ARCHIVE 569 – FULMAR

 

 


.

Fulmar flying along the cliff top at West Bay, Dorset; 23 Apr 2015.

How I love Dorset!  And we’ve just been down there for a few days’ break, renting a cheapo caravan not far behind the beach at the tiny “resort” of West Bay, which is on the coast south of Bridport.  I put resort in quotes because, although it is on Dorset’s absolutely totally beautiful coast and it does have a harbour with a few working fishing boats – mainly for shellfish, crabs and lobster I think – West Bay also has some really ugly holiday apartments (which sell for just under half a million pounds each) and other ugly modern buildings, and it really is a cheap and cheerful place.

BUT, that said, this is coastal Dorset, and so all this money! money! money! ugliness is set amongst just totally wonderful natural beauty.  And the little kiosks  round the harbour serve up good fish and chips, and there’s Dorset Apple Cake, and a brewery nearby that’s been churning out the good stuff since 1794, and some really nice bakeries in nearby Bridport, etc etc.  I suppose the bottom line is that its very hard to dent coastal Dorset’s vast appeal – and thank goodness for that!

Anyway, anyway –  it was the afternoon of the final day of our stay, the blast of the bright sunshine had softened a little, and I took it in my head to climb a steep hill east of the harbour, to explore a bit.  Well, OMG, it was steep, but when The Great Explorer eventually puffed and coughed his way to the top, what did he find?  Beautiful natural wilderness?  Well, no, a golf course actually, but you can’t have everything.  And as I set off regardless along the cliff top path, I caught a glimpse of a seagull coasting along the cliffs – but it didn’t look quite right.

And sure enough it wasn’t quite right, because rather than a gull it was a (Northern) Fulmar – Fulmarus glacialis – a seabird, a real denizen of the open oceans that only comes ashore to breed, on steep inaccessible cliffs like those at West Bay.  So, I watched where these birds were habitually gliding past, wound the D800 up on DX format so that my 70-300 zoom became a 105-450 zoom – and started blasting away.

It was difficult going, even with autofocus, and lots of my attempts are, shall we say, “impressionistic”.  But here is one caught above the glare of the lowering sun on the sea – and it does look like a seagull at first glance, doesn’t it – but there’s a little kink and ridge on the top of its bill that houses nasal passages, something that gulls don’t have.

And two points of interest.  Living out on the open seas as they do, and eating things like squid, fish and shrimps, these birds are up to their ears in salt – some of which they manage to get rid of by excreting it as a strong saline solution through their noses.  And, should one of these beauties feel that you’re approaching it too closely on a cliff, they will vomit their foul smelling stomach oils over you –  as a means of giving you a gentle hint.

And, finally, their plumage is white below.  The warm orange tinge to the underparts that you see in the photo was in fact the reflection of the lowering sunlight on West Bay’s beautiful, honey-coloured cliffs.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX format to give 450mm; 400 ISO.
.
.
.

ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 2 – RAINY MORNING (MONO)

 

 


.

On the Somerset Levels: Liberty Moor, east of East Huntspill, looking north to the slightly higher ground around the village of Mark; 29 Apr 2016.

A major road is temporarily closed, so commuters speed down the Levels’ back lanes to get around the blockage.

The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives, I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  Earlier Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context).

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 556 – ELDERLY WOMAN, WAITING FOR SOMEONE

 

 


.

Elderly woman, waiting for someone, in the main street of Perranporth, Cornwall; 12 Sept 2013.

I like the way that she is sandwiched within – and only partly emerging from –  a world of reflections.  She is real, but many of the other contents of the picture are the reflected images of things that are not, in a material sense, within the frame.

Aside from the parts within plain view, much more of her is visible through the shop window of the Family Butcher.  But because her left hand and arm are protruding sufficiently far left, they are reflected in this window.  Her pale blue jacket harmonises with the paler blue-greys around her.  And a sense of depth is given by the right hand vertical window edge cutting her form, while the wider window edge further left is cut by her hand.

This picture was taken within a very brief timeframe.  As I walked along the pavement, another woman was walking towards me and the elderly lady was just behind her – and gazing about all over the place, looking for the person she was due to meet. 

She turned away to look into the distance, I raised the camera and readied it in one movement, the woman approaching me looked momentarily askance – and I fired.  There was just time for two frames – before the woman in the doorway, catching sight of her friend, was gone.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 555 – CROW ON A FALLEN TREE (MONO)

 

 


.

Carrion Crow perched on a fallen tree; Tadham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 31 Mar 2014.

Early in the day, I pulled bleary eyed into the Magic Carpark, stumbled out of the car – and saw this crow.  Praying that it wouldn’t move, and all fingers and thumbs, I readied the camera, turned and – it was still there!  In fact it stayed there for sometime.

The tree is a casualty of the recent severe flooding.  It was probably not standing vertically before, but then its roots had been able to find sufficient purchase in the soil.  But, saturate that soil with floodwater for many weeks and turn it into something like blancmange or wet rice pudding, and the roots were simply not up to the task of keeping the great bulk of trunk and branches above them upright.

I went for a pure silhouette, with the sky completely burnt out, for simplicity – a Minimalist approach.  To me, the few branches entering the frame at upper right serve to balance the composition.  The adding of a blue tone takes the scene further away from reality.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Classic Portrait preset, and adding a Cyanotype tone.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 553 – FIGURE WITH RUCKSACK, DRAINPIPE, STAIRS AND TWO SKYLIGHTS (MONO)

 

 


.

