ARCHIVE 570 – AUTUMN HAZEL, DOUBLE EXPOSURE

 

 


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A double exposure of the Hazel tree in our Bristol garden, with the beautiful yellow leaves that it has in the autumn.  The camera was moved slightly between the two exposures.

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

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ARCHIVE 541 – WINDBLOWN

 

 


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Windblown poppy; Newquay, Cornwall; 11 Sept 2013.

I like Newquay.  It is cheap, tatty and unpretentious, and there are so many establishments offering Full English Breakfasts that I could probably stay there for a whole month and eat in a different one each day.  That said, I have the strong suspicion that most of these repasts would be of the pallid and rather tasteless variety but, still, anywhere with this number of breakfasts on offer can’t be all bad.

And, with its famous Fistral Beach facing out into the Atlantic’s rollers,  this little town is a mecca for UK surfers – as well as being the pub, nightclub and “booze / drug yourself silly” capital of the west for youngsters intent upon a good time that they may not remember too much about.

We had a couple of dry days on our short break, but the westerly wind blew throughout and the great white waves smashed into the cliffs and headlands – not that we are in any way surfers, mind!  For a start I can’t swim, and neither of us are at all into such energetic activities. 

There was a ragged flowerbed in front of some kind of religious building sandwiched in between the Houses Of Hedonism along the main drag, and the gusting westerly was sending the flowers in all directions. The waving poppies stood out from the rest, and a quarter of a second at F29 gave this pale and Impressionistic result.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.

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OUTER SUBURBS 187 – EARLY MORNING MIST, MAIN ROAD 2

 


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Walking a main road in the stillness of early morning.  No one else about; the roar and hiss of cars on the wet tarmac the only sounds.  Walking towards a favourite tree which leans elegantly out towards the road before rising on up vertically – a tree which I keep thinking may topple over on top of me one darkly inauspicious morning.  I’m surprised that the city’s mindless local authorities haven’t reduced it to sawdust long ago, but I certainly don’t want them to do that.

The streetlights lit up the mist, and I liked the way the tree’s lower branches were silhouetted against the glare.  So, completely forgetting to increase the TG-5’s ISO, I raised the camera and took two shots – handheld at 1/6th second and 74mm equivalent focal length.  The second shot is sharper but, as ever, that aspect is not of overriding importance to me – I prefer the look and composition of this; it reminds me more of the moment.

There is an earlier image if this tree here .  It will open in a separate window.  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.

Technique: TG-5 at 74mm (equiv); 1/6th second, handheld; 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 22 Jan 2020.
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BIRDS 124 – JACKDAW (MONO)

 


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Walking in the early morning of New Year’s Day in south Bristol, and being suddenly delighted by a storm of black bodies and whirling wings close overhead. They were Jackdaws, small crows, and this large group had recently emerged from a communal roost where they’d spent the long winter night and – garrulous, sociable, busy, noisy – they were off around Bristol’s rooftops in search of the day’s first meal. They landed on the roof of a nearby factory but, active as they were, I knew that they’d soon be aloft again in a noisy, wheeling black cloud.

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LOL!!! >>> and so to one of photography’s great sayings >>> that the best camera for the job is the one you have with you >>> and so, from my pocket, I produced something really totally unsuitable for the job ahead, the only camera I was carrying, the Olympus TOUGH TG-5.

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But the birds were on the move again even quicker than I’d anticipated, and any “photographic technique” on my part was reduced to managing to get the zoom to it longest length (100mm equivalent), pointing the little camera at the whirling flock and firing five quick, single frames.  The camera was set for spot metering, thankfully at 3200 ISO, but on this dark morning that still only gave me 1/30 second at f4.9.

I’m also a great believer in “any picture is better than no picture at all”, and in this case the slow shutter speed blurred the flailing wings to give a real sense of movement – and so to high contrast black and white processing in Lightroom and something of an impressionistic result.
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FANTASY 33 – WOMAN CLIMBING STAIRS

 

 

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Woman climbing stairs, going up towards the light; Penzance, Cornwall; 8 Oct 2013.

A very slow shutter speed, 1/5th second, gives the impression of the woman’s swirling and diffuse form climbing up through the brightly lit tops of the flight of steps.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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MENDIP HILLS 17 – STORM (MONO)

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Pines recoiling from the southerly blasts at Priddy Mineries Reserve, on the top of the Mendip Hills; 23 Dec 2013.

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.

My preferred way back to Bristol lay over the top of the Mendip Hills and, at around 1,000 feet on their bare tops, things were getting very wild indeed.  I pulled over in the lee of some pines that the storm was tossing all over the place and, with the gusts buffeting the car and falling twigs clanking on its bodywork, I sat and fired at the tormented trees through the rain-soaked windscreen.

