STILL LIFE 209 – COLD MORNING WITH CIGARETTE PACKET

 

 


.

A wild walk, high up on the Mendip Hills, one of the (treasured) landscapes from the days of my youth, those 50+ years ago.  And wild is italicised because although this is countryside, indeed a nature reserve, the whole landscape bears the imprint of ourselves, from the prehistoric burial mounds high up on the skyline, to the old lead mines that were beneath my feet as I took this shot, and to the farmland and forestry plantations all around.  And also of course to sights like that shown above.  But, the fact remains that, had I been stranded out here overnight – a broken leg, perhaps, and my phone unable to find a signal – I should probably have died of hypothermia.  So that, in that sense at least, yes, a wild place; and, as such, somewhere to be treasured and, equally, treated with respect.

And so to what we Brits call the fag packet.  Well, no sermons here.  That some people drop litter is a Fact of Life, and probably always will be.  Were I feeling fanciful, or perhaps romantic, I might suggest that the grass on the left seems to be reaching out towards the offending object, endeavouring perhaps to remove or conceal it.  But neither of those emotional responses are in my mind today.

Two points about the packet do merit a comment however.  First, at the top, a woman comforts a prostrate man who has presumably been struck down by one of smoking’s certainly dire side effects, and the government has no doubt insisted on this image being shown on the packet, as a usefully visible alternative to the politically uncertain consequences of banning cigarettes altogether, e.g. of driving them down into the same thriving underground market as that which markets illicit drugs.

And then PAID demonstrates that the same government is taking its cut (via duty) of the death sticks’ bounty too – probably making the point that rises in such duty are aimed a reducing the numbers of smokers, while ignoring the points that “the poor” may well go without other things to fund their enjoyment / craving, or then again turn to crime to make ends meet, while those better off will simply ignore the price rises.  I’m cynical?  Oh yes, I am.  But I’m also doing my best to see things realistically.

Context from this shoot is here: 3Other photos are here: 1 2  4 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Priddy Mineries Reserve, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 16 Feb 2018.

.
.
.

PEOPLE 324 – GOING TO WORK 56 (MONO)

 

 


.

Nearly all of my Going to Work images have been captured in central Bristol and many of them have been early on cold, dark mornings – well, its a FATman thing …  But the rush hour also occurs far out in the countryside, as the city sucks in labour from its surrounding towns and (often gentrified) villages.

The Old Bristol Road across the top of the Mendip Hills and does exactly what it says on the packet, apart from arriving at a (more or less) modern city.  It may not be an A road or a motorway, but it brings people from the Mendips and further south in towards the city.  And, because it is a open and clear road, with fairly long, straight stretches, these commuters in their modern vehicles often cover it at considerable speed.  Twice a day, the relative peace of these hills is shattered by the roar of powerful engines, and road accidents – often at road junctions – can be serious affairs.

Another image – here – shows the “rush hour” away from the city centre, and the image below also shows cars speeding along these Mendip roads.

.

.

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 44 45  46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the images to open a larger version in a separate window and, for the upper image,  click onto the enlarged image once more to enlarge it further.

Technique (upper image): X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 234mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Holga preset and adding a tone; the Old Bristol Road, east of Priddy, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 16 Feb 2018.
.
.
.

ARCHIVE 341 – BLACK BULLOCK STANDING ON WHITE GRASS (MONO)

 

 


.

Black bullock, finely speckled by some flies, standing on white grass in a field at the bottom of East Water Lane, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 7 Aug 2014.

When I’m out taking photographs I find that I often forget things, including any ideas that I had beforehand as to the sort of pictures that I’m going out to hopefully capture.  It all just goes, and I either get caught up in the moment, photographywise or otherwise – just enjoying the moment – or I’m drifting off into daydreams and other wonders.

But SEPs’s infrared presets have been getting to me, and I took some shots up on Mendip recently, with the possibility of IR glimmering, at least dimly, in the back of my mind.  I’m not yet going as far as a blogging friend of  mine, Lisa Kimmorley, who has had a DSLR modified for IR photography, but I have had thoughts in that direction.

Anyway, here is an example of using SEP2 for something like IR effects – a black bullock standing on green grass while chewing something.  I had thoughts about trying to clone out the spiky white grass around its hooves, but I’ll never be able to restore the full structure of the hooves and, in any case, I think leaving it as it is adds to the unreality of the scene.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 250mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Infrared Film Soft preset.

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 208 – TREES BESIDE A LAKE 2

 

 


.

A second look at the trees reflected in the lake in the Priddy Mineries Reserve.  Rather than viewing them at an angle along the lake’s shore as I did in the previous image (3, below), I’m using a longer telephoto here to look straight at them from the other side of the lake, and this version omits the bright blue reflection of the clear sky.

Once again, the rising sun is lighting up the rising ground behind the lake shore, and the reflection of this colouration is seen in the shot’s foreground.  Just above the centre of the shot is the lower ground along the lake’s shore, which has yet to be illuminated by the sun, and which is receiving its light from the clear blue sky.  The reflection in the lake of this band of colour is seen just below the image’s centre.

Context from this shoot is here: 3Other photos are here: 1 2  .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Priddy Mineries Reserve, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 16 Feb 2018.

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 207 – TREES BESIDE A LAKE 1

 

 


.

The Priddy Mineries Nature Reserve is found on the Mendip Hills, south of Bristol.  It is an area of open ground made rugged by lead mining, and it includes a small lake.  I’ve done quite a bit of photography here over the past 15 years, including recently on a very cold, early morning.

