ARCHIVE 527 – SWANS, GRAZING (MONO)

 

 


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Swans grazing on pastureland; Westhay Moor, south of Wedmore; 2 April 2015.

Some see swans purely as waterbirds, and on or beside water is where they’re usually encountered, reaching down into the water’s depths with their long necks to feed on aquatic vegetation.  But they are often seen out on the fields of the Somerset Levels, quite at home grazing on short grass.

These are Mute Swans, the UK’s common and often tame, resident bird.  But in the winter they may be joined here by a few Bewick’s and Whooper Swans that have come south to avoid the Arctic’s bitter freeze.

And the pylon?  Well, 15 miles or so west of here, and in stark contrast to the Levels’ rural reaches, there is the Hinkley Point atomic power station, which sends lines of such gaunt metal towers snaking out across the surrounding countryside.  The two reactors there are ageing now, but a third is proposed and construction is underway.

And  – hot question! – am I in favour of nuclear power and especially, in this instance, so close to my favourite haunts?  Well, the jury’s out on nuclear, I guess, my only certainty being that we need to get power from somewhere – news stories talk of our electricity supplies being only just sufficient to cover winter demands.  

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 2,000 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset.

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ARCHIVE 526 – TREE TRUNK AND LEAF (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Tree in the grounds of Chew Valley Lake, a reservoir in Somerset; 14 Sept 2009.

I’ve taken this image into SEP2, added lots of contrast and structure, and then re-introduced colour into the leaf.  Converting an image to mono and then re-introducing colour to selected elements of it is very easily done in SEP2 and, of course, most easily done where, as in this image, one part of the composition is of a very different colour to the rest.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 210mm; 6400 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, with selective restoration of colour.

 

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ARCHIVE 524 – TWO TREES, IVY AND BRAMBLES (MONO)

 

 


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View between two tree trunks – two trees, ivy and brambles –  beside North Chine Drove, on the Somerset Levels southeast of Wedmore; 19 Mar 2012.

I have a thing for stark tree silhouettes, and here my larger telezoom pulled this image right in, to make it frame-filling.  Use of the long focal length also has the benefit of small depth of field, so that the landscape seen through this gap registered as sufficiently hazy and low contrast for SEP2 to block it out completely, leaving the ivy and brambles against a plain backdrop.

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

Technique: D700 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono, and toning, with Silver Efex Pro 2.

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ARCHIVE 522 – SNOWSTORM (MONO)

 

 


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Snow falling in our back garden; Bristol; 5 Jan 2010.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; converted to mono in Alien Skin’s Exposure 2, and given the look of Fuji Neopan 1600 black and white film.

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ARCHIVE 521 – FLY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Fly on a horse’s forehead, south of Catcott Burtle, on the Somerset Levels; 3 June 2014.

My penchants for getting up close and personal, and for keeping things simple.  To me, the fly is the subject here.  I look first at the fly but then realise that something else, something far larger and potentially more menacing, is there too.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset and selectively re-introducing colour.

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ARCHIVE 517 – HERRING GULL (MONO)

 

 


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Herring Gull: winter plumaged adult at St Ives, Cornwall; 27 Sept 2012.

This individual is sitting on a wall, but I want to show nothing but the bird and its overcast backdrop and so have cropped the wall out.  Mono simplifies the picture, and gives the impression of  a tough and rugged individual used to enduring the dull, overcast, wintery conditions.

These birds have pure white heads in summer, but this one has the streaked head and neck that appears later in the year.

I like the detail in the feathering at lower left, especially the single feather sticking up from the rest.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting from the Antique Plate 1 preset.

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ARCHIVE 515 – A FARMER AND HIS WIFE, OFF TO CHECK THEIR CATTLE AS THE DAWN BREAKS

 

 


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A farmer and his wife, off in their Land Rover to check on their cattle out on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels, after the long, late November night; 27 Nov 2014.

I was having a second breakfast of hot coffee and thick, bitter marmalade sandwiches in the Magic Carpark, when this old couple drove by, waving and smiling in a very friendly way, and made off down the foggy track to make sure that all was well with their cattle after the long, cold night.

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: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 86mm; 6400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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ARCHIVE 513 – HAZEL, A (FOR ONCE) PLANNED IMAGE

 

 


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Hazel leaves, in our back garden; 25 June 2013.

This was captured with a definite visual plan – the eye enters the frame from the left, very soon hits the brightest component, and then moves rightwards and upwards along the “tail” of darker objects leading to the upper right corner of the frame.  The eye might then exit the frame in the upper right corner: having the final element of the “tail” there might stop it, or it might have been better to have this corner dark.

I never cease to marvel at the beauty of Nature.  What am I looking at here, what is my camera recording?  Well, light that has travelled 93 million miles from Our Star, to partially shine through a small component of one of Earth’s myriad lifeforms.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 250 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 512 – HAZEL AND REEDS

 

 


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Hazel shoots beside reeds; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 15 May 2015.

A spring morning, and young hazel shoots rise up from the drier ground beside one of the lake’s fringing reed beds.

The glowing greens of the young leaves are really the thing here, and so a shallow depth of focus reduces the reeds’ hard linear shapes to the softest of dark, streaked blurs.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 511 – JUST OVER OUR BACK FENCE, IN JANUARY

 

 


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Wood Pigeon, just beyond our back fence; 30 Jan 2010.

The snowy Ash trees make an abstract, with slightly stronger and darker vertical elements either side of the bird, which is nervously looking back at me over its shoulder.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO.

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