Off the main street in Penzance, Cornwall; 8 Oct 2013.

This photo consists of a number of discreet segments that fit together like a rectilinear collage.  It was a case of waiting at the bottom of this intriguing corridor, somewhere I’ve photographed before, until a figure walked into that square of featureless white brightness.

The figure is anonymous.  We see quite a bit of him – he appears not too old, and used to toting his bag – and we see the illuminated, horizontal rectangle of his world – he is walking in the open air, along a side street. He may be aware of the steps on his right, but he cannot see them as we do, nor can he see the skylights, though he may be aware of the dull light they cast in the otherwise windowless corridor.

We are looking up through a tunnel into his world and can see parts of it as he does, but he cannot see our’s as we do.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Yellowed 2 preset.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 546 – RED STRING IN THE MORNING (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


.
Tadham Moor, looking east on a summer’s morning; 27 Aug 2014.  LOL! >>> I still remember when first posting this, that it was pointed out that its not string at all, it is in fact baler twine >>> but the title still appeals, so I’m going to stand corrected, retain the post’s original title but make corrections in the text below!!!  

Crouching down low, just above the tops of the grass, and seeing the world through a 12mm lens – seeing far more at one time than the unaided human eye can ever see sharply.

I’m  at the southern end of Jack’s Drove, where it meets another little back road, which is just out of view behind the tall grasses on the right – this other road, Totney Drove, runs on eastwards, between the two tall trees in the distance.

Instead of using fences, the damp fields around here are bounded by water-filled ditches.  Covered in floating water plants, the ditch bordering Totney Drove catches the light as it heads towards the two trees, while the one bordering Jack’s Drove is in shadow, at bottom left.

The soil here is very loose and wet and, on the corner of these two little back roads, there have been worries that the roads’ thin tarmac may give way under the weight of passing vehicles and slide down into the wet ditches, and so sheets of corrugated iron (visible lower right) have been driven into the soft ground, to try to prevent this.

To further warn passersby of the danger, a line of little sticks with red baler twine tied around them has been set up, but these have been ravaged by the elements and the twine hangs loose.

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

Technique: D800 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 12mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast and Structure preset and selectively restoring colour.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 541 – WINDBLOWN

 

 


.

Windblown poppy; Newquay, Cornwall; 11 Sept 2013.

I like Newquay.  It is cheap, tatty and unpretentious, and there are so many establishments offering Full English Breakfasts that I could probably stay there for a whole month and eat in a different one each day.  That said, I have the strong suspicion that most of these repasts would be of the pallid and rather tasteless variety but, still, anywhere with this number of breakfasts on offer can’t be all bad.

And, with its famous Fistral Beach facing out into the Atlantic’s rollers,  this little town is a mecca for UK surfers – as well as being the pub, nightclub and “booze / drug yourself silly” capital of the west for youngsters intent upon a good time that they may not remember too much about.

We had a couple of dry days on our short break, but the westerly wind blew throughout and the great white waves smashed into the cliffs and headlands – not that we are in any way surfers, mind!  For a start I can’t swim, and neither of us are at all into such energetic activities. 

There was a ragged flowerbed in front of some kind of religious building sandwiched in between the Houses Of Hedonism along the main drag, and the gusting westerly was sending the flowers in all directions. The waving poppies stood out from the rest, and a quarter of a second at F29 gave this pale and Impressionistic result.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 537 – CHAIR, WALL AND SIDELIGHTING

 

 


.

I enjoy lounging around in holiday chalets and caravans.  Its a wonderful opportunity to sprawl back in comfort and enjoy the moment – and also a good chance to watch how the light interacts with things as the sun moves across the sky. 

Here, with lighting from the left, a chair at the bottom of the stairs throws its shadow onto a rough wall.  The woodwork at upper left is part of the banister of the narrow stairway.

This photo is something of a departure for me as its one of the few times that I’ve used my 50mm lens: most of my images use focal lengths far above or below this “standard” lens, which roughly approximates to human eyes’ field of vision.  I ought to use this lens more often.  It has a very useful maximum aperture of f1.4 and so is good in low light situations, and using the D800 in DX (= APS-C) format, when focal lengths are magnified by 1.5, I end up with a very useful – inspiring, even – 75mm f1.4 chunk of glass.

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

Technique: D800 with 50mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4; 11 Apr 2016.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 536 – SCORPION (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


.

Nail brush; 4 August 2013.

This nail brush appeared in our bathroom recently and caught my eye every time I used the wash basin.  I like the curve of the handle, and also the way the light comes through between the groups of bristles – which resemble the legs of some monstrous millipede!

Or perhaps this is some large scorpion-like creature, its lethal sting poised above its head, making off to the left intent on giving some hapless victim a bad day.

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

Technique: tripod-mounted D800 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 200 ISO; conversion to mono, selenium toning and selective colour restoration in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Green Filter preset.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 529 – CLOUDS IN THE EARLY MORNING

 

 


.
Early morning clouds over our garden; 22 Apr 2013.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens; 400 ISO; all underexposed to various degrees in Capture NX2 to saturate colour and bring out detail.

.

.

.

.
.
.

%d bloggers like this: