STILL LIFE 227 – SPRINGTIME IN CHURCH LANE 4

 

 


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This is probably the last of my pictures from Church Lane in spring, at least for the present.  And, concluding where I started, this is the image that started me off photographing there in the first place.

I was there on a beautiful spring morning, standing below the huge Horse Chestnut tree, and I looked through the viewfinder, saw this scene  – and was instantly hooked on the exploding mass of greenery around me.

Other images from these two springtime morning shoots in Church Lane can be found via these links: with context, here; also here and here and here !

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); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Pro Neg Hi film simulation; Church Lane, Whitchurch, Bristol; 4 May 2018.
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STILL LIFE 225 – SPRINGTIME IN CHURCH LANE 3 (MONO)

 

 


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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.

Earlier images from these two springtime morning shoots in Church Lane can be found via these links: with context, here; also here and here.

In this picture, I’m in under the Horse Chestnut tree’s canopy, looking up at it with a very wide angle lens, trying to give an idea of the size and spread of this beautiful living being.  The tree is now leaning into the picture, and rather than reproducing the luscious greens of springtime, presentation in toned black and white simplifies things slightly.

Technique: X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro2, starting at the Soft Orange preset and adding a tone; Church Lane, Whitchurch, Bristol; 7 May 2018.
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STILL LIFE 224 – SPRINGTIME IN CHURCH LANE 2

 

 


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The Natural World’s great springtime outburst of growth and activity along a small lane on the outskirts of Bristol – there are further images, and context, hereThere is another image here.

Above: the vast Horse Chestnut, shot with a 15mm (equiv) wide angle lens on the X-T1, which gives the impression of the tree spreading out – reaching out maybe – above and around the camera.  Its worth clicking onto this image to open another version in a separate window, and then clicking onto that image, to fully get this effect.  400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; 7 May 2018.

Below: another image of this tree’s new leaves, backlit by the rising sun.  X-T2 at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; 4 May 2018.  This image can also be enlarged by clicking onto it, and then clicking onto the larger image that opens: recommended.
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STILL LIFE 219 – SPRINGTIME IN CHURCH LANE

 

 


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I regularly walk around south Bristol, striding out, pounding the pavements and tracks, trying to control my waistline.  And I find that these walks of 5 miles or so positively do me good in two ways – physically, they keep my ageing frame in some sort of condition and stop my weight rocketing as it otherwise would – and mentally they give me plenty of time to think as well as keeping me well informed about what the Natural World is doing, which is something I always value.

Church Lane in Whitchurch is a regular destination because it is a quiet backwater bordering on open countryside, with wildlife that includes Roe Deer, Foxes, Ravens, Long-tailed Tits, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Jackdaws and many more.  And nearby are two friendly cats, Arthur and Fat Ted; and a little deaf and partly blind old dog called Lola, too.

On the plant side there are Snowdrops – and a Horse Chestnut tree that I would guess to be 40 or more years old, and that I often talk to: we watch the seasons go by.  This towering tree has recently put out its leaves, and I can only say that it is vast, impressive and beautiful.

Early one morning I was up in Whitchurch trying out the Full English Breakfast in a newly opened café, and so thought to take a camera along Church Lane, to see if I could photograph the beautiful Roe stag that I’ve seen there recently.  Of the stag there was no trace, but it was a lovely morning, and standing under that towering Horse Chestnut I felt the real burgeoning surge of the plant world in Spring.  I took some pictures.

Above is one of this Horse Chestnut’s new leaves, suspended above a groundswell of other plants that are surging up to meet it from below.

Below is the thick and impressive trunk of this vast plant and – fanciful though this may be – to me this looks very alive, like a huge, proclaiming being with many outstretched arms.  What am I on???

Click onto these images to open versions in separate windows, and click onto those images to enlarge them.

Technique:  X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens; 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Whitchurch, Bristol; 4 May 2018.
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STILL LIFE 192 – AUTUMN 3

 

 


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Autumn leaves and lichen inside an old and very weathered pot for flowers; on a grave, on a frosty morning, in the cemetery at Stanton Drew.

