ARCHIVE 518 – MY GARDEN AND ME

 

 


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“My Garden and Me”; 4 May 2008.  Cowslips and Forget-Me-Nots, which are always left to go completely to seed before being mown, form a glowing and increasingly large patch of yellow and blue in our garden each spring.

The apparent falling away of the ground around my feet is due to the distortion produced by the fisheye lens when it is pointed away from the horizontal.

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

Technique: F6 with Sigma 15mm full frame fisheye; Fuji Provia 400X colour slide film, rated at 500 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 493 – EARLY MORNING GARDEN 9

 

 


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Seeding grasses; 25 June 2013: part of a project I was doing in my back garden, in Bristol, seven years ago.  I get up early on the morning anyway, and so the project’s simple plan was to down a cup of strong tea and get out into the garden early in the day, using mainly this 70-300 telezoom (the lens I continue to be married to) or a 105mm macro lens.  >>> but  LOL!!! >>> I tend to be a little less athletic and supple now than I was then so that, if I were to attempt such photos again, I may need the emergency services to get me back up onto my feet!  Well, after all, one must suffer for one’s art … 🙂 …

For those looking at composition, my eye tends to start appraising the image from the left, and is initially caught by the in focus subject of the shot, which is set against a somewhat darker background.

This subject is mirrored by the similarly orientated (i.e. repeating patterns) but out of focus stems further back, which are set against, and which tend to blend into, a rather paler backdrop.  These diffuse stems give the shot depth.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 485 – ALTERNATIVE LANDSCAPE

 

 

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Near the Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe, Devon; 2 Oct 2007.

An alternative landscape, a scene a million miles away from the “golden hours” of sunrise and sunset – and from the graduated neutral density filters too – that are so beloved by ardent landscape photographers!  OK, it has some foreground interest and it may also have front to back sharpness for all I know – I mean, I haven’t looked so I’m not sure – but even if it has, well I must make some concessions to the genre after all …

It is a view that conveys the very minimum of information and pictorial delight.  A completely blank, blue sky above a kinked horizon, short grass with a few daisies and some yellowish patches – and The Pipe!  Enjoy!!!

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

Technique: F6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens; Fuji Provia 400X colour slide film rated at 1600 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 475 – PARADISE

 

 


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As you open this post, I can hear you thinking “This is Paradise?!  Has FATman finally lost it???”.  Well, to me, in a way, yes it is paradise.  Why do I think this?  Have I finally lost the plot?  And, then again, how can I have lost something I’ve never really found in the first place?

OK, explanations.  This is a little cut through between two back lanes in south Bristol, that I regularly pass through during the 5 mile walks that I use to relax and free my mind and to (hopefully) reduce my waistline.  Its a very simple little place.  Just some grass that is roughly cut by the local council, and a stream flowing through a little culvert – water which, despite the houses close in upon either side, probably explains why this lovely little spot has never been built on.

And then there’s this absolutely beautiful and serene tree, with a canopy like some vast umbrella, which looks just ideal for sitting under on some reflective day, although I have yet to do so.  Add to all this a very friendly little ginger and white cat who has lost most of his tail, and for the brief times that I’m within this quiet little space, I feel uplifted and very much at peace, and so … paradise …

And you’re seeing this delightful little spot perhaps at its best.  The cat’s not there, to be sure, but the grass has been cut, the tree is ablaze with autumn’s hues, and all is shrouded by a soft, autumn mist.

I have for a long time, perhaps for all of my life in fact, hankered after the simple life – I warmly recall my first years in Kenya, without phone, TV or radio, but with geckos chattering back and for to each other across my living room –  and those feelings have only accelerated since my retirement from work four years ago.  Modern life and technology seem only to make things ever more complex and rushed, but I’m after far more simple pleasures and a far more leisurely pace – and maybe this little, unpretentious space goes some way towards symbolising those ideals.

The first image in this series, along with context, can be found here.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 57mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film preset; Whitchurch, south Bristol; 2 Nov 2017.

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ARCHIVE 448 – STINGING NETTLE IN GRASS (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Stinging Nettle in grass at the Magic Car Park, Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 28 Aug 2013.

