SOMERSET LEVELS 371 – LOOKING INTO THE DISTANCE

 

 


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The view into the distance, into another world perhaps.  I say this because, years ago, when I was braver, more reckless and probably more romantic than I am now, I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in very wild places, in Arabia and in Kenya, and to some extent high up in the Western Alps too.  And I remember being totally drawn and excited by the dim twinkling of far off lights seen through the blues of dawn and dusk – both from the ground and from aircraft.  I felt I was looking into another world, seeing something almost magical, with feelings both of excitement and awe.

But of course, in walking, motoring or flying to those twinkling lights, reality reasserted itself, the magical became mundane – and it was only when I looked back behind me, back towards where I had been, that I could see the magic once more … ha! >>> such is life >>> such is the reality of things!

But, even now, all these years later, and when I can infuse enough blood into my alcohol stream, looking deeply into far off blues – the vast calm indigos of John Fowles – still gets to me.  A little bit of the magic is still there, and I am most grateful for that.

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; 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; looking east from Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 5 July 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 370 – EARLY MORNING, LOOKING EAST

 

 


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The world above Queen’s Sedge Moor, early in the day.

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.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Velvia/Vivid profile; Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 5 July 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 363 – ANIMAL 4

 

 


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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 are other images from this little series here 2 3 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral V2 profile; Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 361 – QUEEN’S SEDGE MOOR, MORNING LIGHT 2

 

 


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Driving on the eastern reaches of Queen’s Sedge Moor, heading for the little hamlet of Barrow; and, suddenly, the road overshadowed by a giant – an oak I think – backlit from the east.

And so to standing back as far as the narrow lane permitted, looking up through a very wide angle lens; and to overexposing the scene – avoiding a pure silhouette – to retain some colour in the tree’s leaves and some detail in its trunk, while letting the rising sun’s glare burn out much of the backdrop.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wells; 24 May 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 359 – LONG DROVE, QUEEN’S SEDGE MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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On Queen’s Sedge Moor, an area of the Levels to the south of the tiny city of Wells, Long Drove makes off towards the sunrise.  This is a single track road with a tarmac surface: there are narrow  raised verges on either side, and beyond them (and unseen here) narrow, water-filled ditches known as rhynes (rhymes with scenes).

The Somerset Levels are a landscape that I love: they are a tremendous source of peace in this time poor, increasingly frenetic age – you won’t see too much multitasking down here! – and they are a place to feel close to Nature, the Natural World – and hence my dalliance with a Sedge Warbler that I wrote about recently.

But, as this long, dead straight road shows, this is not actually a very old landscape, nor is it a natural one: it is land that has been reclaimed relatively recently – within the last 400 years at most I would guess – from the lakes and marshes that formerly covered the area.  And in new landscapes, and especially flat ones, the quickest route between two points is a straight line.

Click onto the 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 at 15mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Orange preset and adding a split tone; Long Drove, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wells; 26 Apr 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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SOMERSET LEVELS 350 – ANIMAL 2

 

 


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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.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 360mm; 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 349 – ANIMAL

 

 

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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 recommendedThe lower image can be enlarged in this way too.

OK, let’s start at the bottom line: I love cats.  A cat named George, aged two, was present when I was born.  My mother told me that he used to get up on his hind legs and peer in at me in my pram – probably wondering if he was allowed to eat me I expect!  And I grew up alongside him and, as an only child, he was effectively my brother.  Quite simply, he was always there, he was always around, and he died when I was 13.  I have never owned a cat but, equally, I have never forgotten George and, indeed, over 50 years later he is still frequently – and warmly – in my thoughts.  And whenever I encounter cats these days, I look on them with much affection.

And my feline odyssey goes a little further than that because, taking clients on safari in Kenya, I came into close contact with our moggies’ much larger cousins – Lion, Leopard and Cheetah.  Lions I could take or leave really, but I spent ages almost drowning in the deep, expressionless, amber eyes of Leopard and Cheetah.  And then there were smaller cats too – Serval and (most wonderfully) Caracal.

So what on earth has all this got to do with the Somerset Levels?  Well, recently, I was exploring on the southeastern edges of Queen’s Sedge Moor, when I hauled up at Redlake Farm – and promptly had two very pleasant experiences.  I’ll talk about the first of those experiences another time but, as I walked along the farm’s frontage there was a closed gate with six cats basking beneath it on the morning sun’s warm rays.  There is a picture – not a very good picture – of them below, but it gives you an idea of the scene.
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And, standing very still, I looked at these cats, they looked back at me, and – very softly – I started talking to them.  I certainly didn’t want to frighten them by getting too close and, anyway, looking at them, it was immediately apparent that these were not tame house cats, but rather working cats in a way, who earn their keep on the farm as fierce ratters and mousers.  Stroking one of these, even if I could get near enough, might not be a wholly joyous experience.

And so the camera went into APS-C mode, lengthening the reach of my telephoto and, from a distance, I photographed them.  And as I looked through the camera into those impassive and predatory faces, I was reminded of those much larger cats in Kenya long ago, and the title of this post came surely to mind.

Technique: upper image – Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control.  Lower image: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; 400 ISO.  Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 340 – MORNING DEW 3

 

 


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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.

Another look at the field gate: webs and dew drops, early on a damp, cold morning.

Earlier morning dew images are here: 1 2 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Standard V2 picture control; beside Bourtonbridge Drove, on Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wells; 26 Apr 2019.

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