Other images from this early morning shoot, already posted, are here: 1 2  .

What is this image looking at?  Well, I am standing on one side of the small lake, looking across it towards some small, bare trees on the opposite shore.  The sun is just rising behind me, and the lower parts of the trees and the ground around them are still in shadow but, above the shadow, the golden, low angle sunlight is bathing both the upper parts of the trees and the pale brown vegetation on the hillside behind.

It is a very still morning, with barely a ripple on the lake’s surface, and this liquid mirror is reflecting the hillside’s warm, sunlit browns, the bright blue of the clear sky, and the trees’ upper branches.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 106mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Priddy Mineries Reserve, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 16 Feb 2018.
.
.
.

STILL LIFE 206 – SMALL TREE (MONO)

 

 


.
When I can, I like to try my hand at different types of images.  For better or worse, here is an example.  I was reviewing pictures on my camera’s screen when this little tree caught my eye.  It occupies only a small part of an APS-C frame but, enlarging it on the screen, I liked it – and so to something a little different.

As usual, the initial processing was in Lightroom, and then I used Silver Efex Pro 2’s Classic Portrait preset to add softness and a pale vignette.  A pale tone followed, and the thinnest of black borders to keep it safe from the world.

What does this remind me of?  Well, I recently watched three enthralling BBC programs entitled The Art of Japanese Life, and perhaps that’s why I see something faintly oriental here, perhaps something faintly reminiscent a bonsai.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Classic Portrait preset, and adding a tone and a border; Priddy Mineries Reserve, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 16 Feb 2018.
.
.
.

STILL LIFE 202 – LONE TREE (MONO)

 

 


.
The view across the lake at Priddy Mineries Reserve, on the Mendip Hills.

Can’t quite believe the title I’ve given this – sounds like an entry for a camera club competition!  What have I got against camera clubs?  Nothing, except to know that they’re not for me.   I’m a loner when it comes to photography – being alone and aware of my surroundings is what works.

And as for competitions, photography is to me – like most if not all of the other arts –  far too subjective to allow meaningful ranking or judging of one photograph against another.  In photography, we each do our own thing, we express ourselves.  If others like our images, well that’s a plus.  If not, well that’s how it is, and we should, I think, keep being true to ourselves, keep being true to how we look at and see the world.  For me, taking photos with a view to competition judges saying positive things about them would hardly be satisfying.  But then, as always, I am not the norm and neither are you – we are all different, we each do our own thing.

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 98mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Silhouette EV +1 preset, and adding a tone; Priddy Mineries Reserve, Mendip Hills, Somerset; 16 Feb 2018.
.
.
.

STILL LIFE 201 – ICY WATERS

 

 


.

I left home before dawn on a very frosty morning and ended up, just after sunrise, in the Priddy Mineries nature reserve on the top of the Mendip Hills.  To say it was cold is vast understatement, and much of the small lake on the reserve was iced over.  The sun was just rising above the horizon, and its nearly horizontal rays illuminated the reeds around the water’s edge.

I metered for the reeds, to catch their golden glow.  Below them are their reflections in the still water, and the pale bluish rafts of ice – not yet illuminated by the sun but floating above the water’s dark depths.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Priddy Mineries Reserve, on the Mendips, Somerset; 16 Feb 2018.
.
.
.

STILL LIFE 200 – WINDOW WITH SNAILS

 

 


.

Snails congregated on the window of a rather ramshackle old hut beside East Water Lane.  This hut is used by those hardy souls (of whom, long ago, I used to be one) who descend into the many large caves in these limestone hills.

Technique: this image has been produced by in-camera Raw processing – as described here.

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); 800 ISO; in-camera Raw processing (using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation) and cropping; East Water Lane, near Priddy, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 16 Feb 2018.
.
.
.

STILL LIFE 193 – TABLE IN A CAFE (MONO)

 

 


.
A little while back, we went up to the café at the Priddy Good Farm Shop, on the top of the Mendip Hills, for a first rate Full English Breakfast.  I’d taken along the Fujifilm X-T1 camera and 10-24 wide angle lens specifically to photograph the food – and the resulting picture is here.

This café is a little extension with large windows on two sides that has been built onto the farm and, while waiting for the food to arrive, I walked around with the camera looking at anything and everything.  Next to us was a long wooden table with chairs along both sides and, set beside both sets of windows, it was well lit.  Long and slim, it receded from me.  I put the zoom onto its widest setting (15mm full-frame equivalent), looked down at the table, and raised the camera.  The farmer came in and said “You’re photographing the table.”, which put everything neatly into context, and I started gently squeezing the trigger.

I don’t often think about such things, but I suppose it was always going to be a black and white shot, with the receding lines of the table and the wonderful grain, knots and plate/glass marks on its polished top – and also the little group of condiments and sauces in their various containers, just in front of the bright reflection at the table’s end.

But the thing about pointing such a wide angle lens downwards is the distortion it brings, which makes all of the chairs appear to be “relaxing” outwards, which in turn channels more attention down onto the table top.  It could almost be a coffin, flanked by laid back, contemplative mourners and set with some small (and saucy??? – ohhhh! 😉 ) tributes to the deceased.

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-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Push Process N+3 preset, and adding a light coffee tone; Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 19 Jan 2018.
.
.
.

%d bloggers like this: