ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 28 – PLANTAIN (MONO)


Perhaps a still life in the true sense of the term – Plantain from our Bristol garden; 22 June 2014.

Taking my life (and my plant guide) in my hands, I’m going to identify this as the Ribwort Plantain.  And this is the first denizen of our front garden that I’ve pictured.  Not that it was in the front garden when I pictured it.  Seeing these plantains – plants that I’ve always liked – beside our front gate, I held back The Destructor (our petrol mower) from roaring and ravaging over them and instead let it roar and ravage around them, so that I could preserve them and bring a bloom indoors.

And if this is indeed the Ribwort Plantain, my little book tells me that its one of the commonest European plants – and also that it grows in “grassy and waste places”, which describes our diminutive and scraggy front garden to a tee.

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

Technique: D800 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 100 ISO; tripod; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Landscape preset.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 51 – WATER LILIES IN THE NORTH DRAIN


Water Lilies in the North Drain, Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 25 July 2009.

I like the Minimalism here – just thin, green plants against a dark background – looking almost as if they are floating up into the air on a dark night! 

And then there is the way the leaves weave a sinuous line back through the picture, and the increasing dimness of the stems of those further away.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 200 ISO; spotmeter reading taken from the nearest leaf.

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.



STILL LIFE 257 – LOOKING DOWN, INTO THE GUTTER

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Walking in the suburbs and looking down, into a gutter.  The plant is growing in the bottom of the gutter, and the pale diagonal from upper left to lower right is the kerb on the edge of the pavement.  The road surface is at upper right.

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

Technique:  TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Modern 01 profile, and selectively adjusting the saturation and luminance of colours; south Bristol; 1 May 2021.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 121 – WARBLER AMONGST ACACIA THORNS

 

 


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Small warbler – perhaps a Cisticola – amongst fearsome Acacia thorns, any one of which could so easily transfix it; probably in Nairobi National Park, in the late 1970s.

The Cisticolas are a group of small warblers that that all look very similar to each other; they are the archetypal “small brown birds”.

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

Technique: OM-1 with a Vivitar 400mm telephoto; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; Lightroom.  This would have been taken from the window of my car, from one of the tracks in the National Park.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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HOME 7 – LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW

 

 


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Looking out of the kitchen window, with a long telephoto and some good light.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; the back garden; 26 Nov 2020.
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ARCHIVE KENYA 106 – TABLE DECORATION

 

 


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Conversation piece on my Nairobi dining table; Nov 1979.

I would like to be able to say that all of the sophisticated evenings chez moi were black tie and that, as the port decanter made its rounds, this little charmer made the conversation hum and buzz.  But, well, you know … 😉 …

The reality was that, because I was writing a book at the time, my large dining table was perpetually covered in piles of maps, books and papers, together with a portable typewriter (remember typewriters???), a little space where my plate could go when I wanted to eat – and a pot plant that was home to this beauty for awhile.

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

Technique: tripod-mounted OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; extension tubes or close up lenses; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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OUTER SUBURBS 263 – PARKED CAR 25

 

 


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There are earlier images in this Parked Car series here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Modern 10 profile; south Bristol; 2 Aug 2020.
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ARCHIVE 488 – DRAINPIPE, WIMBORNE

 

 


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Drainpipe and climbing plants on a wall in Wimborne, Dorset; 1 Oct 2008.

I turned into a courtyard off the main street in Wimborne and this spectacular and (especially) writhing vision opened up on my left.

Minimal colour, almost monochrome and in fact also looking good in b+w, but the rust tints on the pipe bring this picture alive. The pipe is just about on the left vertical third.

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

Technique: F6 with 24-120 Nikkor lens; Fuji Provia 400X colour slide film rated at 500 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 469 – TEASELS (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Teasels, Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley, south of Bristol; 1 Aug 2013.

I’ve restored the pale blues of the few petals remaining at the apex of the left hand flower, but I think a larger image is needed to fully appreciate this.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 260mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Pinhole preset, and selective restoration of colour.

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ARCHIVE 448 – STINGING NETTLE IN GRASS (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Stinging Nettle in grass at the Magic Car Park, Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 28 Aug 2013.

Why is this car park magic?  Well, it and the surrounding countryside – open pastures, simple, wet and rough – have helped me through some very dark nights of the soul.

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

Technique: D700 with Sigma 12-24 at 24mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, including selective restoration of colour.

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