ARCHIVE: LEVELS 23 – MEADOW WITH WILDFLOWERS (MONO)

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Meadow with wildflowers beside North Chine Drove, southeast of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 27 Jul 2011.

The uncut grass with its abundance of tall yellow wildflowers first caught my eye and, and I was looking at how it might best be photographed when the sun broke through the clouds, producing this beautiful (and very lucky) shaft of light across the scene.

The photo is in three layers.  In the foreground there are more of the yellow flowers, but in the shade and unfocused.  Above this, the shaft of sunlight cuts across the shot, illuminating both the tall grasses and another grove of the wildflowers.  Finally, the third and upper layer contains the trees and bushes behind the field which (luckily again) are partly caught by the sun’s rays, so that this background is not wholly dark.

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 .  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 – certainly recommended.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; converted to monochrome, and slightly tinted very pale yellow, with Silver Efex Pro.

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 524 – TWO TREES, IVY AND BRAMBLES (MONO)

 

 


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View between two tree trunks – two trees, ivy and brambles –  beside North Chine Drove, on the Somerset Levels southeast of Wedmore; 19 Mar 2012.

I have a thing for stark tree silhouettes, and here my larger telezoom pulled this image right in, to make it frame-filling.  Use of the long focal length also has the benefit of small depth of field, so that the landscape seen through this gap registered as sufficiently hazy and low contrast for SEP2 to block it out completely, leaving the ivy and brambles against a plain backdrop.

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

Technique: D700 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono, and toning, with Silver Efex Pro 2.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 364 – BESIDE NORTH CHINE DROVE (MONO)

 

 


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Beside North Chine Drove, with the ground rising up towards the hamlets of Mudgley and Bagley.

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 used (mistakenly!) in DX (= APS-C) format to give 270mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid v2 profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Push Process (N+3.0) preset and adding a light Selenium tone; looking north from North Chine Drove, on the Somerset Levels southeast of Wedmore; 14 June 2019.
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ARCHIVE 93 – MEADOW WITH WILDFLOWERS (MONO)

 

 

Meadow with wildflowers
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Meadow with wildflowers beside North Chine Drove, southeast of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 27 Jul 2011.

The uncut grass with its abundance of tall yellow wildflowers first caught my eye and, and I was looking at how it might best be photographed when the sun broke through the clouds, producing this beautiful (and very lucky) shaft of light across the scene.

The photo is in three layers.  In the foreground there are more of the yellow flowers, but in the shade and unfocused.  Above this, the shaft of sunlight cuts across the shot, illuminating both the tall grasses and another grove of the wildflowers.  Finally, the third and upper layer contains the trees and bushes behind the field which (luckily again) are partly caught by the sun’s rays, so that this background is not wholly dark.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; converted to monochrome, and slightly tinted very pale yellow, with Silver Efex Pro.

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ARCHIVE 89 – TREES BESIDE NORTH CHINE DROVE (MONO)

 

 

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Two trees beside North Chine Drove, south of Theale, on the Somerset Levels; 29 Aug 2009.

An early digital foray!  My eye was attracted by the two tree trunks leaning away from each other, and then I went for something dark and Minimal.

Nikon F6; Fuji Neopan 1600 mono film, rated at 6400 ISO and commercially scanned; manipulated in Alien Skin’s Exposure 2.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 154 – SENTINEL (MONO)

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Looking back east along North Chine Drove, southeast of Wedmore; 27 May 2014.

Down on the Levels again yesterday; quite early on, although far after May’s early sunrise.  Feeling distinctly tired after the drive despite not having touched a drop for two days, I’d stopped at a place I call Owl Barn – somewhere Little Owls have looked after their newly fledged young in the past.

A soft, fresh rain was falling and splashing into the life preserver that is known as Steaming Hot Coffee, and Glastonbury Tor was far off in the mists – and suddenly my vacant daze was shattered by a large brown shape exploding out of the trees to my left.  I had stopped beside a Buzzard perched silent and motionless amongst foliage and, uncomfortable with my proximity, it had burst out of cover, to alight on top of a telegraph pole a little further down the road, from which it could keep a constant eye on me..

Buzzards are the largest birds of prey hereabouts, and a species that DDT & co. almost did for not long ago.  But, in these more enlightened times, they are back and thriving.  The owls that I’d seen in the barn years ago had allowed me to approach them a little – tho always keeping me firmly in their bright yellow gaze.  But I knew that that was not the Buzzard’s habit; no matter how slowly I edged towards it, it would not let me near.

And so to a shot of the narrow lane – the wet surface of which shines like water at the bottom of the frame – with the raptor set against the blank overcast.  Taking the image into mono simplifies and darkens it.  The eye can follow the curve of the large tree on the left, up and around, and down via the fortuitously hanging branch, to the subject.  The nearest telegraph pole is silhouetted at upper right, and the slack wire takes us to the bird’s perch.

But this is not quite the rural idyll it appears, because if you peer very closely into the area of sky left of the most distant pole, you can just make out a looming electricity pylon and overhead wires.  A line of these giants strides across the flatlands here, forever thwarting my attempts at longshots of Glastonbury Tor.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 220mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Pinhole preset.
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SELF-INDULGENCE 89 – LUCKILY SUNLIT MEADOW (MONO)

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Sunlit meadow beside North Chine Drove, southeast of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 27 Jul 2011.

The uncut grass with its abundance of tall yellow wildflowers first caught my eye and, and I was looking at how it might best be photographed when the sun broke through the clouds, producing this beautiful (and very lucky) shaft of light across the scene.

The photo is in three layers.  In the foreground there are more of the yellow flowers, but in the shade and unfocused.

Above this, the shaft of sunlight cuts across the shot, illuminating both the tall grasses and another grove of the wildflowers.

Finally, the third and upper layer contains the trees and bushes behind the field which (luckily again) are partly caught by the sun’s rays, so that this background is not wholly dark.

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; converted to monochrome, and slightly tinted very pale yellow, with Silver Efex Pro.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 44 – TWO TREES, IVY AND BRAMBLES (MONO)

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View between two tree trunks – two trees, ivy and brambles –  beside North Chine Drove, southeast of Wedmore; 19 Mar 2012.

I have a thing for stark tree silhouettes, and here my larger telezoom pulled this image right in, to make it frame-filling.  Use of the long focal length also has the benefit of small depth of field, so that the landscape seen through this gap registered as sufficiently hazy and low contrast for SEP2 to block it out completely, leaving the ivy and brambles against a plain backdrop.

Nikon D700 with 80mm-400mm VR Nikkor at 400mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono, and toning, with Silver Efex Pro 2.
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SELF INDULGENCE 27 – GRASS SLIVER ON NORTH CHINE DROVE

USE YOUR PC’s F11 KEY TO VIEW THIS BLOG FULLSCREEN

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A sliver of grass growing up through the tarmac of North Chine Drove, southeast of Wedmore; 27 Jul 2011.

The photograph has been rotated by 90 degrees clockwise to (hopefully!) improve this minimalist composition.  We scan images from left to right, and here our eyes start on the out of focus road surface on the left, and move right towards the sudden, striking slash of bright green amongst the grey chippings.

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 116mm; 400 ISO.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 32 – TWO TREES BESIDE NORTH CHINE DROVE (MONO)

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Two trees beside North Chine Drove, south of Theale, on the Somerset Levels; 29 Aug 2009.

An early digital foray!  My eye was attracted by the two tree trunks leaning away from each other, and then I went for something dark and minimal.

Nikon F6; Fuji Neopan 1600 mono film, rated at 6400 ISO and commercially scanned; manipulated in Alien Skin’s Exposure 2.

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