ARCHIVE 326 – IN A FIELD IN SOUTH BRISTOL (MONO)

 

 


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In a field in south Bristol; 28 Aug 2010.

This was one of a group of these beautiful animals that lived in a nearby field.  Our neighbours used to love feeding them – carrots were a firm favourite.  One day I went along with them, and took a few shots.

Once again, I like to get close in to large animals, filling the frame with them.  This isn’t the whole of the horse’s head, but I like the way the rough, tough and very textured harness frames the upper part of the face – this could be a picture of Nature bridled or firmly restrained.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 75mm; 3200 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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STILL LIFE 159 – ASSASSIN (MONO)

 

 


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Perception can so often be a matter of viewpoint. 

To our eyes, this may be a beautiful, even elegant, wild creature, the sight of which lifts our spirits and, indeed, our quality of life.

But in the real world, that thick, serpentine, muscular neck, and that dagger of a bill, are the tools of a precise and eminently stealthy predator – and any small creature moving under the water, if it sees this killer at all before being struck, views it quite differently.

Another picture of a Great White Egret at Chew Valley Lake, the first picture of this bird, is here.

Click onto this image to open a larger (and grainier) version in a separate window, and click onto that image to marginally enlarge it further.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset and adding a light coffee tone; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake; 6 Oct 2017.  This is a huge enlargement of an APS-C image, with the X-T2 working at its highest quality, native 200 ISO.
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BIRDS 95 – GREAT WHITE EGRET – AND A NEW BIRD FOR MY UK LIST!!!

 

 

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Last Friday, driving home past Chew Valley Lake, I saw a white heron out of the corner of my eye and automatically assumed that it was a Little Egret, a bird that was very rare here in my youth but which has flooded into southern Britain in recent decades.  But, all in an instant, it hit me that it looked far too big for a Little – and my car swerved across the thankfully empty road, I grabbed the bins, leapt out and, well, here it is pictured above – it is a Great White Egret, a bird of warmer, more southerly climes and, as far as I knew, a great rarity – tho not new for my UK bird list, as I’d already seen one on Benbecula, in the Outer Hebrides, in the 1990s.

Well, I will summarise what happened next.  I immediately met a birder from South Wales, a chap of my age, and as we looked out over this small part of the lake – the Herons Green Bay that I’ve often spoken of before – we found 18 Little Egrets, 12 of these Great White Egrets – and a single Cattle Egret, a bird I’d never seen in Britain before, but which I’m very familiar with from 12 years in Kenya.  Unfortunately this new bird was too far away for anything like a decent photo – I wished I’d been carrying a full-frame Nikon and 400+mm of telephoto reach!

I’m not a bird lister these days, its simply a type of collecting, and while I was reasonably into it during my birding decades, 1967-2002, a great chunk of my life really, I now have a far more relaxed attitude to birds.  I still enjoy them hugely, I love to see them and they certainly significantly raise my Quality Of Life – as do butterflies.  But I am now out the frenetic race to see more and more bird species – I’ve moved on, as the current phrase goes, and I’m different now.

But, nevertheless, seeing a new bird for my UK list so unexpectedly was quite a (nice) shock – and this welcome feeling was only enhanced by the setting, because Herons Green was one of the Somerset locations where I started birding all those years ago.  I’ve travelled quite a bit I suppose, including living in Kenya, but now I’m happy to be, more or less, “back where I started”.  Is it a “coming home” thing, well I don’t know, although I am now very close to where I grew up – but I do know that ending up here in southwest England – Somerset, and sometimes Dorset, Devon and Cornwall too – feels right.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol; 6 Oct 2017.
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BIRDS 94 – HERRING GULL (MONO)

 

 


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Adult Herring Gull, in winter plumage, beside the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

A piercing stare – (s)he was sitting on top of a car parked on the harbourside, and I eased forwards, taking little steps, often pausing, and making a diagonal rather than head-on approach.  The D800 was set for APS-C format, and so I had 450mm – 9x magnification – to play with.  I made some very low clicking noises with my tongue, and (s)he looked at me.

How I love gulls!  They were all around during my childhood, they are all over Bristol now, and their wild calls are just that – a very welcome reminder of the wild across the city’s skyline.  They fly in to the city very early each morning, while its still dark – because its ok to get lost when the day is just starting.  But they leave before dusk, because getting lost at night is another matter entirely.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens, used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art High Key preset.
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BIRDS 93 – YOUNG GULL

 

 

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Young gull beside the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

My guess is that this is a young Herring Gull, because the breast streaking is rather diffuse, but it could be a Lesser Black-backed Gull.  Either way, it hatched from its egg in the summer, and is now well on the way towards its first taste of winter.

It is standing by the harbour, it is “loafing” as birders say – it has eaten, it is not starving but, as is often the case with gulls, it is alert to all that is going on around it, and ever ready to dive opportunistically upon anything that presents itself – like your fish and chips!

Click onto the image to open it in another winsow, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom.
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ARCHIVE 325 – ELEPHANT (MONO)

 

 


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Elephant at The Ark, a game viewing lodge in the Aberdare Mountains, Kenya; June 1980.

I particularly like the effect produced when a large animal completely fills the frame; there is something of the abstract about it, and also something massive and impressive.

Here the textures of this elephant’s hide have purposely been exaggerated by Nik Software’s SEP to help emphasise the vast strength of its huge, looming, rough presence.

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

Technique: OM-2 with 75mm-150mm Zuiko lens at 150mm; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro.

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PEOPLE 294 – FARMER (MONO)

 

 


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Farmer and his sheep, northeast of West Littleton, South Gloucestershire.

Other images from the West Littleton area – the Outlands images – are here: 12, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 89,  1011, 12, 13, 14,  15, 16, 17 Each will open in its own window.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art Process preset; 12 Apr 2017.
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PEOPLE 293 – GRANDDAUGHTER 9

 

 

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Our younger granddaughter, backlit.

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;  7; 8.

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

Technique: D800 with a 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 6400 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Bristol; 9 Apr 2017.

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STANTON DREW 34 – VILLAGE LIFE 1

 

Stanton Drew is a village of 800 or so people in the Chew Valley, not far south of Bristol.  Its a small, quiet village, pleasant to walk around, and notable for of its prehistoric stone circles.  As the title to this post shows, I’ve already published 33 photos –  of decidedly varying quality, it must be said – from this little place.  Now, having neglected it for sometime, I’m going to post some more photos, some seen before, some not.  And I might even manage to get myself sufficiently together to stroll around there photographing some more, maybe with a rather different eye than on my previous visits – time will tell.  If nothing else, there’s a wonderfully peaceful, rural churchyard, and a welcoming pub which has blazing log fires.
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Stanton Drew does have a narrow but reasonably busy road passing through it and, on something which is almost a large traffic island there is a garden, the surface of which is not far below eye level – which makes shots like this so much easier to take.  This garden has no fences around it, and the few chickens that live there seem to know that fluttering down from their elevated home will only bring problems.  They are reasonably tame, and I’ve found that crouching down out of sight below the edge of the raised garden, waiting until their calls are loud and near, and then very slowly emerging up beside them, pays dividends.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and then click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom.
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PEOPLE 292 – PORTRAIT OF A GIRL (MONO)

 

 


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The daughter of friends, someone I’ve known for all of her life.  And now growing up fast, and long past the time when a favourite pastime was trying to pull my thumbs off.  And also a long time since, if she was at all unhappy, I could rattle a bunch of keys to instantly brighten her mood.  And, yes, now growing up fast – time rushes on – but still, as ever, a very valued friend.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset and adding a light tone; Bristol; 24 Aug 2017.
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