SOMERSET LEVELS 325 – LONG MOOR DROVE, LOOKING WEST (MONO)

 

 


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A dull, dark morning, and Long Moor Drove makes off westwards across Liberty Moor.

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 83mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared Low Contrast preset and adding a split tone; Liberty Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 22 Mar 2019.
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ARCHIVE 405 – THE VIEW SOUTHEAST FROM EASTWATER LANE (MONO)

 

 


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Looking southeast from Eastwater Lane, high up on the Mendip plateau in Somerset; 4 Feb 2014.

In their central and western reaches, the Mendip Hills are a steep sided and formidable, west-east barrier of hard, old (Palaeozoic) rocks.  They have the Old Red Sandstone of the Devonian period in their cores, and the Carboniferous Limestone all around.  But especially in their central area, these precipitous slopes give up onto a flattish or gently undulating plateau, with sturdy farms huddling amongst windbreaks, and pubs with evocative names – names that recall my youth and things that have always been a part of my life – the Castle of Comfort, the Miner’s Arms and Hunters Lodge.

Wondering about floods, I drove up onto Mendip yesterday, and spent some time in Eastwater Lane – a favourite place because it is a dead end and so has no through traffic.  I was also around the village of Priddy.  It was a cold, damp day, initially lit by pale, glinting sun, but with dark clouds and spitting rain all too soon coming up on the gusting southerly.  There were flood warnings in several places, but the waters had either subsided, or were only thinly masking the little roads – although all of that may have changed with the storm that hit us later yesterday afternoon and overnight – and today too.

I walked along Eastwater Lane, enjoying  the sight and atmosphere of the Bronze Age round barrows on the hill crests, and seeing where streams running down from the sandstone hilltops disappear underground into caverns as soon as they encounter the far more soluble limestone.

Here was Eastwater Cavern, that I descended as a plump, pudgy teenager, and I tried to recall if I’d become stuck in it or not.  Yes, is the probable answer, as I had to be helped through many a difficult cave by my school friends – but the vast Swildons Hole, from which the Mendip Cave Rescue had to come out and extricate me, is off towards Priddy.  I made the local papers – I think I was 16 at the time.

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

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Film Noir 3 preset.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 324 – FLOODED ROAD (MONO)

 

 


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Exploring out on Queen’s Sedge Moor, not far south of the tiny city of Wells, in filthy conditions – rain falling from grey overcast, lots of surface water and simply heroic amounts of mud.  And then onto this little single track road heading for the tiny village of Barrow – when a van, obviously driven by a local, someone who knows the place – rounded a corner and came straight at me at speed.  There was no danger, this image was taken with a 450mm telephoto, which gives x9 magnification, and so it was still quite far off – but it put on speed through the surface water and spray flew everywhere.

Lots of familiarisation with this new camera paid off: I just had time to engage Continuous Autofocus, focus onto the number plate, hold down AF-ON and start firing – three frames and then the vehicle was on me and I was off into the (very soggy) roadside grass.  But, as is often the case down there, a cheery wave from the driver – after all, if I choose to stand in the road, its my lookout!

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – 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 Picture Control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset; Queen’s Sedge Moor, south of Wells, on the Somerset Levels; 5 Apr 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 323 – LOOKING SOUTH DOWN KID GATE DROVE (MONO)

 

 


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

Kid Gate Drove, on the western edge of Tealham Moor, surfaced with tarmac and making off to the south – one of my main access roads onto the Levels.

On the left, the stumps of two old pollarded willows, mostly dead now but still with a few new twigs, and with their bark peeling off to expose the pale, dead wood underneath.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Sepia Landscape preset; Kid Gate Drove, west of Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 22 Mar 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 101 – FOGGY MORNING

 

 


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Walking in early morning fog.  Walking off the edge of the world.

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 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 .  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); 500 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 30 Mar 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 321 – JACK’S DROVE (MONO)

 

 


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An unreal landscape.  Just a single track road, its verges and, standing up on either side, the precipitous, abrupt lines of machine-cut trees – that are either columns along the nave of some vast, natural, outdoor cathedral or, equally fancifully, sombre beings – Ents perhaps! – standing obediently aside to let us pass through. 

But pass through to where, that is the question. 

The mist is down, and beyond this road and these trees there lies only uncertainty.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 .  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: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 101mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate 1 preset; Jack’s Drove, on the Somerset Levels south of Wedmore; 19 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 320 – SUNRISE, TADHAM MOOR

 

 


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Looking east, Tadham Moor: the day begins.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 .  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 – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wedmore; 19 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 319 – WINTER SCENE (MONO)

 

 


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If you want to be standing on Jack’s Drove, looking up its length on this cold morning, 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.

