ARCHIVE 361 – SWAN, PREENING (MONO)

 

 


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This image is best seen at larger scale – click onto to it to see a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

Mute Swan at Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, not far south of Bristol; 6 Apr 2015.

The bird is preening, busily rearranging its feathers in a flurry of activity that is sending concentric ripples out across the surrounding water.

There is another photo of this bird, in very different pose and style, here .

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; -0.3EV; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

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STILL LIFE 229 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 21 (MONO)

 

 


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Chairs beside a table at the Hurtwood Inn Hotel in Peaslake, Surrey;  25 Mar 2012.

An assemblage of shapes, shadows and textures with – especially in the background – obscure and abstract shapes.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 .  Each will open in a new window.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor at 120mm; 400 ISO; converted to mono, and toned, in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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ARCHIVE 357 – MORNING DEW (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Field gate on Tealham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 10 Apr 2014.

Early morning along Jack’s Drove, and a world soaked in dew.  The silver cobwebs, with the rising light behind them, are everywhere.  Here three struts in a gate provide the picture’s solid structures, and then the web is strung across the frame, and there are large drops of dew hanging from the gate at upper left.

This is a black and white image with much of its original colour restored, semi-faithfully.  One of the reasons that such colour restorations appeal to me is that, since black and white is already far from reality, I don’t feel that I must necessarily restore the original colours accurately – put another way, since I’m already way out in the realms of unreality, a little more unrealness (is that a word???) won’t matter!

The bar at the top and the diagonal one are casting slim shadows, which is why the silvery web strands fade as they come near them.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast and Structure preset, and selectively restoring colour.

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ARCHIVE 354 – MY WIFE’S GLASS OF WINE (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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A final shot of my wife’s glass of wine, this time in black and white with some restored colour; 16 Mar 2014.

Two earlier images in this series, along with more context, are here and here – recommended.

As always, mono simplifies the scene.  The bright tips of the fork assume new prominence – a short and slightly sinuous line of bright points –  and the wine’s restored colour resembles an inferno in a glass.  Nuclear fission?  Well, hardly, I mean its only rosé … but fill a glass, a bigger, balloon-type glass is best,  with Moortgat’s Duvel  or Westmalle’s Tripel (and drinking these delights at anything but room temperature is, of course, unthinkable)  … and you might feel both shaken … and stirred …

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 240mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset.

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ARCHIVE 353 – CATTLE BESIDE THE NORTH DRAIN (MONO)

 

 


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A misty morning along the North Drain, looking east from the Jack’s Drove bridge; the Somerset Levels; 28 Aug 2013.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 270mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro’s High Key 2 preset.

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ARCHIVE 352 – PAINTED LADY

 

 


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Painted Lady butterfly beside the South Drain, on Shapwick Heath, south of Westhay, on the Somerset Levels; 26 Oct 2009.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO.

An absolutely beautiful and highly informative book which I recommend to anyone interested in butterflies and/or wildlife art is The Butterflies of Britain & Ireland, by Jeremy Thomas (a butterfly specialist) and Richard Lewington ( a very skilled artist); 1991; ISBN 0-86318-591-6 – highly recommended.  From this book I learn that this species is probably not permanently resident in any part of Europe, because it does not hibernate and  its caterpillars perish at any temperature below 5 degrees C.  Instead, the Painted Ladies that we often see in parks and gardens and in the countryside have probably bred around desert edges in Africa and Arabia, and then moved north up into Europe in huge numbers – something which I find impressive.

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ARCHIVE 351 – MOTHER AND BABY (MONO)

 

 


A mother sooths her troubled baby.

This is an intimate family moment that I feel privileged to have been close to.  I’m not saying that this family resents my photography, in fact quite the reverse is true.  But here is an intimate moment, frozen in time, and monochrome is the ideal medium with which to record it –  no distracting colours, just the emotions seen in the sidelong views of the two faces.  The dark, uniform background also helps: a cluttered background would ruin this shot’s simplicity.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; Bristol; 26 Apr 2009.
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ARCHIVE 348 – 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.

This horse was in a field with the other one pictured recently.

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

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 347 – POLLARDS AT TEALHAM (MONO)

 

 


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Pollarded willows on Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 30 Oct 2014.

A typical Levels landscape – dead flat countryside,  with water (sometimes a lot of water!) and pollarded trees.  Pollarding is explained here.

The more I look at this, the more these trees resemble knobbly headed beings with huge coiffures, that are coming slowly forwards to look at me – the second and third from the left, in particular, seem to be craning to get a better view.

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

Technique: D700 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 24mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2; Color Efex Pro 4.

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ARCHIVE 344 – MIST LIFTING, HERONS GREEN

 

 


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Early morning mist lifting at Herons Green Bay, Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol; 6 Apr 2015.

Driving through the Chew Valley, heading for the Mendip Hills, I came out onto an open stretch of road beside Chew Valley Lake and was suddenly enveloped in thick mist.  But over to my left the sun was starting to rise, the mist was lifting and changing colours in the most visually seductive ways – and I swerved into a layby, jumped out and started taking pictures.

I was there for about an hour, and this is the first of a short series of images from that misty morning.  I love images with little detail, and the telezoom that I’m married to was just right for picking out scenes in that warm softness.

Chew Valley Lake is a large reservoir, the 5th largest artificial area of water in the UK.  It was opened in 1956, to supply Bristol with drinking water.  It has many memories for me because it was here, in 1967, that two school friends first opened my eyes to birds and birdwatching, and so set me on a path and interest that continued through to 2002.  I no longer go birdwatching, but I retain a deep love and feeling for birds, and see them as an essential facet of all land-, water- and skyscapes.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 78mm; 200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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