SOMERSET LEVELS 434 – ANOTHER WORLD (MONO)

 

 


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Walking in The Boulevard, one of Weston’s main streets.  It was a wet morning, rain forever around, and there was a lot of surface water.  In my path, a large puddle spread across the pavement and, well before I reached it, I could see reflections in it – and so to ramping the telezoom up to 300mm and, standing quite some distance back from it, looking at and into this puddle.

I was looking into another world.  There was the reflection of a tall street lamp and, nearer, a street sign too, and the patterns of paving stones were also visible.  I’d taken several frames when the reflection of a gull suddenly passed through the frame – and I managed a single shot before it was gone.  And thence to simplifying the image by presenting it in mono, and presenting it upside down to make it more readable, while preserving the dreamlike, otherworldly atmosphere.

And, in yet another (this time, bygone) world >>> opposite this spot, 60 years ago, a toy shop called Driver’s was an exciting centre in my young life – forever adding to my vast regiments of toy soldiers, and also allowing me to buy fireworks in the days when they were both affordable and freely available to youngsters like me.  For those of you old enough, do Penny Bangers, Jumping Jacks, Volcanoes and Catherine Wheels bring back any memories???  We youngsters used to light a Penny Banger (effectively a small explosive device, costing one OLD penny) and hold it until it started fizzing and was just about to explode, and then drop it into a puddle, when it would shoot across the surface of the water before blowing up: delighted – and retaining all our fingers too – we called it a Torpedo …..

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera processing of raw file, using the Graphite profile; further processing in Lightroom; 180 degrees’ rotation;  The Boulevard, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 22 Nov 2019.
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BIRDS 123 – HERRING GULL (MONO)

 

 


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Herring Gull around refuse and recycling bins in Weston town centre; possibly not too happy with my presence … LOL!  >>> I grew up here, these birds were always around, they were a part of my childhood, and I have to confess to a great fondness for them, quite regardless of any aggression on their part.  If I’d been eating fish and chips, I would have certainly shared them with him – and probably outraged the (more or less mindless and unimaginative, it has to be said) local authorities by doing so.

But, looking at things another way, here is a very successful creature, certainly at home on the coast and inland waters, but also, equally, at home scavenging around human habitation – LOL again!!! >>> unless absolutely desperate (after a nuclear holocaust, perhaps???), I wouldn’t want to eat the rotting refuse he’s eating, whereas he will take both the refuse and my fish and  chips – and me too if I were moribund or actually dead (starting with my eyes, most probably …) ->>> and he’d do so with great alacrity!

Quite simply, he is very good at what he does.  Most of society – sitting in front of TV’s and becoming increasingly estranged from the natural world – no doubt find him abhorrent, but I admire his expertise – years ago, I read that if function is beauty, then the Spotted Hyaena (a truly voracious predator and hardly the world’s most aesthetic organism, even I will admit) >>> well I read that if function is beauty, then the hyaena is beautiful, and some similar sentiment also applies here.  I know, I’m a Silly Old Romantic, I know …. but gull and chips might actually be quite tasty … with a little salt and tomato sauce …. of course …..

And, as I’ve said before on this blog, in a parallel universe, if I were eating my tasty gull and chips beside the sea, maybe a fish would jump up out of the water and steal it …..

All recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 .

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 at 300mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera conversion of raw file using the Graphite profile and cropping; Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 22 Nov 2019.
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BIRDS 111 – LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL

 

 


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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.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – giving me quite a fixed stare!  The medium to pale grey upperwings are typical of this bird, and the dark markings on the white head appear in winter.

