GARDEN 71 – ROE DEER

 

 


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We are lucky to have a long back garden, which I have let go largely wild, and which backs out onto even wilder woodland.  This makes for a wide selection of wildlife, often in plain view from our kitchen window – and it was this wonderful natural space that kept me sane when I returned to Bristol from leading wildlife safaris in Kenya, 30 years ago.

We are lucky in seeing deer in our garden, and mostly these are Muntjacs, which are an exotic species, originally native to the Far East, and I’ve posted on these several times – the most recent post is here .

However we have also (far more rarely) seen the larger Roe Deer, which is native to the British Isles, and which is not unusual – if only locally – in Bristol’s leafier outer suburbs.
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And so to 28 May, when a cry of “Large deer in the garden!” brought us to the kitchen window, and the sight of this Roe stag, fully grown antlers and all, beside the garden path.  Cameras and binoculars are always to hand, so I grabbed the Z 6 – forgetting I’d left it in APS-C format – and started photographing.  Opening the kitchen window would almost certainly have scared him off, so the shots were taken looking quite steeply downwards through double glazing – but that’s life! >>> and the basic premise that imperfect shots are always better than no shots at all!

And, taking off the rose-coloured glasses for a moment and looking at the Natural World full-on, there are other living organisms pictured here too – for the two dark spots on the deer’s neck are ticks – ectoparasites – which live on the animal’s bodily fluids.

Click onto each 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 232mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral v2 picture control; our back garden, in south Bristol; 28 May 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 356 – IT FELT GOOD TO BE ALIVE

 

 

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I’d driven down to the end of the little, single track road – Allermoor Drove – that runs out westwards onto Aller Moor, on the Somerset Levels.  It wasn’t actually the end of the drove as that continues onwards as a rough track, but my days of driving saloon cars off-road are long past and, indeed, far away, on another continent.  But, anyway, I’d turned the car around ready for departure, and was downing hot, sweet coffee while demolishing a thick, brown, bitter marmalade sandwich.

And beside me was a water-filled ditch – a rhyne – dense with summer’s lush growth.  And from that ditch was coming the loud, reeling song of a Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus if you want to know.  That small bird had flown – probably mainly by night – all the way from sub-Saharan Africa to breed in this little, wet ditch in Somerset.  Probably, it had bred in this ditch last year too and, if it survives, it will be here next year to do so again.  The Germans have a word for this, it is ortstreuer, this almost fanatical attachment to one small breeding site on a vast continent.

And as I stood there listening to that loud, reeling song, the bird shot up into the air several times in his fierce, hormone-driven, territorial frenzy, before dropping back once more into the safety of the ditch’s lush green depths.  And of course I know Sedge Warblers from before – those I encountered seeing out the northern winters in Africa’s warm, dense, insect ridden lushnesses – and those long before that, 50 years and more ago now, when I first started looking at birds, here in Somerset.

And as I stood there listening to that loud and lusty song, it felt good to be there with that bird, it felt good in fact to be alive, and I found myself talking to him – “Yes, come on, do it, go for it, go for it!!!”.  And that felt good too.  But then I often do such things when anything like in contact with the natural world.

Beside the ditch there was a field gate, with a long strand of orange bailer twine hanging from it, being blown about by the breeze, and a carpet of white wildflowers stretching out beyond.   And as I photographed that gate, the first, uncertain splashes of rain were cool on the back of my neck, and suddenly they were a downpour.

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I ran for the car, hunched over the camera, trying to shield it from the streaming water.  And so into the car, slamming the door, but the ******* electric window was down and I couldn’t find the car keys to switch the ignition on to raise it again – a plague on electric windows!!!  The rain poured into the car.  I cursed savagely and pulled my backpack over the two cameras on the seat beside me, trying to keep them dry.  The keys appeared, the window closed, I cursed some more, and the downpour drummed on the car.  And as I looked out through the streaming windscreen, the view before me – the trees, the sky, the little road – came alive and dissolved into a living, moving mass, and picking up the X-T2, I photographed that too.
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And, amongst all of that Nature, raw and real, it continued to feel good to be alive.
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Click onto each 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; 100 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Aller Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 14 June 2019.

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OUTER SUBURBS 116 – BREAKFAST IN THE OUTER SUBURBS

 

 


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Lifestyle suggestion: Scottish salmon fillet, cod fillet and prawn, Thai style fishcakes with fresh kiwi fruit, strawberries and melon, and cooked tomatoes, along with seafood sauce and sauce béarnaise.  And all washed down with mugs of hot, strong tea. 

Sets me up for my six mile daily walks >>> its a FATman thing!

I lived in Kenya long ago, and developed a great liking for very tasty curries covered in fresh fruit, nuts, chutneys, pickles, etc., all washed down with Kenya Breweries’ Tusker Premium lager – I used to think of them as taste explosions – and to some extent this meal mirrors this, with the combination of spicy fishcakes, fresh fruit and tangy sauces – absolutely delicious!   Such breakfasts are highly recommended >>>>>>  and especially so in view of the fact that, these days, the emergency services are never more than one short (and quite possibly desperate) phone call away …

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images 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 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 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation, and adding a faint pale vignette; chez FATman, in south Bristol; 27 May 2019.
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BRISTOL 140 – LOOKING DOWN STAIRS TOWARDS A CARPET

 

 


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With Paula in St Nicholas Market: a flight of battered yellow stairs lead down to a purple carpet.  Battered stairs?  Yes, well used, leading to a pub!

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

Technique: Z 6 with 24-120 Nikkor lens used (by mistake!) in DX (= APS-C) format to give 63mm – going to DX format was not necessary as 63mm us within the 24-120 range of the lens ; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid v2 picture control; rotated; beside St Nicholas Market, Bristol; 3 June 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 115 – BUS STOP, WET MORNING

 

 


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A cool, wet morning in May: waiting for the bus.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images 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 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 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 1250 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 8 May 2019.
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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 353 – LIBERTY MOOR, NEAR EASTERN MOOR BRIDGE

 

 


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Entrance to a field, in early light.

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 300mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral v2 picture control; Liberty Moor, on the Somerset Levels east of East Huntspill; 3 May 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 352 – ANIMAL 3

 

 


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

Beside the road at Redlake Farm, on Queen’s Sedge Moor – see this link for an earlier image in this series, and much context; there is another image from this series here 2 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 292mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 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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