ARCHIVE 258 – THE MADDING CROWD (MONO)

 

 

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Dandilions near the The Castle of Comfort Inn, northeast of Priddy, on the Mendip Hills; 24 Apr 2011.

When I see this I think of a tide of people – or perhaps they are just faces –  emerging from the far darkness and tottering forwards, unsteadily but also unstoppably, out into the light.

Canon PowerShot G11; 200 ISO; conversion to mono in Silver Efex Pro.

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ARCHIVE 252 – DREAMWORLD (MONO)

 

 

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Tree in mist, near the Castle of Comfort Inn, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 28 June 2013.

A good deal of creativity and manipulation in SEP2 here, aiming for something unreal. 

This is an imagined landscape, a place in which we often find ourselves, wary and ill at ease, during our troubled nights.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 2 preset.

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MENDIP HILLS 39 – TYRES (MONO)

 

 

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Tyre dump at Tyning’s Gate Barns, southeast of Shipham; 17 Oct 2004.

Well, to me, what is there here?  Such a composition could lack a focal point – though saying that a focal point is by no means a “must have” feature of all images.  But here there is the larger tyre flush with the right hand edge of the frame and – more so – the huge and rugged tractor tyre to the left of it, with a highlight along its curved and chunky rim.  If there is a focal point here, that tractor tyre is it.

Then, moving left again, there are the gaping black holes in the centres of rather smaller and more commonplace tyres – open mouths wailing in anguish???  In our world today, quite possibly so.

And then, out to the left margin from there, the shapes of the tyres distort and merge into abstraction – hopefully(!) pushing our eyes back into the more ordered and comprehensible centre of things … which is where we like to be?

OM-4 with 300mm Zuiko; tripod; Fuji Velvia 50 colour slide; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset; rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise.

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ARCHIVE 160 – WINDSWEPT

 

 

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Windswept trees on the Mendip plateau, near the Priddy Mineries Reserve; 28 Oct 2009.

A windy autumn day.  The patch of blue top left helps the picture, breaking up the otherwise uniform overcast that was streaming overhead.

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

D700 with 80-400 Nikkor at 400mm; 800 ISO.

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MENDIP HILLS 38 – FORESTRY PLANTATION 2

 

 

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Forestry plantation east of North Hill; 6 Apr 2015.

A shaft of early morning light from Our Star pierces the great pines’ towering darknesses.

And in my mind, these trees have closed around this little glade, maybe in awe of its light.  And maybe conscious too that any closer approach will extinguish that which so fascinates them, that which they hold to be, during the fleeting moments of star-rise, so precious.

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

The first of these images is here.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO; Colour Efex Pro 4.

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MENDIP HILLS 37 – FORESTRY PLANTATION

 

 

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Forestry plantation east of North Hill; 6 Apr 2015.

A sapling, with last year’s leaves caught by the low sun, rising up amongst the dark and towering pines.

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

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; Colour Efex Pro 4.
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MENDIP HILLS 36 – BLUE LANE (MONO)

 

 

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The view southwards down East Water Lane; 7 Aug 2014.

This little, dead end lane has re-invented itself or, put more simply, in language perhaps from an age now past, it has changed.  For no longer is it a slim, tarmac strip leading away southwards from beneath my feet, but rather an abrupt wall, blank, sheer and beset by flickering blue shadows, slicing across the Mendips’ smooth and sober slopes.

D800 with 12-24 Sigma at 12mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Silhouette EV +0.5 preset, adding a split tone, and rotating by 90 degrees anticlockwise.
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MENDIP HILLS 35 – LOOKING SOUTHEAST FROM EAST WATER LANE 2 (MONO)

 

 

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Looking southeast from East Water Lane; 7 Aug 2014.

A little while back, I posted a picture of trees along this narrow lane, which I like very much.  I was walking southwards down the lane, with the morning sun blasting across from my left and throwing the hawthorn trees along the lane’s edge into stark silhouette.  I walked on past the hawthorn in this first photo, and then took the shot above, which is of the next tree along.

The two pictures are similar in their content, but in this one I’ve changed the colours in the RAW file to better translate into black and white, and added a strong copper tone to the end result.  I have to say that I prefer the composition, simplicity and processing of the first picture, but that the drama and colours here get to me too.

And I must give this Sigma 12-24 DG lens a plug, I can’t recommend it too highly.  Its a little bulky – but who cares about that?! –  and it cannot use screw-in filters, but its certainly one of my favourite lenses, right up there with the 70-300.  I’m using the original version from a decade or more back, but there’s a MKII out now that is supposedly better for digital cameras. 

D800 with 12-24 Sigma at 12mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Overexposed EV+1 preset, and adding a strong copper tone.
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MENDIP HILLS 34 – TWO COWS AND A WALL (MONO)

 

 

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Two cows and a wall beside East Water Lane, near Priddy; 7 Aug 2014.

OK, OK, I realise that the front one at least isn’t a cow, but I prefer this title!  Titles matter … as do good beers and ciders …

So, two cattle on snow or white grass, with the dirty smudges of a wall in the background.  I’ve nearly managed to get the whites on the front animal to coalesce with those of the grass, which causes this Friesian to melt somewhat into its background – its on the way to becoming an abstract mass of irregular black shapes, an unsolvable jigsaw.

I get the sense of a unintentional geometrical composition here, with the front animal at the apex and the wall as the baseline.  And if this is the case, the rear animal sits just within the left hand border.

And for some reason I can’t put my finger on – and while not in the slightest laying any claim to his genius – this reminds me somehow of a Banksy mural; not of any specific one, but of his general style.

Is this bullock happy in the knowledge that this whiter than white and certainly aseptic GM grass will make purer milk; or then again irate because although scientists may think that cows prefer their GM pastures vanilla flavoured, he damn well doesn’t!?

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Infrared Film Soft preset.
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MENDIP HILLS 33 – BRAMBLE AND HAWTHORN (MONO)

 

 

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Bramble and Hawthorn along the side of East Water Lane; 7 Aug 2014.

The sharp thorns and rounded, serrated leaves of Bramble, the plant that rends clothes and skin and swamps your garden if you give it half a chance – but which is redeemed by being the source at this time of the year of gorgeous blackberries. 

And below, the smaller, notched leaves of Hawthorn, also known as May because it blossoms – and gorgeously too – during that month.  My mother was born in May, and was given that as her middle name.   And there are many red berries on these trees now, but whether that indicates a mild or a hard winter – who knows?

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Negative preset; further processing in Capture NX2.
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