ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 63 – JAGUAR (MONO)

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An up market car, a Jaguar, in the soft dew of the early morning. 

Or, then again, car porn, the type of image used to make us buy cars, or cameras, or whatever commodity is being marketed.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 74mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 2 preset and adding a split tone; south Bristol; 22 Dec 2018.

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ANNIVERSARY – FATMAN PHOTOS IS 10

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Great Grey Owl at the International Centre for Birds of Prey (ICBP), near Newent, Gloucestershire; 2 July 2014.

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Well, 10 years, quite an anniversary.  And, as always, I want to thank all those who have looked at my blog, and those too who have left Likes, Comments and/or Follows on my blog, over the past turbulent and very uncertain year.  Its always good to be appreciated, and these signs of appreciation serve to encourage me, and to give me the motivation to keep on blogging.  I’m primarily a photographer, and very interested in images both for what they portray and the ways that can be used to better convey what is being conveyed – if that makes any sense 😎 !!!   And, in addition to the photography, I also enjoy writing on my blog almost as much.

I have two other things to say, one good, the other not so good.

Having trained as a geologist, I have been interested in – and looking at – birds since 1967; I was a professional  bird and wildlife safari leader in Kenya in the 1980s.  I’m not really a birder as such any more, but I do retain a great love for and interest in birds (and for the natural world in general too), and so the images on this post today are of birds, and I’ve tried to choose a variety of styles from my archives.  I hope you will like them.

The other thing to mention is WordPress’s new Block Editor.  A year ago I said that it would be nice to get to this blog’s 10th anniversary but that, in the opening months of the pandemic, nothing could be certain.  However – and here I suppose I must smile ruefully to myself – of all the things that have been thrown at us over the past 12, dreadful months, I had not counted on also having to cope with such an awkward obstacle to post writing!  Others have said that I’ll most probably get used to this new editor after I’ve used it for 20 or so posts and I can already see that they’re probably right – and I’m grateful for their encouragement.  But there is no escaping the fact that post writing is now a substantially more tiresome and less enjoyable, intuitive and efficient experience than it once was.   Keeping to the (new version of) the Classic Editor whenever possible and avoiding the Block System whenever possible seem to be the ways forward for me, though I am as yet by no means proficient.  To end on a positive note,  I am just so profoundly grateful that it is still possible to access the HTML code that underlies the posts, and I know I’m very much not alone in this view.

Anyway, to gush forth further positivity(!), thank you all again for looking at my blog – and I hope you enjoy these bird pictures – clicking onto to them will open larger versions in separate windows – recommended in many instances.

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Robin in our front garden; Bristol, Sept 2020.

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Dawn mists rise above Lake Nakuru, central Kenya; January 1978. The large, white birds with huge bills in the foreground are White Pelicans. In the lake behind them are the trunks of trees that, flooded by the lake, have been killed by the high concentration of sodium bicarbonate in its waters. Cormorants (the same species as in the UK) perch on these dead trunks, and a nest of sticks is also visible.

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Turnstone in winter plumage, on the West Pier at St Ives, Cornwall; Sept 2016.

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Starlings scatter as a Carrion Crow flies in amongst them; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; Nov 2013.

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Up close and personal – who says I’m chicken?! 😎 –  Stanton Drew, near Bristol; Nov 2017.

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Sunrise at the mouth of the Njoro River at Lake Nakuru, Kenya; Jan 1978.  Cormorants spreading their wings to dry, and a scrum of White Pelicans at the water’s edge.  The trees have been killed by the lake’s rising, highly alkaline waters.

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Black-headed Gull, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; Dec 2020.

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Flocks of Starlings roam the Somerset Levels in autumn; Oct 2019.

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Lanner Falcon at the International Centre for Birds of Prey, at Newent, Gloucestershire; July 2014.

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Feral Pigeons – town pigeons –  Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; Jan 2020.

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Mallard in Herons Green Bay, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; Apr 2015.

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Herring Gull in typical habitat, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; Nov 2019.

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Young gull beside the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall; Oct 2016.

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Mute Swan, very much keeping an eye on me, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; Oct 2019.

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ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 61 – HIGH SPEEDS DOWN NARROW LANES (MONO)

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Morning commute on the Somerset Levels: high speeds down narrow lanes.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format at 450mm; in-camera processing of raw file, starting at the Graphite profile; further processing of the jpeg in Lightroom; Totney Drove, on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wedmore; 9 Sept 2019.

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ARCHIVE: LEVELS 33 – POLLARD IN FLOODWATER (MONO)

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Pollarded Willow standing in floodwater on Tadham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 23 Nov 2012.

With its bulky, rounded crown, this tree is top heavy and well on its way to collapse.  The usually wet, peat soils provide little in the way of support.

