OUTER SUBURBS 140 – MODERN HOUSING 10 (MONO)

 

 


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Sunrise glances across a trim front garden in the outer suburbs.  The baby bushes, all in a row, are lit by its welcome radiance. 

And there is a little fence too which, while hopefully not bereft of any hint of the ornamental, is basically the symbolic barrier between two privately owned residences.  The fence casts a long shadow, as well it might in this materialistic world.

There are earlier Modern Housing posts here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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Technique: TG-5 at 49mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the B&W 03 profile; south Bristol; 18 Sept 2019.

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OUTER SUBURBS 138 – GARDENS IN SUBURBIA

 

 


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Front gardens >>> tasteful modern Minimalism perhaps >>> or yet another example of the ongoing subjugation of All Things Green to convenience and The Age of the Car?

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Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 250 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 19 Aug 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 125 – FRONT GARDENS

 

 


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Botanical Rebellion in the Age Of The Car >>> let’s hear it for the bush!!!

(Postscript: a few days after I shot this, the bush was pruned / aka hacked, but I’m not going to tell you that …)

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 29 July 2019.
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ARCHIVE 409 – GREY SQUIRREL (MONO)

 

 


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Grey Squirrel outside our kitchen window; 16 Dec 2009.

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Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 800 ISO; converted into mono and toned in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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ARCHIVE 408 – OAK

 

 


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Backlit Oak leaves in our garden; 27 June 2009.

I’m a complete sucker for backlit leaves, and lucky to have a rather wild garden in which live several trees >>>  >>> >>> and do you know, for some reason, it means much more to me to say that these trees LIVE in our garden, rather than that they are merely growing there – to me, it makes them seem more alive, more like friends perhaps – certainly beings that are held in at least the same esteem as a particularly treasured cat or dog would be.  So do I touch and talk to these trees >>> of course I do!!!  It is an extremely gentle and above all peaceful thing to do – you should try it!

All of these trees except the two Apples are naturally seeded: in the case of our favourites – two Oaks and a Hazel – quite possibly by Jays and squirrels burying nuts and acorns as winter food stores.  All three of these favourites are now about 15 years old, and we have watched them grow from the tiniest of saplings.  We are dwarfed by them now.

This is a sprig on the Upper Oak (i.e. the one at the top of the garden).  I’ve exposed for the backlit leaves, and made sure (pre- and post-capture) that the background is dark and unobtrusive.  And if we’re coming at it from design, the sprig goes left to right across the image, as it does in real life.

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Technique:  D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 400 ISO.

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GARDEN 71 – ROE DEER

 

 


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We are lucky to have a long back garden, which I have let go largely wild, and which backs out onto even wilder woodland.  This makes for a wide selection of wildlife, often in plain view from our kitchen window – and it was this wonderful natural space that kept me sane when I returned to Bristol from leading wildlife safaris in Kenya, 30 years ago.

We are lucky in seeing deer in our garden, and mostly these are Muntjacs, which are an exotic species, originally native to the Far East, and I’ve posted on these several times – the most recent post is here .

However we have also (far more rarely) seen the larger Roe Deer, which is native to the British Isles, and which is not unusual – if only locally – in Bristol’s leafier outer suburbs.
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And so to 28 May, when a cry of “Large deer in the garden!” brought us to the kitchen window, and the sight of this Roe stag, fully grown antlers and all, beside the garden path.  Cameras and binoculars are always to hand, so I grabbed the Z 6 – forgetting I’d left it in APS-C format – and started photographing.  Opening the kitchen window would almost certainly have scared him off, so the shots were taken looking quite steeply downwards through double glazing – but that’s life! >>> and the basic premise that imperfect shots are always better than no shots at all!

And, taking off the rose-coloured glasses for a moment and looking at the Natural World full-on, there are other living organisms pictured here too – for the two dark spots on the deer’s neck are ticks – ectoparasites – which live on the animal’s bodily fluids.

Click onto each 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 232mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral v2 picture control; our back garden, in south Bristol; 28 May 2019.
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TALKING IMAGES 48 – USING THE NIKON Z 6 IN ANGER

 

 

Muntjac stag – its about Fox-sized.  Z 6; 1600 ISO; 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; uncropped; Lightroom; our back garden, Bristol; 3 Apr 2019.

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I posted here about buying the Z 6, one of Nikon’s new full frame mirrorless cameras, giving my initial thoughts.  Since then, I’ve been reading (and using a red biro to scrawl all over) the 247 page instruction manual that (thankfully!) comes with the camera, and configuring the camera to my way of working.  Then I’ve been sitting in my beloved armchair, interminably taking pictures and altering settings, in an attempt to have the layout of the camera’s controls become second nature to me – so that I won’t have to think before altering anything.  And I planned a visit to the Somerset Levels to have a first go with it outdoors, in the real world.  But fate intervened.