The angle of this tree trunk is not all wind-induced.  I’ve added tilt to (hopefully!) improve the composition, but I hope it gives some idea of the wildness of the day.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 70mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Film Noir 1 preset.
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GARDEN 39 – AUTUMN HAZEL, PHOTOGRAPHED WITH CAMERA MOVEMENT

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Our autumn Hazel, showing its many trunks and some of its beautiful autumn leaves, blurred by camera movement; 18 Nov 2013.

The camera was tilted slowly downwards – by my very slowly inclining just my head forwards slightly  – during a two and a half second, handheld exposure at f22.  Fast movements during an exposure can simply result in a series of amorphous, parallel stripes, whereas many structures are still visible here.

The many trunks of the tree describe a marked “V” as they enter the ground so that, due to the shot’s movement, they may be imagined as a series of sharp shafts or spears being thrust forcefully into the soil.  Ancient peoples valued Hazel trunks as spears, and the dead straight trunk on the right, enhanced with a sharp stone or metal point, would be a formidable weapon against man or horse.

Another frame from my foray in our autumn garden: the first image in this short series is here .

D8oo with 12-24 Sigma at 12mm; 50 ISO.
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BIRDS 42 – FLYING TOWARDS THE BACKDROP

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Black-headed Gull at Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 27 Sept 2013.

We recently went down to Chew Valley Lake and, while my wife threw bread to the wheeling gulls, I attempted to photograph them.  I started off in the conventional way, trying to obtain sharp “portraits”, but then had the idea of abandoning sharpness and, instead, of trying to achieve the complete opposite – blur, mistiness, a sense of their movement.  This resulted in a slideshow, which is here .

George Weaver ( http://georgeweaver.wordpress.com ), a good blogging friend, said that one reason she likes the slideshow pics is that they show the birds “and the background that they actually fly “through”.”.  I find this concept of a photo’s subject moving into and through the backdrop very new, it hadn’t occurred to me before – its an interesting and exciting thing to think about.

The picture above doesn’t actually show this phenomenon, but its the next best thing.  The bird is heading for what looks like a curtain of translucent, finely streaked material hanging in front of a barely seen landscape – the bird is about to disappear into this “other world”.  The “landscape” is in fact the pale concrete wall of the reservoir, followed by the brown mud exposed by the currently receding lake, with the bluish water of the lake at the top of the frame.

This is an entirely fortuitous shot.  I was firing off at the banking and wheeling gulls all over the show, often trying to follow them it flight and firing repeatedly (all single shots, no motordrive) if I managed to hold them in the frame.  These are smaller gulls, far more agile than the more hulking Herrings and Lesser Black-backs, and they were jinking about all over the place.  300mm soon proved far too long a telephoto for capturing these close-to beauties, and this photo was taken at a far lower focal length – 116mm.

Here, the attitude of the bird – wings and tail spread, parachuting, and legs dangling –  shows that it is coming in to land on the concrete, descending at quite a steep angle.  I’m panning the camera along with it, and so the image contains the semi-sharp bird – while my vertical panning has caused streaking of all details in the backdrop.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 116mm; 100 ISO; slow shutter speed (1/15 second, f32), and panning.
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BIRDS 41 – INSPIRED BY MALIN HELLESO

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I am a great admirer of the work of Malin Helleso http://malinhphotography.wordpress.com, a photographer from Sweden.  To me, her photos are unique, with a deep spiritual quality that sits well with my view of things, especially natural things, and especially now that I am consciously leaning towards Pagan feelings and beliefs.  Malin is taking a well earned break from blogging at the moment, but I do urge you to take a long look through the many images and words on her blog.

Malin’s images are an inspiration and I’ve always said that, if I try to emulate her, I’ll give her full credit – and here it is!  She has produced some very effective slideshows, and here are my first recent attempts at the genre.

The subjects are Black-headed Gulls, whirling around us as my wife hurled handfuls of bread at them, at Chew Valley Lake, not far south of Bristol, on 27 Sept 2013.

I am a great lover of gulls.  For large parts of my life they have always been around, their screaming and crowing a constant and welcome companion.

I hope you enjoy these pictures.  And I thank Malin for much good feeling, emotion, enthusiasm and inspiration.

Nikon D800 with 70-300 Nikkor; 100 ISO.
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CORNWALL 64 – THE WIND IN THE TREES

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A tree undulating gently in a light breeze; near Newquay; 11 Sept 2013.

There was a beautiful tree, some kind of evergreen, out behind our caravan – this is the same tree that features in this very different mono shot, which I posted awhile back.

This tree has the most beautiful bright green leaves and, as light breezes wafted in from the Atlantic, I became simply entranced by all of this vivid colour undulating up and down in front of me – while the imbibing of some good beer or cider made the whole experience positively psychedelic.  So I opened the caravan door, sat back down again (nothing like being an energetic photographer … ), set the camera’s shutter at 1/3 second, and took some handheld shots of this great moving mass.

Here is the Living World, the interaction between a very beautiful living thing, and Earth’s ever turbulent atmosphere.

Nikon D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; rotated 90 degrees clockwise.
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