More about the practice of pollarding can be found in my first Somerset Levels post 

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 165mm; 200 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, using the Yellowed 1 preset as a starting point.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.
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ARCHIVE: LEVELS 31 – KEEPING VERY STILL AND QUIET (MONO)

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A summer’s morning down on the Levels, and after a lot of early morning photography I was relaxing with hot coffee and a sandwich in a spot on Tadham Moor that I know as the Magic Carpark.  I’ve given it this somewhat strange name because, many years ago now, being in this little, quiet place helped me through terrible times in my life, and I’ve been coming here ever since.  And, after I’ve downed the very last of my very special Belgian beers, this is where my ashes will be scattered.  A wonderful and eminently simple little place.

On this particular morning, in the field next to the rough track that leads off south from the Carpark, there was a herd of cows, largely motionless, along with their calves.  And the more I looked at these cows, and at the morning’s light washing over them, the more I was drawn to them.  And so, putting down the coffee and picking up the Z 6, I walked slowly and quietly down the rough track towards them.

Arriving next to the cows, I kept very still and quiet and just looked at them.  Most were unconcerned by my presence, but this one, who had been lying down beside her calf, stood up to look at me, and advanced a few paces – and I was very glad of the water-filled ditch – the rhyne – that lay between us.  But, keeping silent and motionless paid off and, slowly raising the camera, I carefully started making images of this very placid scene.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 330mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral v2 profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Cool Tones 1 preset; the Magic Carpark, Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 12 July 2019.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.

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ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 58: DRIVING THROUGH THE STORM (MONO)

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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.  These 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 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 56 57 .  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 143mm (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 615 – HERRING GULL (MONO + COLOUR)

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Adult Herring Gull in the harbour at St Ives, Cornwall;  24 Apr 2012.

Rather than having the backdrop completely black, I’ve restored just a little of the sky’s blue.  I’d thought of a total colour restoration but, with the bright red and yellow bill,  the results were garish to say the least.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; conversion to mono and partial colour restoration in Silver Efex Pro 2.

ARCHIVE: LEVELS 27 – AT ROSE FARM, LOOKING EAST (MONO)


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The view out across a misty landscape, early in the day.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 116mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid v2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Tin Type preset; at Rose Farm, on the Somerset Levels south of Tarnock; 3 May 2019.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.

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ARCHIVE: LEVELS 26 – STORM (MONO)

 

 


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Storm-blown trees on Tadham Moor, early on 23 Dec 2013.  Taken through my car’s windscreen, during heavy rain.

With a bad weather alert broadcast, I went down very early to the Somerset Levels yesterday, arriving there before dawn.  Sitting there in the dark watching all things materialise around me as the dawn crept up was magical, but there were downsides.  With a southerly airflow the day was mild, but whereas I’d left Bristol in dry and calm darkness, the weather forecasts’ warnings proved absolutely right with the advent of strengthening winds and worsening rain almost as soon as I’d pulled up and got stuck into my frugal repast – thick, bitter marmalade sandwiches, plain chocolate digestive biscuits (well its Christmas!) and hot, sweet coffee – in Swanshard Lane, near Polsham.

Dull light came and I pushed on westwards towards Tadham and Tealham Moors, but the little roads were already very wet and the rain and wind worsened.  I stayed quite a time down there, glorying in the wildness of the elements, but that wet place was just getting very much wetter, and with the waterways full to the brim and the roads actively awash and strewn with tree debris, I at last started for home.

This archive presents some of the pictures that I’ve taken on the Somerset Levels over many years.  More context can be found in the first post in this archive – 1 – and also in my first Somerset Levels post, from 2011 – here .  Further posts in this archive are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 .  All of these links will open in separate windows. 

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 270mm; 25,600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro’s Film Noir 3 preset.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.

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ARCHIVE: LEVELS 25 – RUBY RED DEVON (MONO)

 

 


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Red Ruby Devon cow on Peacock Farm, northeast of Westhay, on the Somerset Levels; 21 Mar 2012.

Having large animals fill the frame has always attracted me – I like to get in close to them, usually with a sizeable telephoto and, in a way, turn them into landscapes. 

Here the accent is very much on the animal’s pale and coarsely hairy face, with its bulging eye and odd strands of pale straw.  Then my eye is taken left to its wonderfully hairy ear and then, further left again, the dark flank fades off into abstraction.

This archive presents some of the pictures that I’ve taken on the Somerset Levels over many years.  More context can be found in the first post in this archive – 1 – and also in my first Somerset Levels post, from 2011 – here .  Further posts in this archive are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 .  All of these links will open in separate windows. 

The first Somerset Levels picture gallery, which shows the first 10 of these posts with short captions – ideal for quick viewing – can be found here .

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

Technique: D700 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 3200 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.

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