The view northwards up Jack’s Drove on Tadham Moor, in winter.  Mud and water on the road, the flat sides of the bare, machine-cut trees on either side, and in the distance (best seen with the image enlarged), the small, black metal upper works of the little bridge over the North Drain. 

And behind that, the higher ground around Wedmore, which was formerly an island when, not long ago, this drove and all the country around was covered by lakes and swamp.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Warm Tone Paper preset and adding a split tone; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 11 Jan 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 77 – METROBUS (MONO)

 

 


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Three things to talk about today.  First, Bristol has serious traffic congestion, and the new Metrobuses are aimed at helping to ease this.  These are new and very modern, double decker buses with long routes right across the city, and they are cashless, which means that you can only buy tickets online, or via your mobile phone, etc etc – you can’t actually put your hand in your pocket and pull out the filthy lucre.  This is aimed at having these buses hanging around less at their stops while the drivers give each passenger their ticket and change, and so speeding up the journeys – something which is also helped by bus only lanes on some main roads.

And because payment is digital, each bus stop must have one of these illuminated columns – looking rather like something out of the Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey – from which you can buy tickets via debit/credit cards; and where the buses are satellite tracked, so that accurate arrival times plus other info is also available.

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

Technique: secondly, this image comes from a source I haven’t used before, its derived from using the TG-5’s RAW Data Edit facility to process a RAW image in-camera.  This uses the TG-5’s large array of ART BKT filters, or art filters – this one being the Dramatic Tone II filter.  I like the effect, but have to say that this in-camera RAW processing is far less intuitive and useful than that found on Fujifilm’s X-T2 mirrorless camera, where it is really is a significant creative tool.  Still, yet another aspect of the TG-5, a camera which I’m increasingly impressed with.

Technique: another aspect of this photo is the deep depth of focus (= depth of field), which results from the TG-5’s very small sensor – for the most part, this is a camera for those liking front to back sharpness.  This was taken at f2, where depths of field on larger sensors are very small – the TG-5 does of course have smaller apertures, up to f11 I think, but I read somewhere that these smaller apertures do NOT give increased depth of focus on the TG-5, which is an interesting phenomenon I’ve not come across before.

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 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 320 ISO; in-camera processing of a RAW file, using the Dramatic Tone II art filter; followed by further processing of the resulting jpeg in Lightroom; south Bristol; 15 Feb 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 318 – LOOKING TOWARDS GLASTONBURY TOR

 

 


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A very muted winter sunrise, and the view from Tealham Moor towards the iconic landmark of Glastonbury Tor, topped by its ruined church tower.

What can we see?  The water-filled ditch in the foreground is known locally as a rhyne (rhymes with seen); rhynes pervade this wet landscape, and act as liquid fences to the fields.  Follow the line of the rhyne off into the distance and, just right of where it disappears, are two Mute Swans, visible only as two white dots, and these great white birds pervade this landscape too.

And, as already mentioned, off at top right is Glastonbury, instantly recognisable by its Tor.  When these wet flatlands were actually lakes and marshes, the high ground of Glastonbury was an island.  The Romans had a harbour there: Glastonbury is 14 or more miles inland now, but in those far off times seagoing ships could still reach it.  And in addition to its world famous pop music festival, it is the centre of a vast mythology which, amongst other things, encompasses King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, the Holy Grail, the Isle of Avalon and other medieval stories.  I dearly wish that each and every one of the Glastonbury legends were true, that would truly be wonderful, and so it saddens me that I cannot find it within myself to believe them.  That said, this small town really is a unique place, and I feel very fortunate in not living far from it.

And finally, if you look very carefully, you’ll see a line of tall electricity pylons marching across the horizon, on either side of Glastonbury’s high ground – evidence that, here, we are not that far from the Hinkley Point nuclear power station, which is something somehow highly incongruous in this flat, quiet, peaceful landscape.

Composition: the bright line of the rhyne takes my eye straight up to the top left of the frame, and less prominent pale and dark, horizontal lines come across the frame (just below the Tor) from the right margin to meet the rhyne’s vanishing point.  Hence everything drags my eye to upper left, but the Tor is such a strong feature (to me, a local, at least) that my eye swings to upper right too, so that there is a dynamic here.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 143mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 11 Jan 2019.
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