Why is this car park magic?  Well, it and the surrounding countryside – open pastures, simple, wet and rough – have helped me through some very dark nights of the soul.

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

Technique: D700 with Sigma 12-24 at 24mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, including selective restoration of colour.

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OUTER SUBURBS 155 – LOOKING DOWN PAST TREES INTO A PARK (MONO)

 

 


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Trees, leading us downwards, towards light.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 49mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the B&W 02 profile; south Bristol; 5 Nov 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 142 – PICNIC TABLE AND SEEDING GRASSES, AFTER RAIN

 

 


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After an early shower, the sun rises above a children’s playground and autumn is just around the corner.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 80mm (equiv); 100 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 29 Aug 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 131 – MAN AND BUS SHELTER AT SUNRISE, BESIDE GRASS AND NEW FENCE

 

 


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The year grows older, the sun rises later and – quite suddenly it seems – “the light” is starting to make very welcome appearances again during my early morning walks in Bristol’s suburbs.  From here on in, for quite a few months to come, I can look forward to sunrises, colours, mists and the wonderful remnants of night. 

One project that I have in mind is to look at autumn colour and bleakness up on the Mendip Hills; another is to take the Nikon Z 6 and the 70-300 lens down into the glare, noise, bustle, turmoil and winter darkness of Bristol’s early morning rush hours – well the spirit is willing anyway, although the willingness and fortitude of the flesh is perhaps another matter >>> but the lure of Harts Bakery might just tip the scales!!!

Anyway >>> in this image, a man stands in a bus shelter that, being struck by the sunrise’s first, intense rays, throws shadows across a new and as yet unpainted fence.  Reflected light washes over the grass in the foreground.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 53mm (equiv); 250 ISO; spot metering on the fence; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 28 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 384 – LOOKING PAST GRASSES, TOWARDS TREES

 

 


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

Looking at the grove of trees on Common Moor – there is more context here: 1 .  Sitting relatively low down in the car, I was able to look through these grasses towards the grove of trees.  The fine, pale, elongated specks in the image, best seen when it is enlarged, are falling raindrops – the shutter speed was 1/320th second.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 6400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Standard v2 profile; Chasey’s Drove, on Common Moor north of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels; 19 July 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 376 – ENTRANCE TO A FIELD OF RECENTLY CUT GRASS

 

 


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This picture is best viewed enlarged, there’s a lot to see – click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

I’m standing on the tiny, grassy bridge across a water-filled ditch – known locally as a rhyne – which allows access of man, beast and machine to the large, open field of recently cut grass to the left.  A period of dry weather is forecast and, almost to a man, everywhere, the farmers have been out cutting their grass.

The actual metal gate to the field is open and out of shot to the left, and such short sections of wooden fencing as the one here are erected on either side of gates everywhere in this flat landscape, to prevent animals trying to squeeze around the gates from either falling into the rhynes, or gaining access to the tiny bridges and actually escaping.

The dead straight rhyne makes off eastwards across the relatively recent landscape of Queen’s Sedge Moor, and just visible up to its right is the tarmac surface of the single track Long Drove, which accompanies the rhyne across this flatland.

In all of this wonderful flatness, two areas of higher ground can just be seen.  Look along the line of the rhyne, and there is a bluish escarpment – the uplands of Launcherly Hill and Worminster Down – and over beyond there, further to the right, well that’s where the Glastonbury Festival is held.  I have never been to the festival (tho watching lots of it on TV) but, quite simply, I think it an absolutely wonderful event, something of a shining light in an often dull world, and I can only hope that it will continue for many, many years to come.

Look over to the left and you will see a long line of more distant high ground topped by a towering TV mast – these are the Mendip Hills, the northern limit of the Levels in this area, and an important part of my early life.

And, as has happened to me many times before when viewing such pictures, the large upstanding tree near the rhyne’s vanishing point resembles nothing more than an exploding artillery shell.  Why I should receive this impression, I cannot imagine.  I’m not sure I believe in the possibility of having lived earlier lives than this one but – who knows?

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 27mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Astia/Soft profile; Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 5 July 2019.
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