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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BRISTOL 128 – SILHOUETTE, JUST BEFORE SUNRISE

 

 


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Walking in south Bristol on a frosty morning, with the sun just about to come up.  This silhouette opened up on my left: a building, a tall tree, curling branches – and two gulls, waiting for it to get a little lighter before starting to look for food.

The sun is just about to appear: a tiny contrail just left of the tree’s massive trunk is already lit up.

The first image in this series, along with context, can be found hereSubsequent images are here: 2 3

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); 2,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 28 Nov 2017.
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STILL LIFE 178 – GULL

 

 

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Emerging warm and well fed from Hart’s Bakery, I gazed up into the blues of a cold dawn.  And there was the sliver of a crescent Moon, strikingly beautiful, amidst wisps of passing cloud.  And all at once the crowing of gulls, and there they came, drifting over high from the west.  I knew those calls, they were the larger Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, coming in ravenously over the city, looking for something – anything! – to eat.

The city’s noise was already starting up around me but up there, where they were flying, there were only the sounds of the wind and the birds.  I imagined what they could see. Below, the city’s lights, and then up above, the thin, drifting billows of vapour and that brilliant, shining crescent.

Fly well, my friends, go well – 60 years ago, I grew up beside your ancestors on the coast; their calls were my constant companions.  And now my city is your bread basket, and the cold waters of its reservoirs the safe havens upon which you spend the long hours of dangerous darkness.

And there was humour in the moment too.  A man appeared at my elbow, asking what I was photographing, telling me he’s a photographer too, showing me images on his mobile phone – but heavens, man, I’m trying to photograph the ******* heavens, man!!!  Phrases started passing through my mind … from days long ago, giving as good as I got as a rugby forward … give him a dead legkick him in the …. but, this is Life, and I can only smile now at the recollection of the moment.

The camera did well.  I was leaning back, braced against a high wall, but in that light the lens was wide open and, at x6 magnification and at a shutter speed only 1/75th – this image is a tribute to the X-T2’s image stabilisation.  The bird may not be perfectly sharp, but that’s not a factor here.  I could have used a higher ISO, but in the heat of the moment just went with it.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; beside Temple Meads Station, Bristol; 15 Dec 2107.
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BIRDS 94 – HERRING GULL (MONO)

 

 


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Adult Herring Gull, in winter plumage, beside the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

A piercing stare – (s)he was sitting on top of a car parked on the harbourside, and I eased forwards, taking little steps, often pausing, and making a diagonal rather than head-on approach.  The D800 was set for APS-C format, and so I had 450mm – 9x magnification – to play with.  I made some very low clicking noises with my tongue, and (s)he looked at me.

How I love gulls!  They were all around during my childhood, they are all over Bristol now, and their wild calls are just that – a very welcome reminder of the wild across the city’s skyline.  They fly in to the city very early each morning, while its still dark – because its ok to get lost when the day is just starting.  But they leave before dusk, because getting lost at night is another matter entirely.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens, used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art High Key preset.
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BIRDS 93 – YOUNG GULL

 

 

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Young gull beside the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

My guess is that this is a young Herring Gull, because the breast streaking is rather diffuse, but it could be a Lesser Black-backed Gull.  Either way, it hatched from its egg in the summer, and is now well on the way towards its first taste of winter.

It is standing by the harbour, it is “loafing” as birders say – it has eaten, it is not starving but, as is often the case with gulls, it is alert to all that is going on around it, and ever ready to dive opportunistically upon anything that presents itself – like your fish and chips!

Click onto the image to open it in another winsow, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom.
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