GARDEN 70 – MUNTJAC

 

 


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Muntjac stag relaxing at the bottom of our garden.  We have a long back garden.  This green space is largely “natural”, that is, untended,  save for occasional forays with a voracious petrol lawn mower lovingly known as The Destructor; and other forays with other vicious blades when the various trees and shrubs threaten Total World Domination.  But, other than that, the garden is left much to itself and, as it backs out onto a suburban wilderness, the bottom of our garden is largely a quiet, secluded, sheltered place.  Badgers and Foxes call in, and we often see tiny (roughly Fox-sized) deer called Muntjac, that have been introduced to the UK from China.

Muntjacs are mainly active at night, but during the day they are also to be seen in secluded places – and we are happy that they consider the bottom of our garden such a safe spot during the hours of dangerous daylight.  On Sunday, a pair were resting in the tangles at the garden’s end.  The doe was largely invisible, but the stag more in view.

Sitting beside me, I had the D800 camera attached to the love of my life, the 70-300 Nikkor zoom, and the more I looked at this distant deer looking back at me, the more I thought “photo!“.  The small animal was for sure a long way off and semi-obscured too, but because the D800 has so many pixels, its possible to use its sensor reduced to APS-C format, which still provides enough pixels for a reasonable image – whilst multiplying the focal length of full-frame lenses by x1.5.  So the long end of my zoom, 300mm, became a very useful 450mm – times 9 magnification – and, handheld, I was in business!

I opened the lens aperture to its widest and ramped the ISO up to 6,400 to try to avoid camera shake and, bracing myself against a wall, started taking pictures through the closed kitchen window. The camera’s autofocus became confused by the vegetation’s tangles – and so to manual focusing.  But although recognisable, these images were softened by the light’s passage through the window’s double glazing.  These deer are notoriously timid and flighty and opening the window seemed unwise but, very carefully, slowly and quietly I did it – and the stag remained still.

And here he is, with his small, swept back antlers.  He has little tusks on his upper jaw too, but even if the bottom of his face were not obscured, these can be hard to see.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Bristol; 7 Jan 2018.

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STANTON DREW 45 – VILLAGE LIFE 12

 

 


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Cooking apples (cookers!) being given away in a front garden beside the road along to the prehistoric site.

Again the honesty thing – takers can leave donations in the jam jar if they wish, and the money will then go to charity.  Looking at these apples makes me think of large, deep apple pies of the sort my mother used to make, cooked with lots of sugar to sweeten the apples and served with vast outpourings of hot – and not too thin! – custard!!!

An introduction to this Village Life series can be found here: 1 Further images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11   .    Each will open in a new window.

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T1 and wide angle (upper image) and X-T2 with the telezoom; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film preset; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
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GARDEN 69 – ANGRY MORNING

 

 


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I was making a cup of tea in the kitchen, which faces due east, and being struck by the ferocity of the winter sunrise over to the southeast.  A wild morning, an angry morning, the sort of morning that has an undeniable wild beauty, but which takes some strength of resolve to get outdoors and get to grips with.

And in front of me an oak tree that I have watched grow up from a naturally sown acorn – perhaps buried and forgotten by a squirrel – over the past twenty or so years.  And although it does not know it yet, an unfortunate oak, a healthy and burgeoning tree that because of its close proximity to the house will have to be cut down in the near future.

But back again to that fierce, early light, which was transfixing as it radiantly backlit the few of the oak’s leaves that had managed to hang on during the recent gales.  The camera was to hand, and so to spot metering … and the wonderful luminosity of those last few leaves.

And although it is a rather underexposed caricature of the original, below is an idea, just an idea, of the angry sky that was producing this beautifully fierce, hard and cold light …
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Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); spot metering; Lightroom; Bristol; 8 Dec 2017.
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BIRDS 102 – WOOD PIGEON

 

 


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Adult Wood Pigeon amongst the autumn leaves and raggedly cut grass on our back “lawn”, photographed through the double glazing of the kitchen window – opening the window even a tiny bit would send these birds rocketing frantically away!  Here I tapped very, very gently on the inside of the window to attract their attention and, after a brief glance towards me, they carried on foraging.

A small flock of these pigeons have taken to visiting our back grass, and its a real pleasure seeing them there.

This is in fact an agricultural pest, a bird that anyone can shoot.  And this is a species that I’ve actually eaten but, well, that was nothing to write home about – and anyway I’d far rather be looking at them!

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Bristol; 23 Nov 2017.
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STANTON DREW 40 – VILLAGE LIFE 7 (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Child’s swing, empty, above autumn leaves – no one has come out to play!

This is a strange garden, which belongs to a short row of houses in the village.  It is quite large, and set upon what is effectively a traffic island, with the main lane through the village on one side, and two smaller lanes on the other sides.  On two sides its raised up at about head height above its surroundings so that, looking across it, your eyes are near ground level.

It houses some clucking hens and their coops, with nothing except the drop to keep them from straying off along the lanes.  And there is this swing, hanging from a large tree.

An introduction to this Village Life series can be found here: 1 .  Further images are here: 2 3 4 5 6  .    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 lens at 120mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset and selectively restoring colour; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley; 22 Oct 2014.

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STANTON DREW 38 – VILLAGE LIFE 5

 

 


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Maybe just a touch too picturesque for me but, still, a valued, quiet corner of England, although not at all far from Bristol’s hustle and bustle.

An introduction to this Village Life series can be found here: 1 Further images are here: 2 3 4 .    Each will open in a new window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it still more.

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom; Color Efex Pro 4; Stanton Drew; 22 Oct 2014.

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STANTON DREW 34 – VILLAGE LIFE 1

 

Stanton Drew is a village of 800 or so people in the Chew Valley, not far south of Bristol.  Its a small, quiet village, pleasant to walk around, and notable for of its prehistoric stone circles.  As the title to this post shows, I’ve already published 33 photos –  of decidedly varying quality, it must be said – from this little place.  Now, having neglected it for sometime, I’m going to post some more photos, some seen before, some not.  And I might even manage to get myself sufficiently together to stroll around there photographing some more, maybe with a rather different eye than on my previous visits – time will tell.  If nothing else, there’s a wonderfully peaceful, rural churchyard, and a welcoming pub which has blazing log fires.
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Stanton Drew does have a narrow but reasonably busy road passing through it and, on something which is almost a large traffic island there is a garden, the surface of which is not far below eye level – which makes shots like this so much easier to take.  This garden has no fences around it, and the few chickens that live there seem to know that fluttering down from their elevated home will only bring problems.  They are reasonably tame, and I’ve found that crouching down out of sight below the edge of the raised garden, waiting until their calls are loud and near, and then very slowly emerging up beside them, pays dividends.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and then click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom.
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ARCHIVE 308 – ASH SAPLING

 

 


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Young, red leaves bursting out from an Ash sapling in our back garden; 26 June 2013.

Soft focus versions of this scene have appeared in an earlier post.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 307 – 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.

UPDATE: I rather casually mention here that viewers’ eyes will be entering the image from the left – you can find more on this very real phenomenon here.

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ARCHIVE 306 – EARLY MORNING GARDEN: SUNLIGHT

 

 


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Early morning sunlight in our back garden; 9 Jul 2013.

Looking down the garden through a thin screen of tall grasses.  A very shallow depth of field, produced by using a long telephoto at close quarters, has thrown nearly everything except the closest grasses far out of focus.  This is not an accurate representation of the scene, but rather an impression of how it looked.

The line of dark tones at the top of the frame are the shadows below the hedge at the bottom of the garden.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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