I’ve posted before about the Muntjac Deer which frequent our quiet and secluded back garden.  They have been introduced to the UK from China and, quite simply, we delight in their presence.  They are small, decidedly skittish, and we have been especially delighted to see one or two of their fawns.

We’d not seen them for awhile, and so their reappearance caused some excitement – and there was the Z 6 charged and ready, mounted via the FTZ adapter with one of my favourite lenses – the 70-300 AF-S Nikkor.  And so to using this new camera in anger for the first time.  As I said, these animals are very skittish, being spooked by the slightest noise or movement, so that opening the kitchen window was out of the question.  So the pictures had to be taken through the double-glazed window and, because our kitchen window is up above the garden, the camera was looking down at an angle through the double-glazing, rather than horizontally straight through it.  The deer were about 30ft-40ft away.

All images can be enlarged by clicking onto to them to open another version in a separate window, and clicking onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.
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Same animal.  Z 6; 1600 ISO; 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 405mm; cropped; Lightroom.

THINGS TO TALK ABOUT

In terms of handling and ergonomics, the Z 6 works just wonderfully.  It has a large, deep handgrip and a well positioned thumb rest, and just feels completely at home in my hands.  Many of the buttons and dials fall under my fingers or thumb, and many are in the same positions as those on my D800.  It just feels good to use and, with the 70-300, feels very well balanced.

As with my other big Nikons, I’m using an OP/TECH USA neck strap intended for heavy DSLRs.  This is a little overkill for the distinctly leaner Z 6, but I’m still using fairly large Nikon F-mount lenses (esp the 70-300) and I’m not getting any younger: these wide OP/TECH straps really do spread the weight across the shoulders very well, and they’re quite reasonably priced.

I used Aperture Priority mode (as I nearly always do), and 1600 ISO.  The pictures were split between full frame format, where the longest reach of my lens is 300mm, and DX (= APS-C) format, where the reach is lengthened to 450mm; entirely handheld.  Full frame images have 24.5MP; DX format has 10.3MP.  All images used stabilisation.

Some think that Nikon’s images can be a little cold in tone, and so I’m using the new Natural Light Auto white balance, which looks natural.

I’ve taken all focusing functions away from the shutter release, and the large and ideally (and traditionally) sited AF-ON button (back button focusing) works wonderfully.  In this test, through double-glazing, the autofocus was very quick and sharp.
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Same animal.  Z 6; 1600 ISO; 70-300 Nikkor lens used in full-frame format to give 300mm; cropped; Lightroom.

Immediately below the AF-ON button is the joystick and this works well too, again well sited below my right thumb, and enabling me to move the focusing point rapidly around the frame.  I’ve opted for it jumping to every other focus point, for speed of use.  Pushing it locks the exposure.

And immediately below the joystick is the customisable i button, which gives quick and easy access to a very useful range of camera settings.

The exposure compensation button is not so well placed, and so I’ve customised the main command dial, which I can easily reach with my right thumb, to adjust exposure compensation without using the button.

Since I don’t take videos, the movie-record button has been cannibalised to quickly switch the camera between full-frame and APS-C format with the aid of the main command dial.

The camera’s excellent Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) is set to Prioritize Viewfinder mode: looking through the viewfinder turns it on, taking my eye away turns it off; the monitor screen remains off until I review my images (when finger swiping can be used on the touchscreen) or look at the menus.  I’m not using all of the touchscreen facilities, but its reassuring to know that the touchscreen is turned off while the viewfinder is being used.

Firing off 25 or so pictures, with much autofocus use, brought the battery down from full to 84%: a spare battery may be needed for a day out, although Nikon says that 310 shots can be taken on a full charge.

Then a Sony QDA-SB1 XQD card reader gets the images from the camera’s Sony 64GB QS-G64E card onto my PC, where the images are read into Lightroom Classic CCLightroom doesn’t seem entirely at home with the Z 6 yet: there are issues with sharpening parameters, which are addressed here .

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ARCHIVE 373 – OUR HAZEL, IN AUTUMN

 

 


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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.

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

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STANTON DREW 50 – VILLAGE LIFE 15

 

 


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A gardener’s sense of humour, beside the little lane that leads up to the church.

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film preset; Stanton Drew, near Bristol; 6 July 2018.
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STANTON DREW 49 – PARADISE 2

 

 


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Not sure this is Paradise but, if it is, I wasn’t allowed in.  Even, in desperation, venturing to mention my untarnished soul failed to gain me entry, the general feeling being that, if my soul really is in such pristine condition, I must have had it Photoshopped.

The first picture of Paradise, of a rather more accepting and welcoming scene, can be found here .

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Stanton Drew, near Bristol; 6 July 2018.
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