ARCHIVE 572 – A LITTLE PIECE OF MAGIC

 

 


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Crossing the little Whitelake Bridge on Hearty Moor, on the Somerset Levels, and there on the bridge’s guard rail were flowers – I assumed in memory of some victim of a road accident, or even someone drowned in the river.

But looking more closely at them, they were accompanied by no words of mourning, and they looked more like charms, not memorials.  And then I remembered where I was – not far from Glastonbury, and also not far from Worthy Farm, at Pilton, which hosts the world famous Glastonbury Festival.  There are many around here, especially in Glastonbury, who hold Pagan and other, non-mainstream beliefs, and here were what appeared to be charms above moving water, above a river.

I have dabbled with Paganism, and found it far, far more attractive than the monotheistic mainstream religions of the UK.  But I’m now at the conclusion that although I have a deep love and regard for the Natural World, this is not for me anything religious, but rather something that invokes feelings of great love and wonder.   I don’t worship the Natural World, but I respect it – and the more so because, unlike us, it manages to exist and thrive without the aid of all the made up stories – the imagined realities – which appear necessary to keep human societies –  and human minds too – in order and intact.

And so here then, deep in the Somerset countryside, because of the way they see the world, because of what they believe in, someone has placed these simple objects above moving water.  And to me, in so doing, they have added a little piece of beautiful magic – and diversity too – to this world.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Standard V2 picture control; on the Whitelake Bridge, northeast of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels; 5 Apr 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 444 – GLASTONBURY TOR, FROM TEALHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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Out on Tealham Moor, on the rough, wet flatlands known as the Somerset Levels.  On the right, the single track tarmac of Totney Drove makes off eastwards between two bushes with the sheer faces that tell of the ruthless power of tractor-born, mechanical cutters.  And to the right of the right-hand bush, way off on the horizon, the iconic landmark of Glastonbury Tor, with the tower of a ruined church just visible on its summit.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 70mm; 800 ISO; jpeg created and processed in-camera from a raw file, using the Graphite profile and in-camera cropping; further processing in Lightroom; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wedmore; 9 Aug 2019.
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ARCHIVE 428 – EARLY MORNING 36

 

 


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Sunrise over Glastonbury Tor, seen from Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 22 Nov 2013.

I’ve lightened the centre section to bring interest to the mid-ground with the two cows – but I’m sure they should have shadows … oh dear, digital … not always quite up to it are you?  Or maybe I’m not quite up to it – its probably me ….

And of course I’m pointing my magnificent if distinctly weighty telezoom straight into the sun’s glare, and so to a second, orange sun low down in the frame, and also some rather fiery glows between that sun and the real one.  I could have gone at it with software to try and make good these optical artefacts but, first, I can’t be bothered, and second, I think they add to the atmosphere and feeling of the shot – I mean, I’m pointing a x6 telephoto directly into Our Star’s incandescent face, so what do I expect, perfect and pristine optical rendition?

I like the 80-400 (but – Jan 2020 – have sold it now).  Large and unwieldy it may be and its not one of Nikon’s very quick AF-S lenses, but it is image stabilised and I can hand hold it, and it gives such reach and flexibility.

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 .  All will open in separate windows.  You can also search on the “early morning” tag.

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 362 – HIGH GROUND AT GLASTONBURY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Looking up at the Glastonbury skyline with a long telephoto, underexposing the shot, converting it to mono, and making very faint use of restored colour.

Click onto the 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 450mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral v2 profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate 1 preset, adding a split tone and making very faint use of restored colour; the Glastonbury skyline from Black Pit Drove on Common Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 14 June 2019.
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A POST FOR SOMEONE, FAR AWAY

 

Someone has encountered health problems, someone is unwell.  Someone who is a good and long-time blogging friend, originally from around here but now living on the other side of the world.

Amongst other strategies, she is turning to her camera and to blogging as means of helping her cope and, far away as I am, I want to try to do something – however little – that is supportive.  She is in any case a very perceptive photographer of the Natural World and I have urged her to further immerse herself – and her camera – in Nature.

So for you, today, my friend, two things come to mind.  First, there is this link to the first of these (very few) Thoughts posts: I hope it will be meaningful to you.

Then, second, here are some images from the low, damp gentlenesses of the Somerset Levels.  Something to remind you of here perhaps but, in any case, somethings that are quiet, uncomplicated and Natural.  (Clicking onto these images will open larger versions in separate windows)

In a world intent on detail and data, no names are needed here.  You will know who this post is for.  I hope you like these pictures.

All best wishes to you.

Adrian

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Water Lily leaves in a rhyne’s the dark, peaty waters

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Very much a favourite picture of mine: a farmer and his wife off to check on their stock at first light on a foggy morning.  A very friendly couple, my age I suppose, they always wave and smile

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Sunrise, looking over towards Glastonbury

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Rhyne; misty morning

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Mute Swans coming in to land on floods; Tadham Moor

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Freezing morning, ice on the rhyne – I was driven to putting my fingers in my mouth to try and unfreeze them – should have dunked them in my coffee!!!  Tadham Moor

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Glastonbury Tor – and finding out that pointing a 400mm lens at the sun does not do miracles for the eyeballs!

