ARCHIVE 299 – CROW SCARING STARLINGS (MONO)

 

 

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Starlings are flustered and scattered as a Carrion Crow flies in amongst them; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 1 Nov 2013.

There is another image from these moments here.

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro’s High Structure Harsh preset.

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ARCHIVE 298 – BLACK AND WHITE IMAGES PRODUCED BY SILVER EFEX PRO 2

 

I’ve just put out a post urging readers of my blog to take advantage of Google’s free offer of the Google Nik Collection digital photography plug-ins.  I waxed especially lyrical about the Silver Efex Pro 2 program for creating black and white images, and said that very many images produced by the program can be found on this blog.  Well, here is one – I hope you enjoy it.  (And there are others in recent posts here, here and here).

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Inquisitive as ever, out on Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 29 Aug 2013.

My ongoing warm feelings for cows.  The main subject is making a dive for my shiny lens – I fired and jumped back just before his wet muzzle engulfed it.  The expression of the next animal right is interesting – distinctly doubtful and censorious.  Maybe he read my thoughts about gravy and roast potatoes …

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

Technique: D700 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 18mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Fine Art Process preset.

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ARCHIVE 297 – AUTUMN CARPET (TWO VERSIONS)

 

 


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Our Hazel, dark and massive and still with a few pale leaves, stands proud of its autumn carpet; 18 Nov 2013.

The extreme wideangle lens is pointing downwards, and the leaves in the foreground appear to be close under the camera.  Everything left of centre leans out towards the left, and everything to the right (including our fence, top right) vice versa.

I think I prefer the colour version here, its how it was or, rather, its what I saw through the viewfinder – and I love this garden and its autumn colours.

The mono version is quite different.  Its much darker, its really built around darkness, darkness that is cut / illuminated by those white leaves, both sprinkled across the ground and still hanging from the tree.  Both versions would benefit from larger reproduction I think, the mono version more so.

Which version do you prefer?

Click onto the images to open larger versions in separate windows.

Technique: D800 with Sigma 12-24 lens at 12mm; 800 ISO; the mono version created with Silver Efex Pro 2’s Floral Style preset.

UPDATE: my apologies for not visiting others’ blogs as often as usual, but time is tight at the moment.

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ARCHIVE 296 – TIMBER (MONO)

 

 


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Stack of mangrove poles; Lamu, coastal Kenya; July 1978.

The (Western) human eye scans images from left to right, and from top to bottom. Here, my eye enters the image from the left, and then travels right along the parallel poles, until arrested by the vertical pole and its binding, at the far end – positioning the vertical pole on the right of the picture does not work so well.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO; Silver Efex Pro.
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ARCHIVE 294 – CROW ON A FALLEN TREE (MONO)

 

 


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Carrion Crow perched in a fallen tree; Tadham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 31 Mar 2014.

Early in the day, I pulled bleary eyed into the Magic Carpark, stumbled out of the car – and saw this crow.  Praying that it wouldn’t move, and all fingers and thumbs, I readied the camera, turned and – it was still there!  In fact it stayed there for sometime.

The tree is a casualty of the recent severe flooding.  It was probably not standing vertically before, but then its roots had been able to find sufficient purchase in the soil.  But, saturate that soil with floodwater for many weeks and turn it into something like blancmange or wet rice pudding, and the roots were simply not up to the task of keeping the great bulk of trunk and branches above them upright.

I went for a pure silhouette, with the sky completely burnt out, for simplicity – a Minimalist approach.  To me, the few branches entering the frame at upper right serve to balance the composition.  The adding of a blue tone takes the scene further away from reality.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Classic Portrait preset, and adding a Cyanotype tone.
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ARCHIVE 293 – TADHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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Misty morning on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 10 Apr 2014.

A typical Levels scene.  The water-filled ditch forms the boundary of the grassy field on the left of the shot.  Immediately left of the prominent tree,  a little bridge across the ditch allows access to the field.  The actual field gate is barely visible, at the left end of the two short lengths of fencing left of the tree.  These short lengths of fencing prevent animals in the field from edging around the sides of the gate, and so gaining their freedom via the bridge.

A single track, tarmac road, Totney Drove, is just out of sight on the right of the shot, at the top of the low bank immediately right of the tree.

I was first attracted by the tree’s reflection, but I also like the thin mistiness, both back behind the tree, and above the water in the ditch.  And the cloud above the tree helps the composition, being far preferable to having featureless sky there.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 70mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset.

UPDATE: I will never stop loving this image, its as simple as that.
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PEOPLE 274 – GRANDDAUGHTER 7 (MONO)

 

 


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The younger sister.

This is more or less unposed.  She was sitting in a room that was not brightly lit, looking here and there, reacting (or not!) to my suggestions, and I was relying on the Nikon’s wonderful autofocus to keep minimal – but important – sharpness.  I love this image for two reasons.  First of all, of course, I love her, that goes without saying.  But also I have really enjoyed using Silver Efex to manipulate and create this.  Using software is not always enjoyable, sometimes its a necessary chore, but there are other times when it is pure, creative joy – and for me that is especially the case with black and white images.  I have yet to feel such joy when using Lightroom, excellent though it is, but who knows what will come to pass?

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 4,000 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Classic Portrait preset, and adding a light sepia tone; 18 Apr 2017.
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PEOPLE 273 – GRANDDAUGHTER 6 (MONO)

 

 


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The younger sister, once more looking rather older than she is.

This is a quite intimate picture, this is a close up look at another human being, but without the eye contact some think essential.  It is really all about those eyelashes and that length of hair hanging down across her cheek: these are the only parts of the image that are sharp – in terms of focus, everything else has been left to look after itself.  The 105mm lens was used wide open at f2.8 for all of these pictures.

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 1600 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Cool Tones II preset, and adding a moderate coffee tone; 18 Apr 2017.
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PEOPLE 272 – GRANDDAUGHTER 5 (MONO)

 

 


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The elder sister, enjoying life …  How I love kids!  I have been told that, in Britain’s eminently educated, civilised and sophisticated society, it might be better if I did not utter such heartfelt emotions.  But the facts are simple.  Babies I can take or leave (I could most certainly never eat a whole one).  But once children start to talk in even the most disjointed fashion, once they start to give voice to what is in their minds and how they see the world, I am utterly enthralled – I want to be in there, I want to hear about it all!

And, of course, as photographers, I have heard and read so often that we should try to preserve our childlike sense of wonder at what we see around us – photography can be so much about making the mundane look extraordinary.  Adults are mainly sensible.  Its a kind of default mindset for us, isn’t it?  So we tend to see what’s around us sensibly and, in terms of photographic emotion, that can make things a little grey.  So, try not to be visually sensible.  Go mad a little – and, as a further aid, listen to what children say, listen to how they see things, get back – if only a little – into the way you used to think once upon a time, long ago.

Quite simply, I value my time with young people in many ways.  And, of course, one of the great benefits of being a Grandad is that, should the generation two stops down the conveyor belt get a little pushy, unruly or riotous, you can always hand them back to their keepers … I mean … parents …

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that larger version to enlarge it still further (though not, in this case, if you’re of anything like a nervous disposition …)

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 1250 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate II preset, giving the image the look of Fuji Neopan Acros 100 black and white film, and adding a light tone; 18 Apr 2017.
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PEOPLE 269 – GRANDDAUGHTER 4

 

 

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The younger granddaughter, looking down at a book.  I’d originally planned to have all of these portraits in black and white but – what the heck! – the colour original is here too! 

Which do you prefer?

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 4,000 ISO; window light; Lightroom; the mono version produced in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Warm Tone Paper preset.
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