounds of birds, running water and a light breeze.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 .

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 106mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Tadham Moor, 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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ARCHIVE 368 – TADHAM MOOR, WITH FRIESIANS (MONO)

 

 


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Tadham Moor, looking northwest towards Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 29 Aug 2013.

On the right, Jack’s Drove runs northwards towards the bridge over the North Drain.  Droves originated as networks of tracks that enabled farmers to access their fields without crossing those of other farmers.  A few of these droves, like the one here, are now tarmac roads, usually single track or nearly so.  The trees include many Alders, which thrive in this area’s perpetual wetness.

On the left, Willows overhang the rhyne (local dialect for a water-filled ditch; rhymes with “seen”) – they were often planted alongside these waterways to strengthen the banks.

And in the centre, the rhyne curves around the end of a field, at once helping to drain its water and also providing a fenceless barrier – the only fences being very small affairs where the fields’ gates are accessed by little bridges across the rhynes.  And, finally, the ubiquitous Friesian cattle – curious about this lensman, as always.

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

Technique: D700 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 12mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting with the Full Dynamic Harsh preset.

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