This is one of the common, larger gulls in the UK, being found around coasts and lakes, and also as a scavenger in towns.  I grew up alongside gulls in a seaside town and have always liked them and viewed them as a normal part of the landscape, but many think otherwise, both because of the mess that these birds can make around human habitation, and for their sometimes aggressive behaviour.  Walking around south Bristol, taking photographs for this blog’s Outer Suburbs series, I sometimes have these gulls come down to have a look at me, but as I’m never carrying/eating any food there’s no problem – although I do always invite them to come down and try their luck – if they’d like a spot of bother, that is …

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C mode to give 450mm; 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral v2 profile; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 135 – WALKING DOWN TO THE CITY

 

 

1: loved the plants!  What do they add – patina / character / a touch of Life???

Walking down to the city centre on a sunny morning.  Walking northwards, and so keeping to the right hand side of the roaring main road to watch the glare of the low angle sunlight striking the buildings opposite and also, where the view to the east is uninterrupted, to watch the glare interacting with the ground around my feet.

And so to a series of random photos: little scenes seen during a walk down to the city … to buy a loaf of (very special and simple) bread as it happens …

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

Technique: TG-5; Lightroom; south Bristol; 14 Sept 2019.
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2: part-shaded by buildings and trees on the opposite side of the road


3: the roof of a sports pavilion, with floodlights and a street light


4: loved the gulls!


5: bridge with red railings, and a white line to keep walkers safe from cyclists …


6: roadside shadows
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STANTON DREW 61 – WINTER SCENE (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 further enlarge it.

Gull flock amongst the prehistoric standing stones at Stanton Drew.  Such flocks are a common sight on pastureland during the winter: this one consists mostly of Black-headed Gulls (lacking the dark heads of their breeding plumage), but there are a few Common and Lesser Black-backed Gulls in there too.

Tall, dark stones, sombre sentinels (sombre sentinels??? >>> what on earth am I on???) overlook the scene, and bare winter trees form the backdrop.

Already posted images from this early morning shoot are here: 1 (with context) 2 3 4 5 6 7 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting  at the Underexpose EV-1 preset and adding a light Selenium tone; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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ARCHIVE 390 – TAKING FLIGHT

 

 


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Another early bus ride into the city, another second breakfast at first light in Hart’s Bakery (context is here) – and as I lurched out of that warm, friendly and bustling establishment, the tints of sunrise were above and, looking up, I saw this.

The bird is a gull (aka seagull), and just about to leap off into the air to scavenge the city’s no doubt enticing refuse.  I have Hart’s Bakery, (s)he has Bristol.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; beside Temple Meads railway station; 9 Dec 2016.

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ARCHIVE 388 – YOUNG GULL AT ST IVES (MONO)

 

 


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Juvenile Herring Gull in the harbour at St Ives, Cornwall; 27 Sept 2012.

I have a liking for photos that appear more like the products of other media and here is something certainly heading that way – perhaps more like a pencil drawing?  I’ve used a Soft Portrait preset, which includes pale vignetting, and the bird appears to be emerging from dense mist, with even its left wing nebulous and obscure.

Using this preset has also almost completely obscured details of the sea below the bird – and this all makes for an artificially isolated vignette of the creature – a sketch in a notebook perhaps.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Classic Portrait preset, and giving the image the look of Ilford Delta 400 mono print film.

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OUTER SUBURBS 28 – SKYLINE, EARLY MORNING (MONO)

 

 


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Just after dawn, the Moon sets over the outer suburbs.  A green light beckons me on, and a gull, high up on a vantage point in the early light, looks for its first feed of the day.

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 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Spectrum Inverse preset with a light Coffee tone; south Bristol; 25 Oct 2018.
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BIRDS 108 – LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL

 

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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 yet again.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at Herriots Bridge, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 17 Apr 2018.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 2,000 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral film simulation.
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BIRDS 103 – HERRING GULL IN CITY CENTRE HABITAT

 

 


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Herring Gull Larus argentatus at a city centre food source.  An adult, in breeding plumage.

Gulls?  Rats with wings is one name I’ve heard for them but, as always, I love them, having grown up alongside them all those years ago – this is a photo for you, Lynn, my ex-birder friend – enjoy!

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 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Welsh Back, central Bristol; 2 Feb 2018.
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