Earlier Autumn posts are here: 1 2 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 238mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley, south of Bristol; 6 Nov 2017.
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PEOPLE 310 – GOING TO WORK 44

 

 


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Walking to work on pavements strewn with inspection covers, shadows and fallen autumn leaves.

Veering over a little towards the surreal perhaps, am I?  Starting to look a little bit alien or otherworldly?  Two thoughts come to mind.

First, that following advice I read long ago and have never forgotten, I believe in letting my (now mainly non-existent!) hair down with black and white: black and white is already one step removed from reality, and I like seeing it become even more unreal.  I’m not really into straight black and white representations of colour scenes, such as might be obtained for example simply by desaturating a colour image.  Silver Efex Pro 2 is a very welcome companion on these sometimes delirious flights of fancy.

Then second, with this Going To Work series, I’m trying to look at various approaches and techniques, with a completely open mind, ruling nothing out.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 .  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-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared Low Contrast preset and adding a strong cyanotype tone; Broad Quay, central Bristol; 11 Nov 2016.

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STILL LIFE 183 – AUTUMN 2

 

 


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The leaf of a Horse Chestnut tree, on a frosty autumn morning.

Strange how things can move (or be moved) around, and strange too how we can take things for granted.  If you’d asked me about Horse Chestnut trees awhile back, I’d have characterised them as an essential and native part of “England” that has, for example, brought the “traditional” game of conkers to us, and which graces many a picturesque and “traditional” English village (I always deeply mistrust the word “traditional”, and especially so when its used in any type of marketing …).

Anyway, the fact is that these beautiful big trees were introduced to the UK from Turkey in the late 16th century so they’re not native at all – but they still are very beautiful.

Earlier autumn posts are here: 1 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 228mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 6 Nov 2017.
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STILL LIFE 182 – AUTUMN 1

 

 


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Low angle autumn sunlight grazes the surface of the pavement on a steep hill. 

The leaf is from one of the tall Plane trees that line this major route south out of the city.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 74mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; Wells Road, Bristol; 17 Nov 2017.
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STILL LIFE 175 – DUAL CARRIAGEWAY

 

 

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After a morning looking for low angle winter sunlight in the city, I walked back towards some (more!) food and a bus home.  I was walking beside a roaringly busy dual carriageway and the dazzling winter sun – providing at best only the very faintest warmth – was blasting across the road at me from the left.  Looking into the sun, across the road, I turned the X-T2 into portrait orientation and took this picture – which has here been rotated 90 degrees towards the left – anticlockwise – into landscape format.

What was the camera looking at?  The dual carriageway has a central crash barrier, with a stout metal girder above a solid concrete base.  On the left of the shot, this crash barrier throws a harsh black shadow onto the road’s surface.  Then, to the right of that, there is the black tarmac road surface, turned almost silver by the sun’s glare.  And then the thick white line that separates the road’s two inbound lanes.

The lane nearest the camera has a brown surface, to show that it leads to an exit from the dual carriageway.   Autumn leaves have been firmly crushed into this brown surface – in a way that they would not be crushed into real tarmac – until they have become pale and flattened, amorphous streaks of their former selves.  And so to an abstract image.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 640 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise; Temple Way, central Bristol; 1 Dec 2017.

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GARDEN 69 – ANGRY MORNING

 

 


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I was making a cup of tea in the kitchen, which faces due east, and being struck by the ferocity of the winter sunrise over to the southeast.  A wild morning, an angry morning, the sort of morning that has an undeniable wild beauty, but which takes some strength of resolve to get outdoors and get to grips with.

And in front of me an oak tree that I have watched grow up from a naturally sown acorn – perhaps buried and forgotten by a squirrel – over the past twenty or so years.  And although it does not know it yet, an unfortunate oak, a healthy and burgeoning tree that because of its close proximity to the house will have to be cut down in the near future.

But back again to that fierce, early light, which was transfixing as it radiantly backlit the few of the oak’s leaves that had managed to hang on during the recent gales.  The camera was to hand, and so to spot metering … and the wonderful luminosity of those last few leaves.

And although it is a rather underexposed caricature of the original, below is an idea, just an idea, of the angry sky that was producing this beautifully fierce, hard and cold light …
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Click onto each 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 305mm (equiv); spot metering; Lightroom; Bristol; 8 Dec 2017.
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