SOMERSET LEVELS 355 – TREE WITH BROKEN BRANCH (MONO)

 

 


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Casualty of recent unseasonally windy weather, on a decidedly damp and dull morning in what we Brits have known, in the past at least, as “Flaming June”.

Technique: both of the cameras that I now take to the Somerset Levels – the Nikon Z 6 and the Fujifilm X-T2 – have the facility to process their Raw files internally to produce jpegs that can be downloaded alongside the original Raw files to (in my case) Lightroom Classic.  The processing possibilities are quite extensive – including adding “looks”, cropping, changing exposure, white balance, etc etc – and I find this a great aid to creativity.  I find the Fujifilm X-T2 a little better at this sort of processing than the Nikon Z 6, but even in the latter it is still a very useful process / add-on.

Thus a typical day is an early morning visit to the Levels, followed by an afternoon slumped in an armchair feeling totally shattered, sipping the golden Belgian beer Duvel that is my favourite tipple, and – for greater or shorter periods – looking through the day’s images on the two cameras, trying out various edits, and saving as jpegs those that look promising.  Then, the same day if I’m not too far Duvelled – or the next day if I am –  I can download BOTH the original Raw files and my manufactured jpegs into Lightroom >>> so that I can look at both my original photos AND the prompts towards potentially useful processing methods.  I can only say that I find this a definite aid to creativity and that anyone whose camera allows in-camera Raw processing should explore its possibilities (the Duvel is of course optional, but wholeheartedly recommended all the same!).

Another point here is that mirrorless cameras like the Nikon and the Fuji allow review of images via the viewfinder as well as the rear screen, and that the viewfinder often gives a better appreciation, especially in bright ambient light.

And yet another point is that Lightroom – dear Lightroom – removes things like Fujifilm’s excellent film simulations as it reads in Raw files, whereas it does not do this with other file types eg jpegs >>> so that all in-camera processing is preserved.

I couldn’t decide which of these images to present and hence both are here – I think I prefer the darker, more foreboding, more apocalyptic,  version above.
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Click onto each image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); in-camera processing of the Raw file, using the Acros + red filter film simulation; no further processing; Great Withy Drove, Common Moor, north of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels; 14 June 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 354 – AT ROSE FARM, LOOKING EAST 3 (MONO)

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

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

Silver Efex Pro 2, which I always wholeheartedly recommend for black and white processing, gives the resulting image its take on the look of a Tin Type photograph.

There are earlier shots in this series here: 1 2 .

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.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 351 – QUEEN’S SEDGE MOOR, MORNING LIGHT (MONO)

 

 


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Morning light on Queen’s Sedge Moor, with the higher, more thickly wooded ground around Launcherley rising in the background.

This picture, well, this picture …  It was a beautiful place on a fine morning and it reminds me of being there, but I just don’t have any deep feelings about it.  To me its getting over a little bit too much towards the picturesque – it could be a postcard.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Centre Focus preset and adding a split tone; Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 348 – LOOKING ALONG THE LANE BELOW THE WHITELAKE BRIDGE

 

 


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Looking south from the Whitelake Bridge, on Hearty Moor.  A single track lane, its surface muddy and gently (i.e. characterfully!!!) undulating, disappears off amongst the shadowy trunks of trees.  Spring flowers line the sides of the lane, and trees bright with fresh, pale foliage overhang it.  A simple little scene, a lovely little place, a place in which to feel uncomplicated, quiet and at peace – except when the farmer comes through with his tractor or cows.

I’m not too sure where the point of focus is here, it may be down near where the road disappears, as the roadside flowers seem a little soft – but, well, you know, go with the flow.  If I’m trying to get myself off the hook, I suppose I could call this an impression of the scene and, in any case, I’m glad to have the picture.

A further point is that, much as I like mono, I had trouble here deciding on mono or colour >>> and so to both.  I think the mono has it >>> but what do you think???????

Particularly as, in the mono version, in my mind’s eye, I see that great bank of pale foliage on the right as the crest of a huge wave that is about to engulf this tranquil scene.  And although this may seem a rather fanciful vision (I never restrain my imagination), the latest forecasts for sea level rise due to global warming by the end of this century are two metres (about 6 feet), and if that happens then the Somerset Levels will be squarely in the firing line.  The Romans used to be able to get into the vicinity of this picture in sea-going ships, after all, so this is not science fiction.

Both of these pictures can be enlarged by clicking onto them to open a larger version in a separate window, and then clicking onto that picture to further enlarge it – recommended, especially for the mono version >>> those shadowy tree trunks just where the road disappears, to me there’s something from Lord of the Rings down down there!

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Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 210mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Landscape V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset and adding a moderate Coffee tone; Hearty Moor, northeast of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels; 26 Apr 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 347 – LANDSCAPE 2 (MONO)

 

 


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The rising sun, at Rose Farm.

There is an earlier Landscape image here: 1 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation;  Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Green Filter preset; at Rose Farm, on the Somerset Levels south of Tarnock; 3 May 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 346 – LANDSCAPE (MONO)

 

 


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Landscape with trees. 

Can you see the birds’ nest, high up in a fork?  From size and position, I’d guess nesting crows.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Harsh preset and adding a split tone; west of Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Westham; 12 April 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 345 – MALLARD ON THE NORTH DRAIN (MONO)

 

 


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A pair of Mallard, a very common duck, on the calm waters of the North Drain, on Tealham Moor.  The more ornate male is on the left, and the far more camouflaged female on the right.

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 450mm; 500 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Flat V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Underexpose EV -1 preset and adding a strong coffee tone; the North Drain on Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels, seen from the Jack’s Drove bridge; 12 Apr 2019.
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BRISTOL 135 – TABLE OUTSIDE A CAFE (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Table and chair, the offer of fashionable alfresco dining on a city street but – at a rather cool and early hour – with no takers. 

The flowers added a wonderful splash of colour, and selective restoration of that colour in black and white immediately came to mind.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 70mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Sepia preset, and then selectively restoring colour and adding a slight pale vignette; Corn Street, central Bristol; 10 May 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 343 – SWANS ABOVE TEALHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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This image contains a lot of detail and is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Looking eastwards across Tealham Moor at 7am, with the sun risen and mist rising into the cool air.  There are no sounds, save for those of the light breeze and, as is so often the case here, gently running water.

And then the singing of Mute Swans’ wings, and three of them, flying quite low, heading north across the moor.

(And another bird to see: a Rook, one of the crows, perched on the dark fencing at lower right; its looking towards the camera, and can only be seen as a dark bird with a pale face – the latter in fact being the pale grey bill and the bare, pale grey skin on the face – the bird uses its longish (for a crow) bill for probing into turf and earth, looking for worms, insects, etc, and its bare facial skin is presumably less soiled (every pun intended!) by the dirt than facial feathers would be.)

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 640 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Green Filter preset and adding a medium coffee tone; looking east across Tealham Moor from just south of Westham, on the Somerset Levels; 3 May 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 342 – AT ROSE FARM, LOOKING EAST 2 (MONO)

 

 

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Mist and spring lambs, early in the day, across the road from Rose Farm.

There is another image from Rose Farm here: 1 .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset, and adding a split tone; at Rose Farm, on the Somerset Levels south of Tarnock; 3 May 2019.
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