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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OUTER SUBURBS 82 – SUNRISE 2

 

 

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Pavement beside the railings of a children’s playground, at sunrise.

Earlier sunrise pictures are here: 1 .  Each will open in a separate window.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 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 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 125 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation, and desaturating all colours except green and yellow; south Bristol; 26 Feb 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 42 – MODERN LIFE 6: SMARTWATER (MONO)

 

 


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Modern Life

Grass, in need of a cut as it happens, and the only natural thing on the menu here. 

Otherwise, a barrier to prevent the over enthusiastic from gunning their over powerful vehicles up and onto the grass.  

And a little glimpse of the adjacent pavement. 

And the detritus of a modern and civilised society that feels not only that its drinking water must come in bottles, but also that – thirst having been assuaged – local authority workers should then be left to dispose of / recycle said bottles.  If there is any thought at all behind this lifestyle beyond blank indifference, it is encapsulated by “Well, that’s what they’re paid for, isn’t it?“.

There are earlier Modern Life posts here: 1 2 3 4 5 .  Each will open in a separate window.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 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 36 37 38 39 40 41 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 43mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Monotone film simulation; south Bristol; 29 Aug 2018.
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PEOPLE 348 – SOMEDAY THE FLOWERS STOP

 

 


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As George Harrison put it: All things must pass, all things must pass away.  And as a geologist, especially, that really resonates with me, it is a very basic part of my core knowledge and certainties.

And I visit this rural cemetery from time to time.  It is the cemetery of the Church of St Mary The Virgin, in Stanton Drew, not far from Bristol.  And while I do not identify in the slightest with the religious aspects of this place, I do find its cemetery a wonderfully peaceful and quiet place to wander in.  Being there instils me with a great feeling of peace, as well as being a great stimulus to reflection.  And I have never met another living soul there although, for all I know, I may always be surrounded by innumerable departed ones, which is certainly fine by me.

Most of the graves in this cemetery have no flowers on them, and that is the way of things.  There can of course be many reasons for this.  For example, there may be no one left to bring flowers, or those who would like to bring them live too far away or, then again, while bringing flowers has helped the grieving process, the survivors may have moved on, preferring to keep their departed ones in their minds, photographs and keepsakes.  I know this is the case with me.  I have lost two very close family members, both younger than myself,  and I no longer visit their grave, but no day passes without their presence, repeatedly – and often without sadness – in my thoughts.

I shall continue to walk in this churchyard.  It is by no means an exciting or exotic destination, there is not a trace of the “wow factor” in sight, but it has a very deep sense of peace, and of fundamental reality, which makes simply being there a deeply meaningful and thought provoking experience.  Does it, perhaps, provide some measure of respite from the rush, materialism, competition and aggression of the modern world?  That may well be the case.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 87mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Stanton Drew, near Bristol; 6 July 2018.
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STILL LIFE 209 – COLD MORNING WITH CIGARETTE PACKET

 

 


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A wild walk, high up on the Mendip Hills, one of the (treasured) landscapes from the days of my youth, those 50+ years ago.  And wild is italicised because although this is countryside, indeed a nature reserve, the whole landscape bears the imprint of ourselves, from the prehistoric burial mounds high up on the skyline, to the old lead mines that were beneath my feet as I took this shot, and to the farmland and forestry plantations all around.  And also of course to sights like that shown above.  But, the fact remains that, had I been stranded out here overnight – a broken leg, perhaps, and my phone unable to find a signal – I should probably have died of hypothermia.  So that, in that sense at least, yes, a wild place; and, as such, somewhere to be treasured and, equally, treated with respect.

And so to what we Brits call the fag packet.  Well, no sermons here.  That some people drop litter is a Fact of Life, and probably always will be.  Were I feeling fanciful, or perhaps romantic, I might suggest that the grass on the left seems to be reaching out towards the offending object, endeavouring perhaps to remove or conceal it.  But neither of those emotional responses are in my mind today.

Two points about the packet do merit a comment however.  First, at the top, a woman comforts a prostrate man who has presumably been struck down by one of smoking’s certainly dire side effects, and the government has no doubt insisted on this image being shown on the packet, as a usefully visible alternative to the politically uncertain consequences of banning cigarettes altogether, e.g. of driving them down into the same thriving underground market as that which markets illicit drugs.

And then PAID demonstrates that the same government is taking its cut (via duty) of the death sticks’ bounty too – probably making the point that rises in such duty are aimed a reducing the numbers of smokers, while ignoring the points that “the poor” may well go without other things to fund their enjoyment / craving, or then again turn to crime to make ends meet, while those better off will simply ignore the price rises.  I’m cynical?  Oh yes, I am.  But I’m also doing my best to see things realistically.

Context from this shoot is here: 3Other photos are here: 1 2  4 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Priddy Mineries Reserve, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 16 Feb 2018.

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STILL LIFE 167 – FROSTY MORNING

 

 


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Early on a frosty morning, in autumn.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 168mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
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STANTON DREW 36 – VILLAGE LIFE 3

 

 


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Old gravestones, barely legible now, in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, the parish church.

A lovely, tranquil rural churchyard, the church being in fact at the top of a dead end (ohhh, no pun intended!) road, next to a farm.  Wandering quietly in the churchyard – where I can’t recall ever encountering another soul – is a wonderful stimulant for reflection.  Inevitably, my mind turns, not unpleasantly, to thoughts of mortality; but then, I’m a geologist, and if I can’t be at one with life, death, extinctions and eternities, who can?

But I like this photo for two reasons.  First, the leaning, weathered, lichen-encrusted nature of the old stones, quite far from the ordered and sterile gentrification of modern days.  And secondly for the long, lush grass sprouting up around them: yes, mortality for sure, this exuberant grass is saying, but Life goes on.

An introduction to this Village Life series can be found here: 1Further images are here: 2 .

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 195mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Stanton Drew; 7 June 2016.
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