MENDIP HILLS 43 – TREES BESIDE A LAKE (MONO)

 

 


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Bare winter trees, beside almost still water.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; jpeg created and processed in-camera from a Raw file, using the Graphite profile; Priddy Mineries Reserve, high on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 7 Dec 2020.
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ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 25 – STORM

 

 


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Cars in a storm: high winds, driving rain and dark clouds rolling in across the top of the Mendip Hills, a Somerset landscape that was the roof of the world in my childhood, sixty and more years ago.

The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives (and some new images too), I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  Earlier Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context); 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 .  Each post will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 136mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Velvia/Vivid profile; Silver Efex Pro 2.  On the edge of Priddy Mineries Nature Reserve, east of Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 20 Sept 2018.

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ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 17 – DARK CAR (MONO)

 

 

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An image of three parts.  The two cars, manufactured and highly mobile confections of metal, plastic, rubber and glass, racing away from each other on a road that is certainly not for those more sensitive souls who are forever slowing down to compose poetry or look at the wildflowers.

And then the white line in the road’s center, undulating slightly as it climbs towards the hill’s crest.

And finally the light, spotlighting the dark car as it rushes urgently towards us,  and seen more faintly through the trees on the right, and then more brightly (the light at the end of the tunnel?) on the left.

The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives (and some new images too), I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  Earlier Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context); 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Architectural preset; fast road over the Mendip Hills, above Compton Martin, Somerset; 24 Nov 2017.
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ARCHIVE 496 – MAGPIE, BARBED WIRE FENCE AND TREE (MONO)

 

 


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Magpie flying over farmland beside East Water Lane, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 7 Aug 2014.

I had in mind a Minimalist composition consisting only of the tree and the barbed wire and its fence posts, when a noisy group of Magpies appeared and by luck I caught this one.  The pale areas of its plumage merge with the backdrop, eating into its outline.  But it is flying towards the left, with the black cone of its head, neck and breast on the left, and its long, thin, black tail stretching out behind.  Its wings are frozen by the high shutter speed, held up above its body.

One way of looking at this: of the three elements in the composition, the tree and the fence are static, with the third element flying into their space / surroundings.  Then again, the fence may be marching out towards the right, with its posts roped together for safety, and gradually disappearing down into a dip in the ground, or vice versa.  Everything is what it seems, until we start thinking about it.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset.

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ARCHIVE 460 – TREES BESIDE A LAKE (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Low trees beside the marshy lake on the Priddy Mineries Reserve, near Priddy village, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 16 June 2014.

On seeing this scene, I very much liked the sunlit pale yellow-greens of the young leaves, and here I’ve tried to portray that, while relegating everything else in the frame to a vague impression. 

The tops of the low plants that cover most of the lake’s open water are in the foreground, below the trees.  A hillside rises behind the trees.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Orange preset and selectively restoring colour.

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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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MENDIP HILLS 42 – LANDSCAPES FOR A DEAD WIFE 3 (MONO)

 

 


Dead trees, early morning, storm

I’m remembering my dead wife, and photographing a place we shared together long ago: you can find the full context in the first part of this series, here .  The second part of this series is here .  This is the final part of the series.

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Road, speed, darkness

If you would like to see enlarged versions of these pictures, click onto each one to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it: recommended.

Technique: all pictures were taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 camera and 55-200 Fujinon lens.  All were processed in Lightroom, and then converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.  On the edge of Priddy Mineries Nature Reserve, east of Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 20 Sept 2018.

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MENDIP HILLS 41 – LANDSCAPES FOR A DEAD WIFE 2 (MONO)

 

 

Storm, rain, clouds

I’m remembering my dead wife, and photographing a place we shared together long ago: you can find the full context in the first part of this series, here .

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Road, speed, darkness

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Writhing trees, rain, shadow

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If you would like to see enlarged versions of these pictures, click onto each one to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it: recommended.

Technique: all pictures were taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 camera and 55-200 Fujinon lens.  All were processed in Lightroom, and then converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.  On the edge of Priddy Mineries Nature Reserve, east of Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 20 Sept 2018.

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MENDIP HILLS 40 – LANDSCAPES FOR A DEAD WIFE (MONO)

 

 

Occasional, dazzling sun as dark clouds stream overhead

Many years ago, and newly arrived from equatorial climes, my wife and I were on the Somerset coast, desperately seeking a hot lunch on a bitterly cold day in the middle of winter.  However, in that distinctly non-tourist season, nowhere could oblige us.  At long last, we were saved by the Blue Anchor Hotel, between Watchet and Minehead, which, at no notice, produced delicious hot food, almost more than we could eat in fact and – as if that were not enough – wonderful warm hospitality too.  Coastal erosion will soon cause that hotel to collapse into the sea, and this fact, combined with my memories of that far off winter day, has served to bring my wife very powerfully back to me.

And so to a sentimental journey, to a place nearer home where I used to walk with Juliet, my first wife, my now long dead first wife.  A journey to walk where we walked and – if only within myself – to talk where we talked.

But, when I got there, the Natural World had other ideas, with high winds, driving rain and dark clouds rolling in across this open, upland landscape – this landscape, on the top of Mendip Hills, that was the roof of the world in my childhood, sixty years ago.

And so to thoughts and memories – very many of them – and to a flask of hot coffee within the car’s warmth and shelter.  And to looking out at, and then photographing – through the car’s streaming windows – some of the frenetic and blasting natural energy that swirled around me.  Was I afraid of the raging elements?  No, because the Natural World in all its moods enthrals me – but having my valued camera gear saturated and ruined is quite another matter!  But I knew that, Julie, the daughter of a farmer, would have enjoyed the weather’s energy too; that’s how she was.

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Main road; early morning

Two things to mention.  First, these images (which will be presented in three posts) may be a little dark, but this really has no significance beyond my penchant for dark black and white, and the fact that it was a dark day.

But, second, this post’s stark title may come as something of a shock to some.  But, while not especially looking forward to it, I feel more or less at ease with death, not least I suppose because I know that it is an inevitable reality.  But I know too that some in our advanced and civilised societies avoid mentioning The Big D, that some regard allusions to it as being in poor taste, and that some even regard it as some sort of taboo subject.  And I suppose that I find it strange that with all the imagined realities and social constructs with which we fill our heads and in which we so ardently believe, that some of us remain averse to contemplating and discussing all Life’s single, solid, and only too real destination.

Anyway, these are photos of a stormy day, taken with Julie on my mind.

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Dead trees, rolling clouds, ghostly skyline

.If you would like to see enlarged versions of these pictures, click onto each one to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it: recommended.

Technique: all pictures were taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 camera and 55-200 Fujinon lens.  All were processed in Lightroom, and then converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.  On the edge of Priddy Mineries Nature Reserve, east of Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 20 Sept 2018.

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ARCHIVE 355 – LOOKING SOUTHEAST FROM EAST WATER LANE (MONO)

 

 


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Looking southeast from East Water Lane, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 7 Aug 2014.

The eastern side of the lane, with a line of Hawthorns rising above a dry stone wall of the local limestone.  In the distance, trees line the road that continues on eastwards towards the Hunters Lodge Inn, Green Ore, and the main highway that runs down the Mendips’ steep southern slopes into the tiny city of Wells.

Back beyond the nearest tree, to its left, several other low trees are faintly seen out in the field.

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

Technique: D800 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 12mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Cool Tones 1 preset.

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