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Looking west at sunrise: Our Star rising, and its light just catching the tops of the clouds; Tealham Moor

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Misty morning

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People call me The FATman … they’re really very rude, you know …

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Tealham Moor, looking east along a rhyne

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Its just a question of avoiding the last, over curious lunge, when that big, drooling muzzle goes straight into the front of the lens ….

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SOMERSET LEVELS 328 – GLASTONBURY, FAR AWAY TO THE EAST

 

 


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Looking eastwards across Tealham Moor at sunrise.  A rough track is just visible up to the left of the water-filled ditch which, known locally as a rhyne (rhymes with seen), acts as a field’s fence.

The deep water and glutinous ooze in these ditches are notorious for trapping cattle that come down to the edge to drink and, as happened recently near here, for causing road traffic fatalities where these rhynes run beside poorly maintained, single track, tarmac roads that are often driven over at high speeds.

And in the distance, far off at upper right, the distinctive outline of Glastonbury Tor, with the tower of its ruined church on its summit.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 70mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid V2 picture control; Tealham Moor; 12 Apr 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 326 – THE VIEW SOUTHWEST FROM WHITELAKE BRIDGE (MONO)

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

Looking out over the Whitelake River and Hearty Moor, with the landmark of Glastonbury Tor, topped by its ruined church, in the distance.  Large masses of flowering Blackthorn on the left.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 70mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 Picture Control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Red Filter preset and adding a light coffee tone; Whitelake Bridge, northeast of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels; 5 Apr 2019.
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ARCHIVE 309 – THE SUN RISING OVER GLASTONBURY TOR

 

 


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Sunrise over Glastonbury Tor, seen from Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 22 Nov 2013.

I’ve lightened the centre section to bring interest to the mid-ground with the two cows – but I’m sure they should have shadows … oh dear, digital … not always quite up to it are you?  Or maybe I’m not quite up to it – its probably me.

And of course I’m pointing my magnificent if distinctly weighty telezoom straight into the sun’s glare, and so to a second, orange sun low down in the frame, and also some rather fiery glows between that sun and the real one.  I could have gone at it with software to try and make good these optical artefacts but, first, I can’t be bothered, and second, I think they add to the atmosphere and feeling of the shot – I mean, I’m pointing a x6 telephoto directly into Our Star’s incandescent face, so what do I expect, perfect and pristine optical rendition?

I like the 80-400.  Large and unwieldy it may be and its not one of Nikon’s very quick AF-S lenses, but it is image stabilised and I can hand hold it, and it gives such reach and flexibility.

An earlier image in this series is here .

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

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO.

UPDATE: that wonderful but rather bulky 80-400 Nikkor lens has now disappeared >>> in a part exchange deal to buy a Fujifilm mirrorless camera!  I wonder if it was a wise swap?  Probably, I think, probably, and certainly so in terms of size and portability.  And the (already, in our digital world, aged) D800 has a trick up its sleeve – using it in Nikon’s APS-C format, which Nikon calls DX format, it multiplies the focal length of lenses by x1.5, so that my lighter and less bulky 70-300 Nikkor (my favourite Nikon lens of all) becomes 105-450 – and 400mm is still covered!
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SOMERSET LEVELS 280 – TYRANNOSAUR

 

 

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Tyrannosaur (and Glastonbury Tor too) on the Somerset Levels; 18 Nov 2016.

Leaving home before dawn, I drove down to the Somerset Levels through filthy weather.  Wind, rain and sleet battered the car.  There was snow on the Mendip Hills and, during the night, the Priddy Good Farm Shop, up on the top of these hills at Priddy, had had its debit card reader blown apart by a nearby lightning strike – “We’re only taking cash today!”.

I was actually birding, the aim of this visit to the Levels was look at birds, not to take photos at all.  But – and there’s always a “but”, isn’t there? – just in case, I took a rock-solid photographic standby, a Nikon DSLR and telezoom.

And, not long after sunrise, on Tadham Moor, “just in case” paid off.  I was pulled off the road watching winter thrushes – Fieldfares and Redwings, always beautiful, always great favourites of mine – when a small van pulled into a farm gate ahead of me and two men got out.  One I would guess was the local farmer, and he had brought the other to drive a tractor which had been parked there overnight.  There was rain about, it was windy, my car’s windscreen was nothing like clean – and all at once the sun broke through the overcast and threw the men and their vehicles into silhouette – and I dropped the binoculars, grabbed the Nikon, and started firing through the windscreen.

I have other shots but this image grabs me.  The farmhand started up the tractor, raised the vehicle’s front loader – and suddenly a Tyrannosaur rose up before me and opened its ravening jaws.

And so, man and dinosaur – and below the beast’s upstretched neck, a far off tower on a steep hill – Glastonbury Tor – an iconic feature of Somerset’s wet flatlands.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 250mm; 3200 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 170 – DARK TOWER

 

 

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Glastonbury Tor, seen from Tadham Moor; the Somerset Levels; 25 Oct 2011.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO.

UPDATE: me in arty mood, trying to do something different.  So glad I resisted the temptation to present it in black and white, I value the sky’s slight colour – as I do the fact that the hill with the old church tower on top is very slightly paler than the vast dark foreground.
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