ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 28 – PLANTAIN (MONO)


Perhaps a still life in the true sense of the term – Plantain from our Bristol garden; 22 June 2014.

Taking my life (and my plant guide) in my hands, I’m going to identify this as the Ribwort Plantain.  And this is the first denizen of our front garden that I’ve pictured.  Not that it was in the front garden when I pictured it.  Seeing these plantains – plants that I’ve always liked – beside our front gate, I held back The Destructor (our petrol mower) from roaring and ravaging over them and instead let it roar and ravage around them, so that I could preserve them and bring a bloom indoors.

And if this is indeed the Ribwort Plantain, my little book tells me that its one of the commonest European plants – and also that it grows in “grassy and waste places”, which describes our diminutive and scraggy front garden to a tee.

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

Technique: D800 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 100 ISO; tripod; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Landscape preset.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



GARDEN 75 – ROE DEER: MOTHER AND CALF IN OUR GARDEN


The female Roe, on our back “lawn”

Our back garden in Bristol is becoming increasingly wild, largely because I’m far more of a naturalist than a I am a gardener.  We live in the city’s outer suburbs and, although there are other houses all around, there is also a lot of unmanaged woodland, including that along the track of a disused railway that runs behind our back fence.  When I moved in here in 1990, the elderly couple next door could still remember the steam trains passing just behind our properties.

And, because of our garden’s wildness, its quiet and its seclusion, we often see wild deer from our kitchen window.  Most common are Muntjacs, which are small deer that were introduced into the UK from China in the 1800s, and the third image in this post shows a mother and calf beside our garden path earlier this year.

But we also see Roe Deer, the smallest native species in the UK, and on 25 June we were very pleased to be visited by a mother with her calf.  The mother Roe is shown above, and with her calf below.  We have also seen Roe stags, notably one that, very early one morning, was enjoying eating our neighbour’s rose blossoms.

Its very good to see these deer, both in terms of interest and – in these sad days – in terms of lifting our spirits too.  But we also feel a real sense of satisfaction in that, unkempt as our garden may be, these females evidently feel it a safe and secluded place into which to bring their young.

Click onto the images to open larger versions in separate windows – recommended.

The Roe with her speckled calf

The Muntjac and her calf, earlier this year

ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 21 – IN OUR BACK GARDEN, LONG AGO


 

Out in our back garden, long ago, looking up at backlit leaves and out of focus highlights in the backdrop – most probably taken with a long telephoto, probably my 70-300, with spot metering for the leaves.

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

Originally a film photo, all technical details lost.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



GARDEN 74 – MUNTJAC AND CALF


 

Female Muntjac deer and her young calf, in our back garden, just below the kitchen window, early this morning.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 6400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; shot through the double-glazed window; our back garden in Bristol; 27 May 2021.



THOUGHTS 15 – SOMETHING WONDERFUL … DEEP IN NIGHT’S DARKNESS …


Lying awake last night, sleepless but enjoying the moment – the darkness, the stillness, the quiet – when something truly wonderful happened.  A Muntjac stag (perhaps the one shown here) started barking, a long series of somewhat low, hoarse growls, proclaiming his presence and territory to the night. 

The modern world doesn’t interest me too much, the incessant media and celebrity frenzy, the burgeoning materialism and competitiveness, whereas the natural world never ceases to be a source of interest, excitement and beauty. 

And lying there in bed, listening to this little (think about fox-sized) deer piercing and enriching the night with his calls, was a truly moving and deep experience.  I have been lucky in my life in experiencing some very wild places with wildlife to match, and the sense of excitement and awe has never gone away.  Lying there, listening to this little stag, was simply a moment of magic, pure magic.



HOME 7 – LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW

 

 


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Looking out of the kitchen window, with a long telephoto and some good light.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; the back garden; 26 Nov 2020.
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HOME 5 – LOOKING OUT THROUGH LACE CURTAINS

 

 


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Looking out through lace curtains, as sunrise starts to light our back garden.  The curtain rail cuts starkly across the top of the image.  Because the curtains themselves are still in shadow at this early hour, they have taken on a blue hue, which (although it could easily be corrected) I think adds to things.

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.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Modern 01 profile; at home; 25 Nov 2020.
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ARCHIVE 583 – AUTUMN 2

 

 


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Autumn leaves form a carpet around the Hazel in our back garden; 30 Oct 2009.

Used away from the horizontal, the fisheye lens has given the whole photo the appearance of showing an elevated ridge in the ground.  Back beyond the Hazel’s trunks, the patches of green lawn appear to be sloping down to either side.  And the nearest leaves seem to be bulging up towards the camera, and to be swirling in a circular fashion – which is an effect I like.

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

Technique: D700 with Sigma 15mm full frame fisheye lens; 800 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 579 – A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE

 

 


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I’ve been lucky enough to have had many wonderful experiences with the inhabitants of the natural world, and another exploded upon me this afternoon – 24 July 2013 – in my back garden!  Having eaten a little too much lunch, I shouldered the D700 and wandered down into the unkempt jungle that, until I do something about it, is, well, the back garden.

Although I’ve cut a lot of vegetation back, the Hazel and the Lower Oak throw up such a screen that the bottom of the garden isn’t very visible until you get right on down there.  So, I brushed through the tree’s screen and, there in front of me, the Buddleia that I’d also hacked had brought forth many blossoms and, feeding on these, were more Peacock butterflies than I can remember seeing together in one place- there were at least 10 of them in a small space, and the combination of the blooms and the butterflies in the bright sunlight was simply wonderful.

I’d like to have used the 105mm macro but the butterflies were just a bit too far away, so I got up close and personal again with my lover – the 70-300 – and we went at it together.  Put simply, I love butterflies, they have a magic for me, and I’m a sucker most of all for the big ones – these Peacocks, and the Red Admirals, Painted Ladies, the two Whites, the Commas and the Tortoiseshells that are still relatively common in the garden – tho nothing like so common as they were in my childhood, in the 1950s.

I own a simply beautiful book – The Butterflies of Britain & Ireland, by Jeremy Thomas and Richard Lewington (ISBN 0-86318-591-6) – that contains wonderfully beautiful, life-sized paintings together with a wealth of fascinating detail.  This is a favourite book.  If I had to choose just five of my many books to keep, this would certainly be in the five.  If you love natural things, I recommend it unreservedly – my edition is 1991 – I don’t know if its still in print.

And this tells me that the main emergence of new Peacocks occurs in late July – and here we are!

So, some pictures.  Not portraits, but here are the wonderful creatures.  All Nikon D700 with the 70-300 lens, mainly at 300mm; 400 or 800 ISO.

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GARDEN 73 – A WONDERFUL ENCOUNTER 2

 

 


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Robin in our front garden.  Another image, and the full story of this encounter, are here (opens in a separate window).

The composition here is a little awkward, but I do like those leaves up in the top left corner!

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 3200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; south Bristol; 22 Sept 2020.
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