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 70 – WALTON MOOR (MONO)


My penchant for getting in close for an animal portrait, in this case via a telephoto; having the beast looming large and filling – if not bursting out of – the frame.

As well as this creature’s great, shaggy presence, I like all the lengths of loose straw hanging from its thick woolly coat – it has recently been led down, probably beside the winter feed put out by the farmer.

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

Technique: D800 used in DX format with a 70-300 Nikkor lens to give a 450mm telephoto; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Wet Rocks preset; Walton Moor, south of the Polden Hills; 13 Jan 2016.

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.



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 69 – PAINTED LADY


Painted Lady beside the South Drain, on Shapwick Heath, south of Westhay, on the Somerset Levels; 26 Oct 2009.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO.

An absolutely beautiful and highly informative book which I recommend to anyone interested in butterflies and/or wildlife art is The Butterflies of Britain & Ireland, by Jeremy Thomas (a butterfly specialist) and Richard Lewington ( a very skilled artist); 1991; ISBN 0-86318-591-6 – highly recommended.  From this book I learn that this species is probably not permanently resident in any part of Europe, because it does not hibernate and  its caterpillars perish at any temperature below 5 degrees C.  Instead, the Painted Ladies that we often see in parks and gardens and in the countryside have probably bred around desert edges in Africa and Arabia, and then moved north up into Europe in huge numbers – something which I find impressive.

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.



THOUGHTS 16 – DEATH OF A DEAR FRIEND


 

I’m sad to tell you of the death of a dear friend.  As readers of this blog may know, I have a great love for cats, having spent my childhood growing up alongside one.  Snowpatch lived with good friends of ours’ and she died yesterday, aged 12, from a stroke.

She has appeared on this blog many times, and here are some of those images.

I love cats in general, but Snowpatch was really something special by virtue of her manifest enjoyment of human company.  She was quiet and affectionate and, time and time again, I would be chatting with my friend in her home, and Snowpatch would simply come quietly into the room and sit down beside us.  She did not crave attention in any way, but simply seemed to want to be near us.  And as she continued to exhibit this behaviour, year after year, it became really very endearing and moving.

So, Life moves on, that’s certainly how it is.  And its equally certain that, as we move on through Life, we are all going to miss Snowpatch’s company very much.

 



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 65 – ROE DEER


Driving west across Westhay Moor, when a deer ran across the road some way up ahead.  I noted where it had disappeared, drove carefully up to it – and there to my right, out in an open field, was a female Roe Deer.  The Z 6 was ready on the seat beside me, and in one (now quite practiced) movement I raised it, turned it on and flicked it into APS-C mode to increase the telezoom’s magnification.

She was very flighty, making to dash off one way or another, but every time the Z 6’s (really not loud) shutter fired, she stopped and looked at me.  I managed four frames, through roadside bushes, before she finally bolted, and by luck got this one.

This is a female (yes, that’s right, she’s a Roe doe!): no antlers, and with the quite rich brown summer coat.  Looking at her, I’m grateful for the catchlight in her eye and the raised foreleg; I’m struck by the very rectangular shape of her body, from the base of her neck back to her rump; and I see her simply as a creature of grace and beauty.  Her beauty is best appreciated enlarged >>> click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Roes are the smallest native deer in the UK, and fairly often seen out on the Levels, early and late in the day.  And they are also not at all uncommon in the leafier suburbs of our towns and cities >>> and so to the stag that I photographed recently in our fairly secluded back garden – you can see that post here .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Standard v2 profile; Westhay Moor Drove, on the Somerset Levels northeast of Westhay; 12 July 2019.

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.



ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 20 – ADVERTISEMENT


A little the worse for wear … part of an advert on a hoarding surrounding a building site.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Broad Plain, central Bristol; 26 May 2017.

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 57 – TEASEL ALONG TRIPPS DROVE (MONO + COLOUR)


Teasel along Tripps Drove; Godney Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 26 Jul 2012.

I don’t take many pictures of flowers, but early one peaceful and gorgeous morning along Tripps Drove I saw these Teasels beside a water-filled ditch – just before, my attention distracted, a horsefly had his fill from me.

And here, for once, I’ve given SEP2 its head and followed where it led – the Yellowed 2 preset looked good and here it is border and all, along with some minor adjustments, and also extensive restoration of colour.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 270mm; 400 ISO; converted to mono and re-coloured using Silver Efex Pro 2.

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.



ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 19 – SMALL TREE (MONO)


When I can, I like to try my hand at different types of images.  For better or worse, here is an example.  I was reviewing pictures on my camera’s screen when this little tree caught my eye.  It occupies only a small part of an APS-C frame but, enlarging it on the screen, I liked it – and so to something a little different.

As usual, the initial processing was in Lightroom, and then I used Silver Efex Pro 2’s Classic Portrait preset to add softness and a pale vignette.  A pale tone followed, and the thinnest of black borders to keep it safe from the world.

What does this remind me of?  Well, I recently watched three enthralling BBC programs entitled The Art of Japanese Life, and perhaps that’s why I see something faintly oriental here, perhaps something faintly reminiscent a bonsai.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Classic Portrait preset, and adding a tone and a border; Priddy Mineries Reserve, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 16 Feb 2018.

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: LOOKING AT CARS 70 – GOING TO WORK 10


Something from the Going to Work series, which seems a long time ago now:

He’s giving me a rather fixed stare.  I’m glad we weren’t sharing the back seat ……..

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; morning rush hour, Baldwin Street, central Bristol; 5 Aug 2016.



BIRDS 136 – FEMALE TUFTED DUCK


Common and well known, mostly on freshwaters, and with the small tuft of feathers on the back of the head.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format at 450mm; 500 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol; 